Courses for Fall 2016

  • Sacred Stories

    Ancient narrative imagination and the formation of western culture. Foundational religious stories underlie culture in all of its expressions, whether literary, aesthetic, philosophical, or political. This course with examine narrativity - the telling of stories, the growth of legends or "myths" - as a means for construction and maintenance of religious identity, community, and world view in western history. Creation, fall, redemption; heroes and heroines, saints and sinners, the demonized Religious Other; saviors, apocalypse, heaven and hell. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim materials. DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 0015 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Buddhism and Death

    Death is universal but seldom discussed in contemporary culture. In this class we will address how the varieties of Buddhist religion represent and understand dying, death, and the afterlife. Using images, films, and texts, we will ask, How should we die? How does death influence the living? Is there an afterlife? What should be done with dead bodies? The class will move between theories and practices, and past and current events. Coming to terms with these diverse materials may reveal to us some of our own assumptions about death, dying, and the afterlife. LILE WRIT
  • 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 Gone Wild: Spirituality and the Environment

    A study of the dynamic relation between religion and nature. Religion, in this course, includes forms of spirituality within and outside the bounds of conventional religious traditions (for example, Buddhism and Christianity, on the one hand; ecofeminism and nature writing on the other). Topics in this study of religion, philosophy, and ecology will include environmental justice, environmental degradation, and depictions of humans in relation to the natural world. Enrollment limited to 20. LILE DPLL
    RELS 0260 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
  • Women, Slaves, and Sin: Paul and the Creation of Christianity

    How did the concept of sin develop? At its core, is Christianity tolerant or intolerant, divisive or inclusive, gender-equal or misogynistic? This course will address these questions through an investigation of the New Testament’s most prominent figure, the Apostle Paul, and his contributions to the development of Christianity. By critically reading Paul’s letters and examining how they were received historically, students will uncover the various social and religious factors that shaped Christianity and literature. In doing so the course will discuss how Christian concepts of morality, ritual, and belief developed, allowing us to reconstruct experiences of the earliest Christian churches. DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 0406 S01
    Primary Instructor
    DesRosiers
  • The World of Byzantium (CLAS 0660)

  • The Theory and Practice of Buddhist Meditation

    Examines the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation in historical and modern contexts. Traces this practice from its origins in 6th-century B.C.E. India to its transmission through Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and on to modern insight meditation movements in the West. Students will examine selected textual sources and explore how Buddhist meditation is practiced today, both as an individual practice and as part of broader social institutions. Additional weekly meditation lab section.
    RELS 0500 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Davis
    RELS 0500 L01
    Primary Instructor
    Davis
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • Death and the Afterlife in the Ancient World

    What do Jews, Christians, and Muslims share when it comes to thinking about life after death? Where do they differ, and why? What is the history of heaven and hell, and how much of what we think about them today was shaped long ago? This course explores death and afterlife from its ancient Near Eastern and Classical roots to the development of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim conceptions of what it means to die and what happens after.
    RELS 0750 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Tobolowsky
  • Religion, Reason, and Ethics from Kant to Nietzsche

    The nineteenth century witnessed revolutionary transformations in thinking about the power and limits of human reason, the relation between reason and religion, revelation, the role of humanity in creating religion, morality and religion, the significance of history, and the plurality of religions. This course examines major thinkers from this period who continue to shape our own assumptions and reflection. WRIT LILE
    RELS 0830 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
  • Jews and Money (JUDS 0683)

  • Methods in Religious Studies

    Intensive introduction to classical and contemporary theories of religion and the principal methods for the study of religion. Junior seminar for religious studies concentrators. Enrollment limited to 25. WRIT LILE
    RELS 1000 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Nahme
  • Problems in Israelite Religion and Ancient Judaism (JUDS 1625)

  • The Talmud (JUDS 1630)

  • Religious Japan

    An introduction to the history of Japanese religion in the early and medieval periods, with some attention to related modern and contemporary manifestations. Emphasis on the development of both native practices ("Shinto") and Buddhism, and on the historical interaction between them. Readings include primary texts in translation and selected modern interpretations. A previous course in Asian religion or culture is recommended but not required. LILE
    RELS 1190 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • The Virgin Mary in Christian Tradition

    A study in the developing theological and devotional traditions regarding Mary the Mother of Jesus. Focused on the first thousand years of Christian history. Major theological positions; relationship to pre-existing religious practices and goddess traditions; the role of popular violence in the emergence of Marian doctrine; imperial Marian piety; Marian relics; Mary as cultural metaphor. WRIT
    RELS 1325C S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Heidegger, the Jews, and the Crisis of Liberalism (JUDS 1614)

  • Buddhist Classics

    An opportunity to read and understand the canonical texts of East Asian Buddhism. Through close reading, written analysis, and discussion, participants will become conversant with the major Mahayana Buddhist teachings in their original scriptural or literary articulations. Selected later interpretations may also be considered. All readings are in English translation. Previous study of Buddhism is recommended, but not required. Enrollment limited to 20 students. WRIT LILE
    RELS 1430 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • The History, Philosophy, and Practice of Rinzai Zen Buddhism

    Follows Rinzai Zen Buddhism from origins in India to developments in China to its transmission to Japan and eventual transplanting to the West. Course will examine the nature of cultural and historical influences on the practices and adaptations through the Asian and American contexts, including the secular pedagogy of Contemplative Studies. This is a 2016 GELT course. This course has an experiential learning component that includes travel to Japan for on-site learning. Students admitted to thecourse must be able to travel to Japan in January of 2017. Permission of instructor required. Enrollment limit: 10. Priority Given To: Students with declared Contemplative Studies or Religious Studies or East Asian Studies Concentration and who have taken three of the following courses: RELS 0040, RELS 0290E, RELS 0500, RELS 0520; UNIV 0090, UNIV 0456, UNIV 0540, UNIV 1000, UNIV 1950; prior coursework in Buddhism or Japanese Religions at Brown will also be considered. Additional weekly meditation lab section.
    RELS 1442 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    RELS 1442 L01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • Cruelty in Philosophy and Literature

    Cruelty takes pleasure in inflicting injury. What could be more evil than that? Indeed, some political philosophers have thought that a liberal state’s most pressing duty is to protect citizens from the risk of cruelty. On the other hand, some philosophers and artists have contended that cruelty—or something like it in strength of resolve—is necessary for creative innovation. And others insist that we have to acknowledge that cruelty is an ineradicable feature of human existence. This course will explore cruelty and its opposites—empathy and care—in philosophical and literary works. DPLL LILE
    RELS 1825 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • 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
  • 1 and 2 Kings

    Translation and exegesis of Kings. Intended for those with advanced Hebrew.
    RELS 2100C S01
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
  • Readings in Christian Ethics and Thought

    This course covers a number of recent influential texts in Christian thought and Christian ethics, with some attention to their historical precursors. Texts may include Kevin Hector, The Theological Project of Modernism; Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self; J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account, John Milbank, Beyond Secular Order, and selections from Karl Barth and post-liberal theology.
    RELS 2600P S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • 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