Fall 2002

Undergraduate Courses

RELG 101 Introduction to Western Religions

Heather Warren

An historical survey of the origins and development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Subjects include the origins of monotheism, the rise of Israel as a nation, early Christianity, the rise of Islam in the Middle Ages, the Protestant Reformation, Christianity during the Enlightenment, and the influence of modern science and industrialism on 19th and 20th century religious life. Requirements: Weekly readings, a mid-term, and a final.

RELB 101 Literary and Spoken Tibetan I (First Year Tibetan)

Eric Woelfel

This course offers an introduction to literary and spoken Tibetan and is designed with special attention to undergraduates. Students will study classical and modern grammar systematically with examples drawn from a wide variety of literature, and with a native speaker use new digital instructional materials to develop proficiency in spoken Tibetan. This sequence of courses can count towards fulfilling the University requirement of two years of foreign language study. Prerequisites: Tibetan I. Requirements: Class attendance and participation, three exams, four translation assignments.

RELG 104 Introduction to Eastern Religions

(This course has been canceled)

RELJ 111 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew

Don Polaski

This course and its sequel (RELJ 112) will introduce students to the basics of Biblical Hebrew vocabulary and grammar, for the express purpose of reading the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in its original language. An inductive approach, employing biblical verses to illustrate grammatical points, will allow exposure to the canonical writings themselves from the start. Midway through the semester, we will begin reading longer prose passages directly from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. There will also be discussion of important Hebrew terms and concepts from the biblical readings.

RELC 121 Old Testament/ Hebrew Scriptures / RELJ 121 Old Testament/ Hebrew Scriptures

Don Polaski

Year after year, the Bible continues to be a best-seller world-wide, not only because of the insights into Ancient Near Eastern religion and culture that it offers, but even more importantly because it holds a fundamental place within Judaism and Christianity, as well as the larger cultures affected by these religions. This course introduces students to the literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures, both in its original historical and cultural contexts and in the history of its reception as sacred scripture. It covers the major historical phases of the religion and institutions of ancient Israel and explores the diverse literary genres and religious perspectives found in the biblical corpus. Discussion of important themes (for example, the exodus from Egypt) incorporates material from the Ancient Near East and later Jewish and Christian interpretations.

RELJ 203 Judaic Tradition

Vanessa Ochs

In this introduction to Jewish religion, we learn that the word TRADITION, ever important in Judaism, has many meanings. Moreover, we learn that there is not one single Jewish tradition. Rather, Judaism is characterized by a whole range of practices, beliefs, attitudes and sacred texts which have changed dramatically through the ages and which continue to change. The goal of this course is to understand the role of tradition in Judaism and to study Jewish traditions which are alive today. Areas of study include: central Jewish beliefs, sacred text study, Jewish prayer, holy day practices, and rites of passage (birth and death). In order to deepen our understanding of the range of Jewish traditions, we see a variety of films, consider Jewish websites, and "do Jewish" that's is, we attend places where Judaism is being lived, and try our hand creating a Jewish food or object.

RELC 205 History of Christianity I

Robert Wilken

How did Christianity evolve from a small Jewish sect in Palestine into a church that embraced the Mediterranean world, Europe, the middle East, Byzantium and the Slavic peoples? How did the teachings of Jesus and the events of his life become the foundation for a complex system of belief (e.g. Trinity), ethics (e.g. marriage), worship? What was the origin and development of Christian institutions and practices, e.g. bishops and clergy, the papacy, monasticism, Baptism, Communion, et al. How did the Bible take its present form? How was this faith understood and explained in rational terms? These are the broader questions addressed in a survey of the first thousand years of Christian history.

RELI 207 Classical Islam

Aziz Sachedina

A historical and topical survey of the origins and development of Islamic religion. Special attention will be given to the life and career of the Prophet Muhammad, the teachings of the Qur'an, the development of the Muslim community and its principal institutions, theological and legal schools, philosophical and mystical developments, to about 1300 A.D. Readings will include the following: M. G. S. Hodgson, Venture of Islam, Volume I; Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur'an; John Renard, Seven Doors to Islam Course Requirements: Hour Test and Final Examination. Two short papers on selected topics (4-5 pages). Participation in a field trip to the Islamic Center in Washington DC and the Freer Gallery of Art.

RELB 210 Introduction to Buddhism

Karen Lang

This course will introduce the beliefs and practices of Buddhism, beginning with its origins in India, its spread throughout Asia, and culminating in its emergence in the West. Classical texts on the nature of enlightenment and the practice of meditation will be examined, as well as the views of contemporary Buddhist teachers on the challenges Buddhism faces in the modern world. Fulfills: Non-Western Perspectives Requirements. Prerequisites: none. Requirements: weekly readings, active participation in discussion section, two hourly examinations and one take home examination.

RELH 211 Popular Hinduism

Jeffrey Lidke

This course explores the diversity and richness of a multiplicity of contemporary Hindu traditions, ranging from Brahmanical ritual practice to various forms of lower-caste religiosity. There is no single Hinduism, and yet there are ideas, practices, and a variety of complex socio-economic relationships that interconnect Hindus across time and place. Seeking to both clarify and complexify our understanding of what it means to be a Hindu in the modern worldof which there are over one-billionwe will turn to a number of sources, including primary texts, ethnographic accounts, films, archival data, videos, music recordings, and performances.

RELB 213 Taoism and Confucianism

Paul Groner

This course focuses on native Chinese religious traditions and is divided into three distinct parts. In the first, some of the classical Chinese texts that determine the parameters of religious discourse are examined. Among them are the Analects, Mencius, Tao te ching, and Chuang tzu. In the second part, we will explore the teachings and practices of religious Taoism. Among the topics discussed are the quest for physical immortality, Taoist views of the body and its relation to cosmology, Taoist religious organizations, and millenarian rebellions. In the final section of the course, popular Chinese religion will be discussed. Among the topics surveyed will be ancestor worship, the roles of gods and ghosts, and spirit possession. Three examinations.

GREE 223 New Testament Greek (Intermediate Greek)

Judith Kovacs

The aims of this course are to solidify your knowledge of Hellenistic Greek grammar and vocabulary and to gain speed and proficiency in reading and translating the Greek New Testament. We will read passages from I Corinthians and Romans, as well as some passages from the Acts of the Apostles. We will also consider some of the principles of New Testament textual criticism. Prerequisite: Greek 101-102 or permission of the instructor. Graduate students should consult instructor about registration.(Course may count toward the Religious Studies major)

RELG 229 Business Ethics

(This course has been canceled)

RELC 233 History of Christian Ethics

Margaret Mohrmann

This course will survey the development of Christian ethical thought and teaching from its beginnings through the Reformation era. Major ethical themes will be traced through the centuries, as the church's scripture, evolving doctrine, and emerging tradition interact - in thought, word, and deed - with secular society, politics, and philosophy. Readings will be taken mostly from primary texts, such as the Bible and the writings of selected Christian thinkers, but will also include relevant historical and ethical analyses of the developing church and its social milieu. Each class session will include lecture and discussion.

RELC 236 Elements of Christian Thought

Willis Jenkins

Everything you always wanted to know about Christianity but were afraid to ask. This course investigates the overall coherence of Christianity considering such critical questions as the following: How do we study Christianity in Religious Studies? How do human beings search for God? How do Christians say God searches for human beings? Does God make choices (predestination)? Who is in control of salvation (grace and free will)? What is the trinity about? How do Christians explain how Jesus saves? How does Christianity relate to Judaism? Why does a good and almighty God permit evil? What is the body for? What is salvation, anyway? Readings are arranged topically and come from the greatest hits of the Christian tradition and present rival views on most questions. Authors include Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, and secular thinkers, such as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Jefferson, C.S. Lewis, and Karl Barth. Requirements: There are two options, both of which require regular participation in a class newsgroup. The exam version requires two non-cumulative tests. The writing version, which fulfills the Second Writing Requirement, requires two papers and no tests.

RELC 240 History of American Catholicism (cross listed with HIEU 240)

Gerald Fogarty

The election of John Kennedy signified, on one level, the acceptance of Catholics as Americans. The document of religious liberty of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) seemed to ratify what had long been a cherished American Catholic tradition. Proving to be loyal to the Catholicism of Rome and the democracy of the United States had been the dilemma of American Catholics. To understand this dilemma, the course will treat the following themes: the early Spanish and French settlements; the beginning of English-speaking Catholicism in Maryland; the establishment of the hierarchy under John Carroll and its early development; immigration and nativism; American Catholic support of religious liberty and conflict with the Vatican at the end of the 19th century; and the American Catholic contribution to Vatican II (1962-1965).

RELB 252 Tibetan Buddhist Psychology

Derek Maher

An introduction to Buddhist psychology, this course will explore (1) the nature and functions of the mind and (2) various methods for transforming mundane awareness. We will investigate coarser and subtler levels of consciousness evidenced in the process of dissolution at death and creative imagination in deity yoga as a technique to embody and enact socially beneficial attitudes and to confront the dreadful. Moreover, we will examine different strategies for overcoming the corrosive effects of afflictive emotions, taking anger and its antidote patience as a paradigm. Finally, we will inquire into the transformative process of tantric initiation.

RELB 254 Tibetan Buddhist Culture

William Gorvine

This course surveys Tibetan Buddhist religious culture in terms of its history, biographical traditions, religious communities, cultural patterns, ritual life, contemplative traditions, and philosophical discourses. The focus will be on how tantric Buddhism has historically functioned in Tibet to relate these different dimensions together as an identifiable cultural zone of vast geographical terrain, despite never achieving any form of political unity. These range from controversies over antinomian practices pertaining to sexuality and violence, to Tibet¹s religo-political solution to tantra¹s decentralized paradigm of religious leaders understood to be Buddhas with local mandalas of absolute authority. We will look into the rise of the institution of reincarnate lamas that culminated in the Dalai Lama, and address the theory that Tibet¹s lack of centralization led to the importance of so-called "shamanic" trends of Buddhism. Finally we will also examine at great depth Tibetan innovations in Buddhist philosophy, ritual and yoga.

RELJ 256 Sources of the Jewish Tradition

Elizabeth Alexander

An introduction to the central works of the Jewish canon. We will consider such questions as: why are these books important? what religious sensibilities do they perpetuate? what is the relationship between them? what strategies of reading can help us grasp their basic meanings? and how do Jews read them? Using the classical sources to acquaint ourselves with fundamental themes and rituals in the Jewish tradition, we will be especially interested in how practices of reading are incorporated to and contribute to the growth of the religion. Readings will be taken from the scriptural, exegetical and mystical traditions including Torah, Midrash, Mishnah, Talmud, Zohar, medieval biblical commentaries (parshanut).

RELG 264 War, Justice and Human Rights

Jim Childress

RELG 265 Theology Ethics & Medicine

Jim Childress

An analysis of the ethical principles that should undergird decisions in science, medicine, and health care. The lectures readings, and discussions will focus on ethical principles developed within different ethical traditions (such as Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Humanism) and on their implications for cases in abortion, death and dying, research involving human subjects, artificial reproduction, genetic engineering, cloning, and allocating resources. Several films, videotapes, and cases will be used. Requirements: Midterm, final examination, 4 brief papers (2 pages) and participation in discussion.

RELA 274 New Movements in African Religions

Isabel Mukonyora

Through the study of new religious movements, we learn about the growth of the so called 'independent churches' in Africa resulting from the encounter between 'western' cultures supported by Christianity during the colonial era and African cultures under girded by religious traditions that are distinctively African. Ethiopianism, Zionism and nowadays, a new wave of Pentecostal Christianity are terms that scholars have used to describe the phenomenon called new religious movements in Africa. This courses is intended to deepen our understanding of each of these developments with the historical-theological and political questions that explain the emergence of these groups providing students with a lot to discuss as part of classroom work.

RELA 276 African Religions in the Americas

Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton

This course explores the African religious heritage of the Americas. We will concentrate on African-derived religions in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as Cuban Santeria, Brazilian Candomblé, Haitian Vodou, and the Jamaican Rastafari movement. North American slave religion, the black church, and African-American Islam will also be considered. We will seek to identify their shared religio-cultural "core" while developing an appreciation for the distinctive characteristics and historical contexts of each "New World" tradition. We will address topics such as ideas of God and Spirit; the significance of ritual sacrifice, divination, and initiation; the centrality of trance, ecstatic experience and mediumship; and the role of religion in the struggle for liberation and social justice. Final, Midterm, periodic quizzes on the readings, participation in discussion.

RELG 280 African American Religious History

Greg Hite

This course will survey the origin and development of African American religion in the United States. Centered on essential questions regarding the nature of black faith and the role religious institutions have played in black life, the course will explore the critical relationship between African American religion and African American cultural forms. We will address a number of themes, including: the connection between "the black church" and black political thought; race, gender, and religion; and Black Theology. We will also trace the development of African American religion in various historical contexts, particularly slavery (emphasis on Virginia), the Great Migration, and the Civil Rights era. Although this course will focus primarily on African American Protestantism, careful attention will be given to black Catholicism and the Nation of Islam.

RELC 303 Historical Jesus / RELJ 303 Historical Jesus

Harry Gamble

This course focuses on Jesus of Nazereth as an historical figure, that is, as he is accessible to the historian by means of historical methods applied to historical evidence. Careful attention will be given to all the potentially useful sources including the canonical Gospels, apocryphal Gospels, and Jewish and Graeco-Roman sources, as well as to the problems of dealing with them. A reconstruction of the activity and teaching of Jesus will be attempted, with a view to determining Jesus' place within ancient Judaism and the relation of Jesus to the emergence of Christianity.

RELB 306 Chinese Buddhism

Paul Groner

This course explores how Confucian and Daoism influenced Indian Buddhism in ways that led to uniquely Chinese forms of religion. Among the topics we will consider are the process of translating texts across cultures, the production of apocryphal scriptures, the emergence of new forms of meditation and scriptural exegesis, and the reform of Buddhism in the twentieth century. Readings will include both secondary and primary sources, such as autobiographies and Zen records. No prerequisites. Two examinations and one paper

RELB 318 Tibetan Wisdom

Derek Maher

In this course, we will examine Buddhist presentations of the true nature of reality, i.e., selflessness or emptiness. We will begin by investigating the historical development of various interpretive traditions of Buddhist philosophy in India. With that as our foundation, we will explore the ways in which these schools were received in Tibet and how they were interpreted there. Finally, we will concentrate on the mature Tibetan tenet texts which. systematize the purported four Indian schools of Buddhism. In addition to comparing the final views on reality of the respective schools, we will investigate how each describes the spiritual path and the acquisition of spiritual knowledge.

RELC 326 Reformation Europe (cross listed with HIEU 323)

Anne Schutte

In this course we examine developments in Western Europe from the late Middle Ages through the many forms of religious reorientation that emerged in the sixteenth century to the end of what some historians have called "the iron century." The approach is to some extent selective and topical: we will pay closer attention to religion, society, and culture than to dynastic politics and military conflicts per se. In addition to a textbook, DeLamar Jensen's Reformation Europe (2nd ed.), readings include abundant primary sources of all sorts and several fascinating short studies of individual participants in the events of this era. By early April a tentative reading list will be posted outside Randall 110. Structure: lecture with frequent discussion. Reading: about 175 pages per week. Writing: two medium-length papers; a midterm and a final examination.

RELG 334 Dante, Religion and Culture

Alison Milbank

This course offers first, a close reading (in translation) of Dante's epic poem, 'The Divine Comedy' with some of his other work and secondly, a study of its status as a cultural event in its own time and today. Part of the reason for Dante's extended 'afterlife' lies in the unique way in which his writing brings together and questions dualities such as sacred and secular, history and myth, and religion and culture. We shall attend to these themes both by re-embedding the poem in its original context, but also by examining responses to Dante in recent film, poetry and theology. Two papers and a final examination.

RELJ 339 Jewish Feminism

Vanessa Ochs

From ancient times to our own day, Jewish women have engaged with Jewish tradition, texts and practices appropriating, resisting and transforming it. In this course, we will study the strategies by which contemporary women in Judaism continue to create the conditions for increased spiritual, scholarly and social empowerment. As we study the major works and issues in contemporary feminism from the mid-1960's to the present, noting how Jewish feminists and feminist scholars of Judaism have defined and legitimized the study of Jewish women's experience, we will trace the impact of Jewish feminism on Jewish ritual, text study, communal leadership, and theology.

RELC 342 The Christian Vision of Hell

Charels Mathewes

This class will investigate the various ways in which Christians have imagined Hell: the idea of the place (or condition) of final and possibly endless torment meted out to those who were not redeemed by God from their sin. We will investigate the idea of Hell from a variety of positions (including those who argue for and against the idea of Hell, and those who argue for an empty Hell) and using a variety of genres (including biblical texts, philosophical and theological treatments, and literary works). The ultimate aim of the course will be to see what such a study illuminates for us concerning the meaning of (1) punishment, (2) time, and (3) the nature of--and relation between--divine love and divine justice in Christian thought. 15 students max, at least one class in RELC/RELG and permission of instructor required.

RELG 345 The Passions

John Portmann

Analysis of how what we feel colors what we know. Exploration of the power of emotions, particularly as they drive or respond to moral decisions. Study of love, jealousy, envy, boredom, anger, fear, pride, regret, guilt, shame, grief, and joy. Reflection on the philosophy of emotions as it develops in Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Freud, Ben-Ze'ev, and Nussbaum. Requirements: regular participation in class; ten-page paper; final exam. Preference given to fourth-year students.

RELG 349 God and the Gothic

Alison Milbank

Goya wrote that the sleep of reason produces monsters. Paradoxically, the rise of the Gothic novel is coterminous with the massive challenge of the Enlightenment to the claims of religious truth. In this course we shall study a range of stories of murder, partriarchal tyranny and demonic possession that engage with this theological crisis. Topics addressed will include the status of evil, the reality of the supernatural, and the nature of truth. Our texts will include Anne Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest, Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, James Hogg’s Memories and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, extracts from Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer and tales by Hoffman and Goethe. Two papers and a final examination. A follow-up course, Victorian Gothic, will be offered in the spring.

RELJ 352 Responses to the Holocaust

(This course has been canceled)

RELG 356 In Defense of Sin

John Portmann

Exploration of transgression in Judaism and Christianity with a focus on the Ten Commandments and the seven deadly sins. Reflection on "Divine Command Theory" and the questions of who determines what is sinful and why. Close readings of texts challenging the wrongness of acts and attitudes long considered sinful with critical attention to the persuasiveness of religious rules. Requirements: Three-hour final and ten-page paper, along with regular class participation.

RELC 358 The Christian Vision in Literature

William Wilson

A study of selected classics in Christian imaginative literature. Readings will come from the Bible, Dante's Divine Comedy, and several modern authors such as Andrew Lytle, William Faulkner and Flannery O'Conner. Requirements: Three one-hour tests.

RELG 360 Religion and Drama

Larry Bouchard

Are there connections among theater, ritual, myth and portrayal of the self and its moral and political communities? What differences do such relations make in our enjoyment, understanding, and criticism of drama? This course explores such questions. We will discuss some plays with explicitly religious themes or historical subjects (as in Greek theater, medieval Christian drama, Denys Arcand's film Jesus of Montreal, S. Ansky's play The Dybbuk, and Wole Soyinka's uses of African and European theatrical traditions). We will also read more ostensibly secular plays that nonetheless implicitly pursue religious and moral issues (as do, for example, plays by Bertholt Brecht, Peter Shaffer, and Caryl Churchill). Models of ritual communication and transformation, and their applications to drama, will also be examined. Two special tasks will guide us: We will try to identify acts of interpretation (and misinterpretation) taking place between characters in plays, as well as between performance and audience. We will also explore how theater dramatizes questions of "integrity, " both as a moral quality of actions and as dynamic relationship among persons and their communities. Some lectures, much discussion, perhaps play attendance. Requirements: Regular class attendance and participation; two essay exams and one paper; or three short papers for students wishing to complete the second writing requirement

RELC 378 Medieval Heresy

Augustine Thompson

Students in this seminar will read and discuss the sources for Christian dissenting movements during the period 1000-1400. Focus will be on "popular" heresies: Cathars, Waldensians, Joachites, Fraticelli, Dolcinites, Free Spirits, witches etc. We shall also examine who Orthodoxy responded to dissent: persuasion, coercion, repression, and inquisition. All students will do weekly oral reports of about 10 minutes; written work will consist of a 20 page research paper based on original sources. Graduate students are encouraged to work on sources in original languages.

RELG 387 Religion and Sexuality

Catherine Griffith (Sherman)

This course will examine sexuality in the context of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For each tradition, we will cover four basic areas: (1) perspectives on sexuality and the body in foundational texts, (2) teachings about marriage, (3) sexuality topics particular to each tradition, and (4) homosexuality as a test case. Requirements will include class participation, response papers and a final project. This course meets the Second Writing Requirement

RELA 389 Christianity in Africa / RELC 389 Christianity in Africa

Isabel Mukonyora

The aim of this course is to shed light on various ways that African Christians have adapted Christianity to their history. With with the idea of Africa as a big continent whose history changes over the centuries, the course begins with examples of how Africans adapted to Hellenism during the Early Church and developed also a tradition of Christianity associated with the Coptic Church in Egypt and Ethiopia. The age of European Imperialism and the Post-colonial era today are also looked at in this attempt to show how Christianity has functioned as a catalyst for change over many generations. In case students wonder about measuring the importance of this course, let' us say that to know about African Christianity is to be aware of a significant part of the phenomenon called Two-Thirds World Christianity. Students will be assigned readings for leading discussions in class as a way of encouraging open dialogue about Christianity and other religions in the class room.

RELA 390 Islam in Africa / RELI 390 Islam in Africa

Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton

This course offers an historical and topical introduction to Islam in Africa. After a brief overview of the central features of the Muslim faith, our chronological survey begins with the introduction of Islam to North Africa in the 7th century. We will trace the transmission of Islam via traders, clerics, and jihads to West Africa. We shall consider the medieval Muslim kingdoms; the development of Islamic scholarship and the reform tradition; the growth of Sufi brotherhoods; and the impact of colonization and de-colonization upon Islam. Our overview of the history of Islam in East Africa will cover: the early Arab and Asian mercantile settlements; the flowering of classical Swahili courtly culture; the Omani sultanates and present-day Swahili society as well as recent "Islamist" movements in the Sudan and other parts of the East African interior. Readings and classroom discussions provide a more in-depth exploration of topics encountered in our historical survey. Through the use of ethnographical and literary materials, we will explore questions such as the translation and transmission of the Qur'an, indigenization and religious pluralism; the role of women in African Islam; and African Islamic spirituality. Midterm, final, short paper, participation in discussion.

RELC 391 Women and the Bible / RELJ 391 Women and the Bible

Judith Kovacs

This course provides a forum for exploring the intersection of gender issues and biblical studies. Much of the course focuses on the close interpretation of particular texts from the Bible. We will survey passages from the Hebrew Bible (=Torah/Old Testament) and the New Testament that focus on women or use feminine imagery, considering various readings of them, including traditional Jewish and Christian, historical-critical, and feminist interpretations. We will examine the evidence of the Bible on the position of women in Israel and in the early church and consider how biblical authors use feminine imagery to express their theology. Attention will also given to how later Jewish and Christian communities employ Scripture to shape and define women's social and religious roles. Topics treated will include the stories of creation and fall in Genesis 1-3, narratives with female protagonists (Sarah, Deborah, Hannah, Esther, Ruth, Judith, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman), the prophetic images of Israel as prostitute, wife, and pure daughter of Zion, the figure of Lady Wisdom in Proverbs, the erotic imagery of the Song of Songs, women in the circle of Jesus, Paul's views on women, and the use of feminine images to portray judgment and redemption in the Revelation to John. No prerequisite. Not for women only (men are especially encouraged to enroll). The course may be used to fulfill the second writing requirement.

RELJ 397 Jewish Worship and Theology

Peter Ochs

A detailed study of the traditional Jewish (rabbinic) morning prayer service: including close textual study of the prayers, historical study of their sources, and theological study of what they have meant and what they mean to us now. Comparisons with other Jewish prayer services (evening, sabbath) and with prayer in other religions. And work in some recent philosophic studies of scripture and prayer.

RELG 400 Majors Seminar: Death and the Afterlife

Ben Ray

Restricted to 3rd and 4th year Religious Studies Majors ONLY
The goal of this seminar is to develop an informed and critical perspective on the study of religion through the study of myths, rituals, and literature concerning death and afterlife. The seminar does not intend to make the case for any single definition of religion or to take a particular theological perspective on death, but rather to have participants develop critical skills necessary for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a number of scholarly approaches to the subject. Requirements: Six short papers, approximately one every other week. No mid-term and no final exam.

RELG 415 Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature

Ben Ray

Restricted to Majors in Religious Studies, History, and English
This seminar will explore the rich range of historical scholarship, literary fiction, and primary source materials relating to the witch trials of Salem Village in 1692. How and why did the accusations begin? How and why did they stop? Serious theories and wild speculations abound, both then and now. Who were the heroes and villains of this tragic episode? Some of the most gripping personal stories may be found in the primary sources and literary treatments. Explore the impact of this small-scale, 300 year-old event on the American cultural heritage -- why has "Salem witchcraft" become part of the American cultural imagination? In addition to a few classic historical studies, Boyer & Nissenbaum, SALEM POSSESSED, Carol Karleson, THE DEVIL IN THE SHAPE OF A WOMAN , and Rosenthal, SALEM STORY, and literary works, Hawthorne, HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES, Longfellow, GILES CORY OF SALEM FARMS, Miller's THE CRUCIBLE, the course will make extensive use of the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive http://etext.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft which contains all the original court documents and contemporary accounts.

RELG 422 American Religious Autobiography

Heather Warren

A multidisciplinary examination of religious self-perception in relation to the dominant values of American life. Readings represent a variety of spiritual traditions and autobiographical forms, among them Thomas Merton's The Sign of Jonas; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Charles Colson's Born Again; and Kathleen Norris' Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. Fulfills the majors seminar requirement. Prerequisites: Courses in religious studies, American history, or American literature. Requirements: Two short papers (5-7 pp. each) and an autobiography (20 pp.).

RELG 423 Bioethics Internship Seminar

Margaret Mohrmann

This course is designed to provide students with experience in discerning and analyzing ethical issues as they arise in particular clinical settings. Each student will spend one half-day each week in a clinic or other health-care-related setting (the same setting throughout the semester) under the mentorship of a health care professional engaged in that setting. Seminar time will focus both on the role of the ethicist/observer and on the particular issues that commonly arise in clinical medicine. During the second half of the semester, students will give presentations related to their specific areas of observation. Students are expected to have some background knowledge of bioethics methods and common questions. Admittance to the course is by application; for details, see the Undergraduate Bioethics Program Website at http://www.uva.edu/~bioethic/intern.htm.

RELG 434 Early Political Theology

John Milbank

RELS 495 Directed Readings Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Systematic readings in a selected topic under detailed supervision. Prerequisite: Permission of departmental advisor and instructor

RELS 495 Independent Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Systematic readings in a selected topic under detailed supervision. Prerequisite: Permission of departmental advisor and instructor

RELS 496 Distinguished Major Thesis

Instructor: Student's choice

Thesis, directed by a member of the department, focusing on a specific problem in the theoretical, historical or philosophical study of religion or a specific religious tradition. The thesis is based in part on at least three hours of directred reading in the field of the thesis. Prerequisite: Selection by faculty for Distinguished Major Program.

RELS 498 Senior Essay

Instructor: Student's choice

Studies selected topic in religious studies under detailed supervision. The writing of an essay constitutes a major portion of the work. Prerequisite: permission of deparmental advisor and instructor.

 

Graduate Courses

RELJ 505 Judaism in Antiquity

Elizabeth Alexander ( esa3p@virginia.edu )

A critical survey of the development of Judaism from Ezra to the Talmud (c. 450 BCE-600 CE). During this period "Jewishness" gradually began to emerge as a form of identity that was different from biblical Israel. We will consider the forces (Hellenism, the development of a diaspora community, the emergence of Christianity) that exerted pressure on the the growth and development of Judaism during this period, leading to this development. We will also examine the manifold ways in which Jewish identity manifested itself (apocalypticism, wisdom tradition, sectarianism and rabbinic Judaism). Finally, we will consider the question of how a normative form of Judaism, today known as Rabbinic Judaism, grew out of the variety of Jewish expressions that characterized the Second Temple period and eventually achieved hegemony.

RELG 507 Interpretation Theory

Larry Bouchard

We will explore various approaches to interpretation theory, with emphasis on the nature and problems of interpretive activity in aesthetics, religion, and ethics. We will take up hermeneutical considerations of figuralism (e.g. Erich Auerbach, Nathan Scott) truth and reference (e.g., Schleiermacher, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida), and reconsiderations of the hermeneutical model in such figures as Mikhail Bahktin and Martha Nussbaum. Requirements: Class participation of assigned materials, a midterm take-home examination, and either a paper, or final examination.

RELC 514 Calvin and Calvinism

Augustine Thompson

This graduate seminar will examine the works and influence of John Calvin (1509-1564) on Christian though during the Reformation and Post-Reformation period. Reading will include works by Calvin and his followers as well as by modern students of the Reform tradition. Every student will be expected to present a weekly oral report along with writing a substantial research paper. A reading knowledge of Latin and French would be useful but it is not expected.

RELC 520 Trinity and Holy Spirit (This course has been canceled)

RELB 526 Tibetan Mind Only (This course has been canceled)

RELJ 529 Seminar: Hebrew Bible: Torah

Don Polaski

RELC 530 Roman Catholic Moral Tradition

Charles Mathewes / Jim Childress

RELB 533 Colloquial Tibetan III

Soulong Wang

A continuation of the colloquial portion of Literary and Spoken Tibetan II, this course uses multimedia programs in Colloquial Tibetan to develop verbal fluency, acquire vocabulary, and master advanced topics in spoken Tibetan. Prerequisites: Tibetan II. Requirements: Class attendance, participation, preparation of programs outside of class, multiple exams and quizzes. This is a 2 credit course.

RELB 535 Literary Tibetan III

Eric Woelfel

A continuation of the literary portion of Literary and Spoken Tibetan II, this course is designed to expose students to a variety of styles/genres in Tibetan literature and advanced Tibetan grammar.
Prerequisites: Tibetan II. Requirements: Class attendance and participation, three exams, four translation assignments.

RELI 540 Islamic Theology: The Sunnite Creed

Aziz Sachedina

RELI 540 will concentrate on the development of Muslim Theology in general and the Sunnite creed in particular. It will primarily be a Mu`tazili-Ash`ari theological study, and secondarily Sunni-Shi`i doctrinal analysis. The course is basically concerned with the development of creeds in Islam, the gradual process of formulating Principles of Religion (usul al-din), and their crystallization in the form of dogmas, with theological complexities. Readings will include: A. J. Wensinck, The Muslim Creed; W. M. Watt, The Formative Period of Islamic Thought; H. A. Wolfson, The Philosophy of Kalam; G. F. Hourani, Islamic Rationalism; I. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, Vols. II; E. L. Ormsby, Theodicy in Islamic Thought. COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Active participation in the weekly sessions, Class reports, in the form of short papers, Two book reviews, Term paper on a topic to be selected in consultation with the instructor. N.B. Students taking this course should have a basic grounding in Islam, e.g. RELI 207.

RELB 542 Colloquial Tibetan V

Soulong Wang

A continuation of the Colloquial Tibetan IV, this course uses multimedia programs in Colloquial Tibetan to develop verbal fluency, acquire vocabulary, anhd master advanced topics in spoken Tibetan. This is a 2 credit course. Prerequisites: Tibetan IV. Requirements: Class attendance, participation, preparation of programs outside of class, multiple exams and quizzes.

RELB 543 Readings in Buddhist Sanskrit

David Drewes

Readings in selected Sanskrit Buddhist texts. Requirements: Two years of Sanskrit or instructor's permission.

RELB 547 Literary Tibetan V

David Germano

A continuation of the literary portion of Literary Tibetan IV, this course is designed for training in the literary forms of the Tibetan language. Emphasis is on exposure to a wide variety of styles/genres in Tibetan literature and in-depth knowledge of Tibetan grammar. Prerequisites: RELB 534 or equivalent. Requirements: Class attendance and participation, four exams, midterm, final, translation assignments.

RELB 550 Theravada Buddhism

Karen Lang

This course will explore the religious tradition of Theravada Buddhism (as practiced in Sri Lanka, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand). We will consider how past and present Theravadan Buddhists put Buddhist principles and practices into action and examine the variations in ethical orientations developed through Theravada Buddhist ideas. Undergraduates with one 200 level course on Buddhism welcome. Requirements: active class participation. Short weekly papers and two ten page papers.

RELC 551 Early Christian Thought

Robert Wilken

Graduate level introduction to the key persons, texts and ideas from the beginning of Christianity to the early Middle Ages. Persons to be considered: Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus the Confessor, et.al. Open to advanced undergraduates with permission of the instructor.

RELC 552 Themes in American Catholic History

Gerald Fogarty

The theme this semester will be anti-Catholicism in the U.S. Can Catholics really be American? Does Catholicism provide the crutch of all crutches for the weak minded as Governor Ventura has recently said? The course will trace anti-Catholic themes from the colonial period through the twentieth century, looking at such issues as legal restrictions on Catholics, the anti-Catholic political activity of the Know Nothings, Catholics and patriotism, the Al Smith and Kennedy campaigns, and the rise of Paul Blanshard in the 1950s

RELH 553 Hindu Philosophical Systems

Jeffrey Lidke

Through a careful reading of both primary and secondary sources this graduate-level seminar investigates the six classical systems of Indian philosophyNyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva-, and Uttara-Mimamsaand culminates with an investigation of their synthesis in the Pratyabhijna tradition of Kashmiri Shaivism, particularly in the Isvarapratyabhijna of Utpaladeva (ca. Tenth century). In the course of our collaborateive investigation we will seek to situate these traditions within their respective historical and to understand the way in which they developed through intensive debate and exchange not with each other but with their various "heterodox" competitors (nastika-vadins), particularly the Buddhists.

RELC 704 History of American Catholicism

Gerald Fogarty

The election of John Kennedy signified, on one level, the acceptance of Catholics as Americans. The document of religious liberty of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) seemed to ratify what had long been a cherished American Catholic tradition. Proving to be loyal to the Catholicism of Rome and the democracy of the United States had been the dilemma of American Catholics. To understand this dilemma, the course will treat the following themes: the early Spanish and French settlements; the beginning of English-speaking Catholicism in Maryland; the establishment of the hierarchy under John Carroll and its early development; immigration and nativism; American Catholic support of religious liberty and conflict with the Vatican at the end of the 19th century; and the American Catholic contribution to Vatican II (1962-1965).

RELG 705 On the Infinite: The Divine Mathematics

John Milbank / Peter Ochs

Where theology meets a kind of mathematics - where theological treatments of the Infinite as an attribute of God meet up with treatments of the infinite as a subject of philosophic, semiotic, and mathematical speculation. Among course readings will be selections from the following thinkers: Plato, Aristotle, Philo, Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, Crescas, Al-Ghazali, Grosseteste de Luce, Poinsot, Descartes, Poincare, Cantor, Peirce, Huntington, Levinas, G. Spencer Brown.

RELG 815 Religion, Culture and Public Life

James Hunter

RELB 820 Spoken Tibetan VII

David Germano

A continuation of the literary portion of Literary Tibetan VI, this course is designed for training in the literary forms of the Tibetan language. Emphasis is on exposure to a wide variety of styles/genres in Tibetan literature and in-depth knowledge of Tibetan grammar. Prerequisites: RELB 548 or equivalent. Requirements: Class attendance and participation, four exams, midterm, final, translation assignments.

RELB 823 Advanced Literary and Spoken Tibetan (This course has been canceled)

RELB 826 Advanced Topics in Literary Tibetan

David Germano

Directed readings in Tibetan literature for advanced students in Tibetan language.

RELB 827 Colloquial Tibetan VII

Soulong Wang

A continuation of Colloquial Tibetan VI, this course uses multimedia programs in Colloquial Tibetan to develop verbal fluency, acquire vocabulary, and master advanced topics in spoken Tibetan. Prerequisites: Tibetan VI. Requirements: Class attendance, participation, preparation of programs outside of class, multiple exams and quizzes. This is a 2 credit course.

RELB 831 Advanced Sanskrit

Jeffrey Lidke

RELG 863 Environmental Ethics

Jim Childress / Jonathan Cannon

Environmental policy is rooted in concepts of the value of nature and our responsibility to protect it. In public debates on the environment and in our individual decisions, environmental values may compete with other values, such as economic well-being or social justice. This seminar focuses on the ethical dimensions of the choices we make, individually and collectively, affecting the environment. Jointly led by an ethicist and an environmental lawyer, it will examine a range of theories and views about the right relationship between us humans and the world in which we find ourselves. These include utilitarian theories (including economic approaches); religious and cultural perspectives; environmental justice; ecocentric and biocentric theories; theories of the rights of animals and nature; deep ecology, ecofeminism, and place-base environmental ethics; and obligations to future generations. We will not only seek to come to terms philosophically with these theories and concepts, but also explore how they might apply in actual policy settings. Written requirement: A substantial research paper.

RELH 865 Readings in Tamil (This course has been canceled)

RELS 895 Research Selected Topics

Instructor: Student's choice

Systematic reding in a select topic under detailed supervision.

RELS 896 Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Research on problems leading to a master's thesis.

RELS 897 Non-Topical Research, Peparation for Research

Instructor: Student's choice

For master's research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.

RELS 898 Non Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

For master's research, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.

RELG 899 Pedagogy

Brantly Craig

RELS 997 Non-Topical Research, Peparation for Doctoral Research

Instructor: Student's choice

For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.

RELS 999 Non Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

For dissertation research, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.