Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

AASR 32900 Classical Theories of Religion
M/W 9:30-10:50am S106

This course will survey the development of theoretical perspectives on religion and religions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Thinkers to be studied include Kant, Hume, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Marx, Muller, Tiele, Tylor, Robertson Smith, Frazer, Durkheim, Weber, Freud, James, Otto, van der Leeuw, Wach, and Eliade.

AASR 40700 Religion and Economy
Th 2-4:50pm S201

This seminar examines key concepts that have defined the study of religion and economy. Drawing on social theory and ethnography, we will explore how various religious communities and traditions engage issues of profit/non-profit, labor, value, aid and care.

AASR 34411 Anthropology of Religion
T/Th 9:30 - 10:50am S106

How do anthropologists study religion? This course is an introduction to classic concepts that have defined the social scientific study of religion such as ritual, taboo, transcendence, embodiment, and enchantment. To grasp how fieldwork is paired with theory, we will engage ethnographic writings on Orthodox Christianity in northern Ethiopia, Afro-Caribbean Santería in Chicago, and Islamic jinn veneration in Delhi India. We will further examine various themes in the socio-cultural inquiry of contemporary religion including asceticism, sexuality, sectarianism, and political theology.

 

Ident. RLST 27650

Bible

BIBL 34200 The Bible, the Reformation, and Modernity

In celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, this course will examine the interpretation of the Bible both in the work of the Reformation’s founding figure, Martin Luther, and in one of the interpretive trajectories influenced by the Reformation, namely, modern biblical criticism. We will focus especially on the interpretation of the books of Genesis and Deuteronomy in Luther’s commentaries and in modern, critical scholarship. Themes to be addressed include faith, the hiddenness of God, idolatry, and the law.

BIBL 34000 Introductory Biblical Hebrew-2
M/W/F, 8:30-9:20 am, S200

This course is the second of a two-quarter sequence designed to introduce students to the language of biblical Hebrew, with special emphasis on the fundamentals of its morphology, syntax, and vocabulary. The course follows a standard textbook supplemented by lectures, exercises, and oral drills aimed at refining the student’s grasp of grammatically sound interpretation and translation. At the conclusion of the two-quarter sequence students will be prepared to take a biblical Hebrew reading course in the spring quarter.

Instructor: S.B. Bae

BIBL 35300 Introductory Koine Greek-2
M/W/F, 8:30-9:20 am, S403

In this two-course sequence, students will learn the basic mechanics of Koine Greek and begin reading texts from the Greek New Testament and Septuagint. The autumn course and the first three-fourths or so of the winter course will introduce the vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and style of the Greek New Testament, and to a limited degree those of the Septuagint, after which point we will focus on reading and interpreting a New Testament document in Greek at length. Upon the conclusion of the sequence, students will be able to read and comprehend entire passages of Koine Greek text with the aid of a dictionary. This sequence aims to prepare students to successfully participate in a Greek exegesis course in Spring 2019 or thereafter.

Instructor: C. Trotter

BIBL 32500 Introduction to the New Testament: Texts and Contexts
M/W 1:30-2:50pm S106

An immersion in the texts of the New Testament with the following goals: 1. Through careful reading to come to know well some representative pieces of this literature; 2. to gain useful knowledge of the historical, geographical, social, religious, cultural and political contexts of these texts and the events they relate; 3. to learn the major literary genres represented in the canon ("gospels," "acts," "letters," and "apocalypses") and strategies for reading them; 4. to comprehend the various theological visions and cultural worldviews to which these texts give expression; 5. to situate oneself and one's prevailing questions about this material in the history of research, and to reflect on the goals and methods of interpretation; 6. to raise questions for further study. 

PQ: Interest in this literature, and willingness to enter into conversation with like- and non-like-minded others on the texts and the issues involved in their interpretation.

Ident RLST 12000, FNDL 28202

BIBL 46900 Readings in Plutarch’s Demonology
T/R 12:30 – 1:50pm S200

We will read sections of Plutarch's Moralia dealing with the topic of daimones, particularly from the treatise De defectu oraculorum ("On the Decline of the Oracles"). We will also read the major demonological passages from the Greek New Testament and compare the perspectives on the origen, nature, and activities of the daimon.

PQ: At least 2 years of Greek.

BIBL 55100 Hebrew Bible Colloquium
W 3-5:50pm S400

Students will develop together their written-argument skills by substantially improving and expanding a graded paper from a prior course in Hebrew Bible. The course will entail reading and presenting each other's work, providing together critical feedback, and new research and writing.

PQ: One graded paper from a previous course. Consent required.

BIBL 46200 Prophetic Vision and Divine Visitation
M 3-5:50pm

Readings in literary theory, followed by a critical survey of texts of prophetic commissioning or of direct interaction with the deity, in prose and in poetry, across the Hebrew Bible.

PQ: One year of Biblical Hebrew.

 

BIBL 50400 Early Christian Rhetoric
T 5:00-7:50PM S208
An examination of the rhetorics (persuasive strategies) of early Christian literature, and how they were rooted in the ancient paideia (education system) and forms of public life in the Greco-Roman world.   We shall focus on significant points of intersection with the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition in terms of style, “nvention, arrangement, memory and delivery, by triangulated close readings each week in Greek of selected early Christian writings, Greco-Roman rhetorical compositions, and samples of rhetorical theory.  The early Christian texts will range from the Pauline letters to the fourth century, and may include: 1 Thessalonians; Acts 22; 2 Corinthians 10-13; 1 Clement, Irenaeus, Adversus haereses; Justin Martyr, apologiae, Gregory of Nazianzus, Funebris in laudem Caesarii fratris oratio; Gregory of Nyssa, in diem natalem salvatoris; and John Chrysostom’s de laudibus sancti Pauli.

PQ:  Strong Greek skills.

Ident. HCHR 50400

BIBL 46200 Prophetic Vision and Divine Visitation
M, 3:00 - 5:50pm S400

Readings in literary theory, followed by a critical survey of texts of prophetic commissioning or of direct interaction with the deity, in prose and in poetry, across the Hebrew Bible.


PQ: One year of Biblical Hebrew

Divinity School

DVSC 51000 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
W 5:15-7pm S200

This course is required for all first-year doctoral students in the Divinity School. It is meant to introduce basic issues in theory and method in the contemporary study of religion in the academy, with special focus on the range of approaches and disciplines represented in the field.

History of Christianity

HCHR 50400 Early Christian Rhetoric
T 5:00-7:50PM S208

An examination of the rhetorics (persuasive strategies) of early Christian literature, and how they were rooted in the ancient paideia (education system) and forms of public life in the Greco-Roman world.   We shall focus on significant points of intersection with the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition in terms of style, “nvention, arrangement, memory and delivery, by triangulated close readings each week in Greek of selected early Christian writings, Greco-Roman rhetorical compositions, and samples of rhetorical theory.  The early Christian texts will range from the Pauline letters to the fourth century, and may include: 1 Thessalonians; Acts 22; 2 Corinthians 10-13; 1 Clement, Irenaeus, Adversus haereses; Justin Martyr, apologiae, Gregory of Nazianzus, Funebris in laudem Caesarii fratris oratio; Gregory of Nyssa, in diem natalem salvatoris; and John Chrysostom’s de laudibus sancti Pauli.

PQ:  Strong Greek skills.

Ident. BIBL 50400

HCHR 35600 The Christian Right: History and Historiography
M 9:30am –12:20pm S200

This seminar examines the “new” Christian Right as a political project and a prescriptive Christian way of living in a rapidly changing society. We explore the question of whether the Christian Right is primarily a response to a number of cultural and political shifts in the 1960s or a movement with a longer history and a broader agenda. Attention is also paid to the relationship between the Christian Right and the larger evangelical movement.

Ident RAME 35600

HCHR 30400 History of Christian Thought IV
T/R 11:00a - 12:20p S208

This fourth class in the History of Christian Thought sequence deals with the period from the Council of Trent to the mid-18th Century (1550-1750). Themes to be discussed include the rise of modern theology, the relationship between theology and philosophy, the relationship between faith and reason, and the increasing diversification of modes of theological discourse.

History of Judaism

HIJD 45400 Readings in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed
th 5:00 – 7:50PM S403

A careful study of select passages in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed, focusing on the method of the work and its major philosophical-theological themes, including: divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and divine providence, law and ethics, the final aim of human existence.

Idet RLST 21107/HREL 45401/RLVS 45400

 

 

 

HIJD 45302 Franz Rosenzweig’s Shorter Theological Writings
T 6:30 – 9:30pm S200

Among Rosenzweig’s shorter writings, we will read his epistolary exchange with Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, “Judaism despite Christianity”; his programmatic essay “The New Thinking”; his satirical elaboration of his critique of philosophical idealism, Understanding the Sick and the Healthy, and his commentary on the poetry of Jehuda Halevy.

HIJD 354004 Readings in Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy b. Yaqzan
T 5:00 – 7:50PM S403

A study of Ibn Tufayl’s twelfth-century philosophical/mystical romance about a boy spontaneously generated on a desert island who achieves knowledge of God through empirical study of nature. The many themes in Hayy ibn Yaqzan will be studied in relation to the philosophical literature that formed it and in light of recent modern scholarship about it.

History of Religions

HREL 45401 Readings in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed
th 5:00 – 7:50PM S403

A careful study of select passages in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed, focusing on the method of the work and its major philosophical-theological themes, including: divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and divine providence, law and ethics, the final aim of human existence.

Idet RLST 21107/HIJD 45400/RLVS 45400

 

 

 

Islamic Studies

ISLM 30030 Introduction to the Qur'an
T/Th 9:30-10:50am S200

Introduction to the text and context of the Quran. Emphasis placed on the thematic contents, historical settings, literary features, major biblical figures, and foundational narratives of the Quran. Explorations of medieval exegetical literature on the Quran and its reception in the early (8th-10th century CE) and medieval periods (11th - 15th century CE) will feature heavily in this course. (ident. RLST 11030)

ISLM 30381 Introduction to Arabic Poetry
TBA TBA

This course is an introduction to the texts, contexts, functions and rhythms of Arabic poetry. Students read, translate, and analyze the most eloquent verse of the Arabic poetic canon, with a view to understanding its themes, metaphors, and forms. Among the genres studied are brigand poetry, love lyrics, court panegyrics, satires, and mystical poetry. In addition, students study the prosody and rhetoric that underpins these texts in order to acquire a feel for its music and aesthetics. Focus is on the classical material, but modern poetry is also introduced. Excerpts from poetry texts are read in the original Arabic, and full poems in translation

ISLM 30091 Al-Ghalazi
TBA TBA

This course introduces students to the figure of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and his enormously influential contributions to philosophy, theology, Sufism, and law. In addition to reading his writings, we examine al-Ghazali’s reception in secondary scholarship and the various roles attributed to him – extinguisher of reason, proponent of double truth, architect of a grand synthesis. Open to undergraduates with sufficient Arabic and instructor permission.

ISLM 35004 Readings in Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy b. Yaqzan
T 5:00 – 7:50pm S403

 A study of Ibn Tufayl’s twelfth-century philosophical/mystical romance about a boy spontaneously generated on a desert island who achieves knowledge of God through empirical study of nature. The many themes in Hayy ibn Yaqzan will be studied in relation to the philosophical literature that formed it and in light of recent modern scholarship about it. (ident. RLST 25105)

ISLM 40631 Balagha Seminar: Jurjani’s Asrar al-Balagha & Dala’il al-l’jaz

This course on classical Arabic literary theory will focus on close reading of sections from the seminal works of Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani: Asrar al-balagha and Dala'il al-Ijaz

ISLM 43311 Divine Names in Islamic Thought
Th 2:00-4:50pm S403

Major works, trends, and debates in the divine names tradition (shuruh al-asma' al-husna). Selections from commentaries by Uqlishi, Ghazali, Tilimsani, Ibn Dihaq, Qurtubi, Qushayri, Qunawi. Arabic readings and lectures.

Note: Advanced Arabic. Undergraduates may enroll with consent of instructor.

ISLM 30200 Introductory Qur'anic Arabic II
M/T/W/Th 8:30 - 9:20AM S208

Instructor: Adi Shiran

This course is the second in a 3-quarter sequence “Introduction to Qur’anic Arabic” (IQA), which aims to provide students with foundational philological and reading skills by covering the essentials of Qur’anic/Classical Arabic grammar. This course also features readings of select passages from the Qur'an, Ḥadīth and Tafsīr. The 3 quarters of IQA are sequential, and students are strongly encouraged to join in the first quarter. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis.

 

PQ: Successful completion of Introductory Qur'anic Arabic I.

Ministry and Religious Leadership

CHRM 32500 Theology in the Public Square
T/Th 2-3:20pm S208

This seminar explores how theologians and religious leaders in the U.S. have construed shared human life—its ambiguities and possibilities—and how theology/religious thought has addressed cultural challenges and contributed to human dignity and social change. It examines mid-twentieth century “canonical” figures whose theologies and religious leadership remain essential reference points in American public life today: Dorothy Day, Thich Nhat Hanh, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Reinhold Niebuhr. Through this introduction and consideration, seminar members begin to formulate their own theological approach to engaging and inhabiting public life. This is a required course for first year MDivs; open to MA students in the Divinity School only with consent of instructor

CHRM 35202 Arts of Ministry: Spiritual Care and Counseling
F 8:30-11:20am S400

This course is the second 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 work in field education. In this course, students explore and practice the requisite skills for spiritual care and counseling in congregations, hospitals, university chaplaincies and other settings. Participants will interrogate human experience through several lenses, including theological and philosophical anthropologies, family systems theory, and relational and self-psychologies, with special attention to theories of race, ethnicity and gender. Practice labs will help students hone listening skills and narrative therapies, diagnosis and referrals, and healing rituals.

CHRM 42800 Senior Ministry Thesis Seminar
W 3-5:50pm S400

Reqired seminar for MDiv students in the year in which they are writing and presenting their theses.

CHRM 42800 Senior Ministry Thesis Seminar
W 3-5:50pm S400

Required seminar for MDiv students in the year in which they are writing and presenting their theses.

Philosophy of Religions

DVPR 30201 Indian Philosophy I
T/Th 9:30-10:50am S201

A survey of the origins of Indian philosophical thought, emphasizing the Vedas, Upanisads, and early Buddhist literature. Topics include concepts of causality and freedom, the nature of the self and ultimate reality, and the relationship between philosophical thought and ritual or ascetic religious practice. (Ident. 24201)

DVPR 41602 Zhuangzi and Early Daoist Thought
M 3:30-6:20pm S208

Close readings of Zhuangzi and other early Daoist philosophical texts. Classical Chinese preferred but not essential.

DVPR 50007 Michel Foucault: "Les Aveux de la Chair"
T, 9:30am - 12:20pm TBA

The last volume of Foucault's history of sexuality has finally been published after more than a 30 year wait. In this volume Foucault moves from his previous focus on Greco-Roman culture to early Christianity, and his account culminates in an extensive discussion of Saint Augustine. This seminar will consist of a close reading of "Les Aveux de la chair", supplemented by a few other texts from the later Foucault. We will also try to draw some general methodological and philosophical conclusions from our reading.

Good reading knowledge of French and familiarity with the previous volumes of Foucault's "Histoire de la sexualité". All students interested in enrolling in this course should send an application to wweaver@uchicago.edu by 12/14/2018. Applications should be no longer than one page and should include name, email address, phone number, and department or committee. Applicants should briefly describe their background and explain their interest in, and their reasons for applying to, this course.

DVPR 54500 Time and Temporality
T 2-4:50pm S400

Attending to a range of historical and contemporary readings, this seminar will center on philosophical questions raised by reflection on the reality and nature of time. Particular focus will be given to exploration of the difference between scientifically measured time, on one hand, and, on the other, temporality, or subjectively experienced time as that is integral to the structure of human experience. Ought one or the other of these ought to be thought more ‘real’?

What’s at stake in asking as much? How are the issues implicated in this discussion related to questions in epistemology, phenomenology, and/or philosophy of mind? These are among the many questions to be explored in this seminar. Since this is a Brauer Seminar, enrollment requires permission of the instructors, which will be granted based on short statements to be submitted by prospective students. Such statements should concisely discuss the student’s overall interests, and the ways in which these related to the issues of the seminar.

DVPR 55111 Reading Religion Philosophically
Th 11am-1:50pm TBA

We will examine the question of what it means to read religious texts and practices from a philosophical point of view.

Enrollment requires the consent of the instructor and the course is only open to advanced graduate students who are writing a thesis or preparing comprehensive exams. For more information contact the instructor.

 

 

Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

RLVC 45400 Readings in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed
th 5:00 – 7:50PM S403

A careful study of select passages in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed, focusing on the method of the work and its major philosophical-theological themes, including: divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and divine providence, law and ethics, the final aim of human existence.

 

RLVC 47100 History of Criticism: Plato to Hume
T/Th 9:30 - 10:50am S208

The first of a two-course sequence that offers a survey of major historical moments in the theory of interpretation. Major themes discussed will be: imitation, representation, style, rhetoric, the sublime, the literal and the allegorical modes (and their relation), translation, the emergence of “vernacular” language, the exoteric and the esoteric, the genre of commentary, the politics of a sacred text, and the category of taste. Required of Ph.D. students taking the RLVC 1 exam.

Religions in America

RAME 35600 The Christian Right: History and Historiography
M 9:30am –12:20pm S200

This seminar examines the “new” Christian Right as a political project and a prescriptive Christian way of living in a rapidly changing society. We explore the question of whether the Christian Right is primarily a response to a number of cultural and political shifts in the 1960s or a movement with a longer history and a broader agenda. Attention is also paid to the relationship between the Christian Right and the larger evangelical movement.

Religious Ethics

RETH 32800 Religion, Ethics, and the Sciences
Th 2:00 - 4:50pm S200

Basic concepts in the philosophy and history of science are critical to understanding debates in bioethics, environmental ethics, information technology ethics, and other related fields. This class will examine how scientific authority, methods, and information may relate to ethics, particularly religious ethics.  We will also study objectivity, subjectivity, and values in the sciences; the development of scientific knowledge; risk, precaution, and accidents; and the development and use codes of ethics for scientists and engineers.  

RETH 37000 Moral Theory and Philosophical Ethics
M/W 10:30-11:50am S201

This is a lecture course in support of the Religious Ethics Area doctoral examinations. It covers major thinkers and moral theories in the history of Western moral philosophy.

RETH 44900 Technology and Ethics
M 3p-5:50pm S200

This is a research seminar on the theme of Technology and Ethics. Special focus will be on issues surrounding Posthumanism, Transhumanism, Communication Technology, and Artificial Intelligence. Requirements include a seminar paper.

PQ: Previous work in ethics or theology

Ident THEO 44900

RETH 42902 Rights and Justice
T 2-4:50pm S201

This course will examine contemporary theories of rights and justice, focusing on racial justice, post-colonialism, global poverty, animal rights, gender justice, justice across cultures, environmental justice, and the human rights regime.  The assigned readings theorize about and apply justice and rights to social problems that lie within but often outside the bounds of the nation-state, or to subjects that are not understood according to the category state citizenship. Readings generally aim to expand the scope of moral concern to include neglected or vulnerable human populations, animals, and the environment.  Prior work in ethics, philosophy, or political theory is welcome but not required.

Students wishing to enroll are to petition Professor Miller (rbm1@uchicago.edu), describing their academic background and stating their reasons for wishing to enroll in the seminar by December 15.  

RETH 30803 Contemporary Religious Ethics II
M/W 1:30 – 2:50pm S200

This is the second quarter of a two-quarter sequence surveying the rise and development of religious ethics.  The course examines pioneering work that established a new style of scholarship and ethical argumentation during the “quiet revolution” when Religious Studies departments gained an institutional footing in many North American colleges and universities, starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1960s.   Readings explore ethical resources within specific religious traditions, methodological proposals for carrying out work in religious ethics, and new paradigms in the humanities and social sciences that have catalyzed work in religious ethics. 

Taking RETH 30802 is not required to enroll in this course.

Theology

THEO 30400 History of Christian Thought IV
T/Th 11:00am - 12:20pm S208

This fourth class in the History of Christian Thought sequence deals with the period from the Council of Trent to the mid-18th Century (1550-1750). Themes to be discussed include the rise of modern theology, the relationship between theology and philosophy, the relationship between faith and reason, and the increasing diversification of modes of theological discourse.

THEO 44900 Technology and Ethics
M 3pm-5:50pm S200
THEO 41102 Dialogue in the Middle Ages
T 9:30am-12:20pm S400
THEO 44900 Technology and Ethics
M 3p-5:50pm S200

This is a research seminar on the theme of Technology and Ethics. Special focus will be on issues surrounding Posthumanism, Transhumanism, Communication Technology, and Artificial Intelligence. Requirements include a seminar paper.

PQ: Previous work in ethics or theology

Ident RETH 44900

THEO 41102 Dialogue in the Middle Ages
T 9:30am-12:20pm S400

Dialogue was a crucial part of religious pedagogy in the Middle Ages, and was used in a wide range of genres, including hagiography, anti-Jewish polemic, and philosophical conversation. This class will investigate the practice of written dialogue across a broad range of texts, covering the period from Gregory the Great's Dialogues to later medieval scholastic disputation. We shall also consider the relationship between written dialogue and public performance. Reading knowledge of Latin is helpful but not required