Courses for Fall 2017

  • Introduction to the New Testament

    The New Testament, the product of a Jewish social movement two thousand years ago, remains one of the most interesting and important collections of texts in history. This course explores the origins of these texts in their social context, and through close readings, the development of the various theologies contained within them. Comparisons will also be made to ancient Jewish, Greek, and Roman texts and the non-canonical Christian texts that were contemporary with the New Testament. In addition, the modern appropriation of the “Jesus paradigm” in film and pop culture will be discussed. WRIT
    RELS 0022 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Wills
  • Sound, Song and Salvation in South Asia

    Sound, Song and Salvation in South Asia explores both the theoretical formulations and the performative expressions that constitute the inextricable nexus of sound, music and religious practice in South Asia. By investigating fundamental concepts such as nāda, rāga, bhakti and rasa, this course historicizes the ongoing discourse on the soteriological underpinnings of several genres of South Asian music from Vedic chanting to Hindustani and Carnatic music traditions. DPLL
    RELS 0030 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Reddy
  • Great Contemplative Traditions of Asia

    Introduction to the critical study of contemplative practices and experiences emphasizing philosophical and scientific analyses of works from the major Asian contemplative traditions of South and East Asian Buddhism and Chinese Daoism in historical context. Theoretical studies of mysticism and studies from the psychological sciences will be included. Additional weekly meditation lab section.
    RELS 0040 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    RELS 0040 L01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • 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. WRIT
    RELS 0045 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
  • Love: The Concept and Practice

    A study of love (in classical and modern texts and in film) that provides a window into a host of religious, philosophical, and ethical issues. Topics include the potential conflict between divine and human love, between transcendent and earthly love, and the nature of friendship, romance, marriage, and love at the crossroads. Although the scope is love in the West, the Kamasutra and other texts furnish a comparative component.
    RELS 0050 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
  • Blues People:Topics in African American Religion and Culture

    African American religious practices and cultural expressions have been a significant force in American culture and a sustaining force for African-Americans. Some have argued there is nothing distinctive about African-American cultures, others contend that African American religion is merely a response and a regurgitation of European forms of Christianity, while others have erected strict boundaries about what does and does not constitute black culture and religion. This introductory course will investigate what constitutes African American religion and culture, the social and political impact of African American religion and culture, and their relationship, among other things. DPLL
    RELS 0075 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • Japan: Nature, Ritual and the Arts

    This course is an introduction to Japanese cultural and aesthetic traditions as represented in literature, the fine arts, gardening, tea practice, and selected martial arts. Readings include translations of classic Japanese works of literature and aesthetic theory, as well as modern interpretive and historical scholarship. Audiovisual materials are used to supplement the readings whenever feasible. Students who have no previous exposure to Japanese studies are welcome; there are no prerequisites. The format of the course is a combination of lecture and discussion. DPLL
    RELS 0080 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

    A survey of the history and major beliefs and rituals of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with special attention to issues of contemporary concern. Will serve also to introduce basic methods for studying religion in an academic context. DPLL
    RELS 0088 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
  • Christmas in America

    This course explores how Christmas became a religious, consumer, and social extravaganza. Every year, many Americans devote several months to preparing for and recovering from Christmas. Most participate as Christians, but others participate despite other religious identities. Yet Christmas has not always loomed so large. Through encounters with such phenomena as sacred stories, consumer practices, and legal controversies, this course invites students to ask how and why Christmas became an important event. By the end of the course, students not only will recognize how religion and culture take shape together but also will appreciate how popular practices develop. FYS WRIT
    RELS 0090K S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • Pilgrimage and Quest

    An exploration of pilgrimage broadly conceived, encompassing devotional visits to revered sites, personal travel quests, and literary or imagined journeys. Emphasis on the ritual dimension of specific pilgrimages across cultures, as well as the transformative effects of the travel process itself. Some consideration of relations between pilgrimage and tourism. Materials include historical and anthropological records as well as biographical, fictionalized, and poetic accounts. FYS
    RELS 0090L S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • Gender in Early Jewish and Christian Narratives

    Many of the favorite narratives of Jews and Christians in the ancient period (for this course, about 400 BCE to 300 CE) featured women characters or emphasized issues of gender: Esther, Judith, and Susanna; Mary Magdalene and other gospel women, or Thecla, the perhaps legendary companion of Paul. Both Jewish and Christian texts used gender to explore new ways of constructing heroic women and men that either re-inscribed or challenged traditional roles. This seminar takes up a close reading of narrative texts, compared also with wisdom texts (Proverbs, Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, Avot). DPLL
    RELS 0195 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Wills
  • The Ten Commandments (JUDS 0686)

  • Ancient Christian Culture

    How did the Jesus movement that originated in a backwater of the Roman Empire become the Empire’s dominant religion? What was it like to be a Christian in a world full of religions, cults and philosophical traditions, and of diverse social and cultural identities? An introduction to the history of early Christianity, and to the ancient Christian culture through the exploration of selected topics by means of textual, material and epigraphic evidence. Multiple Christianities; literacy and orality; visual culture; the episcopal authority; wealth and poverty; asceticism and monasticism; hagiography and the cult of saints; sacred landscape and pilgrimage; women, gender; burial.
    RELS 0415 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Ivanisevic
  • Radical Islam (?)

    One of the most controversial issues in contemporary political discourse is the question of radicalization and its relationship to Islamic religion and practice. In this course, we will explore the phenomenon of religious radicalization, and explore its relationship to a number of institutions and issues, including but not limited to: religious texts, terrorism, global politics, war, immigration, nationalism, and law. DPLL WRIT
    RELS 0600C S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • Race, Religion, and the Secular (JUDS 0603)

  • 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
    RELS 1000 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Nahme
  • Bibical History: What Really Happened? (JUDS 1635)

  • Roman Religion (CLAS 1410)

  • Classical Philosophy of India (CLAS 1140)

  • 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
    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
    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
  • Theory of Religion

    Critical examination of major approaches to the study of religion, especially those of the anthropology and the history of religions, with attention to issues in current debate.
    RELS 2000 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
  • 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
  • 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
  • Stories of the Prophets in Medieval Islamic Literature

    In this graduate level seminar we will learn about the literary genre "Stories of the Prophets" and its relationship to biography and historiography in the Classical period of Islamic thought. We will also explore the relevant secondary literature. Reading knowledge of Classical Arabic and prior coursework in Islamic Studies required.
    RELS 2400J S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • Seminar: Afro-Theism

    This graduate seminar places a theological lens on Black life in North America. Its premise is that Afro-Theisms, not the institutional "Black Church" or Black prophetic religion, have been seminal to the self-conception of Black people and their way of constituting racial "others". Different theistic emphasis at different historical moments demonstrates both the importance and fluidity of Afro-Theisms and sheds unique light on quest for equity and self-actualization. Starting with the conventional Christian theologies into which New World Africans under slave conditions were indoctrinated, this course will explore the role and impact of Afro-Theisms.
    RELS 2600L S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • Historiography of Islam

    A critical appraisal of the field of Islamic history in light of issues in contemporary philosophy of history. We will discuss various ways in which ‘Islam’ has been imagined as an object of historical description and analysis. Topics include: historical thought generated by Muslims; relationship between historical projection and religious ideology; impact of contingent factors such as Mongol domination and modern colonialism; Orientalist views of the Islamic past; significance of narrative patterns, poetry, and modern historical fiction; and contemporary academic and popular trends. Intended for graduate students, with time devoted to materials in original languages (Arabic, Persian, and/or Urdu).
    RELS 2700 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bashir
  • 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