Graduate Courses Fall 2023

Filters

Religion and the Tradition of Social Theory
Subject associations
REL 501

A critical introduction to developments in social theory that have influenced the academic study of religion, including the classic contributions of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber as well as more recent debates in anthropology and cultural theory. Required of, and designed for, first- and second-year graduate students in religion; others must receive the instructor's permission to enroll.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
Fall 2023
Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: How Christianity Began: Group Formation, Ritual, and Politics
Subject associations
REL 504 / HLS 504 / CLA 519

This seminar offers comprehensive survey of primary sources essential for research, general exams, future teaching. Some topics: strategies of group formation; how various Jewish and "pagan" critics characterize and interact with Jesus' followers; exploring NT sources and "secret gospels" to clarify issues that ignite creation of "orthodoxy"/"heresy"; controversies on authority/social/sexual practices; the politics of persecution; how Christians defied Roman authority in trial/martyr accounts. Finally, how did this unlikely movement morph into "the catholic church" in the 4th century, legitimized and transformed by Roman imperial authority?

Instructors
Elaine H. Pagels
Fall 2023
Studies in Religion in America: Religion in America to 1865
Subject associations
REL 505

In this course we engage questions of approach, method, periodization, and scope in the study of religion in America through the Civil War. Texts consist of secondary literature with both classic and contemporary importance to the field, along with brief primary sources selected and presented by students.

Instructors
Seth A. Perry
Fall 2023
Studies in Religion and Philosophy: Augustine and Augustinianisms
Subject associations
REL 507

Few thinkers have influenced Western thought and culture as much as Augustine. This interdisciplinary seminar examines this influence through close reading of primary texts, including Confessions and City of God, but also some very revealing sermons and letters. Attention is also given to a variety of interpreters and critics who wrestle with Augustine's legacy for their constructive purposes. Topics include the self, virtue, politics, violence, wealth, sexuality, secularity, eschatology, empire, and the nature of tradition.

Instructors
Eric S. Gregory
Fall 2023
Jewish Art and Visual Culture in Late Antiquity
Subject associations
JDS 515 / REL 514

Jews have often been thought of as a 'nation without art' who disparaged the visual and discouraged artistic creation. But the reality is very different: Judaism has a rich tradition of artistic production as well as a long history of reflection on the role of images in religious life. This course explores the nature and function of visual expression in ancient Judaism, with a particular focus on Jewish art from Late Antiquity. In addition to considering these materials in their own immediate contexts, we also use them to assess how Jews viewed and engaged with the wider visual culture of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Fall 2023
Culture, Society and Religion Workshop
Subject associations
REL 517

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
Lauren Kerby
Jenny Wiley Legath
Suzanne C. van Geuns
Fall 2023
Religion and Critical Thought Workshop
Subject associations
REL 518

A weekly, year-long workshop focused on current student and faculty research in religion and critical thought, designed primarily for graduate students working on dissertations and general examination essays on the philosophy of religion, religious ethics, and the role of religion in politics. Note: REL 518 (fall) and REL 519 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit and/or a grade, students must take the course both semesters.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Fall 2023
Religion in America Workshop
Subject associations
REL 523

A weekly, year-long workshop focused on the current research of visiting presenters, current students, and faculty in American religious history. The workshop is designed primarily for Ph.D. students in the field, but is open as well to undergraduate concentrators with a strong background in the study of American religion and culture. Note: REL 523 (fall) and REL 524 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit and/or a grade, students must take the course both semesters.

Instructors
Nicole M. Turner
Fall 2023
Religions of Late Antiquity Workshop
Subject associations
REL 525

A weekly, year-long workshop providing students in the Religions of Late Antiquity with the opportunity to present their current research for discussion. Note: REL 525 (fall) and REL 526 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit and/or a grade, students must take the course both semesters.

Instructors
Yedidah Koren
Fall 2023
Workshop in Islamic Studies
Subject associations
REL 529

A weekly year-long Religion workshop focusing on the research and writing of graduate students, faculty, and visitors in Islamic Studies. This workshop provides a forum for presentation of works in progress: drafts of dissertation chapters, dissertation proposals, seminar papers, conference papers, articles and book chapters. All Islamic Studies graduate students are encouraged to participate as presenters and as commentators. The workshop fosters collegiality and professional development. Note: REL 529 (fall) and REL 530 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop.

Instructors
Tehseen Thaver
Fall 2023
Readings in Chinese Religions: Chinese Buddhist Texts on Cosmology
Subject associations
REL 531

Introduction to basic Buddhist cosmology through close reading of early foundational texts in Chinese. Focus on genre, style, grammar, and vocabulary. Research tools, methods, secondary sources also introduced. Goals of the course are to expand knowledge of Buddhist cosmology, to develop the ability to read early Chinese Buddhist translations, and to increase command of reference tools. Reading knowledge of classical Chinese and at least one language of secondary scholarship (Japanese, Chinese, French) required. Students from all departments welcome.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
Fall 2023
Studies in Indian Religions: Classical Indian Thought
Subject associations
REL 536

A graduate-level survey of classical "orthodox" intellectual traditions in Indian religions, with an emphasis on textual sources foundational for the literary and philosophical traditions of dharmasastra, poetics (rasa) and epistemology (pramana). We discuss Hindutva and Orientalism, Vedas and Upanisads, Laws of Manu and Yajnavalkyasmrti, Dandin and Bhoja, and Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata, and trace key debates between orthodox (astika) philosophers and their Buddhist opponents. Topics are contextualized to explicate significance for adherents as well as for current scholarship.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Fall 2023
Muslim South Asia
Subject associations
NES 507 / REL 585

This graduate course seeks to provide the participants with a broad introduction to major intellectual trends in the history of Islam in South Asia from the early nineteenth century to the present. We focus on the work of select individuals and discuss their writings in the context of their intellectual, social, cultural, and political milieu. Translations and exegeses of the Qur'an, Islamic law, politics, and social thought are among the themes on which we focus.

Instructors
Muhammad Q. Zaman
Fall 2023