Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

AASR 42410 Material Religion
T 1-3:50pm S201

This course examines approaches to the material study of religion.  What are the gains of studying religion through bodily practices and sensory perceptions?  How have various scholarly disciplines examined ritual art, objects, things and the organization of space and time?  What analytic directions for understanding the social life of religion has a materialist orientation enabled?  The course will include readings on mediation, technology and public culture.  

Ident. RLIT 42410

AASR 42907 Contemporary Theories of Religion
M/W 10:30-11:50 S403

PQ: Must have taken "Classical Theories of Religion" HREL 32900/AASR 32900/ANTH 35005

 

Ident. HREL 42907

AASR 43005 Is Modernity Disenchanted?
Th 11:00-1:50 S200

One of the dominant topoi in twentieth-century social science was what Max Weber famously called the "disenchantment of the world," the idea that with industrialization, the entrenchment of capitalism, the dominance of the modern bureaucratic state, and the rise of modern science, religion and "magicality" would gradually wither away. This course examines such arguments in relation to the pervasive evidence that magicality persists around precisely those sites most intimately associated with modernity's rationality and progress: the market, science and technology, and the state. Readings will be from anthropology, history, religious studies, and social theory. 

 Ident. ANTH 43005

AASR 50207 Christianity and Korea
Tues 4:00-6:50 S201

Selected readings on the topics pertaining to the joint study of Christianity and of Korea. 

Ident. HREL 50207

AASR 54000 Ethnographic Methods
T 11:00-1:50pm S 201
This is a writing-intensive seminar for doctoral students engaged in ethnographic research. Readings will consist of articles on theory and method, as well as a selection of ethnographic monographs. Assignments will include a variety of ethnographic writing exercises and experiments with genre and form.

Bible

BIBL 31300 Greek Tragedy
ARR ARR

Instructor: Elizabeth Asmis

This course is an introduction to Aeschylean drama in general, seen through the special problems posed by one play. Lectures and discussions are concerned with the play, the development and early form of Attic drama, and philosophical material. Modern Aeschylean scholars are also read and discussed.  PQ: GREK 20300 or equivalent

Ident. GREK 21300/31300

BIBL 32700 Law in Biblical Literature
TH 10:00-12:50 S406

The course will survey topics of biblical law, recover biblical legal reasoning, compare biblical law with comparable ancient Near Eastern records and literature, reconsider the nature of biblical legal composition, interpret biblical legal passages within their larger compositions as pieces of literature, analyze several non-legal biblical texts for the legal interpretation embedded in them, and engage modern scholarship on all these aspects. In addition to preparing to discuss assigned biblical texts, students will also work towards composing an original piece of sustained analysis submitted at quarter’s end.

PQ: Biblical Hebrew I-III + 1 text course.

BIBL 36010 The Book of Psalms (Biblical Hebrew III)
M/W 10:30-11:50 S208

Text-course covering select psalms for their varied voice, topics, prosody, poetics, and religious ideas.

PQ: Biblical Hebrew I-II

BIBL 41801 Justin Martyr
T/TH 9:00-10:20 S200

It is probably safe to say that Justin Martyr was the first truly philosophic Christian theologian, unless one gives the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews that distinction. This course will focus on a careful reading of the Greek text of the First Apology and (as time permits) the Second Apology, with attention to Justin's language and literary style. We will also concentrate on Justin as an early defender of and advocate for the Christian faith, the importance of his logos doctrine, his demonology, and his sacramental ideas and theology of worship.

PQ:  At least two years of Greek

Ident. GREK 24500/34500/NTEC 41801/FNDL 24504

BIBL 42210 The Gospel of John
M/W 10:30-11:50 S403

This is an exegesis course on the Gospel of John, which we will read in its entirety in Greek in conversation with select scholarship and commentators.  In addition to philological analysis, we will forefront narrative criticism as a methodological lens for interpreting John as a story with close attention to the narrative functions of the narrator, settings, plot, characters, audience, irony, and metaphor.             

PQ: Greek; Introductory Koine Greek in the Divinity School, or equivalent.

BIBL 43502 Ignatius of Antioch
M 1:30-3:50 S403

We will closely read in Greek the letters of Ignatius of Antioch, with special attention to questions of authenticity and date, his rhetoric in the context of the Second Sophistic, his theology of suffering and martyrdom, as well as his general importance as a source for understanding early Christian history, theology, and interpretation. 

PQ: Intermediate Greek skills (Koine)

Divinity School

DVSC 45100 Reading Course: Special Topic
ARR ARR

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

DVSC 49900 Exam Preparation
ARR ARR

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

DVSC 50100 Research: Divinity
ARR ARR

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

DVSC 59900 Thesis Work: Divinity
ARR ARR

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

DVSC 70000 Advanced Study: Divinity

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

History of Christianity

HCHR 30100 History of Christian Thought I
M 9:00-11:50 S106

This first course in the History of Christian Thought sequence deals with the post New Testament period until Augustine, stretching roughly from 150 through 450CE. The aim of the course is to follow the development of Christian thought by relating its structural features to the historical context in which they arose without adhering to schematic models such as East vs. West, orthodoxy vs. heresy, Alexandrian vs. Antiochene exegesis. The following authors and themes will be analyzed and discussed:

1. Martyrdom and the Authority of Christian Witness: Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr

2. Platonism and Exegesis: Philo and Origen

3. Incarnation and Asceticism: Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa

4. Ecclesial Unity and Episcopal Authority: Cyprian, Ambrose and Chrysostom

5. Projecting Historical Authority: Eusebius and Jerome

6. Normative Belief and Gnostic Dissent: All About the Creeds

7. Ancient Thought Baptized: Augustine of Hippo

Ident. THEO 30100/HIST 31000

HCHR 30300 History of Christian Thought III
Tu/Th 1:30-2:50 S106

This course covers the early modern era from the 14th through the 16th century. The emphasis is on intellectual history, particularly that of the reformation and the Council of Trent. The course includes readings from 14th century mystics and late-medieval dissidents such as John Hus, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, as well as Ignatius of Loyola and the Council of Trent. 

Ident. THEO 30300

HCHR 41401 Gender, Power, and Religion in Early Medieval Europe (800-1100)
M 12:00-2:50 S400

This course will examine the intersection of religious and secular power and the way these were reflected in and shaped by the gender systems of early medieval Europe. Topics to be studied include Kantorowicz's notion of "the king's two bodies," royal men and women, women and memorial culture, lineage and gender, marriage, and monastic culture. We will examine the Carolingian world and its aftermath, Ottonian Germany, Anglo-Saxon England, Hungary, and the early Spanish kingdoms.

Ident. HIST 42701/GNDR 41400

HCHR 41700 Calvin's Institutes
T/Th 10:30-11:50 S106

This course examines the key concepts of Calvin’s theology through his major work: the definitive 1559 edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. 

Ident. THEO 41300/FNDL 23113/RLST 20702

HCHR 43995 Comparative Issues in Monotheistic Mystical Traditions
TH 10am-1pm MMC Library
Description:  The mysticisms of the three monotheistic faiths share many features that invite comparison. All three deal with sacred texts that overlap in instances, and all three responded in different ways to the philosophical mysticisms inherited from Classical antiquity. While there are a number of influences, both direct and indirect, among these traditions, there are far more instances of similar structural motifs shared by the three. This course is designed to explore the history and structural dynamics of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms through the careful reading of primary sources across the traditions.
 
Requirements:
The Class will be limited to 20 students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each student will be expected to demonstrate reading competence in the language of one of the mystical traditions (e. g., Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Latin, or one of the Christian vernaculars).

 

Ident. ISLM 43995/ RLIT 43995 / CMLT 40200/ HIJD 43995

HCHR 48700 Late Medieval Women: Authorship and Authority
T 1:30-4:20 S208

In recent decades there has been a great deal of interest in medieval vernacular theology, as complementing the more traditional division of medieval theological texts into monastic and scholastic. This course will focus on a number of medieval women writers, dealing mainly albeit not exclusively with vernacular texts. After a historical overview of the position of women in the early Middle Ages, the course will focus on Heloise and Hildegard of Bingen as transitional figures, and continue with four women writers writing in the vernacular, i.e., Mechtild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch, Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich. The course will link the spectrum of vernacular languages which they represent to the diversity of their individual positions and analyze that diversity in terms of ecclesiastical developments, gender division, authorial identity, and theological criticism. The final aim is to come to an assessment of the constructive contribution of these vernacular treatises to the tradition of late medieval theology and spirituality.

Ident. THEO 48701/HIST 60909

 

HCHR 51610 Between East and West: Venice in the Pre-Modern Period
M 6:00-8:50 S 201

Venice’s long-standing ties with the Byzantine Empire have left their visible trace in the city’s art and architecture and have had an equally strong impact on Venetian myth-making in the pre-modern period. Until today the appropriation of Byzantine style is especially evident in the church of Saint Mark the Evangelist, as well as in the decoration of less-well known medieval churches of the Venetian Lagoon. During the so-called Fourth Crusade, the Sack of Constantinople has led to large-scale pillaging of the Byzantine capital and the transfer to Venice of countless Byzantine artifacts, among them are liturgical items, reliquaries, icons, and architectural spoils. How were these artifacts employed in the Venetian Lagoon for religious and political ends after being disassociated from their original contexts? What transformations did they experience with regard to usage and appearance? What kinds of new ceremonies, both religious and secular, did they inspire? What was their impact on artistic creativity and religious life in their new environment? How were they perceived intellectually, and what kinds of narratives evolved around them in Venice over the centuries? These are some of the key questions to guide our research. On a broader scale, we will investigate various phenomena of cultural transfer and ‘hybridity’ from the Middle Ages to the Baroque era.

Reading comprehension of scholarship published in foreign languages, especially German, is essential (other language skills are desirable, esp. in Latin, French, and Italian). Undergraduates who have these skills are welcome to attend after obtaining consent from the instructor.

PQ: Reading ability in German is indispensable; reading skills in other languages are desirable (esp. Latin, French, and Italian).

Ident. RLIT 51610 / ARTH 41610

History of Judaism

HIJD 43100 History and Narrative in the First and Second Books of Maccabees
T 9-11:50am S200
The first two Books of Maccabees, composed by Jews in antiquity but preserved only via the Christian canon, in Greek, narrate the events of a critical and formative period of Jewish history in the second century BCE—a period of Hellenization, persecution, rebellion, and state-building. But they reflect very different points of view and ways of life. 1 Maccabees, originally in Hebrew, is a Judean work, the dynastic history of the sovereign Judean rulers of the Hasmonean state. 2 Maccabees, in contrast, is an originally Greek work and reflects the world of Judaism in the Hellenistic Diaspora, subjects of Hellenistic monarchs. In this seminar we will focus on the two books both as evidence for events in Judaea and as evidence for the respective contexts that they reflect. The seminar is open to students with at least basic proficiency in ancient Greek.
 
 
HIJD 43995 Comparative Issues in Monotheistic Mystical Traditions
TH 10am-1pm MMC Library
Description:  The mysticisms of the three monotheistic faiths share many features that invite comparison. All three deal with sacred texts that overlap in instances, and all three responded in different ways to the philosophical mysticisms inherited from Classical antiquity. While there are a number of influences, both direct and indirect, among these traditions, there are far more instances of similar structural motifs shared by the three. This course is designed to explore the history and structural dynamics of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms through the careful reading of primary sources across the traditions.
 
Requirements:
The Class will be limited to 20 students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each student will be expected to demonstrate reading competence in the language of one of the mystical traditions (e. g., Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Latin, or one of the Christian vernaculars).

Ident. ISLM 43995/ RLIT 43995 / CMLT 40200/HCHR 43995

History of Religions

HREL 30300 Indian Philosophy II
T/TH 10:30-11:50 ARR

Following on the Indian Philosophy I course offered winter term, this course will survey major developments in the mature period of scholastic philosophy in India — a period, beginning a little before the middle of the first millennium C.E., that is characterized by extensive and sophisticated debate (made possible by the emergence of a largely shared vocabulary of key philosophical concepts) among philosophers from a great variety of schools of thought.  Students are encouraged (but not required) to take Indian Philosophy I before taking this course.

Ident. DVPR 30302/SALC 20902/30902/RLST 24202

HREL 33702 Ethical and Theological Issues in Hinduism
M/W 3:00-4:20 S200

An exploration of Hindu attitudes to, and mythologies of, women, animals, people of low caste, members of various religious groups, homosexuals, foreigners, criminals, and in general violators of the codes of dharma.

The course is designed around the new Norton Anthology of Hinduism, supplemented by a history of the Hindus.  The readings will focus closely on a few texts, some Sanskrit and some from vernacular literatures, from several different historical periods.  It will situate 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.

Reading list:  Wendy Doniger, The Norton Anthology of Hinduism. Norton, 2014. Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History.  Penguin, 2009

PQ:  Open to undergraduate and graduate students.  15-20 page paper at the end of the course.

Ident. SALC 38304/SCTH 32202/RLST 23904

HREL 40301 The Discovery of Paganism
W 1:30-4:20 JRL 207

Instructors: Clifford Ando and Claudia Brittenham

How do we know what we know about ancient religions? Historians of religion often begin by turning to texts: either sacred texts, or, in the absence of such scriptures, descriptions of belief and practice by observers from outside the faith. Archaeologists focus their attention on the spaces and traces of religious practice—or at least those that survive—while art historians begin by examining images of deities and religious rites. Yet we often fail to see the extent to which the questions which we ask of all of these diverse sources are conditioned by Christian rhetoric about pagan worship. In this course, we compare two moments when Christians encountered "pagans": during the initial Christian construction of a discourse on paganism (and, more broadly, a discourse on religion) during the late Roman empire and during the Spanish discovery of the New World. Our course examines silences and absences in the textual and material records, as well as the divergences between texts and objects, in order to further our understanding of ancient religious practice. We will begin to see the many ways in which, as scholars of religion, we are in effect still Christian theologians, paving the way for new approaches to the study of ancient religion.

 

Ident. CDIN 40301/KNOW 40301/CLAS 44916/LACS 40301/HIST 64202/ARTH 40310

HREL 42907 Contemporary Theories of Religion
M/W 10:30-11:50 S403

PQ: Must have taken "Classical Theories of Religion" HREL 32900/AASR 32900/ANTH 35005

 

Ident. AASR 42907

HREL 47416 Curses and Cursing in the Ancient Mediterranean World
ARR ARR

We will survey the evidence for cursing in the Ancient Mediterranean World, beginning briefly in Mesopotamia and Egypt and the focusing mainly on the circum-Mediterranean basin from the archaic period down until Late-Antiquity. These rituals will include the conditional self-curses attached to oath, revenge curses, binding-curses (defixiones), prayers for justice, “voodoo dolls” and erotic curses used for seduction

PQ: some knowledge of Greek and Latin recommended

Ident. ANCM 47416 / CLAS 37416

HREL 50207 Christianity and Korea
Tues 4:00-6:50 S201

Selected readings on the topics pertaining to the joint study of Christianity and of Korea. 

Ident. AASR 50207

HREL 52200 Problems in the History of Religions
W 7:00-9:30 ARR

A seminar for students in the PhD program in the History of Religions working on their colloquium paper, orals statement for the Qualifying Examination, or dissertation chapter. 

PQ:  Limited to Ph.D. students in the History of Religions.  

 

Islamic Studies

ISLM 30338 Persian Lyric Poetry-2
TBD TBD

Topic: Ghazal Poetry 2 - Safavids to the Present

The ghazal developed from a lyrical poem in Arabic on the topic of heterosexual love, to a fixed form in Persian on love (often homoerotic) and loss, wine, praise of the patron/ruler, or meditation on the divine Beloved, to a melancholy meditation on the human condition and personal defeat.  It took European romanticism by storm and has recently become a canonical form in English poetry.  This class traces the development of the Persian ghazal from Jami (d. 1492) through the 20th century, examining the Realist School poets (Maktab-e voqu`), the Fresh Style (Tazeh-gu), neo-Classical style, and modernist ghazal poets, examining questions of lyric form, traditional conventions and their adaptation, complexity, the ethics of defeatism, gendering of the form and the breakdown of traditional lyrical form into "ghazal-like" poems (ghazalvaareh), with a special focus on Vahshi, Sa'eb, Bidel, Hazin, Zib al-Nesa, Qorrat al-`Ayn, Iqbal, Simin-e Behbehani.

PQ: Native or near-native knowledge of Persian.

Ident. PERS 30338

ISLM 40010 Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies
ARR ARR

This hands-on course is designed for graduate students who wish to learn about the basic tools, primary and secondary sources, key references, important journals, distinct areas of study, and electronic resources available to researchers and teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies. We will acquire first-hand knowledge and practice of essential skills needed for research as well as teaching in the field. Methodological, historiographical, and pedagogical issues related to studying and teaching subjects related to Islamicate civilization  in a historical, cultural, political, and religious framework, and in the context of an American college classroom will be discussed. 

PQ: At least 2 years of Arabic.

Ident. ARAB 40010
 

ISLM 40500 Readings in the Text of the Qur'an
T 1:30-4:20 MMC Library (2nd floor, Swift)

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.

PQ: The second quarter of "Introduction to Qur'anic Arabic," or 2 years of Arabic or the equivalent.

Ident. NEHC 40601

ISLM 43995 Comparative Issues in Monotheistic Mystical Traditions
TH 10am-1pm MMC Library
The mysticisms of the three monotheistic faiths share many features that invite comparison. All three deal with sacred texts that overlap in instances, and all three responded in different ways to the philosophical mysticisms inherited from Classical antiquity. While there are a number of influences, both direct and indirect, among these traditions, there are far more instances of similar structural motifs shared by the three. This course is designed to explore the history and structural dynamics of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms through the careful reading of primary sources across the traditions.
 
The Class will be limited to 20 students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each student will be expected to demonstrate reading competence in the language of one of the mystical traditions (e. g., Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Latin, or one of the Christian vernaculars).

Ident. RLIT 43995 / CMLT 40200/ HCHR 43995 / HIJD 43995

ISLM 50010 Seminar on `Afif al-Din al-Tilimsani
M 9:00-11:50 S200

This advanced reading seminar explores the mystico-philosophical writings of 'Afif al-Din al-Tilimsani (d. 690/1291), a sophisticated and understudied disciple of Ibn Arabi who wrote several important commentaries (shuruh) on major Sufi works. We will examine selections from five of his commentaries, including: (1) his Commentary on the Divine Names (available in manuscript), (2) Commentary on Surat al-Fatiha and al-Baqara (available in manuscript), (3) Commentary on Niffari's Mawaqif ("The Halting Places"), (4) Commentary on Harawi's Manazil al-sa'irin ("The Stations of the Wayfarers"), and (5) Commentary on Ibn 'Arabi's Fusus al-hikam ("The Ringstones of Wisdom"). We will also read selections from his Sufi poetry.

PQ: Advanced Arabic is required.
 

IDENT. ARAB 40015

 

Ministry and Religious Leadership

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

Instructors: Cynthia Lindner and Teaching Team

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 M.Div. 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: Second year M.Div. students or by permission of instructor

PQ: Second year MDiv students or by permission of the instructor.

CHRM 40700 Practice of Ministry III
ARR ARR

The Practicum sequence complements the MDiv Congregational Placement and offers opportunities for students to engage in critical reflection of their respective practical experiences of ministry leadership. In addition to this element of personal and practical reflections, students will engage a range of readings, written exercises, and classroom conversations to assist in articulating and refining their own practice of ministry.

CHRM 50401 Advanced Seminar in Spiritual Care: Defining Health: Multidisciplinary Explorations
Tues 4:30-6:50 S400

Despite decades of innovative attempts to contain cost, healthcare costs continue to increase in the United States and outcomes lag behind those of other ‘developed’ countries.  Consequently, fundamental questions are being posed anew about how we have historically defined health and attempted to promote it at the population level.  This course will examine the claim that how we understand and narrate the human condition--our assumptions about human agency, vulnerability, and purpose--influence how we think about “healing" and “health", and inform how we build a system of “care" and health promotion.  As a case study, we will examine the emerging research on the “diseases of despair” and consider the biological impacts of affective states like loneliness, hope, and social connection.  We will also consider how our deep stories orient us in relationship to challenges that are endemically a part of the human circumstance and the technologies for healing and coping that they make available.  While the health care professions (such as medicine, social work, and chaplaincy) must treat complicated and integrated human beings, our discrete professional training can have dis-integrating and disempowering effects on our patients, and on our own practice.  Within this class, we hope to promote an interprofessional conversation between future healthcare professionals, faith leaders, scholars, and teachers that examines the potential of multidisciplinary epistemologies to improve care outcomes for patients and more sustainable practices for all who provide care in its various forms and settings.  

Facilitated by Cynthia Lindner and Matthew Richards, with guest presenters.
 

Philosophy of Religions

DVPR 53310 Questions About the Concept of Revelation
W 1-3:50pm S106
Although the concept of Revelation is widely admitted as central, most of all in the biblical tradition, it remained unexplained, if not absent, in the first centuries of Christian theology. And, its more recent establishment in dogmatic theology comes mostly from the philosophical polemic of the Enlightenment. A more precise concept of Revelation could be worked out by using categories borrowed from phenomenology and applying them to the most relevant testimonies of Revelation in some biblical texts.                                                                                 
 
Ident. THEO 53310 
 
DVPR 30302 Indian Philosophy II
T/TH 10:30-11:50 ARR

Following on the Indian Philosophy I course offered winter term, this course will survey major developments in the mature period of scholastic philosophy in India — a period, beginning a little before the middle of the first millennium C.E., that is characterized by extensive and sophisticated debate (made possible by the emergence of a largely shared vocabulary of key philosophical concepts) among philosophers from a great variety of schools of thought.  Students are encouraged (but not required) to take Indian Philosophy I before taking this course.

Ident. HREL 30300/SALC 20902/30902/RLST 24202

DVPR 33812 Descartes on the Self and God, and His Opponents
M 1:00-3:50 S106

On the basis of Meditations on First Philosophy, with Objections and Replies, one will study how Descartes’s positions were understood both by his contemporaries (Hobbes, Pascal, etc.) as well as by later philosophers (Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, etc.). Emphasis will be put on the misunderstandings of the ego, of the so-called “dualism” and of the definitions of God.

Ident. THEO 33812

DVPR 47004 Religious Diversity as a Philosophical Problem
T/Th 3:00-4:20 S400

The manifest diversity of religious traditions, many of which advance doctrinal claims that evidently contradict the claims of other traditions, raises significant philosophical problems — especially epistemological and ethical problems — regarding truth and justification, tolerance and exclusion, etc.  Many take the competing and mutually exclusive claims of the world’s religious traditions as evidence of the falsity of some or all of them, or as recommending skepticism, relativism, or other such ways of accommodating the conflicting claims.  This course will explore some of these issues, focusing particularly on issues of truth, justification, and toleration.  In keeping with the theme of diversity, the course will consider not only some modern Western attempts to address the various philosophical problems, but also some examples of philosophical thought reflecting India’s historically different experience of religious diversity.

DVPR 51404 The Pantheist Controversy: Spinoza to Hegel
M 3:00-5:50 S208

This course focuses on Spinoza’s system of thought and its reception in late 18th and early 19th century Germany.  The first five weeks will be a careful reading of Spinoza’s Ethics, supplemented by selections from his Principles of Cartesian Philosophy, Short Treatise on God, Man and His Well-Being, and Emendation of the Intellect.   The second half of the class will examine the interpretation and reception of and response to Spinoza’s ideas, mainly in Jacobi’s Letters on Spinoza, and the response to this response from Schelling and Hegel, above all in Hegel’s Faith and Knowledge.   Time permitting, we will examine Hegel’s changed views on Spinoza in his mature works (post-1807).  Our focus will be the on understanding the thought of both Schelling and Hegel in the early 1800s as a kind of Kantian Spinozism, a seeming oxymoron, and the consequences of their later abandonment of this position.

DVPR 51410 Neo-Confucianism of the Song to Ming Dynasties
W 3:00-5:50 S208

This course will consist of close readings of the works of the key Neo-Confucian thinkers of the Song and Ming dynasties (11th to 17th centuries): Zhou Dunyi, Zhang Zai, Cheng Hao, Cheng Yi, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming and perhaps others, focusing on their metaphysical and ethical ideas, especially Li (sometimes translated as “principle,” or as “pattern,” or as “coherence” or as “productive compossibility”), Qi (sometimes translated as “vital force” or “material force”), ren (“benevolence,” “humaneness,”), xin  (“heart-mind”) and zhong (“center, the unexpressed, equilibrium”).

PQ: Some classical Chinese reading ability and some familiarity with classical Confucianism Desirable.

Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

RLIT 39150 Veiling the Image: Sacred and Profane - Antiquity to Modernity
M/W 1:30-4:20 CWAC for weeks 1 through 5

This course will explore the fascinating culture of covering and veiling sacred icons, or images that were thought to cause trauma or outrage in the European tradition. It will begin in the ancient world and explore mediaeval, Renaissance and modern art – both paintings and sculptures, as well as images that represent the covering of images…   It will attempt to restore the sensual, the tactile and the performative to the experience of viewing art and engaging with its powers, by contrast to the prevailing regime of disinterested contemplation encouraged by the modernist art gallery.  The course will be taught in a speeded up form twice a week for the first five weeks of the quarter, with much encouragement to students to experiment and think against the grain.

Scheduling note: M/W 1:30-4:20 CWAC for weeks 1 through 5

Ident. ARTH 39150 / RLST 28716

RLIT 40010 Ruins
T /TH 1:30-4:20 JRL 207

“Ruins” will cover texts and images, from Thucydides to WWII, via the Reformation. We will include films (e.g. Rossellini’s “Germany Year Zero”), art (e.g. H. Robert, Piranesi) archaeology, the museum (Soane).  On ruins writing, we will read Thucydides, Pausanias from within antiquity, the Enlightenment responses to the destruction and archaeological rediscovery of Pompeii, Diderot, Simmel, Freud on the mind as levels of ruins (Rome) and the analysis as reconstructive archaeologist as well as on the novel Gradiva and the Acropolis, the Romantic obsession with ruins, and the firebombing in WWII. We will also consider the photographing of ruins, and passages from the best-known works on photography (Benjamin, Sontag, Ritchen, Fried, Azoulay). The goal is to see how ruin gazing, and its depictions (textual, imagistic, photographic, etc.) change from the ancients (Greek and Roman), to the Romantic use of ruins as a source of (pleasurable) melancholy, to the technological “advances” in targeting and decimating civilian populations that describe the Second Word War.

Runs from weeks 1 through 5; enrollment capped at 20

Ident. CDIN 40010 / ARTH 40010 / CMLT 40010 / RLIT 40010

RLIT 41400 History of Criticism: 16th-19th centuries
Tues 9-11:50am S 400
This course examines the practices of interpretation as they emerge in modernity, and will cover selected foundational figures in the emergent modern practices of biblical criticism, literary criticism, and aesthetics.  The course is built around comparisons of figures within particular practices (e.g., Luther and Spinoza for biblical criticism; Sidney and Johnson for literary criticism; Lessing and Kant for aesthetics; ), and among terms that span those practices (e.g., "mimesis," "nature," "image").  Readings are all taken from the RL1 exam list (and students scheduled/planning to take that exam should take this course).
RLIT 42410 Material Religion
T 1-3:50pm S201

This course examines approaches to the material study of religion.  What are the gains of studying religion through bodily practices and sensory perceptions?  How have various scholarly disciplines examined ritual art, objects, things and the organization of space and time?  What analytic directions for understanding the social life of religion has a materialist orientation enabled? The course will include readings on mediation, technology and public culture.  

Ident. AASR 42410

RLIT 43995 Comparative Issues in Monotheistic Mystical Traditions
TH 10am-1pm MMC Library
The mysticisms of the three monotheistic faiths share many features that invite comparison. All three deal with sacred texts that overlap in instances, and all three responded in different ways to the philosophical mysticisms inherited from Classical antiquity. While there are a number of influences, both direct and indirect, among these traditions, there are far more instances of similar structural motifs shared by the three. This course is designed to explore the history and structural dynamics of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms through the careful reading of primary sources across the traditions.
 
The Class will be limited to 20 students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each student will be expected to demonstrate reading competence in the language of one of the mystical traditions (e. g., Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Latin, or one of the Christian vernaculars).

Ident. ISLM 43995 / CMLT 40200/ HCHR 43995 / HIJD 43995

RLIT 51610 Between East and West: Venice in the Pre-Modern Period
M 6:00-8:50 S 201

Venice’s long-standing ties with the Byzantine Empire have left their visible trace in the city’s art and architecture and have had an equally strong impact on Venetian myth-making in the pre-modern period. Until today the appropriation of Byzantine style is especially evident in the church of Saint Mark the Evangelist, as well as in the decoration of less-well known medieval churches of the Venetian Lagoon. During the so-called Fourth Crusade, the Sack of Constantinople has led to large-scale pillaging of the Byzantine capital and the transfer to Venice of countless Byzantine artifacts, among them are liturgical items, reliquaries, icons, and architectural spoils. How were these artifacts employed in the Venetian Lagoon for religious and political ends after being disassociated from their original contexts? What transformations did they experience with regard to usage and appearance? What kinds of new ceremonies, both religious and secular, did they inspire? What was their impact on artistic creativity and religious life in their new environment? How were they perceived intellectually, and what kinds of narratives evolved around them in Venice over the centuries? These are some of the key questions to guide our research. On a broader scale, we will investigate various phenomena of cultural transfer and ‘hybridity’ from the Middle Ages to the Baroque era.

Reading comprehension of scholarship published in foreign languages, especially German, is essential (other language skills are desirable, esp. in Latin, French, and Italian). Undergraduates who have these skills are welcome to attend after obtaining consent from the instructor.

PQ: Reading ability in German is indispensable; reading skills in other languages are desirable (esp. Latin, French, and Italian).

Ident. HCHR 51610 / ARTH 41610

RLIT 52010 Religion and American Civil War Literature
W/F 3-4:20 S400

This course reexamines the literary critical discourse on the subject of American Civil War literature from the disciplinary vantage of religious studies. In so doing it considers whether due attention to the theological underpinnings of expressions of postwar American literary nationalism recommends a reimagining of the generic category (i.e., America Civil War literature) and its canon. Though not without significant exceptions, we’ll concentrate our attentions on the period from 1865 to 1905. Our literary and critical interlocutors include (among others) Daniel Aaron, John William De Forest, William Dean Howells, Walt Whitman, Horace Bushnell, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Thomas Dixon, Frederick Douglass, and Alexander Gardner.

Master’s and doctoral students in the Divinity School have first priority for registration; there is no “pass/fail” option for the course.

Ident. RAME 52010

Religions in America

RAME 52010 Religion and American Civil War Literature
W/F 3-4:20 pm S400

This course reexamines the literary critical discourse on the subject of American Civil War literature from the disciplinary vantage of religious studies. In so doing it considers whether due attention to the theological underpinnings of expressions of postwar American literary nationalism recommends a reimagining of the generic category (i.e., America Civil War literature) and its canon. Though not without significant exceptions, we’ll concentrate our attentions on the period from 1865 to 1905. Our literary and critical interlocutors include (among others) Daniel Aaron, John William De Forest, William Dean Howells, Walt Whitman, Horace Bushnell, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Thomas Dixon, Frederick Douglass, and Alexander Gardner.

Master’s and doctoral students in the Divinity School have first priority for registration; there is no “pass/fail” option for the course.

Ident. RLIT 52010

Religious Ethics

RETH 30100 Minor Classics in Ethics
Various Thursdays, 12:15-1:30 MMC Seminar Room

This is an informal, non-credit reading group of RETH Faculty and all students interested in religious ethics to discuss minor classics in contemporary ethics, philosophy, and theology.  Discussions address a pre-circulated article for each meeting.  Selected articles have revitalized forgotten themes or have launched new problems for moral philosophy and religious ethics.   The 2016-17 academic year marks the second of a two- year reading cycle.  No background is required. 

Thursdays 12:15-1:30pm: 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th weeks of the quarter. 

No Credit - DO NOT REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE

Please send email contact information to Professor Richard Miller (  ) to gain access to the Google Drive, which posts the reading list and the readings in PDF.   

RETH 41000 Feminist Philosophy
M/W/TH 1:30-2:35 ARR

The course is an introduction to the major varieties of philosophical feminism.  After studying some key historical texts in the Western tradition (Wollstonecraft, Rousseau, J. S. Mill), we examine four types of contemporary philosophical feminism: Liberal Feminism (Susan Moller Okin, Martha Nussbaum), Radical Feminism (Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin), Difference Feminism (Carol Gilligan, Annette Baier, Nel Noddings), and Postmodern "Queer" Gender Theory (Judith Butler, Michael Warner).  After studying each of these approaches, we will focus on political and ethical problems of contemporary international feminism, asking how well each of the approaches addresses these problems. 

 

Ident.  LAWS/PHIL 31900/ PLSC 51900/HMRT 31900/GNSE 29600

RETH 46502 Comparative Religious Environmental Ethics
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S201

Environmental issues have been studied by religious ethicists of many long-established religious traditions as well as emerging nature religions.  While common themes often emerge in terms of the ethical ideas used (justice, responsibility) or the subjects studied (species extinction, population, water, food, climate change, etc.), religious ethicists draw on a wide range of ethical methods, theories, and sources of authority to develop their environmental ethics. To illustrate this diversity we will explore several ethical methods as applied to environmental ethics.  These approaches may include the use of the Bible, Church teachings, virtue ethics, and natural law theory in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant environmental ethics; how the Islamic legal tradition can be applied to environmental issues; the use of prayer, meditation, and ethical analysis in Buddhist environmental ethics; the ethics of the nature religion of deep ecology; and/or the quest for a global environmental ethic as expressed in the Earth Charter initiative. 

RETH 51301 Seminar: Law-Philosophy Workshop
M 4:00-6:00 ARR

Instructors: Brian Leiter; cosponsored by Martha Nussbaum.

The theme is “Topics in Jurisprudence.”

This course is held throughout the year, total about 12 meetings.

Ident. LAWS 

RETH 51802 Climate Change Ethics
T 3:00-5:50 S200

Anthropogenic climate change is the largest challenge facing human civilization.  Its physical and temporal scale and unprecedented complexity at minimum require extensions of existing ethical systems, if not new ethical tools.  This course will begin by examining natural and social-scientific studies of climate change and its current and predicted effects (e.g. the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Stern Review).  Most of the course will examine how religious and philosophical ethical systems respond to the vast temporal and spatial scales of climate change and its inherent uncertainties.  For instance, common principles of environmental ethics such as justice and responsibility are often reimagined in climate ethics.  We will also explore the degree to which the assumptions of many modern Western ethical systems including linear causality, an emphasis on individuals, and purely rational decision-making foster or inhibit climate ethics.  In the course, we will take a comparative approach to environmental ethics, examining perspectives from secular Western philosophy, Christianity (Catholic and Protestant), Buddhist, and Islamic thought.

Theology

THEO 53310 Questions About the Concept of Revelation
W 1-3:50pm S106
Although the concept of Revelation is widely admitted as central, most of all in the biblical tradition, it remained unexplained, if not absent, in the first centuries of Christian theology. And, its more recent establishment in dogmatic theology comes mostly from the philosophical polemic of the Enlightenment. A more precise concept of Revelation could be worked out by using categories borrowed from phenomenology and applying them to the most relevant testimonies of Revelation in some biblical texts.                                                                                 
 
Ident. DVPR 53310 
 
THEO 30100 History of Christian Thought I
M 9:00-11:50 S106

This first course in the History of Christian Thought sequence deals with the post New Testament period until Augustine, stretching roughly from 150 through 450CE. The aim of the course is to follow the development of Christian thought by relating its structural features to the historical context in which they arose without adhering to schematic models such as East vs. West, orthodoxy vs. heresy, Alexandrian vs. Antiochene exegesis. The following authors and themes will be analyzed and discussed:

1. Martyrdom and the Authority of Christian Witness: Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr

2. Platonism and Exegesis: Philo and Origen

3. Incarnation and Asceticism: Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa

4. Ecclesial Unity and Episcopal Authority: Cyprian, Ambrose and Chrysostom

5. Projecting Historical Authority: Eusebius and Jerome

6. Normative Belief and Gnostic Dissent: All About the Creeds

7. Ancient Thought Baptized: Augustine of Hippo

Ident.HCHR 30100/HIST 31000

THEO 30300 History of Christian Thought III
Tu/TH 1:30-2:50 S106

This course covers the early modern era from the 14th through the 16th century. The emphasis is on intellectual history, particularly that of the reformation and the Council of Trent. The course includes readings from 14th century mystics and late-medieval dissidents such as John Hus, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, as well as Ignatius of Loyola and the Council of Trent. 

Ident. HCHR 30300

THEO 31600 Introduction to Theology
F 9:00-11:50 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 33812 Descartes on the Self and God, and His Opponents
M 1:00-3:50 S106

On the basis of Meditations on First Philosophy, with Objections and Replies, one will study how Descartes’s positions were understood both by his contemporaries (Hobbes, Pascal, etc.) as well as by later philosophers (Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, etc.). Emphasis will be put on the misunderstandings of the ego, of the so-called “dualism” and of the definitions of God.

Ident. DVPR 33812

THEO 40600 Black Theology: 2nd Generation
W 12:00-2:50 S403

Contemporary black theology, with its beginnings on July 31, 1966, was created by African American clergy who offered one interpretation of the new black consciousness movement of the 1960s.  Already, we can see that, perhaps, black theology might be the only theological discipline in the USA that did not originate in the academy.  Instead, it was birthed out of people’s everyday lives searching for human dignity and a better community on earth.  The course examines the 2nd generation of black theologians, starting with 1979.  As the new body of knowledge progressed, thinkers saw the necessity to clarify its conceptual, theoretical, and theological positions.  An entire body of literature, over half a century of writing, has arisen defining the methodological contours of this USA creation.  This course explores the responses and critiques internal to black theology.  Specifically, with a firm foundation set by the 1st generation of black religious scholars (1960s), we will now review the 2nd generation (1979 onward).  How did this discipline seek to correct itself with debate among the 2nd generation of black theologians?

THEO 41300 Calvin's Institutes
T/Th 10:30-11:50 S106

This course examines the key concepts of Calvin’s theology through his major work: the definitive 1559 edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. 

Ident. HCHR 41700/FNDL 23113/RLST 20702

THEO 43303 Contemporary Christologies
Th 1:00-3:50 S208

This course will examine a variety of recent Christologies, paying special attention to their handling of science, history, politics, and context.

THEO 44704 Womanist Theology: New Voices
T 9:00-11:50 S403

Using Alice Walker’s phrase “womanist”, womanist theology is the name adopted by a group of black American women who affirmed the positive relation between them and their “God” beliefs, and, simultaneously, distanced themselves from white feminist and black male systems of religious thought.  This course engages a newer generation of womanist theologies.  The 1979 founding and first generation of womanist scholars, especially Jacquelyn Grant, Delores Williams, and Katie Cannon, presented foundational scholarly issues, methods, and epistemologies just to begin a new academic (and life) discipline.  This course will look at recent womanist scholars who build on the first generation but carry the discipline of womanist theology into some new and, at times, quite challenging directions that call into question some of the cornerstone tenets of the discipline.

THEO 44806 Creation and Human Creatures: Theological Explorations
W 9:00-11:50 S200

How have creatures and “nature” or “creation” served as reference points—symbols, exemplars, even counter-examples—for interpreting divine creation and transformation? Exploration will include the enduring theological themes of human creatures as the imago dei or image of God and of nature as a mirror or image of God’s providence and majesty. Can such historical theological strategies inform contemporary concerns about the enhancement and endangerment of life? Readings may include the Psalms, John Calvin on creation and providence, 18th and 19th century American writings about the glory of God and the glory of creation, Langdon Gilkey on creation, recent feminist works on vulnerability and materiality. 

THEO 48701 Late Medieval Women: Authorship and Authority
T 1:30-4:20 S208

In recent decades there has been a great deal of interest in medieval vernacular theology, as complementing the more traditional division of medieval theological texts into monastic and scholastic. This course will focus on a number of medieval women writers, dealing mainly albeit not exclusively with vernacular texts. After a historical overview of the position of women in the early Middle Ages, the course will focus on Heloise and Hildegard of Bingen as transitional figures, and continue with four women writers writing in the vernacular, i.e., Mechtild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch, Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich. The course will link the spectrum of vernacular languages which they represent to the diversity of their individual positions and analyze that diversity in terms of ecclesiastical developments, gender division, authorial identity, and theological criticism. The final aim is to come to an assessment of the constructive contribution of these vernacular treatises to the tradition of late medieval theology and spirituality.

Ident. HCHR 48701/HIST 60909