Department of Religion 18th Annual Lecture Carl W. Ernst "How to Read the Qur'an" Wednesday...
For a full listing of our courses, see the online bulletin class list here.
Introduction to Religion
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.
Religions of the World: Eastern
Study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Focus on the world view of each tradition and the historical development of that world view.
Religions of the World: Western
The study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Introduction to the development, thought, practices, and influence of these religions.
Death and Immortality
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.
Religion in America
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.
Scriptures in World Religions
Introduction to scriptures in world religions, investigating the ways sacred books express, interpret, and make possible religious experience.
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.
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.
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.
Systematic and historical introduction to doctrines, customs, literature, and movements of Judaism; biblical religion and literature; rabbinic life and thought; medieval mysticism and philosophy; modern movement and developments.
Holy City: Jerusalem in Time, Space, and Imagination
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
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.
Greek and Roman Religion
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.
Religion and American Foreign Policy
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 RN326/GRS RN626/STH TX818
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.
CAS RN329/GRS RN629/STH TX829
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.
CAS RN337/GRS RN637/STH TX837
Gender and Judaism
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
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
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.
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.
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.
CAS RN387/GRS RN687/AN384/GRS AN784/STH TX887
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.
CAS RN397/PH456/GRS RN697/PH656/STH TT821
Heidegger and Cassirer at Davos, 1929
Topics in Philosophy and Religion
Michael Zank/Thomas Meyer
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
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
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 RN425/GRS RN725/STH TX825
Sufism in South Asia
Topics in South Asian
Advanced seminar exploring the history and development of Sufism in the Indian subcontinent. Readings and lectures will focus on both historical and contemporary perspectives. The course will conclude with an exploration of the globalization of South Asian Sufism.
CAS RN439/GRS RN739/STH TX859/SPH LW739
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
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
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.