School navigation

Religious Studies

Fall 2017 Courses

RELS 103: Asceticism
(Asceticism: Self-Discipline in Comparative Perspective)
Jessica D. Starling
MWF 10:20-11:20
Comparative approach to asceticism and examination of acts of self-discipline in Eastern (Jain, Hindu, Buddhist), Western (Stoic, Christian mystic), and modern secular (eco-activism, fasting diets, and extreme exercise regimes) cultural contexts. Consideration of the question: What good is self-discipline? Depriving oneself of sensual pleasures can be seen as an antidote to materialism and a means of liberating the soul from its fleshly shackles, but is denying our inborn desires a form of self-violence?

RELS 201: History and Theory
Susanna Morrill 
MWF 9:10-10:10
History of the field. Psychological, literary, anthropological, sociological, and historical
 approaches to the study of religion.

RELS 224: Jewish Origins                                                                         
Dr. Robert A. Kugler                                                                                
MWF 11:30-12:30
Exploration of early Judaism, from circa 450 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. Focus on the development of the religion in the multicultural, pluralistic context of the Greco-Roman world. Study of the archaeological and written evidence for Jewish origins (i.e., the archaeology and literature of pre-Jewish Israelite religion and of early Jewish communities in Egypt and Palestine, the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the related excavations at Qumran, documentary and literary texts of Jews in Egypt, and related archaeological evidence). Analysis of key themes in the study of early Judaism (i.e., gender, colonialism, multiculturalism and identity, early Judaism’s relationship to earliest Christianity).

RELS 243: Buddhism: Theory/Culture/Practice 
Jessica D. Starling
MWF 1:50-2:50
Introduction to Buddhist thought and practice. Indian origins, contemporary Theravada Buddhism, emergence of the Mahayana, Buddhism and society in Tibet, Zen and Pure Land traditions of East Asia and the Western reception of Buddhism. Problems in the study of Buddhism.

RELS 253: American Religious History-Civil War (Prophets, Seekers, and Heretics: US Religious History from 1492-1865)
Dr. Susanna Morrill   
MWF 10:20-11:20
Introduction to major themes and movements in American religious history from colonial origins to the Civil War. Consideration of Native American religious traditions, colonial settlement, slavery and slave religion, revivalism, religion and the revolution, growth of Christian denominationalism, origins of Mormonism, using a comparative approach in the effort to understand diverse movements. Central themes: revival and religious renewal, appropriation of Old Testament language by various groups (Puritans, African Americans, Mormons), democratization of religion. 

RELS 330: Jesus: History, Myth and Mystery
Dr. Robert A. Kugler
TTh 11:30-1:00
(Sophomore Standing Required)
Survey of the history of cultural appropriations of Jesus through the centuries, ending with the contemporary search for the historical Jesus and its pop culture congeners. A case study in the appropriation of a classical religious figure. Gospel records; evidence of other ancient sources, including non canonical gospels; early Christian writings; Western cultural appropriations of Jesus; and Jesus in modern film and literature.

RELS 340: Gender in American Religious History
Dr. Susanna Morrill
MWF 12:40-1:40
(Sophomore Standing Required)
Gender as a component in religious experiences in America from the colonial era to the present. The relationship between gender and religious beliefs and practices. Religion as a means of oppression and liberation of women and men. Interactions between laywomen and male clergy. The intersection of religion, wellness, the body, and sports. Diverse movements and cultures including colonial society, African American culture, immigrant communities, and radical religious groups.

RELS 452: Sem: Buddhism Thru Ethnography
(Seminar in Asian Religions) 
Jessica D. Starling
TTH 9:40-11:10
Prerequisites: RELS 242 or 243
(Sophomore Standing Required)
Advanced seminar in Asian religions with an emphasis on East Asia. Topics may include Zen and/or Pure Land Buddhist doctrine and practice; religion and family in East Asia; female religious adepts and theories of women’s salvation. Intensive readings in primary texts and student research projects. May be taken twice for credit with change of topic.

 

 

 

 

Religious Studies

Contact Us