Courses for Spring 2017

  • The Bible and Moral Debate (JUDS 0060)

  • Religion, Race, and Environmental Ethics

    Environmental burdens are disproportionately borne by communities of color and the poor. Efforts for environmental justice pursue the righting of these wrongs. This course will examine authors and activists who have insisted that the pursuit of justice in these matters is essential to spiritual flourishing. Through these authors it will also address some big questions: how should we talk about race? What is justice? And what is religious about justice anyway? The course will be an introduction to the study of ethics and religion through one of the most urgent issues of our era. DPLL WRIT
    RELS 0057 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Balthrop-Lewis
  • Finding Wisdom in Asian Classics

    An introduction to the most influential religious writings of South and East Asia. These “Great Books of the East” depict the values, ritual concerns, symbols, and philosophical speculations of the major religious communities of ancient and medieval India, Tibet, China, and Japan. Emphasis will be on key ideas with an eye to their broader significance. Readings may be drawn from the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Analects, Dao De Jing, Journey to the West, and Life of Milarepa, among others. No prerequisites. DPLL
    RELS 0072 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • Foreigners, Refugees, and the Ethics of Minority (JUDS 0061)

  • Islam

    This course covers the basic beliefs and practices, political and social institutions, law and theology, philosophy and art that constitute Islam’s history and culture. We will begin to examine the emergence of Muhammad’s message in Arabia in its geopolitical, cultural and religious context to look later at Islamic institutional and intellectual tradition against the backdrop of the Islamic state and society. In the modern period, we will read the social, political and intellectual results of Islam’s encounter with European colonialism. In light of this account, the course concludes by studying contemporary phenomena such as ISIS and European Islam.
    RELS 0095 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Azzam
  • Karma, Rebirth and Liberation: Life and Death in South Asian Religions

    Karma, Sanskrit for the "action" that makes up a human life, has been a central concern for the religious traditions of South Asia throughout their history. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism share the belief that after death people are reborn, taking on lives according to their actions in lives previous. In these traditions, liberation from the cycle of rebirth becomes the ultimate goal of human existence. This course examines the ideas of karma, rebirth and liberation in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism from historical, cosmological, ritual, narrative, iconographic and theological points of view. We also look at these ideas in Western culture. DPLL WRIT
    RELS 0145 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Moore-Gerety
  • Stuff, Self, and Society

    In her recent bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo claims that “decluttering” will change your life. Does it? We will read authors who think – like Kondo – that living with less has the power to shape the self. But our texts will also challenge us to ask: Could disciplines of living also change the world? Students will critically assess contemporary manuals like Kondo’s through comparison to other examples of asceticism and voluntary simplicity, including Christian monastic rules, Thoreau’s Walden, Gandhi’s political philosophy, MFK Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf, and Thomas Merton’s writings on race and nonviolence. WRIT
    RELS 0265 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Balthrop-Lewis
  • Great Jewish Books

    A survey of classic Jewish texts, from the Bible to modern literature. Each text will be discussed from the perspective of both its own historical and social context and its engagement with earlier ones. Attention will be paid on how these authors address perennial issues of human concern and how their answers are shaped by their experience as Jews. DPLL WRIT
    RELS 0323 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
  • Laozi and the Daodejing

    Introduction to classical Daoism, one of the two indigenous religions of China, through the history, philosophy, and contemplative practices found in its famous foundational work, the Daodejing. Through careful study of this text and its many early iterations, including the recently discovered manuscript versions from Ma-wang-tui and from Guodian and early commentaries, we will attempt to reconstruct the intellectual and experiential elements on which this tradition was based. Limit: 10.
    RELS 0530 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    RELS 0530 L01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • African American Religious Strategies: Martin and Malcolm

    MLK, Jr. and Malcolm X are two iconic figures in the pantheon of black religious leadership. Their profoundly influential ideas about justice, freedom, democracy and racism, along with their activist strategies and personal biographies have generated extraordinary interest over the past 50 years. Despite this, the rich and complex tradition out of which their ideas and world-views evolve; the 300 year old religious strategies and practices employed by African-Americans have been understudied, disconnected from our understanding of their significance. This course will examine these traditions and these two central figures’ roles within them in order to shed important light on both. DPLL WRIT
    RELS 0820 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • Adam and Eve in Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation

    In antiquity, the biblical story of Adam and Eve generated an enormous volume of commentary. Early Jews and Christians saw in this story profound lessons about the nature of humanity, God, and the world. We will examine how, in antiquity, both religious groups interpreted this relatively short story. We will also pay close attention to the different ways that both Jews and Christians developed to interpret these texts. Genres such as allegory, inspired interpretation (pesher), midrash, and the letters of the New Testament will be covered. WRIT DPLL
    RELS 1144 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
  • Kabbalah: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism (HMAN 1971U)

  • Religion and Postmodernism

    This advanced seminar treats the central ideas in the thought of Zizek, Sloterdijk, Bauman, and others. It will pay particular attention to the idea of God in the works of Derrida, Foucault, and Deleuze as it filters through these contemporary, popular efforts. Students will trace some of the normative aspects of a postmodern ethics and theology by looking at "Emergent" churches, "New Thought", and post-foundational Christian theology in practice.
    RELS 1385 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • Buddhist Poetry

    This course surveys Asian and Anglophone literary cultures that emerged in response to Buddhist teachings and practices. Through close reading, we will engage epic poetry celebrating the Buddha’s life; verses in Buddhist scripture; the landscape poetry of Chinese hermits; the poetry of early nuns; Japanese poems of spiritual travel; American beatniks; and contemporary Taiwanese poetry. All readings are available in English. Students may complete a creative or imitative project, an original translation, or a research paper for the final project.
    RELS 1425 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
  • 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
    Nahme
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Bialek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
    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
    Nahme
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Bialek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S15
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Exegesis at Qumran

    Focuses on Hebrew exegetical texts such as the Temple Scroll, MMT, pHab, 4QJub, CD. Intended for doctoral students and others with sufficient knowledge of Hebrew.
    RELS 2100B S01
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
  • Radical American Romanticism: Democratic, Environmental, and Religious Traditions in America

    Is America fundamentally defined by Romanticism? We will explore the sustained legacies of Romanticism in America, giving special attention to the interrelated topics of religion, democracy, and the environment, by reading such authors as Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Thoreau, Whitman, and Fredrick Douglas; William James, George Santayana, and W.E.B. Du Bois; and Terry-Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez, and Wendell Berry.
    RELS 2110B S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
  • Chinese Buddhist Texts

    Each week we will engage in close reading through translation of Buddhist texts in the original Chinese. Selections will draw from sutras, commentaries, prefaces, colophons, biographies, and Chan literature. The course introduces research methods, major sources, dictionaries, and digital tools, and culminates in a seminar paper demonstrating original research using the tools and methods practiced in class. Prerequisite: Reading competence in classical Chinese
    RELS 2380A S01
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
  • Seminar in Religion and Critical Thought: Hegel

    To Be Determined
    RELS 2600E 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
    Vaca
    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
    Nahme
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Muhanna
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
    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