91124

REL 106   Introduction to Islam

Mairaj Syed

. T . Th .

8:30 -9:50 am

Olin 205

HUM/DIFF

Cross-listed: Middle Eastern Studies  This course seeks to provide a broad-ranging introduction to pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Islam. We will study the central beliefs, institutions, and practices that have constituted multiple traditions which lay claim to Islamic legitimacy throughout history, starting with Muhammad’s message in seventh century Arabia.  In the first half of the course we will study, in depth, the central scriptural text of Islam, the Qur’an, in what Muslims have generally taken to be as its historical context. In the second half of the course we will encounter the competing traditions of interpretive belief and practice that constitute the different and at times competing disciplines and normative visions of Islamic religious thought and piety. In the last few weeks, we will study themes that have figured prominently in popular media portrayals of Muslims in the last few decades, notably gender and modern Islamic political thought and practice (including the radical variety). We will end the course in a place and time far from where we started. The Muslims are now here in America and more precisely, New York. We will ask: how have they maintained continuity with what has gone before and how will they chart their own future?

 

91126

REL 111   The Hebrew Bible:

Origin and Context

David Nelson

. T . Th .

11:50 -1:10 pm

Olin 203

HUM

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology   The Hebrew Bible is arguably one of the most important works of Western culture. This course will survey the text, meaning, historical background and ancient near eastern literary and cultural context of the Hebrew Bible, and will provide a crucial introduction to all further studies of the three Abrahamic faiths. We will examine the interplay between history and myth, the various forms and purposes of biblical law, the phenomenon of biblical prophecy, and the diverse literary genres that are found within the Bible. Our goal will be to understand the work as a religious, historical, legal, and narrative work that reflected the society from which all of later Judaism, Christianity and Islam grew.

 

91750

REL 124   Reading Religious Texts

Richard Davis

. T . Th .

10:10 - 11:30 am

Olin 307

HUM/DIFF

Cross-listed:  Asian Studies, Theology   This course offers an introduction to some of the fundamental primary texts of the major world religions, and to the strategies adopted in reading these texts by both believers and scholars of these traditions.  What work does a religious text perform for its textual community?  We will focus on two genres of religious writing: narratives of the foundation of a religious community, and lyric expressions of devotion towards a deity that offer a glimpse into devotional practices. Readings will include selections from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Qu’ran, the Buddhacarita, Mahavamsa, and Jatakas, the Tao te Ching, the Gita Govinda, various Puranas, and the devotional poetry of Rumi, Mirabai, and Kabir. We will examine traditional commentarial and hermeneutical methods employed within each religious tradition, as well as the current methods of academic historians of religion.

 

91125

REL 152   Asian Humanities Seminar

Richard Davis

M . . . .

. . W . .

1:30 -2:50 pm

1:30 -3:50 pm

Olin 306

HUM

Cross-listed:  Asian Studies   This course will examine classic texts in three primary Asian cultures: India, China, and Japan.  Works may include the teachings of the Buddha, Confucius, and Chuang-tzu, epics like the Ramayana, the poetry of Kalidasa and Basho, and the Japanese novel Tale of Genji.  Through an engagement with these great works, we will seek to understand some of the ways Asian thinkers have dealt with fundamental issues pertaining self, society, and the cosmos that are common to all humans.  Like the First Year Seminar, the format of this seminar will involve close reading of select texts, seminar discussion, and expository writing.  The course is intended as an entry into Asian Studies. This is a writing intensive course. Most weeks we will meet for an extra hour writing lab, and regular short writing assignments will be required. The general goals of these labs are to help with the development, composition, organization, and revision of analytical prose; the use of evidence to support an argument; strategies of interpretation and analysis of texts; and the mechanics of grammar and documentation.

 

91341

LIT 2035   Religion & the Secular in American and British Modernism

Matthew Mutter

M . W . .

3:10 -4:30 pm

Olin 107

ELIT

See Literature section for description.

 

91130

REL 215   Trading Places

Bruce Chilton / Jacob Neusner

. T . Th .

10:10 - 11:30 am

Olin 101

HUM

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology  At the beginning of the common era, Judaism presented a view of God which was so appealing in its rationality, it competed seriously with various philosophical schools for the loyalty of educated people in the Graeco-Roman world.  Christianity, meanwhile, appeared to be a marginal group, neither fully Judaic nor seriously philosophical. Six centuries later, the Talmud emerged as the model of Judaism, and the creeds defined the limits and the core of Christianity.  By that time, Judaism and Christianity had traded places.  Christianity was the principal religion of the Empire, and philosophy was its most powerful vehicle for conversion; Judaism was seen as a local anomaly, its traditions grounded in customary use rather than reflection.

 

91128

REL 246   Gender and Islam

Mairaj Syed

M . W . .

10:10 - 11:30 am

Olin 306

HUM/DIFF

Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies, Human Rights, MES  This course will examine issues related to the construction of gender and sexuality in the context of Islamic civilization.  The course is divided into three parts.  The first part of the course will be concerned with a thematic treatment of issues relating to gender and sexuality in Islamic religious and legal texts.  In the second part we will examine the how women fared in different Muslim societies of different time periods.  In the third part, we will discuss the impact of the feminist movement on the Muslim world and examine the variety of responses to it.

 

91129

REL 269   Sacred Pursuits

Bruce Chilton

. T . Th F

1:30 -2:50 pm

Center for James

HUM

Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Theology   This seminar is devoted to developing theoretical self-awareness in the study of religion. In order to achieve that end, we will read some of the key theorists in the study of religion, apply their insights to case-studies, and refine their approaches as seems necessary. This is a writing intensive course. Most weeks we will meet for an  extra hour writing lab, and regular short writing assignments will be  required. The general goals of these labs are to help with the  development, composition, organization, and revision of analytical  prose; the use of evidence to support an argument; strategies of  interpretation and analysis of texts; and the mechanics of grammar and  documentation.

 

91513

REL 287   Contemporary Islamic

Movements

Mustafa Abu Sway

M . W . .

11:50 – 1:10 pm

RKC 115

HIST

Cross-listed: Human Rights,  Middle Eastern Studies  This course interprets contemporary Islamic movements in historical perspectives. It studies the history, ideology and activism of major movements including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafiyyah (Wahhabism) movement, and the Islamic Liberation Party. It also looks at the transformation of some of these movements, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, into political parties in many Arab and Islamic countries. Their impact on political stability in their respective countries will also be discussed.

 

91131

REL COL   Religion Colloquium

Richard Davis

M . . . .

5:00 -6:00 pm

Olin 101

N/A

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 students’ topics of particular interest. Weekly sessions will be devoted to discussion of new books, films, CD-roms, etc. as well as regular updates of progress on senior projects. Public sessions of the colloquium will be scheduled three or four times each semester; students who enroll for credit will shoulder the responsibility for preparing papers to present in these sessions. Outside speakers and faculty members may also be invited to present papers in these public sessions.  Religion program category:  Theoretical