Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

AASR 40302 Islam and Modern Science
Wednesday 10:30-1:20
Since the nineteenth century, the rise of the modern empirical sciences has provided both challenges and opportunities for Muslim-majority societies. In this seminar, we examine the epistemological, institutional, and biopolitical transformations that have come about in these societies through encounters with a range of natural and social scientific disciplines (astronomy, medicine, psychology, psychical research, psychoanalysis, eugenics, economics, sociology, anthropology, and others). Readings are from anthropology, history, and science studies.
 
This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority.

 

Ident ISLM 40302

Bible

BIBL 34210 Jonah and Joel (Biblical Hebrew III)
T/R 9:30 - 10:50am S400

A classic text-course covering prose narrative and poetic prophecy; attends to grammar, semantics, genre, and history.

PQ: Biblical Hebrew I-II

Ident. HIJD 34210

 

 

BIBL 35900 The Parables of Jesus: Language and Meaning
F, 9:30 - 12:20pm S200

An exegesis course in Greek on these rich little narrative nuggets—the parables of Jesus—in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke.  Each week we will dedicate the first half of class to translating one parable focusing on philology as well as rehearsing basic Koine grammar and common grammatical paradigms.  We will then devote the second half of class to interpretation, discussing different hermeneutical approaches to the parables in conversation with a variety of interpreters with the week’s text at the forefront for our consideration.  For the final project, students will choose one parable, for which they will provide an annotated translation and write an interpretive essay.        

 

PQ: Greek skills (Koine); 2 quarters of the Koine sequence in the Divinity School or equivalent.

BIBL 46800 Tragedy and the Tragic Vision in Early Jewish and Christian Literature
M/W 1:30 - 2:50p S208

We will start by studying the tragic theories of Friedrich Nietzsche, George Steiner, Simone Weil, and David Tracy, with special attention to how each theorist construes the contested relationship between tragedy and the Judeo-Christian tradition, which is viewed variously as hostile or responsive to tragedy, incapable of anything approaching “authentic tragedy” or productive of the best examples of its kind.  In light of this conflict of interpretations we will then study, discuss, and closely interpret a variety of early Jewish and Christian texts where tragic drama is appropriated, interpreted, and/or composed, and where the tragic vision in some form is (arguably) alive.  Authors to be studied include (among others): Ezekiel the Tragedian (who dramatizes the Exodus in the form of Greek tragic drama), Philo of Alexandria, Paul, Mark, John, Origen, Lucian, and Pseudo-Gregory’s Christus patiens (which is an adaptation of poetic material from Euripides’ Bacchae for a presentation of Christ’s passion and resurrection). 

 

Ident. RLVC 46800

BIBL 55118 The Book of Job
W 9:30a-12:20p S200

A critical, multifaceted exploration of this influential and provocative work on justice in God's world.

History of Christianity

HCHR 44804 Virginity and the Body in Late Antiquity & Early Middle Ages
M, 12:30p - 3:20p S400

What did virginity mean to Christians in Late Antiquity, and how did this change and develop in the early medieval period?  What notions of the body and bodilyness did an ideal of virginity encourage and support?  We will begin by reading Peter Brown's classic, The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity, together with some of the primary sources Brown uses to make his case, and selected recent studies.  We will take this theme into the early Middle Ages through a reading of monastic rules, hagiographies, and other texts.

Ident. THEO/GNSE 44804 / HIST 60606

HCHR 47717 Augustine Confessions
W 9:30 - 12:20pm S201

Instructors: Willemien Otten and Peter White

This seminar is based an in-depth reading of the Confessions, with use of the Latin text. Topics to be covered will be agreed on during the first week, but they may include the genesis of the work in relation to Augustine’s life and literary oeuvre (e.g. vis-à-vis the partly contemporary De Doctrina and De Trinitate); its structure (including the relationship between books I-X and XI-XIII) and narrative technique; its meditative versus dialogical character; Augustine’s representation of the self and his method of Biblical exegesis; Manichean and Neoplatonic influences; and ancient (Pelagius) and postmodern readings of the Confessions (Lyotard, Marion). Once-weekly meetings will consist of discussions, lectures, and reports on secondary readings.  


Ident. CLAS 47717* / THEO 47717 / HREL 53400

HCHR 48801 The Long 1960s: Religion and Social Change
M, 9:30 - 12:20pm S200

There is general consensus that the 1960s witnessed profound and lasting changes in American life, especially in race relations, gender roles, sexuality, religious practice, and in politics. This course is an attempt to understand some of these changes, pausing to consider what actually happened and why at this particular historical moment. This seminar also focuses on divergent visions of democracy and examines contested ideals about the relationship between religion and the state.   

Ident. RAME 48801

History of Judaism

HIJD 34210 Jonah and Joel (Biblical Hebrew III)
T/R, 9:30a-10:50a S400
A classic text-course covering prose narrative and poetic prophecy; attends to grammar, semantics, genre, and history.


PQ: Biblical Hebrew I-II.   Ident. BIBL 34210

 

 
HIJD 53900 French Jewish Thought
W, 1:30 - 4:20p S403

This seminar will introduce students to the tradition of French Jewish Thought from the 1860’s through the early 2000’s with particular attention to the issues of universalism and particularism, the relationship between Judaism and French philosophy, and French-Jewish responses to major historic events during the period: the Dreyfus affair, World War II, the Algerian War, the Six-Day War and contemporary anxieties surrounding the New anti-Semitism. Some French reading knowledge is a must.

Ident. RLVC 53900 / DVPR 53900

 

 

History of Religions

HREL 42501 Many Ramayanas
T/R 3:30 - 4:50PM S208

This course is a close reading of the great Hindu Epic, the story of Rama's recovery of his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana on the island of Lanka, with special attention to the changes in the telling of the story throughout Indian history. Readings are in Paula Richman, Many Ramayanas and Questioning Ramayanas; the Ramayanas of Valmiki (in translation by Goldman, Sattar, Shastri, and R. K. Narayan), Kampan, and Tulsi; the Yogavasistha-Maharamayana; and contemporary comic books and films. 


Ident. SCTH 40701 / SALC 42501 / RLST 26801 / FNDL 22901

HREL 53400 Augustine Confessions
W, 9:30am - 12:20pm S201

Instructors: Willemien Otten and Peter White

This seminar is based an in-depth reading of the Confessions, with use of the Latin text. Topics to be covered will be agreed on during the first week, but they may include the genesis of the work in relation to Augustine’s life and literary oeuvre (e.g. vis-à-vis the partly contemporary De Doctrina and De Trinitate); its structure (including the relationship between books I-X and XI-XIII) and narrative technique; its meditative versus dialogical character; Augustine’s representation of the self and his method of Biblical exegesis; Manichean and Neoplatonic influences; and ancient (Pelagius) and postmodern readings of the Confessions (Lyotard, Marion). Once-weekly meetings will consist of discussions, lectures, and reports on secondary readings.  


Ident. CLAS 47717* / HCHR 47717 / THEO 47717

HREL 52230 Knowledge on a Platter: Comparative Perspectives on Knowledge Texts in the Ancient World
M/W 9:30a - 12:20p Foster 305

Instructors: Professor Lorraine Daston, Visiting Professor of Social Thought and History, and Professor Wendy Doniger

 
In various ancient cultures, sages created the new ways of systematizing what was known in fields as diverse as medicine, politics, sex, dreams, and mathematics. These texts did more than present what was known; they exemplified what it means to know -- and also why reflective, systematic knowledge should be valued more highly than the knowledge gained from common sense or experience. Drawing on texts from ancient India, Greece, Rome, and the Near East, this course will explore these early templates for the highest form of knowledge and compare their ways of creating fields of inquiry: the first disciplines. Texts include the Arthashastra, the Hippocratic corpus, Deuteronomy, the Kama Sutra, and Aristotle's Parva naturalia

Enrollment limited to 20 students; permission of the instructors required.

N.B. This seminar will meet from March 26-April 30, 2018, twice a week, MW 9:30-12:30, Foster 305
 
Ident. SCTH 52230
 

Islamic Studies

ISLM 43210 Contemporary Arabic Scholarship on the Qur'an
W, 3:30 - 6:20p S201

What’s up in contemporary Arabic scholarship on the Qur’an? This seminar is a foray into that virtually uncharted universe of modern Arabic scholarship. We attempt to identify and engage salient debates about the Qur’an between leading scholars in the Arab(ic) world. The focus of this seminar is not on the writings of modern Qur’an exegetes, but on academics who hold faculty positions in universities in the Islamic world and who write about the Qur’an in Arabic. PQ: At least two years of Arabic.

ISLM 40302 Islam and Modern Science
Wednesday 10:30-1:20
Since the nineteenth century, the rise of the modern empirical sciences has provided both challenges and opportunities for Muslim-majority societies. In this seminar, we examine the epistemological, institutional, and biopolitical transformations that have come about in these societies through encounters with a range of natural and social scientific disciplines (astronomy, medicine, psychology, psychical research, psychoanalysis, eugenics, economics, sociology, anthropology, and others). Readings are from anthropology, history, and science studies.
 
This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority.

 

Ident AASR 40302

Ministry and Religious Leadership

CHRM 50202 Advanced Preaching Seminar
T, 9:30 - 12:20p Swift Memorial LIB
CHRM 35300 Arts of Ministry: Community, Leadership and Change
F, 8:30-11:20am 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 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. 

CHRM 40800 Practice of Ministry III
W, 9:30 - 10:50a S400

Part II in the practicum series for MDiv students

Philosophy of Religions

DVPR 48912 Comparative Experiments with Buddhist Thought
W, 3:00 - 5:50p S200

Reading one or several recent works written in English attempting to put some aspect of Buddhist thought into dialogue with modern philosophical concerns, particularly those of the European continental traditions.   Our likely texts will be Stephen Laycock, The Mind as Mirror and the Mirroring of Mind;   Brook Ziporyn, Being and Ambiguity: Philosophical Experiments with Tiantai Buddhism;   David Loy, Transcendence and Lack. 

DVPR 51315 Reading Daoist Philosophical Texts: The Liezi and the Huaninanzi
M, 3:00 - 5:50pm S201

Reading the rich original texts of “second-tier” Daoist philosophical works, the Liezi and/or Huananzi, with special attention to their relations to the “first-tier” classics, the Daodejing and Zhuangzi.  All readings in classical Chinese.

DVPR 51611 Reading of Saint Augustine’s "The City of God" as an Apology
M, 9:30 - 12:20pm S106

The particular characteristics and special concern of this special book, compared to the rest of Augustine's production, can well, if not only be explained by referring the whole De Civitate Dei to the tradition of the "Apology for the Christians", initiated by (among some few others) Justin in Rome, and rehearsed a century later by Tertullian in Africa. Jean-Luc Marion. Spring

Bibliography
-De Civitate Dei, ed. B. Dombart (either in Teubner, or in "Corpus Christianorum"

-Concerning the City of God against the Pagans, trans. H. Benttenson, Penguin Books, 1972.

-J.-L. Marion, In the Self's Place. The approach of saint Augustine, trans. J.L. Kosky, Stanford University Press, 2012 (Au lieu de soi. Approche de saint Augustin, Paris, PUF, 2008)

Ident. THEO  51611

DVPR 53900 French Jewish Thought
W, 1:30 - 4:20p S 403

This seminar will introduce students to the tradition of French Jewish Thought from the 1860’s through the early 2000’s with particular attention to the issues of universalism and particularism, the relationship between Judaism and French philosophy, and French-Jewish responses to major historic events during the period: the Dreyfus affair, World War II, the Algerian War, the Six-Day War and contemporary anxieties surrounding the New anti-Semitism. Some French reading knowledge is a must.

Ident. HIJD 53900 / RLVC 53900

 

 

DVPR 32700 Introduction to Hermeneutics
T/R 11:00a - 12:20p S106

 

Open to undergraduates. 

DVPR 53991 Religion and Psychoanalysis
T, 2:00 - 4:50pm S201

Freud postulated that many cultural activities with no apparent connection to sexuality, including religious practice and belief, have their origin in the sexual instincts. Sublimation, which describes the process by which the sexual instincts are diverted to nonsexual aims or objects, plays a crucial role in Freudian metapsychology.  And yet Freud never managed to articulate a coherent account of this process, and thus he failed to provide a concept of sublimation as such. In this class we will study the role of sublimation in Freudian metapsychology with specific reference to the theme of religiosity. In examining how sublimation is taken up by others (e.g. Klein, Lacan) we will also consider whether this concept affords a novel understanding of religion.

Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

RLVC 46300 The Tragic Sense of Life
T/R 11:00a - 12:20p S200

This course covers literature and films that describe the way in which people from different ages conceived of life as tragic.  Besides the classic tragedies of ancient Greece and Shakespeare, we will also look at the writings of more modern writers such as  Delboe, Camus, and several films by Eastwood and Igmar Bergman.

RLVC 53900 French Jewish Thought
W, 1:30 - 4:20p S403

This seminar will introduce students to the tradition of French Jewish Thought from the 1860’s through the early 2000’s with particular attention to the issues of universalism and particularism, the relationship between Judaism and French philosophy, and French-Jewish responses to major historic events during the period: the Dreyfus affair, World War II, the Algerian War, the Six-Day War and contemporary anxieties surrounding the New anti-Semitism. Some French reading knowledge is a must.

Ident. HIJD 53900 / DVPR 53900

 

 

RLVC 41205 Theories of Art in the Twentieth Century: Historiography, Religion, and Crisis
T/R 11:00a - 1:50p CWAC 153

This course will serve as a historically situated, philosophically inflected, introduction to the methods developed in the twentieth century for the study of images.  It will address the discipline of Art History in Germany and Austria in the years up to 1933, the conflict of Protestant and Catholic models for the historiography of images before the first World War, the effects of the Nazi regime on the writing of the history of art, and the impact of the Second World War on scholarship in both Germany and among refugees, many of them Jews.  It is intended to serve both as an introduction to the critical historiography of art and to some of the prime methods developed in the last century for the study of images. 

IDENT ARTH 41305

RLVC 38802 Pilgrimage in Antiquity and the Early Christendom
M/W 1:30 - 4:20pm CWAC 156

This course will present an interdisciplinary interrogation into the nature of pilgrimage in pre-Christian antiquity and the rise of Christian pilgrimage in the years after Constantine.  It will simultaneously be a reflection on the disciplinary problems of examining the phenomena of pilgrimage from various standpoints including art history, archaeology, anthropology, the history of religions, the literary study of travel writing, as well as on the difficulties of reading broad and general theories against the bitty minutiae of ancient evidence and source material.  The core material, beyond the theoretical overview, will be largely limited to antiquity and early Christianity; but if students wish to write their papers on areas beyond this relatively narrow remit (in other religions, in the middle ages, modern or early modern periods), this will be positively encouraged! The course will be taught in an intensive format over 5 weeks, plus some individual discussion sessions to set up term papers.

Ident. ARTH 2/35300

RLVC 48600 Tragedy and the Tragic Vision in Early Jewish and Christian Literature
M/W 1:30 - 2:50p S208

We will start by studying the tragic theories of Friedrich Nietzsche, George Steiner, Simone Weil, and David Tracy, with special attention to how each theorist construes the contested relationship between tragedy and the Judeo-Christian tradition, which is viewed variously as hostile or responsive to tragedy, incapable of anything approaching “authentic tragedy” or productive of the best examples of its kind.  In light of this conflict of interpretations we will then study, discuss, and closely interpret a variety of early Jewish and Christian texts where tragic drama is appropriated, interpreted, and/or composed, and where the tragic vision in some form is (arguably) alive.  Authors to be studied include (among others): Ezekiel the Tragedian (who dramatizes the Exodus in the form of Greek tragic drama), Philo of Alexandria, Paul, Mark, John, Origen, Lucian, and Pseudo-Gregory’s Christus patiens (which is an adaptation of poetic material from Euripides’ Bacchae for a presentation of Christ’s passion and resurrection). 

Religions in America

RAME 48801 The Long 1960s: Religion and Social Change
M, 9:30 - 12:20pm S200

There is general consensus that the 1960s witnessed profound and lasting changes in American life, especially in race relations, gender roles, sexuality, religious practice, and in politics. This course is an attempt to understand some of these changes, pausing to consider what actually happened and why at this particular historical moment. This seminar also focuses on divergent visions of democracy and examines contested ideals about the relationship between religion and the state.   

Ident. HCHR 48801

Religious Ethics

RETH 30702 Introduction to Environmental Ethics
T/R 11:00a - 12:20p S208

This course will examine answers to four questions that have been foundational to religious environmental ethics:  Are religious traditions responsible for environmental crises?  To what degree can religions address environmental crises?  Does the natural world have intrinsic value in addition to instrumental value to humans?  What point of view (anthropocentrism, biocentrism, theocentrism) should ground an environmental ethic? 

RETH 47750 Virtue Ethics
W, 1:30 - 4:20pm S400

Virtue ethics, one of the major types of normative ethics, involves a study of virtues, character, and the formation of such character.  This course will examine some of the major contributions to the tradition of virtue ethics (e.g. Aristotle, Aquinas), the late twentieth-century revival of virtue ethics (e.g. MacIntyre, comparative studies of virtue across religious and philosophical traditions), and its flourishing in environmental ethics. 

RETH 32900 Emotion, Reason, and Law
M/W/R 1:30-2:35pm Law School Room V

Emotions figure in many areas of the law, and many legal doctrines (from reasonable provocation in homicide to mercy in criminal sentencing) invite us to think about emotions and their relationship to reason. In addition, some prominent theories of the limits of law make reference to emotions: thus Lord Devlin and, more recently, Leon Kass have argued that the disgust of the average member of society is a sufficient reason for rendering a practice illegal, even though it does no harm to others. Emotions, however, are all too rarely studied closely, with the result that both theory and doctrine are often confused. The first part of this course will study major theories of emotion, asking about the relationship between emotion and cognition, focusing on philosophical accounts, but also learning from anthropology and psychology. We will ask how far emotions embody cognitions, and of what type, and then we will ask whether there is reason to consider some or all emotions “irrational” in a normative sense. We then turn to the criminal law, asking how specific emotions figure in doctrine and theory: anger, fear, compassion, disgust, guilt, and shame. Legal areas considered will include self-defense, reasonable provocation, mercy, victim impact statements, sodomy laws, sexual harassment, shame-based punishments. Next, we turn to the role played by emotions in constitutional law and in thought about just institutions – a topic that seems initially unpromising, but one that will turn out to be full of interest.

 

Ident. LAWS 43273

RETH 34304 Immanuel Kant's Critique of Practical Reason
T/R 2:00 - 3:20 S208

This course is the examination of one of Immanuel Kant’s magisterial works in Moral Philosophy, The Critique of Practical Reason. Specifically, we will do undertake a careful reading of Kant’s text in order to grasp the argument and assess its significance for current work in Ethics. The course ends with one of Kant’s famous political essay, “On Perpetual Peace.” Admission is open to graduate students.

Ident. FNDL 21809 / RLST 24304

Theology

THEO 42000 Feminist Theory and Theology
T/R 11:00a - 12:20p S400

In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe took up the old question of sexual difference; it was never the same question again. This seminar will engage a close reading of The Second Sex in English translation and with reference to the original French text, considering Beauvoir’s picture of freedom, desire, and subjectivity as situated and giving special attention to quasi-theological themes such as mysticism and transcendence. We will consider the reception of Beauvoir’s work by selected feminist theologians and critically assess that legacy in relation to recent directions.

THEO 51611 Reading of Saint Augustine’s "The City of God" as an Apology
M, 9:30a - 12:20p S106

The particular characteristics and special concern of this special book, compared to the rest of Augustine's production, can well, if not only be explained by referring the whole De Civitate Dei to the tradition of the "Apology for the Christians", initiated by (among some few others) Justin in Rome, and rehearsed a century later by Tertullian in Africa. 

Bibliography 

  • De Civitate Dei, ed. B. Dombart (either in Teubner, or in "Corpus Christianorum"
  • Concerning the City of God against the Pagans, trans. H. Benttenson, Penguin Books, 1972.
  • J.-L. Marion, In the Self's Place. The approach of saint Augustine, trans. J.L. Kosky, Stanford University Press, 2012 (Au lieu de soi. Approche de saint Augustin, Paris, PUF, 2008)


 Ident. DVPR 51611

THEO 44804 Virginity and the Body in Late Antiquity & Early Middle Ages
M, 12:30p - 3:20p S400
What did virginity mean to Christians in Late Antiquity, and how did this change and develop in the early medieval period?  What notions of the body and bodilyness did an ideal of virginity encourage and support?  We will begin by reading Peter Brown's classic, The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity, together with some of the primary sources Brown uses to make his case, and selected recent studies.  We will take this theme into the early Middle Ages through a reading of monastic rules, hagiographies, and other texts.


Ident. HCHR / GNSE 44804 / HIST 60606

THEO 47717 Augustine Confessions
W, 9:30 - 12:20pm S201

Instructors: Willemien Otten and Peter White

This seminar is based an in-depth reading of the Confessions, with use of the Latin text. Topics to be covered will be agreed on during the first week, but they may include the genesis of the work in relation to Augustine’s life and literary oeuvre (e.g. vis-à-vis the partly contemporary De Doctrina and De Trinitate); its structure (including the relationship between books I-X and XI-XIII) and narrative technique; its meditative versus dialogical character; Augustine’s representation of the self and his method of Biblical exegesis; Manichean and Neoplatonic influences; and ancient (Pelagius) and postmodern readings of the Confessions (Lyotard, Marion). Once-weekly meetings will consist of discussions, lectures, and reports on secondary readings.  


Ident. LATN 47717* / HCHR 47717 / HREL 53400

THEO 41101 Being Human
T 12:30 - 3:20p S200

What does it mean to be a human being—a person who fulfills individual capabilities and contributes to a community’s well being? Furthermore, what connects the individual and community to an ultimate vision, spirituality, or God? These questions and investigations can be described as an examination of and argument for constructing a theological anthropology. When one thinks intentionally about the being of a human and his or her ties to some concern or force greater than the limited self, then transcendence and materiality involve themselves in a complex dynamic. How does one construct an individual and a community of individuals? We investigate different models of being human and bring in other disciplines to help unpack this notion. 

THEO 51611 Reading of Saint Augustine’s "The City of God" as an Apology
M, 9:30a - 12:20p S106

The particular characteristics and special concern of this special book, compared to the rest of Augustine's production, can well, if not only be explained by referring the whole De Civitate Dei to the tradition of the "Apology for the Christians", initiated by (among some few others) Justin in Rome, and rehearsed a century later by Tertullian in Africa. Jean-Luc Marion. Spring

Bibliography
-De Civitate Dei, ed. B. Dombart (either in Teubner, or in "Corpus Christianorum"

-Concerning the City of God against the Pagans, trans. H. Benttenson, Penguin Books, 1972.

-J.-L. Marion, In the Self's Place. The approach of saint Augustine, trans. J.L. Kosky, Stanford University Press, 2012 (Au lieu de soi. Approche de saint Augustin, Paris, PUF, 2008)

Ident. DVPR 51611