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5001. Foundations in Philosophy of Religion   (3 s.h.)

Considers a selection of classical and modern European and American philosophers and the implications of their views for religious thought. Some of those whose writings are considered may include Hume, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Kierkegaard, James, Whitehead, Rosenzweig, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, Irigaray, Habermas, and Foucault. Also may consider non-Western philosophies of religion, for example, those deriving from India or Japan.

5002. Foundations in Religion and the Social Sciences   (3 s.h.)

Introduces students to the discourse of Western social sciences on religion. Examines both modern and postmodern thinkers. Offers extensive readings in Durkheim, Marx and Weber. Then puts these modern theorists into conversation with postmodern critical theory as exemplified by Foucault and Bourdieu.

5003. Foundations in Textual and Historical Studies in Religion   (3 s.h.)

Teaches the issues, methods, and trends emerging in the turbulent world of historical studies. Explores the problems, ideological constraints, and new venues that occur when "religion" is introduced to historical studies. Deals with New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, postcolonial theory, various feminisms, the crisis of narrative history, and various approaches now in vogue for reading ancient texts, 1st through 6th century CE and dealing with Greco-Roman religions, Judaism, and Christianity.

5004. Foundations in Religion and Psychology   (3 s.h.)

Introduces psychological theorizing about the origins, motivations, and aims of religion. Psychological thought will be contextualized, showing how it has been shaped by and in turn reshapes more traditional Western reflection on the nature of persons, symbols, and faith. Simultaneously, psychological perspectives assist Western people to appreciate, interpret, and adapt non-Western forms of religion and practices. In this course, we will read classic theorists, modern revisers, and some recent rethinking and responses to these theorists.

5005. Foundations in Religion and Public Life   (3 s.h.)

Introduces some of the key issues for religion in American public life today: religion and the First Amendment, ethical debates concerning sexuality, religion in popular culture, the relationship between religion and public policy on welfare and education, how religion is portrayed in the media, and American religious pluralism in a global context.

5006. Foundations in Religion, Race, and Ethnicity   (3 s.h.)

Critically engages leading theoretical discussions about the intersection of religion, race, and ethnicity. Serves also as a practicum in relevant social science methodologies and their application in the analysis of a chosen “ethnic” congregation in the Philadelphia area.

5101. Foundations in Hinduism   (3 s.h.)

Both a historical and thematic survey of Hinduism. Attempts to make clear the structures of Hinduism and to explain its internal coherence as well as its apparent inconsistencies. While recognizing that it is impossible to include everything in the study of a religion which covers a time span of 5,000 years and which has existed over a vast geographical area, this course aims at giving comprehensive coverage of the history, traditions, rituals and theologies of Hinduism.

5102. Foundations in Indian Buddhism   (3 s.h.)

Examines the biographical data (not Buddhology) and philosophical themes in the Majjhima Nikaya and the Digha Nikaya. Studies philosophical themes in early Theravada traditions and selected suttas.

5201. Foundations in Chinese Religions   (3 s.h.)

Basic studies of (1) the classical texts and essential teachings of early Confucianism and Taoism, and (2) the ideological continuity from early Confucianism and Taoism to Neo-Confucianism and Neo-Taoism.

Focuses on the major religious and philosophical traditions of China. Special consideration is given to the ethical, religious, and social thought of Confucianism and Daoism. Topics of discussion include: 1) the pre-Han concepts of spirits and gods, 2) classical Confucianism (the “Kung-Meng tradition”), 3) philosophical Daoism (the “Lao-Zhuang tradition”), 4) religious Daoism (including the popular cult of immortality), 5) ideological continuities and transformations in Neo-Confucianism and Neo-Daoism, and 6) religious practices in contemporary China. The approach is both historical and comparative. No knowledge of Chinese is required, as the readings are in translation.

5301. Foundations in Japanese Buddhism   (3 s.h.)

Prepares students to do an in-depth study of Japanese Buddhism, covering several major Buddhist thinkers, such as Kukai, Dogen, Shinran, Myoe, Hakuin, Takuan, and Nishida. In order to understand how Japanese Buddhism accepted Indian and Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, the course traces some of the prominent conceptual frameworks of these two. The methodological orientation of the course is philosophical.

5401. Foundations in Judaism   (3 s.h.)

This course offers students a critical introduction to issues within Jewish studies and the study of Jews, Judaism and Jewishness. Who are Jews and how have these designations shifted and changed over time? What is Judaism? How and in what ways is it a religion? What role do texts and practices play in defining Judaism? How are these works Jewish cultural and/or Jewish religious expressions? What are some of the other forms in which Jewishness has been and continues to be expressed? The course asks these questions in order to both build on the legacy of how Judaism has been studied within the academic field of religious studies and to challenge some of these long held assumptions. In other words, the course both appreciates and challenges this scholarly legacy by offering students Religious studies, Jewish studies and literary critical tools to better appreciate Jewish texts and practices. And, by looking at Jews, Judaism and Jewishness in the plural, the course offers students a broad historical vision of Jewish culture. The course is organized, more or less, chronologically offering students a critical overview of Jewish history moving from the biblical period to the present with attention to specific Jewish texts and artifacts from specific periods and geographical locations within this history.

5501. Foundations in Christianity   (3 s.h.)

Focuses on both thought (doctrine, theology) and patterns of spiritual life, especially as revealed in Christian devotional "classics." What has been believed, taught and confessed by Christians since the Church's earliest era? How have individuals lived out these teachings, helped to reshape them, and discerned a spiritual life focused on God as known through Jesus Christ? As contemporary persons, how can we read and interrogate as well as appropriate these texts within a religious and cultural world so different from those of the authors? The continuing importance and vitality of these "classics" - or their rediscovery after long periods of obscurity - is part of the milieu for Christianity in its world context today.

5601. Foundations in Islam   (3 s.h.)

Provides a basic survey of Islam for non-specialists. Includes a historical overview focusing on the relationship of Islam to the world and to other religions and ideologies of ancient, medieval, and modern times. Also considers the major modalities of Islam as a religion, including the legal, spiritual, philosophical, and social aspects. Finally, current issues in Islam will be considered, including modern changes in social organization and present-day politics. Class will meet Muslims in the field. No prerequisites or language requirements.

8001. Religious History of the United States in the 20th Century   (3 s.h.)

Explores the scholarly literature on the history of religion in the United States in the 20th century. Focuses on members of New Religious Movements; on Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics; on race and ethnicity; on diasporas; on gender; and on changing concepts of the nature of "religion."

8002. American Religious History   (3 s.h.)

Discusses and analyzes a selected topic in American religious history.

8003. American Religious History II   (3 s.h.)

Discusses and analyzes a selected topic in American religious history.

8004. The History of Ethics   (3 s.h.)

A general survey of the development of human ethics in history. While all of the most prominent religions and civilizations will be looked at, the course may concentrate more on some than others in accord with the expertise of the instructor, including especially contemporary themes in the study and application of ethical standards.

8005. Interreligious Dialogue   (3 s.h.)

Investigates the theoretical issues that underlie all interreligious dialogue as well as examples of actual dialogue in progress, the latter partly according to student interest in those dialogues. The former will include analyses of what precisely is meant by dialogue and of the philosophical, theological, religious, psychological, "spirituality," and "praxis" aspects of interreligious dialogue, in other words, the presuppositions and implications of such dialogue.

8006. Methodological Options in the Study of Religion   (3 s.h.)

Focuses on one of the currently available methodologies used in academic discourses on religion, enabling the students to evaluate this methodology and compare and contrast it with others.

8007. The Body: East and West   (3 s.h.)

This course assumes a comparative approach to investigate how we understand our body, how we live our body, and how our body changes through the practice of self-cultivation. It will first examine some of the traditional Western concepts of the body (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Merleau-Ponty). Then it will turn to the study of the body as it has been articulated in the Eastern intellectual tradition (e.g. Samkhya Karika, Patanjali’s Yogasutra, and Yuasa Yasuo’s The Body, Self-Cultivation and Ki-Energy).

8008. Jung and the East   (3 s.h.)

This comparative course delves into the similarities and differences between Jung’s major theories developed after 1928 (e.g., archetypes, collective unconscious, synchronicity) and the representative Eastern theories of Taoist, Buddhist, and Kundalini Yoga traditions.

8009. Religious Experience: Body and Meditation   (3 s.h.)

This course examines the nature, the variety, the depths, and the meanings of religious experiences with the view to advancing a third alternative position to the two prominent contemporary philosophical positions which W. T. Stace and Steven Katz offered on this topic. As a preparation for this task, the course will first review some of the major classical texts, both Western and Eastern (e.g., Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, Early Buddhism, Kundalini Yoga, and Shintoism), so that the student will become familiar with the scope and the depth of the subject.

8100. Topics in Buddhist Thought   (3 s.h.)

Various topics in the Buddhist thought of Japan, China, or India. May treat one, two, or all three of these traditions on a given topic and also compare them with parallel Western thought.

8201. Chinese Philosophy and Religion   (3 s.h.)

Introduces Chinese philosophical and religious traditions. Chinese philosophy and religion have a long history, but this course focuses on Pre-Qin moral philosophy (Confucianism and Mohism), Neo-Confucian moral philosophy, the religious aspect of Confucianism, and philosophical and religious Daoism.

8300. Topics in Japanese Buddhism   (3 s.h.)

Provides an in-depth study of one or more topics in Japanese Buddhism. May cover any of the major Japanese Buddhist thinkers such as Kukai, Dogen, Shinran, Myoe, Hakuin, Takuan, and Nishida. Methodological orientation is philosophical.

8301. Kyoto School   (3 s.h.)

We will be reading for the course some of the major thinkers belonging to the Kyoto School, such as Nishida Keiji, Miki Kiyoshi, and Abe Masao. The thematic focus of the course falls on the understanding of the meaning of nothingness (both relative and absolute) from a philosophical as well as a depth-psychological viewpoint, while questioning the traditional formulation of ontology from an East Asian perspective.

8400. Topics in Biblical Studies   (3 s.h.)

Research and discussion on a selected topic or topics in the biblical studies, including either the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, or both, as well as a consideration of the relationship of that literature to other writings, including the apocryphal and pseudepigraphic.

8401. Race, Gender, Class and Ethnicity in Ancient Near East   (3 s.h.)

Against the background of the substantial work done in recent years in biblical racial and gender studies, this course explores the ancient Near Eastern, and specifically biblical, origins of diversity and religious nationalism in terms of race, gender, class, and ethnicity.  The focus will be on how these apply to particular biblical texts that involve gender, ethnic, and class confrontations.

8402. Violence in Ancient Religion: Pagan, Christian, and Jewish, 50 CE-500 CE   (3 s.h.)

Explores examples of coercion, violence, and war resulting primarily from religious motivations within the political framework of the Roman Empire. The rubrics of violence in the cause of freedom, violence due to intolerance, and violence in the cause of ideology will organize the work. The questions of how religious ideas serve the cause of power and how the victims respond in each religion will dominate the seminar. In addition, discovering whether racial or ethnic biases skewed perceptions and inspired conflicts will be important throughout. In order to do this, we must look at the new studies of contemporary scholars who explore definitions of self-identity in antiquity. Who is a “Jew,” a “Greek,” a “Roman,” and a “barbarian”? Finally, analyzing the range of acts, from ignorant prejudice to violence sanctioned by the state through legislation, will aid in the task of situating the phenomena in antiquity within the context of contemporary theories on the problem.

8403. Holocaust and Representation   (3 s.h.)

Building on works by Saul Friedlander, Sidra Ezrahi, James Young, and others, this course raises questions about what it means to represent and re-member the Holocaust, focusing on issues of the aesthetic, memory, and the labor of representation. What do art, film, and literature enable in relation to legacies of communal destruction and trauma, and what do they foreclose? Other topics will include: the construction of historical narratives (whose stories? whose texts?), the art of fascism, nazi culture, and questions about the ongoing labor of memory, testimony, and artistic production.

8405. Women in Ancient Christianity   (3 s.h.)

Explores the wide variety of women’s participation in and experiences of early Christianity, from the first century to the fifth.  Pays close attention to extent primary evidence and the varieties of ways that this body of evidence is used and interpreted in both theological and historical contexts. Hence the course will combine historical and hermeneutical issues in contemporary scholarship.

8501. Modern Catholicism   (3 s.h.)

Focuses on reform movements within the Catholic Church from the 18th-century Enlightenment forward, concentrating particularly on the most recent times. These reform movements, climaxing in Vatican Council II (1962-1965), constitute a Copernican turn in Catholic history and involve at least five dimensions: 1) the turn toward the historical, 2) the turn toward the world, 3) the turn toward freedom/democracy, 4) the turn toward reform, and 5) the turn toward dialogue. Key thinkers include De Chardin, Küng, Schillebeeckx, Haring, and Ruether.

8502. History of Christian Ethics   (3 s.h.)

Focuses on the four main figures of Christian tradition in the West: Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin. Includes reading of original texts in English translation. Also includes modern works by Troeltsch and Weber.

8503. Issues in Theology   (3 s.h.)

Deals with one or more issues in modern and/or contemporary religious theology.

8504. Christology in the Ancient Church   (3 s.h.)

Explores the emergent ambiguities with regard to the identity of Jesus Christ during the 2nd through the 4th centuries. In order to understand the common person's view of Christ, we shall read apocryphal acts, lives of saints, sayings of the desert mothers, sayings of the desert fathers, and martyrologies. In addition, we shall examine primary texts of authors known as the Fathers, such as Tertullian, Irenaeus of Lyon, Melito of Sardis, Origen, Eusebius, Basil of Caesarea, Macrina, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianus. One of the goals is to understand the debates and differences with the context of institutional monastic and ecclesiastical growth.

8600. Topics in Islamic History   (3 s.h.)

Offers one of several topics in classical Muslim history, including the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the early development of the political system and Muslim law, Muslim theories of history, and selected trends in modern Muslim history.

8601. Islamic Jurisprudence   (3 s.h.)

Examines the Muslim legal prescriptions regarding women and war, the two issues for which Islam is most attacked today both in academia and the media. It will consider both the classical law and recent developments. Special attention will be given to the question of flexibility versus rigidity in the law, as well as to the type of society envisioned by the proponents of different interpretations. Current trends and possible future outcomes will be considered. The changing status and role of the religious responsum or fatwa will be probed as well, leading to a discussion of the development of religious authority in Islam.

8602. Islamic Mysticism   (3 s.h.)

Examines the sources, rise and development of Muslim spirituality. The ideal of life and worship in Islam will be studied as the framework for Muslim mysticism. Then the development of spiritual life and thought will be examined, and especially the contribution of noted individuals. Finally, Sufi orders and their role in the life of Muslim society will be considered.

8603. Islam in Global Perspective   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on contemporary Islam in a global context. It will consider the development of Islamic networks and the emergence of transnational identities among Muslims from places like Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. West African Muslim migrants among other groups will be examined for how they respond to the political, economic, and cultural processes of globalization.

8604. African American Islam  (3 s.h.)

This graduate seminar is designed to introduce students to the growing scholarly literature on African American Islam. It will explore the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in light of the various ways African American Muslims negotiate their identities and religious practices.

8700. Topics in African Religions   (3 s.h.)

Covers a selected topic or topics in the study of African religions, including aome or all of the following: African traditional religions, new African religions, and forms of Christianity and other major religions as practiced and elaborated by Africans.

8701. African Ideas of God   (3 s.h.)

Introduces the conception of God in African traditional spirituality and the implications of such a “theology” on African understanding of humanity. Explores African creation myths, the names and attributes of God in African languages, what people expect from God, and what God expects from people. In doing this, we will address African ethics or the conception of good and evil among Africans. The relationship of African concepts of God with Islam and Christianity will also be discussed, including the beliefs of African practitioners of those religions.

8702. Religions of the African Diaspora   (3 s.h.)

Looks at the historical development of African-derived or African-inspired religions in the African diaspora. Particular emphasis will be placed on Camdomblé in Brazil, Vodou in Haiti, and Santería in Cuba, as well as on communities practicing these and related religious traditions in the United States.

8703. Africana Philosophical Thought   (3 s.h.)

Explores a variety of philosophical and metaphilosophical problems in recent African philosophy through an examination of the treatment of the concept of "invention" in the work of several influential philosophers and social theorists.

8704. Foucault in Africana Thought   (3 s.h.)

Examines the two classic phases of Foucault’s thought, archaeological and genealogical, and explores the impact they have had on the construction of race, gender, sexual orientation, disciplinarity, secularization, and politics as configured in Africana thought. Includes close readings of Foucault and his impact on the thought of Africana thinkers such as V. Y. Mudimbe, Cornel West, Molefi Asante, Sylvia Wynter, Paget Henry, Joy James, and B. Anthony Bogues.

8800. Special Topics in Religion   (3 s.h.)

A series of special topics in the field of religion, including some of those taught by visiting faculty. Content will vary from semester to semester. Specifics will appear in department course description booklet each semester.

8810. Special Topics in Religion   (3 s.h.)

A series of special topics in the field of religion, including some of those taught by visiting faculty. Content will vary from semester to semester. Specifics will appear in department course description booklet each semester.

9087. Teaching Practicum in Religion Studies   (3 s.h.)

This course is for students who are beginning to teach religious studies in a university setting and wish to think about and develop their teaching skills. The course will help teachers in constructing the syllabus, conducting class discussions, designing lectures, getting the most out of student evaluations, using office hours effectively, creating teaching portfolios, working as a teaching assistant, grading, and problem solving around student interactions. The class will involve classroom visits and peer critiques, practical exercises and discussion about problems as they arise, so students should enroll during a semester when they are actually engaged in teaching.

9182. Individual Study   (1 s.h.)

9282. Individual Study   (3 s.h.)

9382. Individual Study   (3 s.h.)

9994. Preliminary Examination Prep   (1 to 6 s.h.)

9996. Master's Thesis Research  (1 to 6 s.h.)

Capstone MA course.  Student explores a specific topic with his or her MA advisor and writes a thesis of approximately 50 pages.

9998. Pre-Dissertation Research   (1 to 6 s.h.)

9999. Dissertation Research   (1 to 6 s.h.)