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Academic Bulletin Religion - Course Descriptions - 2011-12

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REL 103 Islam and The Religions of India

The first part of the course studies the history, beliefs, and practices of Islam in the Middle East from Mohammad to the present day. The second part of the course studies the history, beliefs, and practices of the ancient religions of India (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism), down to the coming of Islam in the 8th century. The third part of the course deals with the religious developments in India resulting from the interaction of Islam and Hinduism in the modern period. Emphasis is upon readings in primary texts of these religions. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Credits: 1

REL 104 The Religions of China and Japan

A study of the indigenous beliefs of East Asia (Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto) and the development of Buddhism in China and Japan. Readings will be from the works of Confucius, Laozi, and other Chinese and Japanese philosophers and religious figures. The last part of the course considers the ways traditional China and Japan have changed in the modern period. This course is offered in the spring semester.


Credits: 1

REL 141 Hebrew Bible

An introduction to the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible. The format of this course will be reading and discussion of primary texts from the Torah, Prophets, and Writings of the Hebrew Bible. The emphasis will be reading for literary and narrative themes and theological issues in the text, with some discussion of historical context. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Credits: 1

REL 150 History of Judaism

This course will address, at the introductory level, various topics in Jewish history, such as Second Temple Judaism, Rabbinics, or Medieval Jewish thought. Topics will vary from year to year. (REL 150 applies to requirement B for the major.)

 


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 151 Studies in Judaism

This course will address, at the introductory level, various aspects of Jewish thought and theology, such as contemporary Jewish thought, Jewish-Christian dialogue, and responses to the Holocaust. Topics will vary from year to year. (REL 151 applies to requirement C for the major.)


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 162 History and Literature of the New Testament

An introduction to the social-historical study of the writings that came to be the New Testament of the Christian churches. We will survey the social, political, and religious contexts of the Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds of the first century, the actions and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, and the missionary activity and theology of Paul of Tarsus. We will study most of the texts included in the New Testament as well as other ancient Jewish and early Christian writings to learn about the development of the various beliefs and practices of these first Christian communities.


Credits: 1

REL 171 History of Christianity to the Reformation

An historical survey of the origins of Christianity, the development and meaning of orthodox Christian beliefs, the social environment of the Christian Church, the great age of Medieval thought, and the background of the Reformation. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Credits: 1

REL 172 The Christian Church in the Modern Era

An introduction to the history of Christianity from the sixteenth-century Reformation to the present. The course focuses primarily on western church history, but also examines the global spread of Christianity.  Principal themes include theological movements, the challenges of modern thought, religious innovation and pluralism, missionary movements, and the ways social and cultural environments have shaped the development of Christianity. This course is offered in the spring semester.


Credits: 1

REL 173 Introductory Topics in Theology

An introductory course on Christian theology. Topics will vary from year to year. In some years the course may be offered for one-half credit.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 181 Religion in America

An introduction to the religious history of America. This course will explore the historical development of the primary religious traditions in America, especially Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism, as well as the formative influence of religion among women, African Americans, and American Indians. Principal themes include pluralism, the impact of religious disestablishment, revivalism and reform, theological movements, and religious innovation. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Credits: 1

REL 195 Religions and the Arts

An examination of the arts of a particular period and place with a view to discovering the religious insights and attitudes that they embody. Most recently, the course involved a close reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 196 Religion and Literature (HUM 196)

An examination of literary works dealing with religious themes. Authors covered will vary from year to year but usually include Flannery O'Connor, Graham Greene, C.S. Lewis, Anne Tyler, Marilynne Robinson, and others.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 210 Topics in Islam

A seminar on some topic in Islamic thought or history.  Recent topics have included Muhammad and the Qu’ran, and issues in contemporary Islam.


Prerequisite: Religion 103


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 220 Topics in South Asian Religions

A seminar on some topic in the religions of South Asia.


Prerequisite: Religion 103.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 230 Topics in East Asian Religions

A seminar on some topic in the religions of China and Japan. Recent topics have included Confucianism, Zen Buddhism, and Daoism.


Prerequisite: Religion 104.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 240 Topics in Hebrew Bible

A seminar on some topic related to the history and literature of ancient Israel.


Prerequisite: Religion 141.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 250 Topics in the History of Judaism

A seminar on Jewish history.  Recent topics have included Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Jewish War with Rome, and Second Temple Judaism. (REL 250 applies to requirement B for the major.


Prerequisite, if any, will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 251 Topics in the Study of Judaism

A seminar on Jewish thought and theology, such as contemporary Jewish thought, responses to the Holocaust, and the Jewish-Christian Dialog. (REL 251 applies to requirement C for the major.)


Prerequisite, if any, will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 260 Topics in New Testament and Early Christianity

A seminar on some topic in the history and literature of the early Christian church. Recent topics have included apocalyptic, the letters of St. Paul, and the Historical Jesus and Jesus in the cultural context (film, literature, the Greco-Roman world, etc.). This course is offered in the fall semester. (In some years Religion 360 may be offered instead.)


Prerequisite, if any, will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 270 Theological Ethics

The course examines the relationship between religion and ethics from many different perspectives, beginning with theological models of talking about God, the self, and ethical goods and ending with discussions of specific ethical problems. American realism, Latin American liberation theology, Roman Catholic natural law theory, and environmental theology will be covered. Issues discussed include medical ethics, theology and economics, the problem of war, the role of the church in social change, and the nature of sin. This course is offered in the spring semester.


Credits: 1

REL 272 Topics in the History of Christianity

A seminar on some figure or theme in the history of Christianity. Topics in recent years have included heretics and gnostics, Christian lives, and world Christianities.


Prerequisite: either Religion 171 or 172 depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 273 Topics in Theology

A seminar on some theme, figure, or movement in Christian theology. Topics in recent years have included Augustine and Aquinas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, African Christianity, and the philosophy of religion.


Prerequisite, if any, will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 274 Topics in Ethics

A seminar on some particular issue in contemporary ethics.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 280 Topics in American Religion

A seminar on some theme or figure in American religion. Topics in recent years have included sects and cults in America, Puritanism, and African-American religious history.


Prerequisite, if any, will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 287 Independent Study

Available to students with permission of the department chair. (REL 287 applies to requirement B for the major. REL 288 applies to requirement C for the major.) Independent study for requirement B at a more advanced level will be numbered 387.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 288 Independent Study

Available to students with the consent of the department chair. ( REL 288 applies to requirement C for the major. REL 287 applies to requirement B for the major.) Independent study for requirement C at a more advanced level will be numbered 388.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 295 Religion and the Arts

An examination of some topic in the arts with a view to religious implications.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 296 Religion and Literature (HUM 296)

An examination of religious themes and theological issues in literary works and films. Most recently the course focused on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 297 Anthropology of Religion

A seminar examining the various ways anthropology describes and interprets religious phenomena. The course investigates anthropological theories of religion, and examines how these theories apply to specific religions in diverse contexts. Particular attention is paid to the social and symbolic functions of beliefs and rituals and to the religious importance of myths, symbols, and cosmology.


Credits: 1

REL 298 Sociology of Religion

This course focuses on learning about sociology and social history as non-theological methods for studying problems in the study of religion. Recent topics have included the expansion of early Christianity; religious persecution and violence; conversion in colonial India; religious diversity in contemporary American society; and post-colonial approaches to the study of religion and society.


Credits: 1

REL 310 Seminar in Islam

An advanced seminar on some topic in Islamic thought or history.


Prerequisite: Religion 103.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 320 Seminar in South Asian Religions

An advanced seminar on some topic in the religions of South Asia.


Prerequisite: Religion 103.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 330 Seminar in East Asian Religions

An advanced seminar on some topic in the religions of China and Japan.


Prerequisite: Religion 104.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 340 Seminar in Hebrew Bible

An advanced seminar on some topic related to the history and literature of ancient Israel.


Prerequisite: Religion 141.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 350 Seminar in the History of Judaism

An advanced seminar on Jewish history, such as Second Temple Judaism, Rabbinics, or Medieval Jewish thought. (REL 350 applies to requirement B for the major.)


Prerequisites will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 351 Seminar on Jewish Thought

An advanced seminar on Jewish thought and theology, such as contemporary Jewish thought, responses to the Holocaust, and the Jewish-Christian dialogue. (REL 351 applies to requirement C for the major.)


Prerequisites will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 360 Seminar in New Testament and Early Christianity

An advanced seminar on the New Testament and early Christianity. Recent topics have included Apocalypse and apocalyptic, Gnostic writings, and the construction of orthodoxy and heresy. This course is offered in the fall semester. (In some years Religion 260 may be offered instead.)


Prerequisites will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 370 Contemporary Theology

Seminar discussions of selected works of some significant theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries: Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, David Tracy, Sallie McFague, and others. Special attention will be given to the role of scripture, Jesus, human experience (including race and gender issues), our understandings of God, theologies of liberation. and theology’s special contribution to contemporary issues. This course may be offered in either the fall or spring semester.


Prerequisite: Religion 172 or Philosophy 242  or permission of the instructor.


Credits: 1

REL 372 Seminar in the History of Christianity

An advanced seminar on one significant individual, movement, or period in the history of Christianity. 


Prerequisite: Religion 171 or 172, depending on the nature of the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 373 Seminar in Theology

An advanced seminar on an individual, theme, or movement in Christian theology.


Prerequisites will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 374 Seminar in Ethics

An advanced seminar on an individual writer or topic in contemporary ethics.


Prerequisite: Religion 270 (Theological Ethics) or permission of instructor.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 380 Seminar in American Religion

An advanced seminar on some theme or figure in American religion.


Prerequisites will vary depending on the topic.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 387 Independent Study

Available to students with the permission of the the department chair. (REL 387 applies to requirement B for the major. REL 388 applies to requirement C for the major.)  Insependent Study for requirement B at a lwss advanced level will be numbered 287.


Prerequisite:  Permission of the instructor and the departmetn chair


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 388 Independent Study

Available to students with the permission of the department chair. (REL 387 applies to requirement B for the major. REL 388 applies to requirement C for the major.)   Independent study for requirement C at a less advanced level will be numbered REL 288.


Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor and the department chair


Credits: 1 or 1/2

REL 490 Senior Seminar: The Nature and Study of Religion

An examination of the different ways of understanding and studying the phenomenon of religion. Required of all religion majors, normally in their senior year, and open to other students with the permission of the instructor. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Credits: 1