Graduate Level Courses in the Department of Religion

Jerusalem 2

See the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin for all courses offered by the Division

Spring 2018 Graduate Courses

CAS RN301/GRS RN601/STH TH817
Varieties of Early Christianity
David Frankfurter   TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
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. Junior standing. At least one prior course in biblical or New Testament literature recommended.

CAS RN310/HI310/GRS HI610

The Reformation: Religious Conflict in Early Modern Europe
Phillip Haberkern   TR12:30PM-1:45PM
Examines religious change in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, particularly the origins and causes of the Protestant Reformation, the parallel Catholic Reformation, and the consequent military conflicts in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

CAS RN337/WS305 C1/GRS RN637/STH TX837
Gender and Judaism

Alexandra Herzog W 2:30PM-5:15PM
In this course, we will explore the role of gender and sexuality in Judaism and Jewish experience, historically and in the present. Subjects will include constructions of masculinity and femininity, attitudes toward (and uses of) the body and sexuality, textual traditions, and the gendered nature of religious practice and religious authority.

CAS RN348/LZ381/GRS RN648/STH TX881
Rumi and Persian Sufi Poetry
Sunil Sharma   TR 11:00AM-12:15PM
Introduction to the Persian Sufi poet Rumi’s narrative and lyric writings. Focus on Islamic mysticism, the innovative aspects of Rumi’s poetry, and the problem of profane vs. sacred love. All readings in English translation. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

NEW COURSE
CAS RN365/AH325/GRS RN665/STH TX

Art, Media, and Buddha
April Hughes   TR 3:30PM-4:45PM
We will examine how textual, visual, and material forms of religious expressions have been conceptualized by Buddhists as well as how Buddhist objects are understood and re-contextualized in the West. Topics include: self-immolation; museums; war propaganda, and pop culture.

CAS RN369/HI304/GRS RN669/HI704/STH TX869
Science and Religion: Dialogue and Debate
Jon Roberts   MWF 11:15-12:05
Challenges conventional wisdom that science and religion have always been at war in Europe and North America. Explores their interactions, mutual existence, and conflict from Copernicus’ claim that the earth revolved around the sun to contemporary debates about evolution.

CAS RN387/AN384/GRS RN687/AN784/STH TX887
Anthropology of Religion
Frank Korom   TR 11:00AM-12:15PM
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.

CAS RN420/PH409/GRS RN720/PH609/STH TX879
Maimonides
Michael Zank   M 6:30PM-9:15PM
A study of major aspects of the thought of Maimonides. Primary focus on the Guide of the Perplexed, with attention to its modern reception in works by Baruch Spinoza, Hermann Cohen, Leo Strauss, and others.

CAS RN424/GRS RN724/PH647/STH TT902
Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: East
Diana Lobel   TR 2:00PM-3:15PMAn intensive seminar in primary texts and key ideas of theology and religious philosophy as developed in representative world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism. Second course in a year-long sequence. Each semester may be taken independently. Prereq: (CASCC101 & CASCC102) or two courses in religion or philosophy.

CAS RN439/GRS RN739/STH TX859/SPH LW739
Jewish Bioethics
Michael Grodin   R 3:30PM-6:15PM
Exploration of Jewish perspectives on life, death and dying, abortion, the new reproductive technologies, organ transplantation and genetic engineering. Examination of the impact of the Nazi doctors, racial hygiene, euthanasia, and genocide on contemporary bioethics. Prereq: junior standing or consent of instructor.

NEW COURSE
CAS RN454/WS454/GRS RN754/STH TX
Sexuality and Religion in the U.S.
Anthony Petro TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
Religion and sexuality in the U.S., including theoretical and historical approaches to religious and sexual desire, identity, ritual, and regulation. Possible topics include religious and sexual freedom, plural marriage, the Sexual Revolution, reproductive justice, sex and secularism, and LGBTQ rights.

CAS RN460/GRS RN760/STH TX805
Holocaust Studies
Steven Katz   TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
This seminar will examine ethical and religious issues raised by the Holocaust, including: anti-Semitism; treatment of Jewish women; nature of the perpetrators; actions of different countries; importance of ideology; the nature and degree of Jewish resistance; post-Holocaust theology.

CAS RN524 A1/XL560 A1/LR456 A1/STH TX510A1
Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov
Topics in Religion and Literature
Yuri Corrigan   TR 3:30PM-4:45PM
Close, careful study of Dostoevsky’s masterpiece, with eye to philosophical, theological, cultural, literary significance; explores Dostoevsky’s reinvention of the novel alongside questions of morality, justice, selfhood, modernity, the meaning of life. In English. No prerequisites.

CAS RN524 B1/WS300 C1/STH TX510 B1
Gender and Religion in the Graphic Novel
Topics in Religion and Literature
Alexandra Herzog TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
Examines the aesthetics of comic art and the graphic novel as they emphasize gendered, religious, and cultural identities. We focus on Judaism and Islam, two storytelling traditions that use graphic novels to transport readers in time and space.

CAS RN561/IR561/PO589/STH TX874
Religion and International Relations
Timothy Longman T 3:30PM-6:15PM
Explores the role of religion in contemporary international relations in the context of questions about the common core of modernity. Reviews scholarly and policy literature, and case studies, in order to elucidate religion’s intellectual and operational diversity in international relations.

Fall 2017 Graduate Courses

CAS RN524/XL560/STH TX826
Apocalypse and Literature
Topics in Religion and Literature
Dennis Costa         W 3:00PM-6:00PM
Literary responses to the biblical book of Revelation, from ancient to modern times. Systematic analysis of the biblical text. Readings from Dante, Langland, Rabelais, Blake, Hölderlin, Dostoevsky, García Lorca, Samuel Beckett, and Flannery O’Connor. Reference to artistic and musical representations of apocalypse.
Prereq: junior standing and one course in literature or religion, or consent of instructor.

CAS RN555/LI555/STH TX888
Dante’s Hell
Dennis Costa            TR 9:30AM-10:45AM
A close reading of one text, Dante Aligheri’s Inferno, with attention to its medieval contexts: philosophical, theological, and historical. Analysis of the poetic means by which Dante represents both human evil and human hope. Bi-lingual text. Lectures and discussion in English.

GRS RN616/STH TX856
Modern Islam
Teena Purohit            TR 9:30AM-10:45AM
Focuses on formations of Islam in colonial and postcolonial periods. How modernist and Islamist thinkers have negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity.
Prereq: one course in RN or PH, or CC101/102, or consent of instructor.

GRS RN628/STH TX828
Judaism in the Modern Period
Steven Katz                 TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
Exploration of complex encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation to expulsion from Spain and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, conversion, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, modern anti-Semitism.

CAS RN338/PH408/GRS RN638/STH TX811
Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
Diana Lobel               TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
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 RN340/GRS RN640/STH TX853
The Quran
Kecia Ali                 MWF 12:20PM-1:10PM
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.

GRS RN664/STH TX878
Buddhist Literature
Laura Harrington         R 3:30PM-6:15PM
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.

GRS RN675/AN775/STH TX875
Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia
Frank Korom              MWF 1:25-2:15PM
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.

GRS RN684/STH TX884
The Holocaust
Steven Katz               TR 3:30PM-4:45PM
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.

GRS RN685/STH TX899
Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film
Nancy Harrowitz             TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
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.

GRS RN697/PH656/STH TT821
Love and Hate
Topics in Philosophy and Religion
David Eckel               W 5:45PM-8:30PM
This course is designed to run side by side with the Institute for Philosophy and Religion’s fall lecture series on the topic of “Love and Hate” in the philosophy of religion. What is the role of love in living a good life? Are there different kinds of love? What are the proper objects of love? What happens when love goes wrong? These questions, and others like them, will be examined in a wide range of texts drawn from the religious, philosophical, and literary traditions of Asia and the West.

GRS RN795/STH TZ 803
Humanities Approaches to Religion
Anthony Petro            T 3:30-6:15
Introduces major theoretical questions in the humanistic study of religion. Examines the nature and origin of religion as well as definitions and critiques of religion from comparative, historical, sociological, literary standpoints as well as postmodern and gender studies approaches.

 

Spring 2017 Graduate Courses

GRS RN626/STH TX828
Judaism in the Modern Period
Steven Katz                TR 09:30AM-10:45AM
Exploration of complex encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation to expulsion from Spain and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, conversion, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, modern anti-Semitism.

GRS RN638/STH TT811
Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
Diana Lobel   TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
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 RN645/STH TX845
Islamic Law
Kecia Ali   TR 9:30AM-10:45AM
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.

GRS RN648/STH TX881
Rumi and Persian Sufi Poetry
Sassan Tabatabai   TR 11:00AM-12:15PM
Introduction to the Persian Sufi poet Rumi’s narrative and lyric writings. Focus on Islamic mysticism, the innovative aspects of Rumi’s poetry, and the problem of profane vs. sacred love. All readings in English translation. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

GRS RN682/AA882/HI749/STH TX883
History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa
John Thornton   MW 10:10AM-11:25AM
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.

GRS RN687/AN384/GRS AN784/STH TX887
Anthropology of Religion
Frank Korom   TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
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.

GRS RN727/STH TX827
Religion and Sexuality
Topics in American Religion
Anthony Petro
T 3:30PM-6:15PM
Religion and sexuality in modern U.S. Reading queer theory alongside religious and secular cases. Topics include religious protest and AIDS activism; formation of bodies and identities; sexual regulation; camp; gay rights; visual art; pornography; and race. Cross-listed with CAS WS305.

GRS RN735/STH TX836
Women, Gender, and Islam
Kecia Ali   T 12:30PM-3:15PM
Investigates the way Muslim religious discourse, norms, and practices create and sustain gender and hierarchy in religious, social, and familial life. Looks at historical and contemporary challenges posed to these structures. Prereq:(CASRN104 OR CASRN214) or equivalent.

GRS RN739/STH TX859/SPH LW739
Jewish Bioethics
Michael Grodin   R 3:30PM-6:15PM
Exploration of Jewish perspectives on life, death and dying, abortion, the new reproductive technologies, organ transplantation and genetic engineering. Examination of the impact of the Nazi doctors, racial hygiene, euthanasia, and genocide on contemporary bioethics. Prereq: junior standing or consent of instructor.

GRS RN753/STH TX893
Gender, Sexuality and Buddhism
Topics in Religion and Sexuality
April Hughes   M 2:30PM-5:15PM
This course will examine conceptions of gender, sexuality, the body, and the family in Buddhism.  We will look at primary sources from different Buddhist cultures from a broad range of time periods.  No previous knowledge of Buddhism required.

GRS RN760/STH TX805
Holocaust Studies
Steven Katz   M 2:30PM-5:15PM
This seminar will examine ethical and religious issues raised by the Holocaust, including: anti-Semitism; treatment of Jewish women; nature of the perpetrators; actions of different countries; importance of ideology; the nature and degree of Jewish resistance; post-Holocaust theology.

GRS RN771/STH TX830
Christianity and Islam in the First Millennium

Topics in Ancient Christianity
Michael Pregill
TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
The complex relationships between Christianity and Islam as rival imperial cultures, from their origins to the emergence of the Islamic Middle East and Christian Europe by the year 1000, focusing on themes such as scripture, violence, authority, and identity.

GRS RN797/STH TT997
Philosophical and Theological Approaches to Religion
David Decosimo  M 2:30PM-5:15PM
An introduction to philosophical and theological approaches to the study of religion(s) as distinct from other humanities-based and social-scientific approaches. Provides a common vocabulary for students pursuing historical, constructive, or interdisciplinary projects related to religious thought.

Fall 2016 Graduate Courses

CAS RN556/LI556/STH TX866
Dante: The Divine Comedy II: Purgatorio and Paradiso
Dennis Costa
TR 9:30AM-11:00AM
Focus on the literary, philosophical, and theological ideas Dante uses to represent his experience of himself and of human nature. Bi-lingual texts. Lectures and discussions in English.

CAS RN561/IR561
Religion and International Relations
Jeremy Menchick
M 1:00PM-4:00PM
Explores the role of religion in contemporary international relations in the context of questions about the common core of modernity. Reviews scholarly and policy literature, and case studies, in order to elucidate religion’s intellectual and operational diversity in international relations.
Prereq: Junior standing and consent of instructor.

CAS RN563/HI596/AH539/AN548/IR515/STH TX847
Muslim Societies: An Interdisciplinary History
Faculty: Betty Anderson
R 12:00PM-3:00PM
Examines the states, empires, faiths, and ideologies of the Muslim world over a 1500-year period, including states from North and West Africa, through the Middle East, to Turkey, Iran, and then to Central and Southeast Asia.

GRS RN602/STH TN825
Early Christian Women
Jennifer Knust
M 3:00PM-6:00PM
An examination of the lives, concerns and roles of women during the first four Christian centuries, this course engages texts that present women as disciples, prophets, missionaries, mothers, ascetics and church leaders, with attention to ancient gender constructions.

GRS RN616/STH TX856
Modern Islam
Teena Purohit
TR 12:30PM-2:00PM
Focuses on formations of Islam in colonial and postcolonial periods. How modernist and Islamist thinkers have negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity.

GRS RN625/STH TX818
Jewish Mysticism I: Formative Traditions
Faculty: Yair Lior
TR 12:30PM-2:00PM
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 RN640/STH TX853
The Quran
Kecia Ali
MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM
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.

GRS RN675/AN775/STH TX875
Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia
Frank Korom
MWF 1:00-2:00PM
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.

GRS RN684/STH TX884
The Holocaust
Michael Geheran
TR 3:30PM-5:00PM
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.

GRS RN692/STH TH869
Religious History of Boston
Christopher Evans
W 3:00PM-6:00PM
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. The course will include selected visits to specific Boston area historical sites.

GRS RN697/PH656/STH TT821
Hope and Despair
Topics in Philosophy and Religion
David Eckel
W 5:00PM-8:00PM
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 the philosophy of religion. It is natural for human beings to have hope? Is there a duty to have hope?  What is the relationship between having hope and living a happy life? What happens when we despair of ever finding hope? These questions, and others like them, will be examined in a wide range of texts drawn from the religious, philosophical, and literary traditions in the both the East and the West.

GRS RN710/STH TX871
Religion, Community, and Culture in Medieval Spain
Deeana Klepper
T 3:30PM-6:30PM
Interactions between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in medieval Europe’s most religiously diverse region — from the establishment of an Islamic al-Andalus in 711 CE to the final Christian “reconquest” of the peninsula and expulsion of the Jews in 1492 CE.

GRS RN723/STH TX895
Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: West
Jonathan Klawans
MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM
An intensive seminar in primary texts and key ideas of theology and religious philosophy as developed in representative world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. First course in a year-long sequence. Each semester may be taken independently.
Prereq:(CASCC101 & CASCC102) or two courses in religion or philosophy.

GRS RN727/STH TX827
Religion and Politics in the United States
Topics in American Religion
Stephen Prothero
M 2:00PM-5:00PM
Exploration of the influence of religion on politics (and vice versa) in the United States with a focus on the 2016 election and some attention to earlier historical moments, including the founding, the civil rights movement, and the culture wars.

GRS RN752/STH TT838
Mysticism: East and West
Topics in Religious Thought
Faculty: Diana Lobel
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
What is mysticism? In this interactive seminar, we will engage in close reading and analysis of texts describing direct communion with a divine or absolute reality. Texts drawn from Chinese, Indian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Neoplatonic traditions.

GRS RN766/STH TX854
Religion and the Problem of Tolerance
Adam Seligman
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
Explores the religious roots of tolerance as an alternative to secular, more liberal foundations for pluralism. Grapples with the challenge of tolerance to the revealed religions and the ways different societies have met or failed to meet this challenge.

GRS RN796/STH TZ802
Social Science Approaches to Religion
Frank Korom
M 3:00PM-6:00PM
Introduces major theoretical questions in the social scientific study of religion. Examines approaches of Marx, Durkheim, and Freud among others.

STH TT926
Political Theology
David Decosimo
R 9:30AM-12:30PM
Recent developments across a variety of disciplines have led to deep and widespread interest in “political theology” — a diverse range of approaches to interrogating, (re)imagining, and (de)constructing the intersection of politics, religion, and theology, present and past. Scholars have argued that dominant paradigms of sovereignty, the secular, modernity, and liberalism are themselves secularized, corrupted, or otherwise transformed versions of Jewish and Christian theology. Others contend that modern political practices and paradigms represent not the legacy of early modern secularization but the trail of an early modern reinjection of theology in political and social theory. Others still find in the practices of contemporary communities lived political theologies that subvert existing power structures and cast doubt on common conceptions of contemporary political life and possibilities. This course examines these competing developments, readings, and proposals; their interactions; and the contested histories, theories, and values that underwrite them. Considering political theology as both a historical and contemporary phenomenon and engaging a range of perspectives and figures, the course also considers relations and interactions between political theology and other approaches to questions of “religion and politics.”

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