2013 Fall Courses

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African Religions

RELA 3000 Women and Religion in Africa 
Hoehler-Fatton, Cynthia Heyden
This seminar examines women’s religious activities, traditions and spirituality in anumber 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 women¹s agency in indigenous religious movements, Muslim communities and Christian congregations in Africa.

RELA 3890 Christianity in Africa 
Hoehler-Fatton, Cynthia Heyden
This course offers an historical and topical survey of Christianity in Africa from its roots in Egypt and the Maghreb in the 2nd c. CE, to contemporary times when nearly half the continent's population claims adherence to the faith. Our historical overview will include the flowering of medieval Ethiopian Christianity, 16th- and 17th- century Kongolese Christianity, European missions during the colonial period, the subsequent growth of independent churches, the emergence of African Christian theology, and recent examples of charismatic and Pentecostal ‘mega-churches’.  We will consider the relationship between colonialism and evangelism; assess efforts in translation and inculturation of the gospel; reflect on the role of healing, prophesy and spirit-possession in conversion, and explore a variety of ways of understanding religious change across the continent. We will attempt to position Christian movements within the wider context of African religious history, and to understand Africa's place in the larger course of Christian history.

Buddhism

RELB 2054 Tibetan Buddhism Introduction 
DiZinno, Dominic Joseph
(This description is not from the instructor listed above) A systematic introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, including aspects of its history, iconography, philosophy, ethics, monasticism, rituals, practices, and social milieu. Special attention will be paid to the various strands of Indo-Tibetan culture that have intertwined to produce the immensely rich tradition we see today, though we will also spend a good bit of time examining the uniquely Tibetan tantric technologies that evolved from this process. Previous knowledge of Buddhism is not necessary, but would be helpful for certain segments of the course.

RELB 2100 Buddhism 
Lang, Karen C
The goal of courses in religious studies is to promote sensitivity to religious ideas, personalities, and institutions. Such courses are not intended to persuade you toward or away from any particular tradition. 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 speak about the Buddha, what he and his followers say about karma and rebirth, the practice of meditation and the pursuit of enlightenment. We will also examine the views of contemporary Buddhist teachers and on the challenges Buddhism faces in the modern world.

RELB 2559 Religions of Korea 
Groner, Paul S
This is a new course taught by Paul Groner with substantial help from a visiting Korean scholar, Hyekyung (Lucy) Jee. Korea has been influenced by religious traditions from China, Japan and the west; at the same time, it has developed its own interpretations of various religious traditions. This course focuses on four traditions in modern Korea that both cooperate and conflict with each other: Shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity. There are no prerequisites for the course, though previous courses in religious studies or the history of East Asia are useful.

RELB 2770 Daoism 
Hudson II, William Clarke
While early classics of Daoist wisdom are well-known nowadays, the Daoist religion--with its celestial gods and disease demons, communal rituals and private meditations--is relatively little-known. This course will cover the whole spectrum of Daoism in China, including early classics, religious history, practices, ideas, and ways of life. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and writing assignments, students will gain a general understanding of this ancient and vital tradition.

RELB 3408 Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy 
Campbell, John R.B.

RELB 5250 Seminar in Japanese Buddhism 
Groner, Paul S
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 emergence of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, the development of uniquely Japanese forms of Zen and Pure Land, the emergence of Nichiren Buddhism, the use of Shinto as a nationalistic ideology, and position of Buddhism in a modern society. A basic knowledge of Buddhism or Japanese history (at least one course) is very useful for understanding the course.

RELB 5430 Sanskrit Religious Texts 
Lang, Karen C

RELB 5470 Literary Tibetan V 
Weinberger, Steven Neal
This is part of the two-year sequence of literary Tibetan courses that cover 16 genres of Tibetan literature. This semester we will read Tibetan poetry, meditation, and ritual literature, with selections from four genres:
1. Songs of Spiritual Experience (mgur): Songs of Kelden Gyatso
2. Ornate poetry (snyan sngag): tba
3. Meditation: tba, but perhaps a Dunhuang tantric ritual text
4. Meditation: tba, but perhaps a Bonpo completion-stage (dzokrim) text.

RELB 5520 Seminar in Daoism 
Hudson II, William Clarke
Topics on the history, scripture, thought, and practice of religious Daoism, with an emphasis on the formative period (2nd-10th c.).

RELB 5559 Buddhist Digital Humanities 
Schaeffer, Kurtis R

RELB 5559 Tibetan Buddhist Lit History 
Schaeffer, Kurtis R

RELB 5800 Literary Tibetan VII 
Weinberger, Steven Neal
See RELB 5470

RELB 8230 Adv Literary & Spoken Tibetan 
Germano, David F

Christianity

RELC 1050 Intro Christian Tradition 
Cooper, Valerie C
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 1210 Hebrew Bible/Old Testament 
Halvorson-Taylor, Martien A
This course provides an introduction to the Hebrew Bible, known to Jews as the Tanakh and the Torah and to Christians as the Old Testament. We will read, for example, the narratives about Abraham & Sarah, Jacob, Rachel & Leah, Joseph, David, Solomon, Esther, Daniel, Job and the prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos. Using methods of modern biblical scholarship, we will examine the Hebrew Bible in its original ancient Near Eastern context to learn about the major phases in the history and religion of ancient Israel. We will consider the diverse genres and theological themes found in the Hebrew Bible and the literary artistry of its whole. Finally, we will read Jewish and Christian interpretations of the text in order to understand the complex process by which the text was formulated, transmitted and interpreted by subsequent religious communities.

RELC 2050 Rise of Christianity 
Shuve, Karl Evan
How did a movement that began as a Jewish sect become the official religion of the Roman Empire and forever change the world? In this course, we will trace Christianity’s improbable rise to religious and cultural dominance in the Mediterranean world during the first millennium of the Common Era. We will examine archaeological remains, artistic creations and many different kinds of writings—including personal letters, stories of martyrs and saints, works of philosophy and theology, and even gospels that were rejected for their allegedly heretical content—as we reimagine and reconstruct the lives and struggles of early and medieval Christians. Our goal will be to understand the development of Christian thought, the evolution of the Church as an institution, and how Christianity was lived out and practiced by its adherents.

Gree 2230 New Testament Greek
Kovacs, Judith
The Department calls attention to this course offered through the Classics Department, which can be counted towards the major in Religious Studies: This intermediate course aims to solidify knowledge of Greek grammar, syntax, and vocabulary and to give practice in reading and translating texts from the New Testament gospels (especially Luke and John). It also presents basic principles of historical study of the gospels in their first century context. The course presupposes two semesters' study of ancient Greek (classical or Koine) or the equivalent.

RELC 2360 Elements of Christian Thought 
Jones, Paul Dafydd
This course considers the complex world of Christian thought. It examines 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 and become acquainted with a range of theological approaches and ideas. Authors considered include Anselm of Canterbury, John Calvin, Karl Barth, Elizabeth Johnson, and many others. The course is suitable for those seeking an academic introduction to the study of Christian thought and for those wishing to deepen their understanding of this religious tradition. It can fulfill the second writing requirement. No previous knowledge of Christian thought is required.

RELC 2559 Kingdom of God in America 
Marsh Jr.,Charles Robert
The course examines the influence of theological ideas on social movements in twentieth and twenty-first century America, and it clusters around such basic questions as: How do ideas about God shape the way communities and individuals engage the social order?  What role do nineteenth century European and American Protestant theologies play in informing the American search for "beloved community"?  What are the social consequences of religious beliefs?  Our primary historical focus is the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s, but we will also explore the student movements of the late 1960's and a variety of faith-based social movements of recent decades.  Resources include theological books, novels, social criticism and historical documents, film and music, and guest lectures by former activists and participants.  Requirements:  two pages (5-7 pages in length), two exams, weekly reading summaries, and participation in discussion sections.

RELC 3040 Paul: Letters and Theology 
Gamble,Harry Y

RELC 3056 In Defense of Sin 
Portmann, John Edward
Exploration of transgression in Judaism and Christianity with a focus on the Ten Commandments and the seven deadly sins. Reflection on who determines what is sinful and why. Close reading of texts questioning acts and attitudes long considered sinful with critical attention to the persuasiveness of religious rules. Does religious practice remain focused on pleasing God, or does it now principally fulfill familial and ethnic demands? Has religious piety perhaps become an indeterminate quest with largely personal goals? What does sin have to do with the modern world?

RELC 3090 Israelite Prophecy 
Goering,Gregory Wayne Schmidt
This course examines 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 analyzes Israelite prophecy in light of similar phenomena in the neighboring cultures of the ancient Near East and with regards to modern anthropological studies of shamanism. The end of the course considers the transformation of prophecy in the Second Temple period and examines the emergence of apocalypticism. No prerequisite required, but RELJ/RELC 1210 recommended  

RELC 3315 Jefferson and Religion 
Gamble, Harry Y
This course will examine several inter-related topics, including the religious formation and outlook of Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson’s conception of the proper relation of religion and the civil power, Jefferson’s conception of a university (most particularly the University he founded) as a secular institution, and the role of religion at the founding and during the subsequent history of the University of Virginia up to the present. Required reading will include all or parts of: Edwin Gaustad, Sworn on the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson; G. W. Sheldon and D. Dreisbach, eds., Religion and Political Culture in Jefferson’s Virginia;, W. Hudson, The English Deists: Studies in the Early Enlightenment; K. Walters, The American Deists: Voices of Reason and Dissent in the Early Republic; Thomas Jefferson: Writings (Library of America); F. Rudolph, The American College and University: A History; Minutes of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors; and a variety of other sources and studies.

RELC 3447 History of Christian Ethics 
Mohrmann, Margaret Elizabeth
This course surveys the development of Christian ethical thought and teaching from its beginnings through the Reformation era. Major ethical themes are 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 are taken mostly from primary texts, such as the Bible and the writings of selected Christian thinkers, but also include an online text that provides historical and theological background ethical issues in historical context, and selected secondary works that examine particular ethical issues in historical context. Class sessions are a combination of lecture and discussion.

RELC 3690 Gospel of John 
Kovacs, Judith
A close reading of the Gospel of John, this course first locates the Gospel in its first century context, considering literary, historical, and theological questions, and then surveys the book’s later influence. Questions raised include: What is distinctive about the portrayal of Jesus in the Gospel of John in comparison with the synoptic gospels? How does the Gospel use irony, misunderstanding, and other literary techniques to draw out the meaning of Jesus’ teachings and actions? What clues are there in the text for imagining the specific historical situation in which the Gospel was written? What are the reasons for, and implications of, its depiction of "the Jews"? The class will conclude with an examination of the Gospel’s reception history, including fictional lives of the author, the important role the Gospel played in the development of the church’s teaching about Jesus, and its influence on visual art, poetry, music, and film.

RELC 3695 Sex and Creation in Christianity
Guroian,Vigen
In this course we will ask and examine such questions as: What is the origin of human sexuality and what are its purposes? What do our sexual identities as male and female have to do with the Christian doctrines of Creation, the imago Dei (image of God), original sin, and salvation? Are male and female complementary or incidental? What value does the Christian faith give to the body? How should we view the body with respect to our sexuality? Is there gender or sexuality in the Kingdom of God? What meaning is there in sexual love? Why marriage? Why singleness? Where in our lives does sex belong? Our inquiry will include readings that range from the Bible and early Christian writers to contemporary theologians.

RELC 3890 Christianity in Africa 
Hoehler-Fatton, Cynthia Heyden
This course offers an historical and topical survey of Christianity in Africa from its roots in Egypt and the Maghreb in the 2nd c. CE, to contemporary times when nearly half the continent's population claims adherence to the faith. Our historical overview will include the flowering of medieval Ethiopian Christianity, 16th- and 17th- century Kongolese Christianity, European missions during the colonial period, the subsequent growth of independent churches, the emergence of African Christian theology, and recent examples of charismatic and Pentecostal ‘mega-churches’.  We will consider the relationship between colonialism and evangelism; assess efforts in translation and inculturation of the gospel; reflect on the role of healing, prophesy and spirit-possession in conversion, and explore a variety of ways of understanding religious change across the continent. We will attempt to position Christian movements within the wider context of African religious history, and to understand Africa's place in the larger course of Christian history.

RELC 5006 Augustine's City of God 
Mathewes, Charles T
Combining lecture and discussion, this class will read, slowly, the entire City of God, in an attempt to understand that work's argument, paying attention to the various audiences to which it was addressed, and (so far as we can tell) Augustine's larger overall theology, politics, and vision of history.

RELC 5130 Being and God 
Hart ,Kevin John
This seminar takes contemplation in the Christian tradition as its focus. Accordingly, we shall begin by examining what Plato and Aristotle say about *theoria* and then see how the first Christians took up these two quite different understandings. Does *theoria* touch on something fundamental to Christianity or does it add something superfluous to it? How does *theoria* (and, in the West, contemplatio) influence Christian understandings of the Hebrew Bible? These questions will lead us to consider the elaborate development of contemplatio in the Medieval Latin West, especially in the Victorines and Aquinas. Yet the adventures of the gaze do not stop there, and we shall also consider the partial revival of contemplation in phenomenology and in analytic philosophy of religion. What is the relation, if any, between *theoria* and “mysticism”? More generally, should one speak of *theoria* in the register of “experience”? These are among the questions we shall discuss.

RELC 5559 Foundations of Western Christianity 
Shuve,Karl Evan
Although Christianity is often treated as a "Western" religion, it is helpful to remember that it began as a religion rooted in the Eastern Mediterranean, which reached Asia long before many places in Europe. In this course, we will examine the making of a distinctly Western form of Christianity, which came to provide the intellectual and cultural foundation of European society. Through a carefulreading of primary sources (as well as a consideration of some artistic, architectural and epigraphic evidence), we will study the theological, philosophical, ritual and cultural innovations of Christians in the period 350-600 AD. All sources will be assigned in English translation, but there will be an optional language component, which will give interested students the ability to read sources in Latin and/or Greek.

RELC 5795 The Icon in Orthodox Christianity 
Guroian,Vigen

RELC 5980 Theology of Karl Barth 
Jones,Paul Dafydd
A close examination of the thought of Karl Barth -- arguably the most important European Protestant theologian of the twentieth century. While we will deal with some of Barth’s early work -- specifically, the second edition of *Epistle to the Romans* -- our primary focus will be the mighty *Church Dogmatics*. Topics considered include the role of the Bible in theological reflection, theological epistemology, the doctrine of God, election, human being and human agency, Christology and atonement, sin and evil, and the nature of Christian community. This course is primarily intended for graduate students with interests in Christian theology, western philosophy of religion, theological ethics, and biblical exegesis. Advanced undergraduates who wish to enroll must have significant background in the academic study of Christian thought and should contact the instructor before signing up on SIS.

General Religion

RELG 1010 Intro Western Religious Trads 
Warren, Heather A
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, two tests and a final

RELG 1040 Intro Eastern Religious Trads 
Nemec, John William
This course serves as a general introduction to Asian Religions, in particular Indian Buddhism, Hinduism, and Chinese religions. By emphasizing the reading of primary texts in translation, we will explore the major ideas and practices of these traditions, making special note of the cultural, historical, political and material contexts in which they were conceived and expressed. There are no prerequisites for students who wish to take this course.

RELG 2475 God 
Ochs Peter W
An introduction to the personality of God as portrayed in the sacred literatures, histories, and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What are the major personality traits of God as displayed in the three Abrahamic scriptures? In discussions, journals and writing assignments, students will be offered opportunities to comment on how these literatures portray the attributes of God and to explore various implications and wonderments.

RELG 2630 Business Ethics and Society 
TBA
This course will be taught by advanced graduate students. 
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.

RELG 2650 Theology, Ethics and Medicine 
Childress, James F
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, 3 brief papers (2 pages) and participation in discussion.

RELG 2700 Festivals of the Americas 
Schmidt, Jalane Dawn
By reading case studies of various religious festivals in locations throughout the Caribbean and South, Central and North America, as well as theoretical literature drawn from social anthropology and religious studies, students will become familiar with significant features of contemporary religious life in the Americas, as well as with scholarly accounts of religious and cultural change. Students will become more critical readers of ethnographic and historical sources, as well as theories from the Study of Religion (Jonathan Z. Smith, Ronald Grimes, Lawrence Sullivan), and will increase their ability to theorize about ritual, festivity, sacred time, ritual space and ethnicity.

RELG 3200 Martin, Malcom, and America 
Hadley, Mark Andrew
An intensive examination of African-American social criticism centered upon, but not limited to, the life and thought of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. We will come to grips with the American legacy of racial hatred and oppression systematized in the institutions of antebellum chattel slavery and post-bellum racial segregation and analyze the array of critical responses to, and social struggles against, this legacy. We will pay particular attention to the religious dimensions of these various types of social criticism.

RELG 3360 Religions in the New World 
Schmidt, Jalane Dawn
A history course which examines Latin American and Caribbean religions from the 1400s through the 1830s. We will proceed topically (in rough chronological order), studying religious encounters during the pre-Columbian era, the Spanish conquest and colonial eras, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Latin American independence (1820s), and slave emancipation in the anglophone Caribbean (1830s). The class will focus primarily upon the signature religious episodes, devotions, personalities and institutions of indigenous, African, Afro-creole, and mestizo communities, since these "gente de color" constituted the majority population in the New World during this historical epoch. We will consider issues of historiography?specifically, the problem of interpreting (sometimes hostile) extant archival sources and the use of such primary material in the writing of secondary literature. Students will develop their abilities to evaluate primary sources (in translation), and to identify the interpretive choices which scholars make in the crafting of historical narratives.

RELG 3559 Global Ethics and Climate Change 
Jenkins, Willis
This seminar focuses on the ethics of climate change as it considers broader attempts to develop moral responsibilities across national, cultural, and religious borders

RELG 3600 Religion and Modern Theatre 
Bouchard, Larry D

RELG 3780 Faulkner and the Bible 
Wilson, William M

RELG 3800 African American Rel History 
Cooper, Valerie C

RELG 3950 Evil in Modernity: Banal, Demonic 
Mathewes, Charles T
Modernity is riddled by evil. Its history is in large part a chronicle of wickedness and savagery; and many of its most powerful thinkers have struggled to grasp the truth about evil. Some argue that the great lesson of modernity is its failure to come to terms with evil, a failure that reveals the modern world to be morally and spiritually bankrupt. This class will investigate the attempts of various modern thinkers to understand evil, in order both to gain a deeper purchase on evil's manifestations, character, and effects, and to understand the several challenges that evil presents to the modern world's self-understanding. We will read novels, study texts in theology, history, philosophy, political theory, and psychology, and view several films, all in the service of our basic investigation into the inner history both of modern thought about evil, and of evil in modernity, in the hopes of understanding some of the implications of that history for the future.

RELG 4023 Bioethics Internship Seminar 
Mohrmann, Margaret Elizabeth
This course is designed to provide students with experience in discerning and analyzing ethical issues as they arise in particular clinical settings. Each student spends approximately four hours each week in a clinic, hospital unit, or other health care- related venue (the same one throughout the semester), under the mentorship of a health care professional engaged in that setting. Seminar time focuses primarily on student experiences and observations in their placements, plus discussion of readings that explore selected ethical issues common to clinical medicine and the role of the ethicist/observer. During the second half of the semester, each student presents for class critique an analysis of an ethical issue or question that arises in his or her setting, and that will form the basis of the student's final paper for the class. Students must have some background knowledge of bioethics' methods and common questions. Admittance to the course is by application only; for details, see the Undergraduate Bioethics Program Website at http://bioethics.virginia.edu/internships.html.

RELG 4220 Amer Religious Autobiography 
Warren, Heather A
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: weekly short autobiographical papers (2pp.), 1 paper 8-12 pages, and an autobiography (20 pp.)

RELG 4500 Death and the Afterlife 
Ray, Benjamin C
The goal of this seminar is to develop an informed and critical perspective on the study of religion through the study of myths, rituals, theology, medical ethics, and fictional literature concerning death and afterlife in a variety of religious traditions. 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 4500 Suffering 
Portmann, John Edward
Moral assessment of bodies in pain and spirits in turmoil. Philosophical, theological, psychiatric, biomedical, psychoanalytic, literary, biographical, sociological, operatic, and artistic exploration of suffering. Analysis of ongoing debate over the meaning of suffering. Study of religion as both cure for, and source of, human suffering. Particular attention to the Crucifixion as a cultural paradigm of suffering and social wellspring of anti-Semitism, as exemplified by criticism of actor Mel Gibson’s controversial film of 2004 The Passion of the Christ.

This “capstone” seminar will help you assess what contribution the study of religion can make to the humanities:a deeper understanding of what suffering is and what our chances are for eliminating or reducing it. Further, this seminar will investigate how scholars of religion and ordinary believers rely on discoveries from other fields of inquiry, the insights of other thinkers who have pondered what it is to be human.

RELG 5541 Just War 
Childress, James F
This seminar will examine just-war, pacifist, and holy-war attitudes toward war, mainly in the context of Christian theology and modern philosophical discussions. After a brief exploration of the moral reality of war, the seminar will examine the evolution of Christian attitudes toward war, from the early Church through the Reformation, with particular attention to how the Church and its theologians handled New Testament directives that at a minimum created tensions in efforts to justify war as well as Christian participation in war. The thought of selected twentiethand twenty-firstcentury theologians will be examined. These include Reinhold Niebuhr, H. Richard Niebuhr, Karl Barth, Paul Ramsey, the U.S. Catholic Bishops, James Turner Johnson, Oliver O'Donovan, John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas, among others. In addition, the seminar will pay careful attention to Michael Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars. In the examination of just-war thought, the seminar will attend to both the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello and contemporary debates about preventive and pre-emptive wars, weapons of mass destruction, and torture.

RELG 5559 Postliberal Theologies : Christian and Jewish
Ochs, Peter W
A study of postliberal Christian theologies, including Hans Frei, George Lindbeck, Robert Jenson, Stanley Hauerwas and a first and now second generation of their students. These theologians believe that postmodern criticisms of modern rationalism do not rule out recovering scripture and theological commentary as resources for knowing the world and our place in it. Thus, they revisit Christology and Trinitarian theology as sources of non-dogmatic and non-foundationalist Christian knowledge. Surprisingly, their “return to Christology” leads them also to re-value Judaism as an enduring source of knowledge. About 1/3 of the course will examine Jewish postliberal responses to these Christian theologians along with the beginnings of a Muslim response.

RELG 5630 Sem Study of Religion & Lit 
Bouchard, Larry D

RELG 5835 Ethnography and the Study of Religions 
Ochs, Vanessa L

RELG 7360 Study of Religion 
Ray, Benjamin C
Given the interdisciplinary character of religious studies, it is imperative for entering graduate students to gain a basic grounding in the theoretical and methodological studies in the field. By way of an examination of landmark texts, this course surveys the basic nineteenth and twentieth century approaches, as well as some contemporary methods. The course will facilitate critical engagement with classic concepts in the study of religion by applying them to examples of religious belief and practice.

RELG 8350 Proseminar in SIP 
Ochs, Peter W

RELG 8400 Historiography Amer Religion 
Hedstrom, Matthew Sigurd
This course introduces graduate students to the study of American religious history through a careful analysis of important recent and classic works in the field. It is designed to accommodate graduate students whose primary work is in religious history, aswell as students from a variety of fields—history, theology, religious studies, politics, literature, anthropology, and others—who might benefit from a thorough grounding in the religious history of the United States. In this way,the course lays the foundation for further advanced study in American religious history and a variety of allied fields.

Our focus throughout will be on the “state of the art”—understood broadly to include recent trends and debates in both subject and method. We will read works by emerging and established practitioners in the field to assess the current shape of the field, and the way religious history dialogues with wider conversations in both religious studies and history. We will examine the assigned texts from multiple angles, including their utility for us as models of scholarship.

In addition to the primary focus on method—a focus that will take us into social history ,political history, labor history, and cultural history—the course also covers a variety of religious traditions and subjects, seeking to balance an appreciation of diversity with the search for unifying themes. The content of the readings covers the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Hinduism

RELH 2559 Theory and Practice of Yoga 
Campbell, John R.B.

RELH  3104  The Jain Tradition  
Lang, Karen C
This course examines the religious beliefs and practices of the Jains in India. Beginning with the teachings of Lord Mahavira and basic doctrines of Jainism, the course will consider the historical foundations of the Jain tradition through philosophical and doctrinal texts, and the rich Jain narrative tradition.  The second half of the course will focus more on contemporary Jain life and religious practice, both monastic and lay, through examination of the religious lives of ascetics and Jain laity, ritual practices of temple worship and pilgrimage, as well as modern sectarian movements within the tradition and the emerging Jain interest in environmentalism.

RELH 5559 Ritual and Renunciation
Nemec, John William
This course will examine the relationship of two central religious institutions of premodern South Asia--ritual and renunciation--exploring their interrelations in classical Hinduism. Readings will be drawn from major scholarly works that treat these subjects, as well as from primary sources in translation. Students are expected to have a strong background in Hinduism and/or Indian religions as a prerequisite for enrolling in this course.

Islam

RELI 2070 Classical Islam 
Al-Rahim, Ahmed
This course is intended to trace the history and development of the religion of Islam and the Muslim world in the classical period, roughly dating from the 7th to 13th centuries C.E. We will examine through readings of the primary (in translation) and relevant secondary sources: (1) the biography of Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, and the history of his successors, the caliphs, and Islamic dynasties; (2) the history and themes of the Koran, Islam’s scripture, and its exegesis; (3) the hadith, or the sayings attributed to Muhammad, his companions, and his progeny, and the development of Islamic schools of law; (4) the history of Islamic creeds, theology, and philosophy; (5) sectarian history, the Sunni and Shi’a chasm, and Sufism, or Islamic mysticism; and (6) the daily life and rituals of medieval Muslims and their relations with the “People of the Book,” i.e., Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians.

RELI 5415 Classical Islamic Sources 
Al-Rahim ,Ahmed

Judaism

RELJ 1210 Hebrew Bible/Old Testament 
Halvorson-Taylor, Martien A
This course provides an introduction to the Hebrew Bible, known to Jews as the Tanakh and the Torah and to Christians as the Old Testament. We will read, for example, the narratives about Abraham & Sarah, Jacob, Rachel & Leah, Joseph, David, Solomon, Esther, Daniel, Job and the prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos. Using methods of modern biblical scholarship, we will examine the Hebrew Bible in its original ancient Near Eastern context to learn about the major phases in the history and religion of ancient Israel. We will consider the diverse genres and theological themes found in the Hebrew Bible and the literary artistry of its whole. Finally, we will read Jewish and Christian interpretations of the text in order to understand the complex process by which the text was formulated, transmitted and interpreted by subsequent religious communities.

RELJ 1410 Elementary Classical Hebrew I 
Halvorson-Taylor, Martien A
This course and its sequel (RELJ 1420) introduce students to the basics of classical (biblical) Hebrew vocabulary and grammar. After completing the two semester sequence in grammar and syntax, students will have mastered the basic tools required to read prose passages from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in the original language.

RELJ 2061 Judaism, Modernity, Secularism 
Biemann, Asher D
This course develops the history and intellectual underpinnings of the Jewish experience of modernity and secularization. We will explore the variety of Jewish responses and adjustments to the modern world and their implications for present day Judaism in its many forms.

RELJ 2410 Intermed Classical Hebrew I 
Goering,Gregory Wayne Schmidt
In this course, which continues and builds upon HEBR/RELJ 1420, students will develop facility in the reading, comprehension, and translation of biblical Hebrew. Students will review basic grammar, learn to analyze syntax, and build their working vocabulary. As a secondary objective of the course, students will learn to interpret biblical prose. By the end of the course, students will be able to read and translate moderately difficult prose passages from Hebrew to English.

RELJ 2590 Israeli History and Society 
Shelleg,Assaf

RELJ 3090 Israelite Prophecy 
Goering,Gregory Wayne Schmidt
In this course, we will examine 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). We will locate each primary text in its historical, cultural, and political contexts, compare Israelite prophecy to similar phenomena in the neighboring cultures of the ancient Near East, and consider modern anthropological studies of shamanism. At the end of the course, we will examine the transformation of prophecy in the Second Temple period and the emergence of apocalypticism.

RELJ 3170 Modern Jewish Thought 
Biemann, Asher
This course is a critical survey of the most significant Jewish responses to the experience of the modern era. Beginning with Spinoza's political and hermeneutic thought, we will explore how Jewish thinkers met the social, cultural, and religious challenges of modernity and, in turn, influenced the transformation of modern Jewry. Jewish Thought is understood in a broader sense to include philosophers, religious reformers, and political leaders. Changing and conflicting perspectives on tradition, education, culture, and religion will be in the center of our interest.

RELJ 3350 Judaism and Ethics 
Alexander,Elizabeth S
An exploration of ethical thinking using the resources of the Jewish tradition.  Among the topics to be explored are 1) dietary laws (curbing the human desire for meat, recognizing that God gives life); 2) death penalty (competing concerns:  only God gives and takes life vs. certain crimes violate God); 3) animal rights (what is the relative value of human life vs. animal life); 4) human responsibility regarding the environment;  5) charity and obligations to the poor (social justice);  6) etiquette (with food, in the bathroom, socializing the self); 7) social obligation to peers; and 8) gender

RELJ 3559 Jewish Weddings 
Ochs, Vanessa L
As we study the ritual of the Jewish wedding ceremony, from antiquity to the present day, we will see how notions about marriage, gender relations, and the normative family are displayed and challenged. In particular, we will be looking at innovations in the contemporary Jewish weddings of traditional, liberal, and same-sex-couples.

RELJ 3590 Music in the Holocaust 
Shelleg, Assaf
Designed for both music and non-music majors, this course deals with the embedment of Jewish musical markers and stereotypes in the European imagination, in particular Germany´s. Studying nineteenth and twentieth century "Jewish music libels” we will attempt to understand the German perceptions of nationalism and its cultural repercussions. Having established this background, the second part of this course will discuss the evolvement of Nazi cultural policies in the 1930s and their effect on musical activities in the Third Reich, including music in the ghettos. The last segment of the class will deal with commemoration music and the aesthetics of memory postmodern works.

RELJ 5065 History, Counter-History, Meta-History  
Biemann, Asher

RELJ 5105 Religion and Culture of the Rabbis 
Alexander, Elizabeth S
An examination of religion and culture of the rabbinic movement (c. 70-600 CE) in the social and cultural contexts of Greco-Roman antiquity.  Among the issues to be examined: 1) rituals and institutions of the rabbis, 2) social organization within the rabbinic movement and 3) rabbinic engagement with other sectors of Jewish and non-Jewish society.

RELS: Special Topics

RELS 8995 Research Selected Topics
Instructor: Student's choice

Systematic reading in a select topic under detailed supervision. Contact the graduate secretary for details regarding his course.

RELS 8998 Non Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

For master's research, taken under the supervision of a thesis director. Contact the graduate secretary for details regarding this course.

RELS 9998 Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research

Instructor: Student's choice

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

Contact the graduate secretary for details regarding this course.

RELS 9999 Non-Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

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

Contact the graduate secretary for details regarding this course.

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