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Religion - Spring 2014

RELI 100 R/C 01 Topic:  Intro to Buddhism
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Buddhism, one of the great world religions, has numerous manifestations through time and in a variety of cultures.  We will examine the Buddhist tradition beginning with its founder, Siddhartha Gautama.  From there we will explore key Buddhist teachings in the Theravada (South Asia) and Mahayana (Central and East Asia) traditions, including the Vajrayana (Tibetan) school.  In addition to Buddhist teachings, we’ll see how Buddhism is lived by its practitioners, using interviews, videos, and cultural artifacts, and through a meditation lab for students.  A significant amount of the course will look at contemporary manifestations of Buddhism, including recent growth outside of Asia in North America and Europe. 

 

RELI 111 R/C 02 Topic:  Hinduism
(4 semester hours)
Glowski, Janice

This course explores Hinduism as a socio-religious tradition in South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan) by examining the relationship between Hindu thought, artistic traditions, ritual and social structures from about 2,5000 BCE to the present.  The course also analyzes historical and modern interpretations of Hinduism, from the “Orientalists,” to Mark Twain, to post-colonial scholars, as a way of reflecting on contextual perspective and how “knowing” changes over time. Student assessment is based on group work and presentations, quizzes, mid-semester and final exams, and short writing assignments.  No prerequisites.

 

RELI 121 R Art of Biblical Literature
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara
Pre-requisite:  None

This course is intended to help readers appreciate the artistry of biblical prose and poetry.  We will examine texts from the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha, paying special attention to plot structure, word-plays, imagery, repetition, characterization, themes, parallelism and aetiology.  Throughout the term, we will consider reinterpretations of biblical literature in the music, literature, and film of our own culture.  Class sessions have a lecture/discussion format.  There will be three or four exams and regular written responses to readings.   

 

RELI 177 R – Religious Perspectives on Contemporary Moral Issues
(4 semester hours)
Nelson, Paul

Pre-Requisite: NONE
This course is intended to provide an introduction to basic moral concepts in Judaism and Christianity (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) and their application to specific issues of current interest.  The course examines the relation of moral teachings to the broader theological context in which they occur, analyzes in detail positions taken by religious moralists on particular issues and compares these positions with those of secular thinkers. In some cases, Jewish and Christian perspectives may be compared with those of Islamic, Hindu or Buddhist thinkers.   Topics may include lying, sexuality and procreation, assisted reproduction, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, genetic engineering, human rights, war, terrorism and nuclear deterrence, equality and gender, justice in access to health care, and environmental ethics.

 

RELI 200R/C   01 Topic:  Pilgrimage
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Studying pilgrimage—which is travel to a sacred place—is like touring key places and moments of the great religions of the world.  Pilgrimage is an ancient practice in which a person separates from familiar places, faces and routines to go on a quest to become physically, spiritually, and emotionally closer to the divine.  The experience of pilgrimage is described as “liminal” (an in-between state); this state allows for great personal transformation.  The range of experiences and stories of pilgrimage ranges from reverently spiritual to the bawdy and wild.  In this class we will study major historically important pilgrimages that are still practiced today in Spain, Saudi Arabia, India, China, England, Japan and Korea. Materials will include accounts by pilgrims, videos, and the examination of the costumes and objects pilgrims carry with them (and take home), and the religious and historical significance of these journeys.
 

RELI 222 R  1W Understanding the New Testament                                          
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara
No prerequisites, but Religion 221 (OT) recommended.

This course is designed for religion majors, pre-theological students and other serious students of religion. Throughout the term we will attempt to understand the historical context of the New Testament literature, discover the religious perspectives which shape the New Testament texts and appreciate the richness of the New Testament writings. Students will be required to read the New Testament and some non-canonical texts, write a paper and take three exams. The class has a lecture/discussion format. Writing intensive.

 

RELI  241 R  Christian Tradition
(4 semester hours)
Nelson, Paul

Historical survey of the development of Christian thought and doctrine in the West. Students will be introduced to the work of major theologians (classical and modern) and to issues of perennial debate such as the tensions between reason and revelation, the humanity and divinity of Christ, nature and grace, justification and sanctification, spirit and structure, church and state, and differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrine. Lecture/discussion format. Midterm and final examinations. No prerequisite though students should be aware that the course requires careful reading of primary texts, many of which are quite challenging.

 

RELI 321 – Biblical and Modern Prophets
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara

In this seminar students will investigate the historical setting, rhetorical techniques, messages, and continuing relevance of biblical prophets from Amos of Tekoa to John of Patmos.  Students will also consider the possibility of prophetic voices in contemporary society.  In this upper–level seminar, participants will frequently offer short presentations and papers, complete a research paper, write an essay on a modern prophet, and take one or two exams.  Writing intensive. 

 

RELI 336 C/R – Religious Daoism & Chinese Popular Religion
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore

Religious Daoism is a complex and interesting religious tradition that includes meditation, magic, sorcery, philosophical discourse, and the quest for immortality. Influential in Chinese imperial politics and history, as a resource for healing in communities, and a way of self-cultivation.  We will examine the tradition of Religious Daoism in historical development and in modern context, noting its persistence and reemerging popularity today.  We will also look at Chinese Popular Religion, the practices that have been the basis of the religion of the Chinese people that have sometimes been confused with Daoism, but which are themselves a rich and interesting collection of folk and popular traditions that have shaped Chinese culture.  Class will be a combination of lecture and discussion, with student presentations and a term paper.  Writing intensive.

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