Courses in Religion (Division 457)

The Studies in Religion Program provides students with a basic knowledge of the history, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology of religion; promotes an understanding of diverse religious traditions; and examines religious questions which arise in all cultures. The concern of the program is not to inculcate a particular doctrine or faith but rather to broaden and deepen a student's knowledge and understanding of religious traditions.

121(120)/ACABS 121. Introduction to the Tanakh/Old Testament. (4). (HU).

See Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies 121. (Schmidt)
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201/ACABS 200/APTIS 200/HJCS 200. Introduction to World Religions: Near Eastern. (4). (HU).
Religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
This course serves two main functions: the first of these is to provide an introductory sense of what is involved in the academic study of religion; the second, which will occupy almost the whole term, is to introduce the major religious traditions of the Near East, with emphasis on the development and major structures of Israelite Religion, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course will keep two foci in view: one will have to do with the historical development of these religious traditions, their sacred texts and major personalities; the second will involve a comparative view of these traditions by analyzing their sense of the sacred in space, time, and text, their views on holy people. This is an introductory course: it is not necessary for students to have any previous experience in the study of religion. The course consists of three weekly lectures and a discussion group. Writing for the course typically involves an essay, a midterm, and a final exam. Cost:3 WL:4 (Williams, Jackson, Schramm)
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225/S&SEA 225. Hinduism. (3). (HU).

See South and Southeast Asia 225. (Deshpande)
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230/Asian Studies 230/Buddhist Studies 230/Phil. 230. Introduction to Buddhism. (4). (HU).

See Buddhist Studies 230. (Lopez)
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250/Buddhist Studies 252/WS 250. Religion and Culture: Feminine and Masculine Images of Religious Experience. (3). (HU).

This course approaches the questions of how a gendered self is shaped by religious traditions. We focus on religious writings attributed to men and women of India and Europe in order to examine two traditional types of assumptions. First, we will try to determine the degree to which personal reports of the pursuit of "spirituality" and of religious experiences may or may not be shaped by culture and social contexts. Second, we will explore the ways in which gendered texts may or may not reflect feminine and masculine styles of being religious. Readings include "The Life" of Teresa of Avila, Ruysbroeck's "Spiritual Marriage," and the poems of Buddhist monks and nuns in addition to contemporary studies on issues of gender. Short term paper (6 pages), midterm and final exam, and 4 short (two page) writing exercises for each major reading. (Gómez)
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280/ACABS 221. Jesus and the Gospels. (4). (HU).

See Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies 221. (Fossum)
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286/Hist. 286. A History of Eastern Christianity from the 4th to the 18th Century. (3). (HU).

See History 286. (J. Fine)
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296/HJCS 296/Judaic Studies 296. Perspectives on the Holocaust. (4). (HU).

See Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies 296. (Ginsburg)
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308/Hist. 308. The Christian Tradition in the West from New Testament to Early Reformation. (3). (Excl).

A survey of the doctrine, institutions, and culture of Christianity in the West from Apostolic times to 1521, when Luther's religious reform was condemned at the Diet of Worms. Secondary reading and lectures will provide students with a basic knowledge of the political, institutional, and intellectual history necessary to interpret various examples of primary sources from the tradition. Examples of topics and periods emphasized are: the New Testament canon; expansion and recognition in antiquity; the age of the Latin Fathers; Benedictine monasticism; the papacy and the government of "Christendom"; the mendicant orders; scholasticism and medieval universities; Crusades and Christian monarchies; late medieval religious practice and dissent; Christian humanism; and the early years of the Reformation. A likely list of authors assigned might include: Augustine, Benedict, Bernard, Abelard, Francis, James of Voragine, Thomas Aquinas, Joinville, Thomas a Kempis, Wyclif, Gerson, Thomas More, Erasmus, and Luther. Students will be graded on class participation; three short essays on the assigned reading; an hour exam; and a final. There are no prerequisites; and although previous religious education might obviously prove helpful, I will try not to assume that students have any background in the history or doctrine of any Christian church. Since our orientation is academic, students need not believe "in" anything to take this course. The sequel is History 309 "The Christian Tradition from the Reformation to the Present." Cost:3 (Tentler)
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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. Cost:2 WL:1 (Miles)
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316/Buddhist Studies 316/Asian Studies 316. Religion in Modern Japan. (3). (Excl).

See Buddhist Studies 316. (Sharf)
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365/Phil. 365. Problems of Religion. (4). (HU).

See Philosophy 365. (Curley)
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375/MARC 375/German 375. Celtic and Nordic Mythology. (3). (Excl).

The course will deal with several cycles of myths and sagas, including Beowulf in the Anglo-Saxon literature; the Nibelungenlied in the Germanic literature; Tristan and Isolde, the Mabinogi tale of Pwyll, Branwen, Culwch & Olwen, Gwion Bach & Taliesin, and the Arthurian tales in the Welsh cycles; the Tain in the Irish cycle; and the sagas of the Prose Edda in the world of the Nordic gods. Readings will incorporate other literature based on these myths, such as Gray's ode "The Fatal Sisters," which deals with the Valkyries as messengers of Odin, Longfellow's poem "Tegner's Drapa" which bemoans Balder's death, and perhaps also the Erlkönig or Wagner's Ring Cycle in music and literature. Grades will be based on several exams and a paper. Cost:2 WL:1 (Beck)
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380. Selected Topics. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits. Only one course from Religion 380, 387, and 487 may be elected in the same term.
Section 001 Primitive Religion.
The Practice of religion is one of the most basic and universal of human activities. Like language, religious beliefs rank among the oldest of human inventions and they may be an integral part of our evolutionary heritage as a species. This course is an upper-level seminar that will examine so-called primitive religion, the rituals, beliefs, and world views of non-Western peoples, cultures, and societies. Our point of view will be both descriptive and critical. We will explore and critique through a series of lectures, films, selected readings, and focused discussions topics such as the construction of world-views and belief-systems, the performance of rites, rituals, and ceremonies, the role of shamans, witches, and religious practitioners, symbols, texts, and canon formation, the nature of pollution, profanity, and the process of sacralization, and the function of apocalypse and emergence of revitalization, charismatic, and millennial movements. Grades will be based on written and oral assignments: a 10-20 page critique of two ethnographics and a 20-30 minute class presentation. Cost:2 WL:4 (Pulis)
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387. Independent Study. For Religion Concentrators only. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit. Only one course from Religion 380, 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, the instructor and the Religion Program.
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442/ACABS 414. Myth and Literature of Ancient Mesopotamia. (3). (Excl).

See Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies 414. (Michalowski)
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448/Psych. 418. Psychology and Spiritual Development. (3). (Excl).

See Psychology 418. (Mann)
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468/Class. Civ 466. Greek Religion. (3). (HU).

See Classical Civilization 466. (Koenen)
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478/HJCS 477/Judaic Studies 478. Modern Jewish Thought. (3). (Excl).

See Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies 477. (Ginsburg)
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487. Independent Study. For Religion Concentrators only. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit. Only one course from Religion 380, 387 and 487 may be elected in the same term.

This course is designed to accommodate students who may be able to take listed offerings or have special reasons for undertaking directed readings. Course content and requirements are worked out individually between the student, the instructor and the Program on Studies in Religion. This course is for Religion concentrators only and is approved for graduate students.
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497. Senior Honors Thesis. Open only to seniors admitted to the Honors Program. (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.
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