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Courses - Spring 2016


Undergraduate / Graduate

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES:

IFS 2007         Need And Greed                                                                                   Dr. Kalbian
This e-series honors seminar addresses some of these questions about the ethics of money from the perspective of religious communities. We will evaluate the topics of need (as exemplified by poverty) and greed (as exemplified by excessive accumulation of wealth), by looking at historical and contemporary religious writings, ethnographic studies, and economic theories. We will engage in broad, critical and creative thinking about the connections between money, human nature, the good life, and material comfort, the common good, and social justice. The goal is to gain knowledge and critical thinking skills that will be of assistance in navigating a range of personal and professional issues related to money. Meets LS ethics and social responsibility requirement.

IFS 2019         Heretics, Rebels and Militants in the Islamic World                           Dr. Gaiser
This e-series course addresses some of these questions about the variety of Islamic religious perspectives. We will evaluate the topics of Islamic sectarianism and denominationalism by tracing the main sectarian movements among medieval and modern Muslims.  Students will engage in broad, critical and creative thinking about the creation of “orthodoxy” and “heresy,” the development of religious differences, the interaction between politics, culture and religion, and the issue of religious violence. They will gain knowledge and critical thinking skills that will assist them as they navigate a range of perspectives and trajectories related to the world’s many different Muslims.  Meets LS history and multicultural Y requirements.

IFS 2039         Noah’s Flood Through the Ages                                                               Dr. Goff
Noah’s Flood has been a topic of enduring interest for over 2,000 years.  It sparks the imagination with issues such as the rise of evil in the world and God’s re-creation of the earth.  In this class we will examine the biblical flood story in a broad context.  We will examine other flood stories from the ancient Near East that influenced how the biblical story of the flood was written.  We will look at how the flood story in the Bible was interpreted, from antiquity up until today.  We will also examine how the flood story had been a locus for contemporary debates involving religion and science since the 1600s.  Students will engage in broad and creative thinking about the biblical text and the variety of ways the flood had been interpreted over the centuries.  They will gain knowledge and critical thinking skills that will assist them in the interpretation of biblical texts in a range of ethical, scientific, theological and historical discourses.  This course will impact how students understand the Bible and the nature of the world, particularly its distant past. Meets the LS humanities requirement.

IFS3055          Sci-Fi, Dystopia & Evil                                                                          Dr. Cronin
This course utilizes several highly successful science fiction and dystopian novels by authors such as Orson Scott Card, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Frank Herbert, and Walter Miller to illuminate persistent questions about fate, providence, and the problem of evil. These novels enable students to think critically about the religious and philosophical aspects of the problem of evil, the role of the god(s) (in causing, delivering from, or remaining passively indifferent to evil), and the effect of fate and free will on the individual and on society. The recent surge of interest in science fiction and dystopian literature provides us with a context to discuss and interpret ancient questions from a contemporary point of view. The course draws from a range of interdisciplinary sources such as history, social psychology, philosophy, religion, literature, and the arts.  Meets LS humanities requirement

REL1300        Introduction to World Religions                                                                       Staff
This course is an introduction to the academic study of the major religions of the world.  The course will cover the religious traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  In the process of comparing the religions of the world, it will be the responsibility of each student to think critically about the historical evolution, systems of belief, ritual practices, institutional developments and cultural expressions of each religious tradition.  A range of reading materials and writing assignments have been chosen to provide a framework within which to engage a variety of religious issues and to understand the significance and relevance of religion in world history.  Meets LS Humanities and Writing requirements as well as Multicultural X. This course is also offered online.

REL2121        Religion in the United States                                                            Dr. Corrigan
An examination of the scope and nature of religious movements and institutions in the United States.  Meets LS History and Writing requirements as well as Multicultural Y.

REL2210        Introduction to the Old Testament                                                                  Staff
The history, religious thought, and social institutions of ancient Israel as reflected primarily in its literature.  Meets LS Humanities and Writing requirements as well as Multicultural Y.

REL2240        Introduction to the New Testament                                                                Staff
An introduction to the writings of the New Testament in the context of the historical development of early Christianity.  Meets LS Humanities and Writing requirements as well as Multicultural Y.

REL2315        Religions of South Asia                                                                                   Staff
Overview of religions in the South Asian cultural region, emphasizing Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Islam.  The history and cultural contexts of these traditions will be explored with particular attention to sacred stories, holy people, religious leadership, and gender issues. This course also serves as an introduction to the academic study of religion. No previous background is required. Students will gain familiarity with the basic concepts of the religious traditions of South Asia, will develop interpretive skills in the academic study of religion, and will have the opportunity to develop research and writing skills by exploring a topic of special interest.  Meets Liberal Studies Humanities and Multicultural X requirements.

REL2350        Religions of E. Asia                                                                                          Staff
This course combines thematic and historical approaches to religions of East Asia, focusing primarily on China and Japan. It examines interactions among Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and popular and new religious movements. Students will approach the histories of East Asian religions as processes of change, border-crossing, and mutual-influence. Readings have been drawn from secondary scholarship as well as a variety of primary sources in translation, including myths, canonical scriptures, polemical tracts, hagiography, and narrative tales. Assigned readings will be augmented by occasional in-class films. Some of the questions and issues explored in this course include: Are there clear demarcations between secular and religious practices in East Asian religions? How do we characterize the interactions between imported and indigenous religions? What is “new” about “new religions” in East Asia? Do these new religions have continuities with or discontinuities from the older forms of religious traditions? Readings have been drawn from secondary scholarship as well as a variety of primary sources in translation, including myths, canonical scriptures, polemical tracts, hagiography, and narrative tales.  Meets Liberal Studies Humanities and Multicultural X requirements.

REL3112        Religion and Fantasy                                                                            Staff
This course explores the relationship between religion and popular culture through the critical study of several highly successful series of fantasy novels authored during the twentieth century. Through a wide range of fantasy literature—such as works by J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, and Philip Pullman—students will reflect on the nature of the difference between the “religious” and the “secular.” Further, the course also introduces students to problems in literary history including the development of literary genres, questions of authorial intent, and reflection on how historical context influences literary production. Meets Liberal Studies humanities and literature requirements as well as the writing requirement.

REL3128        Topic in AM Religion                                                                                       Staff  

          
REL3145        Gender and Religion                                                                                         Staff
This course examines the impact of gender on religious beliefs and practices and the impact of religious beliefs and practices on gender, cross-culturally.  We will be looking at the intersections of religion and culture, in general.  In doing so, we will look at a history of feminist thought in religious studies and the current gender issues that have arisen through women’s examinations of religious thought and the study of religion.  We will use a variety of texts, some film, class discussion, and writing to explore these topics a fully as possible.  Meets Liberal studies humanities, writing requirement, and Multicultural Y.

REL3160        Religion and Science                                                                                   Dr. Day
This course examines how and why evolutionary theory has been identified—by groups self-described as “Creationists” or “Intelligent Design Theorists”—as being uniquely hostile to biblically-based commitments.  In the first section of the course, we will explore the relevant texts from the Hebrew Bible (esp. Genesis) and the historical diversity of its interpreters.  In the second section of the class, we will read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and highlight the ways its "one long argument" has been seen as buttressing, damaging or indifferent to theological claims about the history of life on earth.  In the final section of the course, we will challenge the notion that the continuing “evolution-creation struggle” is about epistemology, or evidence, or rationality by emphasizing the fundamentally political nature of the controversy.
Meets Liberal studies history requirement.

REL3170        Religious Ethics                                                                                                Staff
A discussion of contemporary moral problems such as deception, sexual activities and relations, and capital punishment from the standpoints of major religious traditions. Liberal Studies Humanities, Ethics and Social Responsibility, and writing requirements as well as Multicultural X.

 

REL3171-1     Topics in Ethics: Courage  in Ethics and Film                               Tamara Marks
This course focuses on two conceptions of courage, each important to contemporary understandings of that notion.  The one, which we owe to Aristotle and those who developed his views, focuses on courage as a virtue.  The other, which may be traced to the Bible, presents courage in terms of the heroic performance of duties, particularly in connection with judgments of conscience.   Readings, lectures, and class discussions are organized so as to connect these conceptions of courage with contemporary films.  Meets Liberal Studies Ethics and Social Responsibility requirement.

REL 3171-2    Topics in Ethics: Ethics of Food                                                                Dr. Reid
We all eat; we must eat to live. Yet, eating serves more than a biological function—it is a social, cultural, religious, and ethical activity. What exactly does that mean and how do our personal food choices and our cultural food choices contribute to our moral life? How does our moral and/or religious life shape our food choices? Food is important to the emotional, religious, and cultural lives of human communities. It also poses serious ethical dilemmas, which are often tied
to religious worldviews. In this course we examine religious, ethical, and cultural attitudes about food consumption, food production, dissemination, and use. More specifically, we look at how food defines us individually and culturally. We examine religious systems of ethical thought and ask how food and its production fit into these, sometimes as a moral good and sometimes as a moral problem.  Meets Liberal Studies Ethics and Social Responsibility requirement.

REL3180        Religion and Bioethics                                                                                      Staff     
An introduction to theoretical and practical issues in bioethics from the perspective of several religious traditions. You will learn about the influence of religious views on the development of bioethics, the difficulties of cultural diversity in the context of medicine, and the major theories and approaches used in resolving bioethical dilemmas. In addition to readings, in-class case discussions, papers, and tests, students will work on group presentations.  Meets Liberal Studies Ethics and Social Responsibility and Scholarship-In-Practice Requirements.

REL3293        Topics: Bib Studies                                                                                           Staff

REL3333        Ramayana in Indian Culture                                                       Dr. Erndl
This course is an introduction to the Hindu tradition through the Ramayana, one of its most popular and celebrated sacred texts. The Ramayana, also known as the Rama-katha (story of Rama), narrates the exile of Prince Rama, who is accompanied into the forest by his wife Sita and brother Laksmana. After Sita's abduction by the demon Ravana, Rama, aided by his monkey-ally Hanuman, must go to battle to rescue her. But this skeletal summary cannot begin to do justice to the many tellings of Rama-katha that have been composed, recited, sung, written, performed, danced, portrayed in art, and have influenced political events throughout India, Asia, and beyond. In this course, we focus on the most well known literary version, composed in the Sanskrit language by the ancient poet Valmiki, and on the now classic 1980’s televised Hindi language serial version directed by Ramanand Sagar, though we will also consider other versions. Focus on the Ramayana will lead to a consideration of broader religious, philosophical, aesthetic, and political themes in the Hindu tradition. The Ramayana has seven “books” (kandas), each of which will serve as a window to selected Hindu concepts and issues. No background in either the Ramayana or in Hinduism is presumed.  Meets the Liberal Studies Cultural Practice (Humanities) and Multicultural X requirements.

 

REL3340        Buddhist Tradition                                                                           Dr. Buhrman 
A historical and thematic survey of the Buddhist tradition in Asia from its beginnings through the modern period. Topics covered will include origins and history, doctrine, ethical beliefs, meditation, ritual, and monastic and popular traditions. Some attention will also be given to contemporary forms of Buddhism outside of Asia, in Europe and America.   Meets  Liberal Studies, Humanities and Multicultural X requirement.

 

REL3367        Islam in the Modern World                                                                             Staff
Islam up to the Modern World examines Islam and its adherents from 1300 CE to the present, concentrating on the last two centuries of Islamic history: the period of reform, renewal and revolution in the wake of Western political and cultural domination.  The course will investigate a basic question: What happened to different Muslim communities and intellectuals (specifically those in the Arab world, Iran, Turkey, and West Africa) as they responded to the challenges posed by “Westernization” and “modernization?”  Moreover, it will explore the relatively new phenomenon of Islam in America.  The class concludes with an investigation of various contemporary debates in the Islamic world, including Sufism, and American/Western responses to Islam and Muslims.  Meets the Liberal Studies and Multicultural X requirement.

REL3430        ISS/Thinkers-Western Religion                                                   Dr. Dupuigrenet
Love sex and religion in the early modern West (14th-17th c.)
Love Sex and Religion in the Early Modern West introduces students to the patriarchal order of personal behaviour in sexual matters that was fostered in Europe by the Protestant Reformation and by the Catholic Counter Reformation alike during the sixteenth and the seventeenth century, when fundamental motifs of human behaviour were re-examined in the light of new models of Christian life. As the present generation of Americans and Europeans may be witnessing the death-throes of patriarchy we will try to understand the religious assumptions that underpinned it and were the shared property of Martin Luther and Ignatius Loyola.

REL3505        The Christian Tradition                                                                                    Staff
This course is an introduction to Christianity. We will examine the historical narrative of the tradition from its beginnings in the first century through twentieth-century developments. We will also focus on the doctrinal side of the tradition by reading primary texts of key Christian thinkers.  Meets Liberal Studies Humanities and writing requirements.

REL3607        The Jewish Tradition                                                             Dr. Gonzalez
This course is a survey of the Jewish tradition, exploring its central developments and transformations over time. Biblical texts, Midrash, rabbinic responsa, as well as a variety of historical and philosophical texts will be discussed. Some of the topics to be covered include: exile and covenant, the development of the rabbinate, intersections with Christianity and Islam, the Jewish 'Golden Age,' the emergence of crypto-Jews and the rise of print culture, Jewish messianism, the Jewish Enlightenment, the Holocaust, and Jewish nationalisms. No background in Judaism or Jewish history is necessary. 

REL3936-01   Special Topics in Religion: Readings in                             Dr. Goff

REL3936-02   Special Topics: Islamic Law and Society                                                   Dr. Gaiser
This course examines the development of Islamic law and legal cultures as they impact and are shaped by the various contexts in which they operate.  Focusing especially on the intersections between Islam law and Islamic societies, the course presents students with some of the most recent scholarship on the origins and evolution of Islamic law, its manifestations in the medieval period, and its interpretations in the modern era.  The course uses primary sources in conjunction with source critical secondary literature to explore contemporary scholarly debates surrounding Islamic law, its interpreters, and its social contexts. 

REL3936-03   Buddhism & The Mythology of Evil                                                       Dr. Cuevas
Is there a concept of evil in Buddhism? This course addresses that important question by examining traditional Buddhist interpretations of delusion, sin, and misfortune, as well as the multiple and shifting representations of the “demonic” in textual, historical, and social contexts. Specifically, the course explores the role of demons and other troublesome spirits at the center of Buddhist traditions across Asia, including India, China, and Tibet, drawing together popular Buddhist myths and legends, demonologies, canonical scriptures, and ritual practices. Emphasis will be on gaining comparative understanding of Buddhist beliefs and practices surrounding demonic entities and assessing whether a concept of “evil” plays a role in Buddhism. Key topics include Buddhist cosmology and demonology, the figure of Mara, relationships between gods, demons, and human beings, ghosts and local spirits, magic and sorcery, demon-caused illness, exorcism, and healing.

REL4044        What is Religion? What is Religious Studies?                                   Dr. Hellweg
Prerequisite: Successful completion of at least twelve hours of coursework in the department of Religion.  Meets the Oral Competency Requirement and the Scholarship-in-Practice requirement.

REL4190-01   SEM: REL & Culture:                                                                   Dr. MacDonald
Mythologizing Jesus: From Jewish Teacher to Epic Hero 
The New Testament provides a treasure of information about how Jesus of Nazareth became the Christian superhero within one hundred years after his death. This course monitors the growth of traditions about him from the earliest, preliterary stages, to his depiction in the letters of Paul, to his portrayal in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, culminating in his status as the Logos through whom God created the world in the Gospel of John. Special attention will be given to the seismic shift from Jewish models (e.g., messiah, son of David, and Son of Man) to those of the epics of Homer and Vergil.

REL4190-02   SEM: Religion and Culture:                        Dr. Hellweg

REL4190-03   SEM: Religion and Culture:                                                                    Dr. Twiss
Inquiry into the nature of human rights and their justificatory grounds, with particular attention to natural rights traditions, philosophical underpinnings of modern human rights, and comparative ethics and human rights.  Graduate seminar with both required seminar presentations and a final research paper.

REL4190-04   SEM: Religion & Culture:    Religion & Media                                Dr. McVicar
This course aims to provide students with a theoretical and historical perspective on the complex and shifting relationship between media and religion. Throughout the course we will work to understand how these two categories are increasingly understood in terms of one another. The course will use a range of diverse religious expressions drawn from U.S. popular culture and history to explore not only the relationship between the mass media and religion, but also the problem of mediums and mediation as they relate to bodies, texts, images, and spirits. By focusing on mass culture, consumption, and the problem of mediation, we will explore methodological and theoretical issues in the study of religion related to questions of the autonomous subject, the methodological tension between belief and practice, and the relationships between modernization, secularization, and religion. 

REL4290-01   SEM: Biblical Studies                                               Dr.

REL4290-02   SEM: Biblical Studies: Bible as Book, 9th c. to 18th c              Dr. Dupuigrenet
Between the 9th c. and the 17ththc. the Bible underwent a series of spectacular textual metamorphoses in western Christianity, from the standardization of the Latin Vulgate to the multiplication of vernacular versions and the dissemination  of Hebrew and Greek texts by Christian printers and booksellers. The common setting for these metamorphoses was the Bible as a material object, that gradually took its definitive shape, the  “pandect” (one volume) Scripture, between the time of the manuscript book and that of print culture and came to embody the very idea of a western civilization. We will study its production and its diffusion along commercial, cultural and religious routes that shaped a European Biblical network. Examples and case studies will be taken from the history of the Bible in England, France and Italy. Some classes will be given in the Strozier library to take advantage of its early printed Bibles from the Carrothers collection.

 

REL4304-01   SEM: HIS of Religions:  History of Japanese Religion                 Dr. Buhrman
An introduction to scholarship on Japanese religion, covering history from the classical through the modern period, with a focus on debates and recent developments in the field.

REL4304-02   SEM: HIS of Religions:                                         Dr. Gonzalez

REL4359-01  Spec Topics in Asian Religions: Banned Books in South Asia               Dr. Erndl
Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs.” Appeals to this and similar sections of the IPC have been used, on occasion successfully, to ban books in India on the grounds that they offend the religious sensibilities of a particular community.  Similar laws exist in other countries of South Asia, and throughout the world.  This course will focus on selected works of fiction and scholarship, dealing with religious issues in some way, that have generated controversy in South Asia. 

REL4359-02   Death & The Afterlife in Buddhist Cultures                                          Dr. Cuevas
Death is central to both Buddhist philosophical thought and Buddhism's traditional social roles. Buddhist teachings stress that all is impermanent; awareness of one's mortality is traditionally said to be a necessary impetus to the religious life. At the same time, performing rites for the well-being of the deceased in their postmortem state has been a chief task of Buddhist ritualists throughout Asia. Rituals and beliefs surrounding death also reflect specific cultural values. In this seminar we will study Buddhist approaches to death, dying, and the afterlife with a focus on South and Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, and Japan. Topics include Buddhist cosmology and the doctrine of karmic causality; tales of exemplary deaths; accounts of journeys to the hells and other postmortem realms; the placation of ghosts, demons, and zombies; Buddhist funerary and mortuary practices; and changes in contemporary Buddhist funerals. We will consider both Buddhist doctrinal teachings and social roles with respect to death and the afterlife, as well as interactions of Buddhism with local religious cultures. The course will run on a seminar format with active and in-depth discussion of readings and intensive individual writing projects.

REL4359-03   Special Topics in Asian Religions:    Chinese Religions                              Dr. Yu
This course is a graduate seminar on Chinese religions, open also to upper-level undergraduate students. This seminar examines important or recent scholarly studies on the histories, doctrines, and rituals of medieval Daoism, Buddhism, and popular religions. The focus is primarily on the intersection of cultic traditions and Chinese culture, with special attention to several themes: Chinese gods and the problem of unity vs. diversity; patterns of authority in Chinese religions; diviners, shamans, and priests; and death, mortuary rites, and salvation.

REL 4491-01  Religious Thought SEM: The Soul and the Self                        Dr. Dupuigrenet
Students will be introduced to eleven major authors - saint Augustine, saint Thomas Aquinas, Francis Petrarch, Pico della Mirandola, Pietro Pomponazzi, Martin Luther, saint Ignacio de Loyola, saint Teresa of Avila, Michel de Montaigne, Francois de La Rochefoucauld, Jean-Jacques Rousseau - who addressed the metaphysical make-up of the human person in Christian thought using motifs that came from Greco–Roman philosophers of pagan Antiquity – such as cosmos, soul, hero or sage - reinterpreted through the lens of Revelation to create a religious conscience of the self.

REL4491-02  Seminar on Religious Thought:                                   Dr. Kelley

REL4511-01   Christianity in Antiquity                                            Dr. Kelley

REL4905        Dir Indiv Study: Public Health                                  Dr. Hellweg

REL4932        Honors

>>Back to Top

GRADUATE COURSES:

RLG5195-02  SEM: Religion and Culture:                                    Dr. Hellweg

RLG5195-03 SEM: Religion and Culture:  Religion & Media                              Dr. McVicar
This course aims to provide students with a theoretical and historical perspective on the complex and shifting relationship between media and religion. Throughout the course we will work to understand how these two categories are increasingly understood in terms of one another. The course will use a range of diverse religious expressions drawn from U.S. popular culture and history to explore not only the relationship between the mass media and religion, but also the problem of mediums and mediation as they relate to bodies, texts, images, and spirits. By focusing on mass culture, consumption, and the problem of mediation, we will explore methodological and theoretical issues in the study of religion related to questions of the autonomous subject, the methodological tension between belief and practice, and the relationships between modernization, secularization, and religion.                                              
           
RLG5297-01 Biblical Studies SEM:                                                                    Dr. MacDonald
John and Euripides: The Dionysian Gospel
Euripides’ famous tragedy Bacchae depicts Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and ecstasy, appearing as a mortal to punish Thebes for besmirching the morality of his mother Semele. To do so, he sends the women of the city into the mountains to worship him in divine madness, drives King Pentheus insane, and incites the women, including the king’s mother, to dismember him. The play was exceedingly popular in the early Roman Empire and frequently was imitated even by Jews and Christians. The Gospel of John was one of those imitations. Jesus’ initial miracle turned water into wine, women were attracted to his message, and like Dionysus he offered his followers liberation and eternal life. This seminar will monitor the development of Johannine literature from its origins to the final edition of the Gospel, but it will focus on how the author of the first edition of the Gospel imitated the Bacchae to present Jesus as a rival to the Greek god of wine.

RLG5297-02  Biblical Studies SEM: Bible as Book, 9th c. to 18th c                Dr. Dupuigrenet
Between the 9th c. and the 17ththc. the Bible underwent a series of spectacular textual metamorphoses in western Christianity, from the standardization of the Latin Vulgate to the multiplication of vernacular versions and the dissemination  of Hebrew and Greek texts by Christian printers and booksellers. The common setting for these metamorphoses was the Bible as a material object, that gradually took its definitive shape, the  “pandect” (one volume) Scripture, between the time of the manuscript book and that of print culture and came to embody the very idea of a western civilization. We will study its production and its diffusion along commercial, cultural and religious routes that shaped a European Biblical network. Examples and case studies will be taken from the history of the Bible in England, France and Italy. Some classes will be given in the Strozier library to take advantage of its early printed Bibles from the Carrothers collection.

RLG5305-01  SEM: HIS of Religions:  History of Japanese Religion                 Dr. Buhrman
An introduction to scholarship on Japanese religion, covering history from the classical through the modern period, with a focus on debates and recent developments in the field.

RLG5305-02 SEM:HIS of Religions: Jews of Spain                                             Dr. Gonzalez
Jews of Spain: 1492 to the Present:  The expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 transformed Jewish life and culture. This seminar examines the historical and cultural transformations experienced by the Sephardim -- the descendants of Spanish Jewry. The course traces the path of the Sephardim into the Ottoman and Dutch Empires, North Africa, and into the Americas. In the process, we will cover: ethnic boundary formation, crypto-Judaism, mysticism, law and dissent, philosophical debates and the Enlightenment, daily life and material culture, the collapse of empire, nationalisms, and the Holocaust. No prerequisites required.

RLG5354-01  Spec Topics in Asian Religions: Banned Books in South Asia              Dr. Erndl
Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs.” Appeals to this and similar sections of the IPC have been used, on occasion successfully, to ban books in India on the grounds that they offend the religious sensibilities of a particular community.  Similar laws exist in other countries of South Asia, and throughout the world.  This course will focus on selected works of fiction and scholarship, dealing with religious issues in some way, that have generated controversy in South Asia.

RLG5354-02 Special Topics in Asian REL: Death/Afterlife                                    Dr.  Cuevas
Death is central to both Buddhist philosophical thought and Buddhism's traditional social roles. Buddhist teachings stress that all is impermanent; awareness of one's mortality is traditionally said to be a necessary impetus to the religious life. At the same time, performing rites for the well-being of the deceased in their postmortem state has been a chief task of Buddhist ritualists throughout Asia. Rituals and beliefs surrounding death also reflect specific cultural values. In this seminar we will study Buddhist approaches to death, dying, and the afterlife with a focus on South and Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, and Japan. Topics include Buddhist cosmology and the doctrine of karmic causality; tales of exemplary deaths; accounts of journeys to the hells and other postmortem realms; the placation of ghosts, demons, and zombies; Buddhist funerary and mortuary practices; and changes in contemporary Buddhist funerals. We will consider both Buddhist doctrinal teachings and social roles with respect to death and the afterlife, as well as interactions of Buddhism with local religious cultures. The course will run on a seminar format with active and in-depth discussion of readings and intensive individual writing projects.

RLG5354-03  Special Topics in Asian REL: Chinese Religions                                       Dr. Yu
This course is a graduate seminar on Chinese religions, open also to upper-level undergraduate students. This seminar examines important or recent scholarly studies on the histories, doctrines, and rituals of medieval Daoism, Buddhism, and popular religions. The focus is primarily on the intersection of cultic traditions and Chinese culture, with special attention to several themes: Chinese gods and the problem of unity vs. diversity; patterns of authority in Chinese religions; diviners, shamans, and priests; and death, mortuary rites, and salvation.

RLG5356        Readings in Tibetan                                                                               Dr. Cuevas

RLG5497-01  SEM: Religious Thought: The Soul and the Self                        Dr. Dupuigrenet 
Students will be introduced to eleven major authors - saint Augustine, saint Thomas Aquinas, Francis Petrarch, Pico della Mirandola, Pietro Pomponazzi, Martin Luther, saint Ignacio de Loyola, saint Teresa of Avila, Michel de Montaigne, Francois de La Rochefoucauld, Jean-Jacques Rousseau - who addressed the metaphysical make-up of the human person in Christian thought using motifs that came from Greco–Roman philosophers of pagan Antiquity – such as cosmos, soul, hero or sage - reinterpreted through the lens of Revelation to create a religious conscience of the self.

RLG5497-02  SEM: Religious Thought: Communism                                               Dr. Kelley
RLG5305-01  HIST of REL: History of Japan                                                        Dr. Buhrman                         
RLG5305-02  HIST of REL: Jews of Spain                                                 Dr. Gonzalez
RLG5354-01  Sp Topics Asian REL: Banned Books                                                    Dr. Erndl
RLG5354-02  Sp Topics Asian REL: Death/Afterlife                                                 Dr. Cuevas
RLG5354-03  Sp Topics Asian REL: Chinese Religions                                                   Dr. Yu
RLG5356-01  Readings in Tibetan                                                                               Dr. Cuevas
RLG5497-01  SEM: Religious Thought: Soul and the Self                               Dr. Dupuigrenet
RLG5497-02  SEM: Religious Thought: Communism                                                 Dr. Kelley
RLG5514-01  Christianity in Antiquity                                                                         Dr. Kelley
RLG5906-01  DIS: Tibetan Studies                                                                             Dr. Cuevas

RLG 5915       Sanskrit Texts                                                                                           Dr. Erndl
Sanskrit, known as the “language of the gods", is a classical language of India and scriptural language for Hinduism and Buddhism.  As a member of the Indo-European linguistic family, it is related to Greek, Latin, and English, as well as to languages of modern India such as Hindi, Marathi, and Bengali.   Building on skills learned previously, students will increase their speed and confidence in reading Sanskrit texts of increasing difficulty.  Writing, grammar, oral recitation, and pronunciation are also emphasized.  May be repeated for up to 12 hours of credit. For continuing students only; permission of instructor is required. 

RLG5937-01 Special Topics in REL: ARH Colloquium                                         Dr. Corrigan

RLG5937-02 Special Topics in REL: REP Colloquium                                               Dr. Twiss

RLG5940-01  Supv Teaching

RLG5971-01  Thesis                                                                                               Dr. Porterfield

RLG6176-01  SEM: Ethics/Politics                                                                                 Dr. Twiss
Inquiry into the nature of human rights and their justificatory grounds, with particular attention to natural rights traditions, philosophical underpinnings of modern human rights, and comparative ethics and human rights.  Graduate seminar with both required seminar presentations and a final research paper.

RLG6298-01  SEM: Scriptures/Inte: Hebrew Bible                                                       Dr. Goff
This class is a graduate seminar that will examine fundamental issues in the study of the Hebrew Bible.  Topics that will be addressed include the history of scholarship, leading critical approaches towards the study of the text, and major topics of debate in the field.  It is required for RWA graduate students.

RLG6498-01  SEM: Religion and American Law                                                 Dr. Porterfield

RLG6498-02  SEM: Religion, Emotion & America                                                 Dr. Corrigan
A consideration of scholarship at the heart of the recent “emotional turn” in research, and a set of case analyses of emotion in religion in America.

RLG6596-01  SEM: Movements Institutions: Islamic Law and Society                     Dr. Gaiser
This course examines the development of Islamic law and legal cultures as they impact and are shaped by the various contexts in which they operate.  Focusing especially on the intersections between Islam law and Islamic societies, the course presents students with some of the most recent scholarship on the origins and evolution of Islamic law, its manifestations in the medieval period, and its interpretations in the modern era.  The course uses primary sources in conjunction with source critical secondary literature to explore contemporary scholarly debates surrounding Islamic law, its interpreters, and its social contexts. 

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