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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
God's Messengers: Prophecy and Revelation in the Islamic Tradition (HA)

Prophecy and revelation are the foundations of Islam. What is the meaning of revelation and of scripture in Islam? Why is the Qur'an considered to be the final revelation? How has the Prophet Muhammad been understood and represented by Muslims in the past and in the present? What role do Muhammad's "brother prophets," including Abraham, Moses and Jesus, play in the Qur'an and in Islamic tradition? Was Mary, mother of Jesus, a prophet? This seminar explores these questions through primary sources in translation as well as through the lens of ritual, sacred geography, images, novels, and film.

Instructors
Shaun E. Marmon
God, Satan, Goddesses, and Monsters: How Their Stories Play in Art, Culture, and Politics (EC)

Each week we'll take up a major theme--creation, the problem of evil; what's human/inhuman/ divine; apocalypse--and explore how their stories, embedded in western culture, have been interpreted for thousands of years--so far! Starting with creation stories from Babylon, Israel, Egypt and Greece, we'll consider how some such stories still shape an amazing range of cultural attitudes toward controversial issues that include sexuality, "the nature of nature," politics, and questions of meaning.

Instructors
Elaine H. Pagels
God, Satan, Goddesses, and Monsters: How Their Stories Play in Art, Culture, and Politics (EC)

Each week we'll take up a major theme--creation, the problem of evil; what's human/inhuman/ divine; apocalypse--and explore how their stories, embedded in western culture, have been interpreted for thousands of years--so far! Starting with creation stories from Babylon, Israel, Egypt and Greece, we'll consider how some such stories still shape an amazing range of cultural attitudes toward controversial issues that include sexuality, "the nature of nature," politics, and questions of meaning.

Instructors
Elaine H. Pagels
God, Satan, Goddesses, and Monsters: How Their Stories Play in Art, Culture, and Politics (CD or EC)

Each week we'll take up a major theme--creation, the problem of evil; what's human/inhuman/ divine; apocalypse--and explore how their stories, embedded in western culture, have been interpreted for thousands of years--so far! Starting with creation stories from Babylon, Israel, Egypt and Greece, we'll consider how some such stories still shape an amazing range of cultural attitudes toward controversial issues that include sexuality, "the nature of nature," politics, and questions of meaning.

Instructors
Elaine H. Pagels
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the roles of reading and interpretation in forming the Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, Midrash, Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, medieval Bible commentaries (Rashi, Nahmanides), Maimonides's Mishnah Torah (code of Jewish Law), and the Zohar, the central work of Kabbaah (medieval Jewish mysticism). We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Martha Himmelfarb
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)

An introduction to some of the major works of Jewish thought and literature that survive from antiquity until the early modern era. We'll closely read a wide array of primary texts in translation, from the Hebrew Bible to Spinoza, discuss the worlds in which the people who produced them lived, and consider some of the ways in which they add up to an ongoing tradition across time and space - and some of the ways in which they don't. Students with reading knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic are warmly encouraged to use them, but this is optional; nor prior knowledge of Judaism is required.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, Maimonides's legal and philosophical work, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Yaacob Dweck
Moulie Vidas
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Harlots and Heroines: Readings in the Books of Esther and Ruth (SA)

We will read the books of Ruth and Esther in the original Hebrew, considering aspects of translation and Hebrew grammar and syntax, as well as the historical, literary and religious contexts of the books. Particular attention will be paid to the role of women in the larger societal context of ancient Israel, as well as the development of the genre of the Jewish novella in the Second Temple Period.

Instructors
Laura E. Quick
Healing & Justice: The Virgin Mary in African Literature & Art (CD or LA)

The Virgin Mary is the world's most storied person. Countless tales have been told about the miracles she has performed for the faithful who call upon her. Although many assume that African literature was only oral, not written, until the arrival of Europeans, Africans began writing stories about her by 1200 CE in the languages of Ethiopic, Coptic, & Arabic. This course explores this body of medieval African literature and paintings, preserved in African Christian monasteries, studying their themes of healing, reparative justice, & personal ethics in a violent world. It develops skills in the digital humanities & comparative literary studies.

Instructors
Wendy Laura Belcher

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