19470

REL 106

 Islam

Matthew Lynch

 T  Th    11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 306

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Middle Eastern Studies  An examination of the intellectual and lived traditions of Islam. This course introduces students to themes, materials, practices, texts and beliefs within and/or related to the religious tradition of Islam. We will study the founding of Islam by the Prophet Muhammad, as well as legal, ethical, and mystical responses to the Qur’an, Hadith, and other Islamic texts. We will also learn about different varieties of Islam, such as Sunnism and Shi’ism. We will utilize a variety of sources including primary sources (in translation), historical works, anthropological and literary sources, and films to guide our discussion. The course will emphasize material, visual, and other forms of interactive learning. Themes of gender, sexuality, mysticism, art, and ritual will be explored. This course will also provide students a solid theoretical foundation to larger conceptual questions and categories pertinent to the academic study of religion, and to the humanities more broadly.  Class size: 18

 

19471

REL 108

 Religions of the World

Samuel Secunda

M  W      11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 310

MBV

HUM

DIFF

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Theology  This course is intended to offer an entry into the academic study of religion. We will examine some major religions of the world as they have developed over the course of world history. The approach will be comparative, focusing on the idea of "scripture" and how the "canonical" texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism shaped the formative ideas and practices of these traditions.

Class size: 18

 

19472

REL 152

 Asian Humanities Seminar

Dominique Townsend

 T  Th    10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 202

MBV

D+J

HUM

Cross-listed: Asian Studies  This seminar provides an introduction to a selection of philosophical, religious, and literary texts from India, China, Tibet and Japan. The course materials are from the 4th century B.C.E. to the 20th century. Across this broad reach of time and space, students will explore how these works formulate conceptions of identity, community, authority, and ethics. By focusing on Asian literature, this class seeks to develop students’ understanding of the diversity of world thought and cultural production.  Class size: 22

 

19473

REL 228

 Devotion & Poetry in India

Richard Davis

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 309

MBV

HUM

Bhakti means "participation in" or "devotion to" God.  From 700 C.E. to 1700 C.E., in every region of India, bhakti poet-saints sang songs and lived lives of intense, emotional devotion to their chosen gods.  The songs, legends, and theologies of these saints and the communities they established permeate the religious life of India.  This course explores the world of bhakti through its poetry.  We examine issues of poetics and theology, bhakti and opposition to orthodox social conventions, bhakti and gender, the interactions of Hindu devotionalism and Islamic Sufism, the role of bhakti in Indian music, and the problem of bhakti in twentieth-century Indian literature.  Regular short writing assignments will be required.   Religion program category: Interpretative    Class size: 16

 

19474

REL 230

 Religion & Culture in Iran

Matthew Lynch

M  W      3:10-4:30 pm

HEG 102

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Middle Eastern Studies This course examines the religious and cultural history of Iran. It combines a reading of primary and secondary materials to examine the Persian tradition within literary, political, social, economic, and interrelated modes. Representations of Iran in film will be examined and critiqued within a broader conversation about media representations of the Iranian people. The course will also involve an individual research project. No prior knowledge is necessary or expected. Class size: 22

 

19476

REL 231

 Great Jewish Books

Samuel Secunda

M  W      3:10-4:30 pm

OLIN 204

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies; Literature  Since the Middle Ages, Jews have been known as a people of the book – though what that means depends on period, place, and perspective. Jews have produced an impressive variety of texts that defy modern literary categorization, yet which nevertheless share some textual peculiarities. This course introduces a number of enduring Jewish “books,” spanning from antiquity to modernity, each in their own way connected to the classical Jewish tradition. Readings include Genesis, (Second) Isaiah, Talmud (selections), Midrash (selections), RaMBaN's Torah Commentary (selections), Siddur (selections), Maimonides' Code (selections), Halakhic Responsa, (selections)  Guide of the Perplexed (selections), Iberian Jewish poetry (selections), Sefer Hassidim (selections), Zohar (selections), R. Nahmnan's Stories, Solomon Maimon's Autobiography, Mendelssohn's "Jerusalem" (selections), Sholom Aleichem's "Tevye's Daughters," Eli Wiesel "Night," SY Agnon, "A Simple Story," Yehuda Amichai, "Open Closed Open," Cynthia Ozick's "The Pagan Rabbi," Allen Ginsburg, "Kaddish."  Class size: 20

 

19498

REL 232

 Introduction to Christianity in Revolutions

Bruce Chilton

  W  F     11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 307

MBV

HUM

Christianity has both promoted and resisted revolutions during the course of its history. The aim of this course is to understand why and how that process has unfolded. The method of the seminar is to understand how Christianity developed through systemic changes, and to read selected authors against the background of that evolution. This course is part of the Courage To Be College Seminar Series; students are required to attend three lectures in the in Courage to Be Lecture Series sponsored by the Hannah Arendt Center.  Class size: 16

 

19475

REL 236

 Introduction to Sufism

Matthew Lynch

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

ALBEE 106

FL

FLLC

This course introduces students to the concepts, themes, and varieties of expression within the traditions of Sufism. It explores the foundations of Sufism within Islamic and mystical forms of thought and practice. In addition, the interplay between Sufi thought and literary forms, including narrative and lyric poetry, produced by Sufis will be covered through an examination of the writings of the Persian mystic poet and teacher, Rumi. Course components include individual research on a specific Sufi order and/or teacher, as well as interactive assignments using poetry and other forms of artistic expression. There are no prerequisites, though students with familiarity with Islam, religious studies, world literature, and/or philosophy may find it of particular interest. 

Class size: 18

 

19479

REL 316

 visual religion: Vision, Icon, and Temple

Richard Davis

 T           1:30-3:50 pm

RKC 200

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Theology  Does God have a body?  Can we see it?  Can and should this be represented in artistic form?  How should human worshipers respond to such divine images?  What kinds of material practices of fabrication, display, decoration, and ritual treatment are suitable for the divine bodies of gods?  In many religious traditions, gods and goddesses are visible beings who present themselves to their devotees in visions, in icons, and in grand image-filled temples.  Other religious traditions, by contrast, have often considered the embodiment of God in material form as deeply problematic or as a sacrilege.  This course examines the practices, issues, and debates surrounding divine icons and the religious arts in a comparative perspective.  In a larger sense, it seeks to investigate the role of the visual in religion.  We will explore a series of examples, from the earliest recorded image practices of ancient Mesopotamia up to contemporary icons, popular posters, and visual rituals in Hinduism and Catholicism. Class size: 15

 

19478

REL 335

 calderwood seminar in public Writing: how we write About Death & Dying

Dominique Townsend

   Th       1:30-3:50 pm

HEG 106

MBV

 

Cross-listed: Theology  In this course students will cultivate writing and editing skills with a focus on public writing about death and dying. Through weekly exercises, students will practice a range of genres including Op-Ed, book and film review, memoir, and obituary. Assigned readings will be drawn from a range of secular and religious literature, with a focus on Buddhist writing about death and dying. Note: Calderwood Seminars are intended for juniors and seniors, and are designed to help students think about translating discipline-specific writing to a general audience. Students will engage in writing or editing other students' work once a week. Class size: 15

 

19469

REL COL

 Religion Colloquium

Richard Davis

M           5:30-6:30 pm

OLIN 202

MBV

D+J

HUM

Cross-listed: Theology  2 credits  The religion colloquium is open to all students, but required of religion moderands. The purpose of the colloquium is to foster a community of scholarship among students and faculty interested in the study of religion, and to prepare public presentations of independent research. The colloquium is designed to encourage interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives on topics of particular interest. Class size: 22

 

 

Cross-listed course:

 

19205

IDEA 221

 alchemy: from magic to science

Susan Aberth

Bruce Chilton

 T  Th  3:10 pm – 5:30 pm

RKC 103

 

AA

MBV

AART

HUM

Cross-listed: Art History, Religion  6 credits Far from being considered an antiquated relic, the ideas and allegories expressed in alchemy continue to influence global contemporary culture in areas as diverse as gender studies, critical theory and the renewed interest in esoteric subjects. Is alchemy a scientific pursuit or a religious or spiritual one? This Big Ideas course provides a multifaceted exploration of the history of alchemy in thought, practice and art. Isaac Newton, an active alchemist, translated the Latin text that set out his own basic conviction: “That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below.” Alchemy asserts that all elements and forces of the universe are related, and that human beings are capable of understanding and influencing their relationship to one another. One result was the now famous quest to turn ordinary metals into gold. But alchemy during the several thousand years of its history has been applied in many different ways. It has embraced fundamental philosophical currents, contributing distinctive worldviews that remain current in global culture. Alchemy has always been intimately related to artistic practice and this class will provide a survey of works pertaining to alchemical processes ranging from medieval manuscripts to the modern era, from Surrealism to the latest contemporary art. There will be a number of film screenings and guest lectures associated with the course, i.e. from the History of Science, a modern-day practitioner of alchemy, contemporary artists, and others. Course requirements will include a number of research papers corresponding to the various components of the class.   Class size: 25