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Christianity in the Roman Empire: Secret Rituals, Mystery Cults, and Apocalyptic Prophets (HA)

How did Jesus' earliest followers interpret his life and death? What were secret initiation rites and love feast gatherings about? How did women participate in leadership? How did the Roman government react to this movement and why did Jesus' followers suffer martyrdom? How did early Christians think about the end of the world, and what did they do when it did not happen? This course is an introduction to the Jesus movement in the context of the Roman Empire and early Judaism. We examine texts in the New Testament (the Christian Bible) and other relevant sources, such as lost gospels, Dead Sea scrolls, and aspects of material culture.

Instructors
AnneMarie Luijendijk
Spring 2018
Christians and Incarceration (HA)

Christianity and incarceration have a long and storied history. One way of telling the history of Christianity is through its changing relationship to the carceral practices and geographies. The course explores the changing relationship between Christians and carceral practices and geographies throughout its history, beginning at the origins of what became Christianity in 1st century Palestine and ending with the 2017 Alabama State Legislature's passing of a bill allowing churches to police their communities.

Instructors
Matthew Larsen
Fall 2020
Classics, Commentaries, and Contexts in Chinese Intellectual History: Ritual Classics

This course examines classical Chinese texts and their commentary traditions, with commentary selections and additional readings from the earliest periods through the early twentieth century.

Instructors
Trenton W. Wilson
Spring 2023
Critical Readings in Slavery Studies

No description available

Instructors
Staff
Spring 2021
Culture, Society and Religion Workshop

Presentation and critical discussion of research in progress by participants, dealing with the study of religion in any field within the humanities and social sciences. Note: REL 517 (fall) and REL 517 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit, students must take the course both semesters.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Jenny Wiley Legath
Fall 2022
Culture, Society and Religion Workshop

Presentation and critical discussion of research in progress by participants, dealing with the study of religion in any field within the humanities and social sciences. Note: REL 517 (fall) and REL 517 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit, students must take the course both semesters.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Jenny Wiley Legath
Spring 2023
Elementary Biblical Hebrew I

Students will achieve a basic ability to read the Hebrew Bible in the original language. During the semester, students will learn the script and the grammar, develop a working vocabulary, and read a selection of Biblical passages. The course is designed for beginners with little or no previous knowledge of the language. Students with extensive experience in the language should contact the instructor about course alternatives.

Instructors
Philip Zhakevich
Fall 2019
Elementary Biblical Hebrew I

Students will achieve a basic ability to read the Hebrew Bible in the original language. During the semester, students will learn the script and the grammar, develop a working vocabulary, and read a selection of Biblical passages. The course is designed for beginners with little or no previous knowledge of the language. Students with extensive experience in the language should contact the instructor about course alternatives.

Instructors
Laura E. Quick
Fall 2018
Eliminating Suffering: Suicide, Utopia, and Spiritual Practice (EC)

Suffering is a fundamental feature of the human condition. But it has been a central aim of many religious and philosophical thinkers to eliminate it altogether. We will examine the grounds of suffering and investigate the three basic ways in which various thinkers have sought to eradicate it: (1) by avoiding life's problems (from Netflix to suicide); (2) by fixing life's problems (from personal saintliness to political utopianism); or (3) by ceasing to judge anything to be problematic in the first place (from Buddhist spiritual practices to Stoic ones). Finally, we will look at those who insist that suffering should not be eliminated at all.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Spring 2019
Eliminating Suffering: Netflix, Drugs, and Spiritual Practice (EM)

We suffer. Sometimes more, sometimes less - but we all suffer, and often profoundly. What is it about the human condition that seems to make suffering inevitable? What can we do to deal with it? One approach is to try to change the external conditions causing the trouble. A very different approach sees the most important change as being within ourselves. Can we eliminate - or at least assuage - our suffering by changing the way we direct our attention (Netflix...), by changing the way we experience (drugs...), or by changing our manner of desiring (spiritual practices...)? We will approach these questions practically and theoretically.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Spring 2020
Eliminating Suffering: Netflix, Drugs, and Spiritual Practice (EM)

We suffer. Sometimes more, sometimes less - but we all suffer, and often profoundly. What is it about the human condition that seems to make suffering inevitable? What can we do to deal with it? One approach is to try to change the external conditions causing the trouble. A very different approach sees the most important change as being within ourselves. Can we eliminate - or at least assuage - our suffering by changing the way we direct our attention (Netflix...), by changing the way we experience (drugs...), or by changing our manner of desiring (spiritual practices...)? We will approach these questions practically and theoretically.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Spring 2022
Environmental Ethics and Modern Religious Thought (EM)

The current ecological crisis is often attributed to the effects of religion, especially Christianity. Focusing primarily on Christian theology and ethics (with some significant attention to Jewish thought as well), this course surveys and critically analyzes the emergence of religious discourses around environmental and animal ethics. The first half of the course considers recent works in "ecotheology." The second half of the course turns to particular ethical topics: climate change, environmental racism, biodiversity conservation, animal welfare, and food.

Instructors
Ryan M. Darr
Fall 2021
Ethics of Eating (EM)

We are what we eat--morally as well as molecularly. So how should concerns about animals, workers, the environment, and the local inform our food choices? Can we develop viable foodways for growing populations while respecting ethnic, religious, class, and access differences? The goal of this course is not to prescribe answers to these questions, but to give students the tools required to reflect on them effectively. These tools include a knowledge of the main ethical theories in philosophy, and a grasp of key empirical issues regarding food production, distribution, and disposal. Includes guest lectures, instructor-led small-group sessions.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Spring 2023
Gender Trouble: Transing and Transpassing in Muslim Societies (SA)

This seminar explores the ways in which complex gendered identities have been articulated, challenged, and lived in Muslim societies, past and present. Topics include: gender and "gender trouble" in Classical Islamic thought; intersexed and trans identities; same-sex relationships; colonial and post-colonial gendered discourses; being Muslim and LGBTQ; gendered Western responses to Muslim refugees and migrants. We will address these topics through close reading of primary texts in translation, critical readings of modern scholarship, as well as in explorations of literature, art and media from the Muslim world.

Instructors
Shaun E. Marmon
Spring 2020
God and Humanity in Catholic Thought (EM)

The goal of this course is to examine different ways of thinking about God and humanity in the Roman Catholic intellectual tradition, focusing on the Spanish world. We will draw on four figures: St. Theresa of Avila, Francisco Suarez, Jon Sobrino, and Gustavo Guttiérez. We will first examine their views about the nature of humanity, next about the nature of God, and finally about how the two relate, with special attention to the issue of seeming divine indifference to the suffering of the innocent.

Instructors
Daniel K. Rubio
Spring 2022