Fall 2012 Courses

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101. Introduction to the Study of Religion
David Howlett T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-004
Basic concepts, methods, and issues in the study of religion, with special reference to examples comparing and contrasting Asian and Western religions. Lectures, films, discussions, and readings in a variety of texts such as scriptures, novels, and autobiographies, along with modern interpretations of religion in ancient and contemporary, Asian and Western contexts.
116. Christian Sexual Ethics
Elizabeth Pritchard T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Kanbar Hall-107
An examination of the themes, varieties, and conflicts of Christian teachings and practices regarding sex and sexuality. Source materials include the Bible, historical analyses, Church dogmatics, legal cases, and ethnographic studies. Topics include celibacy and marriage, the development and status of sexual orientations, natural law, conversion therapy, reproductive rights and technologies, and comparative religious ethics.
125. Entering Modernity: European Jewry
Susan Tananbaum T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Searles-215
Explores Jewish life through the lenses of history, religion, and ethnicity and examines the processes by which governments and sections of the Jewish community attempted to incorporate Jews and Judaism into European society. Surveys social and economic transformations of Jews, cultural challenges of modernity, varieties of modern Jewish religious expression, political ideologies, the Holocaust, establishment of Israel, and American Jewry through primary and secondary sources, lectures, films, and class discussions.
142. Philosophy of Religion
Scott Sehon M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Sills-117
Does God exist? Can the existence of God be proven? Can it be disproven? Is it rational to believe in God? What does it mean to say that God exists (or does not exist)? What distinguishes religious beliefs from non-religious beliefs? What is the relation between religion and science? Approaches these and related questions through a variety of historical and contemporary sources, including philosophers, scientists, and theologians.
208. Islam
Naseem Surhio M 6:30 - 9:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
With an emphasis on primary sources, pursues major themes in Islamic civilization from the revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad until the present. From philosophy to political Islam, and from mysticism to Muslims in America, explores the diversity of a rapidly growing religious tradition.
215. The Hebrew Bible in Its World
Jorunn Buckley M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Chase Barn Chamber
Close readings of chosen texts in the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the Old Testament), with emphasis on its Near Eastern religious, cultural, and historical context. Attention is given to the Hebrew Bible’s literary forerunners (from c. 4000 B.C.E. onwards) to its “successor,” The Dead Sea Scrolls (c. 200 B.C.E. to 200 A.C.E.). Emphasis on creation and cosmologies, gods, and humans, hierarchies, politics, and rituals.
217. Gnosticism
Jorunn Buckley T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Ashby House-Conf Room
Gnosticism is a term for a certain “family” of religions in late antiquity. These religions are Bible-based, in most cases, but represent radical re-evaluations of Biblical teachings. Therefore, the religions furnished a real threat to Judaism and Christianity in the first Christian centuries, and almost all of them are now extinct. Furnishes an example (mainly from the world of the Hellenistic Middle East) of how and why opposition groups arise in religious contexts, what the issues and costs are, and how appeals to “sacred scripture” become an arena for power struggles, for the “right to correct interpretation.” Not open to students who have taken Religion 310.
221. Hindu Cultures
John Holt T 6:30 - 9:25 Adams-406
A consideration of various types of individual and communal religious practice and religious expression in Hindu tradition, including ancient ritual sacrifice, mysticism and yoga (meditation), dharma and karma (ethical and political significance), pilgrimage (as inward spiritual journey and outward ritual behavior), puja (worship of deities through seeing, hearing, chanting), rites of passage (birth, adolescence, marriage, and death), etc. Focuses on the nature of symbolic expression and behavior as these can be understood from indigenous theories of religious practice. Religion 220 is recommended as a previous course.
222. Theravada Buddhism
John Holt M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Hatch Library-012
An examination of the major trajectories of Buddhist religious thought and practice as understood from a reading of primary and secondary texts drawn from the Theravada traditions of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma.
390. Theories about Religion
Elizabeth Pritchard T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Ashby House-Conf Room
Seminar focused on how religion has been explained and interpreted from a variety of intellectual and academic perspectives from the sixteenth century to the present. In addition to a historical overview of religion’s interpretation and explanation, the focus also includes consideration of postmodern critiques and the problem of religion and violence in the contemporary world.


101. Elementary Arabic I
Russell Hopley M  9:30 - 10:25
T  9:00 - 9:50
W  9:30 - 10:25
TH 9:00 - 9:50
F  9:30 - 10:25
Chase Barn Chamber
An introductory course that presumes no previous knowledge of Arabic. Students begin to acquire an integrated command of speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills in Modern Standard Arabic. Some exposure to Egyptian Colloquial Arabic as well. Class sessions conducted primarily in Arabic. Formerly Interdisciplinary Studies 101.
203. Intermediate Arabic I
Russell Hopley M  10:30 - 11:25
T  10:30 - 11:25
W  10:30 - 11:25
TH 10:30 - 11:25
F  10:30 - 11:25
Chase Barn Chamber
A continuation of first-year Arabic, aiming to enhance proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing through the study of more elaborate grammar structures and exposure to more sophisticated, authentic texts. Formerly Interdisciplinary Studies 203.