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Modern Evangelicalism in the United States (HA)

This course will trace the history of American Evangelicalism from its roots in the early nineteenth century to rise of the Religious Right in the 1980s and birth of "right wing politics" of the twenty-first century. We will note key figures, events, and institutional expressions of evangelicalism, as well as its large impact on American politics and popular culture.

Instructors
Wallace D. Best
Muslim America (SA)

The course begins with the intertwined history of Muslims in America and America itself. We will then apply that foundation to topics in contemporary Muslim American life - for example, authority in mosques, fashion and coolness, and representation in movies. Students will encounter primary as well as secondary sources. For example, students will read an 1831 autobiography of an enslaved Muslim named Omar ibn Said and analyze a Chicago-based Ahmadi newspaper from the 1920s. We will use a range of media, including film and material culture, to emphasize the varieties of Muslim experience in America.

Instructors
Rebecca L. Faulkner
Muslims and the Qur'an (EM)

A broad-ranging introduction to pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Islam in light of how Muslims have approached their foundational religious text, the Qur'an. Topics include: Muhammad and the emergence of Islam; theology, law and ethics; war and peace; mysticism; women and gender; and modern debates on Islamic reform. We shall examine the varied contexts in which Muslims have interpreted their sacred text, their agreements and disagreements on what it means and, more broadly, their often competing understandings of Islam and of what it is to be a Muslim.

Instructors
Muhammad Q. Zaman
Muslims and the Qur'an (EM)

A broad-ranging introduction to pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Islam in light of how Muslims have approached their foundational religious text, the Qur'an. Topics include: Muhammad and the emergence of Islam; theology, law and ethics; war and peace; mysticism; women and gender; and modern debates on Islamic reform. We shall examine the varied contexts in which Muslims have interpreted their sacred text, their agreements and disagreements on what it means and, more broadly, their often competing understandings of Islam and of what it is to be a Muslim.

Instructors
Muhammad Q. Zaman
Muslims and the Qur'an (EM)

A broad-ranging introduction to pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Islam in light of how Muslims have approached their foundational religious text, the Qur'an. Topics include: Muhammad and the emergence of Islam; theology, law and ethics; war and peace; mysticism; women and gender; and modern debates on Islamic reform. We shall examine the varied contexts in which Muslims have interpreted their sacred text, their agreements and disagreements on what it means and, more broadly, their often competing understandings of Islam and of what it is to be a Muslim.

Instructors
Muhammad Q. Zaman
Mystical Theologies in the Western Christian Traditions (EC)

The noun "mysticism" is of recent invention, the most common traditions of theorizing about it today derive from William James' Varieties of Religious Experience. Older vocabularies go back to the very beginnings of Christian reflection, see Andrew Louth's Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition. In this course we will be reading from selected texts in the Christian mystical traditions, from Gregory of Nyssa in the fourth century to Elisabeth of the Trinity in the nineteenth, women and men in equal numbers, leaving theoretical issues about the nature of "mysticism" to the end.

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Ancient World (CD or HA)

This course considers the social and cultural encounters between religious/ethnic groups in the ancient Mediterranean world. It aims to challenge the idea that these groups (for example, Greeks, Jews, Romans, Christians) had stable boundaries or that they spoke with a unified and authoritative voice. The dynamic and even fluid relationships among these groups had a deep impact on the nature of religious life during the formative period of Late Antiquity and beyond. The course will thus explore religious contact and conflict, proximity and separation, dialogue and prejudice-both ancient and modern.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Perfect Being Theology: Problems and Prospects (EM)

This course will be a critical examination of a method known as Perfect Being Theology. Most associated with Anselm of Canterbury, Perfect Being Theology attempts to determine the attributes of a divine being from the supposition of its absolute perfection. Common in all of the Abrahamic faiths, it is increasingly popular among philosophers of religion. The course asks questions: what kinds of inference do practitioners of perfect being theology make? What presuppositions underlie the method, and do they face challenges from the facts of religious diversity? Are there alternative theological methods that have been overlooked or ignored?

Instructors
Daniel K. Rubio
Philosophical Debates between Buddhists and Jains (EC)

This course introduces two of India's most sophisticated religious-philosophical traditions: Jainism and Buddhism. We will cover familiar topics - e.g. the free will problem, the possibility of omniscience, and the nature of reality - but will use less familiar, non-Western, concepts to shed light on seemingly perennial problems. Our initial focus is on metaphysics and epistemology but we will explore the ramifications of these theories for ethics. For example, how does the idea of inter-dependence shape Buddhist views on the environment? And why do Buddhists and Jains share commitment to non-violence yet disagree over strict vegetarianism?

Instructors
Katie Javanaud
Philosophy and the Study of Religion

No description available

Instructors
Staff
Poetry and Transcendence in some Western Christian Mystical Theologies (EM)

The "mystical" as understood in the Western Christian traditions refers to experience of the divine pressing on the limits of language, and poetry is often its natural expression. This course examines some poetic expressions of the mystical from the Hebrew Song of Songs through Dante, John of the Cross, George Herbert, to Hopkins, and TS Eliot.

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Politics and Religion (EM)

Is there an affinity between particular religions and particular forms of politics? Is religion a necessary basis for any stable politics, as many canonical authors in the history of political thought asserted, or is it in fact a threat, as religion provokes strife and poses a danger to modern ideals of autonomy - including democracy? The course addresses such broad questions by engaging classic works as well as recent sociological writings, studies in comparative politics, and legal theories on politics and religion.

Instructors
Jan-Werner Müller
Race and Religion in America (CD or SA)

In this seminar we examine the tangled and shifting relationship between religion and race in American history. In doing so, we explore a broad landscape of racial construction, identity, and experience and consider such topics as American interpretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, race and missions, religion, race, and science, popular culture representations of racialized religion, and religiously-grounded resistance to racial hierarchy.

Instructors
Judith Weisenfeld
Race and Religion in America (SA)

In this seminar we examine the tangled and shifting relationship between religion and race in American history. In doing so, we explore a broad landscape of racial construction, identity, and experience and consider such topics as American interpretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, race and missions, religion, race, and science, popular culture representations of racialized religion, and religiously grounded resistance to racial hierarchy.

Instructors
Judith Weisenfeld
Religion and Ethics in the Anthropocene (EM)

The term Anthropocene is meant to mark a decisive shift in the human relationship to the earth. The challenge posed by the Anthropocene is not only technological and political but also ethical and religious. In light of the growing human impact on earth's climate system, many have questioned the role of religion and challenged the adequacy of our ethical thought. This class will explore the resources of religion and ethics for confronting the Anthropocene and also consider how the Anthropocene might require us to think differently about religion and ethics.

Instructors
Ryan M. Darr
Religion and its Modern Critics (EC)

The most penetrating critiques of religion have the power to challenge our whole way of being and are often just as unsettling to atheists as to believers. After all, religions are more than just sets of beliefs - they are complex weaves of values, practices, narratives, social structures, and more - which tend to leave their stamp long after people have deserted their explicit creeds. This course explores some of the key critiques of Christianity - and Christian-moulded culture - to emerge in post-Enlightenment Europe, and will involve opening ourselves up to the painfully sharp critical scalpels of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Kafka, and others.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Religion and its Modern Critics (EC)

The most penetrating critiques of Christianity have the power to unsettle our sense of self and disrupt our most natural ways of being - for Christians and non-Christians alike. For these critiques don't focus on attacking religious beliefs alone; rather, they target many of the deepest values, attitudes, and tendencies at the core of Christianity and Christian-molded cultures, and perhaps even at the core of our humanity. This course explores some of the key 19th and 20th century critiques of Christianity. It will involve opening ourselves up to the self-reckoning demanded by the likes of Kierkegaard, Emerson, Nietzsche, Baldwin, and Butler.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Religion and Law (EM)

A critical examination of the relation between concepts of "religion" and "law," as they figure in modern Christian and Jewish thought, modern legal theory and contemporary debates about religious freedom. If religion gives law its spirit, and law gives religion its structure, then what is their practical relation in both religious and secular life? This course explores the relation between Jewish and Christian conceptions of law, both in their ancient and modern contexts, and the relation between traditional religious and modern secular views of law in debates about the modern nation state.

Instructors
Leora F. Batnitzky
Religion and Law (EM)

A critical examination of the relation between concepts of "religion" and "law," as they figure in modern Christian and Jewish thought, modern legal theory and contemporary debates about religious freedom. If religion gives law its spirit, and law gives religion its structure, then what is their practical relation in both religious and secular life? This course explores the relation between Jewish and Christian conceptions of law, both in their ancient and modern contexts, and the relation between traditional religious and modern secular views of law in debates about the modern nation state.

Instructors
Leora F. Batnitzky
Religion and Modern Moral Philosophy (EM)

The story of the development of modern moral philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is inseparable from religion. This course explores the role of religion in that story. We will consider, among other things, the relationship between morality and divine intellect and will, the possibility of moral community between God and creatures, the moral significance of evil, and the moral significance of divine providence. In addition, we will consider how the logical space of moral philosophy changes when religious convictions are rejected and what difference that makes for the legacy of modern moral philosophy.

Instructors
Ryan M. Darr

Undergraduate

Fall 2022

Spring 2022

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