Location: Bowdoin / Religion / Courses / Spring 2010


Spring 2010

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101. Introduction to the Study of Religion
Elizabeth Pritchard T  8:30 - 9:55
TH 8:30 - 9:55
Kanbar Hall-107
Basic concepts, methods, and issues in the study of religion, with special reference to examples comparing and contrasting Eastern 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.

204. Science, Magic, and Religion
Dallas Denery M  8:00 - 9:25
W  8:00 - 9:25
Traces the origins of the scientific revolution through the interplay between late-antique and medieval religion, magic, and natural philosophy. Particular attention is paid to the conflict between paganism and Christianity, the meaning and function of religious miracles, the rise and persecution of witchcraft, and Renaissance hermeticism. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

210. Esoteric Themes in Islamic Thought
Robert Morrison M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Explores, historically, the development and growth of Sufism and other esoteric movements of Islam. Questions that will arise include: Do these esoteric and mystical ideas supplant or complement the exoteric practices and beliefs of Islam? Why is Sufism important for Sufis? How do we study religious ideas that thrive, sometimes, on defying description?

219. Religion and Fiction in Modern South Asia
John Holt T  1:00 - 3:55Ashby House-Conference Room
A study of the Hindu and Buddhist religious cultures of modern South Asia as they have been imagined, represented, interpreted, and critiqued in the literary works of contemporary and modern South Asian writers of fiction and historical novels, including Salman Rushdie (Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses), V. S. Naipaul (An Area of Darkness, India: A Million Mutinies Now?), Gita Mehta (A River Sutra), etc.

223. Mahayana Buddhism
John Holt M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Studies the emergence of Mahayana Buddhist worldviews as reflected in primary sources of Indian, Chinese, and Japanese origins. Buddhist texts include the "Buddhacarita" (“Life of Buddha”), the "Sukhavati Vyuha" (“Discourse on the ‘Pure Land’”), the "Vajraccedika Sutra" (the “Diamond-Cutter”), the "Prajnaparamitra-hrdaya Sutra" (“Heart Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom”), the "Saddharmapundarika Sutra" (the “Lotus Sutra”), and the "Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch," among others.

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.

330. Judaism Under Islam
Robert Morrison M  10:00 - 11:25
W  10:00 - 11:25
HL-311 (third floor)
Since the rise of Islam in the early seventh century C.E., Jews have lived in the Islamic world. The historical experience of these Jews has shaped their religious traditions in ways that have touched Jews worldwide. Places developments in Jewish liturgy, thought, and identity within the context of Islamic civilization. Answers the question of how Jews perceive themselves and Judaism with regard to Muslims and Islam.