RELG 104 Intro to Eastern Religions
This course provides an historical and thematic overview to the major religious traditions of "the East" (i.e., Asia), focusing particularly upon those of India, Tibet, and China. Through careful examination of a variety of primary and secondary sources, we will consider the many ways in which South Asian Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, and Chinese Confucians have attempted to understand the nature of the world, human society, and the individual person's place therein. In examining religious traditions that for many may seem wholly foreign or "other," our emphasis will be on the internal logic of each, on the resources that each provides for the construction of meaning, value, and moral vision. Requirements: weekly readings, participation in discussion section, three one-hour examinations. Fulfills: Non-Western Perspectives Requirement
RELC 122 Early Christianity & the New Testament
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.
RELJ 196 The Lives of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve are perhaps the most famous characters from the Hebrew Scriptures. At least they are the characters with arguably the most cultural authority, even in modern America. It is not hard to see why: through the story of Adam and Eve, the Hebrew Scriptures address the nature of humanity, attempt to understand human limitations, and assign meanings to sexual difference. In this course, limited to 1st and 2nd level students, we will look first at this text itself, but then move on to look at the various interpretations of Genesis 2-3. These texts will include early Jewish texts, the New Testament, the works of leaders in early Christianity, the Koran, various figures from Judaism and Christianity, and modern religious (and irreligious!) uses of the story. This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement. Requirements: 3 5-7 page papers, leadership of class discussion, final examination.Restricted to 1st and 2nd year only
RELC 206 History of Christianity II 1054-1800
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 paper, in-class mid-term and final.
RELI 208 Islam in the Modern Age
REL 208 will study the Muslim community in the modern world characterized by individualism, secularism, rationalism and political empowerment through democratization. That which characterizes the Muslim community is their devotion to the classical faith, Islam, with its culture and civilization that continues to inspire its major thinkers. The course is primarily concerned with the study of Islam and its people in the last two centuries, - the period of Islamic reform in the wake of Western hegemony and the efforts of the community to readjust under the challenges of the liberal and technical age. The course will explore ways of evaluating religious and political pluralism, freedom of religion and other human rights in the context of global religious revival in the world's religions.
RELG 216 Religion in America Since 1865
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. This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement. Requirements: Three papers (6-7 pages each), a mid-term exam, and a final exam.
RELG 219 Religion & Modern Fiction
We will explore ways in which modern literature asks persistent questions that are intrinsically religious in character: questions concerning the relation between human spirit and human nature, the fact of evil and suffering, the desire for personal and communal wholeness or fulfillment, and whether human beings need to be rooted in a symbolic order of meaning. Some of the authors we will consider (such as Elie Wiesel, Flannery O'Connor, or Susaku Endo) write fictions that are intended to reflect explicitly their religious traditions. Others (such as N. Scott Momaday, Seamus Heaney, Annie Dillard, or E. L. Doctorow) employ a variety of religious and cultural traditions to create more idiosyncratic religious interpretations. And others (such as Joseph Conrad, Milan Kundera or Tony Morrison) create secular narratives that nonetheless raise philosopohical and moral questions that have religious implications. In addition, the course will consider other authors and interpreters of religion.
GREE 224 New Testament Greek (Intermediate Greek)
This course is not offered by the department, but may be of interest to religious studies students
The aims of this course are to solidify your knowledge of Hellenistic Greek grammar and vocabulary and to gain speed and proficiency in reading and translating the Greek New Testament. We will read passages from I Corinthians and Romans, as well as some passages from the Acts of the Apostles. We will also consider some of the principles of New Testament textual criticism. Prerequisite: Greek 101-102 or permission of the instructor. Graduate students should consult instructor about registration. This course is offered by the Department of Classics.
RELG 227 Religion and Technology
What is the place of religious belief in the rapid expansion of Western technology? Are technology and religion inextricably linked, one reflective of the other, or are they independent expressions, competing for the same space in the domains of human life? The purpose of this course is to explore such questions, while refining the ability to reflect about such concerns in oral and written forms of communication.
This course is offered by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Division of Technology, Culture and Communication. Registration is limited to 5 religious studies majors (under RELG 227) and 25 engineering students (under TCC 212)
RELG 229 Business Ethics
Ethics is embedded in the everyday activities and responsibilities of business. These responsibilities often appear as dilemmas for individuals, organizations, or in the interchanges between an organization and its competition, consumers, environment, or society. These challenges and responsibilities and the issues they generate will be the subject for this course. We shall begin with an examination of some classical texts in ethics, then examine the question of relativism and issues in truth-telling. The justification of free-enterprise in light of its harshest critics, focusing on the concepts of profit, private ownership, and justice will also be explored. Turning to business itself, using stakeholder theory we shall study the nature and moral responsibilities of corporations, the question of employment, affirmative action, and employee rights. If time permits we shall also discuss some specific issues, such as the question of the environment. To give a practical thrust to these theoretical issues, specific case studies in business that deal with each issue will be analyzed in class each week. Understanding these cases will be essential to grasping the philosophical questions we raise.
RELG 230 Religious Ethics and Moral Problems
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.
RELG 239 Theism and Humanism
A study of the philosophical and theological issues between theism and humanism/atheism. We will also chart the social and political consequences of followingone or the other. Readings will come from among others St. Augustine, St.Thomas Aquinas, Petrarch, Erasmus, Calvin, Hume, Kant, Marx, and Barth. Two tests and a final.
RELC 246 Aspects of the Catholic Tradition
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 255 Buddhist Meditation
An introduction to Buddhism by way of exploring meditative techniques and practices used for attaining enlightenment. Meditation manuals from Tibetan traditions will be examined and compared, providing a survey of Buddhist techniques for non-attachment, love, compassion, and insight into the nature of reality.
The emphasis will be on yogic transformation of the mind through reflective, stabilizing, and analytical meditation. Buddhist attitudes about the basic human condition, altruism, and the conflict between appearance and reality will be explored.
RELA 278 Gender in African Religions
This course explores gender issues as they arise in the context of African religious traditions. Among other things, we will examine Bantu religious language, in which ideas about male and female sexuality are used in a complementary fashion to express belief about God as creator of the heavens, and about earth and humanity as gendered realities (and an attempt will be made to show how traditional African cosmology explains the roles of men as leaders and women as producers in most African traditional societies); consider how gender imagery functioned in the spectrum of Christian and Gnostic religious movements found in North Africa during late antiquity. Students will be welcome to look at various ways in which gender imagery in early Christian discourse about God, the creation, evil, etc.; and discuss how gender imagery from African traditional religions and Christianity contribute to a new discourse on gender in the new religious movements of Africa (otherwise known as independent churches). Since Christianity is the dominant religion of Africa today, we will end with a survey of how traditional African religions continue to shape attitudes to sexuality in modern independent Africa.
RELJ 309 Israelite Prophecy
This course examines the phenomenon of prophecy, particularly in the way it was manifested in ancient Israel. Our chief window into this phenomenon will be texts from the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the books named for the Israelite prophets, thus understanding prophetic claims about theology will be important. We will compare Israelite prophecy with Native American prophecy, understanding prophecy as a broader cultural phenomenon, examine the relationship between prophetic experiences and psychosis, attempt to understand prophetic constructions of gender, and ascertain why prophecy disappeared as a social practice in early Judaism. Requirements: 2 4-5 page papers, some discussion leadership, midterm, final.
RELI 311 Muhammad and the Quran
This course has been cancelled. The schedule number is being used by RELI 367 Islam and Democracy
RELC 323 Pentecostalism
This course was previously listed in error as RELG.
This course will analyze the Pentecostal movement of the past 20th century as a transcultural religious phenomenon. Looking to a wider international context, we will explore the development of Pentecostalism in such countries as Mexico, Brazil, Korea, and China. We will also concern ourselves with the way ethnic minorities within the United States have reshaped the practice and the meanings of Pentecostalism, as well as Evangelicalism in general, particularly with regard to race and gender. Because the course is about a religious movement, our analytical approach will be historical, anthropological, and theological. Using various Pentecostal texts and articles, we will work toward a clearer understanding of the basic tenets of Pentecostalism, namely "divine healing," "baptism in the Holy Spirit," and "speaking in tongues." We will also investigate how the most recent internationalist shift within the Pentecostal movement has renewed millennialist thought and efforts for Christian ecumenism.
RELC 327 Salvation in the Middle Ages
An introduction to some of the major figures and issues of Western medieval Christian thought from Augustine to Luther. Questions include: How did the Western tradition classically resolve the tension between free will on the one hand and grace and predestination on the other? What role do good works play in salvation? How is it exactly that in the Western Christian tradition Jesus Christ saves human beings? How is knowledge of God possible at all? How do faith and reason relate within Christian thought? What is the origin of sin? Readings come from original sources, including Pseudo-Dionysis, Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, Duns Scotus, and Martin Luther. A graduate level section can be arranged if needed.
RELJ 337 Jewish Theology After the Holocaust
This is not a course about the Holocaust, but about efforts to restore and renew Judaism after the Holocaust. It is about what it means, after such unimaginable destruction, to have faith in God, to retain the Covenant between Israel and God, to remain a Jew, to retain or to rebuild relations with Christians and with Europeans, to have children, to look with any hope to the future. Students should have studied some history or literature about the Holocaust before taking the class, so that they are prepared to ask "what now?" Students should also have taken Introduction to Judaism, or other basic courses in Judaism, before taking this course. The course will include readings in theology, philosophy, rabbinic and scriptural text study, and literature. There will be regular writing assignments.
RELG 342 Moral Status in Bioethics
This course critically analyzes the concept of moral status by considering several "borderline cases" in bioethics, primarily concerning those at the edges of life. The question of moral status asks: Who or what have claims to be directly considered by moral agents in their deliberations, and what is the condition by which they possess this claim? Must one be a member of the community of rational moral agents to have moral status, or can non-rational humans or even nonhumans have moral status? How these questions are answered, in turn, suggests something about the character of morality itself. Does morality primarily concern the virtue of the agent, the consequences of action, or duty to others? Is the question of moral status best analyzed rationally, or is there a place for imagination, empathy and other emotions? Is moral status a discoverable fact about the world, or a choice humans make? Borrowing heavily from work in environmental ethics, we begin the course by examining these and other theoretical questions surrounding the concept of moral status, including arguments from feminists and others that the very project of assigning moral status to some entities and not others is morally problematic. With these and other theoretical questions in the background, we then consider the central question of moral status through the lens of several issues in biomedical ethics, including abortion, maternal-fetal conflicts, definitions of death, treatment of cadavers, and medical experimentation on animals. Requirements: in addition to careful reading of course materials and active participation in class, one or two seminar papers, one or two verbal responses to colleagues' papers, and final paper written in consultation with the instructor. Permission of instructor required.
RELB 346 Chan/Zen and Pure Land Buddhism
RELG 350 American Feminst Theology
This course analyzes contemporary theological models for American feminists. Christianity is not new to feminism; however, with few exceptions, feminist attempts to reinterpret and recover theology by and for women have arisen only with the advent of contemporary feminism. The primary goal of the course is to understand the various types of Christian feminism that exist in America today and how these theologies contribute to or challenge American feminism. In order to come to this understanding, we will begin by looking at the history of the women's movement and an overview of contemporary feminism in its various manifestations. Questions we will consider include: How does each theological model account for women's situation? How does each model account for and construct traditional theological concepts such as: sin, salvation, the nature of God, anthropology, and biblical authority? How does each read the biblical text? What are their strengths and limitations in making these accountings?
RELG 356 In Defense of Sin
Exploration of transgression in Judaism and Christianity with a focus on the Ten Commandments and the seven deadly sins. Reflection on "Divine Command Theory" and the questions of who determines what is sinful and why. Close readings of texts challenging the wrongness of acts and attitudes long considered sinful with critical attention to the persuasiveness of religious rules. Requirements: Three-hour final and ten-page paper, along with regular class participation.
RELG 357 Existentialism: Its Literary, Philosophical and Religious Expressions
Examination of selected 19th and 20th century representatives of existentialist thought (e.g., Camus, Sartre, Marcel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard).
RELC 363 God, The Body, and Sexual Orientation
This course tries to answer two questions: What does Christianity say the body is for, and what does the study of social bodies say God is for? Or, put another way, what does God want with a human body (my human body, the social human body, God's own human body) ; and what does a human body want with God? This course uses current debates about sexual orientation to address these issues. Arguments for and against gay marriage will play a prominent role. Fulfills the second writing requirement. 4 five-page papers and newsgroup participation. Seek permission from instructor
RELI 367 Islam and Democracy
The course will examine the compatibility or incompatibility of Islamic tenets with principle of democracy. It will study the anti-democratic and pro-democratic arguments provided in the works of a number of Muslim and non-Muslim scholars. It will focus on the following issues:
* What is the perception of democracy among Muslim thinkers and activists? What has been their response?
* On what aspects and elements of Islamic tradition have they based their arguments?
* Problematic issues in a normative legal understanding of Islam: equality, freedom, rights and duties.
* Is there an alternative understanding of Islam that my yield the possibility for reconciling religion and democracy?
RELH 371 Hindu Traditions of Devotion
"My lord who swept me away forever into joy that day, made me over into himself and sang his own songs through me," writes the great ninth-century South Indian poet, Nammalvar. Ramprasad Sen, the eighteenth-century Bengali devotee of the the fierce goddess, Kali, cries out: "I'm not calling you anymore, crazy Kali. You, only a girl, waving a big sword, went into battle and without a stitch." How have Hindu saints or exemplary devotees expressed their love for and devotion to the various deities of the Hindu pantheon? How are the works of such poets understood and used by their communities of followers today? This course will examine (in English translation) the literatures of the Hindu bhakti or devotional movements, considering the rise of regional vernacular traditions in relation to Sanskrit Puranic literature and the development of temple practice. Prerequisites: An introductory course on Hinduism or Eastern religions strongly recommended, but not absolutely required. Requirements: active participation in discussion midterm and final exams research paper (10-12 pages) Preview the syllabus
RELJ 383 Introduction to the Talmud
This course introduces students to the talmudic corpus, which in conjunction with the Hebrew Bible, plays a fundamental role in shaping Judaism as we know it today. Indeed, the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud are the two major sacred texts on which Jewish practice and belief are based. Ostensibly an interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud creates something exciting and new through its empowered approach to interpretation. In this course we will examine the various strategies of interpretation used by the Talmud and the new trajectories of thought, belief and practice that result from the Talmud's creative interpretations. We will pay special attention to the talmudic reshaping of the biblical myths of creation and revelation. We will also explore the culture of "holy" debate and argumentation that talmudic texts encourage. Finally, we will gain competence and mastery in reading the three main genres of the talmudic corpus (biblical interpretation, legal codes, and legal argumentation) so that students can put forward their own interpretations of these foundational texts.
RELG 386 Human Bodies and Parts as Property
An analysis and assessment of different historical and contemporary theological, philosophical and legal interpretations of "rights holders" (e.g. individuals while alive, their families after death, and the society) and the "rights held" (e.g. to transfer, to donate, or to sell) in the living and dead human body, with particular attention to current disputes about the use of human body parts in organ and tissue transplantation and new reproductive technologies. Permission of instructor required.
RELG 388 Religion and the Environment
This course will explore various religious perspectives on human responsibility toward the environment. We will focus on such Christian views as creation spirituality and biblical and ecofeminist theologies and will also give attention to traditions such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Native American religions. Student work will include response papers, a final project and participation in class discussion. Some background in religious studies and/or environmental issues would be helpful but not required.
RELA 390 Islam in Africa
This course offers an historical and topical introduction to Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. After a brief overview of the central features of the Muslim faith, our chronological survey begins with the introduction of Islam to North Africa in the 7th century. We will trace the transmission of Islam via clerics, Sufis and Berber jihads to West Africa. We shall consider the medieval Muslim kingdoms; the development of Islamic scholarship and the reform tradition; the growth of Sufi brotherhoods; Fulbe ethnic nationalism and Islamic militancy; and the impact of colonization and de-colonization upon Islam. Our overview of the history of Islam in East Africa will cover: the early Arab and Asian mercantile settlements; the flowering of classical Swahili courtly culture; the Omani sultanates and present-day Swahili society. Readings and classroom discussions provide a more in-depth exploration of topics encountered in our historical survey. Through the use of ethnographical and literary materials, we will explore questions such as the translation and transmission of the Qur’an, indigenization and religious pluralism; the status of women in African Islam; and African Islamic spirituality.
RELI 390 Islam in Africa (this course is cross listed. See above)
RELG 400a Majors Seminar: Saints' Lives
Restricted to Religious Studies Majors
The focus of this seminar is methodological, the material considered is the genre of ancient and medieval Christian saints' lives. We will examine the theory and application of the following methods: historical, psychological, sociological, gender analytical, folklorist, and anthropological to the this literature. We will alternate week to week between a study of theory and a study of application. As part of application, students will also apply the methods considered to chosen lives. This course is open only to third and fourth year Religious Studies majors. Class representations, one 15 page and one 5 page paper, no exams. There is no expectation of any previous study of Christianity. Preview the syllabus
RELG 400b Majors Seminar: Religion and Material Culture
Restricted to Religious Studies Majors
According to Robert Orsi, " …religion is an ongoing process of materializing the way in which things unseen are constantly rendered visible in the available idioms of culture …" This seminar will introduce students to the study of religion as an interdisciplinary subject, using methods in anthropology, theology, and the history of religions. As we view religion from the perspective of material culture, we can learn to recognize how religious people enact spirituality and belief in a world of things, places and sensory experiences. Students will study diverse texts (such as Geertz, Freud, Douglas and McDannell) that illuminate the connection between material culture and the study of religion and will develop their critical skills through and independent project. Requirements: Several short papers and a final project. Prerequisite: 3rd and 4th year Religious Studies Majors only
RELG 422 Religious Autobiography
This course counts towards the majors seminar requirement for religious studies majors.
A multidisciplinary examination of religious self-perception in relation to the dominant values of American life. Readings represent a variety of spiritual traditions and autobiographical forms, among them Thomas Merton's The Sign of Jonas; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Charles Colson's Born Again; and Kathleen Norris' Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. Fulfills the majors seminar requirement. Prerequisites: Courses in religious studies, American history, or American literature. Requirements: Two short papers (5-7 pp. each) and an autobiography (20 pp.).
RELG 423 Bioethics Internship Seminar
This course is designed to provide students with experience in discerning and analyzing ethical issues as they arise in particular clinical settings. Each student will spend one half-day each week in a clinic or other health-care-related setting (the same setting throughout the semester) under the mentorship of a health care professional engaged in that setting. Seminar time will focus both on the role of the ethicist/observer and on the particular issues that commonly arise in clinical medicine. During the second half of the semester, students will give presentations related to their specific areas of observation. Students are expected to have some background knowledge of bioethics methods and common questions. Admittance to the course is by application; for details, see the Undergraduate Bioethics Program Website at http://www.uva.edu/~bioethic/intern.htm.
RELC 504 Apocalyptic Tradition
This course explores early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts and their interpretation. Most of the time in the seminar will be spent looking at the ancient texts themselves, from "proto-apocalyptic" texts (e.g. Isaiah 24-27, Zechariah 9-14) to full-blown apocalypses (e.g. Daniel 7-12, 1 Enoch, Revelation), as well as some works, particularly those from Qumran, which are often noted as betraying an apocalyptic world-view. We will then trace, more briefly, what happens with these texts and the beliefs found there after their period of origin. The objects for study here range early Jewish mysticism to present American apocalyptic understandings, both culturally rejected (David Koresh) and widely accepted (The "Left Behind" series). The approach will be both historical and rhetorical, examining carefully the context for apocalyptic writing as well as the way that writing attempts to form its readers.
RELJ 504 Apocalyptic Tradition (this course is cross listed. See above)
RELG 509 Bonhoeffer & Martin Luther King, Jr.
. This course has three goals: (1) to explore the themes of resistance and reconciliation, selfhood and solidarity, and submission and power, in the writings and biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr.; (2) to understand Bonhoeffer and King's break with academic theology and their attention to the theological character of lived experience; and; (3) to ask about the future of theologically-based social activism.
RELC 512 History of 19th and 20th century Catholic Theology
This course will trace the development of theology over the past 200 years by looking at issues such as ecclesiology, biblical inpiration, and Church-State issues. Readings will include certain key papal encyclicals and certain representative American theologians, such as Francis P. Kenrick, Isaac Hecker, John A. Ryan, and John Courtney Murray.
RELC 520 Eastern Orthodox Theology
Eastern Orthodox theology is important for students of Christianity in several ways. It represents a third strain, besides Protestantism and Catholicism, that puts their disagreements and preoccupations in a fresh light. It mounts of critique of both as two sides of a common problem--whether that problem is their understanding of sin, authority, or the Holy Spirit. At a time when Western Christianity has undergone a series of trinitarian revivals, still without much interesting to say about the Spirit, the critique by the East may have something to teach it. At a time when Western Christianity is attempting to critique the Enlightenment, it may have something to learn from a tradition much less influenced by the Enlightenment. At the same time, thinkers in the Syriac tradition provide conceptualities different both from the Latin and from the Greek traditions. Thinkers will include such figures as Athanasius, Ephrem the Syrian, Jacob of Serugh, Symeon the New Theologian, Sergei Bulgakov, Paul Evdokimov, Vladimir Lossky, Alexander Schmeeman, Meyendorff, and Dumitru Staniloae, author of Orthodox Dogmatics (ET 1994, 2000). Four short papers or one 20-page paper.
RELG 528 Black Women's Narratives
For information about this course, please contact Professor Wallace Best
RELB 534 Colloquial Tibetan IV
A continuation of Colloquial Tibetan III, this course uses multimedia programs in Colloquial Tibetan to develop verbal fluency, acquire vocabulary, and master advanced topics in spoken Tibetan
RELB 536 Literary Tibetan IV
A continuation of Literary Tibetan III, this course is designed to expose students to a variety of styles/genres in Tibetan literature and advanced Tibetan grammar. Prerequisites: Literary Tibetan III.
RELG 537 Orality, Tradition and Religion
This course explores the role of orality in the formation and perpetuation of religious traditions. While many traditions give a certain authoritative priority to scriptural traditions and to sacred texts, these very same traditions often assume that sacred texts have an original "oral phase" from which their authenticity arises. Oral tradition and written tradition, then, work in a complex symbiosis within religious traditions. Indeed, the oral form and the written form of holy words carry different kinds of weight within religious communities. This course aims to expose students to the important role of textual modalities in the formation of authoritative tradition within religious traditions. We will concern ourselves with such questions as: how can one find evidence for the oral stages of traditions that are today available only in written form? can we make certain kinds of generalizations about how traditions function when they are transmitted orally as opposed to when they are transmitted in written form? or conversely, do such generalizations hinder more than they help? what kinds of inquiries will a focus on modalities of textual transmission help illuminate? Readings will be drawn from the writings of M. Parry, A. Lord, M. Carruthers, B. Stock, W. Kelber, J. Foley and M. Jaffee.
RELB 539 Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Tantra
This course will survey the history of Buddhist tantra, and then focus in particular on detailed study of tantric systems of theory and practice within Tibet in the eighth to fourteenth centuries. The focus will be on philosophical and contemplative issues, though we will contextualize these in general within the broader socio-historical settings in which they arose. Readings will include David Snellgrove's Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Longchenpa's DIspelling Darkness in the Ten Directions, and other important Western scholarly studies and translations of Tibetan primary texts.
Requirements: Writing assignments; also work Virginia's Tibetan Digital Library (thdl.org) and HTML essays. Undergraduates are welcome if they have taken RELB 254 with me previously.
RELB 543 Colloquial Tibetan VI
A continuation of Colloquial Tibetan V, this course uses multimedia programs in Colloquial Tibetan to develop verbal fluency, acquire vocabulary, and master advanced topics in spoken Tibetan. Prerequisites: Tibetan V. Requirements: "Requirements: class attendance, participation, preparation of programs outside of class, multiple exams and quizzes.
RELB 548 Literary Tibetan VI
Continuation of RELB 547 and RELB 820.
RELB 566 Seminar in Indian Buddhism
The focus of this seminar is on Indian Buddhism from the time of Sakyamuni Buddha (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, archeology, and ethics. Texts include: Steven Collins, Selfless Persons, Gregory Schopen, Bones, stones, and Buddhist Monks, and Paul Williams, Indian Buddhism. Prerequisites: One 200 or 300 level course in Buddhism. Undergraduates welcome. Requirements: Active participation in class discussions, four short interpretative essays (ca. 7 pgs) or, with instructor's persmission, a final term paper (20-25 pgs).
RELG 571 Religion and Bioethics
This seminar will examine several major contemporary religious perspectives on bioethics, with particular attention to the writings of Paul Ramsey, Richard McCormick, S.J., William May, H. Tristram Engelhardt, Gilbert Meilaender, Lisa Cahill, Laurie Zoloth, and Eliot Dorff. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor
RELG 592 Theology and Politics
What is the proper understanding of the relation between "theology," or inquiry into God, broadly construed, and the modes of inquiry into the nature of community and the varieties of practices of forming and sustaining community that we collectively call "politics"? This course will study several proposed answers to this question.
RELG 722 Rationality and Religious Belief
Examination of some major approaches to the question of the justification of religious belief. These are classic texts with which you need to be familiar in order to make sense of contemporary discussions in philosophy of religion, including those discussions which shift the emphasis away from knowledge claims, justification, and ontology. We will read works by Kant (Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone), Schleiermacher, Speeches on Religion, Hegel ON LINE (Introduction to Lectures on Philosophy of Religion), John Henry Newman (Oxford University Sermons), and Wittgenstein (On Certainty). Short weekly papers and two ten page papers are required
RELG 743 Semiotics and Theology
A history of semiotics, from Augustine to Poinsot to Locke to de Saussure and Peirce, with additional attention to the place of scriptural reading in the theory of signs and to the place of sign theory in theology. The class will involve some technical work on signs and graphs and the logic of relations as well as broader reflections on the divine word and its logics.
RELG 747 Dead But Not Forgotten: Seminal Theorists of Religion and Their Continuing Impact
This seminar explores the work and continuing influence of four thinkers critical to the development of the history of religions as an academic discipline: Marx, James, Durkheim, and Weber. Through careful examination of their seminal works, as well as contemporary responses to and adaptations of their principal theories, we will consider the many ways in which the study of religion remains thoroughly indebted to their models of religious thought and practice. Requirements: active participation in discussion, and a research paper with a minimum of 25 pages. Preview the syllabus
RELG 810 Clinical Ethics
This course will explore some of the major ethical issues that arise in clinical medicine and provide an introduction to methods that are used in the clinical and research settings to address these issues.
RELC 815 Patristic Greek
Intermediate/Advanced Greek syntax, with readings in church fathers such as Origen, John Chrysostom and Gregory of Nazianzus. Attention will also be given to techniques of Greek rhetoric. Designed for graduate students in the program in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity, but open to other graduate students and qualified undergraduates as well. Prerequisite: Mastery of basic Greek grammar
RELB 821 Literary and Spoken Tibetan VIII
Continuation of RELB 547 and RELB 820.
RELB 823 Advanced Literary and Spoken Tibetan
RELB 828 Colloquial Tibetan VIII
RELB 832 Advanced Pali
Readings in Pali Buddhist texts.
RELG 839 Recent Feminist Thought
This course has been canceled
RELG 840 Proseminar in Ethics
RELG 846 Schelling and Russian Theology
Schelling is increasingly seen as the most important and sophisticated of the German Idealists. His thought was the main influence on modern Russian theology and philosophy (they are often the same). The theory of 'sophiology' was developed through a combination of Schelling, Patristic and Mediaeval sources, plus bold new exegesis of the Bible. We will look at Schelling's *Ages of the World* then go on to look at some Soloviev, before concentrating on Sergei Bulgakov (do not confuse with the very theological novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, no relation), one of the three or four greatest theologians of the 20thC, and one of the very few 20thC theologans whose thought is still current in the 21st.
RELC 892 Seminar in Early Christianity