An introduction to the study of religion from three perspectives:
overviews of several religions with classroom discussion of primary
sources; cross-cultural features common to many religions; theories
of religion and approaches to its study and interpretation.
Introduction to Islam
An introduction to the religion of
Islam. We will consider doctrines, practices, and religious institutions
in a variety of geographic settings from the rise of Islam in the
seventh century to the present. The Qur'an, the sayings of Muhammad,
legal texts, and mystical works will be our foundation. We will also
read from the scholarship on Islam. We will also look at Islam in
the immediacy of the world today and, briefly, in the media. Among
the topics we cover are the Qur'an as scripture and as liturgy, the
Muhammadan idea of prophethood, and the spread of Islam.
B. von Schlegell
to the New Testament and Christian Origins
to the New Testament and early Christian literature. Special attention
will be given to the Jewish origins of the Jesus movement, the development
of traditions about Jesus in the earliest Christian communities,
and the social contexts and functions of various texts. Readings
will include non-canonical writings, in addition to the writings
of the New Testament canon.
to various forms of religious material practices in America. We
will examine how persons and communities interact with material
objects and media to explore and express religious identity. Topics
may include religion and sports, dance and ritual, food and dress,
and the visual arts.
The Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretations
will critically study select Hebrew Biblical passages
(in translation) as well as Jewish and Christian Biblical commentaries
in order to better understand how Hebrew Biblical texts have been
read, interpreted and explained by ancient and modern readers alike.
Students will also learn to read the texts critically and begin to
form their own understandings of them.
Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)? Based on classical readings by "orthodox" or "Five-Pillar" Sufi
Muslims, we explore both the sober and the intoxicated styles of seeking
God. This course includes studies of contemporary Sufi men and women
throughout the world.
of the representations of women and gender in early Christian texts
and their significance for contemporary culture. Topics include
interpretations of Genesis 1-3, images of women and sexuality in
early Christian and Gnostic literature, and the roles of
women in various Christian communities.
with Gender and Sexuality Studies
and Principles of Quakerism
development of Quakerism and its relationship to other religious
movements and to political and social life, especially in America.
The roots of the Society of Friends in 17th-century Britain, and
the expansion of Quaker influences among Third World populations,
particularly the Native American, Hispanic, east African, and Asian
Thought, Zen Culture, Zen History
What are we
talking about when we talk about Zen? This course is an introduction
to the intellectual and cultural history of the style of Buddhism
known as Zen in Japanese. We will examine the development and expression
of this religious movement in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
with East Asian Studies and History
Theoretical Perspectives in the Study of Religion
What is “religion”? Where did
it come from? What is its function? How to describe it? Most importantly,
what conversations do we necessarily enter into when we ask such
questions? This course will introduce students to the history of
the study of “religion” in the modern West. ...Readings
may include: Kant, Feuerbach, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche,
Freud, Tylor, Durkheim, Weber, James, Otto, Benjamin, Burke, Eliade,
Geertz, Foucault, Douglas, Long, Said, Smith, Haraway, Derrida,
Taussig, and Asad.
in American Civil Religion
the sacred bonds that tie Americans together? Does the
US possess its own religion? To what extent does this modern democratic
nation rely on the power of religion to legitimate its authority
and to perpetuate its aims? These questions will guide our exploration
of what sociologist Robert Bellah, drawing on the work of Jean Jacques
Rousseau, once called American ""civil religion."" Readings
may include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Durkheim, Cassirer, Bellah,
in Religions of Antiquity and Biblical Literature
reading of selected early Christian gospels and recent critical
approaches. Primary goal of course is to develop the skills of
scholarly research and textual analysis, and to work critically with
a variety of interpretative approaches. Readings will include selected
New Testament gospels as well as non-canonical gospels, such as the
Gospel of Thomas & the Gospel of Philip from Nag Hammadi, & the
Gospel of Thomas.