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Course Descriptions

Religion Course Listings - Spring 2012

RELI 100 R/C Topic: Hinduism
(4 semester hours)
Glowski, Janice

This course explores Hinduism as a socio-religious tradition in South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan) by examining the relationship between Hindu thought, artistic traditions, ritual and social structures from about 2,5000 BCE to the present. The course also analyzes historical and modern interpretations of Hinduism, from the "Orientalists," to Mark Twain, to post-colonial scholars, as a way of reflecting on contextual perspective and how "knowing" changes over time. Student assessment is based on group work and presentations, quizzes, mid-semester and final exams, and short writing assignments. No prerequisites.

RELI 121 R Art of Biblical Literature
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara

Pre-requisite: None
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 film of our own culture. Class sessions have a lecture/discussion format. There will be three or four exams and regular written responses to readings.

RELI 134 R/C Japanese and Chinese Religious Traditions
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Pre-requisite: None
This course examines both popular and formal religious traditions in China and Japan. The formal traditions, including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto, have shaped East Asian family, society, literature, art and even cooking for millennia, all while providing religious and spiritual grounding and meaning. The popular religious traditions of China and Japan are vibrant and lively and permeate everyday life as well as important community festivals and holidays. Our sources will draw on a wide range of texts, videos, images, and religious objects. Classes include both lecture and discussion; students will be evaluated through essay exams, short papers, a project, and analysis of texts.

RELI 200 R/C Pilgrimage
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Pilgrimage is an ancient practice in which a person separates him or herself from familiar places, faces and routines to go on a quest to become physically, spiritually, and emotionally closer to the divine. The experience of pilgrimage is described as "liminal" (an in-between state); this state allows for great personal transformation. The range of experiences and stories of pilgrimage ranges from reverently spiritual to the bawdy and wild. In this class we will study major historically important pilgrimages that are still practiced today in Spain, Saudi Arabia, India, China, England, Japan and Korea. Materials will include accounts by pilgrims, videos, and the examination of the costumes and objects pilgrims carry with them (and take home), and the religious and historical significance of these journeys.

RELI 241 R Christian Tradition
(4 semester hours)
Nelson, Paul

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, church and state, 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.

Optional Course Component: Cultures and Language Across the Curriculum
Interested in using your foreign language skills to earn extra credit connected to this course and to learn more about the subject matter of this course at the same time? If so, register for the CLAC components offered here. You don't need to be fluent in the language to exercise this option. In fact, you need only to have completed two credits beyond 112 or to be currently enrolled in a course beyond 112. Your work will be guided by your professor and by faculty from the Languages Department. The CLAC module is designed for intermediate level language learners.

Students who select the CLAC option will complete work in a foreign language that will supplement the work in this course. Students who complete the CLAC assignments successfully will earn 1 credit for the CLAC component.

To register for the CLAC component, you must also register for a one-credit LANG 230 CLAC module listed among the Language Department's offerings. Meeting times and location will be arranged at the beginning of the semester. Credit for CLAC modules may be counted toward the requirements for International Studies and as elective credit in the Language department.

RELI 221 R - Understanding the Old Testament
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara

This course is designed especially for religion majors, pre-theological students, and others with a serious interest in biblical studies. We will attempt to place the Old Testament literature in its historical context, understand the theological perspectives which shape the texts, develop methods of interpretation, and simply appreciate the artistry and inspiration of the Old Testament literature. Class sessions have lecture/discussion format. Students will take three exams and write a paper. Writing intensive. No prerequisites.

RELI 222 R - Understanding the New Testament
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser

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 a paper and take three exams. The class has a lecture/discussion format. Writing intensive.

RELI 335W C/R Confucianism and Its Critics
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Confucianism is an expression of values and an orientation to living that has permeated East Asian culture for thousands of years. This seminar will consider the history, central teachings, and institutions of the East Asian Confucian and Neo-Confucian traditions, and Confucianism as manifest in the modern world. We will read pivotal works of Cunfucians including the Analects, the Mencius, and the writings of Ban Zhao, Zhu, Xi, and Tu Wei-ming. These will be assessed in part in contrast to critics of Confucianism, ranging from classical philosophers to twentieth century Marxists and feminist scholars. The course will give students tools to understand important aspects of East Asia not only in the past but also in the present. Class will be conducted seminar style; students will be assessed through tests, presentations, and a term paper.

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