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Japanese Mythology (CD or HA)

Myths are powerful. The stories we will read were first recorded around 1,300 years ago and continue to be told in the present day. We will ask why people -- both in Japan and humans more generally -- tell these types of tales. To answer this question, we will explore comparative approaches that search for universal patterns, myths as "ideology in narrative form" used as tools of legitimization, and appropriation of myths for new purposes in original contexts including feminist critiques.

Instructors
Bryan D. Lowe
Spring 2021
Jerusalem Contested: A City's History from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives (HA)

Jerusalem is considered a holy city to three faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In this course, students will learn the history of Jerusalem from its founding in pre-biblical times until the present. Over the course of the semester, we will ask: What makes space sacred and how does a city become holy? What has been at stake - religiously, theologically, politically, nationally - in the many battles over Jerusalem? Is a city that is so deeply contested doomed to endless tension or does history offer more hopeful precedents?

Instructors
Jonathan M. Gribetz
Fall 2018
Jesus and Buddha (EM)

This course invites us to compare the stories, teachings, lives, deaths, and communities associated with Jesus and Buddha. While respecting each tradition's unique and distinctive sources, cultures, ideas and legacies, it invites us to deepen our understanding of each tradition by looking through the lens of the other. Course readings include accounts of the lives of Jesus and Buddha, what each taught about how to live and create society, and how they articulate the meaning of life and death, suffering and salvation.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Elaine H. Pagels
Spring 2021
Jesus and Buddha (EM)

This course introduces the study of religion by juxtaposing the narratives, teachings, careers and legacies of the founders of Christianity and Buddhism. While respecting each tradition's unique and distinctive texts, rituals, philosophies, and histories, the course invites us to deepen our understanding of each tradition by looking through the lens of the other. Course readings will include accounts of the lives of Jesus and Buddha, what each taught about how to live and create society, and how each understood the meaning of life and death, suffering and salvation.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Elaine H. Pagels
Fall 2018
Jesus: How Christianity Began (EC)

Who was Jesus of Nazareth? What do we know and how do we know it? This course takes up these questions and surveys the diverse history of interpretation of the life and teachings of Jesus and how this history shaped and continues to shape contemporary views of and debates about politics, race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and civil rights. Throughout the course, we will consider both historical material such as early gospels, letters, and Jewish and Roman sources as well as modern contexts of interpretation in theology, film, art, and music. This course is designed and open to all regardless of (or no) religious background.

Instructors
Lydia C. Bremer-McCollum
Spring 2023
Jesus: How Christianity Began (EC)

Who was Jesus of Nazareth, and how do we know about him? Why did some interpretations of truth -- and his message -- win out over others? How have these particular ways of thinking influenced western culture, shaping our views of politics, race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, civil and human rights even now? To answer questions like these, we'll investigate the earliest gospels, letters, Jewish and Roman sources, prison diaries and martyr accounts -- as well as how artists, filmmakers, musicians and theologians interpret them. Regardless of religious background, or none, you will learn a lot, and be able to contribute.

Instructors
Elaine H. Pagels
Fall 2019
Jesus: How Christianity Began (EC)

Who was Jesus of Nazareth, and how do we know about him? Why did some interpretations of truth -- and his message -- win out over others? How have these particular ways of thinking influenced western culture, shaping our views of politics, race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, civil and human rights even now? To answer questions like these, we'll investigate the earliest gospels, letters, Jewish and Roman sources, prison diaries and martyr accounts -- as well as how artists, filmmakers, musicians and theologians interpret them. Regardless of religious background, or none, you will learn a lot, and be able to contribute.

Instructors
Elaine H. Pagels
Spring 2022
Jewish Mysticism, Magic, and Kabbalah from Antiquity to Middle Ages (HA)

This course traces the history of Jewish mysticism and magic from the Hebrew Bible to the flourishing of the Kabbalah in medieval Europe. We will consider such historical problems as: the roots of the Jewish mystical tradition in Israelite prophecy; rabbinic attitudes toward secret knowledge and ecstatic practice; and the emergence of the Kabbalah against the background of Jewish rationalist philosophy. The course also considers such thematic questions as: the relationship between literary expression and mystical experience; the power of speech and language in Jewish magic; and gender, sexuality, and the body in Jewish mysticism.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Spring 2018
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Emergence in Antiquity (HA)

The period studied in this course saw wide-ranging transformations that inform religion and culture to this day, such as the emergence of the traditions now called Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a spread in allegiance to a single God, and a decline in public animal sacrifice. The course will introduce students to a critical examination of these changes. We will learn to identify patterns across different traditions, uncover the ways these traditions shaped one another, trace the development of beliefs from their earliest forms, and analyze the social and political context of these changes.

Instructors
Moulie Vidas
Fall 2019
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Emergence in Antiquity (HA)

The period studied in this course saw wide-ranging transformations that inform religion and culture to this day, such as the emergence of the traditions now called Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a spread in allegiance to a single God, and a decline in public animal sacrifice. The course will introduce students to a critical examination of these changes. We will learn to identify patterns across different traditions, uncover the ways these traditions shaped one another, trace the development of beliefs from their earliest forms, and analyze the social and political context of these changes.

Instructors
Moulie Vidas
Fall 2018
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Emergence in Antiquity (EM or HA)

This course traces the emergence of the traditions we now call Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: their first communities, texts, images, and values. Students will learn to examine their histories critically, identify patterns across traditions, uncover the way these traditions shaped one another, trace the developments of beliefs and practices from their earlier forms, and analyze the social and political factors that informed these developments.

Instructors
Moulie Vidas
Fall 2022
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Emergence in Antiquity (HA)

The period studied in this course saw wide-ranging transformations that inform religion and culture to this day, such as the emergence of the traditions now called Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a spread in allegiance to a single God, and a decline in public animal sacrifice. The course will introduce students to a critical examination of these changes. We will learn to identify patterns across different traditions, uncover the ways these traditions shaped one another, trace the development of beliefs from their earliest forms, and analyze the social and political context of these changes.

Instructors
Moulie Vidas
Fall 2020
Junior Colloquium

First semester junior majors participate in a colloquium with a member or members of the faculty. In addition to assignments throughout the term that prepare majors to research and write a junior paper (JP), students are expected to produce a five to seven-page JP proposal.

Instructors
Seth A. Perry
Fall 2021
Junior Colloquium

First semester junior majors participate in a colloquium with a member or members of the faculty. In addition to assignments throughout the term that prepare majors to research and write a junior paper (JP), students are expected to produce a five to seven-page JP proposal.

Instructors
Seth A. Perry
Fall 2022
Junior Colloquium

First semester junior majors participate in a colloquium with a member or members of the faculty. In addition to assignments throughout the term that prepare majors to research and write a junior paper (JP), students are expected to produce a five to seven-page JP proposal.

Instructors
Seth A. Perry
Fall 2020