Courses for Religion

Unify Course Listings

Courses of Instruction

RELI V 2005x or y Buddhism: Indo-Tibetan

Historical introduction to Buddhist thought, scriptures, practices and institutions. Attention given to Theravada, Mahayana, and Tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V2005
RELI
2005
66900
001
TuTh 2:40p - 3:55p
310 FAYERWEATHER
T. Yarnall 25 / 120 [ More Info ]

RELI V 2008x or y Buddhism: East Asian

Introductory survey that studies East Asian Buddhism as an integral, living religious tradition. Emphasis is placed on the reading of original treatises and historiographies in translation. Historical events are discussed in terms of their relevance to contemporary problems confronted by Buddhism.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V2008
RELI
2008
21200
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
501 NORTHWEST CORNER
M. Como 155 / 160 [ More Info ]

RELI V 2105x Christianity

Survey of Christianity from its beginnings through the Reformation.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

RELI V 2110 Mormonism

Survey of history and theology of Mormonism: historical survey; analysis of extensive selections from the Book of Mormon; exploration of its contentious relationship with the federal government, cultural expressions. Asking the question: how Mormonism has transformed itself from essentially an outlaw religion in the nineteenth century to the embodiment of American ideals?
3 points

RELI V 2205x or y Hinduism

Considers efforts since 1900 to synthesize a coherent understanding of what "Hinduism" entails, sometimes under the heading of sanatana dharma. Using a rubric provided by the Bhagavad Gita, explores philosophical/theological (jnana), ritual (karma), and devotional (bhakti) aspects of Hindu life and thought. - J. Hawley
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

RELI V 2305x or y Islam

Islamic institutions, ideas, and spirituality; their origin and development in formative and classical periods (7th - 13th century A.D.); and their continued evolution in a variety of cultural settings. - P. Awn
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V2305
RELI
2305
23868
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
REN KRAFT CENTER
K. Ivanyi 53 / 60 [ More Info ]

RELI V 2405x or y Chinese Religious Traditions

Historical survey highlighting major developments in Chinese religion: includes selections from the "Warring States" classics, developments in popular Daoism, and an overview of the golden age of Chinese Buddhism. Touches on "Neo-Confucianism," popular literature of the late imperial period, and the impact of Western ideas. - C. Yu
3 points

RELI V 2415x or y Japanese Religious Tradition

Study of the development of the Japanese religious tradition in the pre-modern period. Attention given to the thought and practices of Shintoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism; the interaction among these religions in Japanese history; the first encounter with Christianity. - M. Como
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

RELI V 2505x or y Judaism

Historical overview of Jewish belief and practice as these have crystallized and changed over the centuries. Special attention to ritual and worship, the forms of religious literature, central concepts, religious leadership at institutions, Israel among the nations.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V2505
RELI
2505
06829
001
TuTh 10:10a - 11:25a
LL104 Diana Center
B. Berkowitz 17 [ More Info ]

RELI V 2510 Jews and Judaism in Antiquity

Focuses on the varieties of Judaism in antiquity, from Cyrus the Great to the Muslim Conquest of Syria, and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism. Special emphasis is placed on hellenization, sectarianism, and the changes precipitated by the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.
3 points

RELI V 2615 Religions of Harlem

Through a range of field exercises and classroom guests, this course will introduce students to the rich religious history of Harlem, while also challenging them to document and analyze the diversity of Harlem's contemporary religious scene. - J. Sorett, O. Hendricks
3 points

RELI V 2645 Religion in Black America: An Introduction

Undergraduate lecture course introducing students to the study of African American religion. While there are no required prerequisites for the course, prior coursework in religious studies or African American history is helpful. This course progresses as a historical survey and is intended to introduce students to important themes in African American (thus American) religious history (i.e. migration, urbanization, nationalism) through a rich engagement with the religious practices and traditions of black communities. Primary attention is given to Afro-Protestantism in North America; however, throughout the course attention is directed to religious diversity and varying religious traditions/practices in different diasporic locales. While this is a lecture course, students are expected to arrive each week having completed assigned readings and prepared to make informed contributions to class discussions (as class size allows). By the end of the semester students will be expected to possess a working knowledge of major themes/figures/traditions in African American religious life, as well as key questions that have shaped the study thereof.

- J. Sorett
3 points

RELI V 2800x or y Religion and the Modern World

Familiarizes students with the academic study of religion. It draws the attention of students to the field of religious studies as an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural nexus for the study of societies and cultures. - M. Taylor
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V2800
RELI
2800
12527
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
201 80 CLAREMONT
M. Taylor 10 / 25 [ More Info ]

RELI V 2801x or y Introduction to Western Religions

Phenomenology of religious experience and the historical forms of religious life. The presuppositions, data, and documents of the religions of the West.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

RELI V 2802x or y Introduction to Asian Religions

Major motifs in the religions of East and South Asia - Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Daoist, Shinto. Focuses on foundational "classics" and on a selection of texts, practices, and political engagements that shape contemporary religious experience in Asia.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

RELI V 2803 Religion 101

What is religion? This course will seek to engage a range of answers to this question, beginning with some of the reasons we might want to ask it. Acknowledging the urgency of the matter, the class is not a survey of all religious traditions. Rather, it will seek to address religion as a comparative problem between traditions (how does one religion compare with another? Who invented comparative religion?) as well as between scholarly and methodological approaches (does one live--or ask about--religion the way one asks about Law? Culture? Science? Politics?). We will seek to engage the problem of perspective in, for example, the construction of a conflict between religion and science, religion and modernity, as well as some of the distinctions now current in the media (news and movies) between religion and politics, religion and economics. Historical and textual material, as well as aesthetic practices and institutions will provide the general and studied background for the lectures. - G.Anidjar
3 points

RELI V 3000 Buddhist Ethics

Investigation of the main textual sources of the Buddhist ethical tradition, with atttention to their historical operation within Buddhist societies, as well as consideration of their continuing influence on contemporary developments, Western as well as Asian.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

RELI V 3017 Buddhism and Violence

Studies, from a number of methodological approaches and angles, the Buddhist views on violence and non-violence, and the historical record. - B. Faure
4 points

RELI V 3120x or y Introduction to the New Testament

Introduction, by critical methods, to the religious history of the Christian movement in the New Testament period. - E. Castelli
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V3120
RELI
3120
04321
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
307 MILBANK HALL
E. Castelli 15 [ More Info ]

RELI V 3140x or y Early Christianity

Examines the competing currents within early Christianity, with emphasis placed on the literary and social expressions of Christian belief and identity. Topics to be covered include persecution and martyrdom, debates over authority and religious experience, orthodoxy and heresy, and asceticism and monasticism, among others. - E. Castelli
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

RELI V 3205x or y Vedic Religions
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

RELI V 3212 Religions of the Oppressed: India

What are the stakes of religious identity for communities stigmatized, excluded, and oppressed? This class interrogates classic social theory by exploring the religious history of Dalits, or "untouchables," in colonial and postcolonial South Asia: from mass conversions to Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity to assertions of autonomous and autochthonous religious identities.
Prerequisites: Prior knowledge of South Asia preferred.
3 points

RELI V 3307 Muslims in Diaspora

Consideration of controversies surrounding mosque-building, headscarves, honor killing, and other publicized issues that expose tensions surrounding citizenship and belonging for Muslims in North America and Europe. Exploration of film and other media representations of Muslims in the West. There will be additional meeting times for film screenings. - K. Ewing
3 points

RELI V 3308 Islam in African History

This undergraduate lecture course surveys the spread of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa in the last millennium, with particular reference to West Africa. It analyzes how Islam shaped and was shaped by African societies. Topics include Islamization, the growth of literacy, and the transformation of Muslim societies during colonial rule, as well as Muslim globalizations.
3 points

RELI V 3311x Islam in the Post-Colonial World

This course focuses on the multiple manifestations of the Islamic vision in the modern world. It begins with a survey of core Muslim beliefs before shifting to an examination of the impact of colonization and secular modernity on contemporary formulations of Islam. - N. Haider
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC)..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V3311
RELI
3311
02425
001
TuTh 1:10p - 2:25p
325 MILBANK HALL
N. Haider 12 [ More Info ]

RELI V 3314y The Qu'ran: A Comparative Perspective

This course develops an understanding of the Qu'ran's form, style, and content through a close reading of comparable religious texts. Major topics include the Qu'ranic theory of prophecy, its treatment of the biblical tradition (both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament), and its perspective on the pre-Islamic pagan religion. - N. Haider
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

RELI V 3335x or y History of Sufism
3 points

RELI V 3410x or y Daoism

Thematic exploration of Daoist beliefs and practices gives attention to political and individualist philosophies, visionary journeys, spirits and deities, immorality practices, celestial bureaucracy, ritual, and theatre. Also discusses key methodological issues involved in the study of Daoism, such as the problematic distinction between "elite" and "folk" traditions, and the dynamics of sectarianism and syncretism.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

RELI V 3495y Life After Death

Study of Western ideas of afterlife, concentrating on ancient literature. Readings will include Gilgamesh and other ancient Near Eastern literature, the Bible, The Odyssey, Plato's Phaedo, Apuleius's The Golden Ass.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)..
3 points

RELI V 3501x or y Hebrew Bible

Introduction to the literature of ancient Israel against the background of the ancient Near East. - B. Berkowitz
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

RELI V 3508x or y Origins of Judaism

Introduction to the Hellenistic period of Jewish history, with emphasis on sectarian movements and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity as the two dominant religions of the West. - B. Berkowitz
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

RELI V 3512 The Bible and Its Interpreters

The Hebrew Bible (a.k.a. the Old Testament) has been one of the most repercussive texts of the Western canon. However, it comes to us mediated through its early reception history. ‎From the first readers of the texts that came to comprise the Hebrew Bible struggled with problems of interpretation and devised creative, often ingenious, and frequently culturally charged solutions. We will focus on a few key biblical passages in translation, subjecting each to close reading and then examining their treatment by various ancient interpreters. These interpreters will include the writers of later biblical texts; ancient translations; extra-canonical texts; Qumran texts; and Hellenistic Jewish, early Christian, and rabbinic literature. Each interpretive tradition will bring us deeper into the world of the Bible as it was received and came to be read.
3 points

RELI V 3514 Jewish Perspective on Non-Jews from Antiquity to the Present

Survey of Jewish perspectives on non-Jews from antiquity to the present, with an eye towards contextualzing these perspectives within Judaism and the situation of the Jewish people throughout the ages. Emphasis will be placed on critical skills for analyzing any group's approach towards others. - J. Labendz
3 points

RELI V 3515x or y Readings in Kabbalah

This course will serve to provide a wide but detailed exploration of Jewish Mysticism, raising questions about its connection to other Jewish traditions, the kind of symbolism and hermeneutics at stake, and the conception of God, man and world we are dealing with, amongst other major ideas.
3 points

RELI V 3520x or y Introduction to Classical Rabbinic Literature

History of rabbinic interpretation throughout the ages, distinguishing between Biblical exegesis and Talmudic exegesis with some reference to both Dead Sea Scrolls and early Christian Biblical expositions. - B. Berkowitz
3 points

RELI V 3525x or y Introduction to Rabbinic Literature

Examines the differences between Halakha (the legal portion of the Talmud) and Aggadah (the more legal portion) with respect to both content and form. Special emphasis on selections from the Talmud and Midrash that reflect the intrinsic nature of these two basic genres of rabbinic literature. - B. Berkowitz
3 points

RELI V 3530x or y Jewish Ethics

Major philosophical issues concerning the nature of Jewish ethics.
3 points

RELI V 3544x or y Jewish Family law

Jewish marriage and inheritance law. A survey of the legal obligations an individual owes, and the privileges he or she receives from being a member of a family.
3 points

RELI V 3555x or y Development of the Jewish Holidays

Sources and historical development of Jewish holidays. An attempt to trace historically how the holidays took on their present form and, when feasible, to emphasize the different modes of observances among different groups.
3 points

RELI V 3560x or y Jewish Liturgy

Survey of Jewish liturgy from the Bible to modern times, with occasional forays into Dead Sea prayer. Philosophy and theology for prayer considered, and when possible, the social message is emphasized.
3 points

RELI V 3561x or y Classics fo Judaism: Ethics of the Fathers

Devoted to a close reading of a classic work of Jewish literature, Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the fathers, in English. Pirkei Avot, a collection of teachings attributed to various sages of the classical period of Rabbinic JUdaism, stands as one of the most studied texts among observant Jews. It affords an excellent introduction to Judaism as a religion and culture.
3 points

RELI V 3570x or y Women and Judaism: Folklore or Religion?

Examines the relationship between Jewish women and religion that is both theirs and not theirs. Explores matters of low, ritual, practice, communal status, (re)reading of ancient texts, lived experiences.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

RELI V 3571x or y Judaism, Jewishness, & Modernity

Exploration of some of the major statements of Jewish thought and identity from the 19th century into the 21st.
3 points

RELI V 3585x or y The Sephardic Experience

Survey of the history and culture of the Sephardic Jews, originally from Spain and Portugal. Focus will be given to different Sephardic populations and the rich culture and variegated religious life therein.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

RELI V 3602x or y Religion in America I

Survey of American religion from the Civil War to the present, with the emphasis on the ways religion has shaped American history, culture, identity. - G. Kenny
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V3602
RELI
3602
06273
001
MW 1:10p - 2:25p
903 ALTSCHUL HALL
G. Kenny 32 [ More Info ]

RELI V 3603x or y Religion in America II

Survey of American religion from the Civil War to the present, with an emphasis on the ways religion has shaped American history, culture, and identity. - G. Kenny
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

RELI V 3604x or y Religion in the City

Uses the city to address and investigate a number of central concepts in the study of religion, including ritual, community, worldview, conflict, tradition, and discourse. We will explore together what we can learn about religions by focusing on place, location, and context. - Courtney Bender
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC)..
3 points

RELI V 3610x or y Religion and American Film

Exploration of relationships between religion and popular film with particular attention to the way religious narratives and symbols in film uphold and critique norms of race, class and gender in the formation of American societal institutions (political structures, economy, family and community organization).
3 points

RELI V 3630x or y Religion and Black Popular Cultures

As an exploration of the relationship between religion, race and popular culture, the course will begin with theoretical readings that expose students to a variety of definitions of and approaches to each of these categories. After tackling these theoretical concerns, the remainder of the course will entail a cross genre and thematic engagement with the terrain of black popular culture(s) in which students will be challenged to apply new theoretical resources in order to interpret a wide range of "religious" phenomena.

- J. Sorett
3 points

RELI V 3650x or y Religion and the Civil Rights Movement

Examination of the role of religion in the drive for civil rights during the 1950s and 1960s. The course will look at the role of activists, churches, clergy, sermons, and music in forging the consensus in favor of civil rights.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

RELI V 3651x or y Evangelicalism

Survey of evangelicalism, "America's folk religion," in all of its various forms, including the holiness movement, fundamentalism, pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, neoevangelicalism, the sanctified tradition, and various ethnic expressions. The course will examine the origins of evangelicalism, its theology, and the cultural and political involvement of American evangelicals.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC)..
3 points

RELI V 3652x or y Religion, Politics, and the Presidency

A survey of the intersections between religion and American political life, from the colonial era to the present. This course examines relevant political figures and movements, dissect the religious controversies in pivotal presidential campaigns, and study the influence of religion on various political issues.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
3 points

RELI V 3720x or y Religion and Its Critics: 18th- and 19th-Century Religious Thought

Critics and defenders of religious belief and practice. Readings include Hume, Mendelssohn, Kant, Schleiermacher, Feuerback, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietsche. - W. Proudfoot
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
3 points

RELI V 3727 Psychology of Religion

An exploration of the psychological dimensions of religious awareness and practice that will focus on dream analysis, therapy and personal structure and development.
3 points

RELI V 3730x or y Philosophy of Religion

Introduction to classical and contemporary issues, including those raised by the comparative study of religion. - W. Proudfoot
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V3730
RELI
3730
87547
001
MW 2:40p - 3:55p
414 PUPIN LABORATORIES
W. Proudfoot 20 [ More Info ]

RELI V 3760x or y Animal Rights: Ethical and Religious Foundations

Critical study of the treatment of animals in modern moral philosophy and in Jewish and Christian thought in order to show that no theory of ethics in either domain can be complete or fully coherent unless the question of animal rights is confronted and satisfactorily resolved.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

RELI V 3770x Terror

Analyzes the complex relationship among religion, violence and terror by examining representations of terror in religious texts, beliefs and practices as well as in recent philosophical, literary and filmic texts. The relationship of terror to trauma and horror will also be considered.

- M. Taylor
3 points

RELI V 3798x or y Gift and Religion

Examines theories of gift and exchange, the sacralization of economic relationships and the economic rationalization of sacred relationships. Part I focused on classic works on "the gift" in traditional socieities. Part II includes several perspectives on relationships of giving and taking in contemporary society.

- To be announced
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor; preference to Religion majors. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC)..
4 points

RELI V 3799x or y Theory and Method in the Study of Religion

Introduction to the comparative study of religion on dominant approaches to the conceptualization, interpretation, and explanation of religious phenomena and on key issues relating to the methodologies appropriate to such investigations.
4 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V3799
RELI
3799
64989
001
Tu 2:10p - 4:00p
201 80 CLAREMONT
M. Taylor 5 / 25 [ More Info ]

ENRE BC 3810x and y Literary Approaches to the Bible

Interpretive strategies for reading the Bible as a work with literary dimensions. Consideration of poetic and rhetorical structures, narrative techniques, and feminists exegesis will be included. Topics for investigation include the influence of the Bible on literature, combined with the more formal disciplines of biblical studies.
Prerequisites: Limited to 20 students.
4 points

RELI V 3810x or y Millennium: Apocalypse and Utopia

Study of apocalyptic thinking and practice in the western religious tradition, with a focus on American apocalyptic religious movements and their relation to contemporary cultural productions, as well as notions of history and politics.

- E. Castelli
3 points

RELI V 3840x or y Graeco-Roman Religion

Survey of the religions of Rome and the Hellenistic East from the late 4th century B.C.E. to the early 4th century C.E. Topics will include myth and ritual, religion and the state, and mystery religions, among others.

- E. Castelli
3 points

RELI V 3860x or y Sociology of Religion

Gives students tools and concepts with which to understand the social organization of religion in society. We will focus on classical emerging themes in the field, and analyze case studies that relate to them. - C. Bender
3 points

RELI V 3865x or y Comparative Mysticism

Introduction to the comparative study of mysticism. Students read primary texts against the backdrop of various theories on the nature of mysticism, addressing issues such as the relationship of mysticism to orthodox religion, madness, art, love, and morality.
3 points

RELI V 3870x or y Inquisitions, New Christians, and Empire

Explores the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions of the early modern era. We will investigate the inquisitions from a variety of perspectives: the history of Christianity and some of its "unauthorized" permutations; the relevant history and religious culture of Judeoconversos, Moriscos, Afroiberians, magical practitioners; normativization and control of sexuality; historical ethnography; and the anthropology and/or sociology of institutions.
3 points

RELI V 3901x-V3902y Guided Reading and Research

Independent study in the field of religion.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI V3901
RELI
3901
62266
001
TBA K. Ivanyi 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
22214
002
TBA P. Awn 2 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
60955
003
TBA E. Cameron 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
17224
004
TBA M. Como 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
11841
005
TBA G. Dorrien 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
29518
006
TBA G. Anidjar 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
15444
007
TBA R. Somerville 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
65245
008
TBA J. McGuckin 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
64301
009
TBA W. Proudfoot 1 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
10978
010
TBA M. Taylor 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
27305
011
TBA J. Sorett 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
01180
012
TBA J. Hawley 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
02673
013
TBA G. Kenny 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
03612
014
TBA R. McDermott 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
03779
015
TBA N. Haider 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
08764
016
TBA D. Moerman 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
05677
017
TBA B. Berkowitz 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
06011
018
TBA E. Castelli 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
60791
019
TBA P. Hackett 0 [ More Info ]
RELI
3901
82199
020
TBA T. Yarnall 0 [ More Info ]

RELI BC 3997x-BC3998y Senior Research Seminar

Working research seminar devoted to helping students produce a substantive piece of writing that will represent the culmination of their work at the College and in the major.

- C. Deutsch, E. Castelli, A. Segal
8 points One year course - 4 points per term.
Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI BC3997
RELI
3997
02745
001
W 4:10p - 6:00p
318 MILBANK HALL
G. Kenny 8 [ More Info ]

RELI W 4006x or y Japanese Religion through Manga and Film

This course will examine how the depiction of certain Japanese religious ideas through such medias has both breathed new life into and at the same time considerably modified tradition religious beliefs. A study of Japanese religion through manga and film,supplemented by readings in the history of Japanese culture. - B. Faure
4 points

RELI W 4010y Chan/Zen Buddhism

Historical introduction to Chan/Zen Buddhism: follows the historical development of Chan/Zen, with selections from the Chan classics, some of the high and low points of Japanese Zen, and examples of contemporary Zen writings.
Prerequisites: Suggested preparation: An introduction to Buddhism by Peter Harvey (1990).
4 points

RELI W 4011y The Lotus Sutra in East Asian Buddhism

Examines some central Mahayana Buddhist beliefs and practices through an in-depth study of the Lotus Sutra. Schools (Tiantai/Tendai, Nichiren) and cultic practices such as sutra-chanting, meditation, confessional rites, and Guanyin worship based on the scripture. East Asian art and literature inspired by it.

- D. Moerman
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)..
4 points

RELI W 4012x or y Buddhist Auto/Biography

The goal and nature of this course is to refine our abilities to critically examine the nature of writing about the self and its position in Buddhist contexts.
4 points

RELI W 4013x or y Buddhism and Neuroscience

With the Dalai Lama's marked interest in recent advances in neuroscience, the question of the compatibility between Buddhist psychology and neuroscience has been raised in a number of conferences and studies. This course will examine the state of the question, look at claims made on both sides, and discuss whether or not there is a convergence between Buddhist discourse about the mind and scientific discourse about the brain.

- B. Faure
4 points

RELI W 4020x or y Liberation and Embodiment in Indo-Tibetan Yoga Traditions

With extensive readings on the concepts and practice of the Indic category of "yoga practice", this seminar is an inquiry into the conceptualization of the "body" and its "liberation" in South and Himalayan Asia. Special attention will be given to development of contemplative yogic traditions within what come to be known as Tantric lineages of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. - J. Campbell
4 points

RELI W 4030x or y Tibetan Philosophy

Examination of topics in the religious philosophy of Tibet.
4 points

RELI W 4040x or y Women and Buddhism in China

Nuns and laywomen in Chinese Buddhism, Buddhist atttitudes toward women, ideals of female sanctity; gender and sexuality, women leaders in contemporary Chinese Buddhism. - C. Yu
4 points

RELI W 4110x or y Asceticism and the Rise of Christianity

Explores the paradox of renunciation and power in early Christianity. Traces the changing understanding of renunciation from the 1st to the 5th centuries C.E., and the changing languages by which Christians signaled their allegiance to otherworldly ideal despite increasing involvement in the secular realm. - E. Castelli
4 points

RELI W 4120x or y Issues of Gender in Ancient and Medieval Christianity

Exploration of the function of gender in the construction of religious identity across Christianity's formative centuries. Consideration of the different function for male and female religious identity of factors such as the body and its appetites, power and renunciation, and authority and inspiration.

- E. Castelli
4 points

RELI W 4160y Gnosis

Examines the religious and social worlds of ancient Mediterranean gnosis alongside its modern remnants and appropriations. Special attention is paid to scholarly reconstructions of ancient "gnosticism" and to theoretical problems associated with the categories of orthodoxy and heresy in Christian history. Strong emphasis on reading primary sources in translation.

- E. Castelli
Prerequisites: Previous work in biblical studies or early Christianity preferred; permission of instructor. Limited to 20 students.
4 points

RELI W 4170 History of Christianity: Popes and the Papacy in the Middle Ages

- R. Somerville
4 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI W4170
RELI
4170
29720
001
M 4:10p - 6:00p
201 80 CLAREMONT
R. Somerville 5 / 20 [ More Info ]

RELI W 4171y Canon Law and Medieval Christianity

Introduction to the importance of Church law for the study of medieval Christianity through readings in both primary and secondary sources (all in English or English translations). Topics will be selected, as the sources permit, to illustrate the evolution of Western canon law and its impact both as a structural and as an ideological force, in medieval Christianity and in medieval society in general. - R. Somerville
4 points

RELI W 4180x or y Conversion in Historical Perspective

Boundary crossers have always challenged the way societies imagined themselves. This course explores the political, religious, economic, and social dynamics of religious conversion. The course will focus on Western (Christian and Jewish) models in the medieval and early modern periods. It will include comparative material from other societies and periods. Autobiographies, along with legal, religious and historical documents will complement the readings.
4 points

RELI W 4203y Krishna

Study of a single deity in the Hindu pantheon as illuminated in art, music, dance, drama, theological treatises, patterns of ritual, and texts both classic and modern. Special attention to Krishna's consort Radha, to Krishna's reception in the West, and to his portrayal on Indian television.

- J. Hawley
4 points

RELI W 4215x or y Hinduism Here

Historical, theological, social and ritual dimensions of "lived Hinduism" in the greater New York area. Sites selected for in-depth study include worshipping communities, retreat centers, and national organizations with significant local influence. Significant fieldwork component

- J. Hawley
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)..
4 points

RELI W 4313x or y Revival and Revolution in the Muslim World

This class focuses on the history and development of revolutionary movement in the Muslim world. It begins by forwarding the life of the Prophet as a template (and inspiration) for subsequent movements and proceeds to examine a range of revolutions through the modern period. - N. Haider
4 points

RELI W 4321x or y Islam in the 20th Century

Investigates the debate around the "origins" of Arab nationalism and various strands of modernist/reformist thought in the contemporary Islamic world - with particular emphasis on developments in Egypt and Iran.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor (undergrad majors, concentrators, and grad students in religion given priority. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
4 points

RELI W 4322x or y Exploring the Sharia: Topics in Islamic Law

The platform of every modern Islamist political party calls for the implementation of the sharia. This term is invariably (and incorrectly) interpreted as an unchanging legal code dating back to 7th century Arabia. In reality, Islamic law is an organic and constantly evolving human project aimed at ascertaining God's will in a given historical and cultural context. This course offers a detailed and nuanced look at the Islamic legal methodology and its evolution over the last 1400 years. The first part of the semester is dedicated to classical Islamic jurisprudence, concentrating on the manner in which jurists used the Quran, the Sunna (the model of the Prophet), and rationality to articulate a coherent legal system. The second part of the course focuses on those areas of the law that engender passionate debate and controversy in the contemporary world. Specifically, we examine the discourse surrounding Islamic family (medical ethics, marriage, divorce, women's rights) and criminal (capital punishment, apostasy, suicide/martyrdom) law. The course concludes by discussing the legal implications of Muslims living as minorities in non-Islamic countries and the effects of modernity on the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence - N. Haider
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
4 points

RELI W 4330x or y Seminar on Classical Sufi Texts

Close study of pivotal texts from the classical periods of Islamic mysticism, including works by Hallaj, Attar, Rumi, Ibn Arabi, and others (all texts in English translation). - P. Awn
4 points

RELI W 4335y Shi'ism

This course offer a survy of Shī'ism with a particular focus on the "Twelvers" or "Imāmīs." It begins by examining the interplay between theology and the core historical narratives of Shī'i identity and culminates with an assessment of the jarring impact of modernity on religious institutions/beliefs. - N. Haider
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
4 points

RELI W 4350 Orality and Textuality in Islam

A study of the interface between the written and oral traditions in Islam, both in the idealized religion preserved in the texts, as well as its variegated cultural expressions. - TBD
Prerequisites: Instructor's permission
4 points

RELI W 4401y Mountains and Sacred Space in Japan

Explores the role that mountains have played in Japanese cosmology, particularly in religion and folklore. We will examine various aspects of mountain veneration such as mountains as portals to the world of the dead, as the embodiment of the universe, as ascetic training ground, as mandalized space, as restricted ground, and as space transformed by history.

- D. Moerman
4 points

RELI W 4402x or y Shinto in Japanese History

This course examines the development of Shinto in Japanese history and the historiography of Shinto.We will cover themes such as myth, syncretism, sacred sites, iconography, nativism, and religion and the state.

- M. Como
4 points

RELI W 4403x or y Bodies and Spirits in East Asia

Focuses on the role of early conceptions of both the body and demonology in the development of Chinese and Japanese religious traditions. By focusing on the development of ritual responses within these traditions to disease and spirits the course will highlight the degree to which contemporaneous understanding of the body informed religious discourse across East Asia. - M. Como
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor (undergrad majors, concentrators, and grad students in religion given priority). BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)..
4 points

RELI W 4405 Ghosts and Kami

Ghosts have long functioned in East Asian cultures as crucial nodal points in political and religious discourses concerning ancestors, kinship, ritual and land. By reading a small cluster of Western theoretical works on ghosts together with recent discussions of the role of ghosts in China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea, this seminar will explore the ways that ghosts continue to haunt and inhabit a variety of conceptual and religious landscapes across East Asia. - M. Como
4 points

RELI W 4412 Material Culture and the Supernatural in East Asia

Although Protestant notions of textuality and the disjunction of matter and spirit have exerted an enduring influence over much of the study of religion, this seminar will explore the role of material objects in both representing and creating the categories and paradigms through which religion has been understood and performed in pre-modern East Asia. By focusing upon the material context for religious performance-by asking, in other words, how religious traditions are constituted through and by material objects-the course will seek to shed light on a cluster of issues concerning the relationship between art, ritual performance, and transmission. - M. Como
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor required.
4 points

RELI W 4501x or y Psalms Through the Commentary of the Baal Shem Tov

Close reading of selected psalms along with the commentary attributed to the Ba'al Shem Tov, one of the founders of Hasidism. Offers an opportunity to gain experience in close reading of major Jewish texts in the original language (Hebrew). Provides students simultaneous exposure to a major biblical book, Psalms, which has a long and rich reception history, both textually and spiritually, as well as to a significant text of Hasidic thought. The two texts and their historical/discursive framings will be read complementarily or against one another. Additional readings will give supplementary perspectives, raising questions that include the production history of the Book of Psalms, comparative mythology, the liturgical and ritual use of psalms historically, and mystical readings of the Book of Psalms. Through the combination of perspectives we will learn about the variety of the interpretative approaches to a canonical texts such as the Book of Psalms: the dense web of meanings and uses given to one biblical text over the course of Jewish history; the methods and goals of Hasidic exegesis of the Bible.
4 points

RELI W 4502y Jewish Rites of Passage

Undertakes an interdisciplinary exploration of historical and contemporary Jewish rites of passage and life-cycles events, focusing on the interplay between ritual and gender, sexuality and power. Our examination of the tensions between tradition and modernity will encompass traditional passage, wedding ceremonies and more modern rituals.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.
4 points

RELI W 4503x or y Readings from the Sephardic Diaspora

Close readings of some canonical 15th- and 16th-century works (in translation) from the Sephardic diaspora that touch on theology, philosophy, ethics and mysticism.
4 points

RELI W 4504x or y Reading the Patriarchal and Matriarchal Stories in Genesis

Aims to clarify the intellectual assumptions governing how different individuals conceive of their conversion experiences. Through the study of classic and lesser known accounts we will examine some common metaphors and images (rebirth, awakening, being lost and found) and how they shape narratives of one's life.
4 points

RELI W 4505x or y The Beginnings of Jewish Mysticism

Study of biblical and Hellenistic foundations for Western mysticism - scriptual visions of God, apocalyptic literature, Graeco-Roman magic, and the merkabah mystical movement in Judaism.
4 points

RELI W 4506x or y Jewish Martyrdom

Utilizes major episodes of Jewish martyrdom as a basis for discussion of some of the key problems in the study of martyrdom. Among the questions it will raise: How have major scholars analyzed the origins of a martyrdom ideal in late antiquity? What questions do social scientists raise concerning the phenomenology of martyrdom, and how have these questions been addresses with respect to Jewish martyrdom? How do ancient and medieval traditions of martyrdom, despite their drastic tendency to draw strict boundaries, betray the influence of other (even hostile) traditions? And how do traditions of martyrdom undergo mutation in response to new historical and cultural realities?
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Sophomore Standing. Enrollment limited to 20.
4 points

RELI W 4507x or y Readings in Hasidism

An exploration of Hasidism, the pietist and mystical movement that arose in eastern Europe at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Hasidism stands as perhaps the most influential and significant movement within modern Judaism.
Prerequisites: At least one Jewish Studies course or other familiarity with Judaism.
4 points

RELI W 4508x or y Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah

The purpose of this seminar is to study the interactions between two major intellectual trends in Jewish History, the philosophical and the mystical ones. Focusing on the medieval period but not only, we will discuss their interactions, polemics and influences. We will compare Philosophy and Kabbalah in light of their understanding of divine representation and in light of their respective Theology and conception of God. - S. Valabregue-Perry
4 points

RELI W 4510x or y The Thought of Maimonides

Close examination of Maimonides' major ideas, with emphasis on the relationship between law and philosophy; biblical interpretation; the nature of God; creation and providence; human nature; ethics and law; and human perfection.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
3 points

RELI W 4511y Jewish Ethics

This course is divided into two parts-- theoretical and practical. In the first part we will examine major philosophical issues concerning the nature and basis of Jewish ethics; in the second, we will examine a selected group of practical ethical issues. All assignments will be in English, and any Hebrew phrases used in course discussion will be translated.

- D. Shatz
4 points

RELI W 4513x or y Homelands, Diasporas, Promised Lands

Explores religious, political and philosophical aspects of homelands, collective exile from homelands and the question of whether or not return is possible or desirable.
4 points

RELI W 4515x or y Jews in the Later Roman Empire

Explores the background and examines some of the manifestations of the first Jewish cultural explosion after 70 CE. Among the topics discussed: the Late Roman state and the Jews, the rise of the synagogue, the redaction of the Palestinian Talmud and midrashim, the piyyut and the Hekhalot.
4 points

RELI W 4520x or y Patriarchal and Rabbinic Authority in Antiquity

Tries to solve the problem of the origins and roles of the rabbis in antiquity through careful study of rabbinic, Christian, and Roman sources.
4 points

RELI W 4522 The Production of Jewish Difference from Antiquity to the Present

Explores how Jews from antiquity to modernity have struggled to create a distinct Jewish identity in the context of dominant non-Jewish cultures. Examines the interpretive history of Leviticus 18:3, "...and in their laws you shall not go," a verse that instructs Israel to be different from surrounding peoples. Considers Bible-reading as a means for creating identity and highlights the dynamics of negative identity definition (the self/Other binary). Emphasis is on primary texts from the Bible to modern Jewish legal responsa, but contemporary scholarship will accompany the sources. - B. Berkowitz
Prerequisites: Hebrew Language; background in Jewish Studies
4 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI W4522
RELI
4522
06509
001
Tu 2:10p - 4:00p
303 ALTSCHUL HALL
B. Berkowitz 7 [ More Info ]

RELI W 4535x or y Ancient Jewish Texts

This course surveys the variety of ancient Jewish literature between biblical and rabbinic literature. All texts will be taught in English translation. Emphasis will be placed on appreciating the genre of each work and on using the literature to understand aspects of Second Temple Period Judaism.
4 points

RELI W 4537 Talmudic Narrative

This course examines the rich world of Talmudic narrative and the way it mediates between conflicting perspectives on a range of topics: life and death; love and sexuality; beauty and superficiality; politics and legal theory; religion and society; community and non-conformity; decision-making and the nature of certainty. While we examine each text closely, we will consider different scholars' answers - and our own answers - to the questions, how are we to view Talmudic narrative generally, both as literature and as cultural artifact? - B. Berkowitz
4 points

RELI W 4560x or y Political Theology

This reading-intensive course will engage the notion of "political theology," a notion that emerges within the Western tradition (Varro, Augustine) and has become instrumental in thinking and institutionalizing the distinction between religion and politics over the course of the twentieth century. We will take our point of departure the key texts that have revived this notion (Schmitt, Kantorowicz), engage their interpretation of the Bible and of Augustine and medieval followers. We will then examine the role of Spinoza and Moses Mendelsohn, the extention of the notion of religion to "the East" (Said, Grosrichard, Asad), and conclude with some of the current debates over secularization in the colonizing and colonized world.
4 points

RELI W 4610x or y Science, Nature, and Religion in 20th Century America

Examination of the relationship between scientific and religious ideas, with particular reference to American culture in the twentieth century. Explores the impact of such events as the Scopes trial and the popular faith in science and technology of the religious attitudes and beliefs of 20th-century Americans.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
4 points

RELI W 4611x or y Alterities of Religion in American Culture

Interdisciplinary exploration of some of the many ways that religion in America has been mutually constituted in opposition to various entities identified as being the opposite of religion. Counterparts explored include the marketplace, fraudulence, atheistic rationalism, the secular, the state, totalitarianism and the study of religion.
4 points

RELI W 4612y Religion and Humanitarian Activism in the 1800s

This seminar examines the role of religion in the antislavery movement, foreign missions, and women's rights in the nineteenth century, and its relevance to contemporary humanitarian activism.

- G. Kenny
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
4 points

RELI W 4614y Defining Marriage: A History of Marriage in the United States

This seminar examines the changing purpose and meaning of marriage in the history of the United States from European colonization through contemporary debates over gay marriage. Topics include religious views of marriage, interracial marriage, and the political uses of the institution.

- G. Kenny
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
4 points

RELI W 4620x or y Religious Worlds of New York

Exploration of religious diversity in New York City with emphasis on the current historical moment. Meetings will focus on the impact of immigrant and migrant cultures on New York's religious landscape and on texts that explore the experiences and histories of religious communities in New York. Students conduct supervised research on and observation of a particular religious site or community.

- J. Hawley
4 points

RELI W 4625 Contemporary Mormonism: Mediating Religious Identity in the 21st Century City

The seminar will give students first-hand experience with Mormonism as it is lived in New York City today. The aim of the course is to understand how Mormons adapt or cast off their religion in the modern city. Experiential learning as opposed to text learning will be emphasized. There will be additional meeting times to visit Mormon sites.
4 points

RELI W 4630x or y African-American Religion

Explores a range of topics in African-American Religion, which may include the African background and the transmission of African cultures, religion under slavery, independent black churches, religion and race relations, and modern theological movements. In Spring 2008, the course will focus on the religious lives of African immigrants to the US, emphasizing field and documentary methods.
4 points

RELI W 4640x or y Religion in the American Public Sphere

Introduction to questions surrounding the relationships between religion and the public sphere in the United States. Approaches topics of civil religion, church-state relations, religious pluralism in the public sphere, and the role of congregations in local communities using sociological theories and methods.
4 points

RELI W 4645x or y American Protestant Thought

Looks at the relation between inquiry and imagination in selected religious writers and writers on religion in the American Protestant tradition. How does imagination serve inquiry? What are the objects of inquiry in these writings? Most of these authors reflect explicitly on imagination and inquiry, in addition to providing examples of both at work on religious topics.

- W. Proudfoot
4 points

RELI W 4650x or y Religion and Region in North America

Examination of some of the regional variations of religions in North America, with an emphasis on the interaction of religious communities with their surrounding cultures.
Prerequisites: RELI V3502 or V3503.
4 points

RELI W 4655 The African American Prophetic Political Tradition from David Walker to Barack Obama

Through a wide range of readings and classroom discussions, this course will introduce students to the crucial role that the unique African American appropriation of the Judeo-Christian prophetic biblical tradition has played -- and continues to play -- in the lives of black people in American. - O. Hendricks
4 points

RELI W 4660x or y Religious History of New York

Survey of religious life in New York City, from the English conquest of 1684 through changes to the immigration laws in 1965.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)..
4 points

RELI W 4670x or y Native American Religions

Examines the varieties of Native American religions and spirituality, from contact to the present, including a look at the effects of European religions on Native American traditions.
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Limited to 20 students.
4 points

RELI W 4710x or y Kant and Kierkegaard

Examines the relationship between morality and religious faith in the work of Immanuel Kant and Soren Kierkegaard. Examines Kant's claim that religious thought and practice arise out of the moral life, and Kierkegaard's distinction between morality and religious faith. - W. Proudfoot
Recitation Section Required.
4 points

RELI W 4712x or y Rethinking Place

This seminar will reexamine the question of place and locality in an era characterized by virtualization and delocalization brought by digital media, electronic technology, and globalization. Readings will include theoretical as well as literary and artistic texts. Special attention will be given to the question of sacred places through a consideration of forests, deserts, gardens, mountains, caves, seas, and cemeteries. - M. Taylor
4 points

RELI W 4721x or y Religion and Social Justice

Examines current debates on three topics (religious reasons in public discourse, human rights, and democracy). Also looks briefly at some uses of the Exodus story, focusing on Michael Walzer's study of its political uses, Edward Said's criticism of Walzer's use of it in connection with contemporary Israel, and its role in debates among African Americans in the nineteenth century.
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Sophomore standing.
4 points

RELI W 4722y Nothing, God, Freedom

Focuses on three interrelated issues that lie at the heart of various religious, literary and artistic traditions. The approach will introduce students to rigorous cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary analysis. The aim of the inquiry will be to explore the similarities and differences of contrasting considerations of the problems of nothing, God and freedom in different religious traditions as well as alternative modes of interpretation and expression.

- M. Taylor
Prerequisites: Students in Religion and Philosophy will be given preference.
4 points

RELI W 4730x or y Exodus and Politics: Religious Narrative as a Source of Revolution

Examination of the story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, as it has influenced modern forms of political and social revolution, with emphasis on political philosopher Michael Walzer. Examination of the variety of contexts this story has been used in: construction of early American identity, African-American religious experience, Latin American liberation ideology, Palestinian nationalism, and religious feminism.
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)..
4 points

RELI W 4732x or y Job and Ecclesiastes

Examines Pascal's claim that to the extent that the Bible can be said to have a philosophy, it is contained in the Books of Job and Ecclesiastes. Examines this claim critically by reading these Biblical books against the history of their philosophical interpretation. Among the authors to be considered will be Gregory the Great, Aquinas, Maimondies, Calvin, Hobbes, Kant, Kierkegaard, Jung, Barth, and Rene Girard.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Graduate students, undergraduate majors and minors given priority.
4 points

RELI W 4734y Religious Concepts: Conversion

Examines critically the concept of 'conversion' as it appears in Western thought through an examination of religious, philosophical, and political texts.
4 points

RELI W 4735x Ideology and Masses

Considers Marxian conceptions of religion--the sigh of the oppressed, heart of a heartless world, halo of the vale of tears, and beyond--and critically examine theories of knowledge, interpretation, agency, and culture that are associated with them. The inquiry will be directed at defining and prescribing the role of religion in social analysis, as well as examining the use of Marxian concepts such as illusion, alienation, and fetishism. Texts include writings by Marx, Engels, Lukacs, Gramsci, Adorno & Horkheimer, Marcuse, Bataille, Althusser, Foucault, and Zizek.
4 points

RELI W 4736y Time, Event, Rupture

Investigates theories of temporality, paying particular attention to the concept of an 'event' and the causes and implications of irruptions in consciousness. The inquiry will consider the relationships between time and truth, knowledge, subject/object, transcendence, origin, history, memory, and spirit, as well as approaches to temporal cohesion and rupture. Readings include texts by Husserl, Schelling, Benjamin, Heidegger, Lacan, Ricoer, Blanchot, Derrida, Stiegler, Foucault, and Badiou.
4 points

RELI W 4740x or y Genealogy, Pragmatism, and the Study of Religion

Topics include: knowledge, truth, concepts of self and God, religious experience and practice. Works by Nietzsche, C.S. Peirce, William James, Dewey, Rorty, Bernard Williams and others. - W. Proudfoot
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor
4 points

RELI W 4800x or y The Science-Religion Encounter in Contemporary Context

Focuses on differing models for understanding the relationship between religion and science, with emphasis on how the models fare in light of contemporary thinking about science, philosophy, and religion.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
4 points

RELI W 4801x or y World Religions: Idea and Enactment

Historical and contemporary investigation of the concept of "world religions"- its origin, production, and entailments. Topics include the Chicago World's Parliament of Religions (1893); the choice and numbering of the "great religions;" several major comparativists; and the life of "world religions" in museums, textbooks, encyclopedia, and departmental curricula today. - J. Hawley
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor; some prior work in religion. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)..
4 points

RELI W 4803x Religion versus the Academy

The proper aims of education in relation to those of religion have long been a matter of public debate, but in recent years the intensity and terms of that debate have changed significantly. The impact of the David Project's "Columbia Unbecoming" on Columbia's Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and then on the university as a whole is a case in point. Meanwhile, Stanley Fish argues that it is inappropriate for religion to be studied in departments of Religious Studies, given what Fish perceives to be their necessary relation to faith communities and the particular way in which they pursue truth claims. This course examines such tensions, focusing on case studies from two major democracies: India and the United States. - J. Hawley
Prerequisites: Sophomore Standing. At least one course in Religion. Limited to 18 students. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
4 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI W4803
RELI
4803
08247
001
W 4:10p - 6:00p
214 MILBANK HALL
J. Hawley 6 [ More Info ]

RELI W 4805x or y Secular and Spiritual America

Are Americans becoming more secular or more spiritual (not religious), or both? What are the connections between secularism and what is typically called non-organized religion or the spiritual in the United States? We will address these questions by looking at some of the historical trajectories that shape contemporary debates and designations (differences) between spiritual, secular and religious.
Prerequisites: Majors and concentrators receive first priority.
4 points

RELI W 4806x or y Religious Studies at Columbia

This course will draw on the rich expertise represented by the Religion faculty. Each week, a faculty member will present his or her field of specialization and methodological/theoretical approach to it. Students will read representative samples of this faculty's scholarship and will discuss them with the instructor during a follow-up session. - B. Faure
4 points

RELI W 4807 Divine Human Animal

This course focuses on "thinking with" animals (Levi-Strauss) through the lens of the religious imagination. The concentration will be primarily on "Western" religious cultures, especially Judaism and the question of Jewishness. - B. Berkowitz
4 points

RELI W 4810x or y Mysticism

Introduction to the comparative study of mysticism. Primary texts read against the backdrop of various theories of the nature of mysticism, addressing issues such as relationship of mysticism and tradition and the function of gender in descriptions of mystical experiences.

- C. Deutsch
4 points

RELI W 4811x or y Mystical and Dimensions of Islam and Judaism

Explores mystical dimensions that have evolved in Judaism and Islam in a comparative perspective with the aim of pointing to similarities and differences between the two major religions of Abraham. Topics include: mystical experience and the possibility of union in a theistic tradition and the sanctity of scriptural language and the limits of speech.
Prerequisites: Instructor's permission (undergrad majors, concentrators and grad students in religion given priority). BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)..
4 points

RELI W 4812 Angels and Demons

Angels and demons -- and similar intermediary beings -- comprise a prominent and ubiquitous feature of the cultures influenced by the three major monotheisms, as well as of the cultures influenced by other spiritual traditions. With a focus on Jewish, Christian and post-religious environments of "The West," this seminar explores the history of angels and demons, and their changing theological meanings, psychological and cultural roles.
4 points

RELI W 4814 Migration and Religious Change in Comparative and Historical Perspective

Looking at various forms of migration (voluntary and forced displacement) and religious communities (African, Muslim, Jewish), this seminar will explore two critical issues in relation to mobility and religion. The first is how does geographic mobility affect immigrant faith, and the second is how does migration influence the development of religion in the sending and receiving countries of migrants or diasporas? - O. Kane
4 points

RELI W 4824x or y Gender and Religion

Examination of the categories and intersections of gender and religion in understanding of religious origins, personal identities, religious experience, agency, body images and disciplines, sexuality, race relations, cultural appropriations, and power structures.
4 points

RELI W 4825x or y Religion, Gender and Violence

Investigates relations among religion, gender, and violence in the world today. Focuses on specific traditions with emphasis on historical change, variation, and differences in geopolitical location within each tradition, as well as among them at given historical moments. - J. Jakobsen
BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).. BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values..
4 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI W4825
RELI
4825
02238
001
Tu 2:10p - 4:00p
502 Diana Center
J. Jakobsen 19 [ More Info ]

RELI W 4826 Religion, Race and Slavery

This course explores the religious aspects of race and slavery from the Bible through the abolition of slavery in and around the Enlightenment, ending in the post-colonial era. The focus is mostly on the Atlantic World.

RELI W 4828 Religion and the Sexual Body

Theoretical approaches to gender and sexualities, focusing on the articulation, cultivation, and regulation how bodily practices are within various religious traditions, including modern secularism. - K. Ewing
4 points

RELI W 4905 Methods in the Study of Religion

n their research, scholars of religion employ a variety of methods to analyze "texts" ranging from historical documents to objects of visual culture. This course acquaints students with both the methods and the materials utilized in the field of religious studies. Through guided exercises, they acquire research skills for utilizing sources and become familiarized with dominant modes of scholarly discourse. The class is organized around a series of research "scavenger hunts" that are due at the start of each week's class and assigned during the discussion section (to be scheduled on the first day of class). There will be an additional class meeting on Thursdays. - N. Haider
4 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: RELI W4905
RELI
4905
03701
001
Tu 4:10p - 6:00p
501 Diana Center
N. Haider 4 [ More Info ]

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