Spring 2007

Undergraduate Courses

RELG 104 Intro to Eastern Religions

Paul Groner

Schedule# 70034 Plus discussion section

This course introduces the religious traditions that have influenced approximately half of the world's population: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. In examining religious traditions that for many may seem wholly foreign, 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. Students will also be indirectly introduced to the methods and issues that characterize contemporary academic study of religion. The course will focus on the early periods of these traditions so that students are not overwhelmed by too much data. Each unit begins with an analysis of the biographies and legends of the founders (if they existed) of the religions and then examines the basic teachings. When appropriate, the ways in which these teachings influence people today will be discussed. The course considers these traditions not only as religions, but how they influence literature, society, politics, and economics. Successful completion of this course should provide students with a critical understanding of these four traditions and a mature sensitivity to them.

RELC 122 Early Christianity & the New Testament

Bryan Stewart

Schedule# 702W3 Plus discussion section

There is currently no description for this course.

RELJ 202 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew

Daniel Weiss

Schedule# 702RP

Building on RELJ 201 (Intermediate Biblical Hebrew I), this course aims to further develop students’ skills in reading, comprehending, and translating biblical Hebrew. This semester, our readings will focus on biblical poetry, specifically that of the Psalms. We will also devote time to the prose narratives of Genesis. In addition to reading and preparing translations, other requirements for this course include grammar review, vocabulary quizzes, a midterm exam, a memorization passage, and a final exam. Prerequisite: RELJ 201 or permission of the instructor.

RELC 206 History of Christianity II 1054-1800

Augustine Thompson

Schedule# 702XD Plus discussion section

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

RELI 208 Islam in the Modern Age

Timothy Gianotti

Schedule # 701FC Plus discussion section

There is currently no description for this course.

RELG 216 Religion in America Since 1865

Heather Warren

Schedule# 7026V Plus discussion section

An historical survey of religion in America from the Civil War to the present. The course includes study of theological change in Protestantism, the emergence of three kinds of Judaism, controversy and change in American Catholicism, the origins of fundamentalism and Pentecostalism, and various expressions of African-American faith. It attends to the effects of immigration, urbanization, politics, and other social and cultural changes on American religious life. This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement. Requirements: Three papers (6-7 pages each), a mid-term exam, and a final exam.

RELJ 217 Modern Jewish Thought

Asher Biemann

Schedule# 7039E Plus discussion section

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.

RELG 219 Religion & Modern Fiction

Larry Bouchard

Schedule# 703YV Plus discussion section

We will explore ways that modern fiction asks questions that are intrinsically religious in character: concerning relations of human spirit and human nature, of faith and doubt, of evil and suffering, of personal and communal wholeness, of identity and transformations of identity. We will also ask about how in narrative forms and in symbolic orders of meaning some writers seek to discern the divine at the limits of language and experience. Some authors we will consider (such as Elie Wiesel, Flannery O'Connor or Susaku Endo, Marilynne Robinson or Seamus Heaney) write fictions that are intended to reflect explicitly their religious traditions. Others (such as E. M. Forster, Toni Morrison,) create apparently secular narratives that nonetheless raise philosophical and moral questions that carry religious implications. And others (such as N. Scott Momaday, E. R. Doctorow, or Yann Martel) employ a variety of religious and cultural traditions to create more idiosyncratic religious interpretations. The authors mentioned may change and, in addition, the course will consider a number of interpreters of religion. Requirements: Regular attendance and active participation at lectures discussion sections. Two essay exams before and after the Spring break and a short final paper.

GREE 224 New Testament Greek (Intermediate Greek)

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

Schedule# ??????

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.

RELC 221 American Evangelicalism
This course is Canceled.

RELG 230 Religious Ethics and Moral Problems

Charles Mathewes

Schedule# 7005M

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

RELC 236 Elements of Christian Thought

Paul Jones

Schedule# 700EU Plus discussion section

This course considers the complicated world of Christian thought, considering various perspectives on the nature of faith, the being and action of God, the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, the concept of creation, the role of the bible in theological reflection, and the relationship between Christian thought and social justice. Students will read various important works of Christian theology (ancient, medieval, and modern) and become acquainted with a range of theological approaches and ideas. Authors will include Augustine of Hippo, Anselm of Canterbury, John Calvin, Rudolf Bultmann, Sallie McFague, and several others. The course is suitable for those seeking a basic introduction in Christian thought and those wishing to deepen their understanding of central issues in Christian theology. No previous knowledge of Christian thought required.

RELG 238 Faith and Doubt in the Modern Age

Jamie Ferreira

Schedule# 700US plus discussion section

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

RELC 246 Aspects of the Catholic Tradition

Dan Conkle

Schedule# 703VD plus discussion section

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

RELI 259 Islam and Democracy in the Modern Age

Ahmad Kazemi Moussavi

Schedule # 700F4

This course has been canceled

RELG 263 Business and Society

Jennifer Phillips

Schedule # 700T7

Chad Wayner

Schedule # 700T8

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

RELA 279 African Ritual and Religion

Njoki Osotsi

Schedule# 7034P

The class is a survey of African traditional religions with special emphasis on ritual. The central goal of the course is to introduce the students to a wide variety of religious practices in Africa, both indigenous and foreign. The class will study the African traditional approach to the sacred in the traditional and mainstream religions. A range of religious and ritual performances, including initiations and healing rituals will be studied, with the aim of engaging the students' minds and curiosity in the great diversity. The course requires the students to question their basic perspectives, assumptions and biases particularly regarding non-western religions and cultures. The class will achieve these objectives through relevant readings, lectures, movies and discussions. By the end of the class, it is hoped that the student will have broadened their views on religion, especially as it is practised in Africa. Final exam; 2 quizzes; two short essays.

RELG 300 Research Problems in Religion

Kate Wood

Schedule# 7059H

Research relating to religious life presents complex problems, even for well-trained social scientists. Religion is difficult to define, sometimes difficult to discuss, and religious behavior is especially difficult to measure. As you read about the changing nature of religion in America, are you prepared to evaluate the quality of the information? Can you tell the difference between legitimate and questionable claims? Sociologists of religion bring social science methodology to the study of religion, and on a basic level, that is what we will do in this course. Our focus will be two-fold: we will learn about research methods and we will study American religious behavior. It promises to be an interesting combination. This course will provide you with an introduction to the fundamental tools you need to understand the process of social research: how studies are designed, qualitative and quantitative research methods (including surveys, historical methods, and ethnography), the ethics of research, and analyzing and presenting results. We will then apply that knowledge as we critique and evaluate several well-known studies of American religious life. No previous coursework in research methods is required.

RELB 301 Buddhist Biographies

Amy Miller

Schedule # 7059K

This seminar examines Buddhist saintly figures from both literary and historical perspectives. Beginning with the life-narratives of the Buddha, we will consider the nature and history of hagiographical writing within the Buddhist literature of a variety of cultures. We will also discuss cults of living saints in Buddhist history and in the modern-day Buddhist cultural context

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

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

Martien Halvorson-Taylor

RELC: Schedule # 7039B; RELJ: Schedule # 7017F

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

RELB 307 Chinese Folk Religions

Robert Henricks

Schedule# 7011C

In Chinese “folk” or “popular” religion – which many regard as the real religion of the Chinese people -- people interact with three types of spirits: gods (shen), ghosts(gui), and ancestors (zu). In this course we will fully explore the nature of that interaction, along the way noting who the gods are and what types of people are likely to turn into gods when they die; what types of people are apt to turn into ghosts; and who comes to be regarded as an ancestor at death – who does not – and why, in each case. We will also study the “clergy” of folk religion – Buddhist and Taoist priests, spirit mediums (known in Taiwan as jitong), and “ritual masters” (fashi), who are also known as “red headed masters” (hongtou zi). Our study of Chinese religion will focus on reading and analysis of three major studies: David Jordan’s entertaining Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors: Folk Religion in a Taiwanese Village, Emily Ahern’s stunning examination of the ancestor cult – The Cult of the Dead in a Chinese Village, and Henri Maspero’s thorough account of the many deities worshipped by the Chinese – “The Mythology of Modern China.” We will also look at the phenomenon of “spirit possession” in comparative perspective, reading portions of I.M. Lewis’ Ecstatic Religion, and we will wrap up the course by reading Arthur Waley’s delightful translation of Monkey: Folk Novel of China, in which the spirit world of the Chinese is accurately portrayed.

RELI 312 Islamic Mysticism and Sufi Social Institutions

Ahmad Kazemi Moussavi

Schedule# 70478

The course is primarily concerned with the growth of mystical tradition in Islam, the rise of asceticism, the early Sufis, the evolution of theosophical dimensions of mysticism and finally, the Sufi social institutions which include i) the master-disciple relationship (piir-muridi), ii)the Sufiorders (the tariqah system), iii) theorganization of chivalry (the futuwwah youth clubs), and iv) the guild fraternity (the asnaf brotherhood). The course will explore the contribution of Sufism in Islamic art and literature. In doing so, the course will attempt to study the lives and teachings of the outstanding Sufis such as Hallaj, Suhrawardi, Ghazali, Rumi.

RELC 321 Joseph, Esther, Daniel, Judith

RELJ 321 Joseph, Esther, Daniel, Judith

Martien Halvorson-Taylor

RELC: Schedule# 7011C / RELJ:Schedule# 700RX

A close critical reading of some of the finest novels of ancient Judaism: The story of Joseph (found in the Book of Genesis), the biblical Books of Esther and Daniel, and the Book of Judith. Each tells the story of a Jewish hero living outside the land, in exile, who works, against all odds, to deliver her or his people. In order to understand the fuller literary, historical, and theological significance of these works, we will consider a range of texts, both biblical and extra biblical (including, the stories of Tobit, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Joseph and Asenath), which treat similar questions and related themes, such as the role of women in ancient Israel, the function of coincidence and coincidental reversals, the role of human activity in the face of a seemingly remote deity, the temptations of assimilation, the vindication of the underdog and trickster.

RELJ 322 Zionism and Nationalism

Asher Biemann

Schedule# 704S2 Check here for time and location

This course will examine the ideological correlations among Jewish nationalism, Zionism, and Jewish messianism in its modern interpretation. Focusing on primary sources and contemporary scholarship, we will try to illuminate the religious and secular origins of the Jewish national idea and its politics. Conversely, we will see how Jewish nationalism shaped the modern Jewish understanding of history, existence, and redemption.

RELJ 323 Exhibiting Jews: History and Culture

Vanessa Ochs

Schedule# 701X2

In this team-taught course, we will ask "What makes a Jewish museum 'Jewish'?" We will study how Jewish museums (including monuments and memorials) around the world preserve and celebrate Jewish memory and serve as places of pilgrimage where identity, heritage and nostalgia are explored and cultivated. Through study of texts, websites and visits to both Jewish museums and museums of other minority cultural groups, we will explore the various ways that Jewish museums function, now and in the past, in America and abroad, and how they play roles in exhibiting and sustaining Jews and Judaism. This small class will be centered around discussion, independent projects, and papers (based on common readings). Guest curators will be invited to the Grounds of the university for public talks, and students will be expected to attend them as part of their work.

RELC 329 Christianity and Islam

RELI 329 Christianity and Islam

Robert Wilken

RELC: Schedule # 704BW; RELI: Schedule # 702GX

Course deals with the history of Christianity in the middle east after the Muslim conquest and relations between Muslims and Christians. Some topics to be considered: Christian-Muslim controversies, Bible and Koran, Muslim and Christian spiritual writers, mysticism, law, Muslim views of Jesus, the Crusades, Christianity under Ottomans, Christians in the middle east today, Christian and Muslim perceptions of one another.

RELG 333 Theories of Religion

Slavica Jakelic

Schedule # 7054D

In this class, we will discuss the anthropological, psychological, historical, sociological, and theological approaches to religion. In light of these approaches, we will ask: What is the content and definition of “religion”? How do scholars of religion understand and explain its role and meaning in the life of individuals and societies? What is the relationship among different approaches to the study of religion, for example, the relationship between historical understanding of change and the theological understanding of truth? Is religious studies a field of study, or a conglomerate of very different, sometimes conflicting, ways of looking at religion and religious phenomena? What is the relevance of the study of religion in the world in which religion has an increasingly important role for public life?

RELJ 343 Women in Judaism

Elizabeth Alexander

Schedule # 702R7

This course explores the role of women in Judaism as understood by classical Jewish sources and as reconceived by key feminist thinkers in the modern era. Starting with the classical sources, this course familiarizes students with talmudic sources that touch on various aspects of women's lives. We begin with the observation that classical Jewish sources imagine sexuality as a potent creative force, and then explore a number of derivative questions affecting the status and lives of women. How did this positive embrace of sexuality affect the place accorded women in Jewish society? Was female sexuality imagined in different terms than male sexuality? Were women seen to interfere with men's religious lives or enhance it? Was there a domain of women's religious experiences that was distinct from men's? We will analyze both legal and narrative texts for answers to our questions. Other topics treated include: control and protection of women's sexuality, the economics of women's labor, rituals of the body and the modes of expression characteristic of classical Jewish sources. In the last section of the course we will review contemporary attempts by key feminist Jewish thinkers (Plaskow, Adler and Ross) to rethink women’s roles in the religion.

RELJ 348 Cultural History of German Jews

Schedule # 703HH

Cross listed with History and German

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

RELC 353 Religion and Psychology

John Portmann

Schedule# 701VP

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

RELG 366 The Virtues

William May

Schedule# 70329

Approaches to ethics tend to focus on human action, on its consequences, or on the virtues (and vices) of agents performing the action. Each approach has its way of handling the other two foci. This course will concentrate chiefly on issues in character and virtue; a major concern of ethics in the classical world and a resurgent line of inquiry today (e.g. Josef Pieper, The Cardinal Virtues and Alastair MacIntyre, After Virtue). The course will also explore the bearing of the virtues in the areas of politics, professional practice, and human affliction. Students will be responsible for engaging in class discussion and for writing a mid-term, a final examination, and a paper in an area of special interest pertaining to the course.

RELC 368 Cultural Catholicism

John Portmann

Schedule# 702K6 Check here for time and location

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

RELG 372 Witchcraft

Erik Midelfort

Schedule# 700VD

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

RELH 374 Hinduism Through its Narrative Literature

John Nemec

Schedule # 705MM Check here for time and location

This course offers a survey of significant mythological, satirical, epic, and poetic stories in South Asia. Students are expected to have a solid understanding of Hinduism and Indian Religions as a prerequisite for enrolling in this course.

RELI 380 Islam in Europe and North America

Jusuf Salih

Schedule# 704TG

This seminar will explore the topic of Islam in Europe and North America, focusing on the past 100 years of conversion and immigration. The aim is to review some of the fundamental debates facing Muslim Diaspora communities in Europe and North America where we will try to explore unique challenges of maintaining and transmitting Islam in a non-Muslim environment. The course will investigate an indigenous American interpretation of Islam-- the Nation of Islam, and a contemporary African-American intellectual’s analysis of the future of Islam among African-Americans. The course will also examine immigrant Muslim experience in Europe in the light of the impact of globalization on notions of religion. Students will be able to study new Muslim voices in the West with an eye toward how these Muslim intellectuals have produced a “Western” Islamic discourse. The course will also look over the notion of Islamic mysticism in Europe and North America, and a critical appraisal of contemporary American and European perceptions of Islam and Muslims. The objective of the course is to acquaint students with the relatively new manifestations of Islam in the West in the context of the recent history of religious expression in North America and Europe. Students taking this course are expected to have prior knowledge about Islam, such as RELI 207 Classical Islam and RELI 208 Islam in the Modern Age, or relevant to them

RELG 400a Majors Seminar: Religion and Its Critics

Justin Holcomb

Schedule# 703YS

Contact professor directly for course description

Restricted to Religious Studies Majors
What happens to religious traditions' most basic ideas when they collide with rationalism, the rise of science, and suspicion? In this course we focus on the modern critiques of religion and some constructive religious responses to those critiques. The challenges posed by Hume, Darwin, Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche are examined--both their critiques of religion per se and the impact on religious belief of such concepts as the unconscious, natural selection, power dynamics, ands class struggle. In this course, a range of religious responses to the modern crisis of belief will be discussed, including constructive uses of the critiques. Restricted to Religious Studies Majors

RELG 400b Majors Seminar: Religious Studies, On the Road and in Cyberspace

Vanessa Ochs

Schedule# 701YW

In this seminar, we will be studying the religious landscape from an ethnographic perspective. We will plan and prepare for visits to a range of sites in Charlottesville: houses of worship, religious schools, domestic and other settings. (While most of our visits will be held during class time, there will be opportunities for several weekend/evening visits). Students will develop skills in conducting religious studies fieldwork, including participant observation, interviews, and visual documentation. We will also be looking at ways people have religious experiences online. Site study and online study of religions raise methodological and ethical issues (such as making generalizations about a religious tradition based on one’s experience of a particular site)-- these issues integral to our study. This course is open to all Religious Studies majors who are ready to take the Majors’ seminar; it may be of particular interest to majors with interests in photography, film or oral history. Restricted to Religious Studies Majors

RELG 400c Majors Seminar: Religion and Drama

Larry Bouchard

Schedule# 70383

Restricted to Religious Studies Majors
This edition of the Majors Seminar will look at several ways of understanding (or interpreting) how theatrical drama is linked with religious communities and some perspectives on religion. We will be concerned with how theater and drama have been understood as elements within religion, and with how views of religion have also provided perspectives on drama. As always, part of our time in the seminar will be devoted to several definitions or approaches to the study of religion. What meanings does the term "religion" acquire? Can we speak of religion "in general," given that religion is with us through particular traditions of belief, practice, and experience? We will and pay special to how ideas about society and psychology, culture and identity, symbol and ritual, and ethics and theology figure in some academic approaches to religion. At other times we will examine a small selection of plays, performances, and interpretations of theatre, asking how they might further our understanding of religious practice and thought. Reading and perhaps "performing" aloud in class—on a voluntary basis—will probably figure in some of our sessions, as may attendance at some locally available plays or performances. Assignments: one or two short reaction papers, presentation of these in class, an essay-style mid-term exam, and a final paper on a course related topic. Restricted to Religious Studies Majors

RELA 410 Yoruba Religion

Ben Ray

Schedule# 703NG

This is not a Majors Seminar.

A study of Yoruba traditional religion. ritual art, independent churches, and religious themes in contemporary literature in Africa and the Americas.

RELG 422 Religious Autobiography

Heather Warren

Schedule# 702WA

This is NOT a majors seminar, but it counts as one.
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.). (Note to Religious Studies Majors: This course fulfills the Majors Seminar requirement. )

RELG 423 Bioethics Internship Seminar

Margaret Mohrmann

Schedule# 702B7 Check here for time and location

This is not a Majors Seminar.
This course is designed to provide students with experience in discerning and analyzing ethical issues as they arise in particular clinical settings. Each student will spend one half-day each week in a clinic or other health-care-related setting (the same setting throughout the semester) under the mentorship of a health care professional engaged in that setting. Seminar time will focus both on the role of the ethicist/observer and on the particular issues that commonly arise in clinical medicine. During the second half of the semester, students will give presentations related to their specific areas of observation. Students are expected to have some background knowledge of bioethics methods and common questions. Admittance to the course is by application; for details, see the Undergraduate Bioethics Program Website at http://bioethics.virginia.edu/internships.html.

RELC 425 War and Martial Imagery

RELI 425 War and Martial Imagery

RELJ 425 War and Martial Imagery

Timothy Gianotti

RELC: Schedule #7054C ; RELI: Schedule # 705MK ; RELJ: Schedule # 7054B

This is not a Majors Seminar.
Within each member of the "Abrahamic" family, we encounter the language and imagery of martial conflict, militancy, and war; and, rather than singling out any one of these traditions for such language and imagery, this course presents the martial dimensions of these three inter-related traditions in conversation with one another. In our class readings and discussions, then, we will embark upon an interdisciplinary exploration of phenomena of militant language and martial metaphor within the larger context of the religious imperatives for establishing justice and peace. In doing so, we hope to create an atmosphere of thoughtful conversation and increased appreciation of these interrelated communities, histories, and textual traditions.

RELS 495 Independent Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 702U3, 705AY, 703K3, 7049U

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

RELS 496 Distinguished Major Thesis

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 702XF

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

RELS 498 Senior Essay

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 703ES

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


Graduate Courses

RELC 506 Augustine's City of God

Charles Mathewes

Schedule# 701ZG Check here for time and location

An advanced graduate class that will read, slowly, the entire City of God, using that work and several other Augustine texts (particularly letters and sermons) to attempt to understand the argument of that work, paying attention to the various audiences to which it was addressed, and (so far as we can tell) Augustine's larger vision. Competence in Latin is a significant plus, but is not required. Graded work for the class will consist in a take-home midterm and final, or (in rare situations) a substantial paper. This is an advanced graduate class, for those graduate students who wish to understand Augustine's views, as mediated through City of God in a serious historical, philosophical, and theological manner.

RELC 522 Eschatology

Valerie Cooper

Schedule# 7021W

Contact professor directly for course description

RELG 523 Philosophical Theology

William Wilson

Schedule# 7031U

Contact professor directly for course description

RELJ 525 Midrash

Elizabeth Alexander

Schedule# 700TV

This course trains students to read a range of midrashic texts in the original language. Attention will be paid uncovering the hermeneutical underpinnings of each text examined and to proper linguistic decoding. Primary readings will be drawn from both early and later midrashim, as well as legal (halakhic) and non-legal (aggadic) styles of midrash. Secondary readings will expose students to the range of theoretical concerns (e.g. historical, literary and text critical) raised in the interpretation of midrash.

RELB 534 Colloquial Tibetan IV

Schedule# 701DU

Contact professor directly for course description

RELB 536 Literary Tibetan IV

Slava Komarovski

Schedule# 701A9 Check here for time and location

Contact professor directly for course description

RELC 541 A Tour of the Summa: Thomas Aquinas

Augustine Thompson

Schedule# 705AW

This course is an text-based introduction to the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. It focuses a sampling of seminal texts from the Summa Theologiae (read in English). Students will be expected to prepare about 15 pages of reading each week and be ready to analyze its structure, philosophical and theological presuppositions, and method of argument. The goal of this exercise is to learn to think theologically secundum mentem sancti Thomae ("according to the mind of St. Thomas"). Students will also write a substantial paper on some theological, textual, or historical problem in the study of Thomas. Knowledge of Latin and French are very useful but not required.

RELC 543 Contemporary Eastern Orthodox Theology

Vigen Guroian

Schedule# 7031A

We will read and discuss important Orthodox theological works of the past fifty years. I have striven to select readings that are representative of the diversity of writers as well as the range of important subjects they addressed. The doctrinal issues include: Creation, Christology, Trinity, Mariology, Ecclesiology Soteriology, and Eschatology. Issues related to practice include: ethics, culture, liturgy, sexuality, and ecology. The probable texts are Paul Evdokimov, In the Church, of the World; Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church; John Romanides, The Ancestral Sin; Philip Sherrard, The Rape of Man and Nature; Dumitru Staniloae; Theology and the Church; Christos Yannaras, Freedom and Morality; and John Zizioulas, Being and Communion. Requirements: While not yet written in stone, the course requirements will likely include one class presentation on an assigned text, several analytical papers of modest length on the readings and a lengthier final paper on a subject or writer(s) that makes use of both the common readings and outside sources.

RELB 543 Colloquial Tibetan VI

Schedule# 702UB

Contact professor directly for course description

RELH 545 Seminar in Hinduism: Hindu-Buddhist Debates

John Nemec

Schedule# 700B8

This course with examine the Buddhist-Hindu debate about the nature of self (atman). The most famous and fundamental Hindu-Buddhist debate, it is a perennial dispute born with the Buddha himself and active even today. This course will examine various manifestations of this debate in the early-medieval period.

RELC 546 Schleiermacher

Paul Jones

Schedule# 700S4

This graduate-level seminar focuses on a German protestant often dubbed the "founder of liberal theology" in Europe. We will read most of Schleiermacher's major works, spending considerable time on his magnum opus, The Christian Faith. Topics considered include theological method; religious experience; the doctrines of God, Christ, creation, and church; theology and gender; and the relevance of Schleiermacher for contemporary philosophical theology. Students ought to have a background in Christian thought and some familiarity with European philosophy.

RELB 548 Literary Tibetan VI

David Germano

Schedule# 703K4

Contact professor directly for course description

RELB 549 Tibetan Buddhist Rennaisance

David Germano

Schedule# 702C2

Contact professor directly for course description

RELC 551 First Corinthians and its Interpreters

Judith Kovacs

Schedule# 7021S

Among Paul’s letters to early Christian communities, 1 Corinthians is the most rooted in the concrete here andnow of a particular historical situation, and it gives us a fascinating glimpse of the life of one group of early Christians. Written to a church Paul knows especially well, it gives advice on such matters as how to heal factions in the community, how to conduct common worship, and how to live out the Christian life in the everyday world. The letter’s presentation of the cross of Christ as the paradoxical revelation of God’s wisdom and its extended discussion of the resurrection of the deadand God’s final triumph over evil are foundational for Christian theology, and its treatment of sex and marriage, the Eucharist, and the gifts of the Spirit have have much influence on Christian teaching and practice through the centuries. This seminar will consider Paul’s letter from two different points of view. On the one hand we will study the letter’s rhetoric and teaching in its original, first-century context, reading 1 Corinthians in relation to the other Pauline letters and making use of commentary by historical-critical scholars such as Gordon Fee, Richard Hays, and Margaret Mitchell. On the other hand we will study how the letter influenced the theology and practice of the church in the first few centuries and what debates it occasioned, reading commentary by Origen, Theodoret, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, and Augustine. Students interested in the course are encouraged to contact Mrs. Kovacs during the fall semester 2006; the format of the seminar — including the amount of time devoted to each of the two approaches and the extent to which we will work with Greek texts — will depend on the interests and preparation of students who enroll. Designed for graduate students in CJA, the course is also open to graduate students from other fields and to qualified undergraduates.

RELB 555 Theravada Buddhism

Karen Lang

Schedule# 70368

This course will explore the intellectual history of Theravada Buddhism (as practiced in Sri Lanka, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand). We will explore the ideas developed in Pali canonical texts, post canonical texts, and the work of contemporary scholars writing about on Theravada Buddhism. In addition to focusing on the philosophical issues raised in these texts, the course will also examine the historical and literary contexts for these texts’ composition and reception. Undergraduates with at least one 200 level course on Buddhism welcome.

RELB 560 Pali

Karen Lang

Schedule# 701V4

Buddhist texts attend to their literary features, and the contexts for their composition and reception. The course is an introduction to the reading of Pali Buddhist texts. No prerequisites, though some knowledge of Sanskrit could be helpful.

RELG 569 Recent Feminist Thought: Ethics, Politics, Theology

Margaret Mohrmann

Schedule# 704S3

This seminar course will explore in depth works published in the last decade or so that demonstrate feminist thought as increasingly integrated into "mainstream" conversations and controversies in ethics, both social/political and theological, and at the same time instrumental in taking those discussions in new and necessary directions. The emphasis in the course will be on careful reading and explication, usually of book-length works, and the required paper(s) will ask for the same close attention to a recent text. Permission of instructor required. Open to advanced undergraduates.

RELB 581 Literary Tibetan VIII

David Germano

Schedule# 703GG

Contact professor directly for course description

RELG 583 Love and Justice

James Childress

Schedule# 704S1

An examination of various conceptions of neighbor-love (agape) and justice and their relations (e.g., identity and opposition) in selected Protestant and Catholic literature (mainly from this century). The principles of agape and justice will be considered in the context of interpretations of human nature (e.g., the locus and power of sin), theological convictions (e.g., God as creator, preserver, and redeemer), and perspectives on moral reasoning. In addition, attention will be devoted to the distinction and relations between agape and other modes of love, such as philia and eros. Finally, in passing, the seminar will also examine the implications of different interpretations of agape (and its relations to justice) for selected practical areas, such as punishment, war, allocation of resources, and friendship.

RELB 588 Colloquial Tibetan VIII

David Germano

Schedule# 702ZF

Contact professor directly for course description

RELG 723 Modern Religious Thought

Jamie Ferreira

Schedule# 700TX Check here for time and location

Contact professor directly for course description

RELC 752 Pentecostalism

Valerie Cooper

Schedule# 704TC

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

RELG 808 Theology Ethics and Culture Pro-Seminar

Paul Jones

Charles Mathewes

Schedule# 7015V

This proseminar intends to acquaint graduate students in the department of religious studies--centrally in the TEC area but in other areas as well--with the fields under study in the TEC area. We will examine some pivotal texts and do some serious research into journals servicing the field. Also, we will engage various faculty of the TEC area with sessions in which they will explain how they conceive the field and their own scholarship.

RELB 826 Readings in Buddhist Literature

David Germano

Schedule# 702SZ

Contact professor directly for course description

RELC 849 Gregory The Great

Robert Wilken

Schedule# 703HX

Course will focus on Gregory’s letters and the way he dealt with the many issues facing the Church in the late sixth century. Latin required.

RELS 895 Directed Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 704TP , 701W1, 702N9, 7037Q

Systematic reading in a select topic under detailed supervision.
RELS 896 Thesis Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 704H8

Research on problems leading to a master's thesis.

RELS 897 Non-Topical Research, Peparation for Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 701XQ

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

RELS 898 Non Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 701KX

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

RELG 899 Pedagogy

Schedule# 70302

RELS 997 Non-Topical Research, Peparation for Doctoral Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 701YG

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

RELS 999 Non Topical Research

Instructor: Student's choice

Schedule# 704TQ

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