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Undergraduate Bulletin 2007-2008
 
Bulletin Homepage |College of Arts & Sciences | Courses in Religious Studies

Courses in Religious Studies

A Rel 100 Introduction to the Study of Religion (3)

Exploration of the religious dimension of life, with an introduction to the theory and practice of religion, including such topics as myth, ritual, belief, reason, revelation, mysticism, religious organization, etc., and their relation to other personal, social and cultural aspects of human experience, past and present. [DP if taken before Fall 2004; HU]

A Rel 103 (= A Clg 103) Introduction to New Testament Greek I (4)

Introduction to the fundamentals of the grammar and vocabulary of the New Testament. Readings in the gospel of John and the Book of Acts. No previous knowledge of Greek required. Only one of A Clg 103 & A Rel 103 may be taken for credit.

A Rel 104 (= A Clg 104) Introduction to New Testament Greek II (4)

Continuation of A Clg 103. Only one of A Clg 104 & A Rel 104 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A Clg 103 or permission of instructor.

A Rel 116 (= A Phi 116) World Views (3)

Examination of some of the major systems of assumptions and values humans have used in attempting to understand reality, the meaning of life, and their dealings with others. World views studied may vary from semester to semester. Examples are Greek, Judeo-Christian, Marxist and libertarian. Only one of A Phi 116 & A Rel 116 may be taken for credit. [HU]

A Rel 145 (= A Jst 145) Secular Jewish Identity and Culture (3)

This course is an exploration of the creation of a secularized Judaism. Since the onset of the Enlightenment (if not earlier), many Jews have sought to construct expressions of Judaism that are not contingent upon religious obligations and practices. After an introduction in which we will explore some of the tensions between secular and religious Judaism in contemporary times (via a close reading of Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev), we will explore several ancient and medieval challenges to normative Judaism (Hellenism, messianism, and historical consciousness) that helped to set the foundation for the shaping of modern secular Judaism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We will then look at several “snapshots” of secular Judaism in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty first centuries in the regions of Europe, Russia, the United States, and Israel. At the end of the course, we will consider the possibility of a “post-secular” Judaism.

A Rel 155 (= A Jst 155) Judaism: Traditions and Practices (3)

Examines development of normative Jewish traditions and practices from rabbinic period to present. Major focus is Jewish religious groups and observances in contemporary United States. Topics include how different Jewish groups situate themselves in American society; Jewish calendar and life-cycle observances; impact of feminism; social action agendas; role of Israel. [DP]

A Rel 175 (= A Ant 175) Anthropology and Folklore (3)

Introduction to the study of folklore as an aspect of culture, symbolically expressing people’s identity, beliefs and values. The focus is on oral text traditions—myths, folktales, and legends—topics in folk custom and ritual, folk music and folk art are also included. Includes folklore from Western and non-Western cultures. Offered fall semester only. Only one of A Ant 175 & A Rel 175 may be taken for credit. [HU]

A Rel 200 Introduction to the Bible (3)

This course is intended to introduce the student to the content, background, and nature of the writings that constitute the basis of Judeo-Christian culture. Modern methods of research (textual, archaeological) will be discussed, and class sessions will often be illustrated by slides of works of art (statuary, mosaic, painting) inspired by the Biblical narrative. May not be offered in 2007-2008. [HU]

A Rel 214 (= A Phi 214) World Religions (3)

Survey of the major religions of the world, concentrating on those practices and beliefs that contribute to their value systems. Religions include Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Taoism. Only one of A Rel 214 & A Phi 214 may be taken for credit. May not be offered in 2007-2008. [DP if taken before Fall 2004; GC]

A Rel 221 (= A Eng 221 & A Jst 242) The Bible as Literature (3)

Literary genres of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the cultures from which they emerged. Attention to parallel developments in other literatures and to the influence of the Hebrew Bible on Western life and letters. Only one of A Eng 221, A Jst 242 & A Rel 221 may be taken for credit. [HU]

A Rel 231 (= A Jst 231) Modern Jewish Thought (3)

An examination of changes over time in Jewish thought and philosophy from the seventeenth century to the present. Focuses on key Jewish thinkers, philosophers, and theologians. One-third of the course is devoted to Jewish thought in the American context. [EU]

A Rel 252 (= A Jst 252) Jews, Hellenism, and Early Christianity (3)

History of the Jewish people from Alexander the Great to the decline of the ancient world. Topics include examination of cultural conflict in Judaea and the diaspora, confrontation with Greco-Roman Hellenism and early Christianity, sectarianism, and the beginnings of Rabbinic institutions. Only one of A Jst 252, 342, 342Z & A Rel 252 may be taken for credit. [EU]

A Rel 253 (= A His & Jst 253) Medieval Jews Among Muslims and Christians (3)

Studies Jewish history, life and culture in the contexts of the Muslim and Christian civilizations of the Middle Ages. Discusses differences among Jews, Muslims and Christians; emphasizes reactions to persecution, Jewish autonomy and social life as a minority group in a majority culture, and the development of Jewish law, literature, philosophy and mysticism. Only one of A Jst 253, 343, 343Z & A Rel 253 may be taken for credit. [EU]

A Rel 254 (= A His 254, =A Jst 254) The Jews in the Modern World (3)

Beginning with the end of the late Middle Ages and the emergence of the Enlightenment, this class explores how Jewish communities responded to the demands of an ever-expanding modern world. Examines the ways in which Jews and Jewish communities sought to create modern expressions of Judaism and the response of rabbinic Judaism to these challenges. Explores the rise of Hasidism, the aims of “Enlightened” Jewry, nationalism, the creation of secular Jewish cultures, the World Wars, modern antisemitism and the Nazi Holocaust, and the emergence of new Jewish centers in the United States and Israel. Only one of A Jst 254, 344, 344Z and A Rel 254 may be taken for credit. [GC]

A Rel 256 (= A Jst 256) World Jewry since the Holocaust (3)

An examination of the trajectory of the historical and demographic changes in Jewish civilization since World War II and the Holocaust. Investigates significant changes in diaspora Jewry as well as the emergence of America and Israel as the postwar centers of modern Jewish life. One-third of the course is devoted to changes in American Jewish life and culture. [BE] May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Rel 261 (= A Eas 261) Introduction to the Religions of Japan (3)

An introduction to the major religious traditions of Japan, particularly Shinto and Buddhism, this course will cover the major forms of religious expression in Japanese history from the earliest historical records to the so-called New Religions which arose in the twentieth century. Discussion will include the philosophical, artistic, social, and political dimensions of religion in Japanese society.

A Rel 265 (= A Eas 265) Introduction to Indian Buddhism (3)

An introduction to the story of Buddhism in South Asia. Focus is on the evolution of the Buddhist view of sentient life during its first 1500 years on the subcontinent as expressed primarily in doctrine, but cultural, artistic, social, and political issues will also be considered.

A Rel 266 (= A Eas 266) Buddhism in China & Japan (3)

An introduction to the heritage of Buddhism in East Asia. Focus is on the cultural interaction between Indian Buddhist notions of the human condition and the traditional religious and philosophical assumptions of China and Japan. Discussion will center on doctrine and the history of its transmission and understanding, including issues in language, artistic expression, and the establishment of the monastic community.

A Rel 275 (= E Edu 275) Social Morality and Citizenship Education in a Pluralistic Society (3)

This course discusses the concepts of good and bad citizens that have given rise to disputes about citizenship and education for citizenship. It considers various historical, philosophical, and cultural perspectives on public virtues and the concept of the common good in the context of a pluralistic and democratic society. Only one of A Rel 275 & A Edu 275 may be taken for credit. [DP]

A Rel 281 (= A Jst 281) The Prophets (3)

Survey of the prophets in general (in English), emphasizing the moral and social role of the individual prophet and his impact upon Judaism and Western civilization. A Rel 281Z & A Jst 281Z are the writing intensive versions of A Jst 281 & A Rel 281; only one of the four courses may be taken for credit.

A Rel 281Z (= A Jst 281Z) The Prophets (4)

A Rel 281Z & A Jst 281Z are the writing intensive versions of A Jst 281 & A Rel 281; only one of the four courses may be taken for credit. [WI]

A Rel 285 (= A Jst 285) Hero and Antihero in Scripture (3)

An examination of different kinds of heroic figures in biblical literature, with questions about literary presentation, religious significance, and historicity. The course looks at ideal and roguish characteristics of heroic individuals in the biblical text and how these are treated in later exegesis and modern scholarship. A wide variety of men and women from the Hebrew Bible, the Apocrypha, and the New Testament are studied, but particular emphasis is placed on Moses, David and Jesus. [BE] [OD]

A Rel 286 (= a Jst 286) Jerusalem: the City and the Idea (3)

Now the capital of Israel, Jerusalem has been central to Jewish history and religion, as well as to Christianity and Islam. The course surveys its physical history, its image in religion, nationalism, literature, and the arts, and its various populations and their subgroups. It aims to provide a sophisticated understanding of the demographics and politics of contemporary Jerusalem. [GC]

A Rel 291 (= A His 291 and A Jst 291) Messiah and Messianism in Judaism and Christianity (3)

Origins of Jewish and Christian messianism in the Old and New Testaments and related literature. Topics include the projection of a society’s ultimate values, and the tension caused by the actual attempts to realize those values; i.e., to achieve salvation through messianic movements. Only one of A His/Jst/Rel 291 may be taken for credit. [GC]

A Rel 297 (= A His 297) Religion and Society in History (3)

This course will focus on the role religion has played in societies from antiquity to the present. Our examination will include the anointed kings of ancient Israel, the idealized unity of emperor and patriarch in Byzantium, the universal claims of the Holy Roman Empire, the role of the prophet in Islam, the divinity of the Emperor in China and Japan, the conception of the monarchy in Western and Eastern Europe, the anti-religious rhetoric of European revolutions, the separation of church and state in contemporary secular societies, the current revival of fundamentalism, and the persistence of wards based on religion. Architecture, music, iconography, and rituals will be examined for the information they provide. [GC HU]

A Rel 297Z (= A His 297Z) Religion and Society in History (4)

A Rel 297Z is the writing intensive version of A Rel 297; only one may be taken for credit. [GC HU WI]

A Rel 299 Topics in Religious Studies (1–4)

Study of a selected topic in religious studies. May be taken more than once with different content. Consult fall and spring schedule of classes for specific topics.

A Rel 322 (= A Phi 322) Philosophy of Religion (3)

Philosophical analysis of selected religious concepts and programs, based upon the writings of representative philosophers and theologians. Focuses on Judeo-Christian tradition. Only one of A Rel 322 & A Phi 322 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): a 100- or 200-level course in philosophy.

A Rel 325 (= A Jst 325) Rabbinic Literature (3)

A study of one or more works of rabbinic literature from among Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, commentaries, and codes. Analytical reading of the texts in English translation and discussion of their religious, legal, historical, and literary implications. May be repeated for credit if topic differs. Prerequisite(s): A Jst 150 or A Jst 155.

A Rel 331 (= A Jst 331) Modern Jewish Thought (3)

A survey of the range of Jewish thought and philosophical movements from the mid-seventeenth century to the present. Focuses on key Jewish thinkers, philosophers, and theologians, exploring questions of Jewish ethics, religion, relationships to God, and moral responsibility in a time of increased secularization. Only one of A Jst 331 and A Rel 331 may be taken for credit.

A Rel 335 (= A Jst 335) The Holocaust in Christian and Jewish Theology (3)

The Christian and Jewish theological and philosophic response to the genocide committed by the Nazis. Christian theologians deal with Christianity’s role in the Holocaust, and Jewish theologians examine the problem of God’s justice. Examines the works of Flannery, Eckhardt, Littell, Rubenstein, Fackenheim and Berkovits. Only one of A Jst 335 & A Rel 335 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A Jst 150 or a course in philosophy.
 
A Rel 345 (= A Eas 345) Ethical Issues in East Asian Thought (3)

This is a discussion course that looks at ethical issues of contemporary significance to the cultures of Asia. Students read contemporary academic discussions of how problems such as suicide, euthanasia, abortion, sexuality, cloning, etc. have been understood historically and in terms of contemporary social morality in India, China, Tibet, and Japan.

A Rel 357 (= A Eas 357) Zen Buddhism (3)

An introduction to the religious, philosophical, and artistic tradition of Zen Buddhism in China, Korea, and Japan and the West. This course looks at the birth and subsequent historical evolution of the Zen or Ch’an school of Buddhism in East Asia. We will look at the intersection of :Buddhist and Chinese presumptions about spirituality that gave rise to this unusual religious form, discussing precisely what is and I not iconoclastic about its tenets. The experience of American Zen communities will also be considered.

A Rel 363 (= A Ant 363) Ethnology of Religion (3)

Examination of the form and functions of ritual systems as related to myth and world view on a cross-cultural basis. Emphasizes the religions of non-literate and peasant peoples. Only one of A Ant 363 & A Rel 363 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A Ant 100 or 108 or 108Z, or A Phi 214. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Rel 387 (= A His 387) Islam in the Middle East: Religion & Culture I (3)

Social, political, economic and religious dimensions of Islam from the time of Mohammed through the 18th century with emphasis on the intellectual, cultural, and educational institutions of the Middle East. Among topics discussed will be Sunnism-Shi’ism and the schools of law, social and economic infrastructure, science and education, and reasons for the waning of the Muslim world. Prerequisite(s): Junior or Senior class standing or 3 credits of history. [BE]

A Rel 388 (= A His 388) Islam in the Middle East: Religion & Culture II (3)

Social, political, economic and religious changes in the Middle East from the 18th century to Ayatollah Khomeini. Among the topics discussed will be the impact of the West on the Middle East, the role of oil in shaping the global economy, nationalist movements, the crisis in the Persian Gulf, and the rise of Islamic Revivalism. Prerequisite(s): Junior or Senior class standing or 3 credits of History. [BE]

A Rel 390 (= A Heb 390) Readings in Biblical Literature (3)

Studies in a selected biblical book, genre, or theme, emphasizing approaches of current biblical research as applied to both classical (traditional) and modern commentaries. May be repeated when topic differs. Prerequisite(s): second-year Hebrew competence or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Rel 393 (= A Eas 393) Readings in Buddhist Texts (3)

This is an advanced course in the study of Buddhism that will focus on the close reading of Buddhist scriptures in English translation. Prerequisite(s): A Eas 265/A Rel 265; A Eas 266/A Rel 266, or permission of the instructor.

A Rel 394 (= E Eas 394) Readings in Japanese Religious Studies (3)

This is an advanced course in the religious traditions of Japan. We will read English translations of religious texts native to the Japanese experience of religion, specifically Buddhist, Shinto, Confucian, and Folk. Prerequisite(s): One of the following: A Eaj 261/A Rel 261; A Eas 266/A Rel 266, A Eas 190, A Eas 357 or permission of the instructor.
 
A Rel 397 Independent Study of Religious Studies (1–4)

Independent reading and research on selected topics under the direction of a faculty member. May be repeated for credit when topics differ. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing, permission of faculty member, and approval of program director.

A Rel 402 (= A Clc 402) Greek and Roman Religion (3)

Survey of Greek and Roman religions at large followed by a detailed examination of the so-called mystery religions. Interdisciplinary in nature, it employs not only religious but also philosophical, especially ethical, literary, historical and archaeological materials. Only one of A Rel 402 & A Clc 402 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing and some background in either classical or religious studies. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Rel 403 (= A Clc 403) Roman Civilization and Christianity (3)

Roman civilization in the late Empire; the relation between pagan and Christian culture based on a study of literary and archaeological sources. Only one of A Rel 403 & A Clc 403 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A Clc 134 or A His 235 or 235Z. May not be offered during 2007-2008

A Rel 499 Senior Seminar in Religious Studies (3)

Seminar on selected topics in religious studies. Preparation of a paper under the direction of a faculty member. Open to seniors with permission of director.