Spring 2008

Undergraduate Courses

RELG 104 Intro to Eastern Religions

Clarke Hudson

Schedule# 10035 Plus discussion section

RELJ 112 Elementary Classical Hebrew

Greg Schmidt Goering

Schedule# 102Q2

This course continues and builds upon its prequel, RELJ 111. The first part of the course introduces students to the derived stems, thus completing the study of the verbal system and of basic Hebrew grammar as a whole. In the latter part of the course, we will begin reading prose passages directly from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. At the completion of the two semester sequence, students will have mastered the basic tools required to read longer prose passages from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in the original language. Prerequisite: RELJ 111 or an equivalent.

RELC 122 Early Christianity & the New Testament

Harry Gamble

Schedule# 102WE Plus discussion section

This course surveys the origins and early history of Christianity on the basis of a historical and analytical study of early Christian writings belonging to the "New Testament." Topics covered include the origins of Christianity in Judaism; the activity and significance of Jesus; the formation, beliefs and practices of early Christian communities; the varieties of Christianity in the first century; and the progressive distinction of Christianity from Judaism. Requirements: Two quizzes and a final examination, and occasional short papers in connection with discussion sections. Regular attendance at discussion sections is mandatory. ..

RELC 150 Introduction to Christianity

Valerie Cooper

Schedule # 10204 Plus discussion section

This course will explore Christianity in its modern and historical contexts, combining an examination of current scholarship, worship and praxis. Because one course could not begin to exhaust the wide diversity present in Christianity, we will instead focus on several smaller questions over the course of the semester.The first half of the course will ask the question, “Who was Jesus?” We will consider some of the historical, textual, sociological, theological, and archaeological evidence surrounding his life and the subsequent Jesus Movement which developed into early Christianity. Efforts will be made to place Jesus’ life in the context of Jewish popular movements of his time. The second half of the course will ask the question, “What is the church?” and consider the development of the Christian church from the time of Constantine onward. This discussion of Christian worship will be accented by students’ field visits to churches in the Albemarle County area. Course materials will include those dealing with the development of a few specific denominations, as well as larger subsets of Christianity such as Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. Although Christian traditions worldwide will be addressed, the main emphasis of the second half of the course will be modern American Christianity.

RELC 206 History of Christianity II 1054-1800

Gerald Fogarty

Schedule# 102WS Plus discussion section

Survey of Western Christianity from the 12th to the 19th century. Attention will be given to spirituality and forms of piety, worship, development of theology, and the institutional history of the Christian Church. Special focus will be placed on the High Medieval Church, the Crisis of the Protestant Reformation, and the early modern background of contemporary Christianity, including Eastern Orthodoxy. Readings from original sources. Three short papers, in-class mid-term and final.

RELI 208 Islam in the Modern Age

Aziz Sachedina

Schedule # 101FD Plus discussion section

RELI 208 will study the Muslim societies in the modern times to assess their success/failure in remolding their political/religious culture in order to become fully integrated in the international order that is founded upon secularism and modernism. The course will undertake to explore a public role for religion in general, and Islam in particular, in fostering democratic values that can accommodate a pluralistic nature of the religious and political societies in the Islamic world. That which characterizes the Muslim community is their devotion to the classical faith, Islam, with its legacy of rich past. The call for reformation of this classical heritage has been in the air for over a century. Yet, the beginning or the end of reformation is singularly difficult to observe in terms of a "new" political theology or a "fresh" pluralistic interpretation of Islam to have capacity for the changes that are sweeping Muslim societies. Islam and its people continue to grapple with the fact of Western hegemony through economic globalization and the support the West lends to their autocratic governments in suppressing their political and human rights. The course will evaluate political goals of Muslim governments in countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran, and whether these goals are congruent with the development of democratic institutions to further basic human rights.

RELB 210 Introduction to Buddhism

Karen Lang

Schedule # 10105 Plus discussion section

This course is an introduction to Buddhism, beginning with its origins in India, its spread throughout Asia to the West. The course will examine the historical and cultural contexts in which Buddhist beliefs and practices developed and are still developing. We will explore a wide variety of sources to understand the many ways in which Buddhists have attempted to understand who the Buddha is, what he and his followers have to say about karma and rebirth, the practice of meditation and the pursuit of enlightenment. We will also examine the views of contemporary Buddhist teachers on these issues and on the challenges Buddhism faces in the modern world. One in-class hourly examination, one take-home examination and an in-class final.

RELG 216 Religion in America Since 1865

Heather Warren

Schedule# 10250 Plus discussion section

An historical survey of religion in America from the Civil War to the present. The course includes study of theological change in Protestantism, the emergence of three kinds of Judaism, controversy and change in American Catholicism, the origins of fundamentalism and Pentecostalism, and various expressions of African-American faith. It attends to the effects of immigration, urbanization, politics, and other social and cultural changes on American religious life. 2 in-class tests and a final examination.

GREE 224 New Testament Greek (Intermediate ) Letters of Paul

This course is not offered by the department, but may be of interest to religious studies students

Judith Kovacs

Schedule# 102U0

This course, offered by the Classics department, can be counted towards the Religious Studies major. The primary aims of the course are to solidify knowledge of Hellenistic Greek grammar and vocabulary and to develop speed and proficiency in reading and translating the Greek New Testament. We will read I Corinthians and Romans, as well as passages from the Acts of the Apostles and Ephesians, considering syntax and questions of interpretation. Attention will also be given to the principles of New Testament textual criticism. Prerequisite: Greek 101-102 or permission of the instructor. Graduate students should consult with the instructor about registration.

RELG 230 Religious Ethics and Moral Problems

Charles Mathewes

Schedule# 1005Q Plus discussion section

This course examines several contemporary moral issues from the standpoint of the ethical insights of Western religious traditions (especially Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish, but with some attention to Islamic positions) as well as from a broadly humanistic perspective. We will consider a variety of moral issues including (but not limited to) marriage, friendship, truthfulness, capital punishment, warfare, and the meaning of work, career, and vocation. We will also examine the relationship between religious convictions, morality, and the law. Particular attention will be paid to what selected authorities and thinkers in the above traditions say about these issues, how they reach their conclusions, and how their theological or philosophical convictions influence their moral judgements.

RELC 236 Elements of Christian Thought

Paul Jones

Schedule# 100EV Plus discussion section

This course considers the complicated world of Christian thought, focusing particularly on the nature of faith, the being and action of God, the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, the role of the bible in theological reflection, and the relationship between Christian thought and social justice. Students will read various important works of Christian theology (ancient, medieval, and modern) and become acquainted with a range of theological approaches and ideas. The course is suitable for those seeking a basic introduction in Christian thought and those wishing to deepen their understanding of central issues in Christian theology. It can fulfil the second writing requirement. No previous knowledge of Christian thought is required.

RELG 238 Faith and Doubt in the Modern Age

Jamie Ferreira

Schedule# 100UQ Plus discussion section

Is belief in God based on wishful thinking; is it a neurotic response to life? How are fear and guilt related to it? Is it a primitive stage in human intellectual development? Is it inherently immoral? Can one be rational and a believer at the same time? In this course we will consider questions like these by looking at historically important examples of such criticisms. We will study both the 'faith' which inspired these critiques and the implications of such critiques for believers.

RELC 246 Aspects of the Catholic Tradition

Gerald Fogarty

Schedule# 103WX plus discussion section

This course serves as an introduction into Catholic doctrine as it has developed from post-Apostolic times. The principal texts for the course are the Documents of Vatican II, supplemented by documents from earlier councils and readings from some more recent theologians and biblical scholars.

RELB 254 Tibetan Buddhism

Bryan Phillips

Schedule # 10589 Plus discussion section

RELB 254 is designed to give students a basic vocabulary and interpretative framework for understanding the principal aspects of Buddhist culture as they have informed Tibet's history and Tibetans' identities. Readings, lectures, and assignments are thus designed to give broad coverage of the main aspects of Buddhist culture from various points of view. In addition, classroom lectures and discussions are designed to be explicitly comparative in terms of relating these themes to American cultural background in order to offer a space for explicit reflection on cross-cultural issues. Given the centrality of Buddhism to Tibetan culture, a thorough understanding of Buddhism is crucial for comprehension of many aspects of Tibetan life. This course is designed to cultivate an understanding of religion from multiple perspectives – doctrinal, institutional, contemplative and social. The course will thus introduce students to a basic understanding of Buddhist philosophy, ritual/contemplative practices, pilgrimage, popular practices, institutions, communal life, art, architecture, literature and other aspects.

RELG 263 Business and Society

Jennifer Phillips

Schedule # 100T6

Chad Wayner

Schedule # 100T7

Paul Harper

Schedule # 106AB

This course aims to acquaint students with a variety of philosophical and religious frameworks for interpreting and evaluating human activity in the marketplace. The first half of the semester will focus on Adam Smith, Max Weber, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and Ayn Rand. The second half of the semester will examine some contemporary issues within the marketplace that deserve additional scrutiny, such as private property, freedom of contract, and the distribution of goods. In addition, we will attend to specific issues in corporate ethics. Requirements will include both a midterm and final exam, as well as writing requirements to be determined.

RELA 285 Creole Religions in the Americas

Jalane Schmidt

Schedule# 103MC

There is currently no description for this course....

RELA 300 Women and Religion in Africa

Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton

Schedule# 1013D

This course examines women’s religious activities, traditions and spirituality in a number of different African contexts. Drawing on ethnographic, historical, literary, and religious studies scholarship, we will explore a variety of themes and debates that have emerged in the study of gender and religion in Africa. Topics will include gendered images of sacred power; the construction of gender through ritual; sexuality and fertility; and women’s agency in indigenous religious movements, Christian congregations and Muslim communities in Africa. Requirements: 1) active class participation; 2) several short written assignments; 3) two exams.

RELB 302 Tibetan Biography and Autobiography

Amy Miller

Schedule # 1059A

This seminar explores the genres of biography and autobiography in Tibetan literature, with a particular emphasis on the latter. Though often considered a particularly Western genre, autobiography has a long history in Tibet. Reading the life narratives of Tibetan religious figures from a variety of walks of life and historical periods, we will examine their literary features, specific historical and cultural contexts, and particular doctrinal teachings. We will thus consider the role of such texts in the acculturation of Buddhism in different times and places. Students must have completed an introductory course in Buddhism.

RELC 302 Faith on Trial: The Book of Job and Its Traditions

RELJ 302 Faith on Trial: The Book of Job and Its Traditions

Martien Halvorson-Taylor

RELC: Schedule # 10354; RELJ: Schedule # 10167

An examination of the biblical book of Job along with related texts -- ancient, medieval, and modern -- that allow us to establish the literary, theological and philosophical traditions in which Job was composed and the literary, theological, and philosophical legacy it has created. Our study will cover ancient texts from Mesopotamia, biblical Wisdom Literature, early Jewish and Christian interpretations and retellings of Job, Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, Kafka's The Trial, J.B. by MacLeish, the writings of liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, and the etchings of William Blake. We will pay particular attention to the ways these works play off one another in literary form and expression and in their treatment of such themes as divine justice, human piety, the limits of human knowledge, and the nature of the divine-human encounter.

RELC 309 Israelite Prophecy

RELJ 309 Israelite Prophecy

Greg Schmidt Goering

Schedule# C: 10357 / J: 10357

This course introduces students to the phenomenon of prophecy in ancient Israel. We will read in translation most of the stories from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament about prophets (Moses, Deborah, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha) as well as the books attributed to prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and The Twelve). Each primary text will be considered in its historical, cultural, and political contexts. In addition, the course compares Israelite prophecy to similar phenomena in the neighboring culture of ancient Mesopotamia, as well as to modern examples of shamanism. The end of the course considers the disappearance of prophecy in the Second Temple period and examines the emergence of apocalypticism from the ashes of prophecy. No prerequisite required, but RELJ 121 recommended.

RELB 316 Religions of Japan

Paul Groner

Schedule # 105PW

This course is a survey of issues in the study of Shinto and Japanese Buddhism, as well as their roles in Japanese culture and society. Among the topics discussed are syncretism between Buddhism and Shinto, the relationship between folk religion and the monastic traditions, the development of uniquely Japanese forms of Zen and Pure Land Buddhism, the development of Nichiren Buddhism, the use of Shinto as a nationalistic ideology, and the survival of magic and exorcism in a modern society. Because the course emphasizes texts that are readily accessible to students, there are no prerequisites; but a basic knowledge of Buddhism or Japanese history is useful.

RELC 324 Mysticism

Kevin Hart

Schedule # 104XK

This seminar develops a close reading of works by several of the medieval English mystics: Julian of Norwich, the unknown author of The Cloud of Unknowing and The Mystical Theology of St Denis, Richard Rolle, and Margery Kemp. Should mysticism be considered as a matter of “religious experience”? Are mystical events invariably pre-interpreted? How does one express the inexpressible? What differences are there between “mystical experience” and “mystical theology”? These are some of the questions to be discussed. Assessment will be by two papers, the topics of which will be discussed individually with Professor Hart. Set Texts: Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love, (Penguin), Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, trans. A. C. Spearing (Penguin), The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works, trans. A. C. Spearing (Penguin), The Book of Margery Kempe, trans. Lynn Staley (Norton Critical Editions)

RELG 331 Pilgrimage and the Appalachian Trail

Heather Warren

Schedule# 102VQ

This intensive course designed for third-year students combines the academic study of pilgrimage with a backpacking trip of the last 56 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, climaxing with an ascent of Mt. Katahdin. Readings include Landscapes of the Sacred, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, The Canterbury Tales, some AT thru-hiker accounts, and the history of northern Maine and Mt. Katahdin starting with the Abnaki Native Americans’ beliefs about “the great mountain.” Students must commit to regular workouts, community service (approx. 2 hours/week), and a group trip to Maine totaling 12 days in late July-early August. Gear and supplies will be purchased with a grant from the Mead Endowment. Instructor permission required. Students must submit an essay of no more than 2 pages saying why they want to take the course. Limit 6 students. For more information contact Ms. Warren (hwarren@virginia.edu). 4 credits.

RELJ 331 Law in Judaism

Elizabeth Alexander

Schedule # 102RN

Jewish law has provided a primary framework for religious expression from biblical to modern times. Jews throughout the ages have asked: How does the law mediate between humans and God? Why adhere to laws that appear to have no basis in reason? Should the law be understood as universal or particularistic? In this course we will analyze classical legal sources in order to answer these and related questions; we will also survey medieval and modern responses to them.

RELJ 339 Jewish Feminism

Vanessa Ochs

Schedule# 103GN

From ancient times to our own day, Jewish women have engaged with Jewish tradition, texts and practices appropriating, resisting and transforming them. In this course, we will study the strategies by which contemporary women in Judaism have created, and continue to create the conditions for increased spiritual, intellectual and social empowerment, and will try to anticipate new directions. We will study the major works and issues in contemporary American Jewish feminism from the mid-1960's to the present, concluding with the work of 20-something Jewish feminists. We will study how Jewish feminists and feminist scholars of Judaism have defined and legitimized the study of Jewish women's experience by tracing the impact of Jewish feminism on Jewish ritual practice, text study, communal leadership, and theology.

RELA 351 African Diaspora Religions

Jalane Schmidt

Schedule# 1032F

The seminar will feature close readings of ethnographic literature about African diaspora religions, and require students to write a seminar-length final paper. Often deemed emblematic of these groups' ethnic identities, the religious practices of African-descended populations in Latin America and the Caribbean are a frequent site of inquiry for cultural anthropologists. We will examine the often-polemical "African retention" vs. "creolization" debate as this relates to changing theoretical paradigms in anthropology and to African-descended populations' shifting political fortunes, activism, and cultural cachet. We will attend to changing conceptions of "race," "religion," and "nation" in the treatment of these religions by legal institutions, as well as how officials from the tourism industry and government ministries have influenced processes of "folkloricization."

RELG 360 Religion and Drama

Larry Bouchard

Schedule# 103W6 Check here for time and location

This course will examine how drama and performance is linked with religious traditions, themes, and with some secular and theological perspectives on religion. Modern theater has often sought to revitalize its historical and thematic relations with ritual and sacred stories, and it has also probed the ethical dimensions of selves and communities as seen against the presence and absence of a divine horizon or immanent sense of the sacred. What differences do such relations make in our enjoyment, understanding, and criticism of theatrical drama? We will discuss a number of classical and modern-or-contemporary plays and performances. Some of these have explicitly religious themes or subjects (such as Denys Arcand's film-about-a-performance Jesus of Montreal, Wole Soyinka's uses of Yoruba religion and European theatrical traditions, S. Ansky's Yiddish play The Dybbuk). We will also study ostensibly secular plays that nonetheless take up questions of religion, ethics, and political life (for example, plays by Bertholt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Peter Shaffer, Caryl Churchill, Tony Kushner, and Mary Zimmerman). The syllabus is always changing and will be available in August. Mode of teaching: some lectures, much discussion, reading plays aloud, 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 2nd writing requirement.

RELG 362 American Religious Thought

Mark Hadley

Schedule# 1015M

An historical overview of the major themes and thinkers in American religious thought from the 18th century to the present that continue to influence American cultural life today. We will be asking what is distinctively American about these influential thinkers and examining how they are in turn influenced by the American social and cultural contexts of their day. Our main focus will be reading and interpreting texts by Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, David Walker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, Walter Rauschenbusch, John Dewey, Mordecai Kaplan, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Requirements: regular attendance and participation, four short interpretive essays, and either a take-home final or a final research essay

RELC 368 Cultural Catholicism

John Portmann

Schedule# 102KS

In one of his first public statements as pope, Benedict XVI hoped to fill the nearly empty churches of Western Europe. He lamented the state of Catholic culture, even as American dioceses began declaring bankruptcy from law suits brought by victims of priestly abuse. America's largest faith community soldiers on nonetheless and wonders what it will look like a decade from now. In this seminar, we will explore Roman Catholic experience outside the official structures of the Holy See (for example, devotions, pilgrimages, shrines, art, fiction, cinema, television), particularly as committed Catholics argue over how to honor their spiritual tradition in day-to-day life. We will study challenges wrought by women, Jews, and gays. We will pay special attention to contemporary intellectuals and artists who criticize the institutional church while fiercely guarding their own Catholic identities (for example, Garry Wills, John Kerry, Andrew Sullivan, Catholics for a Free Choice, and Mel Gibson).

RELG 372 Witchcraft

Erik Midelfort

Schedule# 100VB

The following description is 6 years old:
This course considers the history and theory of Western magic and witchcraft from the points of view of women's studies, European history, and Christian theology. We study various notions of magic and demonology and their intersection with witch hunting, especially in Europe and America, and concentrating on the period 1450-1750. We also consider the connections of modern Wicca (sometimes known as the Goddess religion) to traditional witchcraft. The goal of the course is to refine critical thinking and interdisciplinary skills as well as extend research and writing abilities. Students will write a major research paper (10-15 pages long) on a topic of their choosing. The course proceeds by lectures and discussion of weekly reading assignments of ca. 100-150 pages a week. Additional assignments encourage students to discover resources in the library. A midterm and final examination are required of all.

RELJ 375 Scriptural Reasoning

Peter Ochs

Schedule # 101XW

The first half of the course will examine how recent Jewish philosophy and theology has turned back to the study of sacred texts. The second half will examine how that turn has engendered another turn: to intensive dialogue with like-minded Christian and Muslim philosophers and theologians. The course will include various methods of study: one-on-one fellowship study, small group study, large group. It will require considerable reading in scriptural texts and in both classical and contemporary commentaries - philosophic and theological. There will be several papers and papers in place of exams. Students are advised to peruse these websites to taste the kind of work the course will undertake: the e-journal of textual reasoning (housed at uva): http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/journals/tr/; and the e-journal of scriptural reasoning (created at uva): http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/journals/ssr/

RELG 400a Majors Seminar: Religion and Violence

John Nemec

Schedule# 103W6

Restricted to Religious Studies Majors

RELG 400b Majors Seminar: Religious Experience

Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton

Schedule# 101YQ

What is religious experience? How do we interpret and analyze something many consider ineffable? Divine inspiration, conversion, mystical knowledge, miracles, epiphanies and revelations are integral to many religious traditions, yet prove difficult to explain. In attempting to come to terms with religious experience in a variety of cultures and traditions from around the world, we will analyze some classic works in the sociology and psychology of religion. We will also consider anthropological, historical and philosophical approaches to this fundamental, but illusive feature of religion. Seminar requirements include active participation in class discussion; four short critiques of the readings; a mid-term and a final exam Restricted to Religious Studies Majors

RELG 400c Majors Seminar: Religion and Psychology

John Portmann

Schedule# 101VH

Exploration of religious emotions such as fascination, terror, guilt, wholeheartedness, and ecstasy. What motivates religious conversion? What keeps someone loyal to the religion of his parents? What impulse prompts a sense of moral responsibility, and what impulse guides retribution? How does contemporary psychiatry compete with or complement pastoral counseling? Emphasis on James, Freud, and Jung. Previous course work in social psychology is recommended but not required. Requirements: 1) regular class participation; 2) two exams; and 3) a class presentation Limited to 20 students

RELG 423 Bioethics Internship Seminar

Margaret Mohrmann

Schedule# 1028V

This is not a Majors Seminar.

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://bioethics.virginia.edu/internships.html.

RELS 495 Independent Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 102UG, 104XM, 103H3, 104WM

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

Schedule# 102WU

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

Schedule# 103D9

Studies selected topic in religious studies under detailed supervision. The writing of an essay constitutes a major portion of the work.(Technically speaking, there is not much difference between this course and RELS 495 Independent Research. Prerequisite: permission of deparmental advisor and instructor.

Graduate Courses

RELC 501 Genesis

RELJ 501 Genesis

Martien Halvorson-Taylor

Schedule# 100GR/101RX

An examination of the Book of Genesis and its subsequent interpretation. We will examine the literary artistry of the book -- the dramatic and tangled narrative that opens the Hebrew Bible -- by considering plot, characterization, and its compositional history. Using methods of modern biblical scholarship, we will further consider the book in its historical and religious context. And, finally, we will examine the early history of how the book was interpreted. Readings will include not only biblical texts, but other ancient Near Eastern compositions (the Enuma elish and the Gilgamesh epic) that shed light on Genesis, early biblical interpretation, and secondary scholarship on the history, literature and religion of Ancient Israel. [Advanced students in classical Hebrew may sign up for a translation component.] Permission of the instructor is required.

RELC 509 Theologies of Resistance and Reconciliation: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr

Charles Marsh

Schedule# 105GU

The course has four goals: (1) to understand the theologies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King Jr.; (2) to explore the themes of resistance and reconciliation in their writings and actions; (3) to examine their ambivalent relationship with academic theology; and (4) to consider the promise of lived theology for contemporary religious thought. Requirements include a 16-20 page research paper; a weekly 250-word written response circulated to the class by email before class; a thirty minute class presentation; active participation in seminar discussions; and a final exam in the form of a review essay. Important: Permission by the instructor is required to take this course. The class size is limited to 18 students.

RELG 517 Methodology in the History of Religion

Ben Ray

Schedule# 1014C

An introduction to the basic thinkers in the field of History of Religions and Anthropology (Otto, van der Leeuw, Eliade, Durkheim, Bellah, Berger, Levi-Strauss, Geertz, Turner) and to fundamental problems in the study of religious sociology, anthropology, mythology, and ritual.. Such authors as Edith Turner, Wendy Doniger, Jonathan Z. Smith, and Katherine Bell. Also a critical examination of postmodernism and the comparative study of religion. One or two reading critiquse (4-5 pages), a ritual analysis paper (5-6 pages), a myth analysis paper (5-6 pages), and a postmodernism paper (5-6 pages). Guidelines for all papers will be provided; as many papers as possible will be presented in class. Restricted to Graduate students and 4th year Religious Studies majors.

RELJ 520 Mishnah

Elizabeth Alexander

Schedule# 100TU

This course trains students to read Mishnah in the original language. Primary emphasis will be on giving students tools to decode the text and set the text in its appropriate historical and cultural contexts. Special attention will be paid to literary and legal aspects of the text. The Mishnah will also compared with parallels from contemporary compositions (the Tosephta and midrash halakhah). Secondary readings will expose students to the range of theoretical concerns raised in the interpretation of the Mishnah. We will address the following kinds of questions: What is the purpose of the Mishnah? Was the Mishnah written down or orally transmitted? How should a literary reading of the Mishnah proceed? What is the function of dispute in the Mishnah? How can we best use the Mishnah as a historical source in the reconstruction of early rabbinic Judaism?

RELC 523 Pentecostalism

Valerie Cooper

Schedule# 104H4

This course will study the history, practices, theology, and praxis of Pentecostalism, the fastest growing Christian movement in the world, from its origins among poor whites and recently freed African Americans to its phenomenal expansion in places like South America, Asia and Africa. The course will explore Pentecostalism’s theological and historical relationship to the Holiness, Apostolic, and Charismatic movements, as well as Pentecostal belief in phenomena like speaking in tongues, healing, miracles, and prophecy. Finally, the course will use race, class, and gender analysis to evaluate the cultural influences of Pentecostalism in the US and elsewhere in the world.

RELJ 539 Ethnographic Study of the Jews

Vanessa Ochs

Schedule# 1014P

Ethnographers spend time among the population they study and write about in order to observe and interpret all events in context. This seminar offers a critical introduction to both theory and research methodology, and provides a framework for thinking about Jews and Judaism from an anthropological
perspective. We will study contemporary American Jewish experience primarily, making comparisons to Israel. Ethnographers whose work we will consider include Susan Sered, Riv-Ellen Prell, Stephanie Levin, Barbara Myerhoff, Lawrence Hoffman, Susan Kahn, Samuel Heilman, Jonathan Boyarin, Jeffrey Shandler, Howard Eilberg-Schwartz, and Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett. Open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in religions as they are practiced.

RELB 548 Literary Tibetan VI

Kurtis Schaeffer

Schedule# 103H4

Contact professor directly for course description

RELJ 548 Philo & Hellenistic Judaism

Harry Gamble

Schedule# 103Z2

Study of the prolific Jewish writer and philosopher, Philo of Alexandria (ca.20 BCE-50 CE) through a close reading of some of his more important treatises (including On the Creation of the World, On the Migration of Abraham, On Abraham, The Life of Moses, On the Special Laws (selections) and Embassy to Gaius. The focus will be on Philo's thought in relation both to Judaism and to Greco-Roman philosophical traditions, on his interpretation of scripture, on the nature of Hellenistic Judaism generally and on Philo's influence (mainly on early Christian thinkers). Written requirements will include a seminar report and a research paper

RELB 551 Medieval Daoism

Clarke Hudson

Schedule# 101V0

Contact professor directly for course description

RELC 553 Identity of Christ

Paul Jones

Schedule# 100S2

This graduate seminar examines a range of Christological perspectives. The authors to be studied include Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus Confessor, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Karl Rahner, Jürgen Moltmann, Hans Frei, Sarah Coakley, and Marilyn McCord Adams. Questions considered in the course will include the following: What is the meaning of the Chalcedonian "Definition," past and present? What might it mean to say Christ is "one person in two natures"? What is the relationship between Christology and soteriology? Does God suffer? How do feminist insights animate new kinds of Christological reflection? This course is intended for graduate students and requires significant background in systematic and philosophical theology. Undergraduate enrollment only by permission of the instructor.

RELH 553 Hindu Philosphical Traditions

John Nemec

Schedule# 105N6

The purpose of the course is to develop a strong familiarity with the major schools of Hindu thought, as well as to develop an historical understanding of the development of the tradition. For the most part, we will read primary texts in translation, along with some key secondary sources.

RELG 560 Religion, Secularism and Social Conflict

Slavica Jakelic

Schedule # 105GV

In this class we’ll work to understand the philosophical, historical, and sociological aspects of the complex relationship between different religions and different forms of secularism and secularity. We'll address actors, institutional and symbolic foundations, and contexts that shape the conflict between religion and secularism in comparative perspective. We’ll also try to identify the possibility of consensus between different religions and secularisms, or more specifically, between different religious and secular elites—to see when, how, and why that occurs. Undergraduate students may enroll in this class only with the permission of the instructor.

RELB 566 Indian Buddhism

Karen Lang

Schedule# 1034D

This seminar focuses on Indian Buddhism from the time of Shakyamuni Buddha (5-6th cent. BCE) until its decline in the twelfth century CE. We will explore how divergent ideas on the nature of Buddhas and their teachings developed through reading translations of Indian Buddhist texts and the works of modern scholars. We will explore various approaches to interpretation of Indian Buddhism, including those of art history, philosophy, and sociology. Undergraduates with previous course work in Buddhism welcome. Requirements: Active participation in class discussions, three short interpretative essays (ca. 7 pgs) or, with instructor's persmission, a final term paper (20-25 pgs)

RELB 581 Literary Tibetan VIII

Kurtis Schaeffer

Schedule# 103FM

Contact professor directly for course description

RELC 582 Patristic Greek

Judith Kovacs

Schedule# 10200

Readings in church fathers such as Origen, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus with emphasis on understanding the grammar and syntax of the Greek texts. Attention will also be given to theological themes and to techniques of ancient rhetoric. An Intermediate/Advanced level Greek course designed for graduate students in the program in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity; open to other graduate students and qualified undergraduates as well. Prerequisite: Mastery of basic Greek grammar (level of Greek 201 or equivalent). Questions: please contact Mrs. Kovacs (jkovacs@virginia.edu)

RELB 702 Readings in Chinese Buddhism

Paul Groner

Schedule# 105N5

Contact professor directly for course description

RELI 710 Law and Ethics in Society

Aziz Sachedina

Schedule# 102GG

Contact professor directly for course description

RELG 717 Peirce & Ricouer

Peter Ochs / Larry Bouchard

Schedule# 1013E

A study of scripture and semiotics in the work of Paul Ricoeur-- the French philosopher of religion -- and Charles Peirce -- the American pragmatist and philosopher of science. We will explore the meaning of both "script" (writing itself) and "scripture" in both philosophers. We begin with Ricoeur on scripture and hermeneutics; then introduce Peirce's theories of sign and script; then compare them with Ricoeur's understanding of sign and scripture.

RELC 746 Theological Ethics: Political Theology

Charles Mathewes

Schedule# 101ZA

This is an advanced graduate seminar meant to acquaint graduate students with contemporary work on political theology in the larger field of religious ethics. We will study several major contemporary writers with an eye to understanding the theological and philosophical visions informing their work, and assessing the political and ethical implications thereof. Thinkers addressed may include (among others) O'Donovan, Porter, Wolterstorff, Petrella, Cavanaugh, Milbank, Townes, Lovin, Keller, Hauerwas.

RELG 818 Ethics for Professionals

Stephen Cushman

Schedule# 105RH

RELB 826 Readings in Buddhist Literature

David Germano

Schedule# 102SC

Contact professor directly for course description

RELC 831 Trinity

Kevin Hart

Schedule# 1037Y

This seminar examines several crucial sites of Trinitarian theology, patristic, medieval and modern. The authors to be studied are Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Aquinas, Barth, Jüngel, Balthasar, Rahner, and Bobrinskoy. What is at stake in thinking of God as triune? What does “person” mean in the context of the Trinity? How is a doctrine developed? These are some of the questions to be considered. Assessment will be by one term paper, the topic of which will be discussed individually with Professor Hart. Set Texts: Gregory of Nyssa, “Concerning We Should Think of Saying that there are not Three Gods”; selections from Against Eunomius, Augustine, The Trinity (New City Press), Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Ia.. qq. 27-32, Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, I. i, §§ 8-12 (T. & T. Clark), Eberhard Jüngel, God’s Being is in Becoming (Eerdmans), Karl Rahner, The Trinity (Herder and Herder), Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theo-Drama, 5: The Last Act (Ignatius), Boris Bobrinskoy, The Mystery of the Trinity (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press)

RELG 840 Proseminar in Ethics

Margaret Mohrmann

Schedule# 101WT

In this seminar, we will read and discuss several of the classic non-theological works, ancient and modern, that have proven to be essential for the field of religious ethics. Students interested in the course can participate in the selection of the particular works to be read by contacting the instructor (mem7e@virginia.edu). Writing requirements will consist of several short papers that focus on the works themselves.

RELS 895 Directed Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 104H9 , 101WV, 102NU, 1034S

Systematic reading in a select topic under detailed supervision.

RELS 896 Thesis Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 104C4

Research on problems leading to a master's thesis.

RELS 897 Non-Topical Research, Peparation for Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 101XG

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

RELS 898 Non Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 101KX

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

RELG 899 Pedagogy

Schedule# 103ZB

RELS 997 Non-Topical Research, Peparation for Doctoral Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 101YA

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

RELS 999 Non Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 104KA

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