Fall Course Guide

Courses in Religion (Division 457)

Fall Term, 1998 (September 8-December 21, 1998)

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.

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201/ACABS 200/AAPTIS 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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202/Buddhist Studies 220/Asian Studies 220. Introduction to the Study of Asian Religions. (4). (HU).
See Buddhist Studies 220.
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225/S&SEA 225. Hinduism. (3). (HU).
See South & Southeast Asia 225. (Deshpande)
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280/ACABS 221. Jesus and the Gospels. (4). (HU).
See ACABS 221.
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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 HJCS 296. (Ginsburg)
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303/S&SEA 303. Sikhism. (3). (HU).
See South & Southeast Asia 303. (Singh)
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308/Hist. 308. The Christian Tradition in the West from New Testament to Early Reformation. (4). (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. 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 à Kempis, Wyclif, Gerson, Thomas More, Erasmus, and Luther. Students will be graded on class participation; three short essays on the assigned reading; midterm 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 Religion 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:4 (Miles)
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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:4 (Beck)
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402. Topics in Religion. Junior or senior standing. (1-3). (Excl).
Section 001 Holy Woman, Holy Man: The Charismatic and Social Power. (3 credits).
This course will examine the figure of the "holy" person in a wide number of cultures "holy" in the sense that they are characterized by possessing and exerting a power which seems compelling, personal, and uncanny: they are charismatic. We will discuss these figures and their relations to other social sorts of power, referring to Native American cultures, European cultures, and Asian/Pacific cultures. The range of reference will include the contemporary as well as the historical. Why are these figures characteristically female in some cultures, male in others? How does their power relate to institutional channels of authority? What of the secular charismatic the charisma of some politicians, and of celebrities? We will note the special role of the media in the operation of charisma now of the way in which a billion people can feel themselves in the presence of the charismatic person or community simultaneously. The course will meet on Monday evenings for lectures by major figures from the University and elsewhere in the country who study these phenomena. There will be discussions sections, including one for Honors students, and one in the evening for people whose schedules make daytime classes difficult. Students will read from a course pack and two or three books, view films, and write two essays and a final examination. Cost:2 WL:4 (Williams)
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448/Psych. 418. Psychology and Spiritual Development. (3). (Excl).
This course explores the stages of spiritual development, beginning with awakening and initiation, through the deepening of direct experience and the formulation of a coherent spiritual path, including the notion of an ultimate attainment. It explores the function of spiritual groups and teachers in facilitating this development. Of particular interest are: (1) the spiritual seeker's experience of "little death," the mode of apparent discontinuity when the "old life" is supplanted by a new identity and mode of living; (2) times of crisis, adaptation, and "the dark night"; and (3) the experience of "physical death," as seen from the perspective of a lifetime of encountering both relative and absolute reality. By means of personal narratives and fictional accounts this course explores how diverse traditions create and value these moments of surrender and transformation. Lectures and readings by Hesse, Jung, Hillesum, Feild, Lessing, Soygal Rimpoche, Wilber, and others will form the basis of three short papers and one long final paper. There will be no final exam. Cost:2 WL:1 (Mann)
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478/HJCS 477/Judaic Studies 478. Modern Jewish Thought. (3). (Excl).
See HJCS 477. (Ginsburg)
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496/AAPTIS 495/WS 471/Hist. 546. Gender and Politics in Early Modern Islamdom. Students should preferably have had one course in Islamic Studies. (3). (Excl).
See AAPTIS 495. (Babayan)
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