Spring 2009 Course Descriptions
PLEASE NOTE: This document is subject to amendment. It is intended for descriptive and informational use only. DO NOT USE IT TO REGISTER FOR CLASSES. To register, please consult the University Time Schedules.
The Following "Special Courses" are for M. Div. students only:
629-60000-01/02 Special Course — Chicago Theological Seminary
629-63000-01/02 Special Course — Meadville Lombard Theol School
629-65000-01/02 Special Course — Catholic Theological Union
629-66000-01/02 Special Course — Lutheran Theological School
629-68000-01/02 Special Course — McCormick Theol. Seminary
* An asterisk indicates that the course so designated may count toward the required “designated introductory courses” for M.A. students.
Divinity School: German Reading Exam
PQ: Open only to Divinity School students.
Reading Course: Special Topic
PQ: Petition with bibliography signed by instructor; enter section from faculty list.
PQ: Open only to Ph.D. students in quarter of qualifying exams. Department Consent. Registration will be handled by the Dean of Students office. Petition signed by Advisor.
PQ: Petition signed by instructor; enter section from faculty list.
Thesis Work: Divinity
PQ: Petition signed by instructor; enter section from faculty list.
Ancient Near Eastern Mythology and Magic
Th 1:30-4:20 S208
An introduction to the religion and mythology as well as the magical literature and rituals of the ancient Near East. The course is organized around the close reading of ancient Near Eastern mythological and magical texts coming from the Near East, especially Mesopotamia.
The Gospel According to Mark
T/Th 1:30-2:50 S201
An investigation of the composition, genre, plot structure, theology, purpose and impact of the earliest gospel. Particular emphasis will be placed on the relationship between Mark and Paul, the place of the Gospel according to Mark in the formation of early Christian literary culture, and the hermeneutical question of Mark and media, ancient and modern. This will include engagement with the mysterious codex, “Archaic Mark,” in the Goodspeed Bible Collection in Regenstein Special Collections.
IDENT. NTEC 42000
The Book of Genesis
W 1:30-4:20 S200
An in-depth critical reading of the Hebrew text of Genesis, with particular attention to the meaning, literary sources and composition, and cultural background of the accounts of creation and origins of human civilization in chapters one to eleven, and of the patriarchal narratives, especially those about Abraham.
The Authority of Scripture in Classical Rabbinic Literature
M 9:00-11:50 S403
The Corpus Hermeticum
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S208
According to Clement of Alexandria Hermes Trismegistus authored 42 “fundamental books” on Egyptian religion. The writings under his name which are extant, dating between the first and third centuries A.D., incorporate many styles and genres, including cosmogony, prophecy, gospel, popular philosophy, anthropology, magic, hymn, and apocalypse. The first treatise in the collection well represents the whole. It tells how the god Poimandres manifests to his follower a vision, revealing the origin of the kosmos and humanity, and how archetypal man descends to his fallen state and may be redeemed. We will begin with the Poimandres and then read other sections of this strange but absorbing body of material.
PQ: At least 2 years of Greek.
IDENT. NTEC 39900
Galatians and James: Traditions in Conflict?
T/TH 9:00-10:20 S403
Is salvation by faith or by works (or by some combination of the two)? This seminar will involve a close exegetical analysis of two early Christian documents, Galations and James, both purportedly letters by first generation Christians, which use suspiciously similar vocabulary and even invoke the same exemplum (Abraham) to debate this religious question. We shall study the historical context, religious world-view, rhetorical purpose and theology of each document on its own terms, and then test various theories of their literary and historical relationships with one another, while also tracing the spiraling effects of their interaction (whatever its historical origins) in the history of interpretation, ancient, medieval, Reformation and modern.
PQ: Greek skills
Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (Selections)
M 1:00-3:50 S403
The “Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles” read like historical novels and are more comparable to the gospels than to Luke’s Acts in the New Testament. The “big five” and oldest ones among them were produced between 150-230 C.E., which is pretty early and invites comparison with the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature. The “big five” just mentioned are: Acts of John, Acts of Paul, Acts of Peter, Acts of Andrew, Acts of Thomas. Some of them are transmitted in a very fragmentary state, but even then they contain important information and make fascinating reading. Alternating between the Greek text and the English translation, we will read selected portions of at least three of them: ActJohn, ActPaul (and Thecla, not to forget!), ActThom. We will see if there is time to do more.
PQ: Good knowledge of Greek.
IDENT. NTEC 44600
Introduction to Theology *
T/TH 3:00-4:20 S201
This course is designed to introduce students to the language, controversies, and figures of theology, and to encourage students to improve their own theologizing by considering its public relevance, intelligibility and justifiability.
Black Theology: First Generation
TH 10:30-1:20 S201
This class looks at the origin of contemporary black theology with its beginnings on July 31, 1966. On that date, black theology was created by African American clergy and church administrators who offered one interpretation of the new black power movement. The latter began June 16, 1966 in Greenwood, Mississippi. As black theology, a new body of knowledge, progressed, scholars in the academy saw the necessity to clarify its conceptual, theoretical, and theological positions. An entire body of literature, over 40 years of writing, has arisen defining the contours of this recent creation. We will explore the internal critiques and debates among scholars of this discipline.
W 1:30-4:20 S403
This course will look at what does it mean to be a human being by examining the question from different disciplines. We have, at least, three presuppositions to theological anthropology. One, the human being exists within specific contexts. Two, other disciplines are required to examine the human being and the context in order to then have a theological interpretation. And three, to be human is to have some relation to some thing, force, being, entity greater than the individual self.
T 1:00-3:40 S208
This multidisciplinary course explores Christian affirmations of non-biological family and kinship—e.g., theological claims that Christ establishes an ‘unnatural’ kinship between humanity and divinity, that the church forms a new family beyond consanguinity, that community in Christ overcomes taken-for-granted or natural bases for group differentiation, and so on—as contributions to the creative re-imagining of fundamental principles of human association. Readings from theological tracts, anthropological writings on the ‘family,’ and gender/critical theory concerning new possibilities for human sociality.
Protest Theologies *
M 1:30-4:20 S200
Is radical critique possible? Is it possible to criticize the status quo without inadvertently acknowledging its legitimacy and providing it with new weapons? In this course we will address these questions by considering a variety of critical theologies and critical-theological methods, including Soren Kierkegaard’s indirection, Karl Barth’s dialectics, and Moly Daly’s linguistic inventions.
Concepts and Problems: Life, Will and Value
M 9:00-11:50 S200
Given radical advances in genetics, technology, the life sciences and medicine, the reality and possible justification of war, as well environmental endangerments, the moral claim living beings make upon human responsibility has become pressing in contemporary thought and existence. This seminar explores theme of “life” and “will” around the question of value. More specifically, the seminar moves through interrelated levels of reflection, ranging from accounts of what defines “life” through debates about the moral significance of the relation between human existence and other creatures, to, finally, the theological question of the moral significance of divine life. We will start with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and questions in Lebensphilosophie. With that background we will consider 20th century thinkers, specifically Schweitzer (reverence for life) and aspects of P. Ricoeur’s philosophy of will. The course culminates with theological reflection on life by M. Moltmann, S. McFague and also Roman Catholic ethics (John Paul II). The purpose of the seminar, accordingly, is to explore the range of position on this topic and to trace the significance of claims about the living God for moral responsibility.
IDENT. RETH 50700
Thomas and Bonaventure on Christ and Creation
Tu 1:00-3:50 MEM Seminar Room
This course will engage Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure in conversation by focusing on a close reading in Latin of key passages on Christ and creation. In Aquinas the focus will be on the relationship between nature and grace as well as on the notions of creation and redemption, while in Bonaventure the emphasis will be on the Christocentric nature of his cosmology and mysticism. The goal of bringing them in conversation is to break through their largely paradigmatic reputation in order to gain a deeper understanding of what was at stake in thirteenth century theological development, thus getting a better insight into the different intellectual choices they came to make.
PQ: Latin required.
IDENT. HCHR 52800
Indian Philosophy II *
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S400
PQ: Indian Philosophy I or consent of instructor.
Descartes and the Myth of Cartesian Dualism
M 3:00-5:50 S106
Phenomenology and Eschatology
T/TH 9:00-10:20 S208
Over the past century, various “secular” intellectuals exhibited a fascination with distinctly theological models of the “end times.” This course will explore this fascination as it pertains to phenomenological analyses of temporality. Readings will be drawn primarily from Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas and Derrida.
The Concept of Given/Givenness in Heidegger, Husserl, Meinong, and Others
W 3:00-5:50 S106
Paul Ricoeur’s Memory, History, Forgetting
T 3:00-5:50 S403
A seminar devoted to reading Paul Ricoeur’s landmark work entitled “Memory, History, Forgetting.” Following the tri-partite division of Ricoeur’s work, this course will primarily address three themes: 1) the experiential nature of memory and remembering; 2) the relation between historical knowledge and memory; 3) the role of forgetting as the condition of possibility for memory. Re-tracing Ricoeur’s steps, we will analyze treatments of memory by figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, Kant and Hegel. In addition, we will explore possible critical responses to Ricoeur’s analyses of forgetting and of forgiveness.
Colloquium: Introduction to Ministry Studies
F 10:00-11:30 S200
DO NOT REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE. CREDIT IS FOR AUTUMN.
Arts of Ministry: Worship
F 9:00-10:50 S400
Advanced Preaching Seminar: Personal Narrative and Testimony in Preaching
M 1:30-4:20 Bond Chapel
Perhaps the most dramatic change in American preaching is the use of the personal narrative, for better or worse. Preachers who share personal stories can open up the gospel in provocative ways, or they can create shallow cults of personality around themselves. How does a preacher use her life experience with integrity? This course will prepare preachers to take a close reading of their own lives, with the eyes of the heart enlightened, in order to use that reading in the preaching moment. The focus of the course is the crafting of such sermons, and learning how to deliver them with grace.
PQ: Arts of Ministry Preaching or permission of instructor.
The Practice of Ministry III
F 1:00-3:00 S400
PQ: 2nd year M.DIV. students.
Nature in the Church
M/W 10:00-11:20 S400
Offered as part of the Lilly Endowment sponsored Border Crossing Project, this course considers the intersection of academic theology and the practical demands and methods of ministry where they meet in political advocacy and ecological concern. Human impacts on the environment, significant in their own right, impact also issues like economic justice, public health, racial prejudice, questions of human dignity and value, and human responsibility for God's creation. They would seem, therefore, to demand response from the Church. The claims of science are contentious, and specific policy recommendations can be divisive. How ought the church stand boldly, aggressively and responsibly for justice, truth and goodness and simultaneously cultivate a safe community of diverse, autonomous moral agents? The course will consider first the role of environmental advocacy in preaching and in liturgy, then will consider the role of robust theological discourse amidst the practical demands of the church community.
Memory, Commemoration, and Mourning
Orientalism: Old and New Perspectives *
TH 10:30-1:20 S200
Since the publication of Edward Said's book Orientalism (in 1978), critics have called into question Western academic, ideological and aesthetic perspectives on the "Orient," the "East" or the "other," as it is opposed to the "West." This course will look at the texts that inspired Said's perspective, in particular Foucault's Archeology of Knowledge and Discipline and Punish, and at the debates that have ensued within many disciplines such as history, anthropology, and cultural studies. The discussion will focus particularly on the place these debates give to Islam and to the related epistemological perspectives on Islam that historians and social scientists may hold as a result.
Class is capped to 10 studentsDesignated Introductory Course
Islamic Love Poetry
TH 1:30-4:20 MEM Library
PQ: Some acquaintance with one of the following: Urdu, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman, Arabic, Punjabi, Pasho, Hindi, or other relevant languages.
IDENT. NEHC 40600, CMLT 40100
Readings in the Text of the Qur’an
T 1:30-4:20 MEM Library
PQ: Arabic (2 years)
IDENT. NEHC 40601
Orientalism: Old and New Perspectives *
TH 10:30-1:20 S200
Designated Introductory Course
Sufis and Salafis: The State of Research
F 8:30-11:20 S403
This class will examine primary texts in Arabic from the 19th and 20th centuries articulating the questions of religious and political reform (iṣlāḥ). While many of our readings and inquiries will revolve around the question of Sufism, and in particular around the questions of religious and political mediation, we will also examine other hallmarks of reformism: specific types of subjectivity, reflections on pedagogy, expressions of piety, and the formulation of ethics in relationship to law. We will analyze these texts by paying attention to their historical contexts as well as to the continuities they built with past interpretations of the Islamic tradition. The texts we will examine will include writings by Muḥammad 'Abduh, Rashīd Ridā, Muḥammad al-Ṭāhir ibn 'Āshūr, 'Allāl al-Fāsī, Rāshid Ghannūshī, and 'Abd al-Salām Yāsīn. Weekly sessions will be divided between reading and analyzing these sources and reviewing the secondary literature in order to examine the state of research and new avenues for exploration on Islamic reformism.
A minimum of two years of Arabic is required.
Class is capped to 10 students.
Medieval Mirrors for Princes
W 1:30-4:20 F 505
This course provides a close reading of a selection of texts from the medieval Islamic and Latin mirrors for princes literature, e.g. Alfarabi's Aphorisms of a Statesman, Nasir ad-Din Tusi's Nasirean Ethics, John of Salisbury's Policraticus and Thomas Aquinas' on Kingship. We will explore the application of classical motives and ideas and identify the themes that underpin the evolution of medieval advice literature: the qualities and virtues of the ideal prince, the relations between the ruler and his subjects and the best ways for maintaining one's ruler and averting civil strife and social upheaval. We will also look at how medieval mirrors for princes anticipated the ideas and concepts of early modern advice literature.
IDENT. SOTH 30660.
Transatlantic Perspectives on Modern Christianity *
F 1:00-3:50 S201
A comparative history of Christianity in Europe and the Americas since 1600, employing selected issues to examine the circulation of religious movements and ideas in the transatlantic world and the connection of Christianity to wider developments in politics, science and culture.
Religion in Early National and Antebellum America, 1787-1865 *
M 1:30-4:20 S400
This course is a survey of American religious history from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Topics include revivalism, gender, the birth of Mormonism, slave religion, reform movements, proslavery theology, immigration, and Catholicism. We will read a wide variety of primary texts—including first-person accounts of “enthusiastic” revivals, anti-Catholic literature, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature,” and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin—as well as major interpretive works.
Requirements: two short papers (3-5 pages each) on the weekly readings and a final paper. All students are also required to lead class discussion once during the quarter.
IDENT. HIST 63900
W 9:00-11:50 S201
IDENT. THEO 41300
Race and Religion in 20th Century American Culture
T/TH 9:00-10:20 S201
We explore through various sources of social science, literature, and memoirs the existential and lived experience of race in America in the 20th century. Particular emphasis is placed on how churches and individuals have shaped religious and racial identities. We look primarily at Christian communities (and individuals) and their struggles with the problem of race in American society.
Women in American Religious History 1630-Present
W 1:30-4:20 S400
This course explores the religious history of American women. Topics include female religious leadership, practices (for example, prayer and devotional life), reform, religion and domestic violence, suffrage, and religion and Second Wave feminism. We will read a wide variety of primary texts, including diaries and novels, as well as major interpretive works in the field. Our main question will be, “What difference does it make to include women in our narratives of American religion?”
Requirements: a final research paper of 20-25 pages All students are also required to lead class discussion once during the quarter.
IDENT. HIST 47001
Thomas and Bonaventure on Christ and Creation
T 1:00-3:50 MEM Seminar Room
This course will engage Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure in conversation by focusing on a close reading in Latin of key passages on Christ and creation. In Aquinas the focus will be on the relationship between nature and grace as well as on the notions of creation and redemption, while in Bonaventure the emphasis will be on the Christocentric nature of his cosmology and mysticism. The goal of bringing them in conversation is to break through their largely paradigmatic reputations in order to gain a deeper understanding of what was at stake in thirteen century theological development, thus getting a better insight into the different intellectual choices they came to make.
PQ: Latin required.
IDENT. THEO 52700
Tibetan Buddhism *
M/W 3:30-4:50 S201
This course is designed to serve as an introductory survey of the history, doctrines, institutions, and practices of Buddhism in Tibet from its origins in the mid-first-millennium through the end of the 20th century, Readings will be drawn both from primary sources (in translation) and secondary and tertiary scholarly research. This course may be taken to satisfy the “extended flexible core” requirement.
PQ: HREL 35100 or equivalent background in Buddhism
Designated Introductory Course.
IDENT. SALC 39001
Hinduism: An Alternative Narrative *
W/F 1:30-4:20 S208
A survey of the history of Hinduism, setting texts in historical contexts. Hinduism is usually taught as a cluster of timeless concepts: karma, dharma, reincarnation, renunciation, and so forth. But like all religions, Hinduism is grounded in history, and in a broader social imagination. This course will take the relatively novel approach of situating each major idea in the context of the historical events to which it responded: the Rig Veda in the Indo-European migrations, the Upanishads in the social crisis of the first great cities on the Ganges, and so forth, up to the present day BJP revisionist tactics. And it will emphasize the alternative traditions of women and the lower classes. The reading will begin with two good survey texts and then focus closely on a few texts, some Sanskrit and some from vernacular literatures, from several different historical periods. Reading List: John Keay, India, A History. New York: Grove Press, 2000; David M. Knipe, Hinduism, San Francisco: Harper, 1991; Axel Michaels, Hinduism, Past and Present. Princeton University Press, 2004; Gavin Flood, An Inroduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press, 1996; Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Textural Sources for the Study of Hinduism. University of Chicago Press.
IDENT. RLST 27402/SALC 30302
State and Church in Medieval Scandinavia: Myths or Foundation
W 9:00-11:50 S200
Nirvana and other Buddhist Felicities
Tu 9:00-11:50 F209
IDENT. SALC 38202/48202
Contemporary Perspectives on Religion, Media and Society
M 9:00-11:20 S201
This seminar will examine recent contributions to research on religion, media and society with a special emphasis on their philosopohical and political underpinnings and their relationship to previous work in the field. It is strongly recommended that students first complete the course on “Whey Media Matter”, or have an equivalent introduction to media and cultural studies, before enrolling in this seminar.
PQ: HREL “Why Media Matter” (Winter 2009)
Problems in the History of Religions
TH 7:00-10:00 p.m. ARR
PQ: Limited to students in the Ph.D. program in the History of Religions working on their colloquium paper, orals statement for the Qualifying Examination, or dissertation chapter.
Readings in Tibetan Religious Literature
M/W 12:00-1:20 S200
Guided readings in Tibetan religious literature of various periods and genres.
PQ: 2nd year Tibetan (TBTN 20300)
IDENT. SALC 50500
Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered
T/TH 12:00-1:20 ARR
This course analyzes Torquato Tasso's epic rewriting of the First Crusade from a historical, literary and theological point of view. Through an in-depth reading of Jerusalem Delivered (La Gerusalemme liberate) we will investigate the poet's vast and profound knowledge of Renaissance philosophy and literature, and Christian theology, in particular Counter-Reformation spirituality. Along with his famous poem, we will read selections from those of his texts in prose and verses that are crucial for a correct understanding of his poetics: his philosophical Dialoghi, which addresses a variety of cultural, literary and spiritual issues; a selection of his lyric poetry; his theoretical treatises on the nature and goals of epic poetry. Special emphasis will be given to Jerusalem Conquered, Tasso's rewriting of his epic poem in the light of a much stricter adherence to Catholic Reformation.
Ident. ITAL 26703/36703.
The Aesthetics of Orthodox Christianity
Bird, Robert; ARR
The status of the image has been in contention from the very origins of Christianity to the present day. We will begin by tracing concepts and practices of image-making and image-veneration from early Christianity through the Iconoclastic controversy and into modern Orthodox Christianity. A particular focus will be recent attempts to elaborate an entire theoretical aesthetics in or for Orthodoxy, which call into question the relationship between contemporary media and modern notions of spirituality. This course counts as the advanced seminar for students in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Slavic Department.
IDENT. RUSS 29500/39500
The Noise of Imperial Cities
Bohlman, Phil/Koch, Lars-Christian
W 9:30-12:20 JRL 207
The soundscapes of empire converge in the cities of empire to unleash a complex cacophony and counterpoint of colonial encounter, appropriation, and subversion. Center and periphery collapse in upon themselves, transforming the traditional arts of power and powerlessness into modern mixes, in which history’s telos falters before the avant-garde and edge of multiple modernisms and postmodernisms. The cosmopolitan noise the imperial city remixes contains the sounds of the local and the global, the classical monumentality of the colonial capital and the postcolonial experimentation of the displaced. Through our encounter with the “noise of the imperial city” in this seminar, we seek new ways to make the modern forms of nation-state and empire audible and meaningful. The ten weeks of the seminar stretch across five pairs of ten imperial cities, linked through a process of “sounding and resounding” that is, the call-and-response of self and other, past an present: London and Calcutta; Vienna and Istanbul; Berlin and Shanghai; Paris and Buenos Aires; Chicago and Baghdad. The theoretical approaches to the encounter with empire will unfold across these soundscapes through weekly examinations of the links between the local urban neighborhood, on one hand, and the processes of global cultural exchange, on the other.
IDENT. MUSI 42109/CDIN 41700
Music, Theology and Spirituality
Burch Brown, Frank
Tu 1:30-4:20 S200
Combines a consideration of theologies of music (especially relatively recent) with "case studies" of particular musical works, genres, and styles-classical and vernacular-and possible consonance or dissonance with various modes of spirituality. No advanced knowledge of music theory is required. An ability to read music is an asset, although not a necessity. Familiarity with aspects of music performance is welcomed.
Styles of Catholicism: Kahlo, O’Connor, Weil
T/TH 10:30-12:20 S403
Recent work in aesthetics, prominently but not exclusively von Balthasar’s, has reinvigorated the concept of style and its relevance to religion. This course will engage in a focused consideration of the powers and limits of the concept and its relevance by studying three women whose accomplishments in their respective art forms (the self-portrait, the short story, the essay) stand as iconic cultural expressions of the first half of the 20th century. To that end, we shall consider common facts of their biographies (e.g. gender, illness both as source of art and as harbinger of death) and their respective recourses to, and conceptions of, the tragic that emerge as their work develops. Finally, it is striking that each developed a style that referenced the Roman Catholic tradition (even as Rome did not reference them), so we shall ask what light, if any, these styles shed on Catholicism between the Vatican Councils I and II.
The Problem of Evil
T/TH 4:30-5:50 S201
"If God exists, whence comes evil; and if God does not exist, whence comes good?" (Boethius). This course will consider the theological problem of evil, starting with the Book of Job, and with additional readings from Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Dostoevsky, and Arendt, among others. At issue will be the question of whether the "privation of good" represents an adequate explanation of evil, or, on the other hand, evil should be conceived as being somehow "radical".
Religion and the Political Order II *
M 1:00-3:50 S208
IDENT. PLSC 50202
Concepts and Problems: Life, Will and Value
M 9:00-11:50 S200
Given radical advances in genetics, technology, the life sciences and medicine, the reality and possible justification of war, as well as environmental endangerments, the moral claim living beings make upon human responsibility has become pressing in contemporary thought and existence. This seminar explores theme of “life” and “will” around the question of value. More specifically, the seminar moves through interrelated levels of reflection, ranging from accounts of what defines “life” through debates about the moral significance of the relation between human existence and other creatures, to, finally, the theological question of the moral significance of divine life. We will start with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and questions in Lebensphilosophie. With that background we will consider 20th century thinkers, specifically Schweitzer (reverence for life) and aspects of P. Ricoeur’s philosophy of will. The course culminates with theological reflection on life by M. Moltmann, S. McFague and also Roman Catholic ethics (John Paul II). The purpose of the seminar, accordingly, is to explore the range of position on this topic and to trace the significance of claims about the living God for moral responsibility.
Seminar: Law-Philosophy: Religious Liberty and Toleration
M 3:00-6:00 ARR
This is the third part of the seminar-workshop which began in the Autumn quarter.
PQ: Students who were admitted to the Autumn seminar may register.
IDENT. LAW/PHIL/PLSC 51303