Undergraduate Courses

For a full listing of our courses, see the online bulletin class list here.

Fall 2014

CAS RN100
Introduction to Religion

Faculty:  Tom Michael
MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM
Religion matters. It makes meaning and provides structure to life, addressing fundamental questions about body, spirit, community, and time.  But what is it?  How does it work in our world? This course explores religion in ritual, philosophical, experiential, and ethical dimensions.

CAS RN101
The Bible

Faculty: Michael Zank
MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM
Introductory study of Jewish and Christian scriptures; connections between biblical and related ancient cultures; biblical genres (epic narrative, law, prophecy, poetry, historiography, gospels, letters, apocalypse) and their literary character, major classical and modern strategies of reading.

CAS RN103
Religions of the World: Eastern

Faculty: David Eckel
MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM
Study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Focus on the world view of each tradition and the historical development of that world view.

CAS RN104
Religions of the World: Western

Faculty: Jonathan Klawans
MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM
Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in historical and cultural context, origins to the present. Examines diversity of practices, belief systems, and social structures within these religions. Also addresses debates within and between communities as well as contemporary concerns.

CAS RN106
Death and Immortality

Faculty: Laura Harrington
MWF 10:00AM-11:00PM
Examines death as religious traditions have attempted to accept, defeat, deny, or transcend it. Do we have souls? Do they reincarnate? Other topics include cremation, ancestor worship, apocalypse, alchemy, AIDS, near-death experiences, otherworld cosmologies.

CAS RN200
Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Religion

Faculty: David Frankfurter
TR 12:30PM-2:00PM
Origins and history of the academic study of religion. Different constructions of religion as an object of study and the methods that arise from them. The role of the humanities and social sciences in understanding religions place in history and contemporary experience.
For RN majors only- Fall semester only

CAS RN202
From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of Christianity

Faculty: Jennifer Knust
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
Places Jesus of Nazareth in his contemporary religious and social context of Second Temple Judaism; and accounts for the origins and growth of Christian life, belief, and spirituality up to the second century, as reflected in the writings of that period.

CAS RN203
Religion and Film

Faculty: Hillel Levine
T 3:30PM-6:30PM
How does visual media influence spiritual sentiments, social prejudices, erotic boundaries, faith, and secularism? How does religion regulate the impact of film? This course considers religion on the Hollywood big screen and in video games, animation, and student cinema.

CAS RN204/AH204
Buddhist Art of Asia

Topics in Religion and the Visual Arts
Faculty: Laura Harrington
MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM
Study of the philosophical underpinnings, use and social significance of select genres of Buddhist Art in India and Tibet, with side trips to China and Indonesia. Special attention to the communication of key Buddhist concepts and practices through the use of visual narrative strategies.

CAS RN209
Religion, Health, and Medicine

Faculty: Anthony Petro
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
How religious and moral narratives inform approaches to biomedicine from the nineteenth century to the present, including understandings of disease, illness, health, sexuality, and the body. Topics include medicine and prayer, alternative medicine, and boundaries between medicine and religion.

CAS RN224
Women and Religion

Faculty: Gina Cogan
TR 9:30AM-11:00AM
Explores the roles, images, and experiences of women across a range of religious traditions. Topics key to the study of religion and gender are considered, including religious experience, the gendering of the body, and sources of religious authority.

CAS RN241
Evil and Suffering in World Literature

Topics in Religion & Evil
Faculty: Emily Hudson
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
Explores the philosophical, theological, and ethical issues raised by the phenomena of suffering and evil in Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian literature.  Topics include the mystery of God/gods, the perils of perfection, and the problem of original sin. Topics vary; may be repeated for credit.

CAS RN242/HI203
Magic, Science, and Religion

Faculty: Deeana Klepper
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
Boundaries and relationships between magic, science, and religion from late antiquity through the European Enlightenment. Topics include transformation of pagan traditions, distinctions between learned and popular traditions, Scientific Revolution, and changing assumptions about God and Nature.

CAS RN310/HI209
The Reformation: Religious Conflict in Early Modern Europe

Faculty: Phillip Haberkern
MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM
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 RN316/GRS RN616/STH TX856
Modern Islam

Faculty: Teena Purohit
TR 9:30AM-11:00AM
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.

CAS RN325/GRS RN625/STH TX818
Jewish Mysticism I: Formative Traditions

Faculty: Steven Katz
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.

CAS RN330/GRS RN630/STH TX896
American Jewish Experiences

Faculty: Hillel Levine
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
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 RN338/PH408/GRS RN638/STH TT811
Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives

Faculty: Diana Lobel
MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM
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 RN361/LC280/GRS RN661/STH TX801
Confucian Religion

Faculty: Wiebke Denecke
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
Religious aspects of Confucianism, with attention to the Analects. Topics include ceremony, song and poetry, morality and sagehood, ancestral sacrifice; establishment of Confucianism as state religion; role of women; and modernity.

CAS RN364/GRS RN664/STH TX878
Buddhist Literature

Faculty: Tom Michael
MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM
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 RN368/HI294/GRS RN668/STH TR840
American Evangelicalism

Faculty: Anthony Petro
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
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.

CAS RN375/AN375/GRS RN675/GRS AN775/
STH TX875
Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia

Faculty: Frank Korom
MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.

CAS RN384/GRS RN684/STH TX884
The Holocaust

Faculty: Steven Katz
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.

CAS RN397/PH456/GRS RN697/PH656/
STH TT819

Topics in Philosophy and Religion
Faculty: Allen Speight
W  5:00PM-8:00PM

CAS RN410/HI410/GRS RN710 /STH TX 871
Religion, Community, and Culture in Medieval Spain

Faculty: 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.

CAS RN423/GRS RN723/STH TX 895
Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: West

Faculty: 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.

CAS RN425 A1/GRS RN725 A1/STH TX 825 A1
The Life of the Buddha

Topics in South Asian Religions
Faculty: David Eckel
T 5:00PM-8:00PM
A study of the life of the Buddha in literature, art, and film, from the origins of the Buddhist tradition to the present day. Some previous study of Buddhism is advisable but not required.

CAS RN425 B1/GRS RN725 B1/STH TX 825 B1
Lived Islam

Topics in South Asian Religions
Faculty: Frank Korom
M 6:00PM-9:00PM
South Asian religions can be studied as textual traditions or as contextual ones. This seminar will explore how Islam is lived on a daily basis by Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent. Emphasis will be placed on orthopraxy over orthodoxy.

CAS RN427/GRS RN727/STH TX827
American Spiritual Autobiography

Topics in American Religion
Faculty: Stephen Prothero
M 2:00PM-5:00PM
Exploration of the art of portraying the self in the light of the divine in U.S. history with an emphasis on contemporary work. Possible authors include: Thomas Merton, Swami Yogananda, Malcolm X, Ann Lamott, Richard Rodriguez, Elie Wiesel, Jarena Lee.

CAS RN430/GRS RN730/STH TX880
Buddhism, the State, and Politics in East Asia

Topics in East Asian Religions
Faculty: Gina Cogan
TR 12:30PM-2:00PM
Analyzes models of the ideal Buddhist ruler in China, Korea, and Japan and their behaviors both historically and in the present.  Topics include state patronage and persecution of Buddhism as well as Buddhist rebellions and resistance to state control.

CAS RN452/PH485/GRS RN752/STH TT838
Happiness, East and West

Topics in Religious Thought
Faculty: Diana Lobel
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
What is happiness? How can we achieve a balanced, healthy, fulfilling life? Classical thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Chuang Tzu; Buddhist, Confucian, Epicurean, and Stoic paths; comparison with contemporary studies of happiness.

CAS RN459/LI459/XL459/
Primo Levi Within Holocaust Literature

Faculty: Nancy Harrowitz
TR 9:30AM-11:00AM
A study of Primo Levi’s writings and scientific, theological, and philosophical approaches to the Holocaust. Other theorists (Arendt, Wiesel, Muller-Hill) and other survivors’ testimonies (Delbo, Borowski, Fink) are read in conjunction with Levi’s works.
Prereq:(CASLL281 OR CASRN384) or junior standing or consent of instructor.

CAS RN466/GRS RN766/STH TX854
Religion and the Problem of Tolerance

Faculty: 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.

CAS RN524/XL560/STH TX826
Apocalypse and Literature

Topics in Religion and Literature
Faculty: 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 RN561/IR561/STH TX874
Religion and International Relations

Faculty: Jeremy Menchik
T 5:00PM-8:00PM
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 religions intellectual and operational diversity in international relations.

CAS RN563/HI596/AH539/AN548/ 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.

 

Spring 2014

CAS RN100
Introduction to Religion

Christopher Lehrich
MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM
Religion matters. It makes meaning and provides structure to life, addressing fundamental questions about body, spirit, community, and time. But what is it? How does it work in our world? This course explores religion in ritual, philosophical, experiential, and ethical dimensions.

CAS RN103
Religions of the World: Eastern

Gina Cogan
MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM
Study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Focus on the world view of each tradition and the historical development of that world view.

CAS RN104
Religions of the World: Western

Jonathan Klawans
MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM
The study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Introduction to the development, thought, practices, and influence of these religions.

CAS RN106
Death and Immortality

Stephen Prothero
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
Examines death as religious traditions have attempted to accept, defeat, deny, or transcend it. Do we have souls? Do they reincarnate? Other topics include cremation, ancestor worship, apocalypse, alchemy, AIDS, near-death experiences, otherworld cosmologies.

CAS RN121
Religion in America

Stephen Prothero
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
Religion in American history from the early European encounters with indigenous peoples to the pluralistic present. Focus on interrelationship of religious beliefs and practices with intellectual, social, political. and cultural life in America. Readings may include: Jefferson, Vivekananda, Heschel, King, Daly.

CAS RN206
Scriptures in World Religions

Diana Lobel
MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM
Introduction to scriptures in world religions, investigating the ways sacred books express, interpret, and make possible religious experience.

CAS RN212
Christianity

Anthony Petro
MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM
Introduction to Christian thought and practice in a world context, origins to present. Topics include sin, salvation, sacramnent, sacred text, bodies and souls, community, authority and the individual, Christians and non-Christians, and the challenge of modernity.

CAS RN213
Hinduism

Teena Purohit
MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM
Introduction to the Hindu tradition. Ritual and philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads, yoga in the Bhagavad Gita, gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology, “popular” aspects of village and temple ritual, and problems of modernization and communalism in postcolonial India.

CAS RN214
Islam

Teena Purohit
MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM
The rise and spread of Islam from the seventh century to the present; introduction to its central beliefs, institutions, and practices, and its impact on the religious and cultural history of Asia and Africa. Continuity and change in the modern period.

CAS RN220
Holy City: Jerusalem in Time, Space, and Imagination

Michael Zank
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
Transformation of an ordinary ancient city into the holy city of Jews, Christians, and Muslims; and development of modern Jerusalem, as shaped by British rule, Zionism, and Palestinian nationalism. Jerusalem’s past, present, and meanings considered through analyses of religious and secular rhetoric.

CAS RN301/GRS RN601/STH TH817
Varieties of Early Christianity

David Frankfurter
TR 12:30PM-2:00PM
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.
Prereq: junior standing. At least one prior course in biblical or New Testament literature recommended.

CAS RN317/CL216
Greek and Roman Religion

Zsuzsanna Varhelyi
MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM
Survey of ancient Greek and Roman religions and their development from earliest beginnings to the eclipse of paganism. Theories and practices of these religions, comparisons with other religions, and relationships to Judaism and Christianity.

CAS RN318/IR318
Religion and American Foreign Policy

Prof. Wallace
M 1:00PM-4:00PM
Introduction to the historical roots and cont erican foreign policy. Uses conventional chronological approaches emporary relevance of religion for Am to explore key themes that illustrate the role of religion as input and object of American foreign policy.

CAS RN329/GRS RN629/STH  TX829
Modern Jewish Thought

Thomas Meyer
TR 9:30AM-11:00AM
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.

CAS RN337/GRS RN637/STH TX837
Gender and Judaism

Deeana Klepper
TR 12:30PM-2:00PM
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

Sassan Tabatabai
TR 9:30-11:00
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.

CAS RN363/GRS RN663/STH TT808
Zen Buddhism

Gina Cogan
MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM
A study of Zen teachings and practices as a sect of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, as a philosophic system, and as a pattern of culture.

CAS RN382/AA382/HI349/GRSRN682/
AA882/HI749/STH TX883
History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa

John Thornton
TR 12:30PM-2:00PM
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.

CAS RN385/XL281
Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film

Nancy Harrowitz
TR 9:30AM-11:00AM
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.

CAS RN387/GRS RN687/AN384/GRS AN784/STH TX887
Anthropology of Religion

Frank Korom
TR 9:30AM-11:00AM
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 RN397/PH456/GRS RN697/PH656/STH TT821
Heidegger and Cassirer at Davos, 1929

Topics in Philosophy and Religion
Michael Zank/Thomas Meyer
R 3:30PM-6:30PM
Remembered as one of the seminal moments in 20th-century history, this great debate on the legacy of Kant pitted against one another science-oriented neo-Kantianism and a new, radical departure within the western tradition represented by Martin Heidegger. This course will review the basic texts, some of them newly published, and the philosophical problems at stake.

CAS RN420/PH409/GRS RN720/PH609/STH TX879
Maimonides

Michael Zank
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
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/STH TT902
Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: East

Diana Lobel
TR 2:00PM-3:30PM
An 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: CAS CC101 & CAS CC102 or two courses in religion or philosophy.

CAS RN439/GRS RN739/STH TX859/SPH LW739
Jewish Bioethics

Michael Grodin
R 3:30PM-6:30PM
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.

CAS RN466/GRS RN766/STH TX854
Religion and the Problem of Tolerance

Adam Seligman
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
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.

CAS RN556/LI556/XL385/STH TX866
Dante: The Divine Comedy II: Purgatorio and Paradiso

Dennis Costa
TR 11:00AM-12:30PM
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.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CAS RN100
Introduction to Religion
Faculty: Stephen Prothero
MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM
Religion matters. It makes meaning and provides structure to life, addressing
fundamental questions about body, spirit, community, and time. But what is it? How does it work in our world? This course
explores religion in ritual, philosophical, experiential, and ethical
dimensions.

CAS RN101
The Bible
Faculty: Michael Zank
MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM
Designed for the student who will take only one or two courses in religious
studies, this course introduces the Bible as a foundational source of Western
culture. In addition to basic knowledge of Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the
student may expect to gain an appreciation of biblical themes in Western
literature and art.

CAS RN102
Sacred Journeys
Faculty: Emily Hudson
MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM
An introduction to the comparative study of religion through the theme of the
sacred journey/religious quest in Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and popular
literature. Topics include heroic, romantic, and/or mystical quests; voyages to
the underworld; apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic journeys.

CAS RN103
Religions of the
World: Eastern

Faculty: David Eckel
MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM
Study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Focus on the
world view of each tradition and the historical development of that world view.