18448

REL 103

 Buddhism

Dominique Townsend

 T  Th 1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLINLC 210

MBV

D+J

HUM

DIFF

Cross-listed: Asian Studies   For more than 2,500 years Buddhist thought and practice have evolved around the central problem of suffering and the possibility of liberation. The importance of cultivating compassion and wisdom and the reality of death are among Buddhism’s guiding concerns. Across diverse cultural landscapes, Buddhism comprises a wide array of philosophical perspectives, ethical values, social hierarchies, and ritual technologies. It is linked to worldly politics, institutions, and charismatic personalities. At the same time, it is geared towards renunciation. Buddhism’s various faces can seem inconsistent, and they are frequently out of keeping with popular conceptions. This course offers an introduction to Buddhism’s foundational themes, practices, and worldviews within the framework of religious studies. Beginning with Buddhism’s origination in India, we will trace its spread and development throughout Asia. We will also consider its more recent developments globally. There are no prerequisites for this course. Class size: 22

 

18449

REL 108

 Religions of the World

Richard Davis

M  W  11:50 am-1:10 pm

HEG 201

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 the major religions of the world as they have developed over the course of world history, utilizing two approaches.  The first will be comparative: we will consider the formative ideas and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  The second approach is historical: we will explore some of the roles religious ideas and institutions have played within struggles for political power, from the time of Alexander the Great up to the present. Class size: 22

 

18447

REL 119

 Introduction to Christianity

Bruce Chilton

 T  Th 1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 305

MBV

HUM

 

Cross-listed: Theology  The purpose of this seminar is to enable us to understand how Christianity developed through systemic changes, and to read selected authors agaist the backgroud of that evolution.  Class size: 15

 

18568

REL 125

JEWISH THOUGHT AND PRACTICE

David Nelson

  M  W 11:50 am – 1:10 pm

OLIN 201

MBV

HUM

 

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies  This course will use the study of Jewish ritual practice as a lens through which to examine and understand the diverse and complex system of belief and thought that is at the heart of Judaism. We will constantly be asking what is communicated by religious observance. Through close reading of both biblical and rabbinic texts we will pay special attention to how the rabbinic revolution following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE altered the way of life that seems to be portrayed in the Hebrew Bible. Class size: 20

 

18450

REL 141

 Sanskrit II

Richard Davis

 T  Th 8:30 am-9:50 am

OLIN 202

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Classical Studies The Spring semester continues the study of Sanskrit foundations begun in the Fall, and introduces readings of Sanskrit texts in the original.  The readings will include selections from the Indian epic Mahabharata. We will also continue our recitation practice, to gain an appreciation of the aural quality of the "perfected language." Program category:  Interpretative    Class size: 15

 

18451

REL 211

 DIGITAL DHARMA: Buddhism and New Media

Dominique Townsend

 T  Th 11:50 am-1:10 pm

RKC 101

MBV

HUM

 

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Experimental Humanities  Today, many Buddhist teachers and institutions use digital technologies to reach huge followings and to disseminate Buddhist texts, practical and ethical instructions, and iconic Buddhist imagery to students across the globe. How have digital technologies reshaped how Buddhist teachers instruct students and attract new disciples? How do social media platforms shape Buddhist teacher’s messages, and how do they allow for an unprecedented global reach? What are the social and political risks and benefits of digital expressions of Buddhism? Students will analyze the history and use of Buddhist text and images and investigate the use of new media by Buddhist teachers and groups to reach large and distant audiences. Recent developments in new media will be considered in a broad cultural and historical context that takes into account the diversity of Buddhist practices and pedagogies. Prerequisite: at least one previous Buddhist Studies course.  Class size: 22

 

18452

REL 236

 Introduction to Sufism

Matthew Lynch

M  W  1:30 pm-2:50 pm

RKC 103

MBV

FLLC

Cross-listed:  Literature, Middle Eastern Studies  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: 22

 

18454

REL 237

 Contemporary Islam

Matthew Lynch

M  W  10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 304

HA

D+J

HIST

DIFF

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Experimental Humanities; Human Rights; Middle Eastern Studies  This course examines how Muslims have shaped and reacted to contemporary, global human experience. Various modalities of Muslim life will be explored, from intellectual and political reactions to modernity, war, and empire to aesthetic production in the fields of literature, film, and music. Students will be asked to interrogate the poly-form ways that traditional practices of or related to Islam have confronted or accommodated contemporary trends around the issues of justice, gender, freedom, and equality. The class will make large use of a variety of media, including film and music, as source materials for learning, and students will be asked to develop their own multimedia projects to respond creatively about Islam and Muslim practice within the increasingly networked global sphere.

Class size: 18

 

18455

REL 242

 Hinduism in the Epics

Richard Davis

M  W  3:10 pm-4:30 pm

OLINLC 206

FL

FLLC

DIFF

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Classical Studies  The Indian epics have long been one of the major ways that the teachings of the Hindu tradition have been transmitted.  In this course we will read the Mahabharata (including the Bhagavad Gita) and the Ramayana, with a view to the role of the epics in Hindu ritual and devotional life.  In addition, we will examine how these texts have been retold and performed in various ways up to the present.

Class size: 20

 

18453

REL 256

 Women and Religion in classical Judaism

Samuel Secunda

M  W  11:50 am-1:10 pm

RKC 103

MBV

D+J

HUM

DIFF

Cross-listed: Classical Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Jewish Studies; Middle Eastern Studies  This course examines the religious life of Jewish women in Palestine and Mesopotamia during late antiquity – Judaism’s formative period. We will grapple with the methodological challenges involved in reconstructing female religious experience in a patriarchal society, from which little material or literary culture produced by women has survived. Readings (in translation) are from the Talmud, Hebrew liturgical poetry, synagogue inscriptions and art, Greek writers like Philo of Alexandria and Josephus, and more. Theoretical approaches come from gender studies, anthropology, sociology, and religious studies. Class size: 22

 

18456

REL 315

 From Reformation to Alt Right

Bruce Chilton

    F     11:30 am-1:50 pm

OLIN 305

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Theology  The Reformation set in motion movements in Europe and America associated with the rise of democracy, belief in the primacy of human rights, and a passion for freedom of conscience. Yet in the five centuries since Martin Luther proposed his "Ninety-Five Theses," Evangelical Christianity has also been partnered with fascist and White Supremacist movements. This course will trace the tangled developments, religious and political, that have bequeathed the current scene radically different versions of what Protestantism is. 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: 15

 

18457

REL 327

 Poetry in Buddhist Literature

Dominique Townsend

  W      10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 302

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Asian Studies In this course students will read and analyze poetry in English translation from diverse Buddhist cultures, including the work of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan and American poets. Our discussions will focus on the relationships between poetic forms and Buddhist philosophical insights and meditative experience. We will reflect on the themes of impermanence, interdependence, perception of the present moment, and empathy. Periodically we will also read and discuss poems from other religious traditions to situate Buddhist poetry in a wider context of religious literature. This course will focus on primary source materials in translation and therefore students will also confront the problems of translation as a creative and interpretive act. Prerequisite: one prior Buddhist Studies course or instructor's approval. Class size: 16

 

18458

REL COL

 Religion Colloquium

Samuel Secunda

M         5:30 pm-6:30 pm

OLIN 204

MBV

D+J

HUM

Cross-listed: Theology  2 credits The religion colloquium is a two-credit course 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:

18430

PHIL 335

 Spinoza's Ethics

Oliver Stephano

 T        10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 202

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies; Religion