Course Offerings

Winter 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.

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

REL 101 - Filler, Emily A.

An introduction to the history, literature and interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).

Secularity, Disenchantment, and Religion

REL 104 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

A study of the decline, transformation, and/or displacement of religious thought and practice in the west. Students explore depictions of religion and secularity in the modern west from the perspective of a variety of disciplines, including some or all of the following: sociology, psychology, philosophy, theology, literature, art. These explorations address the disenchantment that is supposed to have pervaded modern secularity, and they ask if secularity offers alternatives to such disenchantment.

Approaches to the Study of Religion

REL 210 - Brown, Alexandra R.

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

Religion and Violence

REL 211 - Filler, Emily A.

Is "religion" a significant source of violence in the world - and if so, why? In this discussion-intensive 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.

Heidegger and Being in the World

REL 218 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Same as PHIL 218.

Law and Religion

REL 222 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Drawing on examples from diverse periods and legal cultures, this seminar addresses "law" and "religion" as two realms of life that have much shared history and continue to intersect in the modern world. Several important topics in comparative law and jurisprudence are covered, including authority and legitimacy, the relation between custom and statute, legal pluralism, church-state relations, and competing models of constitutional secularism. A selective survey of legal systems and practices rooted in particular religious traditions is followed by an examination of how secular legal systems conceptualize religion and balance the protection of religious freedom with their standards of equity and neutrality.

Magic, Science, and Religion

REL 225 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

How do religious and scientific explanations and methods of inquiry differ? What are the roles of reason and authority in each case? This course draws together materials from antiquity to the present, from the West and from Asia, to illustrate a variety of types of systems of "knowledge." Theoretical readings are balanced with diverse case studies from diverse contexts: religious doctrines, mystical practices, alchemy, astrology, sorcery, "traditional medicines," and modern religious movements. Students research a system of their choice and analyze its claims and methods in comparison with those of other traditions covered in the course.

Women and Gender in Islam

REL 284 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

How have issues of gender and sexuality in Medieval and Modern Islamic societies been debated across the Middle East, South Asia, and the West? Students examine scholarly and public discussions of gender and Islam, and they build a vocabulary in which to talk about women. queer, and intersex history as they concern Muslim societies and their foundational sources in their regional and historical contexts. No prior knowledge of Islam is necessary.

Seminar in Biblical Studies: The Letters and Legacy of the Apostle Paul: Ancient to Modern

REL 350A - Brown, Alexandra R.

This course focuses on the letters and legacy of Paul of Tarsus, a key and enduring figure in the origins of Christianity. It also considers other documents and material culture pertinent to the Roman world and the Jewish Diaspora in which his writing took shape. Special attention will be given to trends in recent Pauline studies, including feminist, queer, and post-colonial readings of Paul as well as works of contemporary political theology that arise from his writings.

Fall 2022

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.

Introduction to Islam

REL 105 - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

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 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.

Nature and Place

REL 207 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Same as ENV 207. 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.

Religion and Existentialism

REL 214 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Same as PHIL 214. 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.

Truth, Belief, Dissent: Defining Insiders and Outsiders in Ancient, Medieval and Modern Religion

REL 250 - Brown, Alexandra R.

Who decides what is orthodox [acceptable thought] and what is heretical [unacceptable], how are these decisions made, and what impact do they have on societal definitions of "insider" and "outsider?" What perennial questions emerge in debates about orthodoxy and heresy -- e.g., the powers of states to enforce religious orthodoxy, the joining of political ideologies with religious interests -- and how are those questions addressed in modernity? This course explores the shifting and perpetually uncertain boundaries of truth and identity in religion. The focal religion is Christianity, but comparative religions are in view. Readings include selections from the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, "Gnostic gospels", and other so-called heretical texts, writings from the Church Fathers (with special attention to St. Augustine), medieval heresy trials, a contemporary American novel, and recent scholarly treatments of the boundaries that define "insiders" and "outsiders."

Special Topics in Religion: Women, Gender, Sexuality in the Jewish Tradition

REL 295B - Filler, Emily A.

How does the Jewish tradition understand gender, sexuality, and sexual difference - and how have Jews sought to influence, negotiate, or critique the tradition? How are women portrayed, discussed, and legislated in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud? How do modern Jews describe their own embodied experiences of being in (or outside) Judaism? How should the roles of women and men in Judaism be evaluated in a contemporary context? Through study of classical Jewish texts, contemporary theological/philosophical responses, autobiography, and ethnography, we'll consider how contemporary theories of gender, sexuality, and feminism interact with the study of Judaism in particular.

Advanced Seminar in Religion: Judaism, the Other and the State

REL 395A - Filler, Emily A.

This course is a seminar in the philosophy, political thought, and theology of the modern West - from the point of view of its Jewish minority. What opportunities, challenges, and temptations does modernity present to Jews? How do modern Jewish thinkers understand the competing obligations of Jewish and secular law? How should Jews relate to their non-Jewish neighbors? Is the study of history an aid to Judaism or  We'll also consider the creation of the Jewish denominations, the emergence of Jewish nationalism, and the rise of feminist thought.

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 2022

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.


REL 172 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.


REL 295A - Brown, Alexandra R. / Filler, Emily A.