Courses for Spring 2016

  • The Bible and Moral Debate (JUDS 0060)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0060 (CRN 25179).
  • Love and Reason

    Love often seems dramatically unreasonable, and reason can seem coldly rational in a way that excludes any emotion or passion even akin to love. The supposed opposition between love and reason has been used by Christian and secular thinkers throughout modernity to organize ways of knowing and to criticize claims of faith, belief, and desire. But are love and reason really so distinct? Can love be reasoned, and even reasonable? Can reason be aided by love, and even driven by it? This course offers an advanced introduction to modern Western philosophy and Christian thought through these questions and themes.
    RELS 0052 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bialek
  • Spiritual But Not Religious: Making Spirituality in America

    When someone calls themselves "spiritual," what does that mean? This course answers that question by exploring the wide range of ideas, practices, and desires that have come to make up the concept of spirituality. Inviting students to consider why spirituality seems "not religious," this course examines such phenomena as yoga, faith healing, hip hop, shopping, self-help books, psychology, surveys, and protest movements. Through such phenomena, this course will enable students to recognize how Americans have made sense of their own lives and institutional attachments through continually changing technologies of race, pluralism, science, capitalism, and secularism. DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 0056 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • 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
  • 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
  • Islamic Sexualities

    In this course we examine gender and sexuality in Muslim cultures, as well larger issues that shape the ways in which Islam is imagined in relationship to gender and sexuality. In doing so, we will think about how particular constructions of gender and sexuality affect the constitution and representation of Islam and Muslims in the US and abroad. Students will learn to engage with and complicate key terms and themes including "masculinity," "cultural difference," "women's and LGBT rights," and "modernity/civilization" that are widely, and often uncritically, deployed in current political and moral debates on Islamic culture. WRIT DPLL LILE
    RELS 0290D S02
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • 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
  • Christianity in Late Antiquity

    The communal struggles, personal rivalries, and theological conflicts that shaped Christianity in its formative centuries: heresy and orthodoxy, hierarchy and charisma, gender and class, persecution and martyrdom, paganism and classical tradition, creeds and councils, asceticism and the body, church and state, eastern and western Christianity. Focused in the 2nd through 6th centuries A.D. WRIT
    RELS 0410 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Buddhist Ethics Theory (UNIV 0480)

    Interested students must register for UNIV 0480 (CRN 26366).
  • Mythology of India (CLAS 0850)

    Interested students must register for CLAS 0850 (CRN 24915).
  • Kabbalah: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism (HMAN 1971U)

    Interested students must register for HMAN 1971U (CRN 26271).
  • Mishnah and Tosefta (JUDS 1602)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 1602 (CRN 24243).
  • Lords of Middle Sea: Greek and Biblical Myth and Society

    In ancient times, men and women told stories of gods, kings, and heroes. Some of the best known and best loved are those from the Bible and from the ancient Greeks. Why were these stories written, and by whom? How can we tell the difference between truth and fiction, and how did they? Finally, what do stories about the past do, and why were they told? In this class, we investigate these questions and more.
    RELS 1211 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Tobolowsky
  • Jerusalem Since 1850: Religion, Politics, Cultural Heritage (JUDS 1620)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 1620 (CRN 25887).
  • Ancient Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques in Palestine (JUDS 1670)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 1670 (CRN 25888).
  • Early Christian Asceticism: Rhetorics of Practice

    A study of eastern Christian asceticism and its literary expressions during late antiquity, with attention to forms, motivation, theological understandings, and cultural impact. Particular focus on Egypt, Cappadocia, and Syria. WRIT
    RELS 1325B S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • 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
  • Ethics of Vulnerability

    What does it mean to be vulnerable? What does it require of us? Should we blame ourselves for succumbing to wounds and disasters to which we knew we were vulnerable? These questions are complicated by the fact that we often see our vulnerabilities most vividly when they have been realized in wounds, and so the conversation proceeds from situations of trauma. This course examines religious and secular discussions of vulnerability in contemporary contexts of environmental disaster, terrorism, and intimate violence to consider the question: what does our past experience have to do with our preparation for the future? DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 1380B S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bialek
  • Muhammad and the Quran

    This seminar focuses on how the Quran, the holy book at the center of Islam, came into being and was received by Muslims over time. We begin with the life of Muhammad, and proceed through close analyses of the Qur'an as well as related literatures, including commentary and exegesis, history, law, and the biography of the Muhammad. We will also read secondary scholarship on the composition, contents, and arrangement of the Qur'an. We will also address the "sacred" status of the text and discuss contemporary responses to the treatment and nature of the Quran. Texts will be in translation. DPLL LILE
    RELS 1530E S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • Law and Religion (HMAN 1970K)

    Interested students must register for HMAN 1970K (CRN 26019).
  • 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
    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
    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
    Denzey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S15
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Religion and Romanticism: Religion, Democracy, and the Environmental Imagination

    The seminar will explore the central radical religious, democratic, and environmental dispositions and ideologies that mutually informed each other in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British Romantic literature and their subsequent and sustained legacies in America. We will read such authors as William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Emerson, and Thoreau.
    RELS 2110A S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
  • Aramaic Readings

    A survey of epigraphic and biblical Aramaic intended for doctoral students and others with sufficient background in Aramaic grammar.
    RELS 2160 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
  • Greek Palaeography and Premodern Book Cultures (GREK 2110F)

    Interested students must register for GREK 2110F (CRN 24936).
  • Japanese Religion and Thought: The Long Nineteenth-Century

    Study of Japanese religious and intellectual life during the late Tokugawa and early Meiji periods, when Japan made its dramatic transition into the modern era. Consideration of late Tokugawa phenomena such as mass pilgrimage, the rise of new religious groups, the popularization of National Learning, and the influence of Neo-Confucian thought; and of early Meiji trends, including the “separation of gods and buddhas,” State Shinto, and the impact of Christianity. Readings from primary texts in English translation and in Japanese and/or Chinese, depending on enrolled participants; and selected secondary interpretations.
    RELS 2350B S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • 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
    Bialek
    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