Near Eastern Studies

Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies (ACABS) (Division 314)

200(ABS 200/GNE 201)/Religion 201/APTIS 200/HJCS 200. Introduction to World Religions: Near Eastern. (3). (HU).

See Religion 201. (LaVallee)

281(GNE 260). Ancient Egypt and its World. (3). (HU).

The course is an undergraduate survey of the culture of ancient Egypt, focusing on Egyptian religion (the gods and their cults, life after death, mummification, etc.), ways of thinking (practical wisdom and elevated philosophy), basic institutions (the kingship, the priesthood, etc.), literature and science. The student will be taught the elements of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, how it was deciphered and the derivation of our own alphabet from it. Throughout, special attention will be given to a comparison of Egyptian ideas, values and religious thought to our own with open-ended class discussion. There is a midterm (40% of grade) and final exam (60% of grade) and an optional 10-page paper at term's end. Three textbooks, all paperbacks, are compulsory. (Krahmalkov)

291. Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 101.
Since the beginning of its history, the cinema has been fascinated by the life of Jesus. As a result, dozens of movies have been shot. Starring Jesus is not an easy task, however. Filmmakers have to struggle with complex issues: Who was Jesus really? What did he look like? How was life in Palestine in the first century? What was the relationship of Jesus the Jew with the hopes and beliefs of his own people and with the other Jewish movements of its age? These are the same questions that scholars and theologians (both Christians and Jews) are asked for. The course begins with scholarly books about the historical Jesus written up to the turn of our century, from Reimarus (1767) to Schweitzer (1906). Then students will read scholarly research of the same period as each film they see and study: Intollerance (Griffith, 1916); Ben Hur (Niblo, 1925); King of Kings (Ray, 1961); The Gospel According To Matthew (Pasolini, 1964); Jesus Christ Superstar (Jewison, 1973); and The Last Temptation of Christ (Scorsese, 1987). Each movie will be discussed against its background (historical setting; theological concerns; relations with contemporaneous scholarly research; presence of anti-Semitic attitudes). Students will be finally introduced to the latest development of Jesus research - a search that has never failed to impassion scholars and captivate viewers. Cost:1 WL:1 (Boccaccini)

Section 102 Sexuality, The Body, and Christian Thought. Why can't women be priests? Why is sex education objected to on the grounds that it will corrupt our youth? Why is virginity in women esteemed, while sexual prowess in men? Attitudes towards sexuality and the body today are largely the consequence of 2000 years of Christian Thought which we will trace by sinking deep shafts into several pivotal moments: the emergence of martyrdom followed by monasticism, Augustine's doctrine of Original Sin, the voices of the Medieval women mystics, witch hunts in Medieval Europe, and Martin Luther's reaction to Augustine. Format: casual seminar. Each meeting will begin with a lecture providing the historical framework, followed by class discussion of the readings (so bring snacks). Booklist: E. Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent; B. Ward, Harlots of the Desert; Augustine, Confessions; R. Bell, Holy Anorexia and The Witches' Hammer. Evaluation: participation and several critical papers (there will be no midterm or final). The only prerequisite is interest. (De Conick)

Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic Studies (APTIS) (Division 325)

200(Arabic 200/GNE 201)/Religion 201/ACABS 200/HJCS 200. Introduction to World Religions: Near Eastern. (3). (HU).

See Religion 201. (LaVallee)

291. Topics in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Islamic Studies . (3). (Excl).
Section 101 Authority in Islam.
Who Shall Lead? This course aims to introduce students to the controversial issue of who should lead the Islamic community. As a reading course in Islamic history, this class will endeavor to relate religious, cultural, political, and historical influences on the institutions of authority in Islam, from the Prophet Muhammad to the modern era. Students will learn how the concepts of leadership and authority developed and differed from period and location. The course will be conducted in a seminar format, with students and the teacher engaging in discussion of the weekly readings. Grades will be based on participation (20%), one book report (20%), and brief weekly summary papers (60%). NO prior knowledge of Islamic history is required the instructor will provide the background information necessary, both in lectures and in the readings (one paperback text and course pack) provided, so that the students will be equipped to discuss the issues. Cost:2 (Hanne)

Section 102. This course intends to examine the earliest autobiographical productions of the Arab world (in particular, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon) between the years 1800 and 1930. The social, political, and cultural developments of the 19th and early 20th centuries, otherwise known as the "Arab Renaissance," are reflected in equally dynamic developments in Arabic literature. The class will read extended selections from chronicle-memoirs of al Jabarti and Mikhail Mishaqa, as well as the autobiographies of Jurji Zaydan, Gibran Khalil Gibran, and Taha Husayn. These readings will also be supplemented by short pieces taken from Shaykh Rifai al-Tahtawi, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, and Salamah Musa. These texts, written at the advent of the Modern era, allow us to gage subtle as well as prominent cultural, historical, and political changes not only through personal narrative accounts but important stylistic and generic developments within Arabic literature itself. All readings will be in English. (Sheehi)

Hebrew and Judaic Cultural Studies (HJCS) (Division 389)

200(Hebrew 200/GNE 201)/Religion 201/ACABS 200/APTIS 200. Introduction to World Religions: Near Eastern. (3). (HU).

See Religion 201. (LaVallee)

296/Judaic Studies 296/Religion 296. Perspectives on the Holocaust. (3). (HU).

A study of the Holocaust as a historical event and its impact on Jewish thought and culture. We will first focus on historical context: the European Jewish community on the eve of the destruction, and the events leading up to and culuminating in that destruction. We will then focus on inner Jewish (and Gentile) reactions to the Holocaust, and broader philosophical and ethical implications. We ask: What are the problems (moral, emotional, conceptual) in reading and writing about the Holocaust? What are its implications for those of us who come "after"? The course is also a meditation on visions of the Other, on ethnic-religious hatred, tolerance, and healing. Memoirs, poetry, fiction, psychological literature, as well as theology, music, film and architecture will be explored; and conversations with survivors. Take-home midterm; final exam or project; 6-10 page paper; journal option. Cost:3 WL:1 (Ginsburg)


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