Professors Brockopp and Chilton will be leading students on an excursion to Jerusalem and Cairo in January, 1998. Although this will be a January Term course, the application deadline is this (spring 1997) semester. Please see Professor Brockopp for details prior to registration.
see also
  • Sanskrit 225 Intermediate Sanskrit

    REL 101 Beginning Hebrew I

    Professor: B. Vromen

    CRN: 92641

    Distribution: D

    Time: Tu W 9:00 am - 10:20 am LC 206
    Th 9:00 am - 10:20 am OLIN 310

    The first semester is devoted to the acquisition of the basic pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar of modern Hebrew for students with no, or little experience with the language. In the second semester the direction will be towards spoken language fluency, written expression, and the reading of literary Hebrew. Which of these is to be most emphasized will be largely determined by the students' interest. Indivisible.

    REL 104 Introduction to Judaism

    Professors: J. Neusner/J. Katz

    CRN: 92642

    Distribution: C

    Time: Tu 10:30 am - 12:30 pm OLIN 307

    Diverse Judaic religious systems ("Judaisms") have flourished in various times and places. No single Judaism traces a linear, unitary, traditional line from the beginning to the present. This course sets forth a method for describing, analyzing, and interpreting Judaic religious systems and for comparing one such system with another. It emphasizes the formative history of Rabbinic Judaism in ancient and medieval times, and the development, in modern times, of both developments out of that Judaism and Judaic systems competing with it: Reform, Orthodox, Conservative Judaisms in the 19th century, Zionism, the American Judaism of Holocaust and Redemption, in the twentieth. In both the classical and the contemporary phases of the course, analysis focuses upon the constant place of women in Judaic systems as a basis for comparison and contrast.

    REL 117 Hindu Religious Traditions

    Professor: R. Davis

    CRN: 92643

    Distribution: C

    Time: Tu Th 9:00 am - 10:20 am OLIN 204

    This course offers a historical introduction to the major Hindu religious traditions of India, from roughly 1200 BCE when the earliest Indian religious texts were compiled, to the beginnings of British colonial control of South Asia in the eighteenth century. We will explore various forms of Indian religious discourse--hymns to the gods, philosophical speculation, oral and literary epics, ritual, poetry, prescriptive legal codes, and artistic representations--to discover how differing Hindu schools have dealt with questions of fundamental religious concern, and with each other. Readings will include selections from many of the classics of Indian literature, such as the Rg Veda, Upanisads, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Yoga Sutras, Kama Sutra, and devotional poetry.

    REL 214 Indigenous Images of the Middle East

    Professor: J. Brockopp

    CRN: 92397

    Distribution: C

    Time: Tu Th 1:20 pm - 2:40 pm OLIN 309

    Cross-listed: AADS, MES
    Arab authors have preserved unique insights on religious life in the Middle East through their poetry and prose. This course samples the rich literature of twentieth-century writers from countries such as Syria, Egypt and Palestine, all in English translations. The purpose in reading this literature is to gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of religious life in the Middle East through a medium which permits Arabs to present their cultures on their own terms. Common themes of Islam, family and society will be explored in an attempt to focus discussion and to bring the authors into dialogue with one another. In addition, we will address the context of modern Arabic literature in terms of the Islamic tradition and nineteenth-century intellectual history. A concurrent tutorial with readings in Arabic will be offered to qualified students.

    REL 228 Devotion and Poetry in Hinduism

    Professor: R. Davis

    CRN: 92644

    Distribution: C

    Time: M W 1:20 pm - 2:40 pm OLIN 107

    "Bhakti" means "participation in" or "devotion to" God. In every region of India, Bhakti poet-saints--Kabir, Mirabai, Nammalvar, Antal, Nanak, and many others--have sung songs and lived lives of intense emotional devotion to the chosen gods. Their songs and life stories permeate the religious life of India. This course will explore the world of bhakti poetry in translation. Through these readings, we will examine issues such as poetics and theology, bhakti as a form of social protest, bhakti and gender, the place of bhakti in Indian music, and the interaction of bhakti with Islamic Sufism.

    REL 232 Cairo as a Microcosm of the Islamic World

    Professor: J. Brockopp

    CRN: 92398

    Distribution: C

    Time: W F 1:20 pm - 2:40 pm OLIN 204

    Cross-listed: AADS, Integrated Arts, Medieval Studies
    Founded by a Shiite sect in 969 C.E., Cairo (al-Q hira) has grown to become the largest city in Africa in addition to being the capital of the Arab world. This complex metropolis is home to a diverse population of Copts, Muslims, diplomats and film stars, who live in a museum of sorts, surrounded by the mosques, synagogues and pyramids of generations passed. The course will take an interdisciplinary approach to studying this fascinating city, using architecture, literature, history and film to probe its riches. Topics will include: public and private space; decorative arts; intellectual life; religious conflicts; and the life of non-Muslim minorities, while keeping track of parallel developments in the rest of the Islamic world. Two additional opportunities will be provided for interested students: first, an Arabic tutorial will be offered for qualified students who wish to read the historical and literary accounts in their original language; second, students may apply to join a three-week seminar over intersession in Jerusalem and Cairo. Preference will be given to students with background in Islam.

    REL 233 The Gospels and Rabbinic Literature

    Professor: B. Chilton/J. Neusner

    CRN: 92645

    Distribution: C

    Time: M 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm OLIN 203

    How to use Rabbinic Literature in order better to understand the Gospels has been a persistent problem. What is the difficulty? On one hand, the Gospels are obviously Judaic in origin, so Rabbinic Literature must be relevant to an understanding of the Gospels. On the other hand, the literature of Rabbinic Judaism dates from 200 CE and later, well after the Gospels were composed. Our task in the course, which will include a conference with students and scholars from other institutions, is to make progress in formulating and resolving this problem.

    REL 321 Seminar in Islamic Law

    Professor: J. Brockopp

    CRN: 92399

    Distribution: A/C

    Time: Tu 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm OLIN 308

    Muslims understand Islamic law as the description of God's path for righteous living. It encompasses both rules of ritual and prayer as well as such mundane subjects as business transactions, inheritance and property. This course will trace the history and development of Islamic Law from its Qur'anic roots to its modern applications. A strong emphasis will be placed on the debates of the early centuries in order to locate the importance of law within the Islamic religious tradition. Students will work primarily with Arabic sources in English translation. Participants in the seminar will meet in advance to determine the specific focus of the class; possible topics include: family law; jihad; slavery; philosophy of law; etc.

    REL 337 Introduction to Jewish Mystical Texts

    Professor: E. Wolfson

    CRN: 92687

    Distribution: A/C

    Time: Fri 10:30 am - 12:30 pm OLIN 203

    This course will be an introduction to Jewish mystical texts and testimonies. The course will provide a vocabulary for understanding the Jewish mystical experience in a variety of historical periods. We will explore the basic texts of the Kabbalah including early Kabbalah, Shrei Orah or the Gates of Light, the Zohar and selected works of the Hassidic masters. The personalities and writings of Abraham Abulafia, Isaac Luria, the Baal Shem Tov and Nachman of Bratzlav will be introduced. There are no pre-requisites, but prior courses in religion would be helpful. For further information on this course please see Professor Brockopp or Professor Chilton on registration day.