Spring 2015 Courses

African Religions

RELA 2850 Afro Creole Relg in Americas
 Schmidt, Jalane Dawn
This survey lecture course investigates African-inspired religious practices in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in those religions--such as Haitian Vodou, Cuban Regla de Ocha (aka "Santería"), and Brazilian Candomblé. By reading ethnographies, we will compare features common to many of these religions-such as polytheism, initiatory secrecy, divination, possession trance, animal sacrifice-as well as differences-such as contrasting evaluations of the devotional use of material objects, relations with the dead, and the commoditization of ritual expertise.  We will consider how devotees deploy the history of slavery and re-interpret African influences in their practices, and evaluate practitioners' and anthropologists' debates about terms such as "Africa," "tradition," "modernity," "creole," and "syncretism.

RELA 3000 Women and Religion in Africa
 Hoehler-Fatton,Cynthia Heyden
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, Muslim communities and Christian congregations in Africa. 

RELA 3890 Christianity in Africa
 Hoehler-Fatton,Cynthia Heyden
This course examines the history 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 cover 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 the 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 both to position the Christian movement 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
 Turpeinen, Katarina
Provides a systematic introduction to Tibetan Buddhism with a strong emphasis on tantric traditions of Buddhism - philosophy, contemplation, ritual, monastic life, pilgrimage, deities & demons, ethics, society, history, and art. The course aims to understand how these various aspects of Tibetan religious life mutually shape each other to form the unique religious traditions that have pertained on the Tibetan plateau for over a thousand years.

RELB 2100 Buddhism
Kachru, Sonam
Theravada, Mahayana, and Tantrayana Buddhist developments in India.

RELB 2135 Chinese Buddhism
TBA
This course examines the ways in which Chinese Buddhism differs from the Buddhisms of other countries. The first half of the course introduces Buddhism with a focus on the historical development of the tradition.The second half of the course surveys several philosophical schools and forms of practice including Huayan, Chan, Pure Land, and Tantric Buddhism.

RELB 2165 Buddhist Meditation
 Germano,David F

RELB 2252 Buddhism in Film 
Schaeffer, Kurtis
This course is an introduction to Buddhism and an exploration of the place of Buddhism within contemporary Asian, European, and North American cultures through film. The goals are 1) to identify longstanding Buddhist narrative themes in contemporary films, 2) to consider how Buddhism is employed in films to address contemporary issues, and 3) to gain through film a vivid sense of Buddhism as a complex social and cultural phenomenon.

RELB 2450 Zen
 Hudson II,William Clarke
Studies the development and history of the thought, practice, and goals of Zen Buddhism.

RELB      2559       Buddhist Meditation Traditions
Braun, Erik
Contact professor directly

RELB 2715 Chinese Religions
TBA
This course serves as a general introduction to the religions of China, including Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, and popular religion. 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.

RELB      3030       Mindfulness and Compassion
Bach, Dorthea
Bauer-Wu, Susan
This elective course provides an in-depth and rich experience in contemplative practices, namely secular mindfulness and compassion practices. It is designed to prepare students to live more fully, be more engaged and compassionate citizens and professionals, and navigate life’s stressors with greater clarity, peace of mind, and healthy behaviors. It’s based on Buddhist principles and the secular, evidence-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, yet expanded upon and modified specifically for college students. Pedagogical approaches will include regular in-class and homework guided meditations, rich interactive class discussions, and readings and discussions on the burgeoning research evidence in contemplative sciences. We will explore a variety of secular contemplative practices that foster self-awareness, emotional regulation, mental stability, and prosocial mental qualities, like empathy, compassion, generosity and gratitude. In addition to structured meditations, we will engage with a variety of informal practices to facilitate mindful awareness of everyday activities.

RELB 3150 Buddhism and Gender
 Lang,Karen C
This seminar takes as its point of departure Carolyn Bynum's statements: "No scholar studying religion, no participant in ritual, is ever neuter. Religious experience is the experience of men and women, and in no known society is this experience the same." The unifying theme is gender and Buddhism, exploring historical, textual and social questions relevant to the status of women and men in the Buddhist world from its origins to the present day.

RELB 3160 The Religions of Japan
 Jee,Hye Kyung
This course is a survey of religions in Japan as well as their roles in Japanese culture and society. The topics that will be discussed are syncretism between Buddhism and Shinto, the development of uniquely Japanese forms of Buddhism, the spontaneous emergence of Pure Land Buddhism, the use of Shinto as a nationalistic ideology, and the role of Christianity. There are no necessary prerequisites; but a basic knowledge of Buddhism or Japanese history is very useful.

RELB      3190       Buddhist Nirvana
Kachru, Sonam
This course explores the history and contested formulations of the Buddhist ideal of felicity, nirvana. We will explore the metaphors and concepts developed to think about nirvana, attending to Buddhist systematic, lyrical and narrative thought. Attention will be paid to the reception of the term in nineteenth century Europe, and the specter of nihilism which once shadowed the study of Buddhism, while sensitizing ourselves to much earlier criticisms of the idea of nirvana available in South Asia, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist. There are no prerequisites. This class should interest: students of Buddhism, Hinduism, South Asia, Theology, Literature and Religion, Philosophy, Anthropology, and students of the History of Religion with an interest in methodological issues involved in the study of religion.

RELB 5440 Sanskrit Religious Texts
 Lang,Karen C

RELB 5460 Seminar in Mahayana Buddhism
 Lang,Karen C
This seminar will explore the origins and development of  Mahayana Buddhism through looking   at Mahayana scriptures (sutras) and the Mahayana philosophical treatises (sastra) of the Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools.   Open to undergraduates who have taken at least one course in Buddhism

RELB 5480 Literary Tibetan VI
 TBA

RELB 5810 Literary Tibetan VIII
 TBA

Christianity

RELC 1220 Early Christianity & New Test
 Spittler,Janet Elizabeth
This course is an introduction to the 27 individual books that the New Testament comprises.  Our goal is to reach a better understanding of what each of these texts meant in its ancient context, and to learn something about the individuals and communities that produced and used them.

RELC 2460 Spirit of Catholicism
 Fogarty,Gerald P
The course will trace the origins and development of Roman Catholic doctrine in light of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The following topics will be treated: the nature and person of Christ as examined in the first ecumenical councils from Nicaea (325) to Chalcedon (451); the nature of the Church and its authority vested in bishops and the pope; original sin, grace, and justification; the rise of hte Reformation in western Christianity

RELC 3009 Protestant Theology
 Jones,Paul Dafydd
This course examines the writings of important Protestant theologians from the 1500s to the present day. Beginning with key texts by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and writers from the radical reformation, we then engage major eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth-century thinkers such as John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Karl Barth. We also examine recent developments in process, liberationist, and feminist theology. Topics considered include the role of the Bible in theological reflection, the nature of God, Christology, sin and salvation, and Christian ethics. 

Some familiarity with the academic study of Christian thought is useful, but not required.

RELC 3150 Salem Witch Trials
 Ray,Benjamin C
The course will explore the historical scholarship, literary fiction, and primary source materials relating to the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. How and why did the accusations begin? How and why did they stop? Serious theories and wild speculations abound both in 1692 and now. Who were the female and male heroes, victims, and villains in this tragic episode? The most gripping personal stories are to be found in the court records and in the literary portrayals by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Arthur Miller. Explore the impact of this small-scale, 300 year-old event upon America’s cultural heritage -- how and why did "Salem witchcraft" become part of the American cultural imagination? The course will draw upon parts of the following historical works: Entertaining Satan by John Demos, Salem Story by Bernard Rosenthal, and In the Devil’s Snare by Mary Beth Norton, in addition to selected journal articles, documentary films, and Arthur Miller's classic play The Crucible. The class will include short 2 page  essays on reading materials and culminates in two short essays to be written on important figures and/or topics related to the witch trials, based entirely on the primary sources. Class discussion sections will be held online at the course's Collab Forum.  The class will make extensive use of the online "Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive"  <http://salem.lib.virginia.edu which contains all the original court documents and contemporary accounts.

RELC 3181 Medieval Christianity
 Komornicka,Jolanta N

RELC 3292 Book of Job
 Halvorson-Taylor,Martien A
The biblical figure of Job continues to shape how we conceive of the nature of divine justice, the problem of unjust suffering, the limits of human knowledge, and the possibility of integrity. In this seminar, we will consider first how Job is depicted in the Bible. Then, we will examine how Job has been interpreted and portrayed in early Jewish and Christian interpretations and, finally, how Job serves as a vehicle for articulating profound questions about the nature of human existence in philosophical and literary works of the modern period; we will consider, for example, interpretations of the book of Job by the artist and poet William Blake, the theologian Søren Kierkegaard, the writers Franz Kafka and Cynthia Ozick, and the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen. 

RELC 3620 Modern Theology
Hart,Kevin John
Who are the great modern Christian theologians? What do they have to say to us? What do they argue about? Who did they offend and why? In this seminar we shall read major works by four of the truly great modern theologians of the twentieth century. Two are Protestant (Karl Barth and Paul Tillich), and two are Catholic (Karl Rahner and Henri de Lubac). Over the semester we shall read substantial sections of three systematic theologies: those by Tillich, Barth, and Rahner. What is “systematic theology”? Is it any more than an interconnected account of the main doctrines of Christianity? In what ways can it be done? Since de Lubac did not write a systematic theology, we have the opportunity to ask another question: What does theology gain by not being systematic? Students will be introduced to other figures in theological debates of modern times, including Rudolf Bultmann and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

RELC 3715 Walker Percy & Flannery O'Connor
 Guroian,Vigen, Wilson, William
This course covers the major fiction of two important American writers of the twentieth century who challenged and tested the modern temper with a Christian imagination and vision of the human condition.

RELC 3890 Christianity in Africa
 Hoehler-Fatton,Cynthia Heyden
This course examines the history 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 cover 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 the 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 both to position the Christian movement within the wider context of African religious history, and to understand Africa's place in the larger course of Christian history.

RELC 4559 American Church-State Conflicts.
 Flake,Kathleen
This course considers how courts decide religious liberty cases and the public debate about those decisions. This means students will spend much of their time thinking about the values and social contexts that give coherence to a confusing array of seemingly contradictory court opinions. Consequently, we will be analyzing the logic of the court and its evolving cultural context, not merely the facts of court cases. Ultimately, the course is designed to develop the capacity to think critically through the use of relevant legal documents and to appreciate their influence on the shape of religion -- as well as other social institutions, such as education -- in America.  

RELC 5445 Atonement
 Jones,Paul Dafydd
This course engages landmark Christian statements about atonement. For about two-thirds of the semester, we will read “classic” texts – specifically, works by Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard, Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Friedrich Schleiermacher, G. W. F. Hegel, Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Sergius Bulgakov. In the remaining third of the course we will consider contemporary statements by René Girard, Delores Williams, Nancy Duff, Jon Sobrino, James Cone, and others. Questions addressed include the following: How do the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ relate to sin and salvation? What role do the Hebrew Bible and New Testament play in the formation of accounts of atonement? How does Christian experience, communal and individual, fund reflection on atonement? In what ways have different theologians described and conceptualized the reconciliation of God and humankind? Have classical descriptions of the cross directly or indirectly sanctioned violence against women and people of color? How do different perspectives on atonement bear on theological ethics?

While of direct interest to students interested in Christian thought and theological ethics, this course can also serve as a high-level survey of important Christian writings from the medieval period to the present day. It is intended primarily for graduate students in Religious Studies and related disciplines; interested undergraduates should email the professor directly to discuss enrollment.

RELC 5559 Catholic Biblical Scholarship
 Fogarty,Gerald P
 

RELC 5559 Religions of the Roman Empire
 Spittler,Janet Elizabeth
In this course we will study the diverse religious landscape of the Greco-Roman world from the end of the Roman Republic through the rise of Christianity.  We will consider a variety of religious practice and expression, including the Roman public religion, Dionysiac/Orphic cult, Isis cult, Mithras cult, Cybele cult, Greco-Roman Magic, Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianities. We will work with a variety of ancient sources, including literature, images and other material culture in an effort to understand these ancient cults and the people who participated in them.  While most have long since ceased to be practiced, two of these ancient religions are still around today.  In the last weeks of the course, we will make a special effort to place Judaism and Christianity within their Roman context, alongside the other “religious options” of the period.

RELC 5676 Human Image, Divine Image
 Guroian,Vigen
This is a study of major Patristic authors and modern Eastern Orthodox theologians who have reflected on the imago Dei and the humanity of God in their Christology and Christian anthropology. The writers that we will read include: Gregory of Nyssa, Ephrem the Syrian, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus the Confessor, Nicholas Cabasilas, Vladimir Lossky, John Zizioulas, and Nicholas Berdyaev.

General Religions

RELG 1040 Intro Eastern Religious Trads
 Campbell,John R.B.
Introduces various aspects of the religious traditions of India, China, and Japan.

RELG 2160 Religion in America since 1865
 Warren,Heather A
Religion in America Since 1865 is an historical examination of the social and cultural change that affected the religious life of Americans over the ensuing 150 years.  The course studies theological change in Protestantism, the emergence of three kinds of Judaism, controversy and change in American Catholicism, the origins of fundamentalism and Pentecostalism, various expressions of African-American faith, the attraction of Asian religions to non-Asians in America in the 1960s and afterwards, and the rise of the religious right.  We also explored the effects of immigration, urbanization, politics, and intellectual change on religions in America.  Readings include Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain about snake handling Pentecostals in Appalachia, Abraham Heschel's The Sabbath, sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr., and an essay by basketball coach Phil Jackson about his practice of Buddhism and the way it influenced his coaching of the championship Chicago Bulls.  Fulfills historical studies and humanities area requirements for the College.

RELG 2210 Rel Ethics Environment
 Jenkins,Willis Jackson
What are the roots of our ideas of nature and what cultural and political consequences do they have? In an era of rapid human expansion and uncertain ecological change, cultures everywhere are forced to reexamine their basic orientations to their environments. What stories and values shape the patterns of everyday ecological life? Are they still good ones? This course interprets humanity’s changing ecological relationships through religious and philosophical traditions to think through questions about climate change, animals, biotechnology, and food choices.

RELG 2300 Religious Ethics & Moral Probs
 Mathewes,Charles T
This course examines several contemporary moral issues from the standpoint of major Western religious traditions (Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) as well as from several broadly secularistic perspectives. We will consider moral issues such as marriage, friendship, truthfulness, capital punishment, warfare, and the meaning of work, career, and vocation. 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 judgments (and vice-versa).

RELG 2380 Faith & Doubt in Modern Age
 Marsh Jr.,Charles Robert
This course introduces undergraduates to seminal writings in modern Western thought that explore and question the meaning, truthfulness, and uses of religious belief.  The goal is to develop a multi-storied narrative of the variety of interpretations given to the idea of God in modernity and to clarify the conditions of responsible religious belief in a pluralistic and possibly post-modern world.  Lectures and discussions will follow such questions as:   Is belief in God a product of wishful thinking?  Is religious belief a symptom of neurotic behavior?  If there is no God, is everything permissible?  Is atheism (new and old) parasitic on the moral convictions inspired by religion?  Is religion a primitive stage in human intellectual development in need of an education to reality?  Does religion promote violent tendencies among individuals and groups?  Is it inherently immoral?  On what basis do some intelligent people argue that belief in God is rational and others that belief in God violates reason?  We will consider such questions by studying the modern critiques of religion and the implications of such critiques for believers and people of faith.  Our sources novels, film, music and writings by philosophers, theologians and psychologists. 

RELG 2559 Whiteness and Religion
 Schmidt,Jalane Dawn
This lecture class examines the role that religion has played and still plays in defining a racial category known as whiteness. By reading cultural histories and ethnographies of the religious practices of various U.S. communities, we will examine how immigrant groups now classified as white (Irish, Italians, Poles, Jews, etc.) and religious images (depictions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary) "became white" and the role that religious practice played in this shift in racial classification.

RELG 2630 Business Ethics and Society
 TBA (Advanced Graduate Student)

RELG 2660 Spirituality in America
 Hedstrom,Matthew Sigurd
What does “spiritual but not religious” mean, and why has it become such a pervasive self-description in contemporary America? This interdisciplinary course surveys spirituality in America, with a particular eye for the relationship between spirituality and formal religion, on the one hand, and secular modes of understanding the self, such as psychology, on the other. Along the way we’ll study everything from AA to yoga to Zen meditation, with stops in Christian rock, Beat poetry, Abstract Expressionist painting, spirit photography, the feminist movement, environmentalism, and recent film. The study of spirituality forces us to confront many of the central concerns of modern American life: psychology, self-help, and therapeutic culture; global religious and cultural encounters; gender and sexuality; and consumerism and mass culture. In the end, we’ll come to see spirituality in America as a complex intermingling of the great world religions, modern therapeutic psychology, the politics of movements for social change, and a crassly commercialized, billion-dollar culture industry.
Is this the fate of religion in a modern, capitalist, globalized society?

RELG 3051 Religion and Society
 Hudson II,William Clarke

RELG 3380 Feasting, Fasting, Faith
 Ochs,Vanessa L
Through reading, studying films and eating, we will learn how preparing food, consuming it, and abstaining from it have been made sacred and ethical  in Jewish and Christian Practices. This course will be especially relevant to people with an ardent interest in foods (foodies).

RELG 3485 Moral Leadership
 Portmann,John Edward
Exploration of moral ways of inspiring and influencing other people.  Special attention to the thought of Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Al Gore, and Oprah; styles of leading; the role of the so-called global elite in contemporary world affairs; the media; censorship; the Internet; plagiarism; globalization; and going to war.  What is the definition of leadership?  What does traditional religious observance have to do with the definition?  What is the role of judgment in moral leadership?  Requirements:  informed class participation; three brief exams; final 8-12-page paper. Please note that no laptops will be allowed in this seminar.

RELG 3630 Idolatry
 Biemann,Asher D
To the monotheistic traditions, idolatry represents one of the most abhorrent moral transgressions. Permeating both the religious and the secular, the prohibition against idol worship has become deeply ingrained in Western culture delineating the boundaries between "true" and "strange."  Yet, while the religious significance of idolatry seems to have vanished, the idol continues to remain in the vocabulary of our everyday language.  Beginning with Biblical sources and concluding with contemporary texts, this course will examine the philosophical framework of casting idolatry as an unspeakable sin: What is an idol, and why is idolatry so objectionable?  With an emphasis on Judaism, though not exclusively, we will discuss idolatry in the context of representation, election, otherness, emancipation, nationalism, secularism, religious innovation, and messianism.

RELG 4023 Bioethics Internship Seminar
 Marshall,Mary Faith
 

RELG 4500 Majors Seminar  Book Culture in Religions
 Al-Rahim,Ahmed
 

RELG 4500 Majors Seminar  Secularism and Religion
 Nemec,John William
Does religion belong in the public square? Does it have a legitimate role in public
life, despite a lack of unanimity in the religious beliefs of the public? Can religion be separated from public and political life?   This course examines these and related questions and queries the ways in which religion shapes, challenges, and clashes with the modern nation-state. It further examines the degree to which religion has served to shape—and to challenge—contemporary societies in the context of the modern nation-state, all while examining why religion has historically found a role for itself in political life.

RELG 4500 Majors Seminar  Evil and Suffering
 Geddes,Jennifer Leslie
 

RELG 4500 Death and the After Life
 Ray,Benjamin C
The subject of death and dying in ancient and modern literature, contemporary Christian theology, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions, medical ethics, the American civil war, and public monuments.

RELG 4559 Bioethics Internship: Health Policy Administration
 Mohrmann,Margaret Elizabeth
Also listed as PHSE 4500/7500 The Bioethics Internship: Health Policy and Administration is designed for fourth-year undergraduate students who have declared a minor or interdisciplinary major in bioethics or have significant course background in bioethics, as well as for graduate students in any discipline who are pursuing studies in or relevant to health policy and/or administration. It is designed to provide students with experience in discerning and analyzing ethical issues as they arise in healthcare institutions in regard to policy making and implementation and to other organizational issues. Each student spends several hours a week in the UVA medical center under the mentorship of an administrator engaged in some facet of the institution’s operation. Seminar time focuses on the students’ observations and analyses of particular ethical issues that arise in their placements. Each student chooses an observed ethical issue to analyze for a final project, which is presented to the class and written up as the term paper. Admittance is by instructor permission, based on an emailed request detailing relevant courses taken (and grades) plus reasons for wishing to take the course, including how it may fit into the student's future academic and career trajectory; send enrollment requests electronically to Prof. Mohrmann (mem7e) and the course co-leader, Prof. Lois Shepherd (lls4b).  Instructor permission

RELG 5485 American Relig &Social Reform
 Warren,Heather A
American Religion and Social Reform examines the history of the interplay between theology, morality, and politics in American history. Topics covered include temperance and prohibition, labor, civil rights, the peace movement, and environmentalism. Weekly reading, class presentation, and original research will be important components of the class. Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates.

RELG 5541 Sem Social & Political Thought:  Just War
 Childress,James F
This seminar will examine the tradition and theories of just war, mainly in the context of Christian theology and modern philosophical discussions. After a brief exploration of the moral reality of war in the 20th and 21st centuries, 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 tension in efforts to justify war and Christian participation in war. The seminar will then examine the thought of selected twentieth century theologians, with particular attention to representatives of the just-war tradition and pacifist critics. Next the seminar will analyze and assess what the instructor considers the best book on the morality of war over the last fifty years—Michael Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars—and then examine the implications of the just-war tradition for recent controversies about the jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and jus post bellum. Those controversies include responsibility to protect and targeted assassinations and the use of drones. We will also consider Jewish and Islamic perspectives, along with Christian and philosophical perspectives.

RELG 5541 Sem Social & Political Thought: 
Childress, James F
This highly interactive seminar will explore both ends and means in public health ethics. On the one hand, it will examine the broad goal of public health and how it can be specified for purposes of guiding both policy and practice. On the other hand, it will consider when, in a liberal democracy, the broad and specific goals of public health justify overriding liberty, privacy, confidentiality, etc., all of which establish presumptive (but non-absolute) constraints against certain societal and governmental interventions. It will examine the tension between giving priority to voluntary actions by members of the public and employing effective public health interventions, in such contexts as testing and screening, surveillance, quarantine/isolation, vaccination, and allocation of resources. At times the seminar will also attend to historical perspectives, emphasizing how ethical problems about ends and means in public health have been framed and reframed over time. A range of case studies will be used.

RELG 5559 Suffering
 Geddes,Jennifer Leslie

RELG 5780 Wallace Stevens & the Absolute
 Hart,Kevin John
This seminar attempts to develop a close reading of Wallace Stevens's major poems and to evaluate their theological significance. What is the character of the atheism of early poems such as “Sunday Morning”? Is the project of a “supreme fiction” theological or anti-theological or both? In what sense, if any, is “The Auroras of Autumn” a poem concerned with belief? These are some of the questions that will interest us. While reading Stevens we will also be concerned to consider assumptions that structure our reading of poetry that involves religion, whether affirmatively or negatively, and to discover what is involved in developing a rigorous theological reading of modern poetry. What differences are there, if any, between reading canonical biblical poetry and canonical secular poetry that addresses the absolute? Reference will be made to theologians such as Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar, among other theologians, and to literary critics: Harold Bloom, for example.

RELG 8350 Proseminar in SIP
 Ochs,Peter W

Hinduism

RELH 2195 Theory and Practice of Yoga
 Campbell,John R.B.
 

RELH 5559 Yoga Phil. & Technol. of Self
 Nemec,John William
This course examines the classical Indian texts and traditions that established yoga as a field of learning and a religious discipline.  Attention will be paid to theories regarding the efficacy of yogic practice, the nature of the individual who is said to be affected and transformed by the same, and the history and diachronic development of these ideas over time and across the sometimes competing traditions of learning in premodern South Asia.  Students who wish to take this course are expected to have a firm understanding of classical Indian religions.

Islam

RELI 2080 Islam in the Modern Age
 Nair,Shankar Ayillath
This course examines the second half of Islamic history, spanning from the first Mongol invasions (13th century) to the present. Particular attention will be paid to the three great empires of the early modern period -- the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals -- and to reformist and "fundamentalist" Islam in the contemporary period. In addition to an historical survey, the course will also examine intellectual and literary developments, cultural transformations, and Islam as the lived daily reality of diverse populations across the vast Islamic world.

Judaism

RELJ 1420 Elementary Classical Hebrew II
 Goering,Gregory Schmidt
In this sequel to HEBR/RELJ 1410, students will learn the derived stems and weak verbs, cardinal and ordinal numbers, Masoretic accents, oath formulas, and parsing. Thus students will complete the study of the verbal system and of basic Hebrew grammar as a whole. In addition, students will learn to use a Hebrew lexicon and read prose passages directly from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. At the completion of the two semester sequence, students will have learned the basic tools required to read longer prose passages from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in the original language. Cross-listed as HEBR 1420.

RELJ 2030 Introduction to Judaism
 Alexander,Elizabeth S
An introduction to Judaism as lived religion.  We will survey Judaism’s central beliefs and examine the ritual contexts in which these beliefs are manifest (sacred text study, holy day practices, prayer, daily practices and life cycle passages).  Our inquiry starts with the ancient sources that give rise to much of Jewish practice and belief, and continues by examining the myriad ways that Judaism is practiced in a contemporary context.  We will draw on readings, film, sacred text study and ethnographic observation of Jewish communal life in order to help us understand the many faces of Jewish tradition.

RELJ 2420 Intermed Classical Hebrew II
 Goering,Gregory Schmidt
In this course, which continues and builds upon HEBR/RELJ 2410, students will develop facility in the reading 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 poetry. To this end, students will learn repetition, acrostic, inclusio, refrain, metaphor, correspondence, elision, compensation, and other poetic devices. By the end of the course, students will grasp the complex phenomenon of poetic parallelism. Cross-listed as HEBR 2420.

RELJ 3292 Book of Job
 Halvorson-Taylor,Martien A
The biblical figure of Job continues to shape how we conceive of the nature of divine justice, the problem of unjust suffering, the limits of human knowledge, and the possibility of integrity. In this seminar, we will consider first how Job is depicted in the Bible. Then, we will examine how Job has been interpreted and portrayed in early Jewish and Christian interpretations and, finally, how Job serves as a vehicle for articulating profound questions about the nature of human existence in philosophical and literary works of the modern period; we will consider, for example, interpretations of the book of Job by the artist and poet William Blake, the theologian Søren Kierkegaard, the writers Franz Kafka and Cynthia Ozick, and the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen. 

RELJ 3372 German Jewish Cult & Histor
 Finder,Gabriel & Grossman, Jeffrey

RELJ 3390 Jewish Feminism
 Ochs,Vanessa L
What happened when feminists, female and male, addressed the secondary status of women within traditional Jewish religion? A revolutionary transformation has taken place, and it is still ongoing. This course will be of interest to all who study how contemporary ethical concerns challenge and refine traditional religions.

RELJ 5292 Book of Job
 Halvorson-Taylor,Martien A
This seminar focuses on the book of Job and its related texts—ancient, medieval, and modern—which allow us to establish the literary, theological and philosophical traditions in which Job was composed and the literary, theological, and philosophical legacy that it has engendered. Our study will begin with a grounding in ancient compositions from Mesopotamia and biblical Wisdom Literature; proceed through the book of Job itself (with accompanying critical scholarship); and then finally turn to interpretations of the book. (These interpretations may include, for example, early Jewish and Christian retellings of Job, Kierkegaard, Kafka’s The Trial, J.B. by MacLeish, the writings of later liberation and Jewish theologians, or the etchings of William Blake; students will select and present on these materials based on their research interests.) We will pay particular attention to the ways in which interpretations of Job 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.

Undergraduates who wish to take this course should have taken RELC/RELJ Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and should confer with the instructor first (maht@virginia.edu).

RELJ 5559 History Methods Jewish Studies
 Biemann,Asher D
This seminar introduces graduate students of any discipline and department to the history and methods of Jewish Studies as an interdisciplinary field. Students will be exposed to seminal texts, key concepts, and contemporary debates preparing them to work independently on areas related to the study of Judaism. Participation, presentation, and a research paper on a topic of choice are required.

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.