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FALL 2016

100-level courses are open to all students. They are either broad-based introductory courses that address multiple traditions or courses that have a more narrow focus.

200-level courses are specific to a tradition or methodology. They are open to all students and do not have prerequisites, unless otherwise indicated.

300-level courses have prerequisites as specified.

A reading knowledge of foreign languages, both modern and classical, is highly desirable for those students planning to major in religion. For more information on language study, see Language Courses under the requirements for the major.

100-Level Courses

REL 105 An Introduction to World Religions
TTh 10:30 - 11:50 am
An exploration of the religious texts and practices of major traditions (Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Jewish, Christian, Islamic) as well as those of smaller, more localized communities. Diverse forms of classical and contemporary religious experience and expression are analyzed through texts, rituals, and films as well as through fieldwork. Consideration will also be given to the role of religion in the American public sphere and in current world events. {H} 4 credits
Carol Zaleski

REL 108 The Meaning of Life
MW 2:40 - 4 pm
Same as PHI 108. This course asks the big question, "What is the Meaning of Life?" and explores a range of answers offered by philosophers and religious thinkers from a host of different traditions in different eras of human history. We will explore a variety of forms of philosophical and religious thinking and the ways that they can be directly relevant to our lives. {H}{L} 4 credits
Andy Rotman, Nalini Bhushan

200-Level Courses

Religious Studies: Philosophical, Critical, and Comparative

REL 200 Colloquium: Approaches to the Study of Religion
MW 1:10 - 2:30 pm
This course is an introduction to various approaches that have characterized the modern and postmodern critical study of religion. The course explores the development of the field as a whole and its interdisciplinary nature. The first part of the course focuses on approaches found in disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychology and phenomenology. The second part examines the application of these approaches to the study of particular religious phenomena. {H/S} 4 credits
Andy Rotman

Biblical Literature

REL 162 Introduction to the Bible I
MWF 11 am - 12:10 pm
The Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh/Old Testament). A survey of the Hebrew Bible and its historical and cultural context. Critical reading and discussion of its narrative and legal components as well as an introduction to the prophetic corpus and selections from the wisdom literature. {H/L} 4 credits
Joel Kaminsky

REL 214 Women in the Hebrew Bible
MWF 1:10 - 2:30 pm
This course focuses on the lives of women in ancient Israelite society through close readings of the Hebrew Bible. We look at detailed portraits of female characters as well as the role of many unnamed women in the text to consider the range and logic of biblical attitudes toward women, including reverence, disgust and sympathy. We also consider female deities in the ancient Near East, women in biblical law, sex in prophetic and Wisdom literature, and the female body as a source of metaphor. {L} 4 credits
Joel Kaminsky

Jewish Traditions

REL 223 The Modern Jewish Experience
TTh 9 -10:20 am
A thematic survey of Jewish history and thought from the 16th century to the present, examining Jews as a minority in modern Europe and in global diaspora. We analyze changing dynamics of integration and exclusion of Jews in various societies as well as diverse forms of Jewish religion, culture and identity among Sefardic, Ashkenazic and Mizrahi Jews. Readings include major philosophic, mystical and political works in addition to primary sources on the lives of Jewish women and men, families and communities, and messianic and popular movements. Throughout the course, we explore tensions between assimilation and cohesion, tradition and renewal, and history and memory. {H} 4 credits
Zachary Schulman

JUD 229 Judaism and Environmentalism - CAP pending
MW 2:40 - 4 pm
Explores the relationship between environmentalism and ecological thinking in Jewish religious, philosophical, mystical, and ethical texts and practices. How has religion, both historically and now, encouraged or impeded ecologically mindful lives? Can an intellectual, spiritual, and activist vocabulary invest environmental awareness with religious meaning and purpose? Includes guest lectures by leading local figures in the Jewish environmental movement. Students interested in other religious or secular traditions are welcome to pursue a comparative final project. No prerequisites. {H}{L} 4 credits
Justin Cammy

Christian Traditions

None offered this semester.

Islamic Traditions

None offered this semester.

Buddhist Traditions

REL 269 Buddhism Along the Silk Road
W 7 - 9 pm
This course will trace early Buddhism on the Indian sub-continent and its evolution through Central Asia along the Silk Road. We will consider the emergence of the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) and Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle) Buddhist traditions and their development as they moved into Central and East Asian territories. We will examine Buddhism among the Chinese Northern Wei, Tang and Yuan dynasties, among the Turkic Uighurs and the ethnic Tibetan Tanguts, and finally the eastern and western Mongols and sub-groups who practiced Buddhism within the Russian Empire. (E){H} 2 credits
Rick Taupier

South Asian Traditions

None offered this semester.

Religion in the Americas

None offered this semester.

300-Level Courses


REL 301 Topics in Philosophy of Religion
C. S. Lewis
T 3 - 4:50 pm
The life and thought of C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), the literary historian, novelist, poet, critic, satirist and popular Christian philosopher. Readings are drawn from Lewis’s writings on medieval and Renaissance literature, his fantasies (including the space trilogy and Narnia), philosophical and religious writings, letters and diaries, and the memoir Surprised by Joy.Attention is given to Lewis as a war writer, “Romantic rationalist” and controversialist, as well as to the main concerns and critical reception of his scholarly, imaginative and religious works. Permission required. Enrollment limited to 12. {H} 4 credits
Carol Zaleski