Religious 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 614: Religious Thought in America
    Surveys many of the strategies that American religious thinkers have adopted for interpreting the cosmos, the social order and human experience, and the interaction of those strategies with broader currents of American culture. Also offered as GRS HI 708. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry II.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Social Inquiry II
  • 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 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: 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.
  • GRS RN 628: Modern Judaism
    Encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation; the Spanish expulsion and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, non-European communities, Jewish global migration, and modern antisemitism. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking
  • GRS RN 637: Gender, Sexuality, 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: Jewish and Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism
    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 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: Shariah Law
    Shariah Law looks behind the stereotypes and headlines--despotic rulers, barbaric punishments, women's oppression--to understand the origins, history, and structure of Islamic law. Explores its implementation in various times and places, modern transformations, and contemporary debates over legal reform.
  • 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 664: 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.
  • GRS RN 669: Science and Religion: Dialogue and Debate
    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. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Social Inquiry I
  • GRS RN 675: 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.
  • GRS RN 682: History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa
    Study of the development of religious traditions in Africa during the period prior to European colonialism. An emphasis both on indigenous religions and on the African roots and the growth and spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the continent as a whole. Also offered as GRS AA 882 and GRS HI 749.
  • GRS RN 683: African Diaspora Religions
    An introduction to religions of the African Diaspora, with a specific focus on the Caribbean and the Americas. In this course, students engage diverse traditions such as Africanized Christianity, Cuban Santeria, Haitian Vodou, Brazilian Candomble, and African American Spiritualism.
  • GRS RN 684: The Holocaust
    Rise of German (and European) antisemitism; rise of Nazism; 1935 Nuremberg Laws; the initial Jewish reaction; racial theory; organizing mass murder including ghettos, concentration camps, killing squads, and gas chambers; bystanders and collaborators (countries, organizations, and individuals); Jewish resistance; post-Holocaust religious responses; moral and ethical issues. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking