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Course Descriptions

Religion Course Listings - Spring 2013

RELI 100 R/C 01 Topic:  Intro to Buddhism
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Buddhism, one of the great world religions, has numerous manifestations through time and a variety of cultures.  In this course we will examine the Buddhist tradition beginning with its founder, Siddharta Gautama.  We will also explore key Buddhist teachings in the Theravada (South Asia) and Mahayana (Central and East Asia) traditions, including the Vajaryana (Tibetan) school.  A significant amount of the course will look at contemporary manifestations of Buddhism, including recent growth outside of Asia.  In this course we will look not only at ideas of Buddhism, but also Buddhism in practice. 

RELI 100 R/C 02 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 200R/C   01 Topic:  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 200R/C   02  Topic:  World Christianity
(4 semester hours)
Tune, Anders 

Since its beginning twenty centuries ago, Christianity has expanded to be present in every continent and nation in the world, and in almost every human culture.  In this course we will examine how Christianity has come to be expressed in unique ways in the diverse lands of the world, especially in various non-Western cultures.  The first half of the course will focus on the expansion of Christianity, and how Christian thought and practice addressed various cultural contexts.  The second half will focus on contemporary expressions of Christianity in a variety of cultures, particularly in the non-Western world.  Course work will include two exams, two short papers, and a final paper.

RELI 222 R  1W Understanding the New Testament
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara

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.

RELI300A  1W Prophets, Sages, Singers, and Lovers: Biblical Poetry
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara

This seminar will focus on how biblical poetry works to express joy and lament, judgment and comfort, traditional wisdom and skepticism, and longing and fulfillment of desire.  Students will read an excellent introduction to the appreciation of poetry in general (Edward Hirsch, How to Read and Fall in Love with Poetry) as well as texts specifically devoted to the ancient Israelite craft of poetry (e.g. Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry).  Throughout the semester we will examine the lyrical poetry of thanks and praise in the Psalms and of protest and lament in Lamentations and Psalms; oracular poetry of judgment and consolation in the prophets; erotic poems in the Song of Solomon; and didactic poetry of traditional wisdom in Proverbs and of protest and skepticism in Ecclesiastes and Job.  With the help of a text on the fundamentals of biblical Hebrew for English readers, participants in the seminar will also learn the skills they need to appreciate the sounds of biblical poetry, conduct Hebrew word studies, understand the differences in translations, and read commentaries which offer insights on the language of the poems. WRITING INTENSIVE

Religion339 C/R 1W Monkeys, Samurai and Gods                               
4 semester hours
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Prerequisites:  None
This seminar will look at religious meaning and message in some of the best loved literature of China and Japan, including Journey to the West, Tale of Heike, Dream of the Red Chamber, Account of my Hut, and others.  Class will be a combination of lecture and discussion, with student presentations and a term paper.  Videos and other media will be used when possible.  Writing intensive.

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