SPRING 2009 COURSES
RE 103 - 001 Religion & Culture 4 Credits
TU/TH 3:40 - 5:30 M. Segol
RE 215 Islam 3 Credits
M/W 2:30 - 3:50 G. Spinner
RE 230 - 001 Intro Judaism 3 Credits
TU/TH 11:10 - 12:30 M. Segol
**Course description below**
RE 241 Theory and Method 3 Credits
TU/TH 12:40 - 2:00 G. Spinner
RE 330 - 002 Lost Gospels 4 Credits
TU/TH 9:10 - 11:00 G. Spinner
**Course description below**
RE 375 Senior Seminar 4 Credits
M/W 2:30 - 4:20 M. Segol
PR 324 Phil. of Religion 4 Credits
T/TH 3:40 - 5:30 J. Smith
TX 200C Hindu Religion & Art in India 3 Credits
Travel 12/26/08 - 01/18/09 J. Smith/R. Linroth
RE 230 - 001 Intro Judaism: Major Questions in Jewish Thought (Fulfills Abrahamic requirement for major)
Is there such a thing as Jewish Yoga? What is the significance of sex, gender, and the body in Jewish thought? What is the nature of the divine? How are humans to act effectively in the world?
How do we answer these questions?
This course will introduce students to Jewish thought on the human-divine relation, the body, sexuality, gender, social order, and the meaning of human action. In probing these questions we’ll look at rabbinic, medieval, and contemporary materials, including Talmud and Midrash, philosophy, mysticism, ritual, and poetry.
RE 230-002 Intro to Islam (Fulfills Abrahamic requirement for major)
This course provides a basic introduction to Islamic scripture, law and spirituality. The range of topics covered includes: Quran and hadith; prayer, pilgrimage and procession; Sufism; and a selection of social concerns. Our approach is historical, undertaking a critical investigation of both texts and contexts, in an attempt to understand and analyze the lived reality of Islam past and present. Practiced today by more than a billion Muslims, living in nearly every part of the globe, Islam had and continues to have a major impact on world history and culture. Whereas media images tend to distort its message and dilute its meanings, we will give Islam far more careful consideration, approaching this religion as the rich and multi-faceted tradition it is.
RE 330 - 001 Time & Space in the Experience of the Sacred
An Australian Aboriginal views a particular rocky outcropping and says, "That is Old Man Kangaroo sleeping. There is too much power in that outcropping and we cannot walk there." A Lakota Indian uses sixteen willow saplings to construct a sweat lodge and explains that this is because Wakantanka has sixteen aspects and the willows are used four each for the four directions and also for the four divisions of time. St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal contains a room with hundreds of children's crutches from children who were miraculously cured there. The 15th century Karesansui Zen Garden in Kyoto, Japan, discloses a tree in the spaces between the stones and the tree-form is said to emerge from a deeper level of consciousness. American villages into the 19th century place their cemetaries immediately outside the village. In European villages of the same period, these cemetaries are also walled and gated, and they are recognized as cities of the dead, a necessary counterpart to the living. At Stonehenge, archeologists have unearthed countless bodies that demonstrate how 4500 years ago, the ill and the hurt were being brought to this structure in the hope of being cured. Most Orthodox Jews today completely avoid climbing up to Temple Mount in Jerusalem because they are afraid they might accidentally step on The Most Holy Place. On the moon sit six American flags, planted there by Appollo Missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. In Arlington National Cemetary, Washington D.C., a guard keeps perpetual watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At the north end of Skidmore College in Saratoga Spring, NY, a sacred path meanders into the woods behind Wilson Memorial Chapel. The catalog goes on and on—and the question is, How do these, and countless other examples, partition time and distribute space to generate meaning? In particular, how do they produce those spaces and times we afterward consider sacred? What, in fact, are the mechanisms [and their evolutionary origins] that determine how space and time will acquire sacred values for individuals and cultures? In this course we look at how the sacred and sacrality are encoded into the spaces and times we move through, and how, having once been encoded, these spaces and these times in turn validate religious belief, faith, truth, and our sense of the meaningful. Readings include selections from architects like Louis Nelson on sacred architecture, Andrew Newberg et al on Neurotheology, Pascal Boyer on Evolutionary Psychology and its religion "module," Edward Hall on spacing mechanisms & mono- and polychronic time, and Robert Sack on Homo Geographicus, among others.
RE 330-002 Lost Gospels (Fulfills Abrahamic requirement for major)
A critical survey of an occasionally controversial topic: Modern scholarship has re-discovered ancient texts left out of the New Testament, including gospels linked to Mary, Thomas, and even Judas. Through a careful historical investigation of extra-canonical sources such as these, students can explore the very origins of the Christian faith itself, seeing how the early Church came to distinguish its doctrines from those of the Ebionites, the Marcionites, and the secret teachings of the Gnostics. In the course of this history we will meet martyrs, miracle-workers and end-time prophets. We will read stories about Jesus' childhood and Paul's preaching and Peter's showdown with Simon Magus; we will encounter a cross that talks and a savior who laughs -- all more intriguing than a whole stack of Da Vinci Codes!