A comparative study of some of the basic patterns of religion. The course will focus upon such themes as religious experience, myths of creation, stories of religious founders and heroes, the origin and resolution of human suffering, and the structure and meaning of religious community and ritual. Source material for these themes will be taken from the literary and artistic resources of the following religious traditions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV or INT.
A survey of religion in North America from the Civil War to the present. We'll examine the plight of immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, discuss how urbanization and industrialization recast social norms, gender roles, and religious ideology, and chart the emergence of evangelicalism as a political movement late in the twentieth century. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
This course examines some of the basic theoretical and methodological questions about the study if religion. First, we examine several definitions of religion presented by different scholarly traditions, ranging from sociology and anthropology, to psychology and cognitive science, and to Comparative Religion. We explore the formation of World Religions, and the emergence of New Religious Movements, as well as the problematic definitions of Asian religions. We then turn to examine theoretical issues regarding particular aspects associated with religion: ritual, mythology, sacred time and sacred space, the body and the cosmos. Dist: TMV. Pending approval.
This interdisciplinary, interfaith course looks at issues of ethics and religion in our environment as they are illustrated through the circumstances of flora and fauna today. Animal rights are discussed; animal advocacy is encouraged as part of the enduring heritage of the great teachings of many religions. (This course will satisfy one of the three electives required for the Ethics Institute minor requirement.) Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
This course begins with the first spiritual autobiography in the West, Augustine's Confessions, as a standpoint from which to compare and contrast other spiritual journeys. Topics subsequently to be studied include excerpts of personal accounts about experiential faith; a panoramic overview of conversion narratives, among them African American, Native American and Muslim; and contextual information about the historical development of these various religious perspectives. Students will engage in journaling. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.
The great civilization of ancient Egypt, which spanned a period of almost 3000 years, has left us a wealth of literary, artistic, architectural, and funerary religious remains. This course will focus on three major aspects of Egypt's religious heritage: (1) the pantheon and the myths and stories about Egypt's gods; (2) temple complexes; and (3) tombs, especially the tombs of royalty and other nobles. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: NW.
As contemporary Jewish and Christian communities of faith face the question of the role of women within their traditions, many turn to the Bible for answers. Yet the biblical materials are multivalent, and their position on the role of women unclear. This course intends to take a close look at the biblical tradition, both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament, to ask what the Bible does – and does not say – about women. Yet the course is called "Women and the Bible," not "Women in the Bible," and implicit in this title is a second goal of the course: not only to look at the Bible to see what it actually says about women but also to look at differing ways that modern feminist biblical scholars have engaged in the enterprise of interpreting the biblical text. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.
As a culminating activity for senior majors, this colloquium serves as a forum for researching and writing the Senior Essay. Two faculty members convene the colloquium and guide the selection of essay topics. Other faculty and guest speakers may visit during the first five weeks of the term for discussion of common readings. The 25-page Senior Essay is expected (1) to display expertise in at least one cultural area, historical period, methodological approach, or body of literature, (2) to build upon previous course preparation, and (3) to engage with one of several approaches or readings discussed in the colloquium. Students who choose to enroll in Religion 84 or Religion 86 and 87 as their Culminating Experience are normally expected to participate in the Senior Colloquium but are excused from the writing component. Prerequisite: Religion 1. Open only to senior majors. Dist: TMV.
Last Updated: 6/11/13