Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

AASR 52808 Sovereignty, Intimacy and the Body
TH 11:00-1:50 S201

A close exploration of relationships between state power and everyday forms of embodied sociality, ethics, and intimacy. Readings will include selections from some or all of the following authors: Asad, Berlant, Foucault, Kantorowicz, Santner, Siegel, and various ethnographies. 

Limit to 10 students. PQ: At least one previous course in ANTH or ASR. Permission of instructor.

Ident. HREL 52808 / ANTH

 

AASR 42802 Ethnographies of the Muslim World
W 11:00-1:50 S201

An examination of contemporary theoretical issues in the anthropology of Islam through close readings of recent ethnographic monographs. Topics may include ethical self-formation, state-making, embodiment and the senses, therapeutic spiritualties, indeterminacy and religious aspiration, and globalization. Limit to 15.

Ident. AASR 42802/ANTH 55030                

 

Bible

BIBL 31200 Philosophy: Plato's Phaedrus

Instructor: Elizabeth Asmis

The Phaedrus is one of the most fascinating and compelling of Plato’s Dialogues. Beginning with a playful treatment of the theme of erotic passion, it continues with a consideration of the nature of inspiration, love, and knowledge. The centerpiece is one the most famous of the Platonic myths, the moving description of the charioteer and its allegory of the vision, fall, and incarnation of the soul. We will read the entire dialogue, with special attention the language and style and with a particular focus on religious and theological ideas.

Ident. GREK 21200/31200w

BIBL 32602 Introduction to the New Testament
M/W 10:30-11:50 S106

This is an introductory course to the history, literature, and interpretation of the New Testament.  Our primary focus will be to read select texts of the New Testament, with an emphasis on their literary nature, their historical problems and sources, their theological visions, and their historical, geographic, social, political, religious and cultural contexts in early Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds.  One will have the opportunity to situate one's own questions about and approaches to these texts in light of the history of scholarly research and through critical reflection about the methods and goals of interpretation.

Discussion groups will meet on Fridays, 12:00-1:00 in S106, 200, 201, 208.

Ident. RLST 12602/FNDL

BIBL 34000 Introductory Biblical Hebrew 2
M/W/F 8:00-8:50 S201

Instructor: Kelli Gardner

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.

PQ:  Must have taken BIBL 33900 in Autumn quarter

 

BIBL 35300 Introductory Koine Greek 2
M/W/F 8:00-8:50 S208

Instructor: Staff.

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.

PQ:  Must have taken BIBL 35100 in Autumn quarter.

Ident. NTEC 35300

BIBL 36016 Epicureanism
ARR ARR

Instructor: Elizabeth Amis

Epicureanism had a wide impact on Greek and Roman culture as a materialist  system of philosophy that advocated pleasure as the goal of life. Lucretius turned its teachings into a poem with the aim of converting his fellow Romans; and it continued to inspire many readers subsequently. This course will focus on the response to Epicureanism in both antiquity and later. Beginning with the age of Epicurus himself, we will consider how individuals used the teachings in the light of their own experience and needs. Our study  will take us to the rediscovery of Lucretius in the Renaissance, as well as the origins of modern atomism and the humanism of the nineteenth century. 

Ident. CLVC 26016 CLAS 36016

BIBL 41508 I and II Chronicles
T/TH 1:30-2:50 S400

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

PQ: Biblical Hebrew.

BIBL 42906 The Book of Ezekiel
Th 9:30-12:20 S406

This course will focus on a selection of passages and attend to the frame and self-situating of the book; its mood, message, and religious ideas; comparable material, "prophetic" and other, in the Hebrew Bible and outside it; early Jewish reception; and modern scholarship.

 

PQ: Biblical Hebrew I-III + text course

BIBL 43100 Interpreting the Gospel according to Matthew
M/W 1:30-2:50 S403

An exegesis course on “the church’s gospel,” which will seek to create a constructive conversation between modern redaction-critical readings of Matthew as a document forged in heated interaction with a specific historical context (particularly defined by inter-/intra-Jewish polemics and the emergence of the “ekklesia” as distinct from the synagogue) and the history of interpretation and effects of this gospel in the ancient church and up to the present, including in film.  Each student will select an interpreter or interpretation – ancient, medieval, modern, post-modern – to impersonate in class discussions.

PQ: BIBL 32500 (Introduction to the New Testament) or equivalent.  There are no language prerequisites, but there will be ample opportunity to exercise skills in Koine Greek and other languages of interpretation. 

Ident. HCHR 33200 / NTEC 33200

BIBL 53500 Early Christian Biblical Interpretation
T 6:00-8:50 S403

This year the Early Christian Biblical Interpretation seminar will focus on two caches of untranslated Greek homiletic texts: the Greek homilies on the Psalms by Origen of Alexandria (discovered in 2012, published in a critical edition in 2015), and homilies by John Chrysostom on “problem passages” in the Pauline epistles.  Reading Origen and Chrysostom alongside one another will allow us to test the accuracy of the traditional divide between “Alexandrine allegory” and “Antiochene literalism,” while also focusing on the various ways that each employs the traditional school form of problemata kai lyseis (“problems and solutions”) in his interpretive work and its rhetorical presentation.

PQ: advanced Greek skills (Attic and Koine)

Ident. HCHR 53500 / NTEC 53500

Divinity School

DVSC 45100 Reading Course: Special Topic
ARR ARR

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

DVSC 49900 Exam Preparation
ARR ARR

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

DVSC 50100 Research: Divinity
ARR ARR

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

DVSC 51000 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
W 5:15 – 7:15pm MMC Library
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 33200 Interpreting the Gospel according to Matthew
M/W 1:30-2:50 S403

An exegesis course on “the church’s gospel,” which will seek to create a constructive conversation between modern redaction-critical readings of Matthew as a document forged in heated interaction with a specific historical context (particularly defined by inter-/intra-Jewish polemics and the emergence of the “ekklesia” as distinct from the synagogue) and the history of interpretation and effects of this gospel in the ancient church and up to the present, including in film.  Each student will select an interpreter or interpretation – ancient, medieval, modern, post-modern – to impersonate in class discussions.

PQ: BIBL 32500 (Introduction to the New Testament) or equivalent.  There are no language prerequisites, but there will be ample opportunity to exercise skills in Koine Greek and other languages of interpretation. 

Ident. BIBL 43100 / NTEC 33200

HCHR 42901 Christianity and Slavery in America, 1619-1865
M 9:00-11:50 S200

This course examines the history of Christian thought and practice regarding slavery in the United States. Particular attention is paid to Christian missions to slaves, debates about the abolition of slavery, the pro-slavery Christian defense, and the practice and evolution of slave religion.

Ident. RAME 42901

HCHR 43010 Art and Ritual in Byzantium
ARR ARR

What was the place of architecture, images and objects in the various rituals of Byzantium – public and private, sacred and secular? In what ways did works of art respond to the ritualistic purpose for which they were created? To what extent is the latter reflected in the design of buildings, their urban setting, their pictorial decoration, their furnishings and mobile equipment? These are the key questions underlying this course, to which must be added: What are the limitations encountered by those aiming to reconstruct the function of buildings that have survived in a fragmentary or refurbished state and of artifacts now isolated from their original context? We will approach this topic by critically confronting visual material surviving from Byzantium with various written sources. We will also explore these texts as a key source of information on works of art and architecture that no longer survive.

Ident. RLIT 43010/ARTH 43010

HCHR 44004 The Veneration of Icons in Byzantium: History, Theory and Practice
M 6:00-8:50 S200

In order to appreciate the pivotal religious significance icons had in Byzantium for private devotion, in the liturgy, in civic ritual, and in military campaigns, we will survey the visual evidence along with a vast array of written sources. We will explore the origins of the Christian cult of icons in the Early Byzantine period and its roots in the Greco-Roman world of paganism. Through close analysis of icons executed over the centuries in different artistic techniques, we will examine matters of iconography, style and aesthetics. We will also have a close look at Byzantine image theory, as developed by theologians from early on and codified in the era of Iconoclasm.

Ident. RLIT 44004/ARTH 44014/RLST 28704

HCHR 44600 Renaissance and Reformation
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S208

This class examines points of convergence and divergence during the era of the Renaissance and the Reformation spanning the time between Cusa and Bruno. The issues analyzed will go beyond strictly theological debates. We will examine views of reason and human nature, the revival of Platonism, the rise of historical thought, the study of law and philology, and the implications regarding the development of perspective on both thought and art. We will also examine the role of rhetoric, poetry, and moral philosophy; the rise of skepticism, the appeal to certitude, curriculum reform, and the reform of art as exemplified by Michelangelo. 

Ident. THEO 44600

HCHR 46606 Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism in 20th Century America: Interpretations
W 9:00-11:50 S200

This seminar begins with George Marsden’s seminal Fundamentalism and American Culture (1980) as the major interpretive paradigm of the relationship of evangelicalism to American culture and the various cultural, political and social factors in the emergence of fundamentalism in the early 20th century. The course looks at the evolution of scholarship on the meaning of fundamentalism, its relationship to evangelicalism, and fundamentalists’ and evangelicals’ changing understandings of America. Definitional problems are also addressed: what do we mean by evangelicalism and fundamentalism? How have evangelicals shaped discussions about Christianity in America?

Ident. RAME 46606

HCHR 51510 Idolatry: Historical and Modern Perspectives
TH 1:30-4:20 S200

This seminar examines the concept of idolatry as formulated in the Reformation disputes. We will analyze the way idolatry was understood by Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. We will also look at the occurrences of iconoclasm and religious violence in the 16th century; at the development of the concept of the modern ideas of idolatry, partly as a legacy of Francis Bacon; and at the view of idolatry in Karl Barth, Jacques Ellul and Nicholas Lash.

Ident. THEO 51510

HCHR 53500 Early Christian Biblical Interpretation
T 6:00-8:50 S403

This year the Early Christian Biblical Interpretation seminar will focus on two caches of untranslated Greek homiletic texts: the Greek homilies on the Psalms by Origen of Alexandria (discovered in 2012, published in a critical edition in 2015), and homilies by John Chrysostom on “problem passages” in the Pauline epistles.  Reading Origen and Chrysostom alongside one another will allow us to test the accuracy of the traditional divide between “Alexandrine allegory” and “Antiochene literalism,” while also focusing on the various ways that each employs the traditional school form of problemata kai lyseis (“problems and solutions”) in his interpretive work and its rhetorical presentation.

PQ: advanced Greek skills (Attic and Koine)

Ident. BIBL 53500 /NTEC 53500

History of Judaism

HIJD 44908 The "Science of Letters" in Judaism and Islam
T 3:00-5:50 S403

Ident. ISLM 44908/HREL 44908/RLST 25120/NEHC/FNDL

HIJD 45302 Franz Rosenzweig’s Shorter Writings
W 6:00-8:50 S208

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 45712 Judah Halevi's Kuzari
TH 3:00-5:50 S403

Instructors: James Robinson and Ralph Lerner

A close reading of select passages from this classic work of medieval Jewish philosophy and apologetics. The focus will be on Book 1, which presents the frame narrative -- a dialogue between the King of Kazaria and a philosopher, Christian, Muslim, and Jew -- along with the main ideas: the manifestation of the God of Israel in history, the chosenness of the people in the chosen land. The work will be read in light of its sources in the Islamic world (especially works of Ismaili and Sufi spirituality and anti-Aristotelianism) and the contemporary intellectual culture.

Ident. ISLM 45712/RLST 25903/NEHC/FNDL 25903

 

HIJD 47600 Gershom Scholem: The Theologian and Social Critic
T 3:00-5:50 S400

With the objective of determining whether Scholem's scholarship on mysticism and antinomianism reflects a theological and ideological agenda, we will examine his diaries, memoirs, correspondence, especially with Walter Benjamin on how to read Kafka, Zionism, his poetry, and occasional essays on theology.

HIJD 50200 Readings in Arabic Religious Texts
TH 1:30-4:20 MMC Library

Selected texts from the Qur’an, the Arabic Bible, Islamic philosophy, Sufism, and other classical Arabic literature.

PQ:  2 years of Arabic or the equivalent

Ident. ISLM 50200/NEHC 40604

HIJD 53360 Topics in the Philosophy of Judaism: Soloveitchik Reads the Classics
T 1:30-4:20 ARR

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was one of the most important philosophers of Judaism in the twentieth century. Among his many books, essays and lectures, we find a detailed engagement with the Bible, the Talmud and the fundamental works of Maimonides. This course will examine Soloveitchik’s philosophical readings and appropriation of Torah, Talmud, and both the Guide and the Mishneh Torah. A framing question of the course will be: how can one combine traditional Jewish learning and modern philosophical ideas? What can Judaism gain from philosophy? What can philosophy learn from Judaism?

PQ: All students interested in enrolling in this course should send an application to [ jbarbaro (a) uchicago (dot) edu ] by 12/16/2016. 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

Ident. DVPR 53360/PHIL 53360

History of Religions

HREL 30200 Indian Philosophy I
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S201

Buddhist works, and the primary texts of the Samkhya and Yoga traditions, together with readings from contemporary philosophical interpreters of these sources. The emergence of systems of logic and the philosophy of language will be among topics surveyed. Although there is no formal prerequisite for the course, some background in Western philosophy is desirable.

Ident. DVPR 30201/SALC 20901/30901/RLST 24201

 

 

HREL 34705 Histories of Japanese Religion
M 12:30-3:20 ARR

An examination of select texts, moments, and problems to explore aspects of religion, religiosity, and religious institutions of Japan’s history.

Ident. HIST 24700/34700/ EALC 24700/34700 / RLST 22505

 

HREL 35000 Mahabharata in English Translation
M/W 3:00-4:30 S208

A reading of the Mahabharata in English translation (John Smith, van Buitenen, Narasimhan, P.C. Roy, and Doniger [ms.], and modern retellings (Karthika Nair, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shashi Tharoor), with special attention to issues of mythology, feminism, and theodicy.

10-15 page paper at the end of the course.

Ident. SALC 20400/48200, FNDL 24400/RLST 26800

HREL 36000 Second Year Sanskrit: Readings in the Mahabharata
T/TH 1:30-2:50 S207

Readings in the Mahabharata

PQ:  One year of Sanskrit.  Open to both College and Graduate students. Exam at the end of the quarter.

Ident. SANS 20200/SALC 48400

HREL 44701 Ritual in South Asian Buddhism
M/W 10:30-11:50 S403

This course will explore some ritual practices and theories of South Asian Buddhists in light of current theorization of ritual. What is it that Buddhists “actually” (physically and verbally) do? And, what do they say about what they do? Does what they do “mean” anything? If so, how? And, what significance might this have for anyone else? What happens when we consider these possibly meaningful forms of expression as “ritual?” Exemplaria will be drawn from India, Nepal, Burma and Tibet, with some comparative perspectives considered along the way.

PQ:  Some prior study of South Asian religions.

Ident. SALC 44701

HREL 44908 The "Science of Letters" in Judaism and Islam
T 3:00-5:50 S403

Ident. HIJD 44908/ISLM 44908/RLST 25120/NEHC/FNDL

HREL 45702 Sources and Methods in the Study of Chinese Buddhism
W 1:30-4:20 ARR

A graduate-level introduction to the study of Chinese Buddhism and to the field of Chinese Buddhist studies, mainly as it has been practiced in North America and Europe over the last 50 years. Working ability in literary Chinese helpful but not necessary.

Ident. EALC 45700

HREL 48910 Readings in Tibetan Buddhist Texts
T/Th 3:00-4:20 S208

Readings in selected  Buddhist doctrinal writings in Tibetan.

PQ: Open to students reading Tibetan at an advanced level.

 

Ident. DVPR 48910/SALC 48501

HREL 52808 Sovereignty, Intimacy and the Body
TH 11:00-1:50 S201

A close exploration of relationships between state power and everyday forms of embodied sociality, ethics, and intimacy. Readings will include selections from some or all of the following authors: Asad, Berlant, Foucault, Kantorowicz, Santner, Siegel, and various ethnographies. 

Limit to 10 students. PQ: At least one previous course in ANTH or ASR and permission of instructor.

Ident. AASR 52808 / ANTH

Islamic Studies

ISLM 30035 What is a Madrasa Education
Tu/Th 10-11:20 S106

Although public education has almost completely eclipsed and replaced traditional educational systems throughout the Muslim world, madrasas continue to play a significant role in Muslim societies to this day. This course explores the complex, evolving, and often conflicting pedagogical models of learning in Islamic civilization from the medieval period up to the present. Three fundamental concerns guide our examination of the various modes of organization, acquisition, embodiment, and transference of knowledge in madrasa institutions: 
(1) Epistemology: What is knowledge (ʿilm)? And what is an ʿālim, or “traditional Muslim knower” expected know?
(2) Pedagogy: How does an ʿālim acquire, organize, transmit, and publish his/her ʿilm? 
(3) Religious Authority: How is ʿilm verified, authenticated, institutionalized, certificated, and mainstreamed in madrasa institutions? 
The sheer enormity of the subject and the variety of competing pedagogical models in the Muslim world belie a comprehensive survey. Our approach will thus be grounded in multidisciplinary research (history, ethnography, sociology, religious studies) and anchored in case studies. The readings covered in class will address questions of philosophy of education; the politics of knowledge; core texts studied in madrasas; day-to-day lived experience of students and teachers; how classical texts are taught; the structure of courses; memorization techniques and more.  


PQ: Basic knowledge of Arabic or another Islamic language is highly recommended, though not a formal prerequisite for this course.

Ident. NEHC 30035
 

ISLM 30200 Introductory Qur’anic Arabic II
T/TH 9:00-10:20 MMC Seminar Room

Instructor: Aamir Bashir

This course is the second of a two-quarter sequence introduction to Arabic centered on learning to read the Arabic of the Qur'an.  The sequence is similar to the two-quarter Introduction to Biblical Hebrew or 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 some 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 (tajwid), 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 30200
 
ISLM 30602 Islamic Thought and Literature 2
TBD TBD

This course covers the period from ca. 950 to 1700, surveying works of literature, theology, philosophy, sufism, politics, history, etc., written in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, as well as the art, architecture and music of the Islamicate traditions. Through primary texts, secondary sources and lectures, we will trace the cultural, social, religious, political and institutional evolution through the period of the Fatimids, the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, and the "gunpowder empires" (Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals).

Ident. NEHC 20602 / NEHC 30602 / SOSC 22100 / RLST 20402 / CMES 30602

 

ISLM 41610 Blood Libel: Norwich to Riyadh
T 1:30-4:20 MMC Library (Swift 2nd floor)

This course examines the Blood-Libel from the thirteenth-century to the present, with special focus upon the Damascus Affair of 1840 and its repercussions in the modern Middle Eastern and European contexts and in polemics today among Muslims, Christians and Jews. We will review cases and especially upon literary and artistic representations of ritual murder and sacrificial consumption alleged to have been carried out by Waldensians, Fraticelli, witches, and Jews, with special attention to the forms of redemptive, demonic, and symbolic logic that developed over the course of the centuries and culminated in the wake of the Damascus Affair. Each participant will be asked to translate and annotate a sample primary text, ideally one that has not yet been translated into English, and to use that work as well in connection with a final paper.

PQ: Willing ness to work on a text from one of the following languages:  Latin, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Modern Greek, or Turkish—at whatever level of proficiency one has attained.

Ident.  CMLT 50104

 

ISLM 42802 Ethnographies of the Muslim World
W 11:00-1:50 S201

An examination of contemporary theoretical issues in the anthropology of Islam through close readings of recent ethnographic monographs. Topics may include ethical self-formation, state-making, embodiment and the senses, therapeutic spiritualities, indeterminacy and religious aspiration, and globalization.

Ident. ISLM 42802/ANTH 55030 Limit to 15

 

ISLM 44908 The "Science of Letters" in Judaism and Islam
T 3:00-5:50 S403

Ident. HIJD 44908/HREL 44908/RLST 25120/NEHC/FNDL

ISLM 45712 Judah Halevi's Kuzari
TH 3:00-5:50 S403

Instructors: James Robinson and Ralph Lerner

A close reading of select passages from this classic work of medieval Jewish philosophy and apologetics. The focus will be on Book 1, which presents the frame narrative -- a dialogue between the King of Kazaria and a philosopher, Christian, Muslim, and Jew -- along with the main ideas: the manifestation of the God of Israel in history, the chosenness of the people in the chosen land. The work will be read in light of its sources in the Islamic world (especially works of Ismaili and Sufi spirituality and anti-Aristotelianism) and the contemporary intellectual culture.

 

Ident. HIJD 45712/RLST 25903/NEHC/FDML 25903

ISLM 50200 Readings in Arabic Religious Texts
TH 1:30-4:20 MMC Library

Selected texts from the Qur’an, the Arabic Bible, Islamic philosophy, Sufism, and other classical Arabic literature.

PQ:  2 years of Arabic or the equivalent

Ident. HIJD 50200/NEHC 40604

Ministry and Religious Leadership

CHRM 32500 Theology in the Public Square
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S400

This course examines the religious thought of religious leaders such as Dorothy Day, Thich Nhat Hanh, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Reinhold Niebuhr in conversation with each other and as resources for American public life today.

CHRM 35202 Arts of Ministry: Spiritual Care and Counseling
F 9:00-11:50 S400

Instructor: Cynthia Lindner and teaching team

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.

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

CHRM 40700 Practice of Ministry II
ARR ARR

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

PQ: DO NOT REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE

CHRM 42800 Senior Ministry Thesis Seminar
W 3:00-5:50 S400

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

PQ: Third or fourth year MDiv students only

Philosophy of Religions

DVPR 30201 Indian Philosophy I
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S201

The early development of philosophical thought in India will be traced through readings in the Upanishads, early Buddhist works, and the primary texts of the Samkhya and Yoga traditions, together with readings from contemporary philosophical interpreters of these sources. The emergence of systems of logic and the philosophy of language will be among topics surveyed. Although there is no formal prerequisite for the course, some background in Western philosophy is desirable.

Ident. HREL 30200/SALC 20901/30901/RLST 24201

 

 

DVPR 46616 Reason and Religion
T 12:00-2:50 JRL207

Instructors: Shadi Bartsch and Robert Richards

The quarrel between reason and faith has a long history.  The birth of Christianity was in the crucible of rationality.  The ancient Greeks privileged this human capacity above all others, finding in reason the quality wherein man was closest to the gods, while the early Christians found this viewpoint antithetical to religious humility.  As religion and its place in society have evolved throughout history, so have the standing of, and philosophical justification for, non-belief on rational grounds.  This course will examine the intellectual and cultural history of arguments against religion in Western thought from antiquity to the present.  Along the way, of course, we will also examine the assumptions bound up in the binary terms "religion" and "reason."

Course requirements: 12-page research paper (40%), class report (30%), active participation (15%), book review (15%)

PQ: Consent required: Email [sbartsch (at) uchicago (dot) edu ] a few sentences describing your background and what you hope to get out of this seminar.

Ident. CDIN 40201 / KNOW 40201 / CLAS 46616 / CHSS 40201

DVPR 47607 Buddhist Sutras Reading in Traditional Tiantai "Classification of Teachings" Rather than Historical Order
M 3:00-5:50 S201

Buddhist sutra literature is vast and complex, representing many historical periods and many diverse and even conflicting conceptions of Buddhist doctrine.  A historical development of ideas can be traced in these texts by treating them in their historical order, each subsequent period responding to and developing ideas from previous periods.  But Chinese Buddhist schools such as Tiantai understood the divergences of these texts to be part of a different order: the order in which they were traditionally regarded to have been preached by the Buddha, which stands in sharp contrast to their actual dates of composition.   By reading them in the order stipulated by the Tiantai “classification of teachings,” as carefully designed parts of a five-part pedagogical program utilized by the Buddha, we come to have a clearer conception of how Tiantai understood the relation between provisional and ultimate truth, and the process of teaching and comprehending ideas, from which a different picture of Buddhism emerges.   In this class we will read portions of the following sutra or classes of sutras, in the following order: 1) Avataṃsaka; 2) Āgamas, 3) Vaipulya (Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa and others); 4) Prajñāparamitā; 5) The Lotus Sutra and The Nirvana Sutra.   All readings will be in English.

DVPR 48910 Readings in Tibetan Buddhist Texts
T/Th 3:00-4:20 S208

Readings in selected  Buddhist doctrinal writings in Tibetan.

PQ: Open to students reading Tibetan at an advanced level.

 

Ident. HREL 48910/SALC 48501

DVPR 50115 Seminar on the Black Notebooks: Heidegger and the Problem of Evil
M 1:30-4:20 S400

Ident THEO 50115

DVPR 53360 Topics in the Philosophy of Judaism: Soloveitchik Reads the Classics
T 1:30-4:20 ARR

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was one of the most important philosophers of Judaism in the twentieth century. Among his many books, essays and lectures, we find a detailed engagement with the Bible, the Talmud and the fundamental works of Maimonides. This course will examine Soloveitchik’s philosophical readings and appropriation of Torah, Talmud, and both the Guide and the Mishneh Torah. A framing question of the course will be: how can one combine traditional Jewish learning and modern philosophical ideas? What can Judaism gain from philosophy? What can philosophy learn from Judaism?

PQ: All students interested in enrolling in this course should send an application to [ jbarbaro (a) uchicago (dot) edu ]  by 12/16/2016. 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.

Ident. HIJD 53360/PHIL 53360

DVPR 58804 Seminar: Dissertation Methodology
ARR ARR

A two-week seminar on the methodology of advanced research and writing for Ph.D. students in the dissertation stage of their program.  Each student will present a selection from their current work, with special additional discussion focused on the concept of revelation related to their dissertation topics, followed by a response from Prof. Marion and a discussion-format critique.  The presentations will be reserved primarily for students in ABD status.  Those not yet dissertating but in the final stage of their qualifying exams and proposal submissions are encouraged to engage in the discussion portion of the seminar

The seminar will be scheduled over 2-3 hour sessions each week from January 24 to February 2, 2017. Some sessions may be evening or weekend hours to accommodate all participants.  Enrollment by application to Dean Owens. Enrollment limit:  12

Ident. THEO 58804

 

Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

RLIT 37516 Religious Lyric in England & America: from Donne to T.S. Eliot
ARR ARR

Instructor: Richard Strier

This course will study five major poets, English and American, who wrote about their personal relation to God, religion, and/or the transcendent. It will treat the poets as writers and as religious thinkers. The approach will be both internal—reading selected poems carefully—and comparative, reading the poets in relation to one another. The course will require a final paper and perhaps a mid-term exercise. (C, E, G)

Ident. ENGL 37516/17516/RLST 27516

RLIT 41504 Blake's Theology in Poetry and Prints
M/W 2:30-3:50 S200

It has been well remarked of William Blake (1757-1827) that he was assuredly a Christian – and that he was a church of one. The course aims to approach Blake's emphatic if idiosyncratic religiosity via particular attention to the remarkable interrelations of his poetry with his prints.

RLIT 43010 Art and Ritual in Byzantium

What was the place of architecture, images and objects in the various rituals of Byzantium – public and private, sacred and secular? In what ways did works of art respond to the ritualistic purpose for which they were created? To what extent is the latter reflected in the design of buildings, their urban setting, their pictorial decoration, their furnishings and mobile equipment? These are the key questions underlying this course, to which must be added: What are the limitations encountered by those aiming to reconstruct the function of buildings that have survived in a fragmentary or refurbished state and of artifacts now isolated from their original context? We will approach this topic by critically confronting visual material surviving from Byzantium with various written sources. We will also explore these texts as a key source of information on works of art and architecture that no longer survive.

Ident. HCHR 43010/ARTH 43010

RLIT 44004 The Veneration of Icons in Byzantium: History, Theory and Practice
M 6:00-8:50 S200

In order to appreciate the pivotal religious significance icons had in Byzantium for private devotion, in the liturgy, in civic ritual, and in military campaigns, we will survey the visual evidence along with a vast array of written sources. We will explore the origins of the Christian cult of icons in the Early Byzantine period and its roots in the Greco-Roman world of paganism. Through close analysis of icons executed over the centuries in different artistic techniques, we will examine matters of iconography, style and aesthetics. We will also have a close look at Byzantine image theory, as developed by theologians from early on and codified in the era of Iconoclasm.

Ident. HCHR 44004/ARTH 44014/RLST 28704

Religions in America

RAME 42901 Christianity and Slavery in America, 1619-1865
M 9:00-11:50 S200

This course examines the history of Christian thought and practice regarding slavery in the United States. Particular attention is paid to Christian missions to slaves, debates about the abolition of slavery, the pro-slavery Christian defense, and the practice and evolution of slave religion.

Ident. HCHR 42901

RAME 46606 Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism in 20th Century America: Interpretations
W 9:00-11:50 S200

This seminar begins with George Marsden’s seminal Fundamentalism and American Culture (1980) as the major interpretive paradigm of the relationship of evangelicalism to American culture and the various cultural, political and social factors in the emergence of fundamentalism in the early 20th century. The course looks at the evolution of scholarship on the meaning of fundamentalism, its relationship to evangelicalism, and fundamentalists’ and evangelicals’ changing understandings of America. Definitional problems are also addressed: what do we mean by evangelicalism and fundamentalism? How have evangelicals shaped discussions about Christianity in America?

Ident. HCHR 46606

Religious Ethics

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

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

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

No Credit - DO NOT REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE

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

RETH 30710 Roman Philosophers on the Fear of Death
3:00-5:45 ARR

All human beings fear death, and it seems plausible to think that a lot of our actions are motivated by it.  But is it reasonable to fear death? And does this fear do good (motivating creative projects) or harm (motivating greedy accumulation, war, and too much deference to religious leaders)?   Hellenistic philosophers, both Greek and Roman, were preoccupied with these questions and debated them with a depth and intensity that makes them still highly influential in modern philosophical debate about the same issues (the only issue on which one will be likely find discussion of Lucretius in the pages of The Journal of Philosophy).  The course will focus on several major Latin writings on the topic: Lucretius De Rerum Natura Book III, and extracts from Cicero and Seneca.  We will study the philosophical arguments in their literary setting and ask about connections between argument and its rhetorical expression.  In translation we will read pertinent material from Plato, Epicurus, Plutarch, and a few modern authors such as Thomas Nagel, John Fischer, and Bernard Williams.

Prerequisite: ability to read the material in Latin at a sufficiently high level, usually about two years at the college level.

Ident. LAWS 96305/PHIL 20710/30710/CLAS 34716/PLSC 22210/32210/CLCV 24716

RETH 30803 Contemporary Religious Ethics II
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S201

This is the second 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 43302 The Ethics of Belief
Tuesdays 2:00-4:50 S200

This course will examine authors who ask: Is religious belief and practice good for its adherents and for society more generally?  We will examine critics who pose normative questions about religious belief and practice, focusing on thinking ranging from teh early modern European period to the early part of the twentieth century.  Throughout the course, we will explore how religion as a concept is theorized in the critical discourses surrounding it.  Authors include Las Casas, Locke, Hume, Schleirermacher, Marx, James, Freud, Dewey, and DuBois.

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

Instructors: Brad Leiter and Martha C. Nussbaum

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. 

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.

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

RETH 51404 Global Inquality
TH 4:00-6:00 ARR

Instructors: Martha Nussbaum and David Weisbach

 

Global income and wealth are highly concentrated. The richest 2% of the population own about half of the global assets. Per capita income in the United States is around $47,000 and in Europe it is around $30,500, while in India it is $3,400 and in Congo, it is $329. There are equally unsettling inequalities in longevity, health, and education.

In this interdisciplinary seminar, we ask what duties nations and individuals have to address these inequalities and what are the best strategies for doing so. What role must each country play in helping itself? What is the role of international agreements and agencies, of NGOs, of political institutions, and of corporations in addressing global poverty? How do we weigh policies that emphasize growth against policies that emphasize within-country equality, health, or education?

In seeking answers to these questions, the class will combine readings on the law and economics of global development with readings on the philosophy of global justice. A particular focus will be on the role that legal institutions, both domestic and international, play in discharging these duties. For, example, we might focus on how a nation with natural resources can design legal institutions to ensure they are exploited for the benefit of the citizens of the country. Students will be expected to write a paper, which may qualify for substantial writing credit.

PQ:  Non-law students are welcome but need permission of the instructors since space is limited.

Ident. LAWS/PHIL

Theology

THEO 44601 Renaissance and Reformation
T/TH 10:30-11:50 S208

This class examines points of convergence and divergence during the era of the Renaissance and the Reformation spanning the time between Cusa and Bruno. The issues analyzed will go beyond strictly theological debates. We will examine views of reason and human nature, the revival of Platonism, the rise of historical thought, the study of law and philology, and the implications regarding the development of perspective on both thought and art. We will also examine the role of rhetoric, poetry, and moral philosophy; the rise of skepticism, the appeal to certitude, curriculum reform, and the reform of art as exemplified by Michelangelo. 

Ident. HCHR 44600

THEO 50115 Seminar on the Black Notebooks: Heidegger and the Problem of Evil
M 1:30-4:20 S400

Ident DVPR 50115

THEO 51510 Idolatry: Historical and Modern Perspectives
TH 1:30-4:20 S200

This seminar examines the concept of idolatry as formulated in the Reformation disputes. We will analyze the way idolatry was understood by Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. We will also look at the occurrences of iconoclasm and religious violence in the 16th century; at the development of the concept of the modern ideas of idolatry, partly as a legacy of Francis Bacon; and at the view of idolatry in Karl Barth, Jacques Ellul and Nicholas Lash.

Ident. HCHR 51510

THEO 58804 Seminar: Dissertation Methodology
ARR ARR

A two-week seminar on the methodology of advanced research and writing for Ph.D. students in the dissertation stage of their program.  Each student will present a selection from their current work, with special additional discussion focused on the concept of revelation related to their dissertation topics, followed by a response from Prof. Marion and a discussion-format critique.  The presentations will be reserved primarily for students in ABD status.  Those not yet dissertating but in the final stage of their qualifying exams and proposal submissions are encouraged to engage in the discussion portion of the seminar

The seminar will be scheduled over 2-3 hour sessions each week from January 24 to February 2, 2017. Some sessions may be evening or weekend hours to accommodate all participants.  Enrollment by application to Dean Owens. Enrollment limit:  12

Ident. DVPR 58804