Catalog Version

Summer/Autumn 2013
Catalog update:
May 15, 2013

Access archived catalogs in the Catalog Archive section.​​​​​

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Courses in the Religious Dimensions domain offer students the opportunity to explore the explicitly religious dimensions of life and culture. These dimensions are found in the culturally embedded narratives, beliefs and practices of particular religions, as well as in encounters with realities perceived to be ultimate or sacred. Through myth, symbol, ritual and doctrine, these religions not only provide order and meaning, they also carry capacities to challenge and transform individuals and societies. Intellectual and social maturity requires understanding the unique contributions, both positive and negative, of the religious traditions of the world to culture and consciousness as well as coming to terms with ultimacy. This Learning Domain offers courses with a comparative, thematic, or ethical focus, as well as courses in specific traditions.

Courses

Below please find examples of courses previously offered for religious dimensions credit. For information on current offerings, please consult campus connection.

American Studies

Catholic Studies

History of Art and Architecture

Irish Studies

Islamic World Studies

Management

Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies

Philosophy

Religious Studies

Sociology

AMS 220

AMERICAN BUDDHISMS: RACE AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY

This course critically analyzes the origins Buddhism in the United States in order to fully understand how and why Buddhism has flourished in Asian and White American communities, and to understand the conflict and controversy surrounding the racial dynamics of religious choice.

CTH 205

CATHOLICISM IN WORLD HISTORY I: JESUS TO 1500

A study of the development of the Catholic Church from the time of Jesus to the Renaissance. Religious movements, piety and art as well as theology and ecclesiastical history will be examined.

CTH 206

CATHOLICISM IN WORLD HISTORY II:MODERN & POST-MODERN TIMES

A study of the development of Catholicism since 1500 exploring the Catholic Reformation, Catholicism's encounter with the Enlightenment, the missionary movement and the Catholic Church in the United States.

CTH 209

THEORIES OF THE CHURCH: CONCEPTS AND CONTROVERSIES

Introduction to several ecclesiologies that co-exist in Catholicism. Both historical and contemporary ecclesiologies will be considered. Cross-listed as PSC 335.

CTH 212

ANCIENT ISRAEL: HISTORY, LITERATURE AND RELIGION (CROSS--LISTED AS REL 232)

The development of Judaism from Moses to the Rabbinic era with special attention to social and historical questions. Cross-listed with REL 232.

CTH 213

THE NEW TESTAMENT

A critical investigation of the New Testament. Topics include the earliest Christian writings (letters of Paul), the production of "gospels" about Jesus, and the development of early churches in the context of ancient history and society. Cross-listed with REL 233.

CTH 215

VARIETIES OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY

An examination of multicultural diversity in early Christianity through a study of materials excluded from the New Testament canon; Christian apologists defending the church against pagan intellectuals and Roman imperial magistrates; comparisons of early Christian fiction and ancient Greek novels; and an examination of Gnostic writings. Cross-listed as REL 234.

CTH 216

PAUL AND HIS INFLUENCE IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY

A critical study of Paul's literary remains as primary sources for reconstructing the development of the Christian movement, focusing on Paul's communities, ethics and theology. Early interpretations and assessments of Paul will also be considered. Cross-listed as REL 235.

CTH 226

ROMAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL LITERATURE

A study of the foundational religious experiences that underlie the Roman Catholic tradition, of the narratives they generate, and of their representations in various media such as poetry, music, myths, sacred legends and apologetic stories. Cross-listed with REL 282.

CTH 231

ROMAN CATHOLIC LITURGY

A study of the emergence, meaning and dynamics of community, and of the interaction between community and ritual in the Roman Catholic tradition. Cross-listed as REL 281.

CTH 243

ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL THINKING

A study of the Roman Catholic tradition of "faith seeking understanding" examining the content and the process of emergence of Catholic beliefs about such matters as God, sin, Jesus Christ, revelation, the church and eschatology. Cross-listed with REL 280.

CTH 244

DEBATES ABOUT GOD

A study of classical and contemporary arguments regarding the existence and meaning of "God" as developed in a variety of theistic traditions. Cross-listed as REL 200.

CTH 247

ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT IN CONTEXT

A study of Roman Catholicism's understanding of its relation to the social world, including such matters as the relation between Church and state, and the moral authority of the Church, and of its teaching on such issues as social ethics, politics and economics. Cross-listed with REL 283.

CTH 248

CONTEMPORARY MORAL ISSUES

A study of the relations between religious beliefs and moral action to be carried out through an examination of the ethical and moral response of Catholicism to selected moral issues such as war and peace, sexual behavior, etc.

CTH 249

NATURE, COSMOS AND GOD: CATHOLISM AND SCIENCE

A constructive correlation of Catholic thought and contemporary scientific theory about the origins and development of the universe. Modern and contemporary cosmologies will be put into dialogue with Christology, Trinity and Incarnation. A particular concern will be today's environmental crisis and an authentically Christian response.

CTH 265

LITERATURE AND THE SACRED

How human beings across cultures express their intimations of ultimate meaning in a variety of genres ranging from aphorisms and autobiographies to mythic and fictional narratives.

CTH 270

JESUS ACROSS CULTURES

A study of the multiple and diverse (primarily theological, but also literary, artistic and philosophical) historical and contemporary images of Jesus, as a way of understanding the diversity of the Christian tradition and its impacts on society, and of understanding the issue of plurality or diversity itself in religious traditions. Cross-listed with REL 273

CTH 271

ROMAN CATHOLICISM'S ENCOUNTER WITH OTHER RELIGIONS

A study of how Roman Catholicism understands and responds to other religious traditions, other ways of being religious, and how the encounter with those other traditions affects Roman Catholicism's understanding of itself and its teachings. Cross-listed with REL 285.

CTH 274

IRELAND: RELIGION AND THE CONTEMPORARY "TROUBLES"

An examination of the role of two Christian denominations (Protestant and Roman Catholic) in the more recent "Troubles" in the north of Ireland. Attempts to discover the contributions of religious differences in fueling and resolving the animosities between the Unionist and Republican sides; studies the social-historical dimension of the troubles and the Protestant and Catholic religious activities and official responses to them.

CTH 279

CATHOLICISM AND THE FAMILY

An historical and theological study of the family in Catholic life and thought. Images of family life in contemporary film and literature will be given special consideration.

CTH 290

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF VINCENT DE PAUL

A study of Vincent de Paul in his cultural and religious context.

CTH 293

THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY

An historical study of the Daughters of Charity from their foundation to the present.

CTH 295

THE VINCENTIANS IN AMERICA

An examination of the history of the Congregation of the Mission from 1816 to the present.

HAA 220

BUDDHIST ART

This course explores the traditional visual culture of the Buddhist world, examining art as a reflection of religious belief and practice. The regions covered are South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. An emphasis is placed on painting, sculpture, and architecture made for or related to Buddhist practice. Formerly ART 250. Crosslisted with AAS 290

HAA 222

ISLAMIC ART

This course examines the visual culture of the Islamic world, selectively surveying some of the major artistic developments in regions of the world with a significant Muslim population. It will consider art and architecture as interplay between local culture and Islamic tradition. Topics covered will include the origins of Islamic visual culture in the Arabian Peninsula and the spread of Islamic art and religion across the Middle East. Local expressions of Islamic art may be explored in areas as diverse as North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Spain, Sicily, Iraq, Iran, India, and Central Asia. Special attention is paid to architecture, painting, and decorative arts. Cross-listed with IWS 251. Formerly ART 251.

HAA 302

AFRICAN ISLAM: ISLAMIC ART & ARCHITECTURE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Focused study of the impact of Islam on the artistic traditions of sub-Saharan Africa. Rather than necessarily replacing previous art forms, this course investigates in what circumstances preexisting visual culture might be integrated with the requirements and needs of Islam. This approach necessitates an understanding that neither Islam nor African art are monolithic entities, but rather their interactions represent a wide variety of negotiations across the continent. Likewise, this course will consider specific historical circumstances to which Islamic art in sub-Saharan Africa has responded in terms of form and content.

IWS 263

RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

An exploration of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as they develop and interact in the Middle East, historically and in terms of contemporary religious and political issues. Includes a study of personal narratives of people from Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. Cross-listed as REL 263.

IWS 277

INTRODUCTION TO SUFISM

This course will look at the history of Sufism (Islamic Mysticism). The course will look at the roots of Sufism and its early advocates, the medieval articulation and formalization of the tradition, to its renassiance in the modern period and its use as a 'moderating' tool. Students by the end of the course will also have a firm grounding in the terms and concepts that govern Sufism.

IWS 278

INTRODUCTION TO THE HADITH

This course will introduce students to the hadith (the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad). The course will look at the historical development of the collection, study, and criticism of the hadith. Students will learn the utilization of the hadith in the establishment of Muslim religious practices, law, political and cultural norms. Students will become familiar with the technical terms that are utilized by the scholars of hadith. Students will also come to understand the modern debates about hadith study and hadith utility (or lack there of) in the modern world.

IWS 295

SECTARIAN MOVEMENTS WITHIN ISLAM

This course will look at the various sects within Islam such as Shi'ism, Kharjism, etc. The course will also look at theological sects such as the Mu'taziliets. The course will be concerned with the history, the beliefs, and the present circumstances (if they still exist today) of these sects. Cross listed as REL 295.

MGT 228

BUSINESS, ETHICS, AND SOCIETY

This course will examine the nature and purpose of economic life and contemporary commerce as understood from the perspective of religious and secular communities, as well as the ethical implications that flow from the various worldviews. Sections of the course critically examine the thought of different religious traditions on specific business-related issues, placing a variety of religious discourses into direct conversation with secular voices regarding ethical business conduct. Cross-listed as REL 228.
Prerequisites:
WRD 103 or HON 100 or HON 101 is a prerequisite for this class.

PAX 252

FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION

A study of various understandings of "forgiveness" and "reconciliation" in several religions and cultures. The nature and dynamics of forgiveness and reconciliation will be examined both theoretically and in relationship to specific conflicts. Cross-listed with REL 252.

PHL 340

PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

A study into the significance of religious phenomena for philosophy.

REL 103

RELIGIOUS WORLDS IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

An examination of the nature and function of religion in human life. An exploration of common patterns underlying the variety of religious experience and expression.

REL 107

JUDAISM IN HISTORY: FROM THE BIBLE TO 1492

The purpose of this course is to provide a basic understanding of Judaism as the historic and evolving religious expression of the Jewish people. It seeks to provide students an entree into the world of Jewish religious and historical experience and to help them develop a conceptual understanding of the thought and practice that underlies the Jewish worldview. It also seeks to examine certain continuities and discontinuities in the conception of Judaism as reflected in selected texts which express the full range of Jewish religious and national creativity. Among the topics to be discussed are the complex relations of Jewish thinkers to the surrounding non-Jewish cultures, and how these interactions affected the Jews' understanding of Judaism. The approach to this material will be intellectual-historical. The course is designed as the first part of a two-course sequence on the history of Judaism from the Bible to the present. It focuses on the history of Jewish tradition from the earliest references to Ancient Israel circa 1200 BCE to the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.

REL 108

JUDAISM IN HISTORY: FROM 1492 TO PRESENT

The purpose of this course is to provide a basic understanding of Judaism as the historic and evolving religious expression of the Jewish people. It seeks to provide students an entree into the world of Jewish religious and historical experience and to help them develop a conceptual understanding of the thought and practice that underlies the Jewish worldview. It also seeks to examine certain continuities and discontinuities in the conception of Judaism as reflected in selected texts which express the full range of Jewish religious and national creativity. Among the topics to be discussed are the complex relations of Jewish thinkers to the surrounding non-Jewish cultures, and how these interactions affected the Jews understanding of Judaism. The approach to this material will be intellectual-historical. The course is designed as the second part of a two-course sequence on the history of Judaism from the Bible to the present. It focuses on the history of Jewish tradition from the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 to the present.

REL 109

THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE

An introductory course offering a basic understanding of Judaism as the historic and evolving religious expression of the Jewish people, surveying the basic aspects of traditional Jewish life and thought as well as the people's many-sided experience of the modern world.

REL 110

THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE

An introductory course surveying the range of traditions that have emerged within the Christian movement, and offering an historical perspective on the life and thought of Christian communities, and their prospects for the future.

REL 111

THE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

Major religious movements in America with emphasis upon the development of religious pluralism. Impact of religious beliefs and values upon American culture.

REL 113

THE LATINO RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES

An examination of the diverse nature of Latino religion, from its indigenous roots to its institutional forms, within the social and political context of American culture.

REL 115

THE AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

An examination of the religious experience of African Americans and its African precursors through historical and literary resources, reflecting this people's distinctive past and its interactions with other elements of American culture. Formerly REL 215.

REL 116

THE ISLAMIC EXPERIENCE

An introduction to major recurrent religious themes and alternative models of religious interpretation and authority in Islam's manifold expressions, from the life of Muhammad and the Qur'an, to popular ritual and spirituality and the Islamic humanities.

REL 142

HINDU EXPERIENCE

A survey of the varieties of Hindu practice and thought. Hinduism in India and throughout the world will be examined.

REL 143

BUDDHIST EXPERIENCE

A survey of the varieties of Buddhist practice and thought. Different forms of Buddhism throughout the world will be examined.

ABD 144

AFRICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

A survey of the varieties of African religious practice and thought. Cross-listed as REL 144.

REL 161

INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA

An introductory exploration of the close ties particular religious traditions of Native North America have with their own distinctive historical realities, geographic-celestial topographies, and political and social structures. Considers variety of oral, written, ritual, visual and archaeological texts.

REL 162

POPULAR AND INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS OF MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

An exploration of old and new religious traditions of Mexico and Central America and its diaspora. Our studies will focus on myths and stories as ancient as pre-Conquest times and as recent as today's movies; and we will examine them in written, oral, visual, ritualized, theatrical, musical and even electronic forms.

REL 180

INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM

An examination of the breadth of the Catholic experience from a 1st-century Jewish religious movement to a 21st-century global religion.

REL 183

THEMES IN CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT

An initial, systematic examination of major themes in modern Catholic social thought. Cross-listed as CTH 183.

REL 190

INTERPRETING SACRED TEXTS

A survey of the formation, use and interpretation of sacred texts by religious and secular communities.

REL 200

DEBATES ABOUT GOD

A study of classical and contemporary arguments regarding the existence and meaning of "God," as developed in a variety of theistic traditions.

REL 201

RELIGION AND ETHICS I

Analytic and normative approaches to ethics in Western philosophical and Christian traditions.

REL 202

ETHICAL WORLDS: MORAL ISSUES ACROSS CULTURES

An exploration of religion and ethics from a comparative and international perspective. Ethical dimensions of diverse world religious traditions will be investigated within their own particular historical and cultural contexts, and students will be asked to consider and evaluate their own ethical orientations in the light of these studies.

REL 205

RELIGION AND ETHICS II

Analytic and normative approaches to ethics in a non-Christian tradition, such as Judaism, Islam or African traditional religions.

REL 212

RELIGION AND POPULAR CULTURE

An exploration of various forms of popular culture and their intersection with diverse religious traditions and ethical concerns. The course also examines the marketing in mass media of religious themes in popular culture.

REL 213

CHRISTIAN THOUGHT IN CLASSICAL AND MEDIEVAL TIMES

A study of the development of Christian theologies in Western civilization from post-New Testament times to the Renaissance, with emphasis on St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

REL 214

TRANSFORMATION IN CHRISTIANITY: THE REFORMATION TO THE PRESENT

A study of the development of Christianity since 1500 C.E., exploring the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, the growth of Christianity in the United States, and its encounter with a variety of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment themes and figures, especially concerning science, justice, relativity and religious pluralism.

REL 217

ISLAM IN GLOBAL CONTEXTS

A study of Islam's developments in various global contexts, including Arabian beginnings, the Middle East, Central, Eastern and Western Europe, China, the former Soviet States and South Africa, with a focus on the impacts that these cultures and Islam have had on each other.

REL 218

BLACK INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS

An introduction to Black intellectual traditions which emerge from and inform Black religious traditions and which have religious and/or liberation content. Thinkers and content vary.

REL 219

SLAVERY, RACE AND RELIGION

This class examines religious arguments, from the 1500's through the 1700's, for and against slavery. Students will investigate different historical and theoretical definitions of slavery. Students will also gain an introduction to the relationship between slavery, evangelicalism, capitalism, and Enlightenment moral philosophy.

REL 220

PSYCHOLOGY AND RELIGION

Psychological factors operative in acquisition, formation and development of religious expression and commitment.

REL 221

RELIGION IN SOCIETY

Sociological study of religious groups, institutions, behavior, and belief systems in human life and society.

REL 222

CONTEMPORARY MORAL ISSUES

A study of the relations between religious beliefs and moral action to be carried out through an examination of the ethical and moral response of various religious traditions to selected moral issues such as war and peace, sexual behavior, etc.

REL 223

LITERATURE AND THE SACRED

Variable topics. How human beings across cultures express their intimations of ultimate meaning in a variety of genres ranging from aphorisms and autobiographies to mythic and fictional narratives.

REL 224

RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES

Variable topics. Explores the interplay of religion, politics and culture in the United States, focusing on citizenship and religious identity in the USA's multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious society. Various sections will focus on different particular religious communities and themes, such as the Religious Right and the Religious Left, the political activities of particular communities, and the challenges of interreligious dialogue.

REL 225

RELIGION AND THE ARTS

Variable topics. How human beings across cultures express their comprehension and experience of ultimate meaning in a variety of artistic forms.

REL 226

TECHNOLOGY, ETHICS, AND SOCIETY

An examination of the impact of modern technologies on society with particular attention paid to ethical issues.

REL 227

RELIGIOUS ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE

A study of the ethical dimensions of contemporary professional life from the standpoint of religious traditions and values, focusing primarily on medicine, law and business.

REL 228

BUSINESS, ETHICS AND SOCIETY

This course will examine the nature and purpose of economic life and contemporary commerce as understood from the perspective of religious and secular communities, as well as the ethical implications that flow from the various worldviews. Sections of the course critically examine the thought of different religious traditions on specific business-related issues, placing a variety of religious discourses into direct conversation with secular voices regarding ethical business conduct. Cross-listed as MGT 228.
Prerequisites:
WRD 103 or HON 100 or HON 101 is a prerequisite for this class.

REL 229

MEDICINE, ETHICS AND SOCIETY

Moral and ethical issues arising in contemporary biomedical advances and in health care from the perspectives of Religious Studies and of Philosophy.

REL 232

ANCIENT ISRAEL: HISTORY, LITERATURE, AND RELIGION

The development of Judaism from Moses to the Rabbinic era with special attention to social and historical questions. Cross-listed as CTH 212.

REL 233

THE NEW TESTAMENT

An introduction to the historical-critical investigation of the New Testament. Topics include the earliest Christian writings (letters of Paul), the production of "gospels" about Jesus, and the development of early churches in the context of ancient history and society.

REL 234

VARIETIES OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY

An examination of multicultural diversity in early Christianity through a study of materials excluded from the New Testament canon; Christian apologists defending the church against pagan intellectuals and Roman imperial magistrates; comparisons of early Christian fiction and ancient Greek novels; and an examination of Gnostic writings.

REL 235

PAUL AND HIS INFLUENCE IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY

A critical study of Paul's literary remains as primary sources for reconstructing the development of the Christian movement, focusing on Paul's communities, ethics and theology. Early interpretations and assessments of Paul will also be considered.

REL 236

VARIETIES OF JUDAISM IN THE GREEK AND ROMAN WORLD

An examination of Judaism from the Jews' return from Babylonian exile in 538 BCE to the promulgation of the Mishnah in 200 CE, with a focus on the Roman period. The Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as concepts of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment and the idea of the "Bible" will be studied.

REL 237

GODS IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE

This course examines the role of gods in the social, political, and economic world of the first four centuries of the Roman Empire. Topics will include: the role of gods in civic life; the imperial cult; the use of the categories religion, superstition, and magic to mark social status; gods, family, and social values; religious innovation and the emergence of new gods; and the rise of Christianity and the worship of Jesus as a god. This course will pay special attention to the social interactions that create and sustain the plausibility of the existence of unseen deities governing the affairs of humans.

REL 238

THE HISTORICAL JESUS

An investigation of the early Christian Gospels and other sources for reconstructing the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The relation of historical reconstruction and religious interpretation, and the significance of conflicting interpretations of Jesus, will also be considered.

REL 239

THE BIBLE GOES TO THE MOVIES

This course examines the interaction of the Bible and Hollywood movies by considering how stories, ideas, and themes from the Bible have been portrayed in movies. Specific biblical texts will be analyzed in their historical context and in relation to contemporary movies.

REL 241

RELIGION IN CHINESE HISTORY, SOCIETY AND CULTURE

An exploration of the Chinese religious landscape, focusing on social and practical dimensions of Chinese religion, such as state rituals and private cults, liturgies and individual practices of Taoist priests and adepts, politico-religious ideas that inspired popular messianic movements throughout Chinese history, and interrelations of Buddhist and Taoist clergies and institutions in the state.

REL 243

BUDDHIST THOUGHT IN CULTURAL CONTEXT

A study of Buddhism from its beginnings as a "non-orthodox" renunciant and monastic movement in ancient India, through its development into a myriad of religious expressions and practices, philosophical tendencies, and social forms over its twenty-five hundred year history.

REL 245

RELIGION IN JAPANESE HISTORY, SOCIETY, AND CULTURE

Explores the specific interplay between religion and culture in Japan. Taking historical and cultural factors into account, it considers prehistoric Japanese religion, ancient imperial myths, the assimilation of Buddhism, Confucianism, and continental (Chinese/Korean) culture, the religious and aesthetic worlds of the court nobility and the warrior class, popular mountain cults, the revival and systematization of Shinto, the impact of western culture, Japanese ultranationalism, and the religious situation in the post-war period.

REL 246

TRADITIONS OF CHINESE POPULAR CULTURE

Promotes an understanding of Chinese worldview and life in the perspective of the common Chinese people from ancient to modern times. Based on historical and modern texts in translation, some historical and ethnographic studies, as well as visual and aural materials, the course explores gender and generational relations and conflicts, ancestor veneration, the worlds of ghosts and gods, festivals, art, and entertainment, but also aspects of misery and social unrest. Although the course will draw largely on popular and entertaining sources, it will also pay attention to historical developments, the relationship between popular and elite traditions, as well as sociological and anthropological issues arising from these contexts.

REL 247

LITERATURE AND RELIGION IN JAPAN

Focuses on the pervasive influence of religious thought and sentiment on Japanese literature from ancient to modern times and explores the intricate relationship between religion, aesthetics, and the arts in Japanese culture. Considers original works including ancient Japanese mythology and poetry, the memoirs of court ladies and Buddhist hermits, romance, epics, folktales and social satire, with attention to their historical, social, religious and social dimensions, as well as to the individual experience expressed in them.

REL 248

LITERATURE AND RELIGION IN CHINA

Focuses on the interpretation of literature and religion in China. Considers original works of literature and explores the religious origins of Chinese script and writing itself, poetry and mystical philosophy, cosmology and revealed scripture, popular tales, ballads, plays and novels, and the reworking of contemporary Chinese American authors of their literary and religious heritage, with attention to their historical, social, religious and social dimensions, as well as to the individual experience expressed in them.

REL 250

MYSTICISM IN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS

This course will look at the phenomena of mysticism, its doctrines and practices, in various religious traditions. It will also look at how various forms of mysticism have influenced the religious traditions with which they associated, (e.g. how Sufism has impacted Islamic religion, civilization and society.) The course will then look at the present situation of mysticisms in regard to religious traditions and to broader societies.

REL 251

THE IDEA OF 'EVIL"

This course will try and answer the question what is evil? In religious traditions is evil a relative term? Or is it a universal absolute? Does evil exist independently, or is it a result of the absence of good? How do religious traditions deal with the notion of evil? After we look at the religious, philosophical, historical, conceptualization of evil and how different religious traditions deal with it, the class will look at evil in popular culture (anthropological understanding of evil). How does the popular imagination understand evil? How do they depict and imagine evil (in film, and in literature)? Are these universalities or are they cultural relativism? How has popular culture dealt with evil? Finally the course tries to see if there is any connection with the popular imagination and religious traditions when it comes to evil.

REL 252

FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION

A study of various understandings of "forgiveness" and "reconciliation" in several religions and cultures. The nature and dynamics of forgiveness and reconciliation will be examined both theoretically and in relationship to specific conflicts. Cross-listed with PAX 252.

REL 254

THE BODY & HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS:DIVERGENT MEANINGS, CONFLICTING VALUES

Love and sexuality in biblical and nonbiblical religions, examined cross-culturally, conceptually, and ethically.

REL 256

WELLNESS AND DISEASE IN RELIGIOUS PERSPECTVE

A study of notions related to human "health," "well-being" and "disease" in various religio-cultural situations. Physical, mental and spiritual health -- individual and communal -- will be considered. The significance of "plague," especially AIDS, as socio-religious and spiritual events will be critically examined.

REL 257

DEATH AND ITS BEYOND: EXPERIENCE, MYTH AND RITUALS

Religious attitudes and practices responding to the phenomena of death and dying, studied cross-culturally, conceptually and ethically.

REL 260

RELIGION AND POLITICAL CONFLICT

An examination of the role of religions and religious movements in political conflicts. Particular sections will examine the relationship of religions to violence and peacemaking in different areas of the world.

REL 262

RELIGION AND GLOBALIZATION

An examination of the moral, religious, and social dimensions of the phenomenon of globalization. Through a critical assessment of both the positive and the negative dimensions of globalization, students will seek to understand more fully the ethical implications of globalization for economics, culture, and society.

REL 263

RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

An exploration of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as they develop and interact in the Middle East, historically and in terms of contemporary religious and political issues. Includes a study of personal narratives of people from Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities.

REL 264

COLONIZATION, RELIGION AND RESISTANCE

This course will explore the religious traditions and cultural identities of some of the peoples native to the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania; problems they have with the "civilized" world and their potential solutions to them.

IWS 265

REFORM MOVEMENTS WITHIN ISLAM

This course will deal with the idea of "reform" within Islamic political movements in the modern period. The course will analyze various Islamic reform movements such as the Wahahabis, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Modernists, the Traditionalists, seeking a pattern in these movements. Cross-listed as REL 265.

IWS 266

ISLAM IN THE UNITED STATES

An examination of the story of Islam in the United States in three historical periods: antebellum America, the first half of the 20th century, and the latter half of the 20th century. Explores Muslim slave life; the possibilities of retentions of Islam in slave culture; the religious, social/economic, and political life of Muslims at the beginning of the 20th century; the emergence of Islamic thought in the U.S. through an overview of the works of Ismail as-Faruqi, Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Fazlur Rahman. Cross listed as REL 266.

REL 266

ISLAM IN THE UNITED STATES

An examination of the story of Islam in the United States in three historical periods: antebellum America, the first half of the 20th century, and the latter half of the 20th century. Explores Muslim slave life; the possibilities of retentions of Islam in slave culture; the religious, social/economic, and political life of Muslims at the beginning of the 20th century; the emergence of Islamic thought in the U.S. through an overview of the works of Ismail as-Faruqi, Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Fazlur Rahman. Cross-listed with IWS 266.

REL 268

MODERN JUDAISM

An examination of central features of the modern Jewish experience including the transition from traditional to modern religious life and practice, American Judaism, the Holocaust, and the establishment of the State of Israel.

REL 269

JUDAISM IN ANTIQUITY

This course traces the history of Israelite and Jewish culture and religion from their origins in the world of the Ancient Near East in the second millennium BCE until the rise of Islam in the seventh century CE. We will critically examine the meaning and mutual relationship of such categories as "ancient Israelite" religion, "biblical" religion, and "early Judaism." We will also discuss the history of religious institutions, texts, and practices, as well as the dynamics of continuity and change in ancient Israelite and Jewish society. This course will pay special attention to the complex relationship that exists between history and collective memory as constructed through texts and rituals.

REL 270

WOMEN IN THE BIBLE

An examination of the historical role of women in the Bible and the contemporary concerns of feminist theology, women's spirituality and ethical issues arising from the contemporary application of these biblical texts to women's experiences.

REL 271

THE QUR'AN AND ITS INTERPRETERS

A study of the origin, transmission, and interpretation of the Qur'an. Cross-listed with IWS 271.

REL 272

MUSLIM WOMEN IN TEXTS

Explores major current approaches to the study of Muslim women, focusing on the Qur'anic conversation on women, on the commentaries provided by men, and on the emerging voices of Muslim women and non-Muslims. Cross-listed with IWS 272.

REL 273

JESUS ACROSS CULTURES

A study of the multiple and diverse (primarily theological, but also literary, artistic and philosophical) historical and contemporary images of Jesus, as a way of understanding the diversity of this tradition and of its impacts on society, and of understanding the issue of plurality or diversity itself in religious traditions.

REL 275

COMMUNITY AND AUTHORITY IN MEDIEVAL JUDAISM

An introduction to the history, religion and culture of the Jewish people under Christendom and Islam from the fourth through the end of the fifteenth centuries.

REL 280

ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL THINKING

A study of the Roman Catholic tradition of "faith seeking understanding'' examining the content and the process of emergence of Catholic beliefs about such matters as God, sin, Jesus Christ, revelation, the church and eschatology. Cross-listed with CTH 243.

REL 281

ROMAN CATHOLIC LITURGY

A study of the emergence, meaning and dynamics of ritual in the Roman Catholic tradition. Cross-listed with CTH 231.

REL 282

ROMAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL LITERATURE

A study of the foundational religious experiences that underlie the Roman Catholic tradition, of the narratives they generate, and of their representations in various media such as poetry, music, myths, sacred legends and apologetic stories.

REL 283

ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT IN CONTEXT

A study of Roman Catholicism's understanding of its relation to the social world, including such matters as the relation between Church and State, the moral authority of the Church, and of its teaching on such issues as social ethics, politics and economics.

REL 285

ROMAN CATHOLICISM'S ENCOUNTER WITH OTHER RELIGIONS

A study of how Roman Catholicism understands and responds to other religious traditions, other ways of being religious, and how the encounter with those other traditions affects Roman Catholicism's understanding of itself and its teachings.

REL 286

PILGRIMAGE, RELIGION AND POPULAR CULTURE

How has the role of pilgrimage evolved from antiquity to the present age, and how can the phenomenon of pilgrimage provide a modern window into how a people define what is spiritually significant? Might the phenomenon of pilgrimage, as it is found in nearly every religious tradition, provide a common language and thus a means for building bridges across boundaries of religious difference? This course examines pilgrimage as a religious, cultural, historical and ethical phenomenon. Using methodologies developed in the study of religion, ethics, anthropology and popular culture, this course will introduce students to pilgrimage as it is practiced in expressions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The aim of this course is to explore some of the competing typologies and events associated with the formal study of religious ritual and then apply these learnings to modern cultural phenomena, work that will prepare students for the project of constructing their own pilgrimages.

REL 287

ROMAN CATHOLIC MORAL TRADITIONS

This course examines various moral topics within a Roman Catholic framework. Papal pronouncements, Magisterial statements, Episcopal texts, the works of influential theologians, and critical voices both within and beyond the Church will be critically examined. Special attention will be paid to the method of moral argumentation.

REL 291

LOOKING FOR GOD IN LATIN AMERICA

An examination of religious traditions such as Catholicism, indigenous religions, and Protestantism in Latin America, with special focus on how these traditions have been transplanted and reshaped upon entry into varied Latino communities in the United States. Historical analyses of the Latin American roots of these traditions will provide contextualization for the ongoing examination of transnational religious cultures in the U.S.

REL 295

SECTARIAN MOVEMENTS WITHIN ISLAM

This course will look at the various sects within Islam such as Shi'ism, Kharjism, etc. The course will also look at theological sects such as the Mu'taziliets. The course will be concerned with the history, the beliefs, and the present circumstances (if they still exist today) of these sects. Cross-listed with IWS 295.

REL 298

METHODS AND APPROACHES IN THE STUDY OF RELIGION

A study of the methods, theories, and philosophical approaches used to describe what is termed "religion" in the West. The course will focus on the central questions, key authors, and historical movements that have influenced the field of religious studies. Formerly REL 208.

SOC 343

SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF RELIGION (CROSS- LISTED WITH REL 221)

Analysis of the interplay of society and religion, the clergy as an occupational group, and the relationship of religious ideology to social change.

CTH 180

INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM

An examination of the breadth of the Catholic experience from a 1st-century Jewish religious movement to a 21st-century global religion.

IWS 191

ISLAMIC WORLD STUDIES

This course is the introductory course to the program. This course is to familiarize the students with the study of Islam by introducing them to the central texts - the Qur'an, Hadith literature (reports of the actions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and Sira (the biography of the Prophet)- and methodologies in studying these and other primary sources (although the course will limit its scope to translated texts, students will become aware of the vast resources that are available in Arabic). Students will also learn the mechanics of research in the field. They will become aware of the Encyclopedias, Indexes, and Journals, etc., that are available to conduct proper research in the field. Formerly IWS 100.

IWS 192

WESTERN APPROACHES TO ISLAMIC STUDIES

This course is the second of two introductory courses to the Islamic World Studies Program. Students will concentrate on the state of the field of Islam in the Academic world. Students will become grounded in the history of the field, from its beginning in the late 18th century until the present time. Students will become familiar with the most up to date theories that are at present governing the study on the rise of Islam and the sacred texts in the Western and Islamic Academia. Formerly IWS 101.

IWS 251

ISLAMIC ART

An examination of the origins of Islamic culture in Arabia and the spread of Islamic art and religion across the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Sicily, Iran, India, and Central Asia; emphasizes the meaning of religious imagery. Cross-listed with HAA 222.
 

IRE 103

IRELAND: RELIGION AND THE CONTEMPORARY "TROUBLES"

An examination of the role of two Christian denominations (Protestant and Roman Catholic) in the more recent "Troubles" in the north of Ireland. Attempts to discover the contributions of religious differences in fueling and resolving the animosities between the Unionist and Nationalist sides; studies the social-historical dimension of the troubles and the Protestant and Catholic religious activities and official responses to them. Cross-listed as CTH 274.