REL 131   Islam and Islamics

Ismail Acar

M . W . .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 202


See Religion section for description.



THEO 201   Kierkegaard: A Writer’s Identity

Nancy Leonard

M . W . .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 310


Cross-listed:  Literature, Philosophy   An exploration of the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s experiments writing through “indirect communication” (under a pseudonym) as well as “direct communication”  (signed by himself). Kierkegaard sometimes rushed to the printer to keep a work from being published under his name —and other times tried unsuccessfully to sign it in his own name.  Within the works theological, philosophical, and  literary play and seriousness intersect, so a reading in Kierkegaard becomes an experience of feeling boundaries stretched and clarified. What is an author—a person as well as a writer? Can a “whole person” communicate directly? Is all representation inevitably “indirect”? Is religious experience most effective in disguise?  We will read great works that resist religious perspective, or personify skeptical attitudes—as well as those, especially frequent in his later years but present throughout—which embrace theological desire.  Among works studied are Fear and Trembling, Either/Or, Repetition, and The Point of View of My Work as an Author. Some reading in his journals and biography, in Kierkegaard scholarship and in other writers will provide context for our questioning, with him, of all identities that comprise the singularity of experience.  Required for prospective theology concentrators but all are welcome, with no requirement of belief.



THEO 212   Archaeology of the Bible

Bruce Chilton

. T . Th .

1:00 -2:20 pm

Center for the Study of James


Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Philosophy, Religion   In two senses, the Bible has been an object of excavation.  Artifacts and archaelological investigations have played a major part in the reconstruction of the meanings involved, while the depth of texts -- as compositions that took shape over time -- has been increasingly appreciated. This seminar involves understanding the social histories of Israel and the early Church as they shaped the biblical texts. This approach identifies the constituencies for which the sources of the texts were produced. By “sources” we mean, not the documents as they stand (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and so on), but the traditions that fed into those documents. The final, editorial moment when traditions were crystallized in writing is a vital juncture in the literary formation of the Scriptures, but is not solely determinative of their meaning. The unfolding of meanings within texts during the whole of their development explodes the claim of a single, exclusive meaning in biblical exegesis. The seminar will attend to the variety of meanings inherent within the Scriptures -- without limitation to a particular theory of interpretation, and with constant attention to issues of historical context. Religion program category:   Interpretive



THEO 214   Visions of the Social Order

 in Formative Judaism and Christianity

Bruce Chilton / Jacob Neusner

. T . . .

10:30 - 11:50 am

OLIN 101


Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Religion   The seminar will focus on how a select group of texts from Western antiquity envision human collectivity, on the normative pictures they construct and project of how human beings should live together in community.  The basic question of our inquiry is: How does religion imagine society? We want to explore the contours of religious imagination in the particular case of a vision of the social order.



THEO 320   The Gnostic Quest

Bruce Chilton

. T . . .

2:30 -4:50 pm

Center for the Study of James


Cross-listed:  Religion   Gnostics between the first century and the fourth century of the Common Era quested for a single, integrating insight into the divine world amid the conflicting religious traditions of ancient society, apart from parochial requirements, peculiar customs, and ethnic preferences. Traditional religions talked about transcendence, but restricted the delivery of their truths to their different constituencies, which were limited and often mutually exclusive, defined by race, history, family, or status. Gnosticism claimed to smash through those barriers, making it the most potent cultural force in this period of the Roman Empire and the most successful effort at the intellectual reform of religion there has ever been.



LIT 3306   Scholasticism vs. Humanism

Karen Sullivan

. . . . F

1:30 -3:50 pm