Fall 2010

RELG 1010 Introduction to Western Tradition
Ben Laugelli

An historical survey of the origins and development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Subjects include the origins of monotheism, the rise of Israel as a nation, early Christianity, the rise of Islam in the Middle Ages, the Protestant Reformation, Christianity during the Enlightenment, and the influence of modern science and industrialism on 19th and 20th century religious life. Requirements: Weekly readings, two tests and a final

RELC 1050 Introduction to Christianity
Valerie Cooper

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

RELC 1220 New Testament and Early Christianity
Harry Gamble

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 1410 Elementary Classical Hebrew I
Blaire French

Learning a new language can be extremely challenging and immensely fun. This course promises to be both. Using both deductive and inductive methods, this course (in combination with its sequel, HEBR/RELJ 1420) will give students a basic grasp of classical Hebrew grammar and syntax. By the end of the spring semester, students will be able to read and translate narrative prose from the Hebrew Bible. Being able to read the Hebrew Bible in its original language guarantees a better window into the life and thought of the ancient Israelites. Successful completion of this course and its sequel will also allow one to continue study of classical Hebrew at the intermediate level. This course is equivalent to HEBR 1410.

RELJ 2030 Judaic Tradition
Vanessa Ochs

An introduction to Judaism as it is practiced as a living tradition. We will survey the central understandings that undergird the Jewish tradition and examine the ritual context in which these beliefs are manifest: sacred text study, prayer, holy day practices and life cycle passages (e.g. birth, marriage, death). We will explore the ancient sources from which so much of the Jewish tradition derives and observe the ever-changing ways tradition is manifest in contemporary Jewish life. We will draw on film, sacred text study and anthropological observation of Jewish life in Charlottesville today.

RELC 2050 History of Christianity I
Vigen Guroian

This course is mainly concerned with the history of Christian doctrine, in other words the character and formation of the fundamental beliefs of the Church that were hammered out and defined from the Apostolic Period through the eighth century. Furthermore, we will pay significant attention to the prayer, preaching, and worship of the early Church, including its hymnody and art. We will review, as well, the history of the Church’s mission and growth as an ecclesiastical body, its relationship to state and Empire, the encounter with Islam, and the sources of and reasons for Christianity’s later division into Eastern and Western, Byzantine and Latin, churches, under the independent headships of Constantinople and Rome.

RELB 2054 Tibetan Buddhism
David Germano

This course surveys Tibetan Buddhist religious culture in terms of its history, biographical traditions, religious communities, cultural patterns, ritual life, contemplative traditions, and philosophical discourses. The focus will be on how tantric Buddhism has historically functioned in Tibet to relate these different dimensions together as an identifiable cultural zone of vast geographical terrain, despite never achieving any form of political unity. These range from controversies over antinomian practices pertaining to sexuality and violence, to Tibet’s religo-political solution to tantra¹s decentralized paradigm of religious leaders understood to be Buddhas with local mandalas of absolute authority. We will look into the rise of the institution of reincarnate lamas that culminated in the Dalai Lama, and address the theory that Tibet’s lack of centralization led to the importance of so-called "shamanic" trends of Buddhism. Finally we will also examine at great depth Tibetan innovations in Buddhist philosophy, ritual and yoga.

RELI 2070 Classical Islam
Ahmed al Rahim

This is a historical and topical survey of the origins and development of Islam. The course is primarily concerned with the life and career of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, the teachings of the Qur'an, the development of the Muslim community and its principal institutions, schools of thought, law, theology, cultural life and mystical tradition, to about 1300 A.D.

RELH 2090 Introduction to Hinduism
John W. Nemec

This course serves as a general introduction to Hinduism in its classical, medieval and modern forms. By reading primary texts in translation, taking note of the cultural, historical, political and material contexts in which they were composed, we will explore Hinduism from its earliest forms to the period of the “Hindu Renaissance” in the nineteenth century.

RELB 2100 Introduction to Buddhism
Jann Ronis

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

GREE 2230 New Testament Greek (Intermediate Greek)

The Department calls attention to this offered through the Classics Department, which can be counted towards the major in Religious Studies as a course in Christianity. This intermediate course aims to solidify the student's knowledge of Greek grammar, syntax, and vocabulary and give practice in reading and translating the Greek New Testament. We will also consider the principles of New Testament exegesis. Texts read come from the gospels, primarily Luke and John. (Letters of Paul will be read in Greek 224). Prerequisite Greek 101-102 or equivalent (one year of classical or Koine Greek). Requirements: regular quizzes, midterm, and final examination.

RELJ 2300 Israeli Literature in Translation
Dalia Rosenfeld

This course explores Israeli culture and society through the lens of its literature. Beginning with the revival of modern Hebrew and following the formative events of the Israeli experience, we will study a range of fictional works (and poetry) that represent the diverse voices of Israeli self-expression. Readings include S.Y. Agnon, Aharon Appelfeld, Yoel Hoffmann, Etgar Keret, A.B. Yehoshua, Yehudit Hendel, and others.

RELC 2360 Elements of Christian Thought
Paul Jones

This course considers the complicated world of Christian thought, focusing particularly on the nature of faith, the being and action of God, the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, the role of the Bible in theological reflection, and the relationship between Christian thought and social justice. Students will read various important works of Christian theology (ancient, medieval, and modern) and become acquainted with a wide range of theological approaches and ideas.

The course is suitable for those seeking a basic introduction in Christian thought and for those wishing to deepen their understanding of central issues in Christian theology. It can fulfill the second writing requirement.No previous knowledge of Christian thought is required.

RELC 2401 History American Catholicism
Gerald Fogarty

Catholicism in the United States has often been in a dilemma. On the one hand, its spiritual loyalty to Rome and its growth through immigration made it appear "foreign" to most Americans. On the other, the American Catholic support for religious liberty drew suspicion from Rome. In 1960, the election of John Kennedy seemed to signal the acceptance of Catholics as Americans. In 1965, the Second Vatican Council seemed to ratify what had long been a cherished American Catholic tradition. To understand the significance of these events of the 1960s, the course will treat the following themes: the early Spanish and French settlements, the beginning of English-speaking Catholicism in Maryland, with its espousal of religious liberty, the establishment of the hierarchy under John Carroll and its early development of a strong sense of episcopal collegiality, immigration and nativism, American Catholic support of religious liberty and conflict with the Vatican at the end of the 19th century, and the American Catholic contribution to Vatican II (1962-1965). The course will conclude with an analysis of social, political, and theological developments in the American Catholic Church since the end of the council. Course requirements: 1) a mid-term and final exam; 2) an analysis of an historical document selected from collections on reserve.

RELJ 2410 Intermediate Classical Hebrew I
Greg Goering

This course continues and builds upon HEBR/RELJ 1420. The primary objective of this course is to develop facility in the reading and comprehension of biblical Hebrew. With this overall objective in mind, our primary activity will be the preparation, reading, and translation of various selections from the Hebrew Bible. Week by week, we will also continue to review grammar and to build vocabulary. Occasionally, we will practice sight reading and other skills useful to the Bible reader. A secondary objective of the course is to introduce biblical prose. Many of the texts we read in this course will acquaint us with the beauty and challenge of prosaic passages. Through translation of these prosaic passages, coupled with discussion of biblical syntax, we shall find our way into the amazing world of biblical prose. This course is equivalent to HEBR 2410.

RELC 2447 History of Christian Ethics
Margaret Mohrmann

This course will survey the development of Christian ethical thought and teaching from its beginnings through the Reformation era. Major ethical themes will be traced through the centuries, as the church's scripture, evolving doctrine, and emerging tradition interact - in thought, word, and deed - with secular society, politics, and philosophy. Readings will be taken mostly from primary texts, such as the Bible and the writings of selected Christian thinkers, but will also include an online text covering important points of the historical and theological background of those writings.

RELB 2450 Zen
Paul Groner

This course is a study of the development and history of the thought, practices, goals, and institutions of Buddhism as it has evolved in India, China, Japan, and America, finally giving rise to what is called "Zen".Among the topics discussed are meditation, enlightenment, the role of Zen in the arts, life in a Zen monastery, the rhetoric of in Zen, and use of Zen in popular culture. Rather than focus on one definition of practice and its goal, the course focuses on how Buddhism changed over time and in response to various cultural and social challenges. No prerequisites.

RELG 2630 Business Ethics and Society
Karen Guth
Paul Harper
Betsy Mesard
Howard Pickett
Free Williams

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

RELG 2650 Theology Ethics & Medicine
James Childress

An analysis of the ethical principles that should undergird decisions in science, medicine, and health care. The lectures readings, and discussions will focus on ethical principles developed within different ethical traditions (such as Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Humanism) and on their implications for cases in abortion, death and dying, research involving human subjects, artificial reproduction, genetic engineering, cloning, and allocating resources. Several films, videotapes, and cases will be used. Requirements: Midterm, final examination, 3 brief papers (2 pages) and participation in discussion.

RELB 2770 Daoism
Clarke Hudson

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

RELG 3057 Existentialism
Jamie Ferreira

Examination of selected 19th and 20th century representatives of existentialist thought: Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Camus, Sartre, Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel, de Beauvoir.

RELC 3058 Christian Vision in Literature
William Wilson

A study of selected classics in Christian imaginative literature. Readings will come from the Bible, Dante's Divine Comedy, and several modern authors such as Andrew Lytle, William Faulkner and Flannery O'Conner. Requirements: Three one-hour tests.

RELC/J 3090 Israelite Prophets
Gregory Goering

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

RELB 3150 Seminar on Buddhism and Gender
Karen Lang

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 of this seminar is gender and Buddhism. We will explore historical, textual and social questions relevant to the status of women and men in the Buddhist world from the time of Buddhism's origins to the present day. Materials will be interdisciplinary, drawing from religious studies, anthropology, and gender studies. Prerequisite: An introductory course on Buddhism or instructor's permission

RELG 3200 Martin, Malcolm and America
Mark Hadley

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

RELB 3559 New Course in Buddhism: The Dalai Lamas
Kurtis Schaeffer

RELC 3559 New Course in Christianity: In Defense of Sin
John Portmann

Exploration of transgression in Judaism and Christianity with a focus on the Ten Commandments and the seven deadly sins. Reflection on who determines what is sinful and why. Close reading of texts challenging the wrongfulness of acts and attitudes long considered sinful, with critical attention to the persuasiveness of religious rules.
Does religious practice remain focused on pleasing God, or does it now principally fulfill familial / ethnic obligation? Or has it perhaps become simply a personal quest with indeterminate goals? What does sin have to do with the modern world?

RELC 3559 New course in Christianity: Religion and Art
John Portmann

We will explore the derogation of Jews as “the people without art,” the theological implications of Augustine’s renumbering of the commandments, and the controversy surrounding the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which published twelve cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. Around the two poles of blasphemy and piety, our examination of the role of frescoes, paintings, sculptures, and film will take shape with an aim to deepen understanding of Christian imagery. We will pay attention to the sensual dimension of Christian art; the sexuality of pivotal Christian artists; and the philosophical study of beauty, aesthetics. First Years who have scored a 4 or a 5 on the AP Art History exam may enroll.


RELC 3559 New Course in Christianity: Christian Art
John Portmann

This course has been revised into a Majors Seminar, RELG 4500

RELI 3559 New Course in Islam: Islam and Human Rights
Abdulaziz Sachedina


RELJ 3559 New Course in Judaism: German Jewish Thinkers
Gabriel Finder

RELJ 3559 New Course in Judaism: The Judiac Political Tradition
Daniel Doneson

RELA 3890 Christianity in Africa
RELC 3890 Christianity in Africa
Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton

This course examines the history of Christianity in Africa from its roots in Egypt and the Maghrib 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.

RELG 4023 Bioethics Internship Seminar
Margaret Mohrmann

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 4044 Religion and the American Courts
John Portmann

What is the nature of religion and its role in American society? This seminar will explore the limits of spiritual convictions in a liberal democracy which guarantees religious freedom. Specifically, this course will analyze: 1) the First Amendment; 2) legal methodology; and 3) the contemporary debate over whether citizens and public officials have a duty to refrain from making political and legal decisions on the basis of their religious beliefs. After surveying the theoretical literature, we will turn to specific legal issues involving the practice of religion in the United States. The Supreme Court’s understanding of the Religion Clauses changed substantially in the twentieth century, and so we will focus on the second half of the last century. Requirements: 1) oral presentation; 2) final ten-fifteen-page paper; 3) regular class participation; and 4) three short exams.

JWST 4095 Jewish Studies Maj Seminar
Asher Biemann

This course introduces advanced undergraduate students to the history and methods of the field of Jewish Studies. We will read and discuss foundational texts and workshop student’s writings. Select Jewish Studies faculty will be guest lecturers in the seminar speaking about their fields of expertise. Students will work on individual research projects, give a presentation in class, and write a 15-20 page final paper. The main objective of the course is to enable students to write advanced research papers. Please note: This course is open to non-majors of Jewish Studies by instructor’s permission.

RELG 4150 Salem Witch Trials
Benjamin Ray

This seminar will explore the rich 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 heroes and villains of this tragic episode? The most gripping personal stories are to be found in the primary sources and in literary treatments. Explore the impact of this small-scale, 300 year-old event America’s cultural heritage -- why has "Salem witchcraft" become part of the American cultural imagination? The course also examines the following recent historical works: Entertaining Satan by John Demos, Salem Story by Bernard Rosenthal, and In the Devil’s Snare by Mary Beth Norton, Judge Sewall’s Apology by Richard Francis in addition to the most recent journal articles. The course involves four reading reports 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. The best of these essays will become part of the “Notable People & Topics” section of Salem Archive. The class will make extensive use of the online Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive http://etext.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft which contains all the original court documents and contemporary accounts.

Restricted to Religious Studies, American Studies, English, SWAG, and History Majors.

RELG 4500 Maj Sem: Death and the Afterlife
Benjamin C Ray

The goal of this seminar is to develop an informed and critical perspective on the study of religion through the study of myths, rituals, theology, medical ethics, and fictional literature concerning death and afterlife in a variety of religious traditions. The seminar does not intend to make the case for any single definition of religion or to take a particular theological perspective on death, but rather to have participants develop critical skills necessary for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a number of scholarly approaches to the subject. Requirements: Six short papers, approximately one every other week. No mid-term and no final exam.

Restricted to 3rd and 4th year Religious Studies Majors.

RELG 4500 Maj Sem: Pilgrimage
Vanessa Ochs

This seminar focuses on the theme of the physical journeys (both actual journeys and imagined, fictional ones) that religious seekers of various traditions embark upon. We will analyze these texts and the experience of being a pilgrim by drawing upon theories that religious scholars turn to in psychology, anthropology, feminist theory, and sociology.


RELG 4450 Visions of the Apocalypse
Mathew Hedstrom

RELS 4995 Independent Research
Instructor: Student's choice

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

RELS 4998 Distinguished Major Thesis I
Instructor: Student's choice

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 directed reading in the field of the thesis. Prerequisite: Selection by faculty for Distinguished Major Program.

A note on 5000-level courses: Rise to a higher level!

All 5000-level courses are open to undergraduate enrollment. Though these are graduate-level courses, they are designed to accommodate advanced undergraduates who have previously taken religious studies courses. Minors, and especially majors are encouraged to consider enrolling in these courses. For those considering graduate school, taking a 5000-level course could prove immensely helpful.

If you see any 5000-level course in this syllabus that you think you might want to take, and you have questions about it, please contact the professor who will be offering it. The religious studies faculty as a whole welcomes all such inquiries.


RELB 5011, Readings in Chinese Buddhist Texts I

Readings from Chinese Buddhist (and other religious) texts. Texts are chosen based on student interest. The meeting time and place will also change, based on consensus. This is a Chinese language course. Students must have already taken one course on Classical Chinese language, such as CHIN 5830.

RELG 5070 Interpretation Theory
Larry Bouchard

We will explore various approaches to interpretation theory, with emphasis on the nature and problems of interpretive activity in aesthetics, religion, and ethics. We will take up hermeneutical considerations of figuralism (e.g. Erich Auerbach), truth and understanding in encounters with texts and others (e.g., Schleiermacher, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Adam Zachary Newton), and reconsiderations of the hermeneutical model in such figures as Bahktin, Nussbaum, and Vattimo. Special attention may be given this time to postmodern views of religious discourse (e.g., in Derrida and some of his sympathizers and critics). Requirements: Class participation of assigned materials, a midterm take-home examination, and either a paper or an essay final. Undergraduates not yet enrolled in this course need to obtain permission of the instructor and may be placed on a waiting list kept by Prof. Bouchard. Contact:lbouchard@virginia.edu.

RELC 5077 Pius XII, Hitler and the US in WWII
Gerald Fogarty

Beginning with readings from controversial works interpreting the role of Pope Pius XII and the Vatican, the course will then focus on the interaction between the United States and the Vatican during the period. The general reading will include authors such as Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope, and Jose Sanchez, Pius XII and the Holocaust, and will then turn to some specific works such as the recently published memoirs of Harold H. Tittmann, Jr., the American diplomat who lived in the Vatican during the war. In addition to brief reports on the general reading and participation in the weekly discussions, each student is to prepare a paper on a topic approved by the professor for presentation in class.

RELB 5270 Seminar in Chinese Buddhism
Paul Groner

Studies in the development of the major Buddhist traditions in China with some consideration of Confucian and Daoist developments. The course begins with a consideration of classical texts of the indigenous traditions of China: Confucianism and Daoism. It then moves to an examination of how Buddhism entered China and was affected by these traditions. The alternation of court patronage and persecution of Buddhism combined to produce uniquely Chinese forms of Buddhism. At the same time, Buddhism profoundly influenced Confucianism and Taoism. The second half of the course focuses solely on Buddhism, especially the great philosophical and practical traditions of Tiantai, Huayan, Chan and Pure Land. Attention will also be given to institutional history and folk religion. Undergraduates are welcome, but must have at least one course in Buddhism.

RELC 5551 Seminar in Early Christianity: Professor Jean-Yves Lacoste
There is no description for this course, but here is the reading list:

Origen, Contra Celsum, Translated with an introduction and notes by Henry Chadwick, CUP
Celsus, On the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians, translated by R.J. Hoffmann, OUP
Porphyry, Against the Christians: The Literary Remains, translated by R.J. Hoffmann, OUPLacoste

RELB 5559 New Course in Buddhism: Tibetan Buddhist History
Kurtis Schaeffer

RELC 5559 New Course in Christianity: Theology of Karl Barth
Paul Jones

An examination of key texts by Karl Barth. Topics considered include theological method, the doctrine of God, theological anthropology, Christology and atonement, theological ethics, and ecclesiology. This advanced course is primarily intended for graduate students with interests in Christian theology, philosophy of religion, theological ethics, and biblical exegesis. Undergraduate enrollment only with the permission of the instructor.

RELC 5559 New Course in Christianity: The Icon in Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Vigen Guroian

This is a course on the icon in Orthodox Christianity. We will read theological works on the meaning of icons, but also on the value of art and its relationship to culture and the sacred. We will consider the icon as a way of doing theology and as a medium of worship and prayer. Readings range from John of Damascus’s 8th century apologetic in defense of the holy icons to modern Orthodox theological aesthetics and theologies of the icon, Included are the writings of Leonid Ouspensky, Vladimir Lossky, Paul Evdokimov. Andrew Louth, Michael Quenot, and Philip Sherrard. We will study at close hand Byzantine, Armenian, Syrian, and Coptic iconography and gospel illumination.

RELC 5559 New Course in Christianity: History of Christian Ethics
Margaret Mohrmann

This course is designed to provide a solid understanding of the historical roots of contemporary Christian ethics (from the New Testament period through the Reformation), experience in working with historical source materials, and familiarity with some important interpreters of this history. Toward these ends, students will attend lectures and read assigned materials for RELC 2447. In seminar discussions we will explore not only the materials for RELC 2447 but also additional primary material and the writings of interpreters such as Ernst Troeltsch. Course requirements include regular attendance, completion of reading assignments, short weekly response papers, participation in seminar discussion, and a final paper. Open to advanced undergraduates. Permission of instructor required.

RELG 5559 New Course in Religious Studies: Abrahamic Scriptures in Dialogue
Peter Ochs

Introducing a model for Muslim-Jewish-Christian scriptural study. The course offers
readings in the primary scriptures (Tanakh, New Testament, Qu’ran) and in Abrahamic theologies that emerge out of scriptural text study and out of philosophic reflection on text study. The course examines practices of scriptural study within each tradition and practices of shared study across (but respecting) the borders of these traditions. Readings as well in the UVA e-journals: Journal of Textual Reasoning; and Journal of Scriptural Reasoning.

RELG 5559 New Course in Religious Studies: Approaches to American Religious History
Matthew Hedstrom

This course introduces graduate students to the study of American religious history, and prepares them for advanced research, through a survey of key texts, subjects, and historiographical trends. We will attend to recent debates and developments in the field regarding method while aiming to balance an appreciation of diversity with the search for unifying themes. The primary focus will be on the 19th and 20th centuries. Students will produce a final, article-length research paper.

RELH 5559 New Course in Hinduism: Social Vision in Hinduism
John Nemec

Much of Hinduism, and the study of Hinduism, is concerned with the ways in which individuals, who usually have renounced the world, acquire religious merit, magical powers, and liberating spiritual insight. These fascinating subjects are crucial to our understanding of the religion and religion in general, but the public dimensions of Hinduism are often ignored in favor of looking at these topics. This course will study just such public and social dimensions of Hinduism. Topics will include the relationship between religion and government, the role of religion in shaping social structures and hierarchies (e.g.: caste), and the role of religion in shaping attitudes towards sexual and other personal relationships.

RELI 5559 New Course in Islam: Koranic Exegesis
Ahmed al Rahim

RELI 5559 New Course in Islam: Islamic Biomedical Ethics
Abdulaziz Sachedina

The seminar will undertake to discuss the development of a new subfield in Islamic legal and ethical studies. Although there is a long history of legal theoretical studies among Muslim legal scholars, the study of social ethics and its various applications in research and biomedical ethics is searching to define its methodology as well as application in the growing awareness of the ethical issues that confront both medical and legal professionals in the Muslim world. The emergence of specifically Islamic approach to the resolution of ethical problems in the health care ethics indicates both casuistry and principle-based ethical deliberations and rulings. The seminar will outline the moral reasoning that Muslims have developed to provide ethical guidelines in various areas of ethical problematic in research as well as clinical settings. Selected readings in theological ethics, legal methodology and application, and a growing literature about the new rulings in bioethics will provide students of Islam and comparative ethics an opportunity to understand the underpinnings of Islamic theology and legal-ethical methodology that guide public health and medical research in Muslim countries around the world.

Readings will include: Abdel Rahim Omran: Family Planning in the Legacy of Islam Munawar Ahmad Anees, Islam and Biological Futures: Ethics, Gender and Technology Aziz Sheikh and Abul Rashid Gatard, Caring for Muslim Patients Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jursiprudence. Prerequisite: RELI 207 or RELI 208

RELB 5600 Introduction to Pali
Karen Lang

RELB 5660 Seminar on Indian Buddhism
Karen Lang

The focus of this seminar is on Indian Buddhism from the time of Shakyamuni 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.

RELG 5780 Wallace Stevens and the Absolute
Kevin Hart

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.

RELC 5830 Love and Justice in Recent Christian Ethics
James Childress

An examination of various conceptions of neighbor-love (agape) and justice and their relations (e.g., identity and opposition) in selected Protestant (and some Catholic) literature (mainly from the 20th and early 21st centuries). 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

RELC 7250 Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of Religion
Jean-Yves Lacoste

Description not available, but here’s the reading list:

Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments and Johannes Climacus, Edited and translated by H.V. Hong and E.H. Hong, Princeton UP;
Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs, edited and translated by A. Hannay, Cambridge UP

RELG 7360 Study of Religion
Peter Ochs and Clarke Hudson

Given the multidisciplinary character of religious studies today, it is imperative for new scholars to gain a basic sense of theoretical and methodological options in the field. By way of an examination of landmark texts, this course surveys the formation of religious studies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; it also examines important contemporary approaches. In addition to helping students think carefully and critically about the study of religion, the course will facilitate (i) reflection about how particular research agendas relate to the broader field of religious studies; (ii) dialogue between different theoretical and methodological points of view; and (iii) the formulation of introductory syllabi on religious studies for use in a liberal arts context. This course is mandatory for all first-year Ph.D. candidates in the Religious Studies Department. Students will be required (a) to write a paper on a text or texts read in the course, with the topic formulated in consultation with the instructors, and (b) to devise a syllabus for an undergraduate class that introduces the academic study of religion.

RELG 7559 New Course in Religious Studies: Rationality, Justification, Religious Belief
Jamie Ferreira

Examination of two 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 (Critique of Practical Reason, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, and Metaphysics of Morals: Part II, Doctrine of Virtue), as well as by Hegel (Reason in History and Introd. To Lectures on Philosophy of Religion).

RELC 8340 Contemporary Political Theological Ethics
Charles Mathewes

A graduate seminar studying recent work in political theology, especially but not exclusively in Christian thought.

RELC 8920 Seminar in Early Christianity
Harry Gamble

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