see also: HIST 217 Conflicts and Exchange
|Course no.||REL COL|
|Schedule||Mon 6:00 pm-7:20 pm Olin 306|
The religion colloquium meets every other Monday for discussion of senior projects, new books in religion and other topics of interest for the critical study of religion. Its purpose is to foster a community of inquiry among students and faculty, providing a forum for engaging issues of common interest. The course carries one credit, and students who have moderated into religion are expected to register for four semesters of the colloquium, for a total of four credits. Students from other programs are also welcome. The primary requirement of the course is active participation in the Monday night sessions, for which students will receive a grade of Pass, Fail or Honors. In addition, students are required to lead one discussion every year. For juniors, this may be on a recent article or book in religious studies; seniors will make a presentation of their senior project.
|Course no.||REL 104|
|Title||Introduction to Judaism|
|Professor||Joanna Katz/ Jacob Neusner|
|Schedule||Wed 3:30 pm-5:30 pm Olin 202|
Cross-listed: Jewish Studies
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.
|Course no.||REL 109|
|Title||Religious Ethics and Modern Moral Issues|
|Schedule||Tue Th 1:20 pm-2:40 pm Olin 202|
Part of religions' role in society is to determine the value of acts, whether good, evil, or indifferent. Such ethical constructs are not only a means of modifying individual behavior, but are also tied to fundamental myths of creation, redemption, salvation, and the like. This course addresses the religious response to a series of moral questions dealing with war, abortion, euthanasia, and sexual relations. While the course presumes no previous study of religion, it will introduce students to the problematic of comparative and theoretical work. Source material will be drawn primarily from the writings of the three monotheistic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although contemporary religious thought will be emphasized, debates will be placed in their historical context.
|Course no.||REL 117|
|Title||Hindu Religious Traditions|
|Schedule||Tue Th 9:00 am-10:20 am Olin 202|
This course offers a historical introduction to the major Hindu religious traditions of India (as well as to Indian Buddhism) and readings from many of the significant texts of Indian religions. We will cover the ancient, classical, and early medieval periods, from roughly 1200 B.C.E. to 1000 C. E. Many of the classic works of Hindu religious thought were composed during this period of over two millennia. In the course we will explore various forms of Indian religious discourse--philosophical speculation, oral and literary narrative, devotional poetry, prescriptive codes of conduct, ritual, and artistic representations--to discover how differing Hindu schools and sects have dealt with questions of fundamental religious concern, and with each other.
|Course no.||REL 213|
|Title||Sexuality and Spirituality|
|Schedule||Mon Wed 3:30 pm-4:50 pm Olin 204|
Cross-listed: Gender Studies
Contemporary reappraisals of the domains of sexuality and spirituality have shed new light on the boundaries placed between them in Christian traditions. This course examines the historical, social, cultural and theological roots and significance of these boundaries, as well as the numerous tensions and movements that cluster around them within contemporary Christianity, for example, regarding sexual ethics, sexual orientation, and gender. Theological attempts to move beyond the presumed opposition of sexuality and spirituality will be examined in detail. Extra-Christian religious perspectives, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and the cultic beliefs and practices of indigenous populations, will be drawn into the discussion for comparison.
|Course no.||REL 222|
|Schedule||Mon Wed 10:30 am-12:00 pm Olin 306|
Cross-listed: Asian Studies, History
This course will examine the history of Japanese religions as a continuous stream of synthesis of elements from the Shinto, Buddhist, Taoist, and neo-Confucian systems and prominent folk traditions such as shamanism, mountain asceticism, and divination. The course will cover major religious developments in Japanese history, such as the early clan mythologies of the Jomon and Yayoi peoples, the Shinto-Buddhist syncretism and union of Buddhism with the emperor's law in the Asuka and Nara periods, the establishment of sectarian Buddhism under the Kamakura and Ashikaga shogunates, the influence of Neo-Confucianism and Christianity in the Tokugawa era, the establishment of Shinto as state religion and persecution of Buddhism by the Meiji regime, and the triumph of nonelite "new religions" following World War II. In addition to the subject of relations between religion and state, which so pervades this field, we will investigate such significant ongoing themes as aesthetic expressions of religious thought and notions of embodiment in religious practice.
|Course no.||REL 242|
|Title||Contemporary Buddhism in Sri Lanka|
|Schedule||Tue Th 1:20 pm-2:40 pm Olin 204|
Cross-listed: Asian Studies
This course will examine several of the major new developments that have broadly marked Asian Buddhist traditions in recent times, by investigating how these developments have manifested themselves in the specific case of one predominantly Buddhist country, Sri Lanka. While the course will begin by reviewing the basic tenets of Theravada Buddhist philosophy and practice, as well as the history of this island land up through the nineteenth century, its focus thereafter will be on religious issues and movements which have come to the fore in the twentieth century. The phenomena covered will include "Protestant" Buddhism, popular Hindu-Buddhist syncretism, meditation revivalism among the laity, political activism by monks, Buddhist fundamentalism, socially engaged Buddhist movements, and restoration of the nuns' lineage.
|Course no.||REL 306|
|Title||Judaism and Islam|
|Professor||Jonathan Brockopp / Jacob Neusner|
|Schedule||Th 9:00 am-11:00 am Olin 304|
Islam and Judaism constitute large and complex families of kindred religious systems, and seen as a whole, each of these families bears comparison with the other. That is not only because of long centuries of co-existence, when Judaism was practiced within the historical and cultural framework of Islam from Morocco to Iran, but mainly because both are monotheist religions. They share a common worldview, rely heavily upon law to make their religious statements, and deem the political and social order as the critical focus of the religious life. This course will address the classical writings of the two religions in a complex process of comparison and contrast. Primary sources addressing similar subjects will be read in parallel fashion, and similarities and differences will be closely analyzed. Issues of "borrowing" and "dependence" will be secondary to consideration of these traditions as free-standing, coherent wholes.
|Course no.||REL 311|
|Title||Reason and Religion|
|Schedule||Th 10:30 am-12:30 pm Lang Ctr 210|
This seminar will examine the works of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Western thinkers, including Descartes, Newton, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Kant and Schleiermacher, to explore the theological impacts of the turn to "Reason" as the paramount standard for determining truth. The social and political roots of these developments will be explored, as well as their influence on the shaping of contemporaneous religious movements, such as Pietism, Methodism, the Great Awakening and Unitarianism. Prerequisite: moderation in religion, ore permission of the instructor.
|Course no.||REL 313|
|Title||Primitive Art in Civilized Places|
|Schedule||Wed 1:20 pm-3:20 pm Olin 307|
of related interest: Art History
of related interest: AADS
In the twentieth century Western collectors and museums have frequently taken the religious icons and other cultural artefacts of non-Western societies and resituated them in the West as art objects. This seminar explores the history of this practice and the controversies that have resulted. Topics include: the history of Western response to "primitive" art, the workings of the art market, the changing styles of museum display, and the demands for repatriation of "cultural heritage." We will examine cases involving South Asian, African, and native American religious objects.