Fall 2009 Courses

010. Seeking a Historical Jesus
Daniel Ullucci T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 CT-16 Whiteside Room
Christianity claims that all its beliefs are rooted in the words and actions of one man. But what do we really know about Jesus? Early Christian texts give conflicting reports of his words and actions. Modern authors, filmmakers, and scholars present wildly divergent reconstructions of his life. What can we know about the life, words, and deeds of Jesus? Examines the earliest evidence and the most recent scholarly findings. Emphasis placed on understanding ancient Mediterranean religion and modern historical methodology.
025. The Islamic Revolution of Iran
Robert Morrison M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 HL-311 (third floor)
The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran changed the way Muslims and non-Muslims viewed the potential for religion in the political arena. Focuses on the history of Shi’i Islam’s views of political involvement, transformative events of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Iranian history, and the careers of religious leaders such as the Ayatollah Khomeini. Concludes by examining religious and political developments in post-revolutionary Iran.
208. Islam
Robert Morrison M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25 Searles-115
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.
216. The New Testament in Its World
Daniel Ullucci T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Banister-106
Situates the Christian New Testament in its Hellenistic cultural context. While the New Testament forms the core of the course, attention is paid to parallels and differences in relation to other Hellenistic religious texts; Jewish, (other) Christian, and pagan. Religious leadership, rituals, secrecy, philosophy of history, and salvation are some of the main themes.
222. Theravada Buddhism
John Holt M 6:30 - 9:25 Adams-406
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.
253. Gender, Body, and Religion
Elizabeth Pritchard T 6:30 - 9:25 Adams-202
A significant portion of religious texts and practices is devoted to the disciplining and gendering of bodies. Examines these disciplines including ascetic practices, dietary restrictions, sexual and purity regulations, and boundary maintenance between human and divine, public and private, and clergy and lay. Topics include desire and hunger, abortion, women-led religious movements, the power of submission, and the related intersections of race and class. Materials are drawn from Christianity, Judaism, Neopaganism, Voudou, and Buddhism.
259. Religious Toleration and Human Rights
Elizabeth Pritchard T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Sills-107
Is toleration a response to difference we cannot do without, or is it simply a strategy for producing religious subjectivities that are compliant with liberal political rule? Is toleration a virtue like forgiveness or a poor substitute for justice? Examines the relationship between early modern European arguments for toleration and the emergence of universal human rights as well as the continuing challenges that beset their mutual implementation. Some of these challenges include confronting the Christian presuppositions of liberal toleration, accommodating the right to religious freedom while safequarding cultural diversity by prohibiting proselytism, and translating arguments for religious toleration to the case for nondiscrimination of sexual orientations and relationships. In addition to case studies and United Nation documents, course readings include selections from Locke, Marx, Heyd, Walzer, Brown, Pellegrini, and Richards.
289. Construction of the Goddess and Deification of Women in Hindu Religious Tradition
Sree Holt T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 38 College-Conference Room
Focuses include (1) an examination of the manner in which the power of the feminine has been expressed mythologically and theologically in Hinduism; (2) how various categories of goddesses can be seen or not as the forms of the “great goddess”; and (3) how Hindu women have been deified, a process that implicates the relationship between the goddess and women. Students read a range of works, primary sources such as Devi Mahatmya, biographies and myths of deified women, and recent scholarship on goddesses and deified women.
390. Theories About Religion
John Holt W 10:00 - 11:25, F 10:00 - 11:25 Ashby House-Conference 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.