Gods, Myths, and Religions in a Secular Age (3)
An introduction to the study of religion that focuses on
myth; religious authority; purity and sacred space; ritual practices; and major
theories of religion. Varied origins of religion and motifs in its development in
Religions Now: 21st-Century Controversies (4)
The role of religions in shaping contemporary issues and
events, especially with respect to social justice, science, and military
The Hero's Quest: Religion, Mythology, and Harry Potter (3)
A comparative study of religion focusing on the common theme of the hero's quest found in the mythologies of major world religions.
Death and Afterlife (3)
Various religious concepts of death, resurrection, reincarnation, and other forms of afterlife; their relevance to this worldly life.
Open only to first-year students and sophomores.
The Birth and Death of God from Mesopotamia to Postmodernity (3)
Explores how long-held conceptions of a cosmos full of many divine beings relate to more recent notions of monotheism and atheism.
Jesus in the Movies (3)
This course studies representations of Jesus of Nazareth in canonical Christian texts and in film.
Martyrdom: From the Maccabees to ISIS (1.5)
Martyrdom as a historical, literary, and religious
phenomenon. Tools that enable students to decipher martyrdom discourse in other
contexts--including in interreligious conflicts (medieval and modern) and in
American pop culture.
Saints, Sinners, and Scholars: A History of Christianity (1.5)
Christian history, beginning with Jesus and the
gospels (canonical and noncanonical), weaving through Late Antiquity, the
Middle Ages, the Reformation, and the American context before ending with
discussions of contemporary issues in Christianity.
Political Islam: Past and Present (3)
Islamic political thought and practice. Emphasis on how historical knowledge
can help us to understand contemporary debates over the place of Islam in the
Credit not given for both this course and 01:508:110 or 01:685:110.
Introduction to the Bible I: Torah and Prose (3)
Literature of the Bible, focusing on the Torah and the historical material in Joshua through Samuel. Emphasis placed on literary, historical, and theological matters. Special use made of archaeological discoveries. The Bible studied against the backdrop of ancient Near Eastern literature, history, religion, mythology, and law.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:220.
New Testament (3)
Interpretation of basic Christian scriptures in translation; influence of Jesus and Paul on the early Christian community.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:223.
Islamic Scriptures: Quran and Hadith (3)
Introduction to sacred texts of Islam; emphasis on words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad, collectively known as the Hadith or Sunnah. Explores how revelation bridges the gap between the divine and human by examining Islamic scriptures in historical, theological, legal, and mystical contexts.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:685:233.
Hindu Scriptures (3)
Interpretation of basic Hindu scriptures in their historical, literary, and theological contexts to see how they contributed to the development of various traditions and spiritual paths in Hinduism.
Introduction to Buddhism (3)
Introduction to the diverse cultural, social, and
intellectual histories of Buddhism across premodern and modern Asia.
Introduction to the Bible II: Prophets and Poetry (3)
Literature of the Bible, focusing on the Prophets, the historical backdrop of the prophetic message as revealed mainly through the book of Kings, and other relevant poetic material (Psalms, Job, etc.).
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:206.
Buddhist Literature and Film (3)
An introduction to the diverse histories and cultures of Buddhism through an exploration of Buddhist literature and film.
Greek and Roman Religions (3)
Study of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, cults, and practices of the classical Greek world, Roman Republic, and Roman Empire.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:190:211.
Religions in Asia (3)
Religious beliefs, practices, and sacred writings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto.
Religions of the Western World (3)
Religious beliefs, practices, and sacred writings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The Question of God in Modern Culture (3)
Fundamental issues surrounding the question of God in modern culture.
Historical development of religious beliefs and practices in the culture of India; syncretism, mysticism, devotion, and personal disciplines.
Muhammad and the development of Muslim beliefs and practices; major movements and their effects on historical and current events.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:840:326, 01:685:226, or 01:685:326.
Islam in the Modern World (3)
Survey of Islam from the colonialist period to the present. Examines the ways in which
Islamic beliefs, values, and worldviews inform historical, social, and political movements globally. Includes recent phenomena such as the Arab Spring, the role of technology, and contemporary Muslim pop culture.
Love as Ethic and Idea (3)
Judeo-Christian religious tradition, viewed through the concept of love as moral and theological ideal, from the biblical period to the present.
Introduction to Rabbinic Literature (3)
the historical developments that led to the establishment and eventual
dominance of rabbinic Judaism. Close readings of various rabbinic texts (especially the Mishnah and the
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:241. No prior knowledge required; all readings in English.
Introduction to Ancient Judaism (3)
development of Judaism in ancient times from its origins in c.1200 BCE
through the Roman period c.300 CE. Emphasis on the beliefs and practices of
ancient Judaism during biblical and postbiblical periods as reflected in the
literature of the times (such as the Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Mishna) and in
the archaeological record.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:222.
Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah (3)
Survey of Jewish mystical traditions from the early rabbinic traditions
to the central text of kabbalistic literature, the Zohar, in
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:250.
Women in the Bible (1.5)
The role of women in the Jewish Bible/Old
Testament stories; also addresses the question of the role of women in ancient
Sanskrit I (3)
Sanskrit grammar instruction and some reading of primary
Sanskrit texts. Acceptable for beginning
and intermediate students.
Sanskrit II (3)
Sanskrit grammar instruction and some reading of primary
Sanskrit texts. Acceptable for beginning
and intermediate students.
Prerequisite: 01:840:285 or placement.
Ancient Near Eastern Religions (3)
Religious patterns in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Canaan, Israel, and Egypt from texts in translation; their impact on cultural development of the Near East.
Not open to first-year students. Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:324.
The Bible and Archaeology (3)
Analysis of material evidence, such as archaeological remains of monuments and inscriptions, from ancient Israel and Judah, as well as the broader ancient Near East, in order to develop a fuller reconstruction of biblical society and culture.
Prerequisite: 01:840:201 or 01:563:220 or permission of instructor.
Hebrew Prophets: Social and Religious Thoughts (3)
Development and diffusion of Israelite prophetic thought from early associations with divination in Near Eastern culture through the Exile and later decline.
Prerequisite: 01:840:201 or 01:563:220 or permission of instructor. Not open to first-year students. Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:325.
Apocalypse Now? Religious Movements and the End of Time (3)
Compares ancient, medieval, and contemporary apocalyptic movements. Case studies include the Jewish apocalyptic movement associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls and Pauline Christianity, medieval apocalypticism surrounding Joachim of Fiore and the Crusades, and more contemporary movements such as Jonestown and the Left Behind series of Christian thrillers.
Career and teaching of Jesus viewed in historical context; development of the Gospel tradition and its effect on later concepts of Christ.
Letters of Paul in historical context: his background, conversion, and apostolic mission; the development and influence of his thought on later Christianity.
Jesus the Jew (3)
Explores the historic figure of Jesus within the context of first-century Palestinian Judaism. Topics include Jesus and the Law, Jesus and the Temple, the problem of
religious authority and types of religious leaders, the Sermon on the Mount,
and the "Parting of the Ways."
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:341.
Christians, "the Other," and Violence (3)
History and analysis of Christians as victims and
perpetrators of violence, from early Christianity to the early modern period.
Includes the study of martyrdom, imperial and medieval Christianity, crusades,
and the European Wars of Religion.
Greek Christianity (3)
Eastern church tradition from the second through the eighth centuries; theological controversies and the development of liturgy, monasticism, and mysticism.
Latin Christianity (3)
Western church tradition from the third through the 13th centuries; theological controversies and the development of sacraments, papacy, and religious orders.
Origins of Western Morality (3)
Covers Hellenistic philosophy, the Greek translation of the
Hebrew Bible, the letters of Paul, the teaching attributed to Jesus in writings
from the end of first century CE, and the development of ascetic practices
and ideology. Issues include the variety
of ancient options available for thinking about ethical psychology, the concept
of porneia and the attack on traditional Mediterranean religion, the
family/household and opposition to it, wealth/poverty, slavery, sexual ethics,
Protestant Reformation (3)
Reform movements in the Western Christian world from the 14th through 18th centuries; focus on figures who formed Protestant thought, such as Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Fox, Wesley.
Evangelicalism in the United States (3)
Explores key developments within contemporary American evangelicalism,
focusing especially on evangelicals' varied responses to major political,
economic, social, and cultural trends in the United States during the 20th and
early 21st centuries.
Catholicism and the Modern World (3)
Roman Catholicism from the French Revolution to the present; thinkers such as Lammenais, Newman, and Gilson; topics such as liturgy, political rights, theological pluralism.
Contemporary Catholic Theology (3)
Selected themes in the thought of 20th-century Roman Catholic figures, such as Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Küng.
Religion in American History (3)
Survey of American religious history, exploring the
relationship between religion and trends in such areas as politics, science,
technology, gender relations, economy, and immigration.
Yoga: History and Philosophy (3)
Close reading of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, with particular attention to premodern commentaries on the text and the traditional understanding of the practice of classical yoga and its goals. History of yoga in India, its expressions in classical traditions of the subcontinent, and its transplantation to the West.
Rise of Buddhist theory and practice in the context of Indian culture; encounters with indigenous religions of East and Southeast Asia; development of Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:925:323.
Chinese Religions (3)
Religious concepts and classic texts of Confucianism and Taoism; relation of religion to society and self in China, including role models and paradigms for self-transformation; alchemy and meditation.
Prophet Muhammad (3)
Muhammad's prophetic career in historical context; mystical and
devotional tradition centering on him in Sunni and Shi'i Islam;
sociopolitical reform movements based on prophetic model.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:685:325.
Encounter of Religions (3)
Religions in a pluralistic world; concepts of God, man, spirit, freedom as understood in East and West. Interreligious dialogue, religious synthesis, and universalism.
Shi'i Islam (3)
History, doctrines, rituals, theosophy, and structure of authority of the major schools of Shi'i Islam, with a focus on the Twelver Imami tradition from its beginnings until the present day.
Religion in Latin America (3)
Exploration of the religious complexity of Latin America, including Christianity, indigenous and syncretic practices, and traditions.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:590:330.
Myth and Religion: From Gilgamesh to White Nationalism (3)
Surveys a range of myths and subtypes, including myths
about place and location; creation and recreation (apocalypses);
political-religious conquest and domination; common ancestors and
ethno-religious identity; and diverse forms of nationalism. Surveys critical academic approaches to the
study of myth and mythmaking.
Caribbean Religion (3)
Examines the history and role of the diverse religious components of the Caribbean Basin from indigenous practices to Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and the emergence of African belief systems such as Vodou, Santeria, and Rastafarianism from the 18th century to the present.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:595:333.
Healing: Sacred and Secular (3)
Examination of healing as a religious process in various cultures; discussion of transition from sacred healing to secular medicine and psychotherapy in the West.
Buddhist Meditation Traditions (3)
Introduction to Buddhism. Explores meditative techniques/practices for
attaining enlightenment, with emphasis on Zen (Ch'an) meditation and
roles played by Koan and Zazen in this process of transformation.
Tibetan Religions (3)
Historical development of Tibetan religious beliefs and practices, with a focus on the four main Buddhist schools, the Bön tradition, and Muslim populations. Other topics include religion and politics, literature, pilgrimage and ritual, monasticism, gender, art and iconography, and global context.
Dead Bodies in Buddhism (3)
Investigation of the significance of dead bodies in Buddhist history, thought, literature, and practice, across different Asian cultural
contexts, from antiquity to the present.
The Dead Sea Scrolls (3)
Introduction to the history and
scholarship surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:340.
Religious Experience and Contemporary Culture (3)
Religion and modern consciousness as investigated by the social sciences; topics such as the function of religion, secularism, and modernity.
Religion and Politics (3)
Function of religion in initiating social and political changes by envisioning the future, formulating utopian blueprints, and providing transcendent norms for social criticism.
Not open to first-year students.
Hindu Gurus in the West (3)
Lives and teachings of Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Sivananda, Yogananda, Rajneesh, and others. Classical texts and problems of innovations and preservation. Sociological and psychological issues of transplanting the guru-disciple relationship to Western soil.
Sexuality in the Western Religious Traditions (3)
Ideas and problems in Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish normative traditions on sexuality. Topics include sexuality and human nature, sexual identity/roles, marriage and family.
Prerequisite: One course in Western religious traditions.
War, Peace, and Violence in Western Religious Thought (3)
Ideas of just war, holy war, and pacifism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; their relation to contemporary issues of war and peace.
Women in Eastern Religions (3)
Images and roles of women in major Asian religions: Hinduism, Buddhism,
Confucianism, and Taoism. Women's autobiographical accounts of
religious experiences, attitudes toward women expressed in these
religious institutions, the feminine as a symbol of the divine,
representative great goddesses such as Kuan-yin.
Women and Gender in Western Religions (3)
Images and roles of women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; attitudes toward women expressed in these religious institutions; religious experiences of women mystics and religious practices favored by women; impact of gender roles and expectations on both women and
Credit not given for both this course and 01:988:349.
Religion and Science (3)
Theories of religious and scientific knowledge, cosmology and astronomy, life and creation.
Origins of Hell in the Christian West (3)
Myths about the underworld, the heavens, and post-mortem existence, especially focusing on the emergence of "hell" as a place of punishment in the Christian West.
Sufism: Mystical Islam (3)
Based essentially on primary sources. Examines both Islamic mystical theory and practice, paying particular attention to a range of core Sufi doctrines.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:685:356.
Examination of the various faces and theologies of Krishna, one of the most important Hindu deities. Depiction in the Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, and Bhagavata Purana with reference to rasa theory, a medieval taxonomy of various moods in which the devotee approaches God as a lover, child, friend, or master.
Bhagavad Gita (3)
Analysis of this important Hindu scripture. Study of influential commentaries. Attention to Indian and Western appropriations of the text.
Ayurveda--The Traditional Healing System of Ancient India (3)
Study of Indian medicine through examination and analysis of
its history, literature, fundamental concepts, principles, and methods using
primary source materials as the chief basis for learning. Attention also given to Ayurveda in
modern India along with its adoption by the West.
Some knowledge of Hinduism strongly recommended.
Women in the Bible (3)
Literary readings of biblical stories about women, with special emphasis on their roles, representation, and literary types. All texts in English translation.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:563:322 or 01:988:314.
Postmodern Approaches to Sacred Literature (3)
Postmodern literary analysis of religious texts drawn from Jewish, Christian, and Hindu traditions.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:359:366 or 01:195:318.
Women and Islam (3)
An examination of women's role in Islam through analysis of the primary Islamic texts: the Qur'an, the Hadith, and Tafsir; and the narratives about the historical figures of the Prophet's wives and female relatives. Relevance of this tradition for Muslim women in the 21st century.
Sikhism and North Indian History (3)
The history of the Sikh religious tradition from the 16th century up to the present day.
Law and Religion in Asian History (3)
Comparative examination of relationships between religion
and law in South, Southeast, and East Asian history. Thematic foci include
issues related to class, cosmology, gender, power, jurisprudence, textual
practice, legal ritual, secularism, and colonialism.
The Yoga of Devotion: Bhakti (3)
Overview of some of the main forms Hindu devotion, Bhakti, has taken over the centuries.
Attention paid to the main streams of Bhakti focused on Shiva, Vishnu, and the
various forms of the Goddess.
Taoist Philosophy (3)
Focuses on two foundational texts of classical Taoism, the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching) and the Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu). Close examination of texts and study of various interpretations, both traditional and contemporary. Brief examination of Taoist influence on the West as well as Western transformation of Taoism.
Hindu Philosophy (3)
Upanishads, Patanjali, Bhagavad Gita; theories of matter, energy; states of consciousness; meditation. Yogas of knowledge, action, devotion. Karma. Ethics. Comparison of Hindu and Western cosmology.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:730:368.
Buddhist Philosophy (3)
Interdependence, impermanence, relativity; suffering; path to liberation; meditation; karma as cosmic justice; death and rebirth. Compassion as a central ethical value. Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan Buddhism.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:730:369.
Buddhism, Society, and Politics in South East Asia (3)
An exploration of the histories of Buddhist social and political culture in Southeast Asia from premodernity to the present.
Alternative Islams (3)
Diversity of religious thought among Muslims, and their religion's dynamic development from Islam's formative period until the present day. Major schools which offer an alternative vision of Islam such as: Sufis, Twelver Shi'is, Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, Wahhabis, Salfis, the Ahmadiyya,
the Nation of Islam, and Progressive Muslims.
Islamic Mystical Literature (3)
Examines literary output of mystics in the Islamic world. Focus on mystical teachings; attention also paid to poetry, biography, and the modern novel, all in English translation.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:013:372.
Islamic Philosophy (3)
Exploration of the main themes of Islamic philosophy,
focusing on topics such as wisdom, the good life, and relations between
metaphysical, moral, doctrinal, and practical knowledge.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:685:374 or 01:730:374.
Buddhism and the Family (3)
Examines the relationship of Buddhism and the family in
interdisciplinary and comparative context, across Asia, from antiquity to the
Early Chinese Religion and the Origins of Morality in China (3)
Interconnected worlds of religion, politics, and
morality in Confucian, Mohist, and Daoist (Taoist) thought and practice.
Religious Healing in the United States (3)
History of religious healing in the United
States, including major social, cultural, economic, and political trends and
relationship with modern medicine.
Reading Sanskrit (3)
Reading of primary texts in the Sanskrit language. Acceptable for advanced intermediate and
Prerequisite: 01:840:286 or placement.
Seminar on the Vedanta Sutras (3)
Overview of the main schools of Vedantic thought up to the medieval period--Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha, and Baladeva. Attention to some prominent points of agreement as well as contestation among some of these schools. Focus on primary texts.
Only open to majors in their junior or senior year. Some prior knowledge of Hindu philosophy recommended.
Seminar in Christian Monasticism (3)
Evolution and ideals of Christian Monasticism from early Christianity to the 17th century; interaction between monks and nuns and the rest of society.
Only open to majors in their junior or senior year.
Western Encounter with Hinduism (3)
Overview of representations of India on the Western
religious landscape stemming from the earliest interactions between West and
East, subsequent cultural and intellectual exchanges, eventual colonization
of the subcontinent, and the postcolonial aftermath. Special attention paid to the Orientalist construction of
Hinduism during this period.
Prerequisites: 01:840:211 and 212. Open only to majors in their junior or senior year.
The Evolution of Christian Orthodoxy 300-787 CE (3)
History, theology, and social context of the formation of Christian orthodoxy from the
First Council of Nicea to the Second Council of Nicea.
Credit not given for both this course and 01:489:314. Open only to majors in their junior or senior year.
Seminar in Religion and Psychology (3)
Advanced topics in religion and psychology.
Prerequisites: At least one course in religion and one course in psychology or by permission of instructor. Open only to majors in their junior or senior year.
Seminar in Religion and Society (3)
Interaction of religion and society in the thought of selected theologians, ethicists, and sociologists of religion.
Prerequisite: One course in Western religious traditions or permission of instructor. Open only to majors in their junior or senior year.
Seminar in Buddhism (3)
Builds on a basic knowledge of Buddhism. Psychological implications of central Buddhist teachings--dependent origination, not-self/no-self, and emptiness--as discussed within key Indian Buddhist texts. Critical examination of modern scholars' attempts to interpret and/or appropriate them via modern psychology, especially psychoanalysis.
Prerequisite: 01:840:211 or 323 or permission of instructor. Open only to majors in their junior or senior year.
Seminar in Religion and Science (3)
Contemporary topics in the relationship between science and religion. Potential topics include evolution; cosmology and creation; mind, brain, and consciousness; religious and scientific methods. Topics change from year to year.
Prerequisite: One course in religion or permission of instructor. Open only to majors in their junior or senior year.
Seminar on Law and Religion (3)
Examines recent scholarship concerning the relationship
between religion and law in comparative historical, ethnographic, and
Topics in the Study of Religion (3)
Topics in the study of religion.
Seminar on Religious Fundamentalisms and Modernisms in the United States (3)
Assesses scholarly definitions of religious fundamentalisms and modernisms in the United States. Examines the evolution of these traditions as they responded to specific historical trends related to politics, science, technology, gender relations, the economy, and immigration.
Seminar on Rumi (3)
On the basis of primary sources in English translation, focus on Rumi's didactic writings (poetry and prose) in order to identify his distinctive teachings and their place in the context of the Sufi tradition and Persian mystical literature.
Prerequisite: 01:840:226 or 356 or 372. Open only to majors in their junior or senior year.
Seminar in Islamic Spirituality (3)
Investigates the historical development of Islamic mystical traditions and the most influential theories of mysticism, and the poetry exemplifying it, in relation to Islamic theological dogmas. No knowledge of foreign languages is required.
Seminar on Islamic Thought (3)
Examines critically the development of Islamic intellectual traditions, from the first writings of the scholastic theological disciplines of theology and jurisprudence to contemporary reformist discourses.
Honors in Religion (3,3 or 6,6)
Both semesters must be completed to receive credit.