Department of Religious Studies
LAURIE F. MAFFLY-KIPP, Chair
Yaakov S. Ariel, Jonathan Boyarin, Bart D. Ehrman, Carl W. Ernst, Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, Jodi Magness, Omid Safi.
Barbara Ambros, Lauren Leve, Zlatko Plese, Randall Styers.
Jessica Boon, Juliane Hammer, Evyatar Marienberg, Todd Ochoa.
Philip F. Gura, Jonathan M. Hess, Charles Kurzman, Bruce B. Lawrence (Duke University), Albert Rabil Jr., James B. Rives.
Adjunct Associate Professors
Jason Bivins (NCSU), Fred S. Naiden, Barry Saunders, Margaret J. Wiener.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
David J. Halperin, Peter I. Kaufman, William J. Peck, James H. Sanford, Jack Sasson, John H. Schutz, John Van Seters, Ruel W. Tyson Jr.
The Department of Religious Studies is dedicated to the study of the world’s religions as historical and cultural phenomena. It examines the history, texts, artifacts, beliefs, values, and rituals of a variety of religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Inherently interdisciplinary in its approach, religious studies explores these traditions in light of related fields in the humanities and social sciences such as anthropology, classics, archaeology, sociology, philosophy, and history. The department offers a variety of courses ranging from large lecture classes to advanced seminars, as well as independent studies, an honors thesis program, and a capstone course for all majors (RELI 697). Introductory courses, which are numbered below 200, orient students to the field of religious studies or to major approaches, topics, or issues within that broader field. Intermediate courses are numbered between 200 and 399, and they provide more in-depth analysis. Advanced courses, which are numbered 400 and above, often build on knowledge or skills derived from lower-level courses, and they provide opportunities for research-intensive study in particular areas of concentration in the study of religion.
Programs of Study
The degree offered is the bachelor of arts with a major in religious studies. The department also offers a major in religious studies with a concentration in Jewish studies. Minors are offered in religious studies, Jewish studies, the study of Christianity and culture, and Islamic and Middle Eastern studies.
Majoring in Religious Studies: Bachelor of Arts
• RELI 697
• Two RELI courses numbered 400 or above, including courses cross-listed with other units
• Six RELI courses, including courses cross-listed with other units
Of the nine courses required in the major, students must take at least one course in each of three of the department’s subfields.
Ancient Mediterranean Religions: CLAR/JWST/RELI 110, 512; CLAR/RELI 375; FOLK/RELI 502; JWST/RELI 103, 106, 205, 206, 503, 602; RELI 63, 65, 70, 104, 105, 109, 117, 207, 208, 209, 217, 410, 411, 412, 413, 605, 607, 608, 617
Asian Religions–Islamic Studies: AFAM/RELI 580; ANTH/ASIA/RELI 574; ARAB/ASIA/RELI 681; ASIA/RELI 180, 181, 183, 284, 487, 488, 581, 582, 583, 584; ASIA 300/RELI 283, ASIA 301/RELI 286, ASIA 302/RELI 287, ASIA 303/RELI 288; HNUR/RELI 592; PWAD/RELI 481; RELI 64, 73, 165, 328, 480, 490, 585
Medieval and Early Modern Studies: GERM/RELI 218; HIST/RELI 454; RELI 161, 163, 165, 166, 209, 365, 366, 367, 617; RELI/SLAV 463; RELI/WMST 371
Religion and Culture: ANTH/FOLK/RELI 428, 688; CMPL 270/GERM 270/JWST 239/RELI 239; JWST 100/RELI 123; JWST/RELI 343; PHIL 134/RELI 126; RELI 61, 67, 68, 71, 74, 101, 121, 125, 127, 134, 135, 222, 232, 235, 236, 321, 323, 325, 338, 421, 422, 425, 438, 522, 524, 525, 528, 534; RELI 234/SOCI 140, 429; RELI/WMST 244, 424
Religion in the Americas: AFAM/ANTH/FOLK/RELI 342; AFAM/RELI 580; ASIA/RELI 445; JWST/RELI 107, 143, 243, 444; RELI 60, 66, 69, 72, 140, 141, 142, 235, 240, 241, 242, 245, 338, 340, 341, 345, 423, 440, 441, 442, 443, 540
Introductory and intermediate language courses (RELI 401, 402, 403, 404, 409, 410) are recommended for their usefulness, but do not count toward the major in religious studies.
B.A. Major in Religious Studies: Jewish Studies Concentration
• JWST 100/RELI 123
• JWST 697
• One course on the ancient period chosen from CLAR/JWST/RELI 110, 512; JWST/RELI 103, 106, 206, 503, 602; RELI 109, 608
• One course on the medieval or early modern period chosen from GERM 225; RELI 108, 450, 565, 566
• One course on the period from 1750 to the present chosen from AMST 360; AMST/JWST 486; AMST/JWST/WMST 253; ASIA 235; ASIA/HIST/PWAD 277; CMPL 270/GERM 270/JWST 239/RELI 239; ENGL/JWST 289; HEBR 436; HEBR/JWST 305, 306; HIST/JWST/PWAD 262; JWST/PLSH 412; JWST/PWAD/SLAV 465; JWST/RELI 107, 143, 243, 343, 444; JWST/SLAV 464, 469; RELI 446
• At least three courses taught outside the Department of Religious Studies chosen from AMST 360; AMST/JWST 486; AMST/JWST/WMST 253; ASIA 235; ASIA/HIST/PWAD 277; CMPL 270/GERM 270/JWST 239/RELI 239; ENGL/JWST 289; GERM 225; HEBR 436; HEBR/JWST 305, 306; HIST/JWST/PWAD 262; JWST/PLSH 412; JWST/PWAD/SLAV 465; JWST/SLAV 464, 469
Courses listed more than once can be counted for only one category.
• Students must take two courses at or above the 400 level, exclusive of the capstone seminar (JWST 697).
• HEBR/JWST 101, 102, 203, and 204; or RELI 401, 402, 403, and 404
Minoring in Religious Studies
Minimum requirements for the minor in religious studies: five courses, four of which must be completed with a grade of C or better and two of which must be numbered above 400. Minors must take at least one course in two of the department’s subfields (see lists under departmental requirements for the major): religion in the Americas, religion and culture, Asian religions–Islamic studies, ancient Mediterranean religions, and medieval and early modern studies. Introductory and intermediate language courses (RELI 401, 402, 403, 404, 409, 410) are recommended for their usefulness, but do not count towards the minor in religious studies.
Minoring in Jewish Studies
The undergraduate minor in Jewish studies is an interdisciplinary curriculum that explores the history, literature, culture, and religious life of Jews in their interaction with other peoples from ancient times to the present. It also offers students an opportunity to become more knowledgeable about selected areas of the Jewish experience.
The minor consists of five courses, which must be taken in at least two different departments. The minor requires the core course (JWST 100/RELI 123) and four other courses selected from the list below. Of these four courses, one must be a course numbered 400 or higher, and at least one must fulfill the world before 1750 (WB) General Education requirement.
AMST 360; AMST/JWST 486; AMST/JWST/WMST 253; ASIA/HIST/PWAD 277; CLAR/JWST/RELI 110, 512; CMPL 270/GERM 270/JWST 239/RELI 239; ENGL/JWST 289; GERM 56, 225; HEBR 436; HEBR/JWST 305, 306; HIST/JWST/PWAD 262; JWST/PLSH 412; JWST/PWAD/SLAV 465; JWST/RELI 103, 106, 107, 143, 206, 243, 343, 444, 503, 602; JWST/SLAV 464, 469; RELI 108, 109, 446, 450, 565, 608
Additions to this list must be approved by the director of the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies. Only courses in Modern Hebrew at the fifth-semester level or higher can count toward the minor. For students minoring in both Jewish studies and religious studies, only two courses can overlap between the two minors.
Although this minor is housed in the Department of Religious Studies, the director of Jewish studies is responsible for advising all students who minor in Jewish studies.
Minoring in the Study of Christianity and Culture
The undergraduate minor in the study of Christianity and culture is an interdisciplinary curriculum in the humanities, arts, and social sciences that aims to refine students’ understanding of the cultural, social, and political influence of Christianity.
The minor requires the completion of five courses, including at least one course from each of the following categories:
• Core: RELI 161, 209, or 225
• Ancient, medieval, or early modern Christianity: ART 264, 290, 351, 362, 365; CLAR 246, 445, 448, 449; CLAS 259, 418; CLAS/WMST 245; ENGL 227, 228, 319, 320; GERM 218; HIST 106, 107, 177H, 431, 436, 452, 460; HIST/RELI 454; ITAL 240, 357; PHIL 215; RELI 70, 104, 163, 207, 208, 209, 217, 244, 366, 367, 607; RELI 234/SOCI 140
• Christianity in the modern world: AFAM 550; ART 352; HIST 621; PHIL 134/RELI 126; RELI 125, 140, 141, 142, 161, 162, 225, 241, 338, 340, 341, 365, 424, 443, 446, 540, 662; RELI/SOCI 429; RELI/WMST 244; SOCI 290
Courses fulfilling the minor in the study of Christianity and culture also 1) must be taken from at least two different departments, and 2) at least one must be numbered 200 or above. Students may also petition the Minor Faculty Advisory Committee for permission to count toward their minor requirements other potentially appropriate UNC–Chapel Hill courses, independent study courses, transfer courses, or study abroad courses.
Students are also encouraged to take language courses that relate to the minor in the study of Christianity and culture—such as Latin, Greek, or Hebrew—but language courses do not fulfill minor course requirements.
Although this minor is housed in the Department of Religious Studies, the director of Christianity and culture is responsible for advising all students who minor in the study of Christianity and culture.
Minoring in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
The undergraduate minor in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies (ISME) is intended to offer students access to two complementary perspectives, the transregional study of Islam and Muslim societies in interaction with surrounding cultures, and the Middle East as a complex region seen through multiple disciplinary perspectives.
The minor consists of five courses, which must be taken in at least two different departments; at least one course must be from the Department of Religious Studies, and at least one course must be at an advanced level (400 and above). The two required core courses for the minor are the following:
• Introduction to Islamic Civilization: HIST 138 or RELI 180, both of which cover material from the seventh century to 1500
• One of the following three courses: HIST 139 or 276, RELI 181
Three of the five required courses in the minor (including the core courses) must be selected from one of two subject categories—either Islamic studies or Middle Eastern studies—as indicated by the two lists of approved courses below. The other two courses must come from the other category.
• ARAB/ASIA/RELI 681; ART 450, 458; ART/ASIA 154, 561; ASIA 452; ASIA/FREN 451; ASIA/HIST 135, 136, 138, 139; ASIA/RELI 180, 181, 582, 584; GEOG 448; GERM/RELI 218; PWAD/RELI 481; RELI 64, 480; SOCI 419
Middle East Courses
• ARAB 150, 151, 350, 433, 434, 452, 453; ASIA 50, 51, 455; ASIA/GEOG 447; ASIA/HIST 276, 277, 536, 538; ASIA/HIST/PWAD 275; ASIA/HIST/WMST 537; ASIA/RELI 583; GEOG 59; JWST/RELI 343
One language course at level 5 or higher in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish can count as a course toward the minor. Up to two courses in Islamic and Middle East studies at Duke University may count toward the minor if approved by the director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations.
Although this minor is housed in the Department of Religious Studies, the director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations is responsible for advising all students who minor in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies.
Honors in Religious Studies
Students majoring in religious studies (including double majors) with a grade point average of 3.3 or above in department courses and 3.2 grade point average overall may choose to do an honors thesis. Candidates for graduation with honors in religious studies are to be enrolled in RELI 691H in the fall and 692H in the spring semester of their senior year. RELI 691H and 692H count toward the major, both as courses above 400 and as courses fulfilling subfield requirements. Consult the department’s director of undergraduate studies for details.
Special Opportunities in Religious Studies
The Carolina Association for Religious Studies (CARS) is a club for religious studies majors.
Professor Jodi Magness directs archaeological excavations in Israel during the summer. Students are welcome to participate.
The department presents two awards at the end of each academic year: the Bernard Boyd Fellowship and the Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize.
Graduate School and Career Opportunities
Those wishing to proceed to graduate study in religion should consult the director of undergraduate studies about studying two or more languages in which the sacred literatures of the world have been written, as well as the modern languages of scholarship. In addition to the language courses offered by this department, UNC–Chapel Hill offers courses in Greek, Modern Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi-Urdu, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, Persian, Bengali, and Tamil.
Students majoring in religious studies often choose to pursue an M.A. or Ph.D. in religious studies or other related fields in the humanities and social sciences. Some of the graduates of the program go on to professional schools in law, medicine, divinity, or journalism. Each year the department awards a fellowship to a graduating religious studies major who is planning to pursue graduate study in religion at another institution.
Undergraduate Studies Program Assistant, Department of Religious Studies, CB# 3225, 125 Saunders Hall, (919) 962-5666. Web site: religion.unc.edu.
60 First-Year Seminar: Religion and Racism (3). How does religion become a source of ethnic or racial prejudice among religious practitioners? When does prejudice against religious persons constitute a form of racism? This class explores answers to these questions by examining the connections between religion and racism in modern societies like the United States and South Africa.
61 First-Year Seminar: Religion, Magic, and Science (3). This course explores the ways in which religion, magic, and science are defined in the modern world and the different forms in which supernaturalism circulates within contemporary culture.
63 First-Year Seminar: The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (3). In this seminar students learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts dating to the time of Jesus from caves around the site of Qumran by the Dead Sea. They include early copies of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and sectarian works of the Jewish community that lived in Qumran.
64 First-Year Seminar: Reintroducing Islam (3). An introduction to the Islamic religious tradition, focusing on major themes of Islamic religious thought and bringing out both traditional spirituality and the critical issues confronting Muslims today.
65 First-Year Seminar: Myth, Philosophy, and Science in the Ancient World (3). This course examines the conflicting ways in which ancient myth, science, and philosophy explained creation of the universe, origins of mankind, nature of dreams, and foundations of culture.
66 First-Year Seminar: Buddhism in America: From the Buddha to the Beastie Boys (3). Introduces students to Buddhism and traces its history in the United States, highlighting the period since 1965. It focuses on immigrants, converts, and the cultural influence of Buddhism in America.
67 First-Year Seminar: Nature, Culture, and Self-Identity: Religion in the Construction of Social Life (3). This course explores how different religious traditions conceive of human nature and cultural personhood, and the ways that these understandings are reflected in diverse forms of personal identity and public life.
68 First-Year Seminar: Charisma in Religion, Science, Poetry: Studies in the Entrepreneurial Imagination (3). A comparative examination of prophet, scientist, and poet as critics and creators of the entrepreneurial outlook and sensibility in individuals and organizations with special attention to innovators’ dilemmas.
69 First-Year Seminar: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Judaism (3). Taking a global perspective, the course compares the manners in which Jewish communities in America, Israel, Europe, Asia, and Africa have accommodated themselves to the changing norms in gender and sexuality in the last generation.
70 First-Year Seminar: Jesus in Scholarship and Film (3). This seminar explores the ways the historical Jesus has been portrayed in the writings of modern scholars and films of the 20th and 21st centuries.
71 First-Year Seminar: Ethics and the Spirit of the New Capitalism (3). What does it mean to be ethically literate in the age of information technology? Philosophical and historical inquiries into organizational practices and styles of life.
72 First-Year Seminar: Apocalypse Now? Messianic Movements in America (3). This course explores the messianic idea in America as well as the messianic movements that have been active in the nation’s history and their interaction with American society and culture.
73 First-Year Seminar: From Dragons to Pokemon: Animals in Japanese Myth, Folklore, and Religion (3). This course examines the cultural construction of animals in Japanese myth, folklore, and religion.
74 First-Year Seminar: Person, Time, and Religious Conduct (3). Within the vast field of activity called “religion,” this course examines how people and societies give meaning to the relation between human organisms and the universe in time and space.
75 First-Year Seminar: Sacrifice and Surrender (3). This course will consider the questions of debt, loss, and surrender as we explore the problem of sacrifice. Readings will address the associated problems of violence, transgression, and animality.
76 First-Year Seminar: Money and Morality: Divining Value in Social Life (3). This seminar explores the many ways that different religions and cultures have imagined spiritual wealth, secular riches, and the appropriate modes of interaction between them in different places and times.
88 Religion and Society in Historical Novels (3). In this seminar we will read several books. Most of them are best-sellers and can be described as “historical novels.” Having these books as a starting point, we will explore religion and society in Europe and the Middle East in the medieval and early modern period.
89 First-Year Seminar: Special Topics (3). Special topics course. Content will vary each semester.
101 Introduction to Religious Studies (3). An introduction to the academic study of religion that considers approaches to the interpretation of religion and includes study of several religious traditions.
103 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Literature (JWST 103) (3). This course introduces students to the various books of the Hebrew Bible and to the history and culture of ancient Israel, focusing on the formation of national identity, ancient conceptualizations of divinity, ritual practice, and modes of social regulation, all of which are set against the background of the ancient Near East.
104 Introduction to New Testament Literature (3). This course introduces students to New Testament literature and to the faith of the early Christian communities, focusing on Jewish and Greco-Roman background, the development of the gospel traditions, the life and ministry of Jesus, the ministry of Paul, the post-Pauline era, and the literature of the Johannine circle.
105 Religions of the Greco-Roman World (3). An introduction to religions and the religious life of the ancient world (1000 BCE–300 CE) in various cultural settings: Greek cities, cosmopolitan Hellenistic kingdoms in Egypt and Syria, and the Roman Empire.
106 Introduction to Early Judaism (JWST 106) (3). This course surveys Jewish history and religion during the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods, from the destruction of the First Jewish Temple (Solomon’s Temple) in 586 BCE to the Muslim conquest of Palestine (640 CE).
107 Introduction to Modern Judaism (JWST 107) (3). The course offers a comprehensive understanding of the development of Judaism from the late Middle Ages to contemporary times.
108 Classic Jewish Texts: From Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls to Kabbalah and Hassidism (3). This course will explore Jewish literary works that are considered “fundamental,” “classic,” “traditional” (often, all of the above), including the Hebrew Bible, the Mishnah, the Babylonian Talmud, midrashic collections, works by Maimonides, major codes of Jewish law, major kabbalistic, philosophic, poetic, and ethical works, hassidic compositions, and more.
109 History and Culture of Ancient Israel (3). An examination extending from Hebrew origins to the Babylonian exile and including political history as well as social and religious institutions.
110 The Archaeology of Palestine in the New Testament Period (CLAR 110, JWST 110) (3). This course surveys the archaeology of Palestine (modern Israel and Jordan) from the Persian period (ca. 586 BCE) to the Muslim conquest (640 CE).
117 Culture of the Ancient Near East. (3). An overview of the history and culture of the ancient Near East, from the birth of writing through the first millennium BCE, covering the regions of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, and Syria–Palestine.
121 Introduction to Religion and Culture (3). An introductory course that explores relations between religion and culture through the examination of social theory and the analysis of case studies. The case studies focus on such issues as visual culture, ritual, media, gender, and politics.
122 Introduction to Philosophical Approaches to Religion (3). An introduction to philosophical approaches to the study of religion, exploring such topics as religious language and experience, the problem of evil, the relation between religious belief and practice, and issues of religious diversity.
123 Introduction to Jewish Studies (JWST 100) (3). An introduction to the broad scope of Jewish history, culture, and identity, from biblical times to the 21st century and from the Middle East to the New World.
125 Heaven and Hell (3). This course will explore cultural development and significance of religious notions of an afterlife. Are they coherent? What alternative notions of life after death can we imagine?
126 Philosophy of Western Religion (PHIL 134) (3). See PHIL 134 for description.
127 The Claims of Science and Religion (3). The proposition that God exists is treated as a scientific hypothesis. Evidence for and against the hypothesis. The status of other minds and free will in science and religion. Conflicting views about creation, revelation, miracles, and prayers.
134 Introduction to Religious Ethics (3). A study of the nature, methods, and aims of ethics as seen in exemplary persons and actions with emphasis on religious and social context and contemporary problems.
135 Technology, the Self, and Ethical Problems (3). Problems in the study of ethics in the new worlds of information technology.
138 Religious Freedom (3). This course explores the development of religious liberty and freedom of conscience in Western culture by examining both the historical emergence of these concepts and important contemporary controversies.
140 Religion in America (3). An introduction to the history, themes, and issues in American religion from the precolonial period to the present.
141 African American Religions (3). Survey of the historical development of various African American religious traditions, with emphasis on folk spirituality, gender issues, black nationalism, and the role of the church in the black community.
142 Catholicism in America (3). An introduction to Roman Catholicism in the United States.
143 Judaism in Our Time (JWST 143) (3). An examination of Judaism in its two major centers, demonstrating how different social and cultural environments shape very different interpretations and practices of the Jewish tradition.
161 Introduction to the History of Christian Traditions (3). Analysis of continuities and innovations in the history of Western Christian traditions in the West and globally.
162 Introduction to Catholicism (3). This course provides students with a first glimpse and insight into the Catholic tradition, past, present, and future: its beliefs, structure, aims, successes, and failures.
163 Critical Issues in Western Religious Thought (3). A consideration of major questions within and about religious thought.
165 Mysticism (3). Comparative study of mysticism in several religious traditions, Eastern and Western.
166 Ideals, Cultures, and Rituals of the University (3). Permission of the instructor. A religious studies approach to the rituals, cultures, and disciplines of the university, assessing the ways in which explanatory ideals are embedded, changed, and promoted.
180 Introduction to Islamic Civilization (ASIA 180) (3). A broad, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary introduction to the traditional civilization of the Muslim world.
181 Later Islamic Civilization and Modern Muslim Cultures (ASIA 181) (3). Surveys important developments in modern Islamic civilizations, from 1453 to today. Among the topics covered are the Ottoman Empire; the rise of Islamic modernism, reformism, and fundamentalism; the Palestinian/Israeli controversy; the Islamic Revolution in Iran; the Taliban; 9/11 and Muslim responses.
183 Asian Religions (ASIA 183) (3). An introduction to major religions of South Asia and East Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism.
185 Women/Gender/Islam (3). A survey of gender roles in Muslim societies from the advent of Islam to the present. It explores how Muslims have interpreted the Qur’an to determine discourses on gender and sexuality and emphasizes the role of religious authority as well as historical/geographical contexts for Muslim women’s lives.
199 Topics in the Study of Religion (3). Permission of the instructor. Subject matter will vary with instructor but will always be focused on a particular problem or issue.
206 Prophecy and Divination in Ancient Israel and Judah (JWST 206) (3). An examination of prophecy and divination in the Israelite-Jewish traditions and in their environments, including an analysis of the major biblical prophets.
207 Jesus in Myth, Tradition, and History, 30–200 CE (3). An analysis of the variety of traditions used in the first two centuries to portray Jesus, focusing on the reasons for this variety and the historical and literary problems it presents.
208 The Birth of Christianity (3). An analysis of the origin of the Christian church and its early expansion, with particular emphasis on the problems evident in the shift from a Jewish to a Gentile framework. Paul’s role in defining and resolving the issues is considered in detail and evaluated in the light of subsequent events.
209 Varieties of Early Christianity (3). A study of various forms of Christianity in the second and third centuries (e.g., Gnosticism, Marcionism, Montanism), focusing on their polemical relationship to orthodox Christianity.
217 Gnosticism (3). A comprehensive survey of ancient Christian Gnosticism, one of the earliest and most long-lived branches of early Christianity, with principal readings drawn from the famous “Nag Hammadi Library.”
218 Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages (GERM 218) (3). See GERM 218 for description.
222 Modern Western Religious Thought (3). Prerequisite, PHIL 134 or RELI 122, 126, 140, 161, or 163. Representative themes and approaches in the work of modern Western religious thinkers.
225 Christian Cultures (3). This course explores the range of cultural manifestation of Christianity in the modern world, focusing particularly on differences of race, ethnicity, gender, geography, and class.
232 Shrines and Pilgrimages (3). An introduction to the study of shrines and pilgrimage in multiple cultural contexts.
234 Historical Sociology of Christianity (SOCI 140) (3). See SOCI 140 for description.
235 Place, Space, and Religion (3). A consideration of the attitudes toward place and space as they are expressed in religious ritual and artifact.
236 Religious Things (3). An introduction to religion and visual culture in the United States. The course focuses on painting, ritual objects, and architecture.
239 German Culture and the Jewish Question (CMPL 270, GERM 270, JWST 239) (3). See GERM 270 for description.
240 Religion, Literature, and the Arts in America (3). A study of religious ideas and cultural forms in America through an examination of a variety of genres including novels, poetry, essays, and sermons.
241 Messianic Movements in American History (3). The course examines messianic movements in American history raising the questions, What has been the impact of such movements on the nation? What makes America particularly conducive to such movements?
242 New Religious Movements in America (3). An introduction to new religious movements in the United States, with emphasis on the nature of conversion and the role of founders.
243 Introduction to American Judaism (JWST 243) (3). Course provides a comprehensive introduction to American Judaism, its various movements, institutions, theological, and liturgical characteristics, as well as its standing within the larger framework of religious life in America.
244 Gender and Sexuality in Western Christianity (WMST 244) (3). An examination of the development of teachings on issues of gender and sexuality through the history of Western Christianity, with particular focus on contemporary controversies.
245 Creolization and Latina/o Religious Transformation in the United States (3). The goal of this course is to orient students to the great diversity of Latina and Latino religious formations in the United States today. Focusing on Indigenous, African, and Catholic Creole “inspirations,” this course will focus students to the emergence of a distinctly United States Latina/o religious experience.
248 Introduction to American Islam (3). This course surveys Muslim communities in North America in their religious, historical, political, social, and cultural dimensions. Discussion frames include methods for the study of American Muslims, the role of public and media representations of Islam and Muslims, and the place of American Muslims within the larger American religious landscape.
282 Martin Luther King and the Prophetic Tradition (3). Today Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is celebrated as a national icon. Yet most people know little about Dr. King beyond the “I Have a Dream” speech. This course proposes that the very iconization of Dr. King has obfuscated the very real challenge that Dr. King posed to American society.
283 The Buddhist Tradition: India, Nepal, and Tibet (ASIA 300) (3). Examines the diverse beliefs, practices, and cultures associated with Buddhism in the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, and Tibet. Topics include Buddhism’s development and spread, the cultural dynamics of Himalayan societies, monasticism, folk religion, revivalism, tourism, gender, globalization, and the role of the state in shaping Buddhist life and culture.
284 The Buddhist Tradition: East Asia (ASIA 284) (3). An examination of the development of Buddhism after its importation to East Asia.
285 The Buddhist Tradition: Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka (ASIA 285) (3). This course explores the Theravada school of Buddhism and themes in the social, cultural, and political lives of the Theravada Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.
286 Premodern Japanese Religions (ASIA 301) (3). Historical survey of the major premodern religious traditions in Japan: Shinto, Buddhism, Shugendo, and Christianity.
287 Japanese Religions after 1868 (ASIA 302) (3). Survey of the major religious traditions in modern and contemporary Japan: Shinto, Buddhism, and the New Religions.
288 Chinese Religions (ASIA 303) (3). Historical introduction to Chinese religions: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and folk religion.
321 Topics in Religion and Culture (3). Permission of the instructor. Advanced undergraduate seminar in religion and culture. Topics vary.
322 Theories of Religion (3). This course addresses terms such as “the sacred,” “the dead,” “divinity,” and “possession” to explore the limitations and new potentials of religious studies for describing human experience.
323 Social Theory and Cultural Diversity (3). Introduction to basic thinking about cultural difference (race, gender, nationality, religion, etc.). The course encourages students to examine the ways paradigms shape how we act, think, and imagine as members of diverse cultures in the United States.
325 Religion, Magic, and Science (3). Critical exploration of the ways in which religion, magic, and science have been constructed as distinct domains of knowledge in the West since the late 19th century.
328 Topics in Comparative Religion (3). Cross-cultural investigation of specific issues in the history of religions (e.g., pilgrimage, religious biography, new religions).
332 The Protestant Tradition (3). The course comes to provide students with historical and theological knowledge and conceptual tools that will enable them to understand the very rich and diverse Protestant tradition.
338 Religion in American Law (3). An exploration of the position of religion in American legal and social theory, with particular focus on jurisprudence under the First Amendment.
340 Liberal Tradition in American Religion (3). An examination of the growth of liberal theological expressions, such as rationalism, romanticism, and modernism, from the early 18th century to the present.
341 Evangelical Tradition in America (3). An attempt to define the historical, sociological, and constitutional dimensions of Protestant evangelicalism in Britain and America.
342 African American Religious Experience (AFAM 342, ANTH 342, FOLK 342) (3). Permission of the instructor. An introduction to the diversity of African American beliefs, experiences, and expressions from the colonial era to the present. Exploration will be both historical and thematic.
343 Religion in Modern Israel (JWST 343) (3). Examines the major religious groups that operate in the state of Israel and influence its social and cultural development; analyzes the relationship among religion, state, and society in Israel.
345 Black Atlantic Religions (3). This course is an introduction to Black Atlantic discourses from ethnographic and religious studies perspectives. Readings will privilege African-inspired performance and aesthetic forms as these are produced in religious practice.
362 Mary in the Christian Tradition (3). In certain eras, Mary has been more central to Catholic devotion than Christ. This course explores doctrine, liturgy, and popular devotion centering on the Virgin in medieval European Christianity, her impact on colonial religion in the New World, and her roles in Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Islam.
365 Studies in Christian Theologies and Theologians (3). Permission of the instructor. An investigation of one writer or school in the history of Christian theology as an example of typical methods, positions, and problems within the tradition.
366 Medieval Religious Texts (3). Permission of the instructor. Restricted to students with a reading knowledge of Latin. Readings in one or two major texts in Latin that permit close study of several issues in the development of Christian life and thought during the Middle Ages.
367 The Art of Devotion in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (3). Prerequisites, RELI 161 and 163. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. This course examines creative expression at the service of religious belief from 1000 to 1700. Poetry, drama, art, architecture, and music will be the texts to understand the religious culture of this rich period.
371 Women Mystics (WMST 371) (3). An investigation of the forms, characteristics, and variety of the mystical experiences of women.
375 The Archaeology of Cult: The Material Culture of Greek Religion (CLAR 375) (3). This course examines the archaeological context of Greek religion, cults, and associated rituals from the Bronze Age until the Hellenistic period with emphasis on urban, rural, and panhellenic sanctuaries, and methods of approaching ancient religion and analyzing cult practices.
381 Religions of South Asia (3). Exploration of the major religious traditions of South Asia. Focuses on the beliefs and practices associated with different traditions, and the ways that these relate to one another and to broader political, historical, and cultural formations. Also addresses questions of modernization, reform, communal violence, and other transformations of religious life.
390 Topics in Islam (3). Undergraduate seminar in Islamic studies. Topics vary.
401 Introductory Biblical Hebrew I (3). The first part of a two-semester introduction to the grammar of biblical Hebrew.
402 Introductory Biblical Hebrew II (3). Prerequisite, RELI 401. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. The second part of a two-semester introduction to the grammar of biblical Hebrew.
403 Intermediate Classical Hebrew I (3). Prerequisite, RELI 402. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. A consolidation of the fundamentals of classical Hebrew grammar via readings of biblical texts of various genres (including both prose and poetry).
404 Intermediate Classical Hebrew II (3). Prerequisite, RELI 403. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Further readings of classical Hebrew texts, focusing on biblical poetry as well as early postbiblical material (e.g., nonbiblical texts from Qumran, Mishnah/Tosefta).
409 Greek New Testament (GREK 409) (3). Prerequisite, GREK 222. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
410 Aramaic/Rabbinic Hebrew (3). Prerequisites, RELI 403 and 404. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Reading texts in rabbinic Hebrew or in biblical and/or talmudic Aramaic, with appropriate grammatical instruction.
411 Advanced Akkadian (3). Prerequisites, RELI 403 and 404. Readings in literary, epistolary, and juridical texts.
412 Ugaritic (3). Prerequisites, RELI 403 and 404. Readings in the alphabetic texts of Ras Shamra and a study of the elements of Ugaritic grammar.
413 Biblical Coptic and Early Egyptian Monasticism (3). Coptic, the last stage of Egyptian, a living language in the Roman and Byzantine period. Thorough grounding in the grammar of the Sahidic dialect as a basis for reading biblical monastic and Gnostic texts.
421 Religion and Science (3). This course explores the complex relation between religion and science in the modern world. Public disputes over teaching evolution in American schools serve as a central case study of this.
422 Topics in Philosophical Problems in Religion (3). Permission of the instructor. Seniors or graduate students only. Topic varies.
423 Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in America (3). Prerequisite, RELI 140. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. A theoretical inquiry into ethnicity, race, and religion as constituents of personal and communal identity. Emphasis on global migrations, colonial and postcolonial relations, diasporic communities, and issues of religious pluralism.
424 Gender Theory and the Study of Religion (WMST 424) (3). An examination of contemporary gender theory, with particular focus on its application to the study of religion.
425 Psychology of Religion (3). A critical exploration of the concept of religious experience as defined by such authors as William James and Sigmund Freud.
428 Religion and Anthropology (ANTH 428, FOLK 428) (3). See ANTH 428 for description.
429 Religion and Society (SOCI 429) (3). See SOCI 429 for description.
438 Religion, Nature, and Environment (3). A seminar on concepts of nature within religions and a variety of world-wide spiritual traditions. Emphasis on sacred space, place, and pilgrimage as a vital intersection of religion and nature.
440 Studies in American Religion (3). Permission of the instructor. A consideration of varying topics from intellectual, literary, social, and cultural dimensions of American religion.
441 History of Religion in America to 1865 (3). An examination of primary sources in the history of American religion from the precolonial era to the Civil War.
442 History of Religion in America since 1865 (3). An examination of primary sources in the history of American religion since the Civil War.
443 Evangelicalism in Contemporary America (3). Juniors or seniors only. Examination of evangelicalism and its role in American society, politics, and culture. Exploration of its various subdivisions and its relation to such movements as fundamentalism, pentecostalism, revivalism, and premillennialism.
444 Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Judaism (JWST 444) (3). The seminar examines the developments in gender roles and in sexuality in contemporary Judaism.
445 Asian Religions in America (ASIA 445) (3). A study of intercultural interaction and interreligious encounter focusing on Asian religions in America, 1784 to the present.
446 Christian-Jewish Relations throughout the Ages (3). An exploration of the varied and complex relationships which have developed between Christianity and Judaism, from the first century to the 21st century.
450 Sexuality and Marriage in Jewish Tradition and History (3). This course deals with various topics related to sexuality and marriage in Jewish tradition and history: sex outside of marriage, wedding ceremonies, regulation of marital sex, menstruation, homosexuality and more.
454 The Reformation (HIST 454) (3). See HIST 454 for description.
463 Medieval Slavic Culture (SLAV 463) (3). See SLAV 463 for description.
480 Modern Muslim Literatures (3). Stresses the diversity of modern Islamic experience by examining the works of various Muslim authors. Genres may include travelogues, memoirs, novels, sermons, and treatises, among others.
481 Religion, Fundamentalism, and Nationalism (PWAD 481) (3). An exploration of explosive combinations of religion and politics in the Iranian revolution, the Palestinian movement, Hindu nationalism in India, and Christian fundamentalism in America.
487 Mountains, Pilgrimage, and Sacred Places in Japan (ASIA 487) (3). This course explores the role that mountains and pilgrimage have played in Japanese cosmology and how they relate to methodology of studying place and space.
488 Shinto in Japanese History (ASIA 488) (3). This course discusses the development of Shinto in Japanese history and covers themes such as myths, syncretism, sacred sites, iconography, nativism, religion and the state, and historiography.
489 Animals in Japanese Religion (3). Permission of the instructor. This course examines the cultural construction of animals in Japanese myth, folklore, and religion.
490 Selected Topics in the Study of Asian Religions (3). Permission of the instructor. A close examination of a selected topic in Asian religions.
502 Myths and Epics of the Ancient Near East (FOLK 502) (3). Permission of the instructor. An examination of Babylonian, Canaanite, Egyptian, Hittite, and Sumerian texts from the prebiblical era, focusing on representative myths, epics, sagas, songs, proverbs, prophecies, and hymns.
503 Exploring the Dead Sea Scrolls (JWST 503) (3). A comprehensive introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the different Jewish groups connected with them.
512 Ancient Synagogues (CLAR 512, JWST 512) (3). Prerequisite, RELI 110. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. This is a course on ancient synagogues in Palestine and the Diaspora from the Second Temple period to the seventh century CE.
522 19th-Century Critiques of Religion (3). Permission of the instructor. An exploration of influential 19th-century critiques of religion, including texts by such thinkers as Feuerbach, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Stanton, Douglass, and Freud.
524 Ethnographic Approaches to Contemporary Religion (3). Permission of the instructor for undergraduates. Critical exploration of exemplary ethnographies of religion. Intended primarily for students considering ethnographic research, the course examines classic studies and recent experiments in project design, methods, and textual strategies. Addresses ethical, epistemological, and methodological questions/innovations in the ethnographic study of contemporary religion(s).
525 Seminar in Religion and Literature (3). Seminar topic varies.
528 Rituals and Rhetorics of Religion (3). An examination of ritual, allegory, and symbol as modes of religious expression in cultic and literary contexts.
530 Genealogies of Religion (3). This seminar explores the historical development of “religion” as a concept and object of academic scholarship through the critical study of key texts and foundational debates about religion in Western thought.
534 Religious Ethics and Issues in Contemporary Medicine (3). Seniors or graduate students only. Examination of religious-ethical dimensions of such issues as the dying patient, organ transplants, abortion, prolongation of life, and experimentation on human beings, drawing on theory from the traditional Western religions and the social sciences.
540 Mormonism and the American Experience (3). Prerequisite, RELI 140. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Exploration of the history, beliefs, and practices of Mormons. Will include visits to Latter-Day Saints services, guest speakers, and discussion of race and gender in the contemporary church.
541 Global Evangelicalism (3). The course will examine the evangelical tradition from a global perspective, exploring the tradition from its early rise in Europe to its impact on the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
565 Medieval Jews and the Bible (3). This course explores the Jewish interpretation of the Bible, focusing on important commentaries from influential medieval Ashkenazi and Sephardic thinkers.
566 Jewish Legal Literature (3). This course explores many aspects of the Lalakhah, the Jewish traditional legal system, focusing on issues such as rituals, holidays, religious obligations and prohibitions, and laws regulating sexual activity.
574 Chinese World Views (ANTH 574, ASIA 574) (3). See ANTH 574 for description.
580 African American Islam (AFAM 580) (3). An historical examination of African American Islam in the United States. Explores the intellectual, cultural, social, and political roots of black Islam in addition to its diverse doctrinal, ritual, and institutional manifestations.
581 Sufism (ASIA 581) (3). Permission of the instructor. A survey of Islamic mysticism, its sources in the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, and its literary, cultural, and social deployment in Arab, Persian, Indic, and Turkish regions.
582 Islam and Islamic Art in South Asia (ASIA 582) (3). A survey of the formation of Islamic traditions in the subcontinent from the eighth century to the present, with emphasis on religion and politics, the role of Sufism, types of popular religion, and questions of Islamic identity.
583 Religion and Culture in Iran, 1500–Present (ASIA 583) (3). Iran from the rise of the Safavid empire to the Islamic Republic. Topics include Shi’ism, politics, intellectual and sectarian movements, encounters with colonialism, art and architecture, music, literature.
584 The Qur’an as Literature (ASIA 584) (3). A nontheological approach to the Qur’an as a literary text, emphasizing its history, form, style, and interpretation.
585 Religion and Culture of Turkey (3). This course will cover the history of Turkey from the Byzantine period until contemporary times. Key aspects of Turkish culture (architecture, music, poetry to arts) will be covered.
586 Women and Gender in Japanese Religions (3). This seminar explores the roles of women in the religions of Japan (including Buddhism, Shinto, folk religions, pilgrimage, new religions movements, and new spirituality culture) from goddesses, shamans, nuns, and pilgrims to demons, temptresses, and lesser human beings. The course traces these themes across Japanese socioeconomic and religious history.
592 Religious Conflict and Narrative in India (HNUR 592) (3). See HNUR 592 for description.
602 What Is Scripture? Formations of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Canon (JWST 602) (3). The course traces the past and continued canonical processes that define what the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament has been and is today, with a focus on the history of biblical interpretation.
607 Problems in Early Christian Literature and History (3). Prerequisite, RELI 104, 207, or 208. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
608 The Messiah and the Apocalypse (3). Ideas concerning the Messiah and the end of the world held by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Emphasis on the beginning of the Christian era.
617 Death and Afterlife in the Ancient World (3). Examinations of practices and discourses pertaining to death and the afterlife in the ancient civilizations of Near East, Greece, and Rome.
662 Vatican II: History and Story (3). This course explores the history of the Second Council of the Vatican (Vatican II, 1962–1965), and is crucial for the understanding of contemporary Catholicism.
665 Body and Suffering in Christian Mysticism (3). Permission of the instructor for nonmajors. Medieval Christians consistently focused on the suffering body as a means of reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice. This course considers how medical theories of cognition, gender, and pain influenced the potential role of the body in medieval mystical experience.
681 Readings in Islamicate Literatures (ARAB 681, ASIA 681) (3). Permission of the instructor. Study of selected religious, literary, and historical texts in Arabic, Persian, or Urdu.
688 Observation and Interpretation of Religious Action (ANTH 688, FOLK 688) (3). Permission of the instructor. Exercises (including field work) in learning to read the primary modes of public action in religious traditions, e.g., sermons, testimonies, rituals, and prayers.
691H Honors in Religious Studies (3). Permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Required of all students reading for honors in religious studies.
692H Honors in Religious Studies (3). Permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Required of all students reading for honors in religious studies.
696 Independent Study (3). Advanced undergraduate or graduate standing and permission of the instructor. Subject matter should be arranged with a specific instructor.
697 Capstone: Undergraduate Seminar (3). Majors only. Concentrating on a different theme each year, this departmental seminar introduces the different areas and approaches in religious studies.
100 Introduction to Jewish Studies (RELI 123) (4). See RELI 123 for description.
101 Elementary Modern Hebrew I (HEBR 101) (4). See HEBR 101 for description.
102 Elementary Modern Hebrew II (HEBR 102) (4). See HEBR 102 for description.
103 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Literature (RELI 103) (3). See RELI 103 for description.
106 Introduction to Early Judaism (RELI 106) (3). See RELI 106 for description.
107 Introduction to Modern Judaism (RELI 107) (3). See RELI 107 for description.
110 The Archaeology of Palestine in the New Testament Period (CLAR 110, RELI 110) (3). See RELI 110 for description.
143 Judaism in Our Time (RELI 143) (3). See RELI 143 for description.
203 Intermediate Modern Hebrew I (HEBR 203) (4). See HEBR 203 for description.
204 Intermediate Modern Hebrew II (HEBR 204) (4). See HEBR 204 for description.
206 Prophecy and Divination in Ancient Israel and Judah (RELI 206) (3). See RELI 206 for description.
239 German Culture and the Jewish Question (CMPL 270, GERM 270, RELI 239) (3). See GERM 239 for description.
243 Introduction to American Judaism (RELI 243) (3). See RELI 243 for description.
253 A Social History of Jewish Women in America (AMST 253, WMST 253) (3). See AMST 253 for description.
262 History of the Holocaust: The Destruction of the European Jews (HIST 262, PWAD 262) (3). See HIST 262 for description.
289 Jewish American Literature and Culture of the 20th Century (ENGL 289) (3). See ENGL 289 for description.
305 Advanced Modern Hebrew I (HEBR 305) (3). See HEBR 305 for description.
306 Advanced Hebrew II (HEBR 306) (3). See HEBR 306 for description.
343 Religion in Modern Israel (RELI 343) (3). See RELI 343 for description.
360 The Jewish Writer in American Life (3). This course will investigate, through literature, film, and song, the encounter of Eastern European Jews and their descendants with Anglo-Protestant America over four generations.
412 20th-Century Polish Literature and Culture (PLSH 412) (3). See PLSH 412 for description.
444 Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Judaism (RELI 444) (3). See RELI 444 for description.
464 Imagined Jews: Jewish Themes in Polish and Russian Literature (SLAV 464) (3). See SLAV 464 for description.
465 Literature of Atrocity: The Gulag and the Holocaust in Russia and Eastern Europe (PWAD 465, SLAV 465) (3). See SLAV 465 for description.
469 Coming to America: The Slavic Immigrant Experience in Literature (SLAV 469) (3). See SLAV 469 for description.
486 Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Experience in the American South (AMST 486) (3). See AMST 486 for description.
503 Exploring the Dead Sea Scrolls (RELI 503) (3). See RELI 503 for description.
512 Ancient Synagogues (CLAR 512, RELI 512) (3). See RELI 512 for description.
602 What Is Scripture? Formations of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Canon (RELI 602) (3). See RELI 602 for description.
697 Capstone Course: Themes and Methodologies in Jewish Studies (3). Required of majors in religious studies with a concentration in Jewish studies; graduate students may enroll. Concentrating on a different theme each year, the course offers intensive grounding in key areas of and approaches to Jewish studies. Combines exploration of broad topics with scholarly rigor and specificity.