Courses in Religion (Division 457)

201/GNE 201. Introduction to World Religions: Near Eastern. (4). (HU).

An introduction to the major religious traditions of the Near East, with emphasis on the development of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism. This course will first survey the political, social, economic and religious aspects of the Near East focusing on the historical background of the Bible. The second part of the course will deal with the origins and development of the four religious traditions including the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism, the ministry of Jesus and the development of the Church, and the rise of Islamic religion and civilization. Emphasis will be on the origins, major personalities, and sacred texts, as well as on the development of major theological issues in these traditions up to the modern period. This is an introductory course for students who have had no previous course in religion. It consists of three weekly lectures and a discussion group. There is a short quiz on the lectures and the readings approximately every three weeks and a comprehensive final exam, the questions of which will be announced during the first week of class. Section 002 is an Honors section open to any student prepared to do more work in return for a lot more personal attention. This course is offered every Fall Term. For further information please contact The Program on Studies in Religion, 445 West Engineering. (Freedman)

203. Introduction to the Christian Tradition. (4). (HU).

A survey of the institutions, doctrine, political involvement, and culture of the Christian Churches of the West from Apostolic times to the 20th century. A textbook and two lectures a week will provide students with the necessary historical continuity. Two sections a week will be devoted to discussion of selected documents (such as creeds and confessions, papal encyclicals, monastic rules, and religious tracts) and some "literary classics" of the tradition (by such authors as St. Augustine, St. Benedict, St. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is an introductory course with no prerequisites; and although previous religious education might obviously prove helpful, the staff will not assume that students have any background in the history or doctrine of the Christian Church. (Tentler)

312. Church and American Society. (3). (HU).

One of the most important features of American society is the impact which religion has had upon the society. The emergence of a powerful religiously based right makes the question of what happens when religion and society clash more important. This course is a survey of the ways in which religion and society are influenced by each other in America. The course is divided into three sections. Section one explores the religious underpinnings of American society. Section two explores the changing nature of American society as a result of urbanization, secularization, and changing ethics. Section three looks at how religious groups have tried to come to grips with the contemporary American society. It will cover a number of different responses, from the positive thinking of Norman Vincent Peale to the evangelical revivals of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham, to the social and political activism of Martin Luther King and Jerry Falwell. The role of newer personality cults will also be explored. The course will be conducted in a lecture format with large blocks for discussion. Films and research projects will round out the offering. Class meets once per week. (Miles)

320/Asian Studies 320/Buddhist Studies 320/Phil. 335. Introduction to Buddhism. Religion 202 or equivalent. (3). (HU).

See Buddhist Studies 320. (Foulk)

345. Hellenism, Judaism and Early Christianity. Religion 201 or equivalent. (3). (HU).

The focus of this course will be the Greco-Roman Near East as the context for the emergence of Judaism and Christianity. The influence of Hellenization on the political, social and cultural institutions of Palestine will be considered, but the primary concern will be to understand the diverse patterns of beliefs and practices that characterized the early forms of Judaism and Christianity. This will include an analysis of the dynamics of assimilation and resistance to the imperial authorities by subject peoples. Readings include primary sources in translation, such as the anthology by J.R. Bartlett, Jews in the Hellenistic World; selections from the Bible and Apocrypha; and historical studies such as A.J. Malherbe, Social Aspects of Early Christianity. Evaluation will be based on two essay exams and a term paper of approximately seven to ten pages. The course is not part of a departmental sequence, but some background in one of the related civilizations would be helpful. (Graf)

369/Psych. 370. Psychology and Religion. Introductory psychology or senior standing. (4). (SS).

See Psychology 370. (R. Mann)

380/Spanish 374. The Viewpoint of Liberation Theology. (3). (HU).

The Viewpoint of Liberation Theology, to be taught by Visiting Professor of Religious Thought, Gustavo Gutierrez, from the University of Lima, Peru. To be discussed are the origins of liberation theology which arise out of a commitment to the poor and their dilemma within their society and its values. This involves examining the aspiration of oppressed peoples for liberation from political, social, economic, and ecclesiastical structures by actively becoming involved in movements for change. Within this context, we will examine the role of Christ as liberator, who through his personal example, chose to live with the poor and in doing so hoped to build a kingdom of justice and liberation, and the sense of living out our salvation in the concrete historical condition of today. Theology of liberation is not a theology of political liberation, although political liberation is one aspect of salvation. This historical aspect of liberation theology has major implications not only for Latin America society and our own, but also for other cultures, such as the Third World nations. (Gutierrez)

387. Independent Study. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit. Only one course from Religion 387 and 487 may be elected in the same term.

This course is designed to accommodate students who may be unable to take listed offerings or have special reasons for undertaking directed readings. Course content and requirements are worked out individually between the student and the instructor. Credit may vary from one to three hours.

402. Seminar in Religion. Religion concentrators with junior or senior standing. (2). (HU).
The Theology of Bartholome de las Casas,
to be taught by Visiting Professor of Religious Thought, Gustavo Gutierrez, from the University of Lima, Peru. Professor Gutierrez will focus on the application of Liberation Theology from the historical perspective of Bartholome de las Casas, a 16th century Dominican priest whose theology and social awareness had far-reaching consequences in the social structure of South and also North America. (Gutierrez)

404/ABS 496/Anthro. 450. Comparative Religion: Logos and Liturgy. Upperclass standing and permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May be repeated with permission for a total of 6 credits.
Logos and Liturgy.
This course will be concerned with the conceptions of cosmic order represented in the rituals and scriptures of a range of societies and religions. Various members of the faculty will discuss societies, rituals, or religions upon which they have done research. Students will write final take-home essay examinations. (Rappaport)

425. Great Mystics of India of the 19th and 20th Centuries. (3). (HU).

India has long had a tradition of men and women who have developed their spiritual power to the ultimate. Our study will include the lives and teachings of Ramakrishna, Sharada Devi, Yoganada Parahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Muktananda, and Anandamayi Ma. What is the nature of the spiritual journey of these great mystics? What are their states of awareness, and what may be gained by those who follow them? What commonalities and differences are there among them? What do their lives imply about the universal spiritual potential of human beings? These are some of the questions we'll pursue through brief lectures, much discussion, and short oral and written reports. Lectures will introduce the background in Indian scripture and tradition for the sayings and practices of these saints. As we approach these great spirits we may catch glimpses of, or even learn to steady our gaze into, another construction of reality which parallels and interpenetrates our ordinary awareness. A series of three page papers will reflect on our encounters with each of these mystics, and a longer final paper will pull these experiences together into a more encompassing understanding of mysticism. No prerequisites. (J. Mann)

452/Anthro. 448. Anthropology of Religion: Ritual, Sanctity and Adaptation. Junior standing. (3). (SS).

This course approaches universal aspects of religion religious experience, the concept of the sacred, the sense of the divine, the notion of occult power, through an analysis of the most prevalent form of religious behavior, namely ritual. Having examined and discussed religious concepts and actions in their own right the course will briefly consider their places in sociocultural evolution, that is, in the adaptive structure of the species and in the specific adaptations of particular peoples. Although the course will be universalist in its orientation, illustrative materials will be drawn from a range of simple and complex societies. The course is ordinarily a three credit course. Reading is substantial. There are two take home examinations. Junior standing is required; enrollment is generally about 75% undergraduate, 25% graduate students. (Rappaport)

455/Soc. 455. Religion and Society. (3). (SS).

See Sociology 455. (Heirich)

481/GNE 481/Engl. 401. The English Bible: Its Literary Aspects and Influences, I. (3). (HU).

See English 401. (Williams)

487. Independent Study. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit. Only one course from Religion 387 and 487 may be elected in the same term.

This course is designed to accommodate students who may be unable to take listed offerings or have special reasons for undertaking directed readings. Course content and requirements are worked out individually between the student and the instructor. This course is also approved for graduate students. (Freedman)

497. Senior Honors Thesis. (1-6). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.

Each student will prepare a substantial paper under the direction of a staff member. (Open only to seniors admitted to the Honors Program.)

498/Rel. 498. Ethics and Society in Early Christianity. (3). (HU).

See Ancient and Biblical Studies 498. (Hoffmann)


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