Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

AASR 30232 Sociology of Religion
T/TH 3:00-4:20 ARR

Instructor: Yanfei Sun

What is religion? How can religion be studied sociologically? How did religion’s significance change as the world enters the modern age? What affect the different importance and position of religions in different societies? How do we account for the growth and decline of religious groups? What social factors and processes influence individuals’ religious beliefs, commitments, practices, conversions, and switching? In what ways can religion impact economy, politics, gender and race relations in the modern times? These are the core questions that this course intends to deal with. The course is designed to cultivate in students an understanding of the distinctively sociological approach to studying religion, and familiarize students with the important theoretical approaches as well as major findings, problems and issues in the field.

 Ident. SOCI 20232/30232

AASR 38010 Religion and Politics in a Secular Age
M/W 1:30-2:50 ARR

Instructor: Elina Hartikainen

How do contemporary religious political projects engage with, respond to and occasionally reconfigure secular ideals and frameworks for political action? Moreover, how does religion intersect with and inform religious practitioners’ political engagements in societies where politics is understood to be the domain of the secular? In this course we explore how anthropologists of religion have studied these questions in a variety of contemporary contexts from Latin America to the Middle East to Europe toAfrica and South Asia. Through close analyses of ethnographies of religiousmovements we examine the ways in which religiously motivated political projects build on and reproduce but also reinterpret religious practices, ideologies, ethics and subjectivities. Thus, we, for example, study how Muslims in Egypt, Hindus in India, and Protestant Christians in Guatemala draw on religious beliefs and practices to engage in politics as religious actors. We ask how diverse religious value schemes and models of subjectivity, social relations, and communicative practice inform religious practitioners’ political actions. And, we interrogate how these various politico-religious projects reflect, negotiate and, on occasion, undermine different locally salient understandings of secularism.

Ident. RLST 28015 / MAPS 38000

AASR 41900 Islam, Media, and Meditation
W 1:30-4:20 S208

A Seminar examining Muslim religious practices through the lens of various forms of mediation: textual, visual, aural, filmic, and so on.

Readings from anthropology, art history, and religious studies.

Ident. ISLM 41900/ANTH 41015

AASR 42802 Ethnographies of the Muslim World
TH 11:00-1:50 S403

An examination of contemporary theoretical issues in the anthropology of Islam through close readings of recent ethnographic monographs. Topics may include pious formation, embodiment and the senses, dreaming and the imagination, indeterminacy and religious aspiration, technological mediation, and globalization.

Ident. ISLM 42802/ANTH 55030

Bible

BIBL 44001 The Pastoral Letters: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus
TH 1:30-4:20 S208

These three New Testament letters known collectively as the Pastorals contain adaptations of the apostle Paul’s customs, theology, and ethics for a later decade in the history of Christianity. Their author has also taken up elements of ancient moral philosophical thought and combined these with his Paulinist ideas to create a distinctive approach to the social dynamics of the assemblies of believers.  In addition to close readings of the text (in Greek and/or English), we will read other sources (primary and secondary) on a range of topics, among them: pseudepigraphy, rhetoric, ancient education, Greco-Roman household management, gender roles, feminist and liberationist critical approaches, and the situation of the Pastorals within the Pauline letter collection. 

PQ: none, but opportunities will be offered to use Koiné Greek

BIBL 46502 The Deuteronomic Source
T/TH 12:00-1:20 S400

This course is an exegetical study of selected texts from the pentateuchal Deuteronomic source (Deut 1:1–32:47) (in Hebrew). We will focus on the setting of this text within the larger pentateuchal plot, its legal revision, its historical context, and the purpose of its authors against their source texts.

PQ: first year biblical Hebrew.

BIBL 52100 Galatians and James: Traditions in Conflict?
W 6:00-9:00 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, Galatians 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 

BIBL 54800 The Letter to the Hebrews
M 1:00-3:50 S403

The Letter to the Hebrews is in several ways a very unique text among the writings of the New Testament. Its author is not known, but writes the most elegant and refined Greek of all the New Testament writers. Martin Luther, though having some theological problems with this letter, liked it nevertheless and called it an “ausbündige feine Epistel” (“outstandingly beautiful epistle”). We will try to work through this letter section by section, using especially two of the many commentaries (Attridge and deSilva). Our main foci will be: a) the Greek text and textual criticism, b) use of the Septuagint (including comparisons with the Masoretic text), c) parallels to Philo (and other Hellenistic Jewish authors), and d) rhetorical features (tracing them back to the handbooks).

This class also fulfils the requirements of a third quarter of Koine Greek.

PQ:  Basic Greek (two quarters of Koine Greek)

Divinity School

DVSC 42000 German Reading Exam
M April 21 at 6:00 p.m. S208

PQ: Open only to Divinity School students.

DVSC 45100 Reading Course: Special Topic

Staff: ARR

PQ: Petition with bibliography signed by instructor; enter section number from faculty list.

DVSC 49900 Exam Preparation

Staff: ARR

PQ: Open only to Ph.D. students in quarter of qualifying exams.  Department consent.  Petition signed by Advisor.

DVSC 50100 Research: Divinity

Staff: ARR

PQ: Petition signed by instructor; enter section  number from faculty list.

DVSC 59900 Thesis Work: Divinity

Staff: ARR

PQ: Petition signed by instructor; enter section number from faculty list.

History of Christianity

HCHR 34604 Literature of the Christian East: Late Antiquity, Byzantium and Medieval Russia
TH 9:00-11:50 ARR

Instructor:  Boris Maslov

After the fall of Rome in 476 CE, literatures of the Latin West and predominantly Greek-speaking Eastern provinces of the Roman empire followed two very different paths.  Covering both religious and secular genres, we will survey some of the most interesting texts written in the Christian East in the period from 330 CE (foundation of Constantinople) to the late 17th c. (Westernization of Russia).  Our focus throughout will be on continuities within particular styles and types of discourse (court entertainment, rhetoric, historiography, hagiography) and  their functions within East Christian cultures.  Readings will include Digenes Akritas and Song of Igor’s Campaign, as well as texts by Emperor Julian the Apostate, Gregory of Nazianzus, Emphraim the Syrian,Anna Comnena, Psellos, Ivan the Terrible, and Archbishop Avvakum.

No prerequisites.   All readings in English.

Ident. RLIT 34604/CMLT 32302

HCHR 40301 Late Medieval Christianity
T/TH 1:30-2:50 S106

Iden. THEO 40301

HCHR 45103 Cities on a Hill, 1630-Present
T 1:30-4:20 S201

Beginning with John Winthrop’s famous 1630 speech, “A Model of Christian Charity,” and ending with the 2012 presidential election, we will examine the image of America as a “city on a hill.” How has this image changed and developed over time? We will discuss how it has been used by a variety of figures, including Puritans, nineteenth-century women’s rights activists and abolitionists, defenders of manifest destiny, and activists in the Christian Right.

Students are required to make a class presentation and to write a final 20-25 page paper.

Ident. RAME 45103/HIST 63805

HCHR 50700 Research in American Religious History
TH 1:30-4:20 MMC Library

This course is a seminar for students who wish to write research papers on American religious history. We will discuss how to identify good topics and ask good analytical questions, how to find sources, and how to make persuasive claims. Students are required to make two class presentations and to write a final paper, 25-30 pages in length. Given the brevity of the quarter, students are encouraged to identify a research topic before the first class or to expand a previous essay into a comprehensive research paper.

Ident. RAME 50700/HIST 62200

History of Judaism

HIJD 30402 Poetics of Midrash
T 9:00-11:50 S201

An introduction to the modern literary study of classical rabbinic Midrash; its styles and genres.  Particular attention will be given to issues of hermeneutics and theology.

Ident. THEO 30402/RLIT 30402

HIJD 30602 Jewish Thought and Literature III: The Jewish Interpretation of the Bible in the Middle Ages
T/TH 12:00-1:20 Wb 130

Ident. JWSC 20006/FnDL 20410/RLST 20406

HIJD 45202 The Citation in Jewish Religious Culture
TH 9:00-11:50 S200

A phenomenological and textual inquiry into the types, role, and significance of quotations and citations in key genres of Jewish literature: primarily Hebrew Bible; Midrash and Talmud; Liturgical Poetry; Maimonides.  At the end, we shall look at some embedded citations in a modern Hebrew poet (Bialik).

Ident. THEO 45202/RLIT 45202

HIJD 49910 Advanced Readings in Midrash
ARR ARR

PQ:  Registration with written approval of the instructor

This reading course will be offered each quarter throughout the academic year

HIJD 51500 Maimonides as Mystic
TH 4:30-7:20 S400

(A study of Guide 3:51)
Maimonides has been described as philosopher and theologian, Neoplatonist and Skeptic, Aristotelian and anti-Aristotelian, critic of religion and pious defender of the faith. This seminar will explore the mystical interpretation of his work through a careful line-by-line reading of relevant chapters in his Guide of the Perplexed, especially Guide 3:51, together with related texts from his vast corpus. Evidence from the medieval commentary tradition will also be examined, as will the recent discussion in modern scholarship.

PQ: Good knowledge of Arabic or Hebrew

Ident. ISLM 51500

History of Religions

HREL 31711 Medieval Zoroastrianism
T/TH 9:00-10:20 S403
HREL 33210 Spells, Talismans, Alchemy, Zen: Language and Religious Practice in China and Japan
T/TH 1:30-2:50

We will explore pictures of the efficacies of ritual language featured across a range of East Asian religious practices. Sources examined will include religious scriptures, commentaries, ritual manuals, and art; philosophical, alchemical, and magical treatises; works of traditional poetics; Chan and Zen discourse records and essays; and a range of modern theorists of language, nonsense, and religion. All works will be in English. We will consider questions such as: why do some ritual utterances center passages in obscure foreign languages, or even simple nonsense? Why do some religious practices feature claims for the absolute accuracy, profundity, and magical potencies of scriptural language, while others are at least in part based on the idea that all language, in every way, always fails? Why are some religious texts written such that they seem not to mean what they say? Can a mere painting of a cake offer nourishment? 

Ident. EALC 33210    

HREL 36402 Gender Norms and Deviations in South Asian Texts
M/W 3:00-4:20 S201

Co-taught with Nisha Kommattam

Beginning with the baseline of heteronormative Sanskrit texts, we will go on to consider texts and films that challenge that order, from Sanskrit epics and Puranas to Tamil and Malayalam fiction and films, as well as ethnographic studies of contemporary alternative South Asia sexualitites. Readings will include passages from: Wendy Doniger, Splitting the Difference (for the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas); Ruth Vanita, Same-Sex Love in India and Queering India; Gayatri Reddy, With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hirja Identity in South India; Giti Thadani, Sakhiyani; Sudhir Kakar, Intimate Relations; and essays by Lawrence Cohen.

Requirement: short paper (5pp) at mid-course and longer paper (10-15 pp) at the end of the quarter.

Idents. SALC 43402/SCTH 40702/GNSE 36402/RLST 26902/FNDL 22911

HREL 44605 Ghosts and Unquiet Spirits
T 1:30-4:20 S208
HREL 47001 Pahlavi Language and Literature

This reading course will be offered each quarter throughout the academic year.

HREL 52200 Problems in the History of Religions
M 7:00-9:30 Home

PQ:  Limited to students in the Ph.D. program in the History of Religions working on their colloquium paper, orals statement for the Qualifying examinations, or dissertation chapter.

Islamic Studies

ISLM 39500 Islam in the Digital Age
T/TH 12:00-1:20 TBA

Instructor: Sahar Khamis

The introduction of new media, such as the Internet, satellite television and cell phones, in the Arab/Muslim world imposed new realities and invited new dynamics, whether in the political, social, cultural or communication landscapes. This course tackles the complexities and implications of this new digital age, with all its multi-faceted dimensions. In the communication arena, it pays special attention to the discourses and deliberations exchanged in cyberspace between Muslims and non-Muslims, on one hand, as well as between Muslims belonging to different sects, on the other hand. In doing so, it pays special attention to the myriad of complex factors which could be conducive, or constraining, to digital dialogue. Politically, it unveils the multiple roles played by new media in mobilizing and catalyzing resistance movements in many parts of the Muslim world, with a special emphasis on the phenomenon of “cyberactivism,” or the deployment of new media to boost socio-political change, as manifested in the “Arab Awakening” movements, in particular. Socially, it tackles the contemporary tides of social change in Muslim societies, which have been both conducive to, as well as reflective of, new patterns and forms of communication, and investigates how and why they have been closely related to each other. Culturally, it investigates the shifts in Arab and Muslim identities cross-generationally and cross-culturally, with a special emphasis on diasporic Muslim communities, in an attempt to deeply understand the interplay of different variables, including new media consumption, in shaping, as well as reflecting, the complexity of Muslim identities today

Ident. SMST 39500

ISLM 40500 Readings in the Text of the Qur’an
T 1:30-4:20 MMC Library

Intensive readings in the Arabic text of the Qur'an. We focus on reading the Qur'anic text closely, with attention to grammar, syntax, recitation protocols, vocabulary, parables, symbols, figures of speech, rhetoric, changes in voice and person, allusions to parallel Qur'anic passages, and theology. Classical and modern commentaries are consulted, but the primary emphasis is on the Qur'anic text itself. The winter 2013 course will focus upon suras attributed to the Meccan period of Muhammad's prophetic career, particularly those such as suras 52, 53, 55, and 56 that take up the theme of the garden. Students may well have different levels of Arabic; the course does not make Arabic proficiency into a matter of evaluation, but encourages each participant to work at his or her level.

Ident. NEHC 40601

ISLM 41900 Islam, Media, and Meditation
W 1:30-4:20 S208

A Seminar examining Muslim religious practices through the lens of various forms of mediation: textual, visual, aural, filmic, and so on.

Readings from anthropology, art history, and religious studies.

Ident. AASR 41900/ANTH 41015

ISLM 42802 Ethnographies of the Muslim World
TH 11:00-1:50 S403

An examination of contemporary theoretical issues in the anthropology of Islam through close readings of recent ethnographic monographs. Topics may include pious formation, embodiment and the senses, dreaming and the imagination, indeterminacy and religious aspiration, technological mediation, and globalization.

Ident. AASR 42802/ANTH 55030

ISLM 51500 Maimonides as Mystic
TH 4:30-7:20 S400

(A study of Guide 3:51)
Maimonides has been described as philosopher and theologian, Neoplatonist and Skeptic, Aristotelian and anti-Aristotelian, critic of religion and pious defender of the faith. This seminar will explore the mystical interpretation of his work through a careful line-by-line reading of relevant chapters in his Guide of the Perplexed, especially Guide 3:51, together with related texts from his vast corpus. Evidence from the medieval commentary tradition will also be examined, as will the recent discussion in modern scholarship.

PQ: Good knowledge of Arabic or Hebrew

Ident. HIJD 51500

Ministry and Religious Leadership

CHRM 30700 Introduction to Ministry Studies: Colloquium
W 1:30-2:50 Swift 400

This year-long integration seminar grounds first year MDiv students in habits and perspectives essential to the practice of ministry. Students will cultivate the discipline of attention--learning to read closely, to listen deeply, to interrogate their experience, and to participate in rigorous critical conversation. During the first quarter, students will explore the relationship of narrative and theology; the second quarter will engage students in a close encounter with urban ministry; during the third quarter, students will integrate tradition, reason, and experience as they articulate definitions of ministry

PQ: First year M.DIV. students only. Course meets all year, register in Autumn quarter only.

CHRM 35300 Arts of Ministry: Community, Leadership and Change
F 9:00-11:50 S400

This course is the third of a three-quarter sequence introducing students to essential aspects of religious leadership; the sequence is required for second-year MDiv students and complements their field education experience. In this final quarter of the year-long sequence, students study congregations as "communities-within-communities," examining the public life of congregations and their leaders as responsible agents of change, both within the religious community and in the wider context. Through research projects and case studies, students practice the skills of analysis, decision-making, negotiation and visioning that are essential to organizational vitality and constructive community engagement

PQ:  2nd year M.DIV. students only, others by permission of instructor

CHRM 40800 Practice of Ministry III
F 1:30-3:30 S400
CHRM 50200 Advanced Preaching Seminar: Preaching from the Hebrew Bible
W 3:00-5:50 S400

This course will focus on how to move from determining the meaning of Hebrew Bible texts to formulating their significance in the context of the sermon.

Philosophy of Religions

DVPR 40201 Pantheism and Atheism in Philosophy: Spinoza, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer
T 3:00-5:50 S200

In this course we will consider the advent of "pantheism" in Western philosophy through a close reading of Spinoza's "Ethics" and related works ("Metaphysical Thoughts" from his "Principles of Cartesian Philosophy," "The Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect," and the "Short Treatise on God, Man and his Well-Being"), with one eye focused on comparative issues in Indian and Chinese religious thought, and another to the reception of Spinoza in the late 18th and  early 19th century, with special focus on the "Pantheism Controversy," the problem of atheism and atheist religious experience, the nature of the atheism/pantheism ambiguity, and the works of Schelling and the early Hegel, but possibly also working with texts of Jacobi and/or Schleiermacher. All readings will be in English.

DVPR 40700 Readings in Tiantai: Zhanran’s “Diamond Scalpel" and the Buddha-Nature of Insentient Beings
TH 3:00-5:50 S403

This course will focus on a close reading of the "Jingangpi" or "Diamond Scalpel," a text written by the Tang dynasty Tiantai Buddhist master Jingxi Zhanran (711-780), which serves not only as a fine brief catechism of Tiantai doctrine in what would become its orthodox shape, but also the locus classicus of the distinctive Tiantai doctrine of "the Buddha-nature of Insentient Beings."   This will give us an opportunity not only to understand the text itself, but to touch on almost all major Tiantai (and indeed pan-Buddhist) doctrines as seen through the lens of this text, and also to consider the contemporary significance of its central contention, often raised in the context of broader questions of man's relation to the natural world, ecology and environmentalism in modern scholarship.   If conditions permit, we may also devote some time to reading Tiantai meditation texts, as a praxis-oriented supplement to the doctrinal positions put forth by Zhanran's classic theoretical text.   The readings will be in English, but classical and Buddhist Chinese will be greatly helpful and, if students are willing and able, close readings of the original Chinese text will also be pursued.

DVPR 41700 Readings in Madhyamaka
F 1:30-4:20 S403

This seminar will involve a close reading of a philosophical text from a major thinker in the Madhyamaka tradition of Indian Buddhist philosophy.

PQ:  Two years of Sanskrit or Tibetan

DVPR 42701 Recent Work in Philosophy of Religions
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S400

This course will consist in a number of soundings in work representative of important contemporary developments in philosophy of religions, including such topics as constitutional jurisprudence regarding religion, and (relatedly) the philosophical implications of religious diversity.  Students will be expected to lead discussion of one reading.

DVPR 43803 Theological Realism
T/TH 1:30-2:50 S400

This course will consider a variety of contemporary challenges to, and defenses of, theological realism.  (By contrast with so-called Niebuhrian realism, “theological realism” involves the question of whether God-talk is or could be about something real, i.e., something independent of human constructions.)  Toward that end, the course will take a closer look at four key challenges: (1) the anti-realism implied by some versions of empiricism; (2) the anti-realism sometimes inferred from a Kantian account of objects ‘in themselves,’ especially as this is combined with concerns about pluralism; (3) the anti-realism connected with a reading of Wittgenstein’s ‘forms of life’; and (4) anti-realism motivated by Heideggerian worries about conceptual violence.  One of the goals of the class is to give careful attention to these challenges, as well as to the rejoinders they have elicited.  An additional goal is to introduce students to the tools and resources of analytic philosophy and, in particular, to its use in recent ‘analytic theology.’

Ident. THEO 43803

DVPR 53302 Philosophy of Language Seminar: Quotations, Pictures, Words
TBA TBA

This seminar will examine one of the primary devices by means of which we talk about language ad mental content. Topics will include the varieties of quotation: direct, indirect, mixed, pure, and non-literal (scare-quotes); various current theories of direct and indirect quotation; the relation between quotation and meaning; context-sensitivity and quotation; and the pictorial character of quotation. More generally, the seminar will investigate quotation as a phenomenon on the border between semantics and pragmatics and between linguistic and non-linguistic modes of representation. Readings will be drawn from authors such as Frege, Quine, Tarski, Davidson, Bennett, Cappelen and Lepore, H. Clark, Recanti, Garcia-Carpintero, Geurts, C. Potts, Kaplan, T. Parsons, Predelli, BUrge Peacocke, Brandom, Reimer, Richard, Saka, Sperber and Wilson, and Washington.

Ident. PHIL 53300

Religion and Literature

RLIT 30402 Poetics of Midrash
T 9:00-11:50 S201

An introduction to the modern literary study of classical rabbinic Midrash; its styles and genres.  Particular attention will be given to issues of hermeneutics and theology.

Ident. HIJD 30402/THEO30402

RLIT 34604 Literature of the Christian East: Late Antiquity, Byzantium and Medieval Russia
T/TH 9:00-11:50 ARR

Instructor: Boris Maslov

After the fall of Rome in 476 CE, literatures of the Latin West and predominantly Greek-speaking Eastern provinces of the Roman empire followed two very different paths.  Covering both religious and secular genres, we will survey some of the most interesting texts written in the Christian East in the period from 330 CE (foundation of Constantinople) to the late 17th c. (Westernization of Russia).  Our focus throughout will be on continuities within particular styles and types of discourse (court entertainment, rhetoric, historiography, hagiography) and  their functions within East Christian cultures.  Readings will include Digenes Akritas and Song of Igor’s Campaign, as well as texts by Emperor Julian the Apostate, Gregory of Nazianzus, Emphraim the Syrian,Anna Comnena, Psellos, Ivan the Terrible, and Archbishop Avvakum.

No prerequisites.   All readings in English.

Ident. HCHR 34604/CMLT 32302

RLIT 38800 Art and Religion in Late Antiquity
T/TH 9:00-11:50 CWAC 153

This course will explore the ways art helped to form and articulate religion in the late antique period, taking as its focus traditional forms of state and civic polytheism, the so-called mystery cults, late ancient Judaism and the rise of Christianity. The material is vibrant and the problems profound – both empirically and as a heavily invested ancestral basis for many issues of current concern in the construction of modern identities. The theoretical prism through which the investigation will take place will be simultaneously an archaeologically-nuanced art history of actual objects and sites, and a critical historiography of the constructions of religion in the period, awake to varieties of apologetic and ideological agendas (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, secularist) in the approaches of modern scholarship.  The course will not require reading in languages outside English (although knowledge of ancient languages and a command of modern European languages will be helpful) and it will be taught as a 3-hour seminar on a speeded-up twice-a-week model over 5 weeks in the Spring.

Ident. ARTH 38800/28800

 

RLIT 39802 The Works of S.Y. Agnon
T 3:00-5:50 S403

Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1887-1970) is considered the leading Hebrew prose writer of the 20th century. The recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966, he was born in Eastern Galicia, immigrated to Ottoman Palestine at a very young age (1908), then spent more than a decade in Germany, and finally resettled in Palestine and made Jerusalem his home (1924). Agnon's writings are deeply rooted in the East European Jewish world of his birth, the focus of his fiction moving from description of traditional early 19th century society, to the more secular world at the turn of the century, up to the political, economic and moral collapse of Polish Jewry in the post WWI period. At the same time Agnon was skilled in representing the trials and tribulations to which he and his generation were exposed to in the Land of Israel. His major novel "Temol Shishom" is still considered the ultimate Zionist literary work. Highly erudite in traditional Jewish sources, much of Agnon's work is shaped by the impact of these texts (Bible, Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah, Hasidism etc.), creating  strong inter-textual relations between the old and the new. Indeed, more than any other Hebrew writer of his time, Agnon is positioned at the intersection between past and present, tradition and modernity.  Notwithstanding their unquestionable Jewish character, his novels and stories are of universal value and considered part of the literary "canon" of modern European literature. The aim of this course is to introduce Agnon to graduate (and, with permission, advanced undergraduate) students. Although the ability to read the works in the original Hebrew is not a prerequisite, those who can will be strongly encouraged to do so. However, English translations of his stories and novels as well as secondary literature in English will be included in the course readings with the intention to make Agnon’s writings more accessible.

PQ: Reading knowledge of Hebrew is recommended but is not required. 

Ident. NEHC 39802

RLIT 44302 The Representation of the Holocaust in Hebrew/Israeli Literature
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S208

From the early 1940s to this very day, the mass murder of the Jews in Europe during WW11 has been a major theme in Hebrew/Israeli fiction, poetry and drama.  The many gifted individuals who have contributed to Israeli “Holocaust literature” come from different backgrounds.  Some are survivors (e.g., K. Zetnik, Aharon Appelfeld, Dan Pagis).  Others are natives of East Europe who happened to spend the War years far away from counties under Nazi occupation (e.g., Nathan Alterman, U.Z. Greenberg).  And then there are the native Israeli authors (e.g., Haim Gury, Yoram Kaniuk) who became engaged in the subject only after the war, largely in the aftermath of the Eichmann trial.  Since the 1980’s much of this literature, which is alive to this very day, has been largely produced by writers of the post-Holocaust generation (Yehoshua Sobol, Nava Semel and David Grossman).

The aim of this course is to draw a broad picture of this literary-cultural phenomenon, based on selected reading of novels, short stories, poems and plays, all available in English translation.  Literary texts will be studied in the context of the complex attitude of Israeli society towards the Holocaust and in relation to the ideological and political debates in which it has been involved, both during World War 11 and after.

Constant reference will be made to films, stage productions, television programs and other media of representation, related, directly and indirectly, to the literary texts.

Ident. NEHC 44302

RLIT 45202 The Citation in Jewish Religious Culture
TH 9:00-11:50 S200

A phenomenological and textual inquiry into the types, role, and significance of quotations and citations in key genres of Jewish literature: primarily Hebrew Bible; Midrash and Talmud; Liturgical Poetry; Maimonides.  At the end, we shall look at some embedded citations in a modern Hebrew poet (Bialik).

Ident. HIJD 45202/THEO 45202

Religions in America

RAME 45103 Cities on a Hill, 1630-Present
T 1:30-4:20 S201

Beginning with John Winthrop’s famous 1630 speech, “A Model of Christian Charity,” and ending with the 2012 presidential election, we will examine the image of America as a “city on a hill.” How has this image changed and developed over time? We will discuss how it has been used by a variety of figures, including Puritans, nineteenth-century women’s rights activists and abolitionists, defenders of manifest destiny, and activists in the Christian Right.

Students are required to make a class presentation and to write a final 20-25 page paper.

Ident. HCHR 45103/HIST 63805

RAME 50700 Research in American Religious History
TH 1:30-4:20 MMC Library

This course is a seminar for students who wish to write research papers on American religious history. We will discuss how to identify good topics and ask good analytical questions, how to find sources, and how to make persuasive claims. Students are required to make two class presentations and to write a final paper, 25-30 pages in length. Given the brevity of the quarter, students are encouraged to identify a research topic before the first class or to expand a previous essay into a comprehensive research paper.

Ident. HCHR 50700/HIST 62200

Religious Ethics

RETH 45610 Seminal Texts in the History of Medical Ethics
Tu 6:00-8:50 S208

This seminar will involve a close reading (in translation, but with some texts available in original languages) of seminal texts from antiquity through to the mid-20th century that have shaped thinking about medical ethics. We will concentrate on Western works, including Hippocrates, Plato, Scribonius Largus, Ali al-Ruhani, Paracelsus, Isaac Israeli, Maimonides, John Gregory, Thomas Percival, Worthington Hooker, William Osler, Richard Cabot, Francis Peabody, and various medical oaths and codes of the 20th century. We will also read several non-Western texts: The Oath of Initiation of the Caraka Samhita and the Chinese text known as “The Five Commandments and Ten Requirements.” The class will be conducted in classical seminar style, with students assigned to lead the discussions of particular texts.  Our interdisciplinary discussion will exemplify and provide a context for the interdisciplinary nature of the field.

PQ. Limited to 25 students.

Ident. LAWS 80404/ MEDC 45610

RETH 50800 God and Morality
M 2:00-4:50 S200

This seminar addresses a basic question within theology and ethics, namely, what is and ought to be the connection between religious beliefs about “God” and the domain of moral value and right. The seminar addresses a range of contemporary answers to this question mindful of the history of the question, reaching the West at least back to Socrates, and different religious and philosophical traditions. The seminar will focus intensely on four crucial works, with attention to others as well. The basic texts include Iris Murdoch’s Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals where the argument, drawing on Platonic and some Buddhist ideas, is that the “good” must replace traditional beliefs about God; Emmanuel Levinas’s Otherwise Than Being and some of his more distinct Jewish writings wherein God is a “trace” within the encounter with the other; James Gustafson’s Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective that advocates theocentrism in the face of a modern anthropocentric ethical outlook; and, Charles Taylor’s, A Secular Age which re-opens the question under changed global conditions, Classical background texts, ranging from Plato’s Euthyphro to Kant and Calvin, will accompany our engagement with the main texts. This is an advanced seminar in theological ethics.  Presentation and research paper required.  Previous Ph.D. level work in theology and/or ethics is also required as well as permission from instructor.

Ident. THEO 50800

Theology

THEO 30402 Poetics of Midrash
T 9:00-11:50 S201

An introduction to the modern literary study of classical rabbinic Midrash; its styles and genres.  Particular attention will be given to issues of hermeneutics and theology.

Ident. HIJD 30402/RLIT 30402

THEO 31600 Introduction to Theology
T/TH 9:00-10:20 S106

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.

THEO 40301 Late Medieval Christianity
T/TH 1:30-2:50 S106

Iden. HCHR 40301

THEO 40600 Black Theology: 2nd Generation
W 1:30-4:20 S106

The purpose of this course is: (a) to interrogate critically the rise of a second generation of black theologians from 1980 and to identify major theological themes; (b) to examine the coherence of key intellectual ideas of this generation; and (c) to analyze the outstanding theological issues and methodological approaches among this group. How has the second generation of black theologians pushed the larger notion of academic theology forward?

THEO 43803 Theological Realism
T/TH 1:30-2:50 S400

This course will consider a variety of contemporary challenges to, and defenses of, theological realism.  (By contrast with so-called Niebuhrian realism, “theological realism” involves the question of whether God-talk is or could be about something real, i.e., something independent of human constructions.)  Toward that end, the course will take a closer look at four key challenges: (1) the anti-realism implied by some versions of empiricism; (2) the anti-realism sometimes inferred from a Kantian account of objects ‘in themselves,’ especially as this is combined with concerns about pluralism; (3) the anti-realism connected with a reading of Wittgenstein’s ‘forms of life’; and (4) anti-realism motivated by Heideggerian worries about conceptual violence.  One of the goals of the class is to give careful attention to these challenges, as well as to the rejoinders they have elicited.  An additional goal is to introduce students to the tools and resources of analytic philosophy and, in particular, to its use in recent ‘analytic theology.’

Ident. DVPR 43803

THEO 45202 The Citation in Jewish Religious Culture
TH 9:00-11:50 S200

A phenomenological and textual inquiry into the types, role, and significance of quotations and citations in key genres of Jewish literature: primarily Hebrew Bible; Midrash and Talmud; Liturgical Poetry; Maimonides.  At the end, we shall look at some embedded citations in a modern Hebrew poet (Bialik).

Ident. HIJD 45202/RLIT 45202

THEO 50800 God and Morality
M 2:00-4:50 S200

This seminar addresses a basic question within theology and ethics, namely, what is and ought to be the connection between religious beliefs about “God” and the domain of moral value and right. The seminar addresses a range of contemporary answers to this question mindful of the history of the question, reaching the West at least back to Socrates, and different religious and philosophical traditions. The seminar will focus intensely on four crucial works, with attention to others as well. The basic texts include Iris Murdoch’s Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals where the argument, drawing on Platonic and some Buddhist ideas, is that the “good” must replace traditional beliefs about God; Emmanuel Levinas’s Otherwise Than Being and some of his more distinct Jewish writings wherein God is a “trace” within the encounter with the other; James Gustafson’s Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective that advocates theocentrism in the face of a modern anthropocentric ethical outlook; and, Charles Taylor’s, A Secular Age which re-opens the question under changed global conditions, Classical background texts, ranging from Plato’s Euthyphro to Kant and Calvin, will accompany our engagement with the main texts. This is an advanced seminar in theological ethics.  Presentation and research paper required.  Previous Ph.D. level work in theology and/or ethics is also required as well as permission from instructor.

Ident. RETH 50800