Religion 100 R – Topic: Intro to the Bible
IIntroductory survey of the Old and New Testaments, using the exciting insights of contemporary scripture scholarship. Neither of these sections of the Bible, nor the individual books within them, came into being at a single moment. Rather, they embody an accumulation of narrative, poetry, and reflection occurring over decades and even centuries, influenced by ongoing historical events and by evolving theological perceptions--i.e., ideas about the nature of God and His relationship with the Hebrew people. Students will encounter these major theological developments in the biblical tradition: the Yahwist revolution, the purity cult, apocalypticism, the Jesus movement, and Pauline Christianity. Attention will be devoted to the historical, social and cultural contexts that shaped the thought of biblical writers. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the question of power: How is divine power understood? Which social and political structures are legitimated? What roles, duties and values are advocated?
Religion 121 R – Art of Biblical Literature
This course is intended to help readers appreciate the artistry of biblical prose and poetry. We will examine texts from the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha, paying special attention to plot structure, word-plays, imagery, repetition, characterization, themes, parallelism and aetiology. Throughout the term, we will consider reinterpretations of biblical literature in the music, literature, and art and film of our own culture. Class sessions have a lecture/discussion format. There will be three or four exams and short weekly writings or quizzes. Writing intensive. No prerequisites.
Religion 134 C/R – Chinese and Japanese Religious Traditions
This course examines several religious traditions that have shaped East Asian civilizations. We will study the formal traditions of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Shinto, and the New Religions; we will also consider the popular religious traditions of China and Japan. Classes include both lecture and discussion; students will be evaluated through essay exams, short papers, a project, and analysis of scripture and other texts. No prerequisites.
Religion 137 R – Jewish Tradition
This course introduces the student to the Jewish tradition, beginning with its development in the biblical and early rabbinic periods. It focuses upon the general history of Judaism as well as its basic concepts, including readings in primary and secondary texts and discussions of the Jewish calendar and life-cycle events. Required: three exams and two book reviews.
Religion 176 H – Racism and Social Ethics
This is not a course on African American Religion. It is rather a course on the racism practiced against African Americans in the United States. It assumes that racism is bad. It does not assume that we know either just what constitutes racism or what to do about it. We shall begin by confronting the reality of the issue in our society. We will then examine some approaches to the issue arising from the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Next we will examine the nature of institutional racism in contemporary U.S. society. Assignments will include three hourly exams, and a final paper. Writing intensive.
Religion 222 R – Understanding the New Testament
No prerequisites, but Religion 221 (OT) recommended.
This course is designed for religion majors, pre-theological students and other serious students of religion. Throughout the term we will attempt to understand the historical context of the New Testament literature, discover the religious perspectives which shape the New Testament texts and appreciate the richness of the New Testament writings. Students will be required to read the New Testament and some non-canonical texts, write two papers and take two exams. The class has a lecture/discussion format. Writing intensive.
Religion 241 R – Christian Tradition
Historical survey of the development of Christian thought and doctrine in the West. Students will be introduced to the work of major theologians (classical and modern) and to issues of perennial debate such as the tensions between reason and revelation, the humanity and divinity of Christ, nature and grace, justification and sanctification, spirit and structure, and differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrine. Lecture/discussion format. Midterm and final examinations. No prerequisite though students should be aware that the course requires careful reading of primary texts, many of which are quite challenging.
Religion 275 H/L – Germans and Jews
This course analyzes issues that have characterized the history of German Jewry in its relationship to German Christendom, focusing on the period of the Enlightenment to the aftermath of the Holocaust. Problems of cultural difference, assimilation, European identity, and discrimination as reflected in the literature and historical documents of the times are considered. German and religion sections meet together regularly. Writing intensive.
Religion 300 – Topic: Women in Bible and Tradition
Students in this seminar will examine ways in which representatives of ancient Israelite religion, Judaism, and Christianity address questions such as these: How do religious texts depict and evaluate women’s experiences? How have Jews and Christians interpreted Scriptures regarding women throughout history? How do modern Jewish and Christian women view scripture and tradition as they engage in their own spiritual quests, seek leadership roles within religious communities, and express their spiritual insights and values? Since the course is organized as a 300-level seminar, students will frequently offer oral responses to discussion questions or deliver short presentations. Assessment is based on journals, two or three short papers, a research paper, and mid-term and final exams. Writing intensive.
Religion 343 R - Process Theology
Process Theology is a school of contemporary theology based upon the thinking of Alfred North Whitehead. Whitehead shared many of the mathematical and scientific views of Einstein. Process Theology seeks to think about God and reality generally in light of relativity. For instance, it proposes that God’s perfection lies in being perfectly relative to all reality. We shall read two introductions to Process Theology, one of Whitehead’s basic works and a recent text using Process Theology to think about public life. Students will lead discussion in class, post a discussion starter for one chapter of each book, respond to the discussion starters for each chapter of each book and write a paper at the end of the course discussing Process Theology in relation to some theological issue.
Religion 490 – Independent Study
This course may be repeated for credit
Religion 498 – Senior Essay
Required for senior religion majors.