Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

AASR 32900 Classical Theories of Religion
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S106

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

Ident. HREL 32900/ANTH 35005

 
AASR 33900 Islam and Biomedicine
M/W 11-12:20 S201

Instructor: Elham Mireshghi

 

While modern medicine is typically imagined as a solution to public health problems, it also transforms people’s experiences of their bodies, rearranges social relationships, and raises a range of moral questions and controversies. This course deals with the transformations and conundrums that biomedical practice has brought about in Muslim-majority societies, with particular attention to Islamic law, policy, and everyday life. We will read texts from anthropology and Islamic bioethics on a variety of topics, including but not limited to mental health, reproductive technologies, organ transplantation, and cloning. 

Ident. ISLM 33900 / RLST 26310

AASR 50081 Pragmatism and Religion
T 9-11:50 & W 9:30-12:20 F505

Professor Hans Joas

The American philosopher William James is not only one of the founders of pragmatism, but also the inaugurator of a methodological revolution in the empirical study of religion, namely of an approach that deals with religion not so much as a set of doctrines or institutions, but as articulations of intense experiences of self-transcendence. Starting with James's classical work "The Varieties of Religious Experience" of 1902, this class will also deal with the contributions of other pragmatist thinkers to the study of religion - ranging from classical authors (Peirce, Royce, Dewey) to contemporary thinkers (Putnam, Rorty, John Smith) and my own writings in this area.

Note: This is a 10-week course taught in 5 weeks.

Ident. SOCI 50081 / SCTH 50058

Bible

BIBL 31000 Jewish Thought and Literature: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
T/TH 1:30-2:50 S106

The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is a complex anthology of disparate texts and reflects a diversity of religious, political, and historical perspectives from ancient Israel, Judah, and Yehud. Because this collection of texts continues to play an important role in modern religions, new meanings are often imposed upon it. In this course, we will attempt to read biblical texts apart from modern preconceptions about them. We will also contextualize their ideas and goals through comparison with texts from ancient Mesopotamia, Syro-Palestine, and Egypt. Such comparisons will demonstrate that the Hebrew Bible is fully part of the cultural milieu of the Ancient Near East. To accomplish these goals, we will read a significant portion of the Hebrew Bible in English, along with representative selections from secondary literature. We will also spend some time thinking about the nature of biblical interpretation.

Ident. RLST 11004/JWSC 20120/NEHC 20504/30504

BIBL 33900 Introductory Biblical Hebrew I
M/W/F 8:00-8:50 S201

Instructor: Kelli Gardner

This course is the first 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.

 

BIBL 35100 Introductory Koine Greek I
M/W/F 8:00-8:50 S208

Instructor: Cameron Ferguson

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.

 

 

BIBL 36916 Reading Greek Literature in the Papyri
T/Th 1:30-2:50 C021

Instructor: Sofia Torallas-Tovar

The earliest—and often the only—witnesses for Greek literary works are the papyri. This makes their testimony of great importance for literary history and interpretation, but that testimony does not come without problems. In this course we will cover some of the concepts and techniques needed to recover the literary treasure contained in this highly complex material: from the history of book forms, the textual tradition of literary works, and the creation of the canons to more philological aspects such as editorial practice, Textkritik and paleography. Our literary corpus will include biblical texts, paraliterary (school and magical) texts, and translations of Egyptian texts into Greek.  We will work with photographs of the papyri, and every part of the course will be based on practice. As appropriate we will also work with the University of Chicago’s collections of papyri. Requirements: at least two years of Greek.

PQ:  Undergraduates accepted, but with Greek.

Ident. HCHR 36916/GREK 25116/35116

BIBL 41000 Amos
T 3:00-5:50 S400

This course is an exegetical study of the biblical book of Amos (in Hebrew)

PQ:  Biblical Hebrew

BIBL 42010 Ancient Sexualities and Early Christianity
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S200

We will study ancient Greek and Roman and early Jewish and Christian attitudes toward sex and constructions of sexuality, especially homosexuality and lesbianism, as well as sexuality as it relates to gender, prostitution, marriage, and virginity. We will closely examine and discuss many of the most important primary sources for these issues from the non-Christian world, including texts by Aeschines, Plato, Lucian, Plutarch, Ovid, Juvenal, Martial, Musonius Rufus, and Philo. In light of these texts we will then focus on analyzing several Christian primary sources, including parts of Paul's epistles, the Gospel of John, and selections from Clement of Alexandria and John Chrysostom.  As we work our way through the primary sources we will study the first two volumes of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality.  We will have the opportunity to think about Foucault's revolutionary complication of the whole notion of "sexuality" as it relates to conceptions of desire, pleasure, and the self as we interpret and analyze several of the primary sources with which Foucault himself worked.  We will also have the opportunity to assess the scholarship of several leading scholars in this area, including the work of Arnold Davidson, K.J. Dover, David Halperin, Martha Nussbaum, Craig Williams, Daniel Boyarin, Bernadette Brooten, and Dale Martin.

 

 

BIBL 43200 Colloquium: Ancient Christianity
T 6:00-8:50 S403

A critical reading of influential narratives--both ancient and modern--of “the rise of Christianity” in the first four centuries, and the sources from which they are composed, asking the question: can such a narrative be told (if it can be told) in a way other than as a romance or a tragedy?  Each week we shall analyze select primary sources (textual, artistic, architectural, on which students will give presentations) that illuminate crucial issues (e.g. demographics, conversion, persecution, martyrdom, asceticism, gender, ecclesiological and ritual structures, intellectual lineages, orthodoxy and heresy), personalities (e.g., Ignatius, Perpetua and Felicitas, Irenaeus, Antony, Eusebius, Constantine, Augustine) and events.  On-going reflection on the nature of historiography as a science and an art, involving both discovery and invention.

PQ: Greek and Latin are not required for this course, but ample opportunity will be provided for those who have these skills to exercise them in their work.

Ident. HCHR 43200

BIBL 48116 Seminar: Cicero Orator
Tu/Th 10:30-11:50 C021

Instructor: Peter White

Cicero’s culminating essay on oratory is compared with Aristotle’s Rhetoric, other rhetorical writings by Cicero, and some of the speeches with the aim of identifying distinctive preoccupations of Latin oratory at the end of the Republic.  Topics considered include the influence of philosophy on rhetoric, practice versus theory, teleology in the history of Roman oratory, the construction of Roman auctoritas, and the relation of live performance to publication

Ident. CLAS 48116 / LATN 48116

BIBL 50805 Textual Knowledge and Authority: Biblical and Chinese Literature
F 10:00-12:50 MMC Library

Team-taught by Simeon Chavel and Haun Saussy.

Ancient writers and their patrons exploited the textual medium, the virtual reality it can evoke and the prestige it can command to promote certain categories of knowledge and types of knowers. This course will survey two ancient bodies of literature, Hebrew and Chinese, for the figures they advance, the perspectives they configure, the genres they present, and the practices that developed around them, all in a dynamic interplay of text and counter-text. Excerpts from Hebrew literature include (a) royal wisdom in Proverbs & Ecclesiastes; (b) divine law in Exodus 19–24, Deuteronomy, and the Temple Scroll; and (c) other works found among the Dead Sea scrolls. Readings from Chinese literature include (d) speeches from the Shang shu (Book of Documents), (e) odes from the Shi jing (Book of Songs), and (f) commentaries from Han to Qing periods that elucidate, often in contradictory terms, the law-giving properties of these texts.

Ident. KNOW 40101/COML

BIBL 51800 Exegesis Seminar: 2 Corinthians
M/W 1:30-2:50 S403

An exegesis course on the Greek text of 2 Corinthians, in which we shall critically test one theory of literary partition through a close reading in succession of each of the five letter fragments now contained in the redacted canonical epistle.  This allows for a fresh historical reconstruction of an unfolding conflict, and for due attention to how Paul’s letters and their multiple meanings contributed to it, as he and his earliest readers struggle to control meaning in the context of suspicion, misunderstanding and dissent.  Focal themes: epistolary theory and practice; the nature, logic and limitations of Pauline rhetoric; the cultural and religious repertoire upon which Paul draws in these letters (e.g., on boasting, reconciliation, military imagery, anthropology, consolation, heavenly journeys, fund-raising and gift-giving); the purpose and art of interpretation and its audiences.

PQ:  intermediate Greek skills (Koine)

Divinity School

DVSC 30400 Introduction to the Study of Religion
T/TH 4:30-5:50 S106

This course will examine a seminal moment in the formation of the category “religion,” by focusing on Moses Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem (1783).  Often considered the foundational text for modern Jewish thought, we will treat it here as a foundational text for the study of religion.  We will consider the use that Mendelssohn makes of the category of religion as a means for comparing Judaism and Christianity, the model he proposes for the relationship between church and state, the function of the biblical canon in his claims, and the legacy of the Jewish exemplar for considering other processes of identity negotiation, not only in the West but in other colonial and postcolonial contexts.    In order to flesh out these issues, we will read a few of Mendelssohn’s predecessors and his contemporary interlocutors, including Spinoza, Kant and Lessing, and recent attempts to rethink the legacy of Jerusalem, such as selections from Amir Mufti’s Enlightenment in the Colony and Leora Batnizky’s How Judaism became a Religion.   The course will include a series of class lectures by Divinity School faculty members across the areas of study who will treat the text’s legacy by considering the persistence of its questions across multiple subfields and the differences in its refractions when engaged by various methods.

PQ:  This is the supporting course required of all AMRS/MA/MDIV students.  Discussion groups will be held (TBA).

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 Ph.D. 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 30900 History of Christian Thought V: Modern Religious Thought
M 1:00-3:50 S106

This course traces the history of Modern Christian thought from Kant, Schleiermacher, and Hegel through Troeltsch and Barth.

Ident. THEO 30700

HCHR 32900 The Italian Renaissance
ARR ARR

Instructor: Ada Palmer

Florence, Rome, and the Italian city-states in the age of plagues and cathedrals, Dante and Machiavelli, Medici and Borgia (1250–1600), with a focus on literature and primary sources, the recovery of lost texts and technologies of the ancient world, and the role of the Church in Renaissance culture and politics. Humanism, patronage, translation, cultural immersion, dynastic and papal politics, corruption, assassination, art, music, magic, censorship, religion, education, science, heresy, and the roots of the Reformation. Assignments include creative writing, reproducing historical artifacts, and a live reenactment of a papal election.

First-year students and non-history majors welcome.

 

Ident. HIST 22900/32900/CLAS 32914/ITAL 22914/32914/RLST

HCHR 34900 The Age of Walter Rauschenbusch: History and Historiography of the Social Gospel
W 9:00-11:50 S403

This course is an intensive analysis of the origins, development, and historical significance of the Social Gospel as a religious and social reform movement in America. Particular emphasis is devoted to the theological works of Walter Rauschenbusch and broader intellectual and cultural developments in the US from the 1880s to the 1920s. Some basic knowledge of the history of biblical interpretation is helpful to make sense of the theological and biblical controversies of the time period. Some attention in class and in the readings will be devoted to the origin of these developments as a factor in the emergence of the Social Gospel.

Ident. RAME 34900

HCHR 36916 Reading Greek Literature in the Papyri
T/Th 1:30-2:50 C021

Instructor: Sofia Torallas-Tovar

The earliest—and often the only—witnesses for Greek literary works are the papyri. This makes their testimony of great importance for literary history and interpretation, but that testimony does not come without problems. In this course we will cover some of the concepts and techniques needed to recover the literary treasure contained in this highly complex material: from the history of book forms, the textual tradition of literary works, and the creation of the canons to more philological aspects such as editorial practice, Textkritik and paleography. Our literary corpus will include biblical texts, paraliterary (school and magical) texts, and translations of Egyptian texts into Greek.  We will work with photographs of the papyri, and every part of the course will be based on practice. As appropriate we will also work with the University of Chicago’s collections of papyri. Requirements: at least two years of Greek.

PQ:  Undergraduates accepted, but with Greek.

Ident. BIBL 36916/GREK 25116/35116

HCHR 40608 Becoming Modern: Religion in America in the 1920s
M 9:00-11:50 S200

Terms such as “acids of modernity” and the “modern temper” were commonly used in the 1920s to describe a new phenomenon in American history. Historians still regard the 1920s as a significant moment in US History, even while revising older narratives that viewed such changes as leading to a decline in church attendance and religious practice. In the 1920s, the nation struggled with the effects of massive immigration, decades of urbanization, and significant cultural and social changes that had profound implications for religious practice and belief. This course takes an extended look at the 1925 Scopes Trial, the fundamentalist modernist controversy, and the intellectual and cultural challenges to traditional religious beliefs and practices.

Ident. RAME 40608

HCHR 43200 Colloquium: Ancient Christianity
T 6:00-8:50 S403

A critical reading of influential narratives--both ancient and modern--of “the rise of Christianity” in the first four centuries, and the sources from which they are composed, asking the question: can such a narrative be told (if it can be told) in a way other than as a romance or a tragedy?  Each week we shall analyze select primary sources (textual, artistic, architectural, on which students will give presentations) that illuminate crucial issues (e.g. demographics, conversion, persecution, martyrdom, asceticism, gender, ecclesiological and ritual structures, intellectual lineages, orthodoxy and heresy), personalities (e.g., Ignatius, Perpetua and Felicitas, Irenaeus, Antony, Eusebius, Constantine, Augustine) and events.  On-going reflection on the nature of historiography as a science and an art, involving both discovery and invention.

PQ: Greek and Latin are not required for this course, but ample opportunity will be provided for those who have these skills to exercise them in their work.

Ident. BIBL 43200

History of Judaism

HIJD 30150 “Mediterranean Thinkers”: Jewish Thought in the Medieval Islamic World
M/W 10:30 – 11:50 ARR

 Instructor: Sarah Stroumsa

Jewish thinkers participated actively in the multicultural Islamic world of the ninth to thirteenth centuries.   This course explores the impact of diverse cultural currents on the development of medieval Jewish thought.  Specifically, the course will focus on such aspects of Jewish thought as philosophy, theology, and pietism, through the examination of individual thinkers in their cultural contexts.

PQ: Knowledge of foreign languages is not required (but readings can be adapted to students’ individual skills).    The course will be geared toward advanced undergraduates and beginning level graduate students.

Ident. RLST 20150/JWSC 20150/ ISLM 30150

HIJD 30589 Sefarad and Andalus: Jewish Thinkers in Islamic Spain
W 12:30 – 3:30 MMC Library

Instructor: Sarah Stroumsa

The period known as “the Golden Age” in Islamic Spain is associated with some of the most famous names in Jewish thought, such as Maimonides or Judah Halevi. Through readings of individual thinkers in their cultural context, this course will study the emergence of Jewish thought in Islamic Spain (al-Andalus), and its development within and beyond its borders.

PQ: Knowledge of foreign languages is not required (but readings can be adapted to students' individual skills).

Ident. NEHC 30589 / ISLM 30589

HIJD 35503 Midrash and Revelation
TH 9:00-11:50 S403

 

This course will focus on the presentation of the event of revelation at Sinai in midrashic sources from several periods (especially, Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael; Pesikta de-Rav Kahana; Exodus Rabba; Song of Songs Rabba; and Tanhuma), as well as pertinent cases in the contemporary liturgical poetry.  Particular attention will be given to the types, forms and content of exegetical theology involved.

Knowledge of Hebrew desired, but English translations will be provided.

Ident. RLIT 38607

HIJD 38607 Lament and Lamentation in Jewish Literature I
W 3:00-5:50 S403

This course will focus on the theme of lament and lamentation in ancient Jewish literature.  It will begin with theories of lament and comparative sources from antiquity.  It will then take up some representative Psalms from Scripture; portions of the book of Lamentation; selections from the Midrash on Lamentation (both from the proem and the commentary); and related material from contemporary liturgical poetry (Piyyut).

Knowledge of Hebrew required (or consent of instructor)

Ident. RLIT 35503

HIJD 43108 Judaism, Islam and the study of Religion
W 9:00-11:50 S200

 

Instructor: Guy Stroumsa

 

The Seminar will deal with the religious and intellectual contexts of the study of Judaism and Islam in modern Europe. It will focus upon the difficult birth, in the nineteenth century, of a comparative approach to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and will analyze the complex interface between theology, orientalism, secularization, colonialism, and the rise of racist anti-Semitism.

28 September: The scholarly discovery of religion in modern times

5 October: The comparative study of religion and its history

12 October: Yom Kippur, No class

19 October: Three rings and three impostors

26 October: Ex oriente numen: the other oriental Renaissance

2 November: Renan on Judaism and Islam

9 November: Wellhausen and Robertson Smith on Judaism and Islam

16 November: Islam in the mind of Europe: Geiger, Goldziher, Massignon

23 November: Jewish students of Jesus

30 November: Bergson’s Two Sources and its sources

Ident. ISLM 43108

HIJD 44900 Martin Buber’s I and Thou
T 6:00-8:50 S400

Martin Buber's I and Thou. An analysis of the foundational text of Buber's philosophy of dialogue and religion.The close reading – explication de texte – will be supplement by reference to Buber's lectures "Religion as Presence" and "Zwiesprache" (Dialogue).

Ident. THEO 44900

HIJD 45400 Readings in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed
Th 4:00-6:50 S403

A careful study of select passages in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed focusing on the method of the work, its exegetical framework, and its major philosophical-theological themes, including divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and providence, law and ethics, and the final aim of human existence. There is no language requirement; all readings will be in English. There will be an extra optional session for students who want to read the text in the original.

Ident. ISLM 45400/NEHC 40470/RLIT 45402/RLST 21107/FNDL 24106/HREL 45401/JWSC 21107

HIJD 46100 Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption
W 5:00-7:50 S200

 

A close exegetical reading of Rosenzweig’s magnum opus, focusing on his deconstruction of German Idealism; the realignment of philosophy and theology; the revalorization of cardinal theistic concepts (Creation, Revelation, and Redemption); the religious phenomenology of the Jewish and Christian liturgical calendar; and “Messianic politics.“

HIJD 51414 Monotheism and its Discontents
T 1:30-4:20 F505

Instructor: Guy Stroumsa

The course will study in the same framework some of the most radical heretics among Jews, Christians and Muslims across the centuries, from antiquity to the twentieth century: dualists, deniers of prophecy, philosophical deists and atheists. The main purpose of this exercise is to detect similar patterns of rejection of the Abrahamic God, and to search for similarities and differences between such patterns and atheistic trends in other cultures, such as ancient Greece. The study of the different ways in which monotheism was rejected in history might help us identify more precisely core elements of the Abrahamic religions.

Ident.  SCTH 51414 / ISLM 51414 / HREL 51414 / PHIL ____ /JWSC ______

 

History of Religions

HREL 32900 Classical Theories of Religion
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S106

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

Ident. AASR 32900/ANTH 35005

 
HREL 35306 Sex and Censorship in South Asia
T/TH 3:00-4:20 Foster 209

Instructor: Ahona Panda

 

There have been many exceptional moments of political intolerance and censorship in South Asia in the last two decades. Bloggers have been murdered in Bangladesh, student activists have been arrested on university campuses across India, books have been banned, theaters and galleries have been vandalized, couples have been attacked across the country on Valentine’s Day as sexuality is supposedly foreign to “Indian Culture”, the Indian judiciary has refused to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which leaves homosexuality as a criminal activity that is constantly censored in film and literature. Restrictions on speech are a feature of democracies everywhere, from persecuting whistle-blowers in the US, to ban on religious symbols in France, to restrictions on Twitter in Turkey. What sets the South Asian experience apart? This introductory course will interrogate how a nexus of concerns about power, religion and sex, originating in the colonial experience, has shaped the particular dynamics of censorship in South Asia. By looking at a long history of banning and prohibition, we will also examine how censorship has molded South Asian cultural and political lives.

This course should be of interest to students of gender and sexuality studies, cinema and media studies, literature, history, politics, human rights, anthropology and modern South Asian history and culture. It should also appeal to those interested in the past and present of law, censorship and democracy in the Non-West. Students at all stages of undergraduate study are encouraged to take this introductory course.

Ident. SALC 25306 / HIST 26710 / GNSE 25306-01

HREL 45401 Readings in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed
Th 4:00-6:50 S403

A careful study of select passages in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed focusing on the method of the work, its exegetical framework, and its major philosophical-theological themes, including divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and providence, law and ethics, and the final aim of human existence. There is no language requirement; all readings will be in English. There will be an extra optional session for students who want to read the text in the original.

Ident. ISLM 45400/NEHC 40470/RLIT 45402/RLST 21107/FNDL 24106/JWSC 21107/HIJD 45400

HREL 50104 Chinese Religious Manuscripts and Epigraphy
ARR W 1:30-4:20

An introduction to reading and working with Chinese religious manuscripts and stone inscriptions.  Though we will read and discuss basic secondary works in paleography, codicology, and epigraphy, most of our time will be spent developing our own skills in these disciplines, including in trips to the Field Museum to examine their extensive collection of rubbings and inscribed Buddhist and Daoist statuary.

Ident. EALC 50100

HREL 51414 Monotheism and its Discontents
T 1:30-4:20 F505

Instructor: Guy Stroumsa

The course will study in the same framework some of the most radical heretics among Jews, Christians and Muslims across the centuries, from antiquity to the twentieth century: dualists, deniers of prophecy, philosophical deists and atheists. The main purpose of this exercise is to detect similar patterns of rejection of the Abrahamic God, and to search for similarities and differences between such patterns and atheistic trends in other cultures, such as ancient Greece. The study of the different ways in which monotheism was rejected in history might help us identify more precisely core elements of the Abrahamic religions.

Ident.  SCTH 51414 / ISLM 51414 / HIJD 51414 / PHIL ____ /JWSC ______

 

HREL 52201 Discourse and Practice: Classic Researches in the History of Religions
M 1:30-4:20 S400
HREL 56000 Dissertation Seminar
ARR ARR

Islamic Studies

ISLM 30030 Introduction to the Qur'an
T/TH 10:00-11:20 S 208

This course introduces the historical context, thematic and literary features, major biblical figures, and exegetical literature on the Qur'an, with a focus on the early (8th-10th century CE) and medieval periods (11th - 15th century CE). We will read select English translations from the Qur'an and its commentators, accompanied by academic secondary literature that emphasize the Qur'an’s literary structure, theological underpinnings, historical, geographical, social, political and cultural contexts in early and medieval Islamic civilization, and the role of the Qur'an as both a fixed and a living and dynamic text in Muslim devotional life.

PQ: Knowledge of Arabic is not a prerequisite, but general knowledge about Islam or an “Introduction to Islam” course is highly recommended. 
 

Ident. NEHC 30030/RLST11030

ISLM 30100 Introductory Qur’anic Arabic I
T/TH 9:00-10:20 MMC Seminar Room

Instructor: Aamir Bashir

This course is the first in a two-quarter sequence introduction to Arabic centered on learning to read the Arabic of the Qur'an.  It marks the inauguration of the Introduction to Qur'anic Arabic program at the Divinity School which is expected to take on role similar that to that provided by the two-quarter Introduction to Biblical Hebrew and Introduction to Koine Greek sequences.  The course is open to those with no prior Arabic or those who may have had some or may even have learned so Qur'an, but do not feel secure in their grammar.  (It is not meant for those who already have reading proficiency in modern or classical Arabic).  The course will align the introduction of grammar and vocabulary with readings in selected passages from the Qur'an; and will also include an introduction to the proper method of transliterating the Qur'an for papers and articles and the basic rules of Qur'anic recitation (tajwīd) for papers and articles, basic rules of tajwīd, as well as some secondary readings in Qur'anic studies.  The two courses are sequential, but students who are already familiar with the basics of Arabic grammar may wish to join the sequence in the second quarter.  Successful completion of the second quarter of the sequence will qualify students to take the Seminar in the Arabic Text of the Qur'an," that will be taught by Michael Sells in the spring quarter.   In addition to those interested in Islamic Studies proper, the course may be of interest to those in a variety of areas, including but not limited to biblical studies, religion in late antiquity, rabbinic and Karaite literature.

Ident. NELC 30100

 

ISLM 30150 “Mediterranean Thinkers”: Jewish Thought in the Medieval Islamic World
M/W 10:30 – 11:50 ARR

 Instructor: Sarah Stroumsa

Jewish thinkers participated actively in the multicultural Islamic world of the ninth to thirteenth centuries.   This course explores the impact of diverse cultural currents on the development of medieval Jewish thought.  Specifically, the course will focus on such aspects of Jewish thought as philosophy, theology, and pietism, through the examination of individual thinkers in their cultural contexts.

PQ: Knowledge of foreign languages is not required (but readings can be adapted to students’ individual skills).    The course will be geared toward advanced undergraduates and beginning level graduate students.

Ident. RLST 20150/JWSC 20150/ HIJD 30150

ISLM 30337 Persian Lyric Poetry 1
M 3:00-5:50 ARR

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 Rudaki (d. 941) up through Jami (d. 1492), with emphasis on some major pracitioners of the form (Sana'i, Attar, Sa`di, Rumi, Hafez, Jahan Malek Khatun, etc.). 

PQ: Topic: Ghazal Poetry 1: Rudaki to Jami. 2 years of Persian or the equivalent

Ident. PERS 30337

ISLM 30500 Islamic History and Society I: The Rise of Islam and the Caliphate
M/W 10:30-11:20 TBD

This course covers the period from ca. 600 to 1100, including the rise and spread of Islam, the Islamic empire under the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, and the emergence of regional Islamic states from Afghanistan and eastern Iran to North Africa and Spain. 

Note: Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. Discussion groups will meet on Fridays 9:30-10:20 / 10:30-11:20 / 11:30-12:20.

Ident. NEHC20501/30501 / HIST 25704/35704 / RLST 20501

ISLM 30589 Sefarad and Andalus: Jewish Thinkers in Islamic Spain
W 12:30-3:30pm MMC Library

Instructor: Sarah Stroumsa

The period known as “the Golden Age” in Islamic Spain is associated with some of the most famous names in Jewish thought, such as Maimonides or Judah Halevi. Through readings of individual thinkers in their cultural context, this course will study the emergence of Jewish thought in Islamic Spain (al-Andalus), and its development within and beyond its borders.

PQ: Knowledge of foreign languages is not required (but readings can be adapted to students' individual skills).

Ident. NEHC 30589 / HIJD 30589

ISLM 30601 Islamic Thought and Literature I
M W F 10:30-11:20 TBD

This course covers the period from ca. 600 to 950, concentrating on the career of the Prophet Muhammad; Qur'an and Hadith; the Caliphate; the development of  Islamic legal, theological, philosophical, and mystical discourses; sectarian movements; and Arabic literature.

Ident. NEHC 20601/30601/HIST 25610/35610/RLST 20401/SOSC 22000

ISLM 30642 The High Caliphate
M/W 1:30-2:50 OI208

Review of major developments in the history of the Islamic community from ca. 700 CE until ca. 1000 CE, with focus on the extensive secondary literature devoted to key issues, including character of Umayyad rule, conversion and taxation, rise of piety-minded opposition, character of the "Abbasid revolution," nature of Abbasid rule, development of Shi'ism and Alid-Abbasid rivalry, the Abbasid civil war, Byzantium and the caliphate, evolution of military institutions, vizierate and bureaucracy, rise of Samarra and the Samarra period, rise of regionalism, beginnings of Ism'ailism, commercial relations, the Buyid ascendancy.

 

Ident. NEHC 20642/30642 / HIST 25807/35807

ISLM 33900 Islam and Biomedicine
M/W 11-12:20 S201

Instructor: Elham Mireshghi

 

While modern medicine is typically imagined as a solution to public health problems, it also transforms people’s experiences of their bodies, rearranges social relationships, and raises a range of moral questions and controversies. This course deals with the transformations and conundrums that biomedical practice has brought about in Muslim-majority societies, with particular attention to Islamic law, policy, and everyday life. We will read texts from anthropology and Islamic bioethics on a variety of topics, including but not limited to mental health, reproductive technologies, organ transplantation, and cloning. 

Ident. AASR 33900 / RLST 26310

ISLM 40680 Readings in Islamic Thought I: 800-1200
TH 3:00-6:00 ARR

This course focuses on close reading of selected primary texts in Arabic from a wide variety of fields, including history, theology, language, philosophy, and law. The aim of the course is both to familiarize students with the content and style of these works and to provide tools for and practice in analyzing the works within their particular intellectual contexts. (Readings in Islamic Thought I and II can be taken separately.) 

PQ: 3 years of Arabic

Ident. NEHC 40680

ISLM 43108 Judaism, Islam and the study of Religion
W 9:00-11:50 S200

 

Instructor: Guy Stroumsa

 

The Seminar will deal with the religious and intellectual contexts of the study of Judaism and Islam in modern Europe. It will focus upon the difficult birth, in the nineteenth century, of a comparative approach to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and will analyze the complex interface between theology, orientalism, secularization, colonialism, and the rise of racist anti-Semitism.

28 September: The scholarly discovery of religion in modern times

5 October: The comparative study of religion and its history

12 October: Yom Kippur, No class

19 October: Three rings and three impostors

26 October: Ex oriente numen: the other oriental Renaissance

2 November: Renan on Judaism and Islam

9 November: Wellhausen and Robertson Smith on Judaism and Islam

16 November: Islam in the mind of Europe: Geiger, Goldziher, Massignon

23 November: Jewish students of Jesus

30 November: Bergson’s Two Sources and its sources

Ident. HIJD 43108

ISLM 45400 Readings in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed
Th 4:00-6:50 S403

A careful study of select passages in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed focusing on the method of the work, its exegetical framework, and its major philosophical-theological themes, including divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and providence, law and ethics, and the final aim of human existence. There is no language requirement; all readings will be in English. There will be an extra optional session for students who want to read the text in the original.

Ident. HIJD 45400/NEHC 40470/RLIT 45402/RLST 21107/FNDL 24106/HREL 45401/JWSC 21107

ISLM 51414 Monotheism and its Discontents
T 1:30-4:20 F505

Instructor: Guy Stroumsa

The course will study in the same framework some of the most radical heretics among Jews, Christians and Muslims across the centuries, from antiquity to the twentieth century: dualists, deniers of prophecy, philosophical deists and atheists. The main purpose of this exercise is to detect similar patterns of rejection of the Abrahamic God, and to search for similarities and differences between such patterns and atheistic trends in other cultures, such as ancient Greece. The study of the different ways in which monotheism was rejected in history might help us identify more precisely core elements of the Abrahamic religions.

Ident.  SCTH 51414 / HREL 51414 / HIJD 51414 / PHIL ____ /JWSC ______

 

Ministry and Religious Leadership

CHRM 30500 Introduction to the Study of Ministry
T 3:00-4:20 MMC Library

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

PQ: 1st year MDiv students only

CHRM 35102 Arts of Ministry: Ritual, Worship, Preaching and Teaching
F 9:00-11:50 S400

This course is the first of a three-quarter sequence introducing students to essential aspects of religious leadership; the sequence is required for second-year MDIV students and complements their work in field education. In this course, students have the opportunity to visit and observe religious practice in several religious communities, as they are reading ritual theory and researching their own traditions' practices.  Weekly "practice labs" offer students the opportunity to practice speaking to and on behalf of religious communities, instruct students on ritual performance, and invite students to engage their classmates in a life cycle ritual of their own construction.

PQ: Second year M.Div. students, or by permission from instructor.

 

CHRM 40600 Practice of Ministry I
T 9:00-10:20 S400

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.

PQ: 2nd year MDiv students only

Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

RLIT 32400 Theory of Literature: The Twentieth Century
W 1:30-4:20 S201

This course will be a survey of 20th century literary criticism, considering the century’s most influential theories: phenomenology, hermeneutics, reception theory, Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, post-structuralism, and new historicism. We will also consider some of the 19th century texts that serve as the philosophical sources for these movements as well as the political implications and movements that develop in conjunction with these theories.

RLIT 38607 Midrash and Revelation
TH 9:00-11:50 S403

 

This course will focus on the presentation of the event of revelation at Sinai in midrashic sources from several periods (especially, Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael; Pesikta de-Rav Kahana; Exodus Rabba; Song of Songs Rabba; and Tanhuma), as well as pertinent cases in the contemporary liturgical poetry.  Particular attention will be given to the types, forms and content of exegetical theology involved.

Knowledge of Hebrew desired, but English translations will be provided.

Ident. HIJD 35503

RLIT 38607 Lament and Lamentation in Jewish Literature I
W 3:00-5:50 S403

This course will focus on the theme of lament and lamentation in ancient Jewish literature.  It will begin with theories of lament and comparative sources from antiquity.  It will then take up some representative Psalms from Scripture; portions of the book of Lamentation; selections from the Midrash on Lamentation (both from the proem and the commentary); and related material from contemporary liturgical poetry (Piyyut).

Knowledge of Hebrew required (or consent of instructor)

Ident. HIJD 38607

RLIT 43301 Tragedy: Theory and Texts
M 6:00-8:50 S208

 

 

Study of the writing and the performance, as well as the receptions and the theories, of tragic drama as practiced in ancient Greece, Elizabethan England, and early twentieth-century Europe.

RLIT 45402 Readings in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed
Th 4:00-6:50 S403

A careful study of select passages in Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed focusing on the method of the work, its exegetical framework, and its major philosophical-theological themes, including divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and providence, law and ethics, and the final aim of human existence. There is no language requirement; all readings will be in English. There will be an extra optional session for students who want to read the text in the original.

Ident. HIJD 45400/NEHC 40470/ISLM 45400/RLST 21107/FNDL 24106/HREL 45401/JWSC 21107

Religions in America

RAME 34900 The Age of Walter Rauschenbusch: History and Historiography of the Social Gospel
W 9:00-11:50 S403

This course is an intensive analysis of the origins, development, and historical significance of the Social Gospel as a religious and social reform movement in America. Particular emphasis is devoted to the theological works of Walter Rauschenbusch and broader intellectual and cultural developments in the US from the 1880s to the 1920s. Some basic knowledge of the history of biblical interpretation is helpful to make sense of the theological and biblical controversies of the time period. Some attention in class and in the readings will be devoted to the origin of these developments as a factor in the emergence of the Social Gospel.

Ident. HCHR 34900

RAME 40608 Becoming Modern: Religion in America in the 1920s
M 9:00-11:50 S200

Terms such as “acids of modernity” and the “modern temper” were commonly used in the 1920s to describe a new phenomenon in American history. Historians still regard the 1920s as a significant moment in US History, even while revising older narratives that viewed such changes as leading to a decline in church attendance and religious practice. In the 1920s, the nation struggled with the effects of massive immigration, decades of urbanization, and significant cultural and social changes that had profound implications for religious practice and belief. This course takes an extended look at the 1925 Scopes Trial, the fundamentalist modernist controversy, and the intellectual and cultural challenges to traditional religious beliefs and practices.

Ident. HCHR 40608

Religious Ethics

RETH 30100 Minor Classics in Ethics
Various Thursdays, 12:15-1:30 S200

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 30802 Contemporary Religious Ethics I
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S201

This is the first of a two-quarter survey of the rise and development of religious ethics.  It will examine pioneering work that established a new style of scholarship during the “quiet revolution” when Religious Studies programs gained an institutional footing in North American colleges and universities, starting in the late 1960s.  Readings probe ethical resources within specific religious traditions, methodological proposals for carrying out work in religious ethics, or new paradigms in the humanities and social sciences that catalyzed work in religious ethics.  Much of the reading during the first quarter will focus on matters of theory and method.   Readings for the second quarter will focus more on normative resources within religious traditions or on specific ethical problems. Students may enroll in either or both quarters.  Doctoral students in the RETH area are encouraged to enroll in both quarters.  

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

Instructors: Martha Nussbaum, Brian Leiter, and Matthew Etchemendy. The theme is “Topics in Jurisprudence”.

Current Issues in General Jurisprudence. The Workshop will expose students to cutting-edge work in “general jurisprudence,” that part of philosophy of law concerned with the central questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the nature of legal reasoning.   We will be particularly interested in the way in which work in philosophy of language, metaethics, metaphysics, and other cognate fields of philosophy has influenced recent scholarly debates that have arisen in the wake of H.L.A. Hart’s seminal The Concept of Law (1961).

Students who have taken Leiter’s “Jurisprudence I” course at the law school are welcome to enroll.  Students who have not taken Jurisprudence I need to understand that the several two-hour sessions of the Workshop in the early fall will be required; they will involve reading through and discussing Chapters 1-6 of Hart’s The Concept of Law and some criticisms by Ronald Dworkin.  This will give all students an adequate background for the remainder of the year.  Students who have taken jurisprudence courses elsewhere may contact Prof. Leiter to see if they can be exempted from these sessions based on their prior study.  After the preparatory sessions, we will generally meet for one hour the week prior to our outside speakers to go over their essay and to refine questions for the speaker. Confirmed speakers so far include Leslie Green, St.

Offered throughout the year, total about 12 meetings.

PQ: Students are admitted by permission of the two instructors. They should submit a C.V. and a statement (reasons for interest in the course, relevant background in law and/or philosophy) to the instructors by e-mail. Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, divinity and law.

This course meets throughout the year, total about 12 meetings. Students must enroll in all three quarters.

Ident. LAWS 61512 / PHIL 51200 / HMRT 51301 / PLSC 51512 / GNSE 50101

RETH 51604 Seminar: John Stuart Mill
T 3:00-5:45 Law School Seminar Room A

A careful study of Mill's Utilitarianism in relation to his ideas of self-realization and of liberty.  We will study closely at least Utilitarianism, On Liberty, the essays on Bentham and Coleridge, The Subjection of Women, and the Autobiography, trying to figure out whether Mill is a Utilitarian or an Aristotelian eudaimonist, and what view of "permanent human interests" and of the malleability of desire and preference underlies his political thought.  If time permits we will also study his writings about India.

Admission by permission of the instructor.  Permission must be sought in writing by September 15. 

Prerequisite: An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation.  This is a 500 level course.  Ph.D. students in Philosophy and Political Theory may enroll without permission.  Economics graduate students are encouraged to apply; professor will discuss the philosophy prerequisite in a flexible way with such students.

Ident. PHIL 51204/LAWS 51207 / PLSC 51204

RETH 52104 Augustine, Kierkegaard, and the Problem of Love
T 2:00-4:50 S200

This advanced seminar will examine how Augustine and Kierkegaard theorized about the virtues and obligations of love, focusing on their respective theologies, moral psychologies, and normative accounts of interpersonal relationships.  We will also examine how their ideas about love served as a basis for their political and cultural criticism.  To sharpen our analyses of the primary sources, we will read influential receptions and interpretations of their works by Hannah Arendt and M. Jaime Ferreira.  

Q: Background in philosophy or theology recommended but not required.

Theology

THEO 30700 History of Christian Thought V: Modern Religious Thought

This course traces the history of Modern Christian thought from Kant, Schleiermacher, and Hegel through Troeltsch and Barth.

Ident. HCHR 30900

THEO 40102 Womanist Theology: 1st Generation
T 9:00-11:50 S403

Womanist Theology is a contemporary theological discipline in the American academy.  It emerged in 1979 and has differentiated into various other disciplines, foci, and methodologies.  All scholars agree that womanist theology does the following work:   (1) expands the theory and method of the academy; (2) broadens the intellectual conversation; (3) welcomes new voices into theological explorations; and (4) challenges the very notion of assumed epistemology.  In 1979 Jacquelyn Grant wrote what has now been recognized as the first “womanist” article, “Black Theology and the Black Woman”.   In that essay, Grant astutely pointed out certain blind spots in black theology of liberation, the larger discussions about the academic study of religion, and the relation between theology and faith communities.

THEO 40500 Black Theology: 1st Generation
W 12:00-2:50 S200

This quarter we look at the origin of contemporary black theology, with its beginnings on July 31, 1966.  Black theology, on that date, was created by African American clergy who offered one interpretation of the new black consciousness movement.  The latter began June 16, 1966 in Greenwood,  Mississippi. 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.  As the new body of knowledge progressed, thinkers saw the necessity to clarify its conceptual, theoretical, and theological positions.  An entire body of literature, almost fifty years of writing, has arisen defining the methodological contours of this recent creation.  This course explores the responses and critiques internal to black theology.  How did this discipline seek to correct itself with debate among the first generation of founders?

THEO 43302 Contemporary Theological Anthropologies
W 9:00-11:50 S106

This course will examine a variety of recent theological anthropologies, paying special attention to their handling of science and diversity.

THEO 44900 Martin Buber’s I and Thou
T 6:00-8:50 S400

Martin Buber's I and Thou. An analysis of the foundational text of Buber's philosophy of dialogue and religion.The close reading – explication de texte – will be supplement by reference to Buber's lectures "Religion as Presence" and "Zwiesprache" (Dialogue).

Ident. HIJD 44900