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General Bulletin 2008-2010

Courses of Instruction

COMPARATIVE RELIGION (REL-Arts and Science)

Note: Course prerequisites are listed below:

200-level: open to those with at least sophomore standing or permission of instructor.
300-level: open to those with at least junior standing or permission of instructor.
400-level: open to those who have 12 semester hours in humanities or social sciences, six of which must be in advanced courses, or permission of instructor.
500 and 600-level: open to graduate students and seniors who meet prerequisites of 400-level courses and obtain permission of department chair and instructor.
700-level: open to graduate students who have a minimum of 24 semester hours of advanced work in comparative religion or in related courses approved by department chair.

MPF, MPT 101 Varieties of Religious Expression (3)

Introduction to the study of religion as a phenomenon of human culture. Various examples of religion are observed and compared in relationship to a thematic and methodological framework. IIB.

MPF, MPT 102 Religion and Modern Culture (3)

Examination of important theories of religion in the modern world. IIB, H.

103 Religion, History, and Society (3)

Study of several major religious traditions as they develop over lengthy periods of time and across several different cultural settings, and as they interact with other dimensions of society. IIB, H.

MPF 175 Introduction to the Critical Study of Biblical Literature (3)

Surveys origins, historical development, content of texts, both canonical & non-canonical, that contributed to the formation of the Bible against the background of the advent & continuing development of modern literary and historical-critical methods. IIB.

179 Introduction to Jewish Studies (1)

Introduction to Jewish studies as a subject of academic study, basic concepts in Jewish studies and multidisciplinary approaches to Jewish studies. Cross-listed with ART, ENG, GEO, GER, HBW, HST, POL, PSY.

MPT 202 Religions of Asia (3)

Study of Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions in South and East Asia.

MPF 207 Civilization of the Middle East (3)

Survey of cultural, political, economic, and social developments in the Middle East viewed in geographical and historical perspective, with attention to images of the area prevalent in our society. Cross-listed with ATH and GEO 207. IIIB, H.

MPF 209 Civilization of Africa (3)

Survey of cultural, political, economic, and social developments in sub-Saharan Africa, viewed in geographical and historical perspective with attention to images of the area prevalent in our society. Cross-listed with ATH, BWS, GEO, and HST 209. IIIB, H.

MPT 211 Religions of the Hebrew Bible (3)

Survey of the religion of ancient Israel from the beginnings of the nation to 587 B.C.E. Draws upon discoveries in the ancient Near East illuminating history, culture, and religion of ancient Israel. Prerequisite: REL 175.

MPF, MPT 213 Social and Religious History of the Jewish People (3)

Cultural, social, and religious history of Jews in Europe, America, and the Middle East since Enlightenment with emphasis on 20th century and in the context of the larger society and culture. IIB, H.

231 Paul and the Beginnings of Christianity (3)

History, institutions, and thought of early Christianity in the first two centuries, C.E., including the letters of Paul and early interpreters of Paul. Prerequisite: REL 175.

232 The Development of Christianity: 100 to 451 (3)

Development of Christianity and interaction between religion, culture, society, and politics from second through fifth centuries. Cross-listed with HST 232. Prerequisite: REL 175.

233 History of Christian Thought (3)

A survey of the history of Christian thought that introduces the major intellectual issues throughout Christian history, including understandings of God, evil, human nature, and salvation. Examines the diversity in Christianity between and within Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant traditions. Explores the interaction between intellectual developments and historical context.

235 Religions of Russia and Eurasia (3)

Explores the developments of religion in Russia from the tenth century to the present day. The course introduces students to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the role of religion in Russia's history and culture as well as religious diversity in Russia and Central Asia.

MPT 241 Religions of the American Peoples (4)

An introduction to the Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic traditions with emphasis on their transition to and development in North America. Cross-listed with AMS 241.

MPT 242 Religious Pluralism in Modern America (4)

Historical and cultural analysis of religious communities of the U.S. of primarily non- European origin. Includes African American, native American, Latino, and Middle Eastern and Asian traditions, including Islam. Cross-listed with AMS 242.

MPT 245 Women, Religion and Social Change in America (4)

An exploration of various ways in which women lifted their own voices, engaged with societal issues, and constructed their communities and themselves through the institutions and frameworks of religion in America. Prerequisite: REL 101 or WMS 201 or by permission of instructor. Cross-listed with AMS 245 and WMS 245.

254 Introduction to Russian and Eurasian Studies (3)

Examines the major developments that have shaped Russian and Eurasian Culture, society and politics over the last millennium. The course incorporates perspectives from the social sciences, humanities and the fine arts. Cross-listed with ATH, POL, HST, RUS 254.

MPF 279 Buddhism and Culture: China and Japan (4)

Deals with East Asia and time span of more than 15 centuries (from 4th through 20th). Provides historical overview of the development of Buddhism in China and Japan with a clear definition of theoretical framework of this religion. Investigates nature and extent of Buddhist influence on the imagination of intellectuals and lifestyle of the populace in general. All cultural phenomena, thematically treated, are interpreted within historical, social, economic, and institutional contexts, and in contrast to those of the West. Cross-listed with ART and JPN 279. IIIB, H. Offered Infrequently.

MPT 302 Methods for the Study of Religion (4)

Classical and contemporary theories of the nature, origin, and function of religion in human society. Required for majors in comparative religion. Prerequisites: either REL 101, 102, or 103, plus at least 3 hours at the 200 level or above.

311 Archaeology and Biblical Studies (3)

Archaeology of Syria-Palestine with attention to archaeological method and archaeological discoveries which illumine Biblical history and culture. Prerequisite: REL 175.

316 The Age of the Reformation (3)

The religious revolutions of the 16th century, both Protestant and Catholic, in their social, political, and religious contexts. Topics chosen from: medieval reform movements and heresies; popular religion; the debates about clerical celibacy, free will, and the priesthood; social discipline and the modern state; family and women; the missions to the New World; the witch craze and the Inquisition. Cross-listed with HST 316.

317 Religions of Meso-America (3)

Pre-Hispanic, Indian religions of Mexico and Guatemala. Offered infrequently.

318 Religions of India (3)

Major traditions of India with special emphasis on Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Offered infrequently.

MPT 323 Buddhism in India and South Asia (3)

Explores the development of Buddhism in India and South Asia. Examines the relationship between early Buddhist values and those of the larger culture in India, especially with regard to the importance of marriage, family, and accumulation of wealth. As Buddhism spread to Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, it was transformed by and effected profound changes within these other cultures. These cultural interactions are explored. Prerequisite: REL 202 or REL 324 or PHI 106 or permission of instructor.

MPT 324 Buddhism in China, Korea, and Japan (3)

The expansion of Buddhism from India to East Asia. Focus on Buddhism's encounter with, accommodation to, and influence on Chinese religion and culture. Also examines: Buddhism's permutations in Korea and its profound effect upon Japan. Open to any student with previous work either in East Asian culture or in Buddhism. Prerequisite: REL 202 or permission of instructor.

326 Islam (3)

Origin and early history and rapid spread of Islam as a world faith, development of Muslim theology and culture, major groups and thinkers, and problems and issues of the present. Cross-listed with HST 326.

MPT 333 Religion, Dress, and Status (3)

Displays of status through constrictive dress and gender segregation will be explored with reference to religion, gender, and class. Course will explore the topic through selected case studies, several of which involve Islamic cultures. Cross-listed with WMS 333.

MPT 334 Women's Religious Experiences in the Ancient Mediterranean World (3)

Placing women's lives and experiences at the center, introduces a range of religious traditions Greek, Roman and Egyptian religions (temple cults, festivals, and domestic worship, Judaism and Christianity of the ancient Mediterranean world (roughly between 5th century BCE to 4th century CE). Particular attention is paid to differences among women in the ancient world and to women's contributions to ancient religions. Cross-listed with WMS 334. Offered infrequently.

336 Jesus and the Gospels (3)

Jesus and his message according to the gospel material studied critically in historical context. Prerequisite: REL 175.

340 Extended Independent Study (1-16)

MPT 341 Protestantism and the Development of American Culture (4)

History and symbolic structure of American Protestantism and its role in the development of American culture. Cross-listed with AMS 341.

343 African-American Religions (4)

An historical survey of the formulation and expression of African-American religions from slavery to the present, including culturally specific forms of Christianity and Islam, as well as reinventions and reinterpretations of African traditions. Prerequisite: REL 101 or BWS 151 or BWS 221 or permission of instructor.

360 Interdisciplinary Special Topics (1-4; maximum 8)

Course of study on a selected topic examined from the perspective of two or more disciplines.

MPT 360A Confronting Death (4)

Examination of distinctive dimensions of death, such as attempts to define death, various approaches to the phenomenon of death, euthanasia and the criteria for choosing death, life after death. Cross-listed with ENG, PHL, and PSY 360A. Offered infrequently.

360C Homosexual and Lesbian Experience (4)

Interdisciplinary study of homosexual and lesbian experience as historical, cultural, and existential phenomena. Cross-listed with HST 360A. Offered infrequently.

MPT 385 The Religious Roots of Anti-Semitism (3)

Study of the religious roots of anti-Semitism, beginning with the New Testament, through the church fathers, and reformers, with particular attention to the impact of the ghetto in Jewish-Christian relations. Prerequisite: REL 211, 213, or 336 or permission of instructor.

MPT 388 Jerusalem: The Meeting of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Holy City (3)

Course focuses on the meaning of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians, and Muslims: the symbols of their religious expression, their cultural monuments, social co-existence, and political energies and conflicts in both the present and the past.

390 Existentialism (4; maximum 8)

Study of major ideas in existentialist philosophers such as Camus, Heidegger, Jaspers, Kafka, Kierkegaard, Merleau-Ponty, Nietzsche, and Sartre. Repeatable with different content once. Cross-listed with PHL 390. Offered infrequently.

392 Philosophy of Religion (4)

Study of major philosophical problems relating to religion. Topics drawn variously from Western or Eastern intellectual traditions or from both. Problems such as the meaning of religious utterances, existence of a divine being, life after death, relationship of faith and reason are treated. Cross-listed with PHL 392. Offered infrequently.

MPC 402/502 Basic Structures in the History of Religions (4)

Investigations of categories, types, and forms developed for the study of religions, such as the Sacred, the Holy, myth, initiation. Prerequisite: (402) 12 hours in Religion (including REL 302) or consent of instructor; (502) Admission to the graduate program or consent of instructor.

430/530 Early Christian Literature and Religion (1-4; maximum 12)

Selected texts and/or themes of early Christianity studied critically in their historical and cultural context. Prerequisite: REL 231 or 336 or graduate standing or permission of instructor. Reading knowledge of Greek is desirable. Offered infrequently.

440/540 Ancient Near Eastern Literature & Religions (1-4; max 12)

Selected texts and/or themes in ancient Near Eastern religions studied critically in their socio-historical and cultural context. Texts may include inscriptions, myths, legal documents, biblical/ non-canonical works, Dead Sea Scrolls or rabbinic writings. This is an advanced level seminar course. Prerequisite REL 211, 311 or permission of instructor. Offered infrequently.

MPT 442/542 Religion, Society, and Culture in New England (4)

Historical investigation of the ways in which religion, especially that of Puritan origin, has interacted with other aspects of social and cultural life in New England from colonial beginnings to the present. Cross-listed with AMS 442.

445 Issues in the Study of Native American Religions (4)

This course focuses on the methods by which Native American religions have been studied and represented, and ways in which these methods and representations have been, and continue to be, critiqued. Prerequisite: REL 101 or 242.

MPT 465 The Holocaust: Jewish and Christian Responses to the Nazi Destruction of European Jewry (4)

Study of Jewish and Christian responses to the Holocaust, with specific attention to the historical causes of the event and to moral and theological implications. Prerequisite: REL 211, 213, or 336 or permission of instructor.

470/570 Problems in Western Religious Thought (1-4; maximum 12)

Study of select problems, such as theism, religious knowledge and language, secularization, demythologization, myth and symbol, methods in religious inquiry, etc. Concentrates on one or two problems for discussion in and through selected readings and student papers. Offered infrequently.

MPT 475 Judaism in Modern Israel (4)

Study of complex character of Judaism in modern Israeli society and government with particular attention to the variety of Jewish religious expression and to problems of secularity, religion, and state.

480 Independent Reading for Departmental Honors (1-6)


600 Seminar in Comparative Religion (1-4; maximum 10)

Advanced and intensive study of limited subjects to be announced.

600A Seminar in Comparative Religion (1-4)

Preparation for M.A. qualifying examinations. Required of all graduate students in comparative religion but open to other qualified graduate students.

600B Seminar in Comparative Religion (4)

Preparation of thesis proposal and preliminary research. Normally taken in second semester of first year of study.

600C Seminar in Comparative Religion (1-2)

Qualifying Examination. This course is designed to provide an opportunity for graduate students in Comparative Religion to demonstrate that they can understand, explain, apply, and/or evaluate influential methodological approaches to the academic study of religions. Required of all entering graduate students in Comparative Religion.

610 Advanced Themes in the Study of Religion (2-4; maximum 10)

Exploration of a major theme in one or more religious traditions, with theoretically-focused research appropriate to individual programs of study.

620 Practicum in Religion (1-2; maximum 6)

Required each semester of all graduate assistants as an adjunct to teaching duties. Must have a graduate assistantship in the department.

670 Reading and Research in Religious Thought (2-4; maximum 12)

Intensive research in specialized areas.

680 Reading and Research in History of Religions (2-4; maximum 12)

Intensive research in specialized areas.

690 Reading and Research in Religion and Culture (2-4; maximum 12)

Intensive research in specialized areas.

700 Research for Master's Thesis (1-10)

710 Reading & Research In Religion (2 to 4)

Intensive research in specialized areas.


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