Courses

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  • CAS RN 325: Jewish Mysticism I: Formative Traditions
    Analysis of the development of Jewish mysticism from the biblical to the early medieval era. Emphasis on the forms of mysticism--and the texts in which they are embedded--from the rabbinic era. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.
  • CAS RN 326: The Kabbalah
    Introduction to a major trend in Jewish mysticism that combined cosmic speculation and ecstatic practice, influenced Jewish prayer and Christian Renaissance thought, and remains popular today. Discusses Kabbalah's cultural roots, mystical techniques, major texts (including "Zohar"), and contemporary revival.
  • CAS RN 330: American Jewish Experiences
    Traces the achievements and reputations of Jews, shaped by stereotypes of wealth, power, intellect and sexuality. Students examine film, literature, art, popular music, attitudes towards Israel, religious practices, and intermarriage rates for evidence of changing trends.
  • CAS RN 338: Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
    Thematic introduction to mysticism and philosophy, with a focus on dynamics of religious experience. Readings from medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy; Sufi mysticism and philosophy; Kabbalah, Biblical interpretation, Sufi poetry, Hebrew poetry from the Golden Age of Muslim Spain.
  • CAS RN 340: The Quran
    The emergence of the Quran as a major religious text, its structure and literary features, and its principal themes and places within the religious and intellectual life of the Muslim community.
  • CAS RN 341: Islamic Mysticism: Sufism
    Rise and development of the mystical movement in early Islam; analysis of the thought of leading Sufi brotherhoods, their organization, liturgy, and religious life; the impact of Sufism on classical and postclassical Islam.
  • CAS RN 344: Islam and the West
    Considers centuries of cooperation and conflict between Islam and the West, including the "Golden Age" of Islamic Spain, the Crusades, medieval European views of Islam, enslaved Muslims in the New World, colonialism and its legacies, and Western Muslim communities today.
  • CAS RN 345: Islamic Law
    A survey of major trends in Islamic jurisprudence from the seventh century to the present; the structure of Islamic law, its regulative principles, its place in Islamic society, and the mechanisms by which it is elaborated and applied.
  • CAS RN 348: Rumi and Persian Sufi Poetry
    Introduction to the Persian Sufi poet Rumi's narrative and lyric writings. Beginning with an introduction to Islamic mysticism, studies the innovative aspects of Rumi's poetry and the problem of profane vs. sacred love. All readings in English translation. Also offered as CAS LZ 281.
  • CAS RN 360: Daoist Religion
    A historical survey of the Daoist traditions in China. The philosophy of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu and Han dynasty religion. Early Daoist movements, as well as the heyday of the religion in the Six Dynasties and the Tang. Modern Daoism as it was first formed in the Tang dynasty is also discussed.
  • CAS RN 364: Buddhist Literature
    Focuses on Buddhist sutras and other literature to explore key issues of doctrine, philosophy, and praxis in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions of Buddhism. Topics include the Buddha's life, practicing the path, emptiness, and interdependence.
  • CAS RN 368: American Evangelicalism
    Major trends in American Evangelicalism, from the colonial awakenings and religious reform to the contemporary Christian Right. Focus on how evangelicals have negotiated and shaped central tenets of American culture, including understandings of gender, race, performance, nation, sexuality, and economics. Also offered as CAS HI 294.
  • CAS RN 375: Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia
    Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.
  • CAS RN 382: History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa
    The study of the development of religious traditions in Africa during the period prior to European colonialism. An emphasis on both indigenous religions and the growth and spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the continent as a whole. Also offered as CAS AA 382 and CAS HI 349.
  • CAS RN 384: The Holocaust
    Background of German (and European) anti-Semitism. Rise of Nazism and early oppression, initial Jewish reaction, mechanics of destruction, ghettos, camps, world response and nonresponse, literature of the Holocaust, and religious implications.
  • CAS RN 385: Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film
    Questions of representation in literature and film about the Holocaust, including testimonial and fictive works by Wiesel and Levi, Ozick, and others; films include documentaries and feature films. Discussions of the Holocaust as historical reality, metaphor, and generative force in literature. Also offered as CAS CI 269 and CAS XL 281.
  • CAS RN 387: Anthropology of Religion
    Myth, ritual, and religious experience across cultures. Special attention to the problem of religious symbolism and meaning, religious conversion and revitalization, contrasts between traditional and world religions, and the relation of religious knowledge to science, magic, and ideology. Also offered as CAS AN 384.
  • CAS RN 390: Archaeology in the Holy Land
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: sophomore, junior, or senior standing.
    In Israel, archaeology is part of current events. The study of remains from the Israelite to the Muslim conquests (c. 1200 BCE -- 640 CE) to learn how material evidence created and still plays a role in a larger historical drama. Also offered as CAS AR 342.
  • CAS RN 392: Religious History of Boston
    The Greater Boston area contains one of the richest historical legacies in the United States. This course examines distinctive aspects of that historical legacy, by focusing upon the religious history of Boston. Includes required visits to specific Boston area historical sites.
  • CAS RN 397: Topics in Philosophy and Religion
    Topic for Fall 2016: Hope and Despair. This course is designed to run side by side with the Institute for Philosophy and Religion's fall lecture series on the topic of "hope and despair" in religious, philosophical, and literary sources from both the East and the West. Also offered as CAS PH 456.