Course Offerings

Winter 2024

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.

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.

The Qur'an

REL 108 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

This course approaches the Qur'an from a range of modern and pre-modern perspectives: as an oral recitation; as a material object; as a historical document; as a literary text; as a foundation for Islamic law, theology and mysticism; and as a source for ethics and social activism. Particular attention is devoted to issues of gender and politics raised by the Qur'an.


REL 131 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

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 -

A study of Christian thought and cultures in the period from the Reformation into the 21st 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.

Approaches to the Study of Religion

REL 210 - Filler, Emily A.

A study of approaches to understanding religious life and thought as found in selected writings in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, theology, and comparative religion.

Whose Law? Pluralism, Conflict, and Justice

REL 220 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Society is made up of schools, corporations, religions, guilds, associations, tribes, etc., each defined by a set of more-or-less formal rules that apply in various ways depending on the status of each member. Individuals are thus subject to overlapping obligations and claims, so authorities often come into conflict. This is legal pluralism. This seminar explores the various ways in which such interactions can play out in a range of social, religious, and political environments, and how they can affect people of different statuses differently. Examples range from the Roman empire, the Middle East and South Asia, past and present, to the modern United States and Europe. In each case, we examine the ways in which legal status is defined in relation to the state, religious community, ethnicity or race, and social class. Given different, overlapping, conflicting claims to authority, rights, and obligations, how is justice to be defined, and how can it be served?

Special Topics in Religion: Religion and Ecology

REL 295E -

The study of ecology raises many important questions: How do we understand our relations to the human and other-than-human environment? What traditions of thought and practice have shaped our natural and built environments? What resources do our traditions offer for responding to the environmental crisis we see in the world today? This course investigates religious, philosophical, and theoretical approaches to these and other questions. In particular, it considers responses from religious traditions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, while raising issues of colonialism, race, gender, and political economy.

Seminar in Biblical Studies: Apocalyptic Literature

REL 351A - Brown, Alexandra R.

Since at least the second century before the common era, human beings have responded to periods of chaos, crisis, or decay in culture by writing apocalyptic literature. In our own time, apocalyptic themes (e.g., end-time, cosmic battle, transformation of the earth, hope of restoration) again permeate our literature, art, politics, and science. Our goal in this course will be to gain understanding of the apocalyptic temper of our own and former times by critically exploring the origins, history, and manifestations of the apocalyptic imagination in literature, art, film and music.

Directed Individual Study: Senior Capstone

REL 403A - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

A course devoted to the writing of an independent research project.

Honors Thesis

REL 493 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2023

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 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.


REL 132 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

This course surveys Hindu religious traditions with a focus on the many ways in which Hindus visualize and talk about the divine and its manifestations in the world through mythic stories, use of images in worship, explanations of the nature of the soul and body in relation to the divine, and the belief in human embodiments of the divine in Hindu holy men and women. Topics include: the religious meanings of masculine and feminine in the divine and human contexts; the idea of local, family, and ‘chosen” divinities; and differing forms of Hindu devotion for men and women.

Jesus in Fact, Fiction, and Film

REL 153 - Brown, Alexandra R.

A study of representations of Jesus in history, fiction, and film and the ways in which they both reflect and generate diverse cultural identities from antiquity to the present. The course begins with the historical Jesus and controversies about his identity in antiquity and then focuses on parallel controversies in modern and postmodern fiction and film. Readings include early Christian literature (canonical and non-canonical), several modern novels and works of short fiction, and theoretical works on the relationship of literature to religion. In addition, we study several cinematic treatments of Jesus dating from the beginnings of filmmaking to the present.

Special Topics in Religion: Christian Visionary and Mystical Traditions

REL 295D - Brown, Alexandra R.

An inquiry into the history and development of mystical and visionary Christian expression from antiquity to the present. In addition to reading classic texts associated with Christian mysticism, students will be encouraged to explore contemplative practices associated with mystics and visionaries both intellectually and experientially. There will be a comparative religions component.

Senior Seminar

REL 399 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

This course begins with consideration of the nature of the study of religion. The remainder of the course is devoted to the writing of an independent research project. Students will continue to meet for discussion of work in progress and instruction in the craft of researching and writing a long, multi-source independent research project.

Spring 2023

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.

Muslims in the Movies

REL 172 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

Same as HIST 172. An examination of the history of visual representation of Islam and Muslims in classical and modern cinema. We approach movies produced by both Muslims and non-Muslims over the last century as historical sources: visual monuments that have captured the specific cultural and political context in which they were produced. We examine a selection of these movies through the lens of critical theory and the study of religion in order to pay attention to how questions surrounding identity and representation, race and gender, Orientalism and perceptions of difference have historically influenced and continue to influence cinematic images of Islam.