Divinity School students can take courses in any school or division of the University. A complete course catalogue can be viewed here. Below are courses expected to be offered specifically by the Divinity School in 2019-20.

Quarter Area of Study Faculty Course Title Course Description
Autumn 2019 Special Courses in Divinity Daniel Arnold & Alireza Doostdar Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion This course is required for all first-year doctoral students in the Divinity School. It is meant to introduce basic issues in theory and method in the contemporary study of religion in the academy, with special focus on the range of approaches and disciplines represented in the field.
Autumn 2019 Islamic Studies Yousef Casewit Major Trends in Islamic Mysticism This course examines Islamic mysticism, commonly known as Sufism, through an exploration of English translations of some of the greatest masterpieces of Sufi literature in Arabic and Persian. The goal is to gain first-hand knowledge of a broad spectrum of literary expressions of Islamic spirituality in their historical context, and to understand exactly what Sufis say, and how they say it. Each of the units will comprise of lectures and close readings of excerpts from the text in Arabic/Persian and English translation. 
Autumn 2019 Anthropology and Sociology of Religion Alireza Doostdar Problems in the Anthropology of Religion 1 A two-quarter course sequence surveying of some of the key problems in the anthropology of religion. Topics include belief, meaning and interpretation, ideology, power, embodiment, rationality, alterity, and the politics of representation.
Autumn 2019 Special Courses in Divinity Daniel Arnold & Alireza Doostdar Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion This course is required for all first-year doctoral students in the Divinity School. It is meant to introduce basic issues in theory and method in the contemporary study of religion in the academy, with special focus on the range of approaches and disciplines represented in the field.
Autumn 2019 Religions in America Curtis Evans Religion in 20th Century America This course is the second in a two-part series that examines the historical development of religious traditions in the United States from the Civil War to the late 20th century. For this course, we begin with the 1920s. We examine a diverse array of religious traditions and issues, but a central theme of the course is the way in which various groups wrestle with how to maintain distinctive religious cultures in the midst of broader social and cultural changes.  Among the issues discussed through lectures and the readings are the following: women and gender, race, debates about the public role of religion, the problems and perennial contentions around increasing religious diversity, the quest for “spirituality” apart from religious institutions, and increasing uneasiness over organized religion as a normative source of authority.
Autumn 2019 Religions in America Curtis Evans Race and Religion in the US in the 20th Century This course examines how religion has been shaped, constructed, and formed in response to and in the context of changing racial realities in America in the 20th century. The structure of the course is designed to approach and understand the intersection and melding of race and religion through literary, social scientific, historical and biographical angles. It is hoped that such variant approaches will deepen our understanding of a complex and changing reality, keeping in mind that “race” as a category and political and social reality has experienced profoundly different meanings in the course of the 20th century. Most of our emphasis will be attuned to the central black/white divide and Christian communities, though you are encouraged to write your final paper on a topic of your choosing that does not fit into any of these categories.
Autumn 2019 Philosophy of Religion Kevin Hector Barth’s Church Dogmatics This course will consider several of the most important sections of Barth’s magnum opus, the Church Dogmatics.
Autumn 2019 Undergraduate Religious Studies Kevin Hector The Problem of Evil This course will consider a handful of prominent responses to the so-called problem of evil–the problem, in its customary formulation, of how & whether the existence of evil can be reconciled with the existence of an omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent God.
Autumn 2019 Special Courses in Divinity Angie Heo Introduction to the Study of Religion
Autumn 2019 Theology Dwight Hopkins Martin & Malcolm & America A look at the primary writings and speeches of Malcolm X & Martin Luther King, Jr. We will cut through a lot of false conceptions about the two men. We will also compare and contrast their views. At the end, were their thoughts and beliefs the same or different?
Autumn 2019 Theology Dwight Hopkins The Theology of James H. Cone James H. Cone died in 2017. He was known as the founder of new a discipline — liberation theology from the perspective of black Americans. We cover the beginning and end of his academic writings, including his last book published after his death.
Autumn 2019 Religious Leadership and Practice Cynthia Lindner Introduction to the Ministry Studies (Colloquium) This year-long integration seminar grounds first year M.Div. students in habits and perspectives essential to the practice of religious life and leadership. Students will cultivate the discipline of attention–learning to read closely, to listen deeply, to interrogate their experience, and to participate in rigorous critical conversation, across religious traditions. During the first quarter, students will explore the relationship of language, narrative; and belief:  the second quarter will engage students in a close encounter with urban ministry; during the third quarter, students will integrate tradition, reason, and experience as they articulate definitions of ministry. First year MDiv students only.
Autumn 2019 Religious Leadership and Practice Cynthia Lindner Arts of Ministry: Ritual and Speaking This is the first of a three-course sequence in the arts of religious leadership that spans the entire year in the second year MDiv curriculum. In this course students will explore the world-making power of ritual–religious and secular, personal and corporat– and practice the craft of speaking as meaning-making.
Autumn 2019 Religious Leadership and Practice Cynthia Lindner Senior Ministry Thesis Seminar  The seminar meets once a month all year as students craft thesis proposals, short public essays and an original thesis, and offer public presentations of their work in the spring quarter
Autumn 2019 Religious Ethics Richard Miller Religion and the Political Order  This is a seminar on religion and political order, drawing on Western theological and philosophical thinkers from Aristotle to Wollstonecraft.  Focal topics include religious and political authority, the ends of politics, political rationality, obedience and freedom, liberty and equality, and moral sources in nature or convention. Special attention will be paid to the role of religion in the political theories under review along with the norms and ideas that are used to conceptualize religion or to distinguish between religions in political life.  
Autumn 2019 History of Christianity Willemien Otten Rome in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages The most distinctive feature of this course is, obviously, that it takes place. in Rome. We will capitalize on its location by zooming in on the role that “Rome” has played in the history of late antiquity and the Middle Ages, and include in this religious alongside art-historical and historical developments. “Rome” refers both to Rome as an actual geographical city and to its increasingly important place as center of Western Christendom and location of the papal see. 
Autumn 2019 History of Christianity Willemien Otten History of Christian Thought I The first course in the HCT sequence deals with the post New Testament period until Augustine, stretching roughly from 150 through 450 CE. The aim of the course is to follow the integral development of Christian thought by relating its structural features to the historical context in which they arose. A subordinate goal is to do so without leaning too much on schematic models such as East vs. West, orthodoxy vs. heresy, Alexandrian vs. Antiochene exegesis. 
Autumn 2019 History of Judaism James Robinson Jewish Civilization I Jewish Civilization is a two-quarter sequence that explores the development of Jewish culture and tradition from its ancient beginnings through its rabbinic and medieval transformations to its modern manifestations. Through investigation of primary texts-biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, mystical, historical, documentary, and literary-students will acquire a broad overview of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness while reflecting in greater depth on major themes, ideas, and events in Jewish history. The Autumn course will deal with antiquity to the early medieval periods. Its readings will include works from the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, the Rabbis, Yehudah Halevy, and Maimonides. All sections of each course will share a common core of readings; individual instructors will supplement with other materials. It is recommended, though not required, that students take these two courses in sequence. Students who register for the Autumn Quarter course will automatically be pre-registered for the winter segment.
Autumn 2019 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Richard Rosengarten America’s 19th Century Theologians: Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman Reading in Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman as mythographers of America. 
Autumn 2019 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Richard Rosengarten Religious Autobiography The decision of a person to present what they take to be their selfhood has proven to be an enduring form of human articulation, and of crucial significance to modern religious expression.  This course explores the phenomena of autobiography by tracing its roots in early Christianity (Paul and Augustine), followed by readings in a range of modern authors who take the classic form of the “confession” and adapt it to their particular contexts (Rousseau, Tolstoy, Douglass, Gandhi, Nelson).   We’ll conclude by studying the adoption of the confessional mode in the graphic novel, which introduces not only visual representations of selfhood but a pluralism of voices (Spiegelman, Satrapi).  
Autumn 2019 Bible Jeffrey Stackert Introduction to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is a complex anthology of disparate texts and reflects a diversity of religious, political, and historical perspectives from ancient Israel and Judah. Because this collection of texts continues to play an important role in modern religions, new significances are often suggested for this ancient literature. In this course, we will attempt to read biblical texts on their own terms, contextualizing their ideas and goals with texts and material culture from ancient Mesopotamia, Syro-Palestine, and Egypt. In this way, we will discover that the Hebrew Bible is fully part of the cultural milieu of the ancient Near East. Students will read a significant portion of the Hebrew Bible in English, along with representative selections from secondary literature. 
Autumn 2019 Bible Jeffrey Stackert The Priestly Religious Imagination In this seminar, we will examine the major religious ideas of the pentateuchal Priestly source and related texts in the Hebrew Bible as a window on the ancient Israelite religious imagination. All biblical texts will be read in Hebrew.
Autumn 2019 Religious Leadership and Practice TBA The Practice of Ministry (Practicum) I The Practice of Ministry offers technologies for reflection on students’ experiential learning in their second year field placements. 
Autumn 2019 Special Courses in Divinity Christian Wedemeyer Classical Theories of Religion This course will survey the development of theoretical perspectives on religion and religions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Thinkers to be studied include Kant, Hume, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Marx, Muller, Tiele, Tylor, Robertson Smith, Frazer, Durkheim, Weber, Freud, James, Otto, van der Leeuw, Wach, and Eliade.
Autumn 2019 Religious Ethics William Schweiker History of Religious and Theological Ethics I This course explore the history of Western and Religious and Theological Ethics from the ancient Greek and Biblical world through the High Middle Ages.
Autumn 2019 Philosophy of Religion Brook Ziporyn Death, Time, Perception: Against Being Here Now Workshopping a manuscript in the Philosophy of Religions, focused on a cross-cultural examination of the philosophies of temporality, finitude, perception and death.   Authors and traditions addressed in the core text include Epicurus, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, William James, Borges, Heidegger, Levinas, Zhuangzi, Dogen and Tiantai Buddhism.
Autumn 2019 Philosophy of Religion Brook Ziporyn The Philosophies of the Yijing (Book of Changes) A reading of the Yijing, its commentaries, and the uses to which it is put in Confucianist, Daoist and Buddhist traditions.
Autumn 2019 Undergraduate Religious Studies Brook Ziporyn Chan and Zen Buddhism A history of Chan Buddhism in China and its Japanese form, Zen, focusing on philosophical and anti-philosophical doctrine and meditation and anti-meditation practices.
Autumn 2019 Religious Ethics Laurie Zoloth Good and Evil: Reading Levinas and Arendt

Our goal is to reflect on a puzzle: why do humans choose to be good or evil?  Note how the shape of the question is complex and self-reflective, assuming that moral action is a choice. But is it? How do we understand the human capacity for good and for evil?  What is meant by these categories? 

This seminar will respond to the complexities of this question by reading the work of two master Jewish philosophers, Emmanuel Levinas and Hannah Arendt. They share a certain history and a fascination with the question: both were gifted students and favorites of Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher who joined the Nazi Party promptly and enthusiastically. Both narrowly escaped from the Holocaust (Shoah.) Both then turned their research toward the problem of human relationally, duty, judgment and moral action.  Both produced a large body of dense, intricate moral theory that has come to define post-modern Jewish thought.

We will read their works slowly, using the manner of classic text study that characterises the classic study of tradition texts in Jewish religious life. The first 5 sessions will focus on Levinas, reading Otherwise Than Being, considered by many to be his masterpiece, and a  selection of his philosophic essays.  The next 5 sessions will focus on Arendt’s Responsibility and Judgment and The Origins of Totalitarianism  Both texts respond to our puzzle of moral agency, responsibility and moral action. 

Winter 2020 Philosophy of Religion Daniel Arnold Readings in Madhyamaka This course will involve close philosophical attention to a representative range of Indian Madhyamaka texts.
Winter 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice Kristine Culp Theology in the Public Square  This seminar explores the contributions of religious thought to interpreting and engaging public life. It does so by considering the ideas and theologies of “canonical” religious leaders whose mid-twentieth-century works remain essential reference points in American public life today: Rachel Carson, Dorothy Day, Thich Nhat Hanh, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Reinhold Niebuhr. How did they construe human life, social-cultural order, and history theologically? How did theological symbols and ideas inform the diagnosis of social challenges, motivate change, and contribute to human dignity and well-being? How do these approaches remain salient for public religious leadership today?
Winter 2020 Anthropology and Sociology of Religion Alireza Doostdar Problems in the Anthropology of Religion 2 Same as the Fall course.
Winter 2020 Religions in America Curtis Evans Becoming Modern: Religion in America in the 1920s Terms such as “acids of modernity” and the “modern temper” were commonly used in the 1920s to describe a new phenomenon in American history. Historians still regard the 1920s as a significant moment in US History, even while revising older narratives that viewed such changes as leading to a decline in church attendance and religious practice. In the 1920s, the nation struggled with the effects of massive immigration, decades of urbanization, and significant cultural and social changes that had profound implications for religious practice and belief. This course takes an extended look at the 1925 Scopes Trial, the fundamentalist modernist controversy, and the intellectual and cultural challenges to traditional religious beliefs and practices. Some attention is devoted to increasing religious and cultural diversity as a challenge to Protestant dominance.
Winter 2020 Religions in America Curtis Evans Christianity and the Slavery in America, 1619-1865 We will be examining the relationship between Christian thought and the practice of slavery as they evolved historically, especially in the context of European enslavement of peoples of African descent in the colonies of British North America and in the antebellum South. The following questions will be addressed in some form through our readings and class discussions: Why did some Christians oppose slavery at a specific time and in a particular historical context? In other words, why did slavery become a moral problem for an influential though minority segment of the United States by the early 19th century? How and why did white evangelical Christians, especially in the South, become the most prominent defenders of slavery? What were some of the consequences of debates about slavery in regard to efforts to engage broader social reform? What role did race play in the historical development of slavery? How did people of African descent shape and practice Christianity in British North America and in the Southern States of the United States? 
Winter 2020 Undergraduate Religious Studies Sarah Fredericks Climate Ethics Anthropogenic climate change is the largest challenge facing human civilization.  Its physical and temporal scale and unprecedented complexity at minimum require extensions of existing ethical systems, if not new ethical tools.  In this course we will examine how religious and philosophical ethical systems respond to the vast temporal and spatial scales of climate change.  For instance, common principles of environmental ethics such as justice and responsibility are often reimagined in climate ethics even as they are central to the ethical analysis of its effects.  In the course, we will take a comparative approach to environmental ethics, examining perspectives from secular Western philosophy, Christianity (Catholic and Protestant), Buddhist, and Indigenous thought.  We will also look at a variety of ethical methods.  Throughout the course we will focus on communication about climate change as well as articulating rigorous ethical arguments about its causes and implications.
Winter 2020 History of Judaism Sarah Hammerschlag Jewish Civilization II: Late Medieval to  Modern Period Jewish Civilization is a two-quarter sequence that explores the development of Jewish culture and tradition from its ancient beginnings through its rabbinic and medieval transformations to its modern manifestations. Through investigation of primary texts-biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, mystical, historical, documentary, and literary-students will acquire a broad overview of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness while reflecting in greater depth on major themes, ideas, and events in Jewish history. The Autumn course will deal with antiquity to the early medieval periods. Its readings will include works from the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, the Rabbis, Yehudah Halevy, and Maimonides. All sections of each course will share a common core of readings; individual instructors will supplement with other materials. It is recommended, though not required, that students take these two courses in sequence. Students who register for the Autumn Quarter course will automatically be pre-registered for the winter segment.
Winter 2020 Undergraduate Religious Studies Sarah Hammerschlag Introduction to Religious Studies This course is intended to be an introduction to some of the central concerns, problems, methodologies, and materials that pertain to the academic study of religion.   The first half of the course will consider the history of the category of religion and its impact on how we think comparatively.  The second half will consider some of the central concepts that have arisen out of the study of religion, treating both their history and function within traditions and in the secular sphere and their impact on how we read, think and act in the world.
Winter 2020 Philosophy of Religion Sarah Hammerschlag & Ryan Coyne Philosophizing with a Hammer: Nietzsche, Freud, Kofman Jacques Derrida said of Sarah Kofman that she read Nietzsche and Freud inside and out, pitilessly and implacably, like no one else in the century.  In this course, Kofman will not only be a guide to our own rigorous reading of Freud and Nietzsche, but we will also explore the version of deconstruction that she both derives from these writers and applies to them.  In the process we will consider the means by which all three thinkers attempt to avoid the ruse of mastery in their work and the moments in which they succumb to its lure. We will consider as well the roles of gender and autobiography in their writings.  In sum, Kofman will help us examine the relationship between religion, literature, and philosophy in the Twentieth Century, and the status of these discourses after Auschwitz.
Winter 2020 Undergraduate Religious Studies Karin Krause Christian Iconography In Christian culture, visual images have for many centuries played a pivotal role in ritual, devotion, intellectual thought, and religious instruction. The most important aims of this course are that students understand images convey meaning in very unique ways and learn how to decode their visual messages. The study of iconography encompasses a variety of methods used to identify the subject matter of a pictorial image, describe its contents, and analyze its discursive strategies in view of its original cultural context. We will cover some of the most important themes visualized in the arts of Christianity by analyzing imagery spanning different periods, geographical regions, pictorial media, and artistic techniques. While special emphasis is placed on the intersections of art and literature, we will also examine pictorial themes that are independent of a specific textual basis. Alongside the study of Christian iconography, this course will address broader issues of visual inquiry, such as patronage, viewer response, emotions, and gender roles. In this course, students will acquire a ‘visual literacy’ that will enable them to explore all kinds of works of art fruitfully as primary sources in their own right.
Winter 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Karin Krause Art and Ritual in Byzantium What was the place of architecture, images and objects in the various rituals of Byzantium – public and private, sacred and secular? In what ways did works of art respond to the ritualistic purpose for which they were created? To what extent is the latter reflected in the design of buildings, their urban setting, their pictorial decoration, their furnishings and mobile equipment? These are the key questions underlying this course, to which must be added: What are the limitations encountered by those aiming to reconstruct the function of buildings that have survived in a fragmentary or refurbished state and of artifacts now isolated from their original context? We will approach this topic by critically confronting surviving visual material from Byzantium with various written sources. We will also explore these texts as a key source of information on works of art and architecture that no longer exist.
Winter 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice Cynthia Lindner Arts of Ministry: Spiritual Care and Counseling This course is the second of a three-quarter sequence introducing students to essential aspects of religious leadership; the sequence is required for second-year M.Div. students and complements their work in field education. In this course, students explore and practice the requisite skills for spiritual care and counseling in congregations, hospitals, university chaplaincies and other settings. Participants will interrogate human experience through several lenses, including theological and philosophical anthropologies, family systems theory, and relational and self-psychologies, with special attention to theories of race, ethnicity and gender. Practice labs will help students hone listening skills and narrative therapies, diagnosis and referrals, and healing rituals.
Winter 2020 Religious Ethics Richard Miller The Ethics and Politics of Memory This seminar will examine whether, on what terms, and in relation to what communities and events there is an obligation to produce a “just public memory.”  Authors will include Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, Elie Wiesel, Avishai Margalit, W. James Booth, Paul Ricoeur, and Jeffrey Blustein.  Related topics will include trauma, forgiveness, apology, honor (and dishonor), repression, and truth and reconciliation.  
Winter 2020 Religious Ethics Richard Miller Augustine, Kierkegaard, and the Problem of Love  This advanced seminar will examine how Augustine and Kierkegaard theorized about the virtues and obligations of love, focusing on their respective theologies, moral psychologies, and normative accounts of interpersonal relationships.  We will also examine how their ideas about love served as a basis for their political and cultural criticism.  To sharpen our analyses of the primary sources, we will read influential receptions and interpretations of their works by Hannah Arendt  and M. Jaime Ferreira.   
Winter 2020 History of Christianity Willemien Otten Varieties of Dominican Mysticism: Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart and Catherine of Siena This seminar will focus on three major Dominican mystical theologians: Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart and Catherine of Siena and, through a study of their thought, map out developments in late medieval mysticism and intellectual history. The focus will be on the mystical path towards union with God, with a sub focus on the mediating role of nature and natural philosophy on the one hand and of the church and sacraments on the other. 
Winter 2020 History of Judaism James Robinson Interactions Between Jewish Philosophy and Literature during the Middle Ages
Winter 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Richard Rosengarten Blake’s Theopoetics Study of William Blake’s unique combination of poetry-making and print-making, with special attention to its service to his theology.
Winter 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Richard Rosengarten Anthropos and Anthropocene in Bunyan and Milton: The Pilgrim’s Progress and Paradise Lost Analysis and comparison of the two major imaginative expressions of Christian faith in seventeenth century England.
Winter 2020 Bible Jeffrey Stackert Biblical Law in its Near Eastern Context This course will consider biblical legal texts in relation to other legal material from the ancient Near East. We will address issues such as the origin of biblical laws, their relation to real legal practice, their similarities to and differences from other Near Eastern laws, their relation to the narratives in which they are embedded, and their legal reasoning. 
Winter 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice TBA The Practice of Ministry (Practicum) II The Practice of Ministry offers techologies for reflection on students’ experiential learning during their second year field placements. 
Winter 2020 History of Religions Christian Wedemeyer Problems in the History of Religions A seminar for students in the PhD program in the History of Religions working on their colloquium paper, orals statement for the Qualifying Examination, or dissertation chapter.
Winter 2020 Undergraduate Religious Studies Christian Wedemeyer Buddhism This course will survey central features of the Buddhist traditions in South, Central, and East Asia, over its roughly 2500 year history. Attention will be paid to the variety of disciplinary orientations (historical, philological, anthropological, sociological, economic, archaeological, philosophical) that may be taken to illuminate various aspects of the traditions. Consideration will also be given to the concurrent rise of distinctive Buddhist responses to modernity and the modern/academic study of Buddhism.
Winter 2020 Religious Ethics William Schweiker History of Religious and Theological Ethics II This course traces the history of Western Religious and Theological Ethics from the Late Middle Ages to the 20th century.
Winter 2020 Religious Ethics Laurie Zoloth Justice in an Unjust World: Theories of Justice  Classic theories of justice suggest an essential  situation of scarcity and a modality and a justification for distribution of social goods.  Yet each theory also assumes a particular ontology and a relationship to some larger order, a social contract  with others; a covenant with an heteronomous law giver, sacred, or historical, or some internalised structure.  The  self who is situated in a world of scarcity is thus variously portrayed as a independent person with rights, a subject with duties, or a moral actor with capacities and desires.  Against these theories, of course, is a material world of human existence which is rarely understood as “fair.”   This seminar will explore seven leading theories of justice in detail,  and will assess the potency, practicality and principles of each.  This is a seminar. 
Spring 2020 Sanskrit Daniel Arnold [Third-/Fourth-year Sanskrit] [There will already be a description of this on file with SALC, whose administrator will arrange this course.]
Spring 2020 Undergraduate Religious Studies Daniel Arnold “Mind and World in Indian Philosophy” Indian traditions of philosophy are often said to be particularly “spiritual” in focus, or particularly concerned with “consciousness” or the “self.”  In fact, the history of Indian philosophy attests a wide range of views and arguments regarding issues still very-much debated by contemporary philosophers — issues, e.g., about how, precisely, to characterize consciousness, and about the conditions of the possibility of our mental lives. This course will survey a range of Indian philosophical engagements — mostly on the part of certain Hindu philosophers and their Buddhist adversaries — on the nature of mind, and on its place in the world. Along the way, we will try to appreciate something of the extent to which these classical Indian philosophers were engaging very much the same kinds of questions still at issue today, even as we try to recognize what is distinctive about them.
Spring 2020 Islamic Studies Yousef Casewit Islam and the West This course surveys the development of the relationship between Islamic civilization and the West by examining key historical points of encounter, interchange, and contention between the two from the early medieval period to the present. The course is divided into thirteen units. Unit I frames our complex and multilayered subject by asking the question: Whence Islamophobia?. Units II-VI set the medieval geographical, historical, and sociopolitical background for the course. This medieval history will be examined with a view to understanding our present. We focus on the rise and spread of Islam, periods of interaction, exchange and confrontation between Islamic civilization and medieval Europe, medieval Christian views about Islam, and Muslim views about Christianity. Unit VII sets the historical background for the modern period by turning to the tri-partite division of the post-ʿAbbāsid Islamic world into Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals, the decline of the Ottoman caliphate, the encroachment upon, and finally colonization of, much of the Islamic world by the West and the spread of modern Western ideas among Muslims. Units VIII-X analyze some of the main Muslim responses to the modernity, from Modernism and Traditionalism, to Puritanism and Millenarianism. Units XI – XIII examine some Western interactions with and assessments of Islam in Orientalist literature, the fixation with Muslim women, and finally religio-socio-political dynamics that define the contemporary American Muslim community.
Spring 2020 Islamic Studies Yousef Casewit Readings in Islamic Thought In-Depth readings of primary texts from the Arabic mystical and philosophical tradition
Spring 2020 Bible Simeon Chavel The Book of Psalms Text-course covering select psalms will consider literary, religious and historical aspects.
Spring 2020 Bible Simeon Chavel Literary Theory and the Hebrew Bible Readings in literary theory and in select works of the Hebrew Bible, with special attention to voice and genre. Seminar-style presentations and discussion.
Spring 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice Kristine Culp Approaches to Suffering: Theological Perspectives and Contemporary Meditations Framed by a consideration of Susan Sontag on the representation of suffering, Elaine Scarry on The Body in Pain, and Judith Butler on grievable life, this seminar will seek to extend and enrich such contemporary meditations through conversation with varied theological approaches to suffering. One thesis of the course is that theodicy need not be viewed as the chief theological approach to suffering. Through close reading of selected works, we will consider interpretive frames such as creation and providence, wounding and healing, and crucifixion and resurrection, together with religious responses such as introspection, contemplation, mourning, witness, and resistance.
Spring 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Jas Elsner Art & the World Religions: First Milennium from India to Ireland This course, building on the recent Empires of Faith project at the British Museum will explore the interface of visual and religious identity in the formative period when all the religions currently considered ‘world religions’ were developing their characteristic iconographies.  The course will attempt to open comparative and historical perspectives on religion through material culture, interrogating the normative models of constructing religion through written rather than visual sources. Students will be encouraged to work from images as well as texts. The course is open to graduates as well as undergraduates, and will be taught in a speeded up form twice a week for the first five weeks of the quarter. 
Spring 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Jas Elsner Veiling the Image:  sacred and profane from antiquity to modernity This course will explore the fascinating culture of covering and veiling sacred icons,  or images that were thought to cause trauma or outrage in the European tradition. It will begin in the ancient world and explore mediaeval, Renaissance and modern art – both paintings and sculptures, as well as images that represent the covering of images…   It will attempt to restore the sensual, the tactile and the performative to the experience of viewing art and engaging with its powers, by contrast to the prevailing regime of disinterested contemplation encouraged by the modernist art gallery.  The course is open to graduates as well as undergraduates; it will be taught in a speeded up form twice a week for the first five weeks of the quarter, with much encouragement to students to experiment and think against the grain.
Spring 2020 History of Judaism Michael Fishbane Mystical Theology of Hasidism: The Circle of the Maggid of Mezeritch
Spring 2020 History of Judaism Michael Fishbane Contemporary Jewish Theology: Types of Theological Writing in America
Spring 2020 Religious Ethics Sarah Fredericks Pragmatism and Religious Ethics  This class will examine classical theories of pragmatic ethics, the development of pragmatic ethics in the mid to late twentieth century among religious and philosophical ethicists, and recent developments in pragmatic ethics, especially in environmental ethics.  Special attention will be paid to how theories of knowledge, habit and practice, and the relationship of society and ethics inform these theories of ethics.
Spring 2020 Religious Ethics Sarah Fredericks Collective Agency and Responsibility  In the twentieth and twenty-first century, modern western notions of individual identity, agency, and responsibility have been challenged by collective experiences.  Studies of collective atrocities such as the Holocaust, apartheid, racism and sexism have informed research on collective identity, agency, and responsibility.  Research and legal developments on corporate agency and responsibility add to the discussion.  Finally, global environmental challenges such as climate change raise questions about the types of agents responsible for these harms and for combating them.  This class will explore a number of theories of collective agency and responsibility to interrogate the differences and relationships between individuals and collectives.
 
Spring 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Sarah Hammerschlag Writing Religion This will be a course about the craft of scholarly writing.  It will consider the conventions and conflicts of writing in a field as interdisciplinary as the study of religion and will explore the opportunities for creativity, voice and style within its various forms through reading and writing. We will work on everything from the sentence to the structuring of book-length manuscripts. The class will be organized to accommodate analysis, discussion and workshop and the final assignment will be the revision of a seminar paper into an essay suitable for publication.  The course is geared primarily for  PhD students and should be particularly useful to those in the dissertation writing phase.
Spring 2020 Theology Kevin Hector Introduction to Theology This course will look at a handful of religious traditions as sources of practical wisdom.  What can these teach us about how to conduct one’s life well?
Spring 2020 Undergraduate Religious Studies Kevin Hector Guilt and Forgiveness This course will consider the nature of guilt, punishment, and forgiveness.
Spring 2020 Anthropology and Sociology of Religion Angie Heo Religion, Colonialism, Empire This course explores transformations in religion and religious knowledge in sites of colonial contact.  We will also study the production of knowledge about religion in colonial settings and new imperial contexts for governing religion. We will pay close attention to race, gender, and the formation of nation-states.
Spring 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice Dwight Hopkins Socia Entrepreneurship This course is an experiment. We will explore the possibility or reality of the following. Doing good requires capital and capital can do good. This is a major debate. Even before the 2008 financial crisis, most Divinity Schools, seminaries, and theological schools probably held the view that money is the root of all evil. Specifically, at the University of Chicago business school, Milton Friedman, one of its noted Nobel Prize winning thinkers argued that the purpose of business is to maximize profits for its shareholders. And, for business to engage in the social is tantamount to dabbling in socialism. So, on one side of the campus, we find a legacy of bottom line profit for the wealthy. On the other side of the campus, we find a tradition of transcendent values for the people and notions of the common good. Is it God verses Mammon?
Spring 2020 Theology Dwight Hopkins Theology and Cultural Studies This course will study models of cultural studies and we will put these theoretical constructs in conversation whit models of theology. Indeed, all theologies arise out of human culture and the attempt of the human being to make ultimate meaning out of all that he/she has created. Students will engage different cultural analyses and develop their own cultural approach to constructing theologies interacting with cultural studies.
Spring 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Matthew Kapstein Buddhist Poetry in India The substantial Buddhist contribution to Indian poetry is of interest for what it teaches us of both Buddhism and the broad development of Indian literature. The present course will focus upon three phases in this history, with attention to what changes of language and literary genre tell us of the transformations of Indian religious culture from the last centuries B.C.E. to about the year 1000. Readings (all in translation) will include the Therīgāthā, a collection of verses written in Pali and the most ancient Indian example of womens’ literature, selections from the work of the great Sanskrit poets Aśvaghoṣa, Āryaśūra, and Mātṛceta, and the mystical songs, in the Apabhraṃśa language, of the Buddhist tantric saints. 
Spring 2020 Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture Karin Krause The Veneration of Icons in Byzantium: History, Theory and Practice In order to appreciate the pivotal religious significance icons had in Byzantium for private devotion, in the liturgy, in civic ritual, and in military campaigns, we will survey the visual evidence along with a vast array of written sources. We will explore the origins of the Christian cult of icons in the Early Byzantine period and its roots in the Greco-Roman world of paganism. Through the close analysis of icons executed over the centuries in different artistic techniques, we will examine matters of iconography, style and aesthetics. We will also have a close look at image theory, as developed by Byzantine theologians and codified in the era of Iconoclasm.
Typically, meetings will consist of both lecture and interactive discussion sections. Students are expected to prepare the mandatory readings for each week, which serve as a basis for an informed, and thus productive, classroom discussion.
Spring 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice Cynthia Lindner Arts of Ministry: Community, Leadership, and Change This course is the third of a three-quarter sequence introducing students to essential aspects of religious leadership; the sequence is required for second-year M.Div. students and complements their field education experience. In this final quarter of the year-long sequence, students study varieties of communities that form the ecologies of public life, and their facilitators and leaders as responsible agents of change.  Through research projects and case studies, students practice the skills of analysis, decision-making, negotiation and visioning that are essential to organizational vitality and constructive community engagement. 
Spring 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice Cynthia Lindner Advanced Preaching seminar A workshop on contemporary issues in preaching, topic TBA
Spring 2020 Islamic Studies Michael Sells Blood Libel: Norwich to Riyadh

This course examines the Blood-Libel from the thirteenth-century to the present,  with special focus upon the Damascus Affair of 1840 and its repercussions in the modern Middle Eastern and European contexts and in polemics today among Muslims, Christians and Jews.  We will review cases and especially upon literary and artistic representations of ritual murder and sacrificial consumption alleged to have been carried out by Waldensians, Fraticelli, witches, and Jews, with special attention to the forms of redemptive, demonic, and symbolic logic that developed over the course of the centuries and culminated in the wake of the Damascus Affair.  Each participant will be asked to translate and annotate a sample primary text, ideally one that has not yet been translated into English, and to use that work as well in connection with a final paper.

PQ: Willingness to work on a text from one of the following languages–Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Arabic, Modern Greek, or Turkish–at whatever level of proficiency one has attained.

Spring 2020 Islamic Studies Michael Sells Islamicate Civilizations in Spain The course will include segments on the Qur’an, medieval Arabic philosophy, medieval Arabic poetry and mysticism, and the issue of culture, language, and translation.
Spring 2020 Bible Jeffrey Stackert Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi This is a reading and exegesis course on the prophetic texts of Haggai, Zechariah (chs. 1–8), and Malachi. All texts will be read in Hebrew.
Spring 2020 Religious Leadership and Practice TBA The Practice of Ministry (Practicum) III The Practice of Ministry offers technologies for reflection on students’ experiential learning during their second year field placements. 
Spring 2020 History of Religions Christian Wedemeyer Contemporary Theories of Religion This course will explore developments in the study of religion from the Marburg Declaration of 1960 to the present. Participants will attend to the recent history of the field, intellectually and institutionally; to the analysis of select theoretical developments in this period, their prospects, accomplishments, and challenges; to the relationships between the History of Religions and work on religion in related fields of study (e.g., anthropology, sociology, history); and to the social location(s) of the study of religion in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Spring 2020 Religious Ethics William Schweiker Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason This course is a close reading of Kant’s famous Critique of Practical Reason.
Spring 2020 Religious Ethics William Schweiker God and Morality This research seminar examines a fundamental question in Religious Ethics and Theology, namely, what is the relation, if any, between claims about the Divine and the human moral good. Classical and contemporary thinkers will be explored.
Spring 2020 Philosophy of Religion Brook Ziporyn Coherence in Chinese Philosophy: Confucius to Tiantai This course will undertake a history of Chinese philosophy from its beginnings to the advent of Neo-Confucianism in the Song dynasty, focusing on the evolution of notions of “coherence,” eventually coming to converge around the concept of “Li” 理 as it plays out in Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist and hybrid traditions.  Li will be viewed as a variable term indicating a subject-object Gestalt structured around dyadic bipolarities as generative of continuities with designated values and desires, as conceived variously by the various sub-traditions.  The role played by this conception of continuity in logic and epistemology, as well as metaphysics and ontology, will be contrasted with philosophical conceptions rooted in traditions that dichotomize sameness and difference through conceptions such as universals, particulars, essences, substances, attributes, God, design, and truth.   The course will consist of the close reading of the two-volume series, <Ironies of Oneness and Difference>, and <Beyond Oneness and Difference>.
Spring 2020 Religious Ethics Laurie Zoloth Bioethics

This lecture course will introduce you to the field of Bioethics. We will use a case-based method to study how different philosophical and theological traditions describe and defend differences in moral choices in contemporary bioethics.  This class is based on the understanding that case narratives serve as the motivation for the discipline of bioethics and that complex ethical issues are best considered by a careful examination of the competing theories as they work themselves out in specific cases.   We will examine both classic cases that have shaped our understanding of the field of bioethics and cases that are newly emerging, including the case of research done at Northwestern University.  Through these cases, we will ask how religious traditions both collide and cohere over such topics as embryo research, health care reform, terminal illness, issues in epidemics and public health, and our central research question, synthetic biology research.

This class will also explore how the discipline of bioethics has emerged to reflect upon such dilemmas, with particular attention to the role that theology philosophy, law, public health, and religious studies have played in such reflection. We will look at both how the practice of different disciplines  has shaped the field of bioethics and in particular at how different theological and philosophical  claims, methodology, and praxis have continued to shape and inflect bioethics.  We will examine the issue of epistemic stance, of truth claims, and of how normative policies are created amid serious controversy.  We will explore the nature of the relationship between religion and public policy and study how religious traditions and moral philosophy shape our view of issues as “bioethics controversies”  to be addressed.  

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