Religion Professors: Betsy Halpern-Amaru, Lawrence H. Mamiya, Deborah Dash Moore; Associate Professor: Mark S. Cladis (Chair); Assistant Professors: Marc Michael Epsteinab, E.H. Rick Jarow, Lynn R. LiDonniciabLecturer: Tova Weitzman.

ab Absent on leave for the year.

The concentration in religion is intended to provide an understanding of major religious traditions, an exposure to a variety of approaches employed within the study of religion, and an opportunity for exploration of diverse problems that religions seek to address.

Requirements for the Concentration: 11 units, including 270, 271, 3 seminars at the 300 level, and a senior thesis or project. It is recommended that students take Religion 270 in the sophomore or junior year. Students are expected to pursue a program of study marked by both breadth and depth. Of courses in Hebrew, 206, 305 and 121 may be counted toward the concentration. After declaring a concentration in religion, no courses taken under the Non-Recorded Option serve to fulfill the requirements.

Senior-year Requirements: 271 and a 300-level senior thesis or project.

It is possible to integrate the study of religion with another concentration by means of a correlate sequence in religion.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence: 6 units: 1 unit at the 100-level, 3 at the 200-level and two seminars at the 300-level. Various tracks within the correlate sequence may be devised in consultation with a department adviser. After declaring a correlate sequence in religion, no courses taken under the Non-Recorded Option serve to fulfill the requirements.

Advisers: Ms. Amaru, Mr. Epstein, Mr. Cladis, Mr. Jarow, Ms. LiDonnici, Mr. Mamiya, and Ms. Moore.


I. Introductory

[101. The Religious Dimension] (1)

Is religion best described as a personal, inward experience or as a communal, social activity? The course explores the relation between religion, society, and the individual. The second half of the course investigates the ways religions, as social institutions, shape particular notions of the self.

Open to all students.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[102b. Love: The Concept and Practice] (1)

A study of love (in classical and modern texts and in film) that explores a host of religious and ethical issues. Topics include the potential conflict between divine and human love, and the nature of friendship, romance, and marriage. Focus is on love in the Western world, but the Kamasutra and other Eastern texts furnish a comparative component. Authors will include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Dante, Simone Weil, and Alice Walker. Mr. Cladis.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[120a. Sacred Literature: Strategies of Interpretation] (1)

What we learn from any given text is largely determined by interpretative choices we make when we read. In this course, we will work with several core religious texts from a variety of traditions, and explore the many "meanings" they may have when regarded from cultural, psychological, and other perspectives. Ms. LiDonnici.

Open only to freshmen. Satisfies requirements for a Freshman Course.

Not offered in 1999/00.

150a and b. Western Religious Traditions (1)

An historical comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course will focus on such themes as origins, development, sacred literature, ritual, legal, mystical, and philosophical traditions, and interactions between the three religions. The department.

Open to all students.

152a and b. Eastern Religious Traditions (1)

An introduction to the religions of Asia (including Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions) through a study of their basic doctrines, sensibilities, and practices. The focus is comparative as the course explores numerous themes, including creation (cosmology), revelation, action, fate and destiny, human freedom, the existence of evil, and ultimate values. Mr. Jarow.

Open to all students.

II. Intermediate

201b. Religion Gone Wild: Spirituality & the Environment (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies Development Project 201) A study of the dynamic relation between religion and nature. Religion, in this course, includes forms of spirituality within and outside the bounds of conventional religious traditions (for example, Buddhism, Christianity, and Jainism, on the one hand; ecofeminism, the literature of nature, and Australian Aboriginal religion, on the other). Topics in this study of religion, ethics, and ecology may include: religious depictions of creation, nature, and the position of humans in the environment; religious aspects of environmental degradation and contemporary ecological movements; environmental justice; and environmentalism as a religion. Mr. Cladis.

Prerequisite: one unit in religion or permission of instructor.

203a. The Origins and Development of Islamic Literature (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 203) Ms. Berkley.

205b. Modern Problems of Belief (1)

Some say it is impossible to be both a modern and a religious person. What are the assumptions behind this claim? The course explores how religion has been understood in the context of the eclipse of religion in Western culture from the Enlightenment to the present. Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Neitzsche, Freud, and Buber are some of the thinkers whom we study. Mr. Cladis.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in philosophy or religion, or by permission of instructor.

211a. Religions of the Oppressed and Third-World (1)
Liberation Movements

(Same as Africana Studies 211) Mr. Mamiya.

[215b. Religion and the Arts] (1)

An exploration of various aspects, spiritual and political, of the interdependence of art and religious culture from the dawn of human consciousness through postmodernity. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion at the 100-level, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 1999/00.

220a. Text and Tradition (1)

Study of selected oral and written text(s) and their place(s) in various religious traditions. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes. Ms. Amaru.

Topic for 1999/00: Adam and Eve. A comparative study of Jewish and Christian interpretations of the biblical myth of the first man and woman. This course examines a variety of interpretations and explores the significance of the myth within Western culture.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion or by permission of instructor.

225a. The Hebrew Bible (1)

The books of the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) are about a very long and tempestuous relationship between a people and a God. But who are these people, and where did they come from? Why were they chosen, and by whom? What were they chosen for? Where did the biblical books come from, and why are they so influential? In this course we examine these and other questions that relate to the interpretation of one of the most important books of Western civilization. The department.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion, or by permission of instructor.

[227b. The New Testament and Early Christianity] (1)

The Christian Scriptures speak with many different voices. Some advocate peace, some rebellion; some praise duty, others a radical rejection of family and all it represents. What was the earliest Christian message, and how did it evolve? How do the texts of the New Testament both reflect and shape the developing Christian communities? This course examines these unique texts and relates them to the religious, cultural, and intellectual realities found by individuals and groups in the Mediterranean world from the first century b.c.e. through the third century c.e. Ms. LiDonnici.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[231. Hindu Traditions] (1)

An introduction to the history, practices, myths, ideas and core values that inform Hindu traditions. Beginning with the pre-Vedic period, the course traces major religious practices and developments up to and including the contemporary period. Among topics examined are yoga and upanishadic mysticism, the spiritual paths (marga) of action (karma) knowledge (jnana) and love (bhakti), the worship of (and ideologies surrounding) gods and goddesses, and issues of gender, caste, and ethnicity in both pre- and postmodern times. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: Religion 152 or by permission of instructor.

Alternate years: not offered in 1999/00.

[233a. Buddhist Traditions] (1)

An introduction to Buddhist traditions, beginning with the major themes that emerged in the first centuries after the historical Buddha and tracing the development of Buddhist thought and practice throughout Asia. The course examines how Buddhist sensibilities have expressed themselves through culturally diverse societies, and how specific Buddhist ideas about human attainment have been (and continue to be) expressed through meditation, the arts, political engagement, and social relations. Various schools of Buddhist thought and practice are examined including Theravada, Mahayana, Tantra, Tibetan, East Asian, and Zen. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: Religion 152 or by permission of instructor.

Alternate years: not offered in 1999/00.

236a. Christian Traditions (1)

An exploration of the variety of perspectives within Christian self-understanding as it has developed in the course of Western history. Particular attention is paid to expressions of spirituality both in terms of the individual and of the Christian community. Ms. Amaru.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion or history, or by permission of instructor.

[243. Islamic Traditions] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 243). The religion of Islam in its historical expressions, including sectarian developments and Sufi mysticism. Special attention is given to the role of Islam in Africa through Arabic conquest and to the impact of Islam with the Black Muslim movement in American culture. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: Religion 150, 152, or by permission of instructor.

Alternate years: not offered in 1999/00.

245b. Religion and Antisemitism (l)

A study of the intersections of religion and antisemitism that examines antisemitism as a cultural phenomenon within western civilization. The course explores various formulations of antisemitic ideologies with particular attention to such issues as the place of antisemitism/anti-Judaism in the theological development of Christianity; antisemitism and Islam in the West; antisemitism as a unifying political force; and antisemitism as a secular religion in totalitarian and nontotalitarian contexts. Ms. Amaru.

[246b. Jewish Politics and Religion] (1)

(Same as History 246) An exploration of the development of Judaism as a spiritual response to political empowerment and disempowerment in the context of Jewish encounters with the empires of the ancient world. Special attention is given to the themes of land and exile; religion and revolution; messianism; and modes of spiritual empowerment. Ms. Amaru.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion or history, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[248a. Jews and Judaism in the Modern World] (1)

(Same as History 248) The social, cultural, political, and religious transformations of Jewish life in Europe, northern Africa, and the Americas during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries under the impact of modernity. Jewish responses to emancipation, enlightenment, nationalism, and antisemitismincluding social movements, political ideologies, religious innovations, and intellectual trendswill be discussed in comparative contexts of immigration, social mobility, and urbanization. Ms. Moore.

Prerequisite: Religion 150, or 1 unit in history, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 1999/00.

249a. The Jewish Experience in the Twentieth Century (1)

(Same as History 249) The twentieth century shattered and transformed Jewish life throughout the world altering our understanding of evil and challenging accepted meanings of modernity. This course explores the rise of political and racial antisemitism and its culmination in the Holocaust; the growth of Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel; the transformation of Jews from a largely small-town people into a highly urbanized one. The implication of these eventswhat it has meant for Jews to live in a post-Holocaust world, how Jews interpret political sovereignty, the Jewish response to American lifeform the second part of the course. Ms. Moore.

Prerequisite: Religion 150, or 1 unit in history, or by permission of instructor.

250b. Across Religious Boundaries: Understanding Differences (1)

The study of a selected topic or theme in religious studies that cuts across the boundaries of particular religions, allowing opportunities for comparison as well as contrast of religious traditions, beliefs, values and practices. May be taken more than once for credit when the content changes. Mr. Jarow.

Topic for 1999/00b: The Ritual Dimension. Ritual has been called the "grammar of religion" because it lends body to religious experience. In the study of ritual we focus on what followers of religious traditions actually do as opposed to what they profess. This course explores the Ritual Dimension of religion through the experiential, social, and structural aspects of ritual and through the examination of ritual-in-action in a variety of cultural contexts. The course considers an ongoing series of questions: Is ritual an innate or a social construct? Is there a basic morphology of ritual? How does ritual foster social order, community, and/or personal transformation? When and why does ritual "succeed" or "fail"? How does ritual manifest in non-liturgical contexts? How does ritual construct "the other"? And what is the relationship between the ritual and ethical dimensions of human experience?

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion.

255a. Western Mystical Traditions (1)

Textual, phenomenological and theological studies in the religious mysticism of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes. The department.

Topic for 1999/00: Kabbalah. A survey of the historical and phenomenological development of the theoretical/theosophical and practical/magical dimensions of the Jewish mystical tradition from its biblical origins to postmodernity.

Prerequisite: one 100-level course or by permission of instructor.

[256b. Religion and Popular Culture] (1)

While the study of religion encompasses the construction of dogma and theology by a clerical elite, it also concerns itself with the popular and phenomenological manifestions of religious culture. This course examines various popular movements in the history of religion as well as the reception of theology and dogma by the masses, and the repercussions of class, race and gender relationships on interreligious and intrareligious conflict and collusion. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in Religion, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[266. Religion in America] (1)

An historical introduction to the study of religion in America, focusing on religious innovation and change, especially the introduction and creation of new religions and religious movements and redefinition of boundaries of margins and mainstream in American religious life. Topics include the role of religion in politics, culture, ethnic group life, and the social construction of gender.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 1999/00.

267a. Religion, Culture and Society (1)

An examination of the interaction between religion, society, and culture in the work of classical theorists such as Freud, Marx, Durkheim and Weber, and in the writings of modern theorists like Berger, Luckman, Bellah, and Geertz. Students will learn to apply theoretical concepts to the data of new religious movements in American society. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: 1 unit at the 100-level in religion, 1 unit at the 100-level in anthropology or sociology, or by permission of instructor.

[268b. Sociology of Black Religion] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 268) Mr. Mamiya.

Not offered in 1999/00.

270b. Departmental Colloquium (1/2)

Joint exploration of methods in the study of religion. The department, Mr. Cladis.

Permission required.

One two-hour period during the first half of the semester.

271a. Advanced Methods in the Study of Religion (1/2)

A continued exploration of methods in the study of religion and their application to research questions. Mr. Cladis.

Senior religion majors only. Permission required.

One two-hour period bi-monthly.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2)

Supervised field work in the community in cooperation with the field work office. The department.

By permission, with any unit in religion as prerequisite and work in other social sciences recommended.

Reading Courses

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion or as specified.

Permission required.

297.01. Feminism and Theology (1/2)

Mr. Cladis.

297.03. Buddhist Texts in Translation (1/2)

Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: Religion 233.

297.04. Hindu Texts in Translation (1/2)

Mr. Jarow.

Prequisite: Religion 231.

297.05. The Qumran Scrolls ("Dead Sea Scrolls") (1/2)

Ms. Amaru.

Prerequisite: Religion 225 or 246.

297.06. Religion and the Black Experience (1/2)

Mr. Mamiya.

[297.07 The Method to Our Madness: Introductory Methods in the (1/2)

Study of Religion]

Ms. LiDonnici.

Not offered in 1999/00.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

The department.

Prerequisite: One semester of appropriate intermediate work in the field of study proposed. Permission of instructor required.

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all 300-level courses unless otherwise specified: 1 unit at the 200-level or permission of instructor.

300b. Senior Thesis or Project (1)

An essay or other project in religion written under the supervision of a member of the department. Normally taken in the second semester, and in the first only under special circumstances.

Permission required.

301. Religion and Critical Thought (1)

An examination of philosophical and social theoretical issues in religious thought and practice. Topics may include the rationality of religious belief, attempts to explain the origin and persistence of religion, or problems in the interpretation of religion. May be taken more than once for credit when the content changes. Mr. Cladis.

Topic for 1999/00: Reason Within the Bounds of Religion. An investigation of the intellectual status of religious thought, posing such questions: Is religious belief reasonable? Does it need to be? Can it respond to the challenges of Darwin or Marx?

310b. Politics and Religion: Tradition and Modernization (1)
in the Third World

(Same as Africana Studies 310) An examination of the central problem facing all Third-World and developing countries, the confrontation between the process of modernization and religious tradition and custom. Along with social, economic, and political aspects, the course focuses on the problems of cultural identity and crises of meaning raised by the modernization process. Selected case studies are drawn from Africa and Asia. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: Sociology/Religion 261 or Africana Studies 268, or 2 units in Religion or Africana Studies at the 200-level, or by permission of instructor.

Alternate years: offered in 1999/00.

320a. Studies in Sacred Texts (1)

Examination of selected themes and texts in sacred literature. May be taken more than once when content changes. Ms. Amaru.

Topic for 1999/00: The Matriarchs and Their Sisters. An examination of the "heroine" typologies in Hebrew Scriptures & Apolcrypha. Analysis of selected characterizations in the biblical literature and exploration of the portrayals as interpreted and reinterpreted in modern western art, music, and literature.

346b. Studies in Jewish Thought and History (1)

Advanced study in selected aspects of Jewish thought and history. May be taken more than once for credit when the content changes. Ms. Amaru.

Topic for 1999/00b: Portraits of Biblical Women. An examination of the portrayals of women in Hebrew Scriptures and a study of how the characterizations are reinterpreted and the portraits reworked in post-biblical Jewish literature.

350b. Comparative Studies in Religion (1)

An examination of selected themes, issues, or approaches used in illuminating the religious dimensions and dynamics within particular cultures and societies, with attention to the benefits and limits of the comparative method. Past seminars have focused on such topics as myth, ritual, mysticism, and iconography. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes. Mr. Jarow.

Topic for 1999/00: Dreams, Myths, and Visions in the Religious Imagination. This seminar focuses on the understanding and utilization of dreams and myths in eastern and western religious traditions. It will explore dream and visionary passages in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic works as well as traditional interpretations of dreams, and their attendant myths in India and Tibet. In addition to working with traditional commentaries and interpretations, the course will consider contemporary theoretical approaches from structuralist and post-structuralist sources, depth psychology, and cognitive science. Readings include passages from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Book of Revelation, the Qur'an, the Bhagvata-Purana, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Critical materials include the works of Tsong Kha Pa, Freud, Jung, Laberge, and others.

Hebrew Language and Literature

I. Introductory

105a-106b. Elementary Hebrew (1)

Introduction to the language. Basic phonics and grammatical structures. Stress on development of reading comprehension, simple composition, and conversational skills. For 105, no background in the language is assumed; admission to 106 is possible with the demonstration of previous work equivalent to 105. Ms. Weitzman.

May not be counted toward fulfillment of requirements for concentration.

Open to all students.

121b. Voices from Modern Israel (1)

An examination of modern and post-modern Hebrew literature in English translation. The course will focus on Israeli voices of men, women, Jews, Arabs, Ashkenazim and Sepharadim to investigate topics such as memory, identity, alienation, the 'other', community, exile. Authors may include Dalia Rabikowitz, Zelda, Nathan Zach, Yehudah Amichai, A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman, Anton Shammas, Savion Librecht and Ruth Almog. Ms. Weitzman.

Open to all students.

II. Intermediate

205a, 206b. Continuing Hebrew (1)

Formal study of Hebrew language with emphasis on oral practice and writing skills. Ms. Weitzman.

Prerequisite: Hebrew 105-106, or equivalent of two years in high school.

298. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

III. Advanced Hebrew

305a. Advanced Hebrew (1)

Expansion of language proficiency through intensified study of cultural and literary texts, including poetry, prose, essays, newspapers, films, songs. Extensive discussion of issues related to contemporary Israel. Ms. Weitzman.

Prerequisite: Hebrew 205/206 or equivalent.