BU Religion PhD Kira Ganga Kieffer has published an article with Religion...
CAS RN 100: 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. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 101: The Bible
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. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 102: Sacred Journeys
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. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 103: 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. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 104: Religions of the World: Western
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.Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 106: 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.
CAS RN 116: Morality and Ethics: Jewish Perspectives
Explores living responsibly and making moral choices in light of Jewish ethical values from the Bible to modernity. Introduction to Jewish moral reasoning focusing on contemporary American context. Topics include sexuality, justice, environment, medicine, economics, Israel. Internships, community engagement possible.
CAS RN 121: Religion in America
Religion in American history from 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 RN 200: Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Religion
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS Religion major, or consent of instructor.
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 religion’s place in history and contemporary experience.
CAS RN 201: The Hebrew Bible
Study of the literature of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the religious faith to which these writings bear witness within the context of the history of the ancient Israelite community. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 202: From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of Christianity
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. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 203: Religion and Film
How do 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 RN 204: Topics in Religion and the Visual Arts
Explores interplay between religion and art through the study of historical, contemporary examples. Topic changes each year. May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Fall 2015: Visual Piety. An exploration of the important role that vision plays in religious practices around the world. Theoretical readings and case studies from various cultures will serve as the primary material for the course. Also offered as CAS AH 204.
CAS RN 205: Topics in Religion and Music
May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Fall 2018: Religion and Hip Hop Culture. Considers an often overlooked element in the study of hip hop culture, religion. Specifically, the course offers students the opportunity to examine the variety of ways that religion finds expression in the dynamic cultural medium of hip hop. Also offered as CAS AA 225.
CAS RN 206: Scriptures in World Religions
Introduction to scriptures in world religions, investigating the ways sacred books express, interpret, and make possible religious experience.
CAS RN 207: Topics in Religion and Literature
May be taken for credit as topics vary. Topic for Fall 2015: Modern Jewish Writers. This course examines modern Jewish fiction with an emphasis on the historical and cultural trends that contributed to its formation. The richness of Jewish literary life is explored through a variety of short stories, graphic novels, films, and novels. Also offered as CAS EN 125 B1.
CAS RN 209: Religion, Health, and Medicine
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 RN 210: Buddhism
A historical introduction to the major themes of Indian Buddhist thought and practice with special attention to the development of Buddhism in Tibet.
CAS RN 211: Chinese Religion
A historical survey of Chinese religion. Covers ancient mythology, cosmology, shamanism, and ritual; the traditional state cult, Daoist mysticism, and immortality; Buddhist schools and Non-Confucian worldview; and sectarian movements and popular cults.
CAS RN 212: Christianity
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 RN 213: Hinduism
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 RN 214: Islam
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 RN 215: Japanese Religion
Introduction to Japanese religions, including Shintoism and Zen, Pure Land, and Tantric Buddhism. Focus on Zen Buddhism and its cultural expression in both geido (way of the arts) and bushdo (way of the warrior). Brief examination of the modern Japanese philosophy of religion.
CAS RN 216: Judaism
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.
CAS RN 220: 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 RN 224: Women and Religion
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 RN 242: Magic, Science, and Religion
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. Also offered as CAS HI 203. CAS RN 242 carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
CAS RN 243: Shamans and Shamanism
Shamans in global and theoretical perspectives. The origins and construction of the category of shamanism. Modern theories and debates about the category and the appropriateness of applying it cross-culturally. Also offered as CAS AN 243.
CAS RN 245: Religious Thought: The Quest for God and the Good
Investigates the meaning and purpose of human life, the significance of God or an Absolute, the role of contemplation and action in the spiritual quest, relationships between philosophy and religious thought, East and West. Also offered as CAS PH 245.
CAS RN 250: Introduction to the Sociology of Religion
Explores the role of religion in the organization of meaning within human societies and its contribution to the construction, maintenance, and transformation of the social order. Ways in which religion provides specific sets of solutions to the problems of social order are also explored. Also offered as CAS SO 250.
CAS RN 295: Religious Controversies and the Law
Explores a major challenge faced by modern states, namely the regulation of religion. Case studies from Europe, North America, and Israel demonstrate the ways in which governments have weighed religious freedom against other social and legal values, rights, and needs. Also offered as CAS HI 295.
CAS RN 301: Varieties of Early Christianity
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing. 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.
CAS RN 304: Jewish Music
Jewish music as an expression of Jewish heritage, from ancient Israel to modern America. Topics include sacred music, folk songs, musical influence of host countries, nineteenth-century themes, and composers in Diaspora. Not available for credit to CFA and CAS music majors.
CAS RN 307: Medieval Christianity
Explores Christian beliefs and practices in medieval Europe within and outside formal church structures. Topics include accommodation of pagan culture, constructing identity, clerical and lay piety, heterodox practice and institutional response, and encounter with non-Christian traditions.
CAS RN 308: The Open Heaven: Apocalyptic Literature in Early Judaism and Christianity
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, gnosticism, liturgy.
CAS RN 309: Theology and Piety in Catholic Christianity
Roman Catholic Theology, tradition and piety, with additional reference to the Orthodox Churches and to the Anglican Communion. Dogmas, a sacramental view of reality, a vision of human nature, forms of devout life. Catholic inspiration in art and music.
CAS RN 310: The Reformation: Religious Conflict in Early Modern Europe
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. Also offered as CAS HI 209.
CAS RN 311: African American Religious History
A historical survey of religions practiced by people of African descent living in North America. Students explore the diverse terrain of African American religiosity, which includes Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Spiritualism, and African-derived religions. Also offered as AA 311.
CAS RN 312: Buddhism in America
The transplantation and transformation of Buddhism in the United States. Time period ranges from the eighteenth century to the present, but the emphasis is on contemporary developments, including the new Asian immigration, Jewish Buddhism, feminization, and engaged Buddhism.
CAS RN 316: Modern Islam
Undergraduate Prerequisites: one course in RN or PH, or CC101/102, or consent of instructor.
Focuses on formations of Islam in colonial and postcolonial periods. How modernist and Islamist thinkers have negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity.
CAS RN 317: 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.
CAS RN 318: Religion and American Foreign Policy
Introduction to the historical roots and contemporary relevance of religion for American foreign policy. Uses conventional chronological approaches to explore key themes that illustrate the role of religion as input and object of American foreign policy. Also offered as CAS IR 318.
CAS RN 322: History of Judaism
Major trends in post-biblical Judaism; academy and synagogue; Mishna and Talmud; Babylonian diaspora; medieval poetry, philosophy, and mysticism; codes of law; organization of the Jewish community “in exile”, the land of Israel; Jewish, Islamic, and Christian civilizations.
CAS RN 323: 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.
CAS RN 324: 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 Babylonian Talmuds. Themes: monotheism, sin and atonement, heaven and hell, conceptions of gender, the impact of rabbinic texts on medieval and modern Judaism.
CAS RN 325: Jewish Mysticism I: Formative Traditions
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 RN 326: The Kabbalah: Mysticism, Ecstasy, and Theosophy
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.
CAS RN 327: Jews and Christians in Italy: A Historical Perspective
Undergraduate Prerequisites: enrollment in the Padua Language & Liberal Arts Program.
A social history of the relationship between the Jewish and Christian communities in Italy, from early modern times to today. Fosters an understanding of this relationship in cultural, economic, social, and religious contexts. Includes site visits. Taught in Italian.
CAS RN 328: Judaism in the Modern Period
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 RN 329: 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 RN 330: 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.
CAS RN 334: 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.
CAS RN 337: 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.
CAS RN 338: 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.
CAS RN 340: The Quran
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.
CAS RN 341: 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.
CAS RN 344: Islam and the West
Considers centuries of cooperation and conflict between Islam and the West, including the “Golden Age” of Islamic Spain, the Crusades, medieval European views of Islam, enslaved Muslims in the New World, colonialism and its legacies, and Western Muslim communities today.
CAS RN 345: Islamic Law
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.
CAS RN 346: History, Islam, and Politics in the MENA
Undergraduate Prerequisites: admission to the Rabat Language and Liberal Arts Program.
Explores how the colonial experience shaped North African culture and society, and how the North African postcolonial state negotiated the legacy of colonialism and responded to the dynamics underpinning global politics. Also offered as CAS HI 354 E.
CAS RN 348: 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. Also offered as CAS LZ 281.
CAS RN 360: 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.
CAS RN 363: Zen Buddhism
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 RN 364: 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.
CAS RN 368: American Evangelicalism
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. Also offered as CAS HI 294.
CAS RN 375: 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.
CAS RN 382: 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. Also offered as CAS AA 382 and CAS HI 349.
CAS RN 383: African Diaspora Religions
This course introduces students to religions of the African Diaspora, with a specific focus on the Caribbean and the Americas. Religious traditions such as Africanized Christianity, Cuban Santería, Haitian Vodou, Brazilian Candomblé and African American Spiritualism will be explored. Specifically, these traditions are presented to students through the use of community field trips, lectures, discussions, and films. Also offered as CAS AA 383.
CAS RN 384: The Holocaust
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 RN 385: 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. Also offered as CAS CI 269 and CAS XL 281.
CAS RN 387: 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. Also offered as CAS AN 384.
CAS RN 390: Archaeology in the Holy Land
Undergraduate Prerequisites: sophomore, junior, or senior standing.
In Israel, archaeology is part of current events. The study of remains from the Israelite to the Muslim conquests (c. 1200 BCE — 640 CE) to learn how material evidence created and still plays a role in a larger historical drama. Also offered as CAS AR 342.
CAS RN 392: Religious History of Boston
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. Includes required visits to specific Boston area historical sites.
CAS RN 396: Philosophy of Religion
Critical survey of the manner in which philosophers over the centuries have evaluated the truth and value claims of various religions. Focus on Hegel and the nineteenth-century emergence of “philosophy of religion” as a subdiscipline of philosophy and theology.
CAS RN 397: Topics in Philosophy and Religion
Topic for Fall 2015: Faith and Doubt. Should we think of faith as the opposite of doubt, or is doubt a necessary component of faith? Questions like these will be examined in texts drawn from multiple religious, philosophical, and literary traditions. Also offered as CAS PH 456.
CAS RN 410: Religion, Community, and Culture in Medieval Spain
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. Also offered as CAS HI 410.
CAS RN 412: Theology of Christian Mysticism
A concentrated venture in philosophical theology. Lectures, reading, and discussion center on the thought, not the praxis, of selected major mystics in the Christian tradition. Overviews Greek philosophical backgrounds; closely examines Eckhart, Nicholas of Cusa, Boehme, and William Blake.
CAS RN 420: Maimonides
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. Also offered as CAS PH 409.
CAS RN 423: Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: West
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS CC 101 and CAS CC 102; or two courses in religion or philosophy.
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.
CAS RN 424: Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: East
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS CC 101 and CAS CC 102; or two courses in religion or philosophy.
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.
CAS RN 425: Topics in South Asian Religions
Specific aspects of South Asian religions within a historical or comparative/phenomenological framework.
CAS RN 427: Topics in American Religion
Topic for Fall 2015: Twentieth-Century American Religion. Exploration of twentieth-century American religion, with a focus on how liberal Protestants defined and practiced religion (as individual experience) and, in the process, fostered major shifts toward secularization, religious pluralism, and “spiritual but not religious.”
CAS RN 430: Topics in East Asian Religions
Topics vary from year to year.
CAS RN 435: Women, Gender, and Islam
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS RN 104 or CAS RN 214; or equivalent.
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.
CAS RN 439: Jewish Bioethics
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of instructor.
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.
CAS RN 452: Topics in Religious Thought
Topics vary from year to year. Also offered as CAS PH 485.
CAS RN 453: Topics in Religion and Sexuality
Topic for Spring 2015: The Body and Sexuality in Classical Religious Texts. Treats foundational primary sources in translation on sex and the body in several world religions. Consideration of differences in sources: genre, gender, modern/classical. Traditions include Greek, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist.
CAS RN 459: Primo Levi Within Holocaust Literature
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS LL 281 or CAS RN 384; or junior standing or consent of instructor.
A study of Primo Levi’s writings and scientific, theological, and philosophical approaches to the Holocaust. Other theorists (Arendt, Wiesel, Müller-Hill) and other survivors’ testimonies (Delbo, Borowski, Fink) are read in conjunction with Levi’s works. Also offered as CAS LI 459 and CAS XL 459.
CAS RN 460: Seminar on the Holocaust
Seminar examining 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 RN 466: 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 RN 468: Symbol, Myth, and Rite
Historical overview of ritual behavior, the role of symbolism in the study of culture, and the narrative quality of worldview and belief. Emphasis on verbal performance and public display events in specific cultural contexts.
CAS RN 470: Topics in Medieval Religious Culture
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of instructor.
Topics vary from year to year. Also offered as CAS HI 407.
CAS RN 471: Topics in Ancient Christianity
Topic for Spring 2016: Saints and Their Cults. The cult of living and dead saints was central to the development and spread of Christianity (as also Islam and Buddhism). This seminar addresses the interpretation of saints’ lives, pilgrimage and ritual action at shrines, and the saint’s festival.
CAS RN 490: Topics in the Materiality of Ancient Mediterranean Religions
Undergraduate Prerequisites: prior coursework in archaeology or ancient religions, or consent of instructor.
Investigates material traces and contexts of religion in the Graeco-Roman world, including iconic, architectural, votive, magical, and other archaeological remains; and draws on theories of space, image, and ritual performance. Topics vary. Also offered as CAS AR 435.
CAS RN 504: Topics in Religion and the Visual Arts
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of instructor.
In-depth discussion of special issues in the study of religion and art. May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Fall 2015: Religious Architecture in Islam: Mosques, Shrines, and Tombs. Examines a select group of buildings from the Islamic world in terms of architecture and religious practice. Topics include monuments such as the Ka’ba, the Dome of the Rock, or the Taj Mahal. Also offered as CAS AH 504.
CAS RN 524: Topics in Religion and Literature
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing and one course in literature or religion, or consent of instructor.
Also offered as CAS XL 560 B1.
CAS RN 526: Topics in Religion and Literature in East Asia
Topic for Fall 2015: The Story of the Stone. A masterpiece of world literature, depicts the interworkings of love, tragedy, honor, and drama within a Buddho-Daoist cosmos set in the everyday life of Chinese Confucianism. This course emphasizes the religious traditions of Chinese culture. Also offered as CAS LC 470 B1 and CAS XL 470 B1.
CAS RN 555: Dante’s Hell
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. Also offered as CAS LI 555 and CAS XL 383.
CAS RN 556: 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. Also offered as CAS LI 556 and CAS XL 385.
CAS RN 561: Religion and International Relations
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing and consent of instructor.
(Meets with CAS IR 561 and CAS PO 589.) 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.
CAS RN 563: Muslim Societies: An Interdisciplinary History
Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of instructor.
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. Also offered as CAS AH 539, AN 548, HI 596, and IR 515.