2011-12 General Bulletin

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243 Tomlinson Hall
www.case.edu/artsci/rlgn
Phone: 216-368-2210
Peter Haas, Department Chair

This is an archived copy of the 2011-12 Bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit http://bulletin.case.edu.

The academic study of religion at Case Western Reserve University is multicultural, non-sectarian, and both disciplinary and interdisciplinary. Students examine a range of past and present cultures and societies using methods and approaches drawn from the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences, all of which sharpen critical and evaluative skills. Religious beliefs, institutions, and practices are studied with emphasis placed on the critical problems and possibilities inherent in current theories, methods, and technologies.

The Department of Religious Studies offers a major and a minor—as well as a departmental honors program—for students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree. Both the major and minor programs acquaint the student with the texts and traditions of major religions, as well as cultural and social aspects of these religions. Majors are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs.

Where appropriate, courses are designed to utilize Internet and other technological resources, cultural institutions in University Circle, and the cultural diversity of Greater Cleveland. Several 300-level courses may be taken for graduate credit by fulfilling additional course requirements. The Department of Religious Studies also contributes courses to and supports a number of the college’s interdisciplinary programs and centers, such as Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, International Studies, and Judaic Studies.

The academic study of religion, combined with appropriate courses in other fields, provides an excellent background for any professional career that involves interaction with diverse populations—including law, engineering, medicine and health care professions, journalism, and social work—and for graduate studies in a number of fields. A major in religious studies provides a well-rounded liberal arts education or can be combined conveniently with a second major. A minor in religious studies complements and broadens any field chosen as a major.

Department Faculty

Peter J. Haas, PhD
(Brown University)
Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies and Chair; Director, Judaic Studies Program
Jewish literature and thought; Western religions; science and religion; religion and culture

Alice Bach, PhD
(Union Theological Seminary)
Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan Professor of Catholic Studies
Literary and cultural studies of the Bible; feminist thought; film studies; religion and culture

Timothy K. Beal, PhD
(Emory University)
Florence Harkness Professor of Religion
Biblical studies; Near Eastern studies; environmental studies; religion and culture; gender studies

Joy R. Bostic, PhD
(Union Theological Seminary)
Assistant Professor
African-American religion; women and religion; U.S. urban religion

William E. Deal, PhD
(Harvard University)
Severance Professor in the History of Religion
Buddhism; East Asian religions; method and theory; religion and culture; cognitive science of religion and ethics

Deepak Sarma, PhD
(University of Chicago)
Associate Professor
Hinduism; Indian philosophy; philosophy of religion; method and theory


Lecturers

Ramez Islambouli, MA
(Case Western Reserve University)
Part-time Lecturer
Islam; Islamic thought, Islamic law

Judith Neulander, PhD
(Indiana University)
Full-time Lecturer
Folklore, mythology; Jewish popular culture

Undergraduate Programs

Major

Students majoring in religious studies must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours. Requirements for the major are as follows:

RLGN 102Introduction to the Study of Religion *3
RLGN 299
  &  399
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
   and Major/Minor Seminar
6
Seven courses dealing with the academic study of religion **21
Total Units30

*

RLGN 102 will introduce the student to various approaches to the academic study of religion, including (but not limited to) sociological approaches, cultural/anthropological approaches, and psychological approaches. It will also introduce the student to at least four different religious traditions. 

**

Subsequent course selections (totaling 21 credit hours) will be determined in consultation with the student's major advisor and should display some diversity in themes and topics. Up to six of these credit hours may be taken outside the Department of Religious Studies, provided that the courses relate to the overall character of the major.

 


Departmental Honors

Majors who have an overall grade point average of 3.5 and a grade point average of 3.5 in religious studies courses may apply for the honors program. Such students should take in the fall semester and (instead of RLGN 399) in the spring semester of the senior year. During the fall semester, the student will work with an honors advisor to prepare a proposal to be approved by the department no later than the end of the first semester. Departmental honors are awarded upon completion and satisfactory defense of the senior project before a faculty committee, provided that the required grade point averages are maintained.

Minor

A minor in religious studies requires at least 18 credit hours, to include the following:

RLGN 102Introduction to the Study of Religion3
RLGN 299
  &  399
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
   and Major/Minor Seminar
6
Nine hours of elective credit *9
Total Units18

 

*

The nine hours of elective credit hours are chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor. The courses should demonstrate study of diverse religious traditions.

 

Courses

RLGN 102. Introduction to the Study of Religion. 3 Units.

Introduction to the academic study of religion and of the religious dimensions of life. Open to all students but prerequisite for majors and minors in religious studies.

RLGN 115. Ethical Problems in Local Perspective. 3 Units.

This course examines contemporary ethical problems -- including abortion, racism, suicide, capital punishment, bioethics, and just war theory -- in light of their impact on the local Cleveland community. Most of us are aware of the national conversation around these issues; this course explores how local communities and institutions address and deal with these ethical problems. Recommended preparation: Priority given to first and second year students.

RLGN 190. Sacred Space in Western Religions. 3 Units.

A significant problem facing all three of the great western religious traditions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- is how to establish a sacred space on earth for the worship of a deity which cannot be contained. In many ways, architectural and artistic decisions about the location, internal layout, orientation and other features of such sacred spaces reflect deep presuppositions in each religion about the divine and how worship is to be effected in a human context. This course will be based around visits to a number of religious buildings to examine how one might understand and interpret such spaces.

RLGN 204. Introduction to Asian Religions. 3 Units.

Principal Asian religious traditions based on a study of classical sources. Classical Chinese thought, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Readings include selections from the works of Confucius, Mencius, Mo Tzu, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, the Mahabharata, the Bhagaavad Gita, and the early Buddhist canon.

RLGN 206. Religion and Ecology. 3 Units.

Historical and cross-cultural introduction to religious perspectives on nature and ecology, including Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Native American texts and ritual practices. Themes include: ecology of chaos and complexity, urban ecology, wilderness, and ecological crises.

RLGN 207. Women and Religion. 3 Units.

Examination of feminist perspectives on religion, such as the status of women in Western and non-Western religions, the nature and purpose of religious beliefs and practices from the standpoints of religious and non-religious feminists, the current status of feminist philosophies of religion, and the efforts of feminists to transform traditional religions and to create new religions. Offered as RLGN 207 and WGST 207.

RLGN 208. Introduction to Western Religions. 3 Units.

Basic introduction to the three great monotheistic religions of the Western World: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. All three of these religious traditions trace their roots to the faith of Biblical Israel as revealed by a series of prophets including Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Each absorbed the philosophy and science of the Greco-Roman world and went on both to influence and struggle with each other. Many of the religious problems of the contemporary world, from Afghanistan to the Middle East to Yugoslavia, can be traced to tension within and between these religious groups.

RLGN 209. Introduction to Biblical Literature. 3 Units.

This course is an introduction to the academic study of biblical literature, including Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament") and the New Testament. The literature will be studied in light of both ancient and contemporary historical contexts, with a particular emphasis on the roles it plays in American culture and politics today. Class sessions will be discussion oriented and will involve close, careful analysis and interpretation of texts. No background in religion is necessary. Evaluation will be based on class preparation and participation, regular short writing assignments, two exams, and a major paper.

RLGN 210. Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. 3 Units.

An introduction to the central questions in the philosophy of religion, such as "Can there be more than one true religion?" These questions will be examined from a number of perspectives, including those presented by modern theologians and philosophers of religion.

RLGN 212. Introduction to Christianity. 3 Units.

An introduction to the history, thought and culture of Christianity and its diverse traditions. Course will include field research with local Christian religious institutions.

RLGN 215. Religion In America. 3 Units.

Survey of religious histories in North America, from the trans-Bering migrations to the present. Drawing from a variety of approaches such as social history, ritual studies, and institutional and doctrinal histories, this course charts the religious development of various groups including Native Americans, African Americans, Euro-Americans, and others.

RLGN 216. Hinduism I: The Vedic, Epic and Puranic Periods. 3 Units.

This course will provide an introduction to the Vedic, Epic and Puranic periods in the development of Hinduism. We will read a range of primary sources produced during these times. These texts were composed between 1500 BCE and the 5th century CE. The course has an emphasis on research and writing. We will not be examining contemporary issues or practice. The goal of the class is to gain detailed understanding of the kind of world(s) that were envisioned in these forms of early "Hinduism."

RLGN 217. Buddhism. 3 Units.

The development of Buddhism. The life and teaching of the Buddha, the formation of the early Buddhist church, the schools of Hinayana Buddhism and Abhidharma philosophy, Nagarguna and the emergence of Mahayana Buddhism, the spread of Buddhism to China, the transformation of Buddhist thought in China, Zen Buddhism, the spread of Buddhism to the West.

RLGN 218. Islam: Faith and Politics. 3 Units.

An overview of the relationship between Islam as a religion and Islam as a political system and the effect of this relationship on Islamic society from its origin to the present time.

RLGN 219. Islam in America. 3 Units.

An examination of the experience of Islam in America and its various religious, educational, and social manifestations. Beginning with a history of Islam in America, the course will address topics such as Islam's relationship with slavery in America, American Islamic law and theology, ritual practice, Sufism, and the Islamic community in Cleveland.

RLGN 221. Indian Philosophy. 3 Units.

A survey of Indian philosophical thought with emphasis on the Vedas, early Hindu, and Jain literature. Offered as PHIL 221 and RLGN 221.

RLGN 222. African-American Religions. 3 Units.

This course is an exploration of the rich diversity of African American religions from the colonial period to the present. Attention will be given to key figures, institutional expressions, and significant movements in African American religious history. Major themes include African traditions in American religions, slavery and religion, sacred music, social protest, Black Nationalism in religion, Islam, African American women and religion, and black and womanist theologies. Course requirements will include field trips to local religious sites. Offered as ETHS 222 and RLGN 222.

RLGN 223. Religious Roots of Conflict in the Middle East. 3 Units.

The course is about the rhetoric and symbols used by various voices in the Middle East in the ongoing debate about the future shape of the region. For historical and cultural reasons, much of the discourse draws on religious symbolism, especially (although not exclusively) Islamic, Jewish and Christian. Because of the long and complex history of the region and the religious communities in it, virtually every act and every place is fraught with meaning. The course examines the diverse symbols and rhetorical strategies used by the various sides in the conflict and how they are understood both by various audiences within each community and among the different communities.

RLGN 231. Jews in the Modern World. 3 Units.

Investigation of the impact of modernity on the Jewish community. In particular, the course will examine the influence of the Emancipation and Enlightenment on the social situation of the Jews in Europe and America and the corresponding changes in Judaic religion, philosophy, social structure, and culture. Attention will be paid to the creation of a modern Jewish identity in the secular culture of the post-Modern world. Offered as HSTY 238, JDST 231, and RLGN 231.

RLGN 233. Introduction to Jewish Folklore. 3 Units.

Exploration of a variety of genres, research methods and interpretations of Jewish folklore, from antiquity to the present. Emphasis on how Jewish folk traditions and culture give us access to the spirit and mentality of the many different generations of the Jewish ethnic group, illuminating its past and informing the direction of its future development. Offered as ANTH 233 and JDST 233.

RLGN 235. Religion and Visual Culture. 3 Units.

Cross-cultural introduction to complex relations between religion and seeing. Study of visual culture, sacred iconography, calligraphy, film, mass media, and avant-garde fashion. Extensive use of cultural resources in University Circle.

RLGN 237. Religion and Dance in South Asia. 3 Units.

This is an experimental interdisciplinary course in religion, dance, and South Asian studies. We will explore the performance of religion in bharata natyam, one storytelling dance form from South Asia. This dance style draws upon Hindu devotional (bhakti) allegories of sacred and profane love in its choreography. Lover and beloved, as the ideal relationship between God and the human, becomes the model for the performed relationship between heroes and heroines (nayaka-nayaki) danced on stages and , more recently, Bollywood screens. To this end we will examine primary and secondary sources on bharata natyam and aesthetic theory/classical dramatics. We will also observe dance performances in the greater Cleveland area. Offered as RLGN 237 and DANC 237.

RLGN 238. Alternative Altars: Folk Religion in America. 3 Units.

Taking a multidisciplinary approach, students will become familiar with the distinction between conventional and unconventional religions, with the history and personalities associated with new belief systems in America, and with the means, motivations and methods of generating faith communities. Students will come to understand the role of cultural anxieties, new technologies, changing roles, globalization and other social tensions in the formation and duration of alternative altars.

RLGN 240. The Heavens in Religion and Science. 3 Units.

Review of the relationships between scientific descriptions of the natural world and the religious and ethical implications drawn from those in Western civilizations. Introduction to the close cooperation between religion and science in the West until the modern period and review of the breakdown of that relationship in the past 200 years.

RLGN 251. Perspectives in Ethnicity, Race, Religion and Gender. 3 Units.

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of ethnicity. Basic concepts such as race, gender, class, and identity construction will be examined. Students are encouraged to use the tools and perspectives of several disciplines to address the experiences of ethnic groups in the United States. Offered as ETHS 251 and RLGN 251.

RLGN 254. The Holocaust. 3 Units.

History of racism in European society from 18th to 20th century; investigation, from perspectives of history, psychology, literature, philosophy, and religion, of how bureaucracy could exterminate six million Jews; responses of individuals, groups, institutions, and nations to deliberate extermination of nearly a whole people. Offered as HSTY 254 and RLGN 254.

RLGN 259. Tricksters, Conjurers, and Gods: Religion in West Africa and Diaspora. 3 Units.

This course will present a portrait of West African religious history framed in the religious themes common to the rest of the world. We will focus upon the traditional religions that provided the philosophical, religious, and the ethical basis of the African cultures. Focusing primarily on traditional West African religions and their related myths, rituals, divinities, and religious art, the course will consider African indigenous religions as well as those beliefs, traditions, and ritualism that have become part of the religious life in the diaspora in the Americas. Offered as ETHS 259 and RLGN 259.

RLGN 260. Introduction to the Qur'an. 3 Units.

This course explains the complexities of the Qur'an and provides an entree into a text that has shaped the lives of millions for centuries. In addition to a comprehensive introduction to the Qur'an, the course will examine problems of translation and the major subjects addressed in the Qur'an: Muhammad and revelation, God and the Last Judgment, prophets in general, and the Qur'an as a law book. Also discussed will be the relations of Muslims to the other Peoples of the Book, namely Jews and Christians.

RLGN 266. Bible in Fiction - Fiction in the Bible. 3 Units.

Examination of use of biblical themes, tropes, and characters in modern fiction and popular culture, e.g., films, librettos, songs. Readings include Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, haggadic Midrashim, Jewish folktales, and modern fiction.

RLGN 268. Women in the Bible: Ethnographic Approaches to Rite and Ritual, Story, Song, and Art. 3 Units.

Examination of women in Jewish and Christian Biblical texts, along with their Jewish, Christian (and occasionally Muslim) interpretations. Discussion of how these traditions have shaped images of, and attitudes toward, women in western civilization. Offered as RLGN 268 and WGST 268.

RLGN 270. Introduction to Gender Studies. 3 Units.

This course introduces women and men students to the methods and concepts of gender studies, women's studies, and feminist theory. An interdisciplinary course, it covers approaches used in literary criticism, history, philosophy, political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, film studies, cultural studies, art history, and religion. It is the required introductory course for students taking the women's and gender studies major. Recommended preparation: ENGL 150 or USFS 100. Offered as ENGL 270, HSTY 270, PHIL 270, RLGN 270, SOCI 201, and WGST 201.

RLGN 272. Morality and Mind. 3 Units.

Recent research in cognitive science challenges ethical perspectives founded on the assumption that rationality is key to moral knowledge or that morality is the product of divine revelation. Bedrock moral concepts like free will, rights, and moral agency also have been questioned. In light of such critiques, how can we best understand moral philosophy and religious ethics? Is ethics primarily informed by nature or by culture? Or is ethics informed by both? This course examines 1) ways in which cognitive science--and related fields such as evolutionary biology--impact traditional moral perspectives, and 2) how the study of moral philosophy and comparative ethics forces reconsideration of broad cognitive science theories about the nature of ethics. The course examines the concept of free will as a case study in applying these interpretive viewpoints. Interdisciplinary readings include literature from moral philosophy, religious ethics, cognitive science, and evolutionary biology. Offered as COGS 272, RLGN 272.

RLGN 273. Religion and Healing in the United States. 3 Units.

A cross-cultural exploration of the relationships between religion, health and healing in the United States. Through an interdisciplinary approach that includes religious studies, medical anthropology and ethnic/gender studies, the course investigates how persons interpret illness and suffering. Attention is also paid to how different groups utilized, or are served by, the health care system.

RLGN 280. Religion and Politics in the Middle East. 3 Units.

An in-depth look at the relationship between politics and religion in the Middle East. Students will spend the first week on the CWRU campus and the last three weeks in Israel, where time will be divided between classroom teaching, guest lectures, and "field trips" to important sites. Students will have the opportunity to interact directly with members of the region's diverse religious groups within the political, social, and cultural contexts in which they live. A final research paper will be required. Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary. Offered as JDST 280 and RLGN 280.

RLGN 283. Muhammad: The Man and the Prophet. 3 Units.

The life of the Prophet Muhammad (c.470-632 CE) which was as crucial to the unfolding Islamic ideal as it is today. An examination of how he attempted to bring peace to war-torn Arabia by evolving an entirely new perspective of the human situation, guidance for human lives, and humans' relationship with God. The course will include Western perceptions of Islam, especially in light of September 11, 2001.

RLGN 284. Jesus Through Islamic Lens. 3 Units.

An introduction to an image of Jesus little known outside Arabic Islamic culture. It is an image that might be of interest to those who wish to understand how Jesus was perceived by a religious tradition which greatly revered him but rejected his divinity. The course will draw from various Islamic texts to provide a comprehensive selection of excerpts pertaining to the life and moral teaching of Jesus. Approaching Christ from an Islamic perspective, this course will offer the students a rare opportunity to understand the significance of Jesus in Islam and to gain a better understanding of the Islamic faith, not only as it contrasts with Christianity but also as it compares.

RLGN 299. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion. 3 Units.

This is an advanced course in method and theory in the study of religion and is designed for majors in religious studies. The goal is to strengthen the foundation in religious studies first obtained in RLGN 102 and to prepare students for projects to be completed and presented during the second semester in RLGN 399. (or RLGN 395 for honors). Class time will be devoted to lectures and discussions of a variety of authors, methods and topics. Particular readings will be assigned by the designated instructor. Students are expected to attend class regularly, complete assigned reading and participate in class discussions. Prereq: RLGN 102 and 9 credits in other RLGN courses.

RLGN 301. Ritual in Religion. 3 Units.

Drawing from a broad range of approaches and academic fields, this seminar offers an introduction to the study of ritual. The course has three main goals: (1) to help students become familiar with important theories of and approaches to ritual studies; (2) to explore a number of ritual practices from different cultures, from ancient priestly rites in the Bible to contemporary cockfights in Bali; and (3) to study and discuss several representations of ritual in contemporary literature and film.

RLGN 303. Japanese Religions. 3 Units.

Thematic and historical survey of major Japanese religious ideas and institutions. Emphasis on translated readings in primary texts. Issues covered include Shinto and Buddhist traditions, religion and state, and role of religion in modern Japan.

RLGN 305. Sanskrit Religious Texts. 3 Units.

Introduction to the Sanskrit language and culture through the reading of selected texts taken from the ancient religions of South Asia. Offered as CLSC 305 and RLGN 305.

RLGN 306. Interpreting Buddhist Texts. 3 Units.

Readings in translation of major texts from the Buddhist tradition. Special emphasis on problems of textual interpretation, historical context, Buddhist conceptions of the sacred, and Buddhist ethics.

RLGN 309. Advanced Sanskrit Religious Texts. 3 Units.

This class is a continuation of RLGN 305/CLSC 305, the introduction to the Sanskrit language and culture. In RLGN 309/CLSC 309 students will learn advanced Sanskrit grammar and syntax. Previous knowledge of Sanskrit is required. We will finish the lessons from Devavanipravesika that we began in the introductory course. We will then translate sections for the Bhagavad Gita. Offered as CLSC 309 and RLGN 309. Prereq: RLGN 305 or CLSC 305.

RLGN 312. The Mythical Trickster. 3 Units.

Few literary figures have as wide a distribution, and as long a history, as the mythical Trickster. He is at once sacred and profane, creator and destroyer; and incorrigible duper who is always duped. Free of social and moral restraints he is ruled instead by passions and appetites, yet it is through his unprincipled behavior that morals and values come into being. How are we to interpret this amazing creature? Using folkloristic theories and ethnographic methods, we will come to understand the social functions and symbolic meanings of the cross-culture Trickster, over time and across space.

RLGN 313. Topics in Biblical Literature:. 3 Units.

A departmental "topics" seminar focused on advanced textual analysis and interpretation of particular biblical (including apocryphal) texts and the critical issues of method, theory, theology, and history that pertain to those texts. Reading assignments will be divided between close, exegetical analysis of small units of texts and the study of scholarly criticism of the same texts (commentaries, journal articles, critical notes). Evaluation will be based on class preparation and participation, weekly short papers, an exegetical paper focused on a particular pericope of the student's choice, and an interpretive paper based on exegesis of several related passages. Prereq: RLGN 209 or permission of instructor.

RLGN 315. Heresy and Dissidence in the Middle Ages. 3 Units.

Survey of heretical individuals and groups in Western Europe from 500 - 1500 A.D., focusing on popular rather than academic heresies. The development of intolerance in medieval society and the problems of doing history from hostile sources will also be explored. Offered as HSTY 315 and RLGN 315.

RLGN 319. The Crusades. 3 Units.

This course is a survey of the history of the idea of "crusade," the expeditions of Western Europeans to the East known as crusades, the Muslim and Eastern Christian cultures against which these movements were directed, as well as the culture of the Latin East and other consequences of these crusades. Offered as HSTY 319 and RLGN 319.

RLGN 320. Palestine & Israel: Whose Promised Land? Issues of Religion, Politics & Media Coverage. 3 Units.

The major focus of this seminar will range from the ongoing questions of peace and justice in Israel and occupied Palestine to the land and border questions; Green line, crossing points, the wall; to interpretations from biblical to contemporary texts, reflecting a multiplicity of agendas. Our primary focus will be the analysis of recent research and scholarship on issues of mass violence, contested space and land, gender, race and ethnicity, religious sectarianism, colonialism/imperialism. Through our readings we will identify the bias and concerns of various interpretive communities involved in the ongoing struggles in this very small area. With two peoples claiming the same land for different reasons, can this conflict ever be resolved? Recommended preparation: One course about the Middle East. Offered as ETHS 359 and RLGN 320.

RLGN 321. Advanced Indian Philosophy. 3 Units.

We will closely examine a limited number of texts in Jain, Hindu, and/or Buddhist philosophy. Our concern will be the methods, presuppositions, arguments, and goals of these schools and trajectories of thought. What were their theories on the nature of the person, the nature of reality, and the nature and process of knowing? What were the debates between the schools and the major points of controversy? We will spend the majority of time analyzing the arguments or positions as they are found in primary texts (In translation). We will rely on the primary sources found in Sarma introduction to Classical Indian Philosophy as well as PDFs provided by the instructor. Students will read texts out loud in class and will be expected to comment on the passage or passages. Students are expected to use outside sources in their preparations. The goal of the class is to continue to learn how to make and write arguments against (or in support of) the various positions using the prasangika (reductlo ad absurdum) method. The papers are rigorous ones and require the student to present the position and then to posit arguments against it, finding internal incoherences. This is a writing-intensive class. Students will continue to learn how to write as per the genre of Indian philosophy. Offered as RLGN 321 and PHIL 321. Prereq: RLGN 221 or PHIL 221.

RLGN 325. Justice, Religion, and Society. 3 Units.

The ways in which several 20th-century American religious figures, both North and South American, have interpreted their religion as requiring them to struggle for a better society by using direct action to deal with issues of poverty, peace, and social justice. Introduction to writings of prominent social justice activists such as Dorothy Day, Daniel Berrigan, Thomas Merton, and others. Course includes service learning within the Cleveland area via association with structured institutions and programs engaged in social justice and urban poverty issues in order to investigate these from the inside.

RLGN 330. Classical Jewish Religious Thought. 3 Units.

The thought of some major biblical and Rabbinic writings and of the classic age of medieval Jewish philosophy. Offered as JDST 330, PHIL 332, and RLGN 330.

RLGN 333. Philosophy of Religion. 3 Units.

Topics include: classical and contemporary arguments for God's existence; divine foreknowledge and human freedom; the problem of evil and theodicy; nature and significance of religious experience; mysticism; varieties of religious metaphysics; knowledge, belief and faith; nature of religious discourse. Readings from traditional and contemporary sources. Recommended preparation for PHIL 433 and RLGN 433: PHIL 101 or RLGN 102. Offered as PHIL 333, RLGN 333, PHIL 433, and RLGN 433. Prereq: PHIL 101 or RLGN 102.

RLGN 338. Black Women and Religion. 3 Units.

This course is an exploration of the multidimensional religious experiences of black women in the United States. These experiences will be examined within particular historical periods and across diverse social and cultural contexts. Course topics and themes include black women and slave religion, spirituality and folk beliefs, religion and feminist/womanist discourse, perspectives on institutional roles, religion and activism, and spirituality and the arts. Offered as: ETHS 339 and RLGN 338 and WGST 339.

RLGN 341. Religion and Postmodernism. 3 Units.

Consideration of the impact of postmodern thought on the study of religion. Examination of how recent critical theory informs our understanding of religious texts and religious themes in contemporary literature, arts and film. Utilizing the theories of Focault, Derrida, Kristeva, and others, the class will explore such postmodern concerns as narrative, textuality, the author, ideology, gender, and rhetoric.

RLGN 342. Mysticism: Sources, Methods, and Traditions. 3 Units.

Through an interdisciplinary approach that includes literary, historical and sociological methods, the course examines the history of Christian mysticism and the selected writings of mystics from diverse Christian traditions. We will explore the social and religious contexts in which these mystics speak, write and act; their impact on social, religious and political movements; and how perceptions of gender, race and power legitimate or delegitimate their claims of mystic knowledge. The course will highlight specific themes, issues and concepts such as religious practice, ritual, mystical itinerary, monasticism, disease and distress, deification, healing, asceticism, art, music, dance, ecology and the role of the body.

RLGN 343. Mysticism. 3 Units.

A mystical experience can be broadly defined as a direct experience of the sacred. The course will begin with an exploration of the language of mystical experience and assess how mystical experiences can studied "objectively." Then we will examine mysticism in major religious traditions through primary texts with some commentary for guidance. In the final classes we will compare the significance of mystical phenomena, as well as common themes and divergent views, across the traditions.

RLGN 345. Religion and Horror. 3 Units.

This seminar explores relations among religion, horror, and the monstrous in ancient scripture and contemporary horror. Course readings, discussions, and research projects approach the subject from two distinct but related directions: first, a focus on elements of horror and the monstrous in biblical and related ancient mythic and ritual texts; second, an examination of religious dimensions in the modern horror, especially as found in representations of monstrosity in literature and film. Offered as RLGN 345 and RLGN 445. Prereq: RLGN 102.

RLGN 349. Biocultural Approaches to Religion. 3 Units.

This course studies religious beliefs and rituals from a biocultural perspective. A biocultural approach to religion is based on the idea that human religiosity is informed by both our evolutionary biological makeup and by our ability to construct culture to adapt to variable social worlds and environments. According to a biocultural view, humans are biologically constrained but have the cultural capacity to adapt to the world in a variety of ways. Thus, a biocultural approach to religion, asserts that biology and culture operate in tandem and that both biological and cultural insights are required in order to understand and explain religious beliefs and practices. This course explores these assumptions and examines them against specific religious data. This course introduces students to major ideas, concepts, and questions that motivate biocultural approaches to religion. The course requires students to apply course material to a final research project that explores particular religious beliefs and/or practices in terms of the intersection of cultural choices and biological constraints. Students will present their research findings to the class. Students who take this course under the COGS designation are expected to engage substantively with the contemporary scientific study of the human mind in their research project and other course work. Offered as RLGN 349 and RLGN 449 and COGS 349.

RLGN 350. Jewish Ethics. 3 Units.

An exploration of Jewish moral and ethical discourse. The first half of the course will be devoted to studying the structure and content of classical Jewish ethics on issues including marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and social justice. Students will read and react to primary Jewish religious texts. The second half of the course will focus on various modern forms of Judaism and the diversity of moral rhetoric in the Jewish community today. Readings will include such modern thinkers as Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Offered as JDST 350, RLGN 350, and RLGN 450.

RLGN 352. Language, Cognition, and Religion. 3 Units.

This course utilizes theoretical approaches found in cognitive semantics -- a branch of cognitive linguistics -- to study the conceptual structures and meanings of religious language. Cognitive semantics, guided by the notion that conceptual structures are embodied, examines the relationship between conceptual systems and the construction of meaning. We consider such ideas as conceptual metaphor theory, conceptual blending, Image schemas, cross-domain mappings, metonymy, mental spaces, and idealized cognitive models. We apply these ideas to selected Christian, Buddhist, and Chinese religious texts in order to understand ways in which religious language categorizes and conceptualizes the world. We examine both the universality of cognitive linguistic processes and the culturally specific metaphors, conceptual blends, image schemas, and other cognitive operations that particular texts and traditions utilize. Offered as RLGN 352, RLGN 452, COGS 352 and COGS 452.

RLGN 371. Jews under Islam and Christianity. 3 Units.

This course examines the social and political status of Jews under Muslim and Christian rule since the Middle Ages. Themes include interfaith relations, Islamic and Christian beliefs regarding the Jews, Muslim and Christian regulation of Jewry, and the Jewish response. Offered as HSTY371, JDST 371, and RLGN 371.

RLGN 372. Anthropological Approaches to Religion. 3 Units.

The development of, and current approaches to, comparative religion from an anthropological perspective. Topics include witchcraft, ritual, myth, healing, religious language and symbolism, religion and gender, religious experience, the nature of the sacred, religion and social change, altered states of consciousness, and evil. Using material from a wide range of world cultures, critical assessment is made of conventional distinctions such as those between rational/irrational, natural/supernatural, magic/religion, and primitive/civilized. Recommended preparation: ANTH 102. Offered as ANTH 372, RLGN 372 and ANTH 472.

RLGN 373. History of the Early Church: First Through Fourth Centuries. 3 Units.

Explores the development of the diverse traditions of Christianity in the Roman Empire from the first through the fourth centuries C.E. A variety of New Testament and extra-Biblical sources are examined in translation. Emphasis is placed on the place of Christianity in the larger Roman society, and the variety of early Christian ideals of salvation, the Church, and Church leadership. Offered as HSTY 303 and RLGN 373.

RLGN 374. Reformation Europe, 1500-1650. 3 Units.

Origins and development of Protestantism, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and the interaction between secular power and religious identity in Christian Europe. Offered as HSTY 309 and RLGN 374.

RLGN 388. Topics in Religion. 3 Units.

Critical assessment of selected topics of historical or current interest. Project must be accepted by a member of the department faculty prior to registration. Offered as RLGN 388 and RLGN 488.

RLGN 392. Independent Study. 1 - 3 Unit.

Up to three semester hours of independent study may be taken in a single semester. Must have prior approval of faculty member directing the project.

RLGN 394. Honors Research I. 3 Units.

Intensive study of a topic or problem leading to the writing of an honors thesis. Requires RLGN 102 plus 9 RLGN credits and department approval. Prereq: RLGN 102 plus 9 RLGN credits.

RLGN 395. Honors Research II. 3 Units.

Intensive study of a topic or problem leading to the writing of an honors thesis. By department approval only. Approved for SAGES Capstone. Prereq: RLGN 394 and by departmental approval.

RLGN 399. Major/Minor Seminar. 3 Units.

Capstone course primarily for majors and minors in religious studies. Allows students to interact with peers and faculty, reflect critically, and integrate their learning experiences. Prepares students to continue their learning in the discipline and in the liberal arts. Subject matter varies according to student and faculty needs and perspectives. May be repeated once for up to six credit-hours. Prereq: RLGN 299.

RLGN 433. Philosophy of Religion. 3 Units.

Topics include: classical and contemporary arguments for God's existence; divine foreknowledge and human freedom; the problem of evil and theodicy; nature and significance of religious experience; mysticism; varieties of religious metaphysics; knowledge, belief and faith; nature of religious discourse. Readings from traditional and contemporary sources. Recommended preparation for PHIL 433 and RLGN 433: PHIL 101 or RLGN 102. Offered as PHIL 333, RLGN 333, PHIL 433, and RLGN 433.

RLGN 445. Religion and Horror. 3 Units.

This seminar explores relations among religion, horror, and the monstrous in ancient scripture and contemporary horror. Course readings, discussions, and research projects approach the subject from two distinct but related directions: first, a focus on elements of horror and the monstrous in biblical and related ancient mythic and ritual texts; second, an examination of religious dimensions in the modern horror, especially as found in representations of monstrosity in literature and film. Offered as RLGN 345 and RLGN 445.

RLGN 449. Biocultural Approaches to Religion. 3 Units.

This course studies religious beliefs and rituals from a biocultural perspective. A biocultural approach to religion is based on the idea that human religiosity is informed by both our evolutionary biological makeup and by our ability to construct culture to adapt to variable social worlds and environments. According to a biocultural view, humans are biologically constrained but have the cultural capacity to adapt to the world in a variety of ways. Thus, a biocultural approach to religion, asserts that biology and culture operate in tandem and that both biological and cultural insights are required in order to understand and explain religious beliefs and practices. This course explores these assumptions and examines them against specific religious data. This course introduces students to major ideas, concepts, and questions that motivate biocultural approaches to religion. The course requires students to apply course material to a final research project that explores particular religious beliefs and/or practices in terms of the intersection of cultural choices and biological constraints. Students will present their research findings to the class. Students who take this course under the COGS designation are expected to engage substantively with the contemporary scientific study of the human mind in their research project and other course work. Offered as RLGN 349 and RLGN 449 and COGS 349.

RLGN 450. Jewish Ethics. 3 Units.

An exploration of Jewish moral and ethical discourse. The first half of the course will be devoted to studying the structure and content of classical Jewish ethics on issues including marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and social justice. Students will read and react to primary Jewish religious texts. The second half of the course will focus on various modern forms of Judaism and the diversity of moral rhetoric in the Jewish community today. Readings will include such modern thinkers as Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Offered as JDST 350, RLGN 350, and RLGN 450.

RLGN 452. Language, Cognition, and Religion. 3 Units.

This course utilizes theoretical approaches found in cognitive semantics -- a branch of cognitive linguistics -- to study the conceptual structures and meanings of religious language. Cognitive semantics, guided by the notion that conceptual structures are embodied, examines the relationship between conceptual systems and the construction of meaning. We consider such ideas as conceptual metaphor theory, conceptual blending, Image schemas, cross-domain mappings, metonymy, mental spaces, and idealized cognitive models. We apply these ideas to selected Christian, Buddhist, and Chinese religious texts in order to understand ways in which religious language categorizes and conceptualizes the world. We examine both the universality of cognitive linguistic processes and the culturally specific metaphors, conceptual blends, image schemas, and other cognitive operations that particular texts and traditions utilize. Offered as RLGN 352, RLGN 452, COGS 352 and COGS 452.

RLGN 488. Topics in Religion. 3 Units.

Critical assessment of selected topics of historical or current interest. Project must be accepted by a member of the department faculty prior to registration. Offered as RLGN 388 and RLGN 488.

RLGN 601. Special Research. 1 - 6 Unit.

Project must be accepted by a member of the department faculty prior to registration. Prereq: Graduate standing.

RLGN 651. Thesis M.A.. 1 - 9 Unit.

Project must be accepted by a member of the department faculty prior to registration.