Department of Religious Studies

R S F314K • Intro M East: Rel/Cul/Hist Fnd

Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM WAG 101
(also listed as HIS F306K, MES F301K)
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A survey of the history and civilization of the Middle East from the sixth to the fourteenth century.     

R S F346E • Religion And Film

84740 • Seales, Chad
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM GDC 2.502
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Religion and Film
This course uses the vehicle of the silver screen to reflect on how a shared religious imagination has shaped the way we understand ourselves as Americans. The course surveys representations of religious beliefs, practices, persons, and institutions in popular film. Focusing on the media consumption of box office movies in the United States, we will examine how religion is imagined in film and how that religious imagination
relates to social constructions of national, ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual identities.

R S F353D • The Dead Sea Scrolls

84745 • Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM PHR 2.114
(also listed as AHC F330, HIS F364G, MEL F321)
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For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.


  • VanderKam, James C. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010. Vermes, Geza.
  • The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London: Penguin, 1998.


  • Class attendance and participation 10%
  • Quality of midterm examination 20%
  • Quality of final examination 30%
  • Quality of two “5 page papers“ 40%.

R S F358 • Islam Early Mod World:rel/Cult

84750 • Moin, A
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM CMA 3.114
(also listed as HIS F364G, ISL F372, MES F342)
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In this course, we will examine the religious and cultural developments across the Islamic world between the thirteenth and the eighteenth centuries, stemming from the rise of the Mongols and the end of the caliphate. After the Mongols destroyed the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad in 1258 and established their rule in large swathes of Asia, the Islamic world entered an era of momentous change. In Iran, Central Asia, and parts of the Middle East, Muslim religious identities experienced a phase of “confessional ambiguity,” marked by the widespread veneration of saints and shrines. To explore the significance of these shifts, we will focus on three themes: the spread of a new type of devotional, shrine-centered, Sufi Islam across Muslim Asia and the Indian Ocean world; the development of a new style of Islamic sovereignty that replaced the caliphate; and the rise of new forms of knowledge, both scientific and artistic, sponsored by the early modern Muslim empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and the Mughals.


  • Stephen Dale, The Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals
  • Nile Green, Sufism: A Global History
  • Giancarlo Casale, The Ottoman Age of Exploration
  • Additional readings provided by instructor



  • Attendance: 10%
  • Quiz:10%
  • Essay: (6 pages) 20%
  • Mid-term: 30%
  • Final: 30%

R S S335 • Jesus In Hist And Tradition

84825 • Landau, Brent
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as C C S348)
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This course explores the possibilities and pitfalls inherent in reconstructing the life, teachings, self-understanding, and death of the first-century historical individual known as Jesus of Nazareth. We will begin by considering both the gospels as historical sources and the actual processes through which human beings remember past events. We will then trace the history of the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus from the eighteenth century until the present day. After examining the range of opinions that biblical scholars hold about the contours of Jesus’ life and teachings, we will conclude by evaluating two significantly different but highly influential reconstructions of the historical Jesus.

Grade Breakdown:

  • 10%: class participation and attendance
  • 30%: three short response papers
  • 25%: midterm examination
  • 35%: final examination



  • L. Michael White, Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite
  • Anthony Le Donne, Historical Jesus: What Can We Know and How Can We Know It?
  • Catherine Murphy, The Historical Jesus for Dummies
  • John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
  • N.T. Wright, Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters
  • Jewish Annotated New Testament
  • Coursepack of additional readings