Courses for Spring 2015

  • The Apocalyptic Imagination

    This course will explore the origins and nature of apocalypticism. Beginning with modern apocalyptic thought in ancient Jewish writings (including the Books of Daniel and Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible), we will explore the socio-historical context for ancient Jewish visionary ascent texts, early Christian apocalypses (including the Book of Revelation) and later interpretations and use of ancient "prophecy" concerning the end of the world. This course includes a close reading of ancient texts and an analysis of the 2012 apocalyptic imagination through popular literature and movies.
    RELS 0030 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
  • Spiritual But Not Religious: American Spirituality Past and Present

    This course explores the past and present of spirituality in the United States. Using the familiar phrase “spiritual but not religious” as a point of departure, this introductory course not only surveys the wide range of ideas, practices, and desires that Americans often associate with spirituality but also asks why the concept of spirituality has drawn those associations. Through encounters with such varied phenomena as suburban shopping malls, evangelical revivals, bestselling novels, yoga, environmentalism, and Oprah, students will reflect upon what spirituality's popularity illustrates about prevailing attitudes toward issues including institutional affiliation, religious pluralism, personal experience, consumerism, nationalism, and secularism.
    RELS 0056 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • On Being Human: Religious and Philosophical Conceptions of Self

    An examination of classic and contemporary views on the nature of human existence. Central themes include human freedom, the relation between reason and emotion, and the significance of personal history and memory. We also ask how conceptions of who we are shape views about how we should live. Sources include religious and philosophical texts as well as recent films. LILE WRIT
    RELS 0065 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
  • Religion and Torture

    The debates about the moral and legal status of torture have acquired a new urgency since 9/11. People are now questioning the consensus of law and human rights declarations that torture is never permissible. Indeed, some argue that in extreme cases, it may be obligatory to torture a captive for information that could save many lives. This class explores the recent debates about torture from secular and religious perspectives. It also deals with more general themes related to torture: What are the nature and effects of pain? Are human beings sacred, and does sacredness involve a prohibition against torture? LILE WRIT
    RELS 0068 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • Christian Classics

    A historical survey of Christianity from its foundations to the present, tracing its development into three main branches: Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant. Readings from a variety of Christian "classics" accompany the survey, pursuing the theme of how-in different times, places, and circumstances-Christians have understood their relations to the divine and to the world. DPLL WRIT LILE
    RELS 0110 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Ethics After Auschwitz? (JUDS 0080A)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0080A (CRN 26200).
  • How the Bible Became Holy

    No book in human history has exercised as much influence as the Bible. Over the past 2,000 years, people have killed and died for the Bible, and it continues to exercise a powerful if contested role in modern politics. Yet how did it achieve this power? This course will trace the development of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) from its origins in ancient Israel to its development about five hundred years later as a foundational text of both Judaism and Christianity. The focus will be on how Jews and early Christians throughout antiquity understood and ascribed authority to the Bible. DPLL WRIT
    RELS 0325 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
  • Dying To Be With God: Jihad, Past and Present

    This course will examine the concepts of martyrdom and jihad, past and present. We will begin with a comparison of Jewish, Christian, and secular “martyrdom, but focus extensively on the concept and evolution of jihad and jihad ideology in Islam, asking: How are war and martyrdom presented in the sacred texts of religious traditions? Historically, how have religious people idealized and problematized the martyr in different ways? In what ways have modern religious revivalism, geopolitical conflict and nationalism changed how people appropriate martyrdom and jihad today? Enrollment is contingent on attendance on the first day of class. DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 0640 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • A Game of Thrones: Religion and Nationalism, 1789-1933 (JUDS 0700)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0700 (CRN 26246).
  • Bibical History: What Really Happened? (JUDS 1635)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 1635 (CRN 24807).
  • Adam and Eve in Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation (JUDS 1612)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 1612 (CRN 24805).
  • Ancient Egyptian Religion and Magic (EGYT 1420)

    Interested students must register for EGYT 1420 (CRN 24467).
  • Religion and Gender in the Ancient Mediterranean

    A consideration of the relationships between constructions of gender and religious systems in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, including but not limited to Christianity and Judaism.
    RELS 1210 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
  • Imagining the Gods: Myths and Myth-making in Ancient Mesopotamia (AWAS 1100)

    Interested students must register for AWAS 1100 (CRN 24464).
  • Philosophy of Mysticism

    Covers important attempts to understand the nature of religious experiences and mysticism. We will look at several philosophical issues surrounding religious experience, including: (a) whether mystical experiences are too private for outsiders to understand or evaluate them; (b) what the relationship between religious experiences, language, and culture is; (c) whether religious experiences justify religious beliefs; and (d) how gender and religious experiences are related. We will treat theorists from various perspectives, including philosophical, historical, theological, psychoanalytic, and neuroscientific. Previous work in philosophy courses (or philosophically-intensive courses) is highly recommended. Enrollment limited to 20.
    RELS 1370B S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • David Hume and Religion

    This course will consider and challenge traditional scholarly views of philosopher David Hume as a critic of Christianity, by examining a wide range of his writings (letters, historical writings, moral enquiries, philosophical and religious writings). How might his corpus inform work in philosophy of religion? Previous coursework in philosophy or philosophy of religion strongly advised. Enrollment limited to 20.
    RELS 1370C S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • Money, Media, and Religion

    This course explores the relationship between religious life, forms of capitalism, and media technologies in the history of the United States. From constructing buildings and printing texts to disseminating teachings and communicating with members: essential aspects of religious life require both money and media. Yet forms of money and media continually have changed, and those changes have taken shape in dialogue with religious beliefs, practices, and sensibilities. This seminar examines this dialogue by visiting such varied sites as Puritan marketplaces, Santa Claus displays, Bible factories, television talk shows, and Occupy protests.
    RELS 1380A S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • The Shape of the Divine: Images in the Religions of India

    Why do Hindu deities have so many heads and arms? How do devotees interact with religious images in a temple, festival, or performance? What happens when religious icons are removed from a sanctified space and displayed in a museum? We will explore the answers to these questions, and many more, as we examine the complex lives and multiple uses of images in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Using textual, visual, and material sources, this course offers students a critical introduction to one of the most fascinating and important features of religious life in South Asia.
    RELS 1395 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cecil
  • Directed Readings in Chinese Religious Thought: Zhuangzi

    Entails a careful reading of the entire text of the Chuang Tzu in translation. Secondary sources on the philosophy and textual criticism of the book--drawn from the writings of Graham, Liu Hsiao-kan, Ivanhoe, Mair, Roth, and others--are also read. Seminar format. Pre-requisites: At least one of the following courses: RELS0040; RELS0120; UNIV0540.
    RELS 1410 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
  • Pure Land Buddhism: East Asia's Major Religion

    Pure Land Buddhism spread from Indian to become the most widely practiced form of Buddhism in East Asia, a title still claimed today. We investigate (1) early “orthodox” ideas of the Pure Land as an intermediary realm between this world and ultimate enlightenment, (2) the Chinese “mind-only” tradition that understood the Pure Land as attainable in this world, and (3) the Japanese sectarian focus that rejected practitioners’ volitional power, aiming to understand the religion’s impact on East Asian literature, the arts, notions of death, gender, modernization, and finally Pure Land Buddhism’s global dissemination in the 20th century.
    RELS 1443 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Ingram
  • Varieties of Secularism

    Secularism is often thought of as the simple absence of religion. But is it so easy to distinguish the religious from the non-religious? What precisely is secularism? How does it vary from place to place, and how does it relate to the state? This course examines how secularism carries a powerful, but implicit presence in our daily lives by examining the relationship between secularism, modernity, and the nation-state in a variety of different countries around the world. We will also look at how secularism is enacted, produced, and represented through practices and institutions, such as art museums and the courts.
    RELS 1746 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Oliphant
  • Individual Study Project

    Directed reading and research arranged with individual faculty. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
    RELS 1990 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S05
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Oliphant
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Schopen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Thesis Preparation

    Required of seniors in the honors program. Open to others only by permission of the chair of the department. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
    RELS 1999 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S05
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Oliphant
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Schopen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S15
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Seminar in Biblical Studies: Ugaritic

    Survey of Ugaritic grammar followed by readings in mythic and epic literature (e.g. the Baal Cycle, Kirta, Aqhat) and ritual texts. Prerequisite: Knowledge of the grammar of one Semitic language. Open to graduate students only.
    RELS 2100F S01
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
  • Christians and Muslims in the Early Middle Ages

    This graduate course explores the relationship between Christian and Muslim communities, broadly speaking, from the rise of Islam through the period of the Crusades and up to the Fall of Constantinople in the fifteenth century. It examines the material and social relationship of the Muslim community to various denominations of Christians in Arabia and the Levant in the early Middle Ages, and will progress through the era of the Crusades and more developed Sunni and Shi'i sectarianism, assessing the theological and cultural impact of inter confessional relations on these phenomena in the High Middle Ages.
    RELS 2400H S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • Ethical Formation

    How do people become good? This seminar focuses on theories of ethical formation with particular attention to practices, both physical and intellectual. We will consider classical virtue theory as well as the persistence in Western modernity of attention to the practices through which virtuous character is formed.
    RELS 2600M S01
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
  • Preliminary Examination Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing for preliminary examinations.
    RELS 2890 S01
    Schedule Code
    E: Grad Enrollment Fee/Dist Prep
  • Independent Research

    The staff is willing to offer independent reading courses in selected areas. See the Instructor for more information. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering.
    RELS 2910 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S05
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Kraemer
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Oliphant
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Schopen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Thesis Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing a thesis.
    RELS 2990 S01
    Schedule Code
    E: Grad Enrollment Fee/Dist Prep