Fall 2013 Courses

  • Please note that for the 2013-14 academic year, official course numbers are now four digits. This page only shows the older three-digit course numbers. If you need to see both the old and the new numbers, consult the College Catalogue.
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015. Religion, Violence, and Secularization
Elizabeth Pritchard T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Introduces students to the rationales and repercussions of the rise of the modern secular nation state as a solution to “religious violence,” one of the most pressing challenges of the contemporary world. In doing so, the course complicates the association of violence and backwardness with “religion” and peace and progress with “secularism.” Topics include the demarcations of state and church and public and private, the relationship between skepticism and toleration, the rise of so-called “fundamentalism,” the shifting assessments of the injuriousness of religious belief, speech and act, and the assumptions surrounding what it is that constitutes “real religion.”
101. Introduction to the Study of Religion
Robert Morrison M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
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.
207. Introduction to Judaism
Robert Morrison M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Surveys Jewish texts, traditions, and beliefs from the end of the Hellenistic period to the origins of the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox movements in Europe and America. With an emphasis throughout on the role of historical drama in Jewish practice, pays special attention to the formation of Rabbinic Judaism, medieval Jewish literature and thought, and to how Jews’ historical memory affected their responses to the Enlightenment.
216. The New Testament in Its World
Jorunn Buckley M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
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
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.
252. Marxism and Religion
Elizabeth Pritchard T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Despite Karl Marx’s famous denunciation of religion as the “opiate of the masses,” Marxism and religion have become companionable in the last several decades. Examines this development through the works of thinkers and activists from diverse religious frameworks, including Catholicism and Judaism, who combine Marxist convictions and analyses with religious commitments in order to further their programs for social emancipation. Included are works by liberation theologians Hugo Assmann, Leonardo Boff, and José Miguez Bonino, and philosophers Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, and Cornel West.
276. Religion and the Unconscious
Jorunn Buckley M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
A focus of three central figures in psychology and religion: Sigmund Freud and his pupils C.G. Jung and Wilhelm Reich. None of these are particularly "popular" at present. We read selected writing by them, and move to William James, on individual religious experience, and to Islamic mysticism and an anthropological critique of the modern appropriation of the term "shamanism."
390. Theories about Religion
John Holt T 1:00 - 3:55
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.