Course Offerings

Fall 2021

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to Religion

REL 100 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Through consideration of texts in a diversity of humanistic and social scientific disciplines, this course explores the nature, function, and meaning of religion in individual and collective experience. It also explores texts, practices, and symbols from a variety of world religions. Students who have taken REL 210 are ineligible for taking REL 100.

New Testament

REL 102 - Brown, Alexandra R.

An introduction to the history, literature and interpretation of the New Testament.

Introduction to Islam

REL 105 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

This course familiarizes students with the foundations of the Islamic tradition and the diverse historical and geographical manifestations of belief and practice built upon those foundations. Throughout the course, the role of Islam in shaping cultural, social, gender, and political identities is explored. Readings are drawn from the writings of both historical and contemporary Muslim thinkers.

Judaism: Tradition and Modernity

REL 106 - Filler, Emily A.

This course is an introduction to the rituals, concepts, and practices of Judaism from antiquity to the present day. Through a wide variety of sources, including rabbinic debate, fiction, drama, liturgy, memoirs, film, and history, we will consider how the Jewish tradition has developed, changed, and interacted with other traditions. Particular attention will be paid to the development of modern Jewish movements and communities.  

Buddhism

REL 131 - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

A survey of the historical development of the doctrines and practices of Buddhism. After a discussion of the Hindu origins of Buddhism, the course focuses on the development of the Theravada, Vajrayana and Mahayana traditions. A class trip to at least one Buddhist center is included.

Religion and Existentialism

REL 214 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

A consideration of the accounts of human existence (faith and doubt; death and being-in-the-world; anxiety, boredom, and hope; sin and evil; etc.) elaborated by philosophers, theologians, and literary figures in the 19th and 20th centuries. The central figures considered are Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. Attention is paid to their significance for future philosophers, theologians, artists, and literary figures, and consideration may also be paid to forerunners in earlier centuries.

Seminar in the Christian Tradition

REL 260 - Brown, Alexandra R.

An introduction to perduring issues in Christian theology and ethics through study of one or more of the classical Christian theologians.

Fall 2021, REL 260-01: Seminar in the Christian Tradition: Christian Visionary and Mystical Traditions (3). This course explores diverse Christian sources from antiquity to modernity with a focus on experiences and expressions of the "presence of God," the "Ground of Being," the "wholly other," the "beatific vision," etc. Course materials will include primary sources from mystics and visionaries and secondary readings exploring theories about mystical experience. Near the end of the course, we will consider contemporary and even secular expression in poetry and music that points to the mystical without using traditional theological language. A field trip to a monastery will help to contextualize some themes we encounter in the course. (HU) Brown.

Picturing Muhammad? Perceptions of the Prophet from the Hijra to Hip-Hop

REL 282 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

To Muslims, Muhammad is a prophetic figure whose model life is to be emulated; to non-Muslims, a controversial figure that has stirred the imagination for centuries. Through an analysis of the earliest non-Muslim sources on Muhammad, to insider Muslim narratives of the prophet's miraculous life, to polemical medieval Christian stories about him, to Deepak Chopra and Muhammad in hip-hop, this course explores the various historical, literary, and media representations of Muhammad. We will pay special attention to recent controversies on visual depictions of Muhammad, as well as contemporary ritual practices surrounding the embodiment of Islam's most important prophet.

Special Topics in Religion

REL 295A - Filler, Emily A.

A course offered from time to time in a selected problem or topic in religion. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2021, REL 295A-01: Special Topics in Religion: Religion and Toleration (3). This course considers the virtues and limitations of dialogue and toleration as ways of engaging religious diversity. What do these terms mean, and what might they require of both religious and non-religious people? When might tolerance be a problematic way of responding to religious claims or practices? How are tolerance and intolerance regulated - both within communities and by the state? This course will take up these questions, as well as a variety of theories of interfaith engagement and invitations to religious co-existence in political and cultural conflict. (HU) Filler.

Special Topics in Religion

REL 295B - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

A course offered from time to time in a selected problem or topic in religion. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2021, REL 295B-01: Special Topics in Religion: Yoga and Tantra (3). While both yoga and tantra have achieved fame and notoriety in the west, their history, philosophy, and cultural background are less well-known. This course considers these two religious technologies that cross the usual boundaries of Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and even Muslim traditions in South Asia and beyond. We will trace the roots of yoga and tantra, their interconnection, and their modern global manifestations. We will come to see that yoga is far more than what is now used for fitness in the west. (HU) Haskett.

 

Honors Thesis

REL 493 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2021

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Meditation and Self-Knowledge

REL 333 - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

For 2,500 years, Hindus and Buddhists have promoted meditation as a means to attain insight and liberation from suffering, a state sometimes understood in terms of divinity or Buddha-nature. Meditation has also been adopted by some in the West during the last century, often for psychological or physical benefits apart from any devotional context. What had traditionally been a practice of ordained monks was popularized in the West, a trend that then caught on in Asia as well. We look at the origins of meditative practices in Asian traditions using primary sources, social context, and personal experience of basic meditative techniques. The course concludes by noting that some contemporary neuroscientists are looking to meditation to better understand mind, brain, emotion, and cognition.

Winter 2021

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

New Testament

REL 102 - Brown, Alexandra R.

An introduction to the history, literature and interpretation of the New Testament.

Buddhism

REL 131 - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

A survey of the historical development of the doctrines and practices of Buddhism. After a discussion of the Hindu origins of Buddhism, the course focuses on the development of the Theravada, Vajrayana and Mahayana traditions. A class trip to at least one Buddhist center is included.

Christianity and Modern Culture

REL 152 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

A study of Christian thought and cultures in the period from the Reformation to the early 20th Century. Particular emphasis is placed on the challenges posed to the foundation of religious belief and practice in a modern context and the Christian responses to these challenges.

Special Topics in Religion

REL 195A - Filler, Emily A.

A course offered from time to time in a selected problem or topic in religion. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2021, REL 195A-01: Special Topics in Religion: Religion and Violence (3). Is "religion" a significant source of violence in the world - and if so, why? In this course, students consider the question from many perspectives: classical religious texts, modern theories of violence and the nation-state, historical and contemporary case studies, and more. Discussion-intensive; no prior coursework required. (HU) Filler.

Nature and Place

REL 207 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Through a consideration of work drawn from diverse disciplines including philosophy, religious studies, literature, art, and anthropology, this course explores a variety of ideas about and experiences of nature and place.

Special Topics in Religion

REL 295A - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

A course offered from time to time in a selected problem or topic in religion. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2021, REL 295A-01: Special Topics in Religion: Religion and Children's Literature (3). In this course, students consider how authors have used literature for young people in the service of religion, and the inverse. Students consider the beginnings of the genre with George MacDonnell, and his influence on CS Lewis; Laura Ingalls Wilder's place in the canon of American civic religion; the theology of Harry Potter; the mobilization of Asian religious imagery in fantasy; and the re-working of the Left Behind  series for young readers; among other topics. (HU) Haskett.

Special Topics in Religion

REL 295B - Filler, Emily A.

A course offered from time to time in a selected problem or topic in religion. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2021, REL 295B-01: Special Topics in Religion: Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Jewish Tradition (3). How does Jewish tradition understand gender, sexuality, and sexual difference - and how have Jews sought to influence, negotiate, or critique the tradition? This class employs classical and modern scholarly textual analysis, contemporary theological/philosophical responses, first-person accounts, and ethnography to consider these thorny questions. Students also consider how contemporary theories of gender, sexuality, and feminism interact with the study of Judaism in particular. No previous coursework in Jewish Studies or Religion is required. (HU) Filler.

 

Seminar in Biblical Studies

REL 350A - Brown, Alexandra R.

An exploration of a topic in Biblical studies, focusing on ancient texts and their interpreters from antiquity to the present. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2021, REL 350A-01: Seminar in Biblical Studies: The Apostle Paul: Life, Legacy, Contest (3). This course offers a multidisciplinary study of the life, thought, and contested legacy of the Apostle Paul, the so-called "founder of Christianity." Beginning with the historical Paul in 1st  century Judaism, students explore significant and often controversial interpretations of his writings and influence from antiquity to the present. Principal themes supported by guest lecturers include ethnicity and race (especially African American readings of Paul) and recent inquiries into cognitive science for understanding the human person in Pauline perspective. (HU) Brown.

Honors Thesis

REL 493 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Honors Thesis.