Department of Religious Studies

R S 302 • History Of Religions Of Asia

42860 • Brereton, Joel
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM UTC 3.102
(also listed as ANS 301R, CTI 310)
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This course surveys the central beliefs and patterns of life of living religious traditions of Asia. It will focus particularly on the basic texts or narratives of these traditions, on their essential histories, and on the concepts of humanity, the world, and the divine that are distinctive of each. In addition, the course will explore not only what people believe religiously but also what they do religiously. Therefore, part of the course will consider the ways of life, forms of social action, and rituals practiced by different communities. Not all Asian traditions can be included in a one-semester survey. The traditions chosen have large numbers of adherents, possess particular historical significance, and represent different cultural areas. These include: Hinduism, Islam in South Asia, Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, Chinese Confucian and Daoist traditions, Shinto, and Buddhism in China and Japan. 
 
Required Texts:

Willard Oxtoby, Roy Amore, (and Amir Hussain), World Religions: Eastern Traditions (3rd or 4th edition)
R.K. Narayan, tr., The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic
Patrick Olivelle, tr., The Buddhacarita: Life of the Buddha (selections provided in class)
Burton Watson, tr., Zhuangzi: Basic Writings [or B. Watson, Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings]
Hiroaki Sato, tr., Basho's Narrow Road: Spring and Autumn Passages.
 
Grading: 
 
Two exams (15% each)  30%
Three essays (15% each) 45%
Final essay 15%
Attendance and Participation 10%

R S 304 • Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

42865 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 101
(also listed as CTI 304, HIS 304R, ISL 311, J S 311)
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Description

This course asks students to recognize the ethical implications of the ways we talk about religion – both our own religion (if any) and those of others. Choosing definitions for religion is an ethical choice with social, political, and civic implications; the goal of this course is to assist students in becoming self-conscious about that choice. In so doing, students will improve their ability to tolerate and reduce moral disagreements about religious beliefs and practices, something that is at the heart of practical ethics education. Specifically, the ethical issues in this course encourage students to: • reflect on different definitions of religion, to choose which ones appeal to them, and to explore their implications • analyze the ways in which religions form “communities of memory,” to consider in what ways these communities create boundaries that both enclose and exclude • understand the different ways that religions have historically intersected with with politics, with science, and with culture •consider how these intersections might influence the students’ perceptions of religion and the ways in which religion is presented in contemporary media and popular culture.

 

Texts

Required:

  • John Corrigan, Frederick Denny, Carlos Eire, Martin Jaffe, Jews, Christians, Muslims:  A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions  (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1998)
  • Documents and readings on the Canvas site. 

Recommended:

  • The HarperCollins Study Bible, ed. Wayne Meeks
  • The Qur’an. Trans. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem.  (Oxford, 2004).
  • Grading

The course requirements are the following:

  • Reading response journal: 20% 
  • Short paper on definition of religion: 5%
  • Quizes : 25%
  • Midterm essay: 25%
  • Final essay: 25%

R S 305 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

42870 • Jimenez Cordero, Alejandro Bu
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 214
(also listed as CTI 310, PHL 305)
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This course will focus on two main topics: the existence of God and religion. With respect to the first topic, the course will first discuss the question of what is involved in the claim that God exists. It will then proceed to discuss certain arguments for (such as the ontological, cosmological and design arguments) and against (such as the problem of evil) the claim that God exists. With respect to the second topic, the course will discuss the meaning of religious language, as well as certain questions concerning religious belief and practice, such as whether religion is needed for morality and the relationship between religious practice and the question of the existence of God.


R S 310 • Intro To The Study Of Religion

42875 • Landau, Brent
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CMA 2.306
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This course offers students an introduction to the academic study of religion through the strategic examination of three different religious traditions and several comparative religious concepts. The religious traditions will include: Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam. The comparative religious concepts to be examined will include some or all of the following: myth/ritual; gender and sexuality; holy men and women and their miracles; visions and other anomalous experiences; attitudes toward scientific inquiry; and death, the afterlife, and the end of the world. The course meets the standard for the Global Cultures flag because more than half of the course material deals with cultures of non-U.S. communities—forms of Judaism outside of the U.S., Muslims in the Middle East and Asia, and Buddhists in Asia.


R S 312C • Introduction To Buddhism

42880 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM UTC 1.132
(also listed as ANS 301M)
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This course examines the history of Buddhism by tracing the development of its various schools, doctrines, and religious practices in Asia and beyond. We will explore the historical background against which it arose in India, and study traditional views of the life of the Buddha, the early teachings, and the structure of the Buddhist community of monastics and laypeople. We will examine the growth of Buddhism in India, the development of Theravada Buddhism, and its spread into South East Asia. The emergence of Mahayana Buddhism in India and its spread into Central Asia and East Asia will be covered as well as the development of Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet. We will then examine the 19th century movement of Buddhist modernism in Sri Lanka and its relations to the Western world. This will be the basis for eventually exploring the various ways Buddhism came to Europe and America and examining the new forms and ideas it developed here.

Textbooks
C.S. Prebish, D. Keown. Introducing Buddhism
J.S. Strong. The Experience of Buddhism.

Grading
Attendance/participation: 20% 
Three quizzes: 30% (10% each)
Oral presentation: 20%
Final exam: 30%


R S 313 • Intro To Jewish Latin America

42885 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GDC 2.410
(also listed as ANT 310L, J S 311, LAS 315)
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Course Description

What can we learn about Latin American social worlds when we look at the place of Jews within it? Conversely, what we learn about Jewish social worlds when they unfold in Latin America? This course examines both of these questions. Specifically, we consider the role of Latin America as both a refuge from and a source of anti-Semitism, a hub of immigration, a site of Zionism, and of Jewish success and philanthropy. We also address themes of displacement, longing, belonging, marginalization, prejudice, immigration, community, cultural continuity, and memory, while considering Sephardi and Ashkenazi difference, and inter-generational conflict among Jewish Latin Americans. Overall, through reading, writing exercises, independent research and in-class films, the course is designed to provide students with an understanding of how Jews constructed individual lives and vibrant communities in predominantly Hispanic, Catholic countries of Latin America.

With these themes in mind, the course is divided into four units: 1) Historical literacy is a substantive introductory unit, which provides basic context from 1492 until the post-World War II period; 2) Jewish group identities in Latin American features readings on Jewish life and cultural forms in select national contexts (e.g. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic and others); 3) Memoir and personal narrative engages students in critical reading of creative non-fiction and ethnography that focuses on individual lives; 4) Contemporary realities explores current events, contemporary trends and popular culture in Jewish Latin America. Finally, over the course of the semester, drawing on course motifs, students will produce their own research papers addressing a specific research question in the Latin American national context of their choice.

Core Readings

  • The Other 1492: Jewish Settlement in the New World by Norman H. Finkelstein (iUniverse 2001)
  • The Jews of Latin America by Judith Laikin Elkin (Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library 2011)
  • Pomegranate Seeds: Latin American Jewish Tales by Nadia Grosser Nagarajan (University of New Mexico Press 2005)
  • Kosher Feijoada and Other Paradoxes of Jewish Life in São Pauloby Misha Klein (University Press of Florida, 2012)

Grading Scheme

  • 2 Tests (25% each)
  • Final Paper (30%)
  • Participation (10%)
  • Discussion Leadership (5%)
  • 1 Reading Response Memo (5%)

R S 313N • Jewish Civ: 1492 To Present

42890 • Bodian, Marion
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as EUS 306, HIS 306N, J S 304N)
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This is the second half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization. It begins with a brief discussion of Jewish history from earliest times, but focuses on the period from Spain’s Expulsion of the Jews in 1492 to the present. We will examine the major movements of Jews within an expanding diaspora, the impact of the Reformation, the changing attitudes to Jews, the breakdown of traditional authority in Jewish communities and the trend toward secularization. It will deal with the following transformative events: the rise of eastern European Jewry, the spread of kabbalah (a form of mysticism), the entry of Jews into a capitalist economy, Hassidism, Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), emancipation, modern antisemitism, Zionism, Jews in the Muslim world, the rise American Jewry, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The thematic core of the course will be the concepts of exile and return – their various meanings and interpretations over time, in a variety of historical contexts.

Texts:
Eli Barnavi, A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present. 

Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History.

Grading:
Two quizzes (20%), first mid-term (20%), second mid-term (20%), final exam (40%).


R S 315 • Luther's World

42895 • Hess, Peter
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 306, GSD 310, HIS 306N)
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Description:

In Fall 2017 we observed the quincentennial of the beginning of the Protestant Reform initiated by Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) 95 theses. Luther was one of the seminal figures of the second millennium whose impact is felt today. We will examine his writings and his activities, the conditions that lead to his rise, and the impact he had on the world after him. Just as importantly, we will study the historical, cultural, and social context in which he lived and whose product he was.

In a broader sense, this course focuses on the transformation of European culture (with special emphasis on Germany) from the late Middle Ages to the early modern age (1450-1600), roughly during Luther’s life time. Humanism and the Protestant Reformation will be the main focus of this course, but we will also discuss political, social, economic, scientific, and philosophical developments as well as architecture, art, music, and literature of the time period. At the end, students will have a good understanding of German and European culture at this particular crossroads.

We will break down the course into the following themes:

*          What is Humanism? Renaissance?

*          The printing press and the first information revolution

*          A new urban culture (literature, architecture, music)

*          Political power and social order

*          Heliocentrism and discoveries: America, Cape of Good Hope

*          Trade networks: the first age of Globalization

*          The Catholic church and monastic life before Luther

*          Luther’s life

*          Luther’s theology: his writings

*          The Protestant Reform: Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and others

*          Catholic responses

*          Social and political impact of the Reformation

*          How Luther changed the world

 

Readings:

*          Scott H. Hendrix. Martin Luther: A Very Short Introduction.

*          John Dillenberger (ed.). Martin Luther: Selections From His Writing.

*          R.C. Sproul and Stephen J. Nichols (eds.). The Legacy of Luther.

*          Jerry Brotton. The Renaissance: A Very Short Introduction.

*          Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History

*          other materials on Canvas

  

Grading:

Attendance, Participation                             10%

Quizzes                                                           10%

Oral presentation                                          10%

Two short writing assignments                   20%

Two examinations                                         50%


R S 315 • Medieval Material Culture

42900 • Kaufman, Cheryl
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM PAR 203
(also listed as AHC 310, HIS 306N)
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This course focuses on the history of medieval Europe primarily through the lens of material culture. In addition to manuscripts, we will explore the significance of several categories of historical artifacts including: art, textiles, reliquaries, architecture, pottery, crowns, and jewelry. We will discuss what we can discover about the production, circulation, reception, historic and geographic context, and the meaning attributed to the materials from which these objects were created. This class explores what these objects reveal about the religious, political, economic, cultural, and intellectual history of medieval Europe, beyond what we can learn from medieval texts and how these objects may have been experienced in a pre-modern world.
Required texts and sources:
Course Packet available at University Co-op

(Includes primary sources:  Abbot Suger,  “On the Abbey Church of St.-Denis and its Art Treasures”, Paulinus of Nola, "Poem 27", Theophilus, "An Essay on Diverse Arts" and selected readings by Gregory the Great, Augustine and Isidore of Seville. )

Grading:
Map quiz: 5%
Quizzes (cumulative): 20%
Mid-semester exam (cumulative): 20%
Presentation: 15%
Last exam (cumulative): 20%
Attendance: 10%
Class Participation and Presentation Feedback: 10%


R S 315 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

42910 • Leach, Nathan
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 208
(also listed as CTI 304)
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Description

What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and the New Testament. The later part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

 

Texts

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Edited by Michael D. Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, and Carol Newsom. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. (indicated by NOAB in the Plan of Study, below)

 

Course Pack with selections from Readings from Philo, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Maimonides, Augustine, Luther, Spinoza, Mendelsohn, Kierkegaard, and others.

 

Grading

Attendance (10%), 5 short reading reports (2% each or 10%), 2 short papers (15% each or 30%), rewrite of one paper (25%), final exam (25%).


R S 315 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

42920 • Wilson-Wright, Aren
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GAR 0.128
(also listed as CTI 304)
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Description

What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and the New Testament. The later part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

 

Texts

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Edited by Michael D. Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, and Carol Newsom. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. (indicated by NOAB in the Plan of Study, below)

 

Course Pack with selections from Readings from Philo, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Maimonides, Augustine, Luther, Spinoza, Mendelsohn, Kierkegaard, and others.

 

Grading

Attendance (10%), 5 short reading reports (2% each or 10%), 2 short papers (15% each or 30%), rewrite of one paper (25%), final exam (25%).


R S 315 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

42915 • Yoo, Philip
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM RLP 1.108
(also listed as CTI 304)
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Description

What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and the New Testament. The later part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

 

Texts

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Edited by Michael D. Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, and Carol Newsom. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. (indicated by NOAB in the Plan of Study, below)

 

Course Pack with selections from Readings from Philo, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Maimonides, Augustine, Luther, Spinoza, Mendelsohn, Kierkegaard, and others.

 

Grading

Attendance (10%), 5 short reading reports (2% each or 10%), 2 short papers (15% each or 30%), rewrite of one paper (25%), final exam (25%).


R S 315 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

42925 • King, Bradley
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 2.124
(also listed as CTI 304)
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Description

What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and the New Testament. The later part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

 

Texts

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Edited by Michael D. Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, and Carol Newsom. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. (indicated by NOAB in the Plan of Study, below)

 

Course Pack with selections from Readings from Philo, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Maimonides, Augustine, Luther, Spinoza, Mendelsohn, Kierkegaard, and others.

 

Grading

Attendance (10%), 5 short reading reports (2% each or 10%), 2 short papers (15% each or 30%), rewrite of one paper (25%), final exam (25%).


R S 316U • Hist Of Religion In The US

42935 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM RLP 0.126
(also listed as AMS 315, HIS 317L)
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This class explores how religious people and communities in the United States affirm their worldviews, understand the ethical life, engage in ritual acts, and organize their communal relations. It also looks at the way the American social environment has shaped these practitioners and their communities. In particular, this class explores an ongoing tension: the dominance achieved by majority religious groups and the religious diversity that marks the population and is protected by law. We will observe how this particularly American dynamic shapes religious communities. We will explore this tension through a historically organized survey of majority and minority religious groups. We begin with the continent’s original diversity in its hundreds of Native American traditions. We then move to dominant varieties of Protestant Christianity in relation to smaller groups, including colonial-era Jews, upstart Mormons, newly immigrated Catholics, African-American believers, and more recently arrived immigrants who practice Hinduism and Islam. While the class cannot cover the entire history of religion in United States history, it offers students greater historical understanding and tools for analyzing the ongoing dynamics of religious dominance and religious diversity in this country.

 

Grading

4 short exams (15% each for 60%)short paper (10%)mapping assignment (10%)final short essay (20%)

 

Texts

Daniel K. Richter, “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience, ” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), 528-559.Jonathan Sarna, “Colonial Beginnings” from American Judaism: A HistoryJames Homer Williams, “An Atlantic Perspective on the Jewish Struggle for Rights and Opportunities in Brazil, New Netherland, and New York,” from The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West.S. Scott Rohrer, “An American Exodus: Mormons and the Westward Trek,” from Wandering Souls: Protestant Migrations in America, 1630-1865. Paul Harvey, “Day of Jubilee: Black Churches from Emancipation to the Era of Jim Crow,” from Through the Storm, Through the Night: A History of African American ChristianitySylvester Johnson, “The Rise of Black Ethnics: The Ethnic Turn in African American Religions,” from Religion and American Culture, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer 2010), 125-163Vasudha Narayanan, “Hinduism in Pittsburgh: Creating the South Indian ‘Hindu’ Experience in the United States,” from The Life of HinduismSusan Slyomovics, “The Muslim World Day Parade and ‘Storefront’ Mosques of New York City,” from Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe


R S 316U • Hist Of Religion In The US

42939 • Lee, Michel
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BIO 301
(also listed as AMS 315, HIS 317L)
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R S 318 • The Rise Of Christianity

42940 • White, L
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 212
(also listed as C C 318, CTI 310, J S 311)
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Start with questions and then look for answers.

1.   What is the earliest writing in the New Testament? What was the latest?

2.   What does it mean to call Jesus of Nazareth an apocalyptic Jewish prophet?

3.   When did the followers of Jesus begin to call themselves “Christians”?

4.   What were they called before that time?  And why does it matter?

Whether or not you think you know the answers to all or some of these questions, you may still want to follow the basic path of historical discovery they hint at.    This course brings together two main lines of history:  first that of Jesus and the early Christian movement itself, and second, that of the “book” (more precisely the “books,” meaning the New Testament), that tell that story.   How did it happen?  Where did they come from?  When did they begin to call themselves “Christians,” and why did they do so?  And finally, what changed along the way?  All of these are part of the story, and it is, without doubt, a story that has had a major impact on all later western history. 

            This course is designed to acquaint students with the sources, issues, and methods in studying the development of the earliest Christian movement, primarily in  the New Testament period.  It will survey the development of the Christian movement, from its beginnings as a reforming sect within first century Judaism until it became a major cult in the Roman world, by looking at two intersecting sets of factors:  the world situation during the period of its origins and the forces which gave it its peculiar social and theological shape.  In particular, attention will be given to critical examination of the New Testament writings themselves, in order to "place" them in their proper historical context and to reconstruct some of the major phases and factors in the development of the movement.   In the light of this critical reconstruction, sociological and anthropological methods will be introduced into the historical discussion; topics will include: sociological formation and development of sectarian groups; gender, status, group dynamics, and boundary maintenance in diaspora communities; and the evolution of organizational structures in cultural contexts.   

            For the most part the primary sources for the course will be the New Testament writings themselves.  It will be necessary, therefore, for each student to have access to a good, modern version of the New Testament (and preferably the whole Bible, including the Apocrypha). For study purposes, comparison of different translations is encouraged.  The other course books (listed below) provide a guide to the early Christian writings and the early history of the movement.   

 

Books:

  • A BIBLE (at least the NEW TESTAMENT, preferably in a good modern translation) [Recommended:   Harper-Collins Study Bible, 2nd ed.;    New Revised Standard Version]
  • L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity  (Harper, 2004) pb. [Optional:  L. Michael White, De Jesús al christianismo  (EVD, 2007; Spanish language edition of above)]
  • Alan F. Segal, Rebecca’s Children:  Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World (Harvard UP, 1986) pb.
  • A Xerox packet of additional readings to accompany the syllabus                                           

 

Grading:  

Final course grade will be based on the average of three in-class Exams (worth 20% each) and a cumulative Final Exam (worth 40%).


R S 325G • The Qur'an

42945 • Azam, Hina
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 1
(also listed as ISL 340, WGS 340)
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Please check back for updates.


R S 341 • Devotional Lit Of India

42949 • Rajpurohit, Dalpat
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.122
(also listed as ANS 340)
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In this course we will discuss the songs of major saints and their role in shaping the religious communities of India. Bhakti (or Devotion)–which is passionate love towards god–is very much a part of the religious lives of Indians and their popular culture. Bhakti is often thought to be a movement against restrictive social and scriptural norms. Looking critically at the idea of this so called “Bhakti movement”–that is understood as a force binding the south to the north, together with other parts of India–we will read and compare devotional songs from different geographical and linguistic regions of India from the 9th to 18th century. These include: Kabīr, Tulsīdās and Sūrdās (from the northern side of India), Mīrā (Rajasthan), Narsiṁha Mehtā (Gujarat), Tukārām (Maharashtra), Nānak (Punjab), Rāmprasād (Bengal) and Āṇṭāl from Tamil Nadu. The list is not exhaustive, but these selections will give us a good introduction to how holy men and women expressed their religiosity through the medium of songs and poetry over the centuries. All these works will be studied in translations. 


R S 346 • African American Religions

42950 • Seales, Chad
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 306
(also listed as AFR 374D)
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Course Description:

This course is an introduction to the study of African American religion.  It surveys the history and variety of religion as practiced by Americans of African descent, while giving attention to the social construction of African religion, black religion, and the black church, within the cultural context of the United States.  The course also addresses attempts by African Americans to overcome religion, situating these efforts within secular traditions in the United States.  The course is organized roughly chronologically, moving from the earliest years of the European-African slave trade and transmission of African cultures to the Americas, to the role of religion during antebellum slavery in the United States, to religious movements during industrialization, and religious restructuring within service economies of the late twentieth century to the present. In addition to numerically dominant Protestant Christianity, the course surveys the presence of Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam within African American religious history.

 

Course Goal:

By the end of this course, students should be able to think, discuss, and write critically about African American religions from a religious studies perspective.  Students should be able to identify a range of African religious traditions within the history of the United States, be able to construct a broad historical narrative of African American religions, and situate contemporary examples of African American religious practice within this narrative. 

 

 

Required Texts:

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

 

Yaa Gyasi, Home Going: A Novel (New York: Vintage Books, 2017).

 

Sylvester A. Johnson, African American Religions, 1500-2000 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

 

Additional readings posted on Canvas.


R S 346 • Views Of Islam In The US

42955 • Hillmann, Michael
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.204
(also listed as AMS 327, ISL 372)
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Please check back for updates.


R S 346D • Native American Religion

42960 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM CMA 5.190
(also listed as AMS 327)
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Before European colonization, the North American continent featured myriad Indian nations practicing many different religious traditions and ceremonies. In this course, we will examine the religious traditions of several American Indian groups: the Pueblos of the American Southwest, the Wendats of the eastern Woodlands, and the Lakotas of the Plains. We will look at the myths and rituals that composed these nations’ religious identities. We will then examine the ways that contact with Europeans affected their religious beliefs and practices. In turn, we will study how Native American communities have transformed old practices and fashioned new ones since those initial contacts. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to see the diversity among American Indian groups and the way in which religious ideas and practices serve living, changing communities of people. 

 

Readings may include:

Marmon Silko, Ceremony

Martin, The Land Looks After Us: A History of Native American Religion

Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks

Seeman, The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead

 

Grading

Papers – 40%

Exams – 30%

Participation – 10%

Final project – 20%


R S 352 • Shamanism & The Primitive

42970 • Roberts, Jason
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM RLP 0.118
(also listed as ANS 340, ANT 324L, REE 345)
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All over the world, we find people who are called (and who call themselves) “shamans.” But what does the term really tell us about the people to whom it is applied? The word itself probably originates from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia, and may have already been in use for more than a millennium when it was introduced to the West after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan in 1552. Yet in anthropology and the study of religion – let alone in popular culture – the use of the word “shaman” extends well beyond the Tungusic Siberian context from which it was borrowed. It has assumed the form and function of a universal category even as it has come to refer to people whose beliefs, practices, and even appearances are wildly varied. So, what makes a shaman a shaman? And what, moreover, is “shamanism?” This upper division course uses anthropological as well as historical literature focusing on shamans and shamanism in Central Asia to examine such beliefs and practices as three-worlds symbolism, divination, spirit helpers, drumming, chanting, dancing, hallucinogens, trance, and soul retrieval. However, it also examines the ways in which various theories of shamanism constitute and appropriate the exotic in a variety of broadly construed religious settings – the ways in which westerners, from missionaries to social scientists, have viewed the beliefs and practices of the shaman as an “ism” analogous to a religion even when that is not necessarily the case. Students of this course will learn to identify the major theories of “shamanism” along with the inherent biases of those theories in order to better read accounts of shamans and “shamanism” (from historical to modern, anthropological to popular) against the grain and discern when collected data reveals as much about the observers as it does about the shamans they observe.


R S 353D • The Dead Sea Scrolls

42975 • Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM RLP 1.106
(also listed as AHC 330, CTI 375, HIS 364G, J S 364, MEL 321, MES 342)
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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.

 

 


R S 357 • Gothic Cathedral: Amiens

42995 • Holladay, Joan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM DFA 2.506
(also listed as EUS 347)
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Please see advisor for more information.


R S 357 • Heretics & Freedom Fighters

42990 • Roberts, Jason
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 228
(also listed as EUS 346, GSD 360, HIS 362G)
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This course reaches back to the first centuries of Protestantism in Central Europe, from about 1400 to about 1700. The Czech Lands, under the names of Bohemia and Moravia, and under the dominion of the Habsburg Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, were heavily implicated in the various breaks from and returns to Catholicism, as the reformation started by Luther gave way to the counter-reformation of the organized Catholic Church, resisting the fracturing of its One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. This hotbed of religious dissidence pitted newly emerging Protestant groups on several sides of each doctrinal and political issue that arose as the region sought its religious identity: Utraquists, Hussites, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Czech Brethren, and others.  

The course will explore the theologies, politics, and personal identities that emerged, and passed away in this era through the accounts in primary sources, including the writings of the reformers as well as through the lenses provided by current scholarship. In addition, the course examines the visual arts and music (especially hymns) that played such a huge role in this battle for land, power, hearts, and minds shaping the lives of believers and non-believers alike. The course concludes with an examination of the evolutions within Catholicism reflected in the Catholic catechism as a result of the Counter-Reformation.


R S 357 • North Renais Art 1350-1500

42985 • Smith, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM DFA 2.204
(also listed as EUS 347)
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Please see advisor for more information.


R S 357 • Rus Orthodox Religion/Cultr

42980 • Roberts, Jason
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM GAR 2.128
(also listed as REE 325)
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Description:

Founded in 988 in Kievan Rus’ with the semi-mythical conversion and baptism of Prince Volodimir, the Russian Orthodox Church (or the Moscow Patriarchate as it is now officially known) has grown to be the largest of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches, and accounts for over half of the world’s more than 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians. The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), along with its primate, is preceded only by the four ancient Patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) in order of precedence. Moreover, as Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’, the Primate of the ROC claims exclusive spiritual jurisdiction not only over Russia, but over all of the former Soviet Republics excluding only Georgia and Armenia. Throughout its thousand-year history, the Russian Orthodox Church has been a powerful cultural force shaping the art, architecture, literature, and even the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet as well as the moral, philosophical, and political realities of those who live within its sphere of influence.

This course examines the role and force of the Orthodox Church in Russian history from the Christianization of the pagan Slavs beginning in the 10th century, through the 1551 Stoglav Council under Ivan “the Terrible” (as a result of which, the ROC’s communion with the other Eastern Orthodox Churches was noticeably strained), through the Russian Revolution into the Soviet era (when a number of its priests were KGB!), and up to the present including Pussy Riot’s guerilla performance of “Punk Prayer” at Christ the Savior Cathedral and an icon-kissing Vladimir Putin. Throughout the course, we turn from the prescriptive tenets of the Orthodox faith (religion) to descriptive experiences of life within and under Russian Orthodoxy (religiosity), comparing the ROC’s moral ideals with its sometimes-immoral associations as well as its expectations of the faithful with a level of religion they are willing to accept. The tension revealed by these comparisons serves, in turn, as context for our discussion of religious groups that broke with the ROC such as the Old Believers (starovery), the Spirit Wrestlers (dukhobory), and the “Milk Drinkers” (molokany). Our investigation of Russian Orthodox religion and culture draws on everything from mystical theology and holy icons, Old Church Slavonic chants of monastery choirs and ascetic practices of prophetic hermits, to the celebration – both in and out of church – of the yearly cycle of religious holidays, the ROC’s complex relationship with the unofficial practices of Russian folk religion, and the literature and film in which all these things are reflected.

 

Required Texts:

  • Bacovcin, Helen. The Way of a Pilgrim ; And, the Pilgrim Continues His Way: A New Translation. Garden City, N.Y: Image Books, 2003.
  • Bremer, Thomas. Cross and Kremlin: A Brief History of the Orthodox Church in Russia. Grand Rapids, Michigan [u.a.: Eerdmans, 2013.
  • Coleman, Heather J. Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2014.
  • Pouncy, Carolyn J. The "domostroi": Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014.

 

Grading

  • 6 online unit quizzes – 40%
  • 4 short précis – 40%
  • 1 online final exam – 20%

R S 358 • Islam Early Mod World:rel/Cult

43005 • Moin, A
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 2.128
(also listed as HIS 364G, ISL 372, MES 343)
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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.

Texts:

  • 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

 

Grading:

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

R S 358 • Islamic Law

43004 • Azam, Hina
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CBA 4.330
(also listed as ISL 340)
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Please check back for updates.


R S 358 • Origins Of Monotheism

43000 • Wells, Bruce
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM MEZ 1.120
(also listed as J S 364, MES 343)
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The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, claims that Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship the same God. A professor at a Christian college in Illinois was essentially let go by the college in 2016 for making the same claim. The college judged the claim to be wrong. So, who’s right—the pope or the college? Although history cannot settle the theological dispute, it can shed important light on the question. This course looks at where the idea of a single God came from. Like many ideas, this notion has a long and complicated history, and the course explores where and how it all began. The primary focus will be on understanding the emergence of the Israelite god, Yahweh, belief in whom became the foundation for the world’s three major monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. How did Yahweh go from being revered as one god among many to being considered the one and only God? And is this the “God” worshipped by Jews, Christians, and Muslims today? The course will look at texts from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Transjordan, and the ancient city of Ugarit in Syria. The Ugaritic texts, in particular, provide important insight into many of the ideas that shaped the development of Yahweh-worship in ancient Israel. Students will discover how the idea of monotheism developed over time and explore the question of its value and legacy.


R S 360 • Afr Relig Cultur/Creativity

43009 • Adelakun, Abimbola
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLM 7.112
(also listed as AFR 372G)
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R S 360 • Jesus, Africa, And History

43010 • Chery, Tshepo
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 101
(also listed as AFR 372G)
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Exploration of the history of Christianity in Africa, from antiquity to the present, including the ways in which African interpretations and religious expressions of Christianity are presented in this history.


R S 365 • Hermits/Monks/Sts Early Christ

43018-43019 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CMA 5.190
(also listed as C C 348, MES 342)
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When a rich young man asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus famously replied: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mk 10:17-22). This course examines those early Christians who interpreted Jesus’ words literally and renounced friends, family, and material possessions and sought holiness in a life of self-denial. We will explore individual and communal forms of Christian monasticism, from Simeon the Stylite, who in an act of religious devotion lived for thirty-seven years atop a pillar, to Shenoute the Archimandrite, who oversaw a federation of monasteries intended to provide male and female monks with the opportunity to live as angels in heaven while still on earth. In this survey of Christian monasticism from the first through fifth centuries CE, we will not only marvel at the spectacular feats of these religious eccentrics, but also explore the social, economic, and religious factors that may have made a life of self-denial attractive to many early Christians. We will also consider the role of authority in these movements. Who had it? How did they get it? And in what ways did others contest it? All primary sources will be read in translation. 

 

Grading

  • 3 short essays: 45% (15% each)
  • Final paper: 40%
  • Attendance and participation: 15%

 

Texts

  • A. Veilleux, Pachomian Koinonia: The Life of Saint Pachomius
  • B. Layton, The Canons of Our Fathers: Monastic Rules of Shenoute
  • R. Krawiec, Shenoute and the Women of the White Monastery: Egyptian Monasticism in Late Antiquity

R S 368 • Church & State In Lat Amer

43025 • Butler, Matthew
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as HIS 346W, LAS 366)
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This course traces the history of the politics of religion, and of the religion of politics, in modern Latin America, with special emphasis placed on the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the region. Chronologically, the course covers begins with a brief survey of the colonial period and then gives special attention to the national period running from independence (circa 1820) up to the Cuban Revolution (circa 1960), after which Church and state entered significantly new and distinctive phases (e.g. Liberation Theology). Thematically, we will examine the various causes of Church-state tension in the aftermath of Latin American independence, and the Church’s multifaceted response sto the gradual rise of political liberalism, nationalism, and secularism. In the second half of the course, we will emphasize significant national cases (e.g. Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Guatemala), allowing the course to branch out in a more comparative sense as we proceed. As the focus on questions of devotion as well as power implies, we will not just be looking at the way in which the Church responded to changing political circumstances after the demise of the colonial regime, but at changes in religious practice and meaning, and how these were experienced by ordinary people.


R S 373 • Religions In Contact

43030 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 2.118
(also listed as ANS 340)
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What happens when religions come in contact with each other? This course discusses the ways in which religious actors respond to challenges posed by the encounter with people, beliefs, or practices which, for them, do not belong to their own religion. Such responses range from curiosity, dialog, or acceptance to apologetics, hostile polemic, or persecution. Examining case studies from several geographical regions and time periods, we will discuss various forms of rhetorical and practical responses to the “religious other.” Part of this discussion is an analysis of the respective motives, which are sometimes related not only to religious conviction but also to competition over economic resources, social status, and political power.

The course will introduce students to relevant theories and scholarly categories, such as religious othering, conversion, reinterpretation, appropriation, subordination, eclecticism, syncretism, intersection, tolerance and intolerance, dialogue, inclusivism, pluralism, and more. These will be critically discussed and tested on the case studies. The goal of the course is to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which religious actors grapple with religious plurality, draw boundaries – or ignore them –, and form religious identities.

Readings
Course packet

Grading
Attendance/participation: 25%
Reading journal: 20% (10 at 2% each)
Oral presentation and moderation of class discussion: 20%
Individual case analysis: 25% (essay 15%, presentation 10%)
Response to two case analyses: 10%


R S 373L • Science/Magic/Religion

43035 • Crosson, Jonathan
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM UTC 1.130
(also listed as AFR 372G, AMS 327, ANT 324C)
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Description: 

In this course, we will interrogate the concepts of magic, science, and religion as culturally and historically constructed categories.  We will critically examine how the construction of science and religion, as well as the opposition of empirical knowledge and belief, were central to both the Enlightenment and the formation of the social and natural sciences.  Drawing on recent critiques of these foundational distinctions, we will question common-sense understandings of these categories and their relations, exploring the following questions:

  • How did the experimental sciences emerge out practices of “natural magic” or evidence law?
  • How do our notions of religion and science reflect certain assumptions?  What are other ways of categorizing practices we might deem as religion or science?
  • How have the divisions between science, magic and religion, or between rationality and superstition, undergirded projects of modernity, colonization, and development?

 

Texts:

  • Danny Burton and David Grandy.  Magic, Mystery, and Science.
  • George Saliba.  Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance.
  • Helen Verran.  Science and an African Logic.
  • Karol Weaver.  Medical Revolutionaries:  The Enslaved Healers of Eighteenth Century Saint Domingue.
  • Harry West.  Ethnographic Sorcery.

 

Grading:

  • Eight Reading Quizzes (35%)
  • Topic, Research Question, and Thesis Statement (5%)
  • Revised Thesis Statement + Draft of Introduction + Outline of Paper (10 %)
  • Final Paper (30%)
  • Participation in Class Discussions (10%)
  • Oral Presentation (10%)

R S 375S • Religions Of No Religion

43040 • Crosson, Jonathan
Meets TTH 5:00PM-6:30PM BUR 228
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Recently, scholars of religion have turned their attention to religious practices that have fallen outside the bounds of religion proper.  On the one hand, scholars have examined the increasing popularity of "spiritual but not religious" movements in contemporary worlds. On the other hand, scholars have come to terms with the ways that various religious practices were designated as something other than religion in colonial and imperial contexts of power.  Whether superstition, magic, or witchcraft, these forms of "not-religion" were left outside of the juridical protections of "religious freedom" or were rendered outright illegal. This course examines these religious practices that are not religion, throwing critical light on the category of religion by looking at its contested borders.  This is a small, discussion-oriented capstone seminar.