Religious & Theological Studies (including Religion)

  • GRS RN 601: Varieties of Early Christianity
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: At least one prior course in biblical or New Testament literature recommended.
    Surveys the many different and often competing forms of Christianity that arose and flourished in the second to the seventh Century, from the "apostolic period" to the Arab conquest in the Middle East.
  • GRS RN 608: The Open Heaven: Apocalyptic Literature in Early Judaism and Christianity
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Examines literary and historical roots of "apocalypticism" in early Judaism and Christianity. Attention to literary genre, symbolism, metaphor, heaven, hell, angelology, demonology, attitudes toward the end of the world. Examines relationship of apocalypticism to shamanism, mysticism, magic, magic, gnosticism, liturgy.
  • GRS RN 612: Buddhism in America
    The transplantation and transformation of Buddhism in the United States. Time period ranges from the 18th century to the present, but the emphasis is on contemporary developments, including the new Asian immigration, Jewish Buddhism, feminization, and engaged Buddhism.
  • GRS RN 616: Modern Islam
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Focuses on formations of Islam in colonial and postcolonial periods. How modernist and Islamist thinkers have negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity.
  • GRS RN 622: History of Judaism
    Major trends in postbiblical Judaism; academy and synagogue; Mishna and Talmud; Babylonian diaspora; medieval poetry, philosophy, and mysticism; codes of law; organization of the Jewish community "in exile"; land of Israel; Judaism and Islamic and Christian civilization.
  • GRS RN 623: Classical Jewish Thought
    Basic human and religious issues as they have been understood within the classical Jewish framework of God, the people of Israel, and Torah: good and evil, creation, the relationship of human beings to God and to one another.
  • GRS RN 624: Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
    Chronological exploration of rabbinic Judaism's major documents, using a modern scholarly anthology. The Mishnah; legal and legendary selections from the midrashim and both the Jerusalem and Palestinian Talmuds. Themes: monotheism, sin and atonement, heaven and hell, conceptions of gender, the impact of rabbinic texts on medieval and modern Judaism.
  • GRS RN 625: Seminar: Early Jewish Mysticism
    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.
  • GRS RN 626: Jewish Mystical Movements and Modernization, 1492–2000
    Mysticism, spiritual, and social influences. Early modern, modern periods. Focus on "conservative" and "revolutionary" tendencies. 1492 and Iberian, German, Polish Jewry; leadership of "third generation" of survivors; Christian and Islamic influences; Kulturkampf precipitated by popularization of Kabbala, antinomianism, Hasidism, magic, science.
  • GRS RN 629: Modern Jewish Thought
    Reading Jewish thinkers from the radical Enlightenment to twentieth century existentialism and Zionism, this course introduces some of the great philosophical debates on religion and secularism, revelation and scientific reason, and ethnic particularism and universal ethics.
  • GRS RN 630: 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.
  • GRS RN 634: Dead Sea Scrolls
    Examination of the ancient Hebrew documents discovered in the Judean desert. Their authorship; the theological significance of the Scrolls; their relations to Ancient Judaism and early Christianity; the controversy over their release and publication.
  • GRS RN 637: Gender and Judaism
    Explores the role of gender and sexuality in Judaism and Jewish experience, historically and in the present. Subjects include constructions of masculinity and femininity, attitudes toward (and uses of) the body and sexuality, gendered nature of religious practice and authority.
  • GRS RN 638: 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.
  • GRS RN 639: The Modern Jew
    Explores Jewish modernity through attitudes toward place (migration, diaspora, land of Israel) and history (utopian, pragmatic, secular, religious), as well as individual and collective modes of Jewish self- expression, including literature, art, music, and film.
  • GRS RN 640: The Quran
    The emergence of the Quran as a major religious text, its structure and literary features, its principle themes and places within the religious and intellectual life of the Muslim community.
  • GRS RN 641: 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.
  • GRS RN 645: Islamic Law
    A survey of major trends in Islamic jurisprudence from the 7th 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.
  • GRS RN 648: 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.
  • GRS RN 660: 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.