Critical examination of some of the most influential modern proponents and opponents of religious faith, with special emphasis on the question: what is involved in belief in God? Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
This course examines the diversity of Indigenous African Religions, their cosmologies, histories, ritual structures, and their relationships to other aspects of African cultures. Of particular importance will be ideas of gendered spiritual power, the spread of African-inspired religions to the Americas, and the nature of orally transmitted religious traditions. Conversion to Islam and Christianity and reconversion from these religions will also be studied. Finally, we examine the impact of globalization on Indigenous African Religions. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: NW.
In all the attention focused on Islam at present, a newspaper reader could be forgiven for supposing that between Muhammad and Usamah bin Laden, there has been no change in Islam. This course surveys developments in Islamic religious history, thought, and practice since 1800, with special emphasis on topics of current controversy, including the status of women, the nature of government, and the place of Islamic law. Readings will be mostly from primary texts written by contemporary Muslims, both modernists and Islamists. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: NW.
Can significant distinctions be drawn between religious and magical ritual? Do magic and religion thrive in opposition to the science of their time or in congruence with it? The course addresses such theoretical questions in the study of religion from perspectives of history, philosophy of science, anthropology, and cognitive science. The course will suggest a general theory of conditions under which religion tends to be or tends not to be magical. Students will be invited to challenge that theory. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Dist: SOC.
The course examines the nature of claims to mystical experience or knowledge that appear in various aspects of the Jewish tradition, with primary focus on the enchanted and demonic worlds of the Kabbala. Forms of ecstasy and magic will be studied, along with their theoretical and social backgrounds and their impact on elitist and popular Jewish practice. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
In this course we will engage in an in-depth study of a particular issue in Christian history or Christian ideology. The topic will change with each offering, and students may therefore take this course more than once. Sample topics include "Intellectuals and Superstition: The Creation of the Witch in Medieval Europe" and "Heretics and Inquisitors: The Cathar Religion in Medieval Europe." Open to all classes. Dist: TMV.
The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of current developments in the natural sciences and religious or theological interpretations of them. Emphasis is given to understanding an emerging consonance between religion and science in contrast to models of dissonance and conflict, or independence and dialogue. Particular attention is given to (1) evolutionary biology, (2) relativity physics, (3) cosmology, and (4) process theology and philosophy. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Dist: TMV.
A survey of the history and theology of evangelicalism, America's folk religion, from its origins in the confluence of the "three P's" - Puritanism, Presbyterianism, and Pietism - in the Great Awakening to the construction of the evangelical subculture following the Scopes Trial to the present. We'll examine evangelical millennial ideas as well as attitudes toward women, minorities, society, and politics. Pending Approval.
The contents of this course will vary from term to term. Dist: TMV; WCult: Varies.
This seminar curriculum is devoted to reading and analyzing the works of a scholar in the field of the study of religion who has made a significant impact upon a particular area of study. Near the end of the term, this scholar is brought to Dartmouth and the seminar concludes with several days of intense meetings, during the course of which the visiting scholar reads and responds to students' critiques of his or her own work.
Last Updated: 12/9/13