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Fall 2009 Course Atlas


We make every effort to provide correct information. Please confirm course details on OPUS. For questions and to alert us to any discrepancies, contact department webmaster: Joy Wasson.


REL 100-000; REL 100-001; REL 190-000; REL 205-000; REL 210R-000; REL 210R-001; REL 210R-002; REL 212-000; REL 215; REL 260-000; REL 300-00P; REL 302-000; REL 308-000; REL 310-000; REL 311-000; REL 315-000; REL 322-000; REL 324-000; REL 329-000; REL 334-000; REL 350-000; REL 353R-000; REL 354R-000; REL 354R-001; REL 357R-000; REL 358R-000; REL 365-000; REL 370R-000; REL 370R-001; REL 372-000; REL 380R; REL 472R; REL 495R; REL 497R


REL 100-000: Introduction to Religions: Christianity and Islam

Richard C. Martin, Mon 6:00-8:30 pm, Max: 30 (space reserved for freshmen)

Content: The course will examine the historical encounter of Christianity and Islam around the world, from the seventh century to the present. Special attention will be given to their encounter in Spain, the Crusades, and both conflicts and interfaith relationships in modern times.

Texts: TBA

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: none

***Although content is different in REL 100 courses, you may not repeat for credit.***

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REL 100-001: Introduction to Religions: Buddhism & Christianity

Staff, TT 8:30-9:45 am, Max: 25 ** SORRY THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED**

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REL 190-000: Freshman Seminar: Contemplation and Protest

Wendy Farley, TT 1:00-2:15 pm, Max: 18

Content: Meditation is often thought of as the opposite of social protest, as if it were a merely private and personal withdrawal from the world. This class will explore the contemplative texts and practices as forms of cultural critique, both in early Christianity and our own time. We will begin with an analysis of our own consumer culture and investigate contemplation as a method for getting critical leverage on our own assumptions. We will then turn to medieval women whose contemplative writings mounted a strong criticism of the church. We will return to the modern period to see how theology and practice intertwine to challenge dehumanizing features of our culture. The class will combine classical texts, literature, film, and meditation practice.

Texts:

  • Vincent Miller, Consuming Culture
  • Simone Weil, Waiting for God
  • Mechthild of Magdeburg, The Flowing Light of the Godhead
  • Julian of Norwich, Showings
  • Louise Erdrich, The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No-Horse
  • Richard Rohr, Things Hidden

Assessment: The primary focus will be to further develop interpretive skills, so participation in class discussion will be important. In addition there will be regular (ungraded) responses to the reading, 2-3 short papers, and a term project which will include a 10-12 page paper.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 205-000: Biblical Literature ** SORRY THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED**

David Lambert, MWF 8:30-9:20 am, (same as JS 205-000), Max: 30 (REL 20/JS 10) ** SORRY THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED**

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REL 210R-000: Classic Religious Texts: The New Testament and Early Christian Literature

Vernon Robbins, TT 10:00-11:15 am, Max: 20

Content: The approach to the New Testament and early Christian texts in this class is based on 21st century methods of the study of religion. The emphasis is on the meaning of biblical and other sacred texts in their first setting, but there is also an examination of their relation to the life of religious communities today. The course includes materials on Jewish and Hellenistic developments at the time of New Testament and early Christian texts which are considered essential for understanding earliest Christianity. The assumption is that the New Testament came into being as a collection of literature that is open to the normal methods of literary, historical, social, cultural, rhetorical, and theological investigation. In particular, there is an assumption that the story about Jesus in the gospels is the product of a believing and worshipping community of religious people.

Texts:

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Harris, Stephen L. The New Testament: A Student’s Introduction. Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.
  • Robbins, Vernon K. Exploring the Texture of Texts. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996.

Assessment: The syllabus and special materials will be available on LearnLink. There will be cumulative quizzes and two papers focused on interpretation of texts.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 210R-001: Classic Religious Texts: The Five Books of Moses

William Gilders, MWF 10:40 – 11:30 am, (same as JS 210R-000), Max: 25 (REL 15/JS 10)

Content: The Five Books of Moses; Torah (“Teaching”); Pentateuch (“Five Scrolls”). These are three designations for the collection of biblical books—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—that will be studied in this course. The course will focus on the meaning of these writings in their first setting, ancient Israel, the cultural soil out of which Judaism and Christianity grew. A basic working assumption of the course is that these ancient Israelite writings are open to the normal scholarly methods of literary, historical, social, cultural, rhetorical, and ideological investigation. Thus, we will explore the historical background and social context of the books, asking questions about when, where, why, how, and by whom they came to be written and collected together. We will also investigate their literary forms, structures and themes. Prior study of the Bible is not a requirement for taking this course, and no particular religious commitments or beliefs are assumed or required. What is required is openness to exploring new and different ideas, and a willingness to engage in careful, disciplined reading of the biblical documents.

Texts:

  • Jewish Publication Society Tanakh translation of the Hebrew Bible
  • Richard Elliot Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (HarperCollins, 1997)

Assessment: Graded course work will consist of three short papers (approx. 1500 words each), a midterm test, a final examination, and several short quizzes (announced and “pop”).

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 210R-002: Classic Religious Texts: Texts and Contexts

Thee Smith, TT 10:00-11:15 am, Max: 18

Content: In this course we correlate some key religious classics of Western civilization with a variety of contemporary texts and materials in order to engage them in our diverse modern and postmodern contexts. Our method of correlation is simple: we persistently pair a classic text with contemporary readings including some video and film. The result is a highly rewarding encounter with perennial issues of human existence—such course themes as truth and meaning, goodness and value, freedom and domination, reality and false consciousness, spirit vs. matter, God and reality.

Texts: TBA

Sample Classics in Correlation:

  • Homer, The Iliad (selections) re: Simone Weil, The Iliad or The Poem of Force; cf. Virgil, The Aeneid
  • Euripides, Medea re: Toni Morrison, Beloved (text and film); cf. Steven Weisenberger, Modern Medea: A Family Story of Slavery and Child-Murder from the Old South and Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
  • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus re: The Gospel at Colonus, Breuer & Telson adaptation (text and video); cf. René Girard, The Scapegoat
  • Plato, Euthyphro/ Apology/ Crito/ Phaedo ‘The Last Days of Socrates’ re: Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail; cf. René Girard, Job: The Victim of His People
  • The Confessions of St. Augustine re: The Autobiography of Malcolm X (text and film)
  • Pascal, Pensées (selections) re: Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy
  • Martin Buber, I and Thou re: Kant, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone; cf. Freud, The Future of An Illusion and Buber, The Eclipse of God

Assessment: Course evaluations will be based on:

(1) weekly LearnLink (online) entries based on the assigned reading;

(2) midterm presentation on course themes using non-textual media e.g., powerpoint slides, video or film, music, drama or performance (e.g. role play), photography, fine arts, etc.;

(3) final term paper employing our course method of correlating classic texts with our modern or postmodern contexts.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 212-000: Asian Religious Traditions

Tara Doyle, TT 1:00-2:15 pm, Max: 22, TPL ("theory practice learning)

Content: This “theory-practice-learning” (TPL) class is an introduction to a number of prominent texts and associated religious practices found in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of South Asia. Texts include Vedic hymns, selections from the Upanishads, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the Devi-mahatmya, Ashvaghosa’s Buddha-carita, the Satipatthana Sutta, and Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara. Students also witness important rituals and/or festivals at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta and the Thai Temple, practice Hindu yoga and Buddhist meditation, and observe classical Indian dance and Tibetan thangka painting. All these will be studied within historical and contemporary contexts, revealing both the continuity and innovativeness of these two religions.

Texts:

  • Eck, Darsan
  • Feuerstein, Shambhala Guide to Yoga
  • Rosenberg, Breath by Breath
  • Thich Nhat Hanh, Heart of Understanding
  • Two readers of articles, chapters, etc.

Assessment: Class participation (10%), four 2-page reflection papers (20%), and four essays (70%).

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 215: Greek and Roman Religion

Sandra Blakely (same as CL 215), MWF 10:40-11:30

Content: The ancient world was full of gods, from deified ancestors to condescending Olympians: the task of human society was to create productive working relationships with the beings who determined their success, defined their boundaries, and shaped the civic landscape.  This course begins in the prehistoric periods and concludes with the onset of Christianity in Rome; our tools for the investigation are archaeology, ancient texts, and comparative ethnographic evidence.  Ritual types include magic, mystery cults, divination, funerary rites, family cult, civic festivals, and how a man might become a god: along the way, we will examine the relationship between religion, political power, economics, and the landscape.  Evaluations include two midterms, one paper, and a final exam.   

Texts: Required texts: 

  • Mikalson, Ancient Greek Religion
  • Rice and Stambaugh, Sources for the Study of Greek Religion
  • Warrior, Roman Religion: A Sourcebook
  • Scheid, An Introduction to Roman Religion

    Optional:
  • Burkert, Greek Religion
  • Beard, North and Price, Religions of Rome: vol. 1 and 2

A Blackboard site has been established for the course

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: CL 102 (Mythology) or consent of instructor

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REL 260-000: Archaeology and the Bible

Oded Borowski, (Same as MESAS 250/JS 250/BI 650), TT 10:00-11:15, MAX 18 (REL 4/MESAS 6/JS 4/BI 4)

Content: An introduction to the field of Biblical Archaeology with careful examination of theory and methodology. The famous discoveries (inscriptions, architecture) and important sites (Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer, Dan) which form the historical background to some of the biblical stories will be examined as well as issues and topics such as the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac,Jacob), Exodus (Moses,) and settlement of Canaan (Joshua), the kings of Israel and Judah, and more. Other topics that will be studied include daily life, religion and ancient art. There will be a few early evening video screenings on related topics.

Texts:

  • Walter E. Rast, Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology, (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1992)
  • H.G. May, Oxford Bible Atlas, (New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press), 3rd edition
  • The Bible (recommnded Oxford Study Bible)
  • Course Packet

Assessment: Weekly reports (35%), 2 papers (25%+15%); oral reports (25%). This course fulfills the methodology requirements for a Minor in Mediterranean Archaeology.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 300-00P: Interpreting Religion

Bobbi Patterson, MWF 8:30-9:20, Max: 35
(For Permission Number, Contact Religion Dept.: ph. 7-7596) 

Content: How do we think about religion? Is there a common way to talk about religion across cultural divides, or, should we simply concur that religion is like art, where "We can't define it, but we know it when we see it"? This course will take us through the basic theories in the study of religion as "ways of perceiving" this most elusive of phenomena: anthropology, history, text, politics, philosophy, theology, experience, literature, and gender studies. All of these "ways of perceiving" play a crucial role in the way we think "across boundaries" in the study of religion. In this class, students will develop "case" studies they choose that relate particular methods to their central questions.  

We will consider a variety of theoretical voices, asking which are most sympathetic to approach we find useful, which are more distant, and how our preconceptions about religion affect real life attitudes in our work in the field and our daily lives. Do we think religion is primarily politicallly motivated? Experientially based? Does that view affect how we think about members of religious traditions other than our own? In answering these questions, this course will assume that theory is a form of practice: Particularly through working on case studies.  Students will develop skills that will allow them to be practitioners of an art--the art of interpreting religion.

Texts: Primary texts will include works by Rudolph Otto, JZ Smith, WC Smith, Mark C. Taylor, Katie Cannon, and Karen McCarthy Brown, among many others.

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: Permission Required. This course is for Religion majors only. For permission number, please contact the Religion Department office by phone (404-727-7596) or email or drop by Callaway S214.

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REL 302-000: Religions in Colonial India

Paul Courtright, TT 1:00-2:15 pm, Max: 30

Content: The course will examine the transformations of religion during the British colonial period, 1800-1947. This century and a half witnessed important continuities in India’s religious traditions, the emergence of “new religions,” inter-religious encounters, and the complex interplay between religious traditions and nationalist aspirations. The course will focus on Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Sikh, and Christian traditions, broadly defined. Readings will be drawn from primary sources, historical analyses, and visual media.

Texts:

  • Course packet of primary sources.
  • Raymond Williams, Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism
  • Lawrence A. Babb, The Absent Lord
  • David J. Smith, Hinduism and Modernity
  • Sunil Khilnani, The Idea of India
  • Nikky Guninder Kaur Singh, The Birth of the Khalsa

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 308-000: Judaism

William Gilders, MWF 12:50-1:40 pm, (same as JS 308), Max: 25 (REL 15/JS 10)

Content: Judaism—the religion of the Jews—will be studied from an historical perspective that emphasizes its growth and evolution through time in various social, cultural, and political settings. The course will focus on the development of Judaism’s ‘classical,’ pre-Modern expressions from their roots in ancient Israel to the late Middle Ages in the Christian and Islamic worlds, with attention to the history and development of the life and year cycles, ritual practice and liturgy, and major beliefs and theological concepts, including Rabbinic authority, mysticism, pietism, and messianism. Students with a special interest in modern Judaism should take JS/REL309 (Jews and Judaism in Modern Times) instead of or in addition to this course.

Texts:

  • Jewish Publication Society Tanakh (1985)
  • The Complete ArtScroll Siddur (Weekday/Sabbath/Festival)
  • an historical survey textbook on Judaism to-be-announced

Assessment: Regular and punctual attendance, careful preparation, and active participation in class discussion will be essential to success in this course. Graded work will consist of a ‘mid-term’ essay, a final examination, regular content quizzes (scheduled and ‘pop’), and bi-weekly short ‘response papers.’

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 310-000: Modern Buddhism: Religious Identity in Asia & America

Tara Doyle, TT 4:00-5:15 pm, Max: 18

Content: During the last two centuries, many Buddhist communities have been stimulated to forge new religious identities, movements, and organizations in response to rapidly changing, often culturally traumatic, socio-political conditions. This course will investigate some of the ways people from Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, and Tibet have responded to these changes, in their home countries and/or here in the USA. Particular areas of focus will be: the impact of colonialism and orientalist constructions of knowledge on Buddhist communities; Buddhist revival movements and their relationship to nationalist and/or communal struggles; re-workings of the “past” to explain and/or legitimate new religious/cultural forms; the influence of western-style social activism and feminism on Buddhist reform movements; and the ways in which various Asian immigrant and refugee communities have dealt with the dilemma of simultaneously maintaining and adapting their Buddhist traditions while living in the United States. An integral component of this course will be fieldtrips to local Buddhist temples and meditation centers.

Texts:

  • Bond, Buddhist Revival in Sri Lanka
  • Gunesekera, Reef
  • Sangharakshita, Ambedkar and Buddhism
  • Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
  • and a reader of articles.

Assessment: Class participation (10%), 3 Essays (60%), Site visits and presentations (30%).

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 311-000: Early and Medieval Christianity

Staff, MWF 8:30-9:45 am, Max: 20 ** SORRY THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED**

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REL 315-000: The Qur'an

Devin Stewart, TT 11:30-12:45, (same as MESAS 315WR), Max: 20 (5 REL/15 MESAS)

Content: In this course we will examine the text of the Qur'an, the sacred text of Islam and one of the most widely read books in the world, in English translation. Particular attention will be paid to the various genres and literary forms which ppear in the Qur'an, the style and structure of the text, and the relationship of Qur'anic texts with those of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and pre-Islamic Arabian religious traditions.

Texts:

  • The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, M.M. Pickthall
  • Introduction to the Qur'an, W.M. Watt and R. Bell
  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible
  • Course pack

Assessment: There will be three assigned papers (5-7 pages), and regular short written assignments.

Pre-requisites: No particular background in Arabic or Islam is required; experience in close reading or textual analysis will be helpful.

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REL 322-000: Religion and Sexuality

Gary Laderman, TT 11:30-12:45 pm, Max: 60

Content: Like death, sexuality is a biological fact of life—an inescapable reality of the world we live in, a force at work in every nook and cranny of society and culture, found in the home, office, mall, classroom, hospital; imaged on television, computer, theater, and mental screens; aroused at sporting events, clubs, parties, funerals, and weddings.  It is no wonder sex, along with death and health, is of the utmost importance in the world’s religious traditions, most of which seek to regulate and monitor the body generally, but most especially the terms on and by which sexual desires can be fulfilled or transgressed.  Religious traditions thrive on intimacy with and access to the body, its experience of suffering, sorrow, and sickness, as well as rapture, delight, and bliss.  Its obvious and overwhelming role as a primary, primal factor in evolution and communication throughout the animal kingdom makes sexuality even more confounding to humans who are animals but not only animals, a species that makes much more of sexual relations than a biological imperative to secure a fertilized egg. The powers of sex, however, are entangled in phenomena that cannot be reduced to bodily processes, or easily measured with brain-imaging technologies.  How these powers are defined and understood varies across and within cultures but they are never simply neutral and always bear on the sacred.  The intricacies of sexuality in human cultures—its political, economic, mythic, moral, ritual, emotional dimensions—belie any easy generalizations.  This course will explore the connections and intersections linking religion and sexuality across different religious cultures, within the history of Christianity, and in American society in the past and present.

Texts: TBA

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 324-000: The Holocaust

Deborah Lipstadt, TT 11:30-12:45, (same as JS 324/HIST 385), Max: 85 (REL 30/JS 30/HIST 25)

Content: This course will examine the history of the annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazis. We will trace the roots of European antisemitism; the rise of Nazism and Hitler’s seizure of power; the evolution of Nazi policy toward the Jews; the Nazi policy towards the disabled, mentally handicapped, and carriers of genetic diseases; Germany policy towards the Roma and Sinti; the response of the German Jewish community to the policy of persecution; the reaction of the nations of the world to Nazi antisemitism; resistance by Jews to persecution; the experience of those in the concentration and death camps; and the attempts—however feeble—to rescue Jews.

Texts:

  • Dwork and van Pelt, Holocaust: A History
  • Wiesel, Night
  • Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale (Volumes I and II)
  • Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
  • Mahoney, In Pursuit of Justice: Examining the Evidence of the Holocaust
  • Niewyk, The Holocaust: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation
  • Lipstadt, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier

Films:

  • Triumph of the Will
  • Healing by Killing
  • Designers of Death
  • America and the Holocaust
  • Partisans of Vilna
  • Weapons of the Spirit

Assessment: There will be two in-class exams and a final. Students will write three short reaction papers. Class participation will be taken into account in determining the final grade. You are expected to come to class fully prepared to participate in class discussion which will be based on the assigned readings.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 329-000: Religion and Ecology

Bobbi Patterson, MWF 9:35-10:25, (same as ENVS 329-000), Max: 18 (REL 9/ENVS 9)

Content:  This class explores the relationship between nature, religion and culture. Examining Christian and Buddhist conceptions of nature, including definitions of wilderness, sacredness, and place, the course will explore how religious conceptions frame relationships and responsibilities among the living earth, plants, animals, and humans.  We also will explore contemporary understandings and constructions of how we know/think about and interact (perceptions and practices) with nature and religion from Feminist, Global Ethic and Deep Ecology perspectives. There will be opportunities for the class to develop consciousness of "place" including relationships of "place" and sustainability at Emory.

Texts:

  • Rosemary Radford Reuther:  Gaia and God
  • Forest Meditations
  •  Selected Texts from the Early Christian Monastic Writings
  •  Sally McFague:  The Body of God
  •  Selections from:  Dharma Gaia
  •  Selections from Joanna Macy:  Coming Back to Life
  •  Gary Snyder:  Practice of the Wild
  •  Other selected articles

Assessment: Assignments will include an 8-10 page topic paper (with references and footnotes) and a small research project outline using materials from Emory's archives.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 334-000: Dance and Embodied Knowledge in the Indian Context

Joyce Flueckiger/Sasikala Penumarthi, MWF 10:40-11:30 am, Max: 18, TPL ("theory practice learning)

Content: This is an interdisciplinary course in religion, dance, and South Asian studies. The course will provide a context in which to experience and analyze the nature of embodied knowledge and the creative power of performance, particularly in the Indian context.

The focus of this class is to explore ways in which the body knows and participates in ritual and religious knowledge. We will pay particular attention to differences in the ways in which the body and dance are perceived in myth, sculpture/image, aesthetic theories, and dance itself. One class period (Fridays) will be spent learning basic movements of Kuchipudi classical dance under the instruction of master dancer, choreographer, and teacher Sasikala Penumarthi. The other two class periods will frame dance movement with discussions of Indian aesthetic theories, Hindu mythology (Kuchipudi dance choreography draws from Hindu mythological tradition), and western performance theories. We will consider "how and what performance creates" in practice, rather than just theory. No dance experience is necessary, but full participation is required.

Texts: may include:

  • Rasa: Performing the Divine in India (Schwartz 2005)
  • Janet O'Shea, At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global State (2007)
  • Selections from the Natyasastra [foundational dance manual of Indian classical dance practice & theory]
  • a course packet of articles on Hindu mythology, performance, & dance theory

Assessment: Four short response papers, mid-term and final exams, attendance at two out-of-class performances of Indian dance, and class participation (including dance classes).

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 350-000: Jesus and the Gospels

Vernon Robbins, TT 1:00-2:15 pm, Max: 30

Content: Differing views of Jesus existed during the first two centuries as well as today. Discoveries of lost ancient writings and excavations of forgotten archeological sites during the last fifty years have brought these differing views to light for scholar and general reader alike. This course will begin with the New Testament gospels and work progressively through ten or twelve Christian gospels and fragments of gospels written during the first two or three centuries. While studying these gospels, students also will read modern studies and debates about the historical Jesus and the different faces of Jesus in early Christianity and in the present.

Texts:

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Robert J. Miller (ed.), The Complete Gospels. Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 1994.
  • Daniel J. Scholz, Jesus in the Gospels and Acts. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 2009.
  • Robbins, Vernon K. Exploring the Texture of Texts: A Guide to Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996.

Assessment:Each student will write two papers focused on interpreting selected passages in gospels both inside and outside the New Testament. In addition, there will be cumulative quizzes. The class will use LearnLink.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 353R-000: Mystical Thought and Practice: Non-Duality and Altered Consciousness

John D. Dunne, TT 4:00-5:15 pm, Max: 18

Content: In many spiritual traditions, practitioners seek a type of transformation that involves a radical transformation in the way the one experiences the world. The key to that transformation is recognizing—and realizing—that one’s current experiences are, moment by moment, caught up in a type of illusion. More specifically, that illusion makes it seem as if one is looking out at a world which is separate from oneself, such that Self and World are completely separated in a divide known as duality. These traditions thus seek to move beyond that illusory duality by cultivating a radically non-dual experience in which the distinction between Self and World disappears. Sometimes that non-dual experience is expressed in language involving a notion of the divine, sometimes other language is used. Techniques for developing the non-dual experience also range widely, from paradoxical language to yogic techniques of body and breath manipulation. In this course, we will explore the notion of non-duality and the cultivation of non-dual experience through various traditions, including Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. We will also examine the more recent resurgence of non-dual philosophies and practices, such as those found in the writings of Ken Wilber, and seek to understand how they relate to more traditional forms.

Texts: TBA

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 354R-000: Ethics: Human Goodness

Pamela Hall, TT 10:00-11:15 am, Max: 12

Content: This seminar will explore a single theme: what is human goodness? How should we best describe it? How best represent it? What sorts of lives are good lives? My approach is broadly philosophical. We will study and talk about together a range of texts in order to consider our questions about goodness, ethics, and forms of life. Some texts will be philosophical and theological, some literary, some cinematic.

Texts: Tentative: We will read selections from thinkers past and present considering good and beautiful lives. We will read Plato’s Apology and the Phaedo on the death of Socrates, Augustine’s Confessions, Dorothy Day’s autobiographical writing, and Tracy Kidder’s biography of physician Paul Farmer. We will examine philosophical discussions of saints and goodness, including Iris Murdoch and Susan Wolf. We will give time as well to artists’ visions of human goodness, including the films Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and Frozen River.

Assessment: Requirements are active and engaged participation in discussions; a weekly journal; and one essay of 7-8 pages.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 354R-001: Jewish Ethics

Michael Berger, MWF 10:40 – 11:30 am, (same as JS 354R), Max: 30 (15 REL/15 JS)

Content: As a discipline, ethics is the way one analyzes a situation and reaches a conclusion as to what one should do. As such, ethics must be done from within a particular tradition, maintaining certain assumptions and following unique patterns of thought. This course is meant to introduce the student to what ethical discourse is like in the Jewish tradition: what sources are used, how arguments are constructed, and how one weighs competing arguments. Through the analysis done largely in class, students will learn the skills involved in doing Jewish ethics, and actively participate in the process. Topics to be discussed are social ethics, such as lying and self-sacrifice, and sexual ethics, such as pre-marital sex and homosexuality. A final paper on medical ethics is the student's own attempt at writing Jewish responsum.

Texts:

  • Sourcebooks of primary texts (in translation)

Assessment: Two in-class exams, final paper on a topic approved by the instructor. One special project done in groups. Active participation in class is crucial, and is part of the grade.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 357R-000: Religion and Conflict: Civil Discourse on Intractable Conflicts

Thee Smith, TT 2:30-3:45 pm, Max: 18

Content: This course meets a critical need in the available resources for dealing with intractable conflicts—conflicts that prove incapable of resolution and that expose a shared need on campus as elsewhere. Like most citizens students, faculty and staff find certain conflicts—domestic and international—too volatile for discussion lest fractured relationships result and prevent us from working well together in academic settings. Yet such silences belie the most prized freedoms of academic discourse, such as the discipline and civility with which we claim to conduct ‘pure’ research as well as applied research in the public interest. No exemption from the general liability can be claimed on our campuses where it is also true that “our inability to deal with a broad range of problems is largely attributable to the destructive ways in which the issues are being addressed . . . and raises a crucial and increasingly controversial question—what exactly do we mean by ‘civility’?” (Guy & Heidi Burgess, “The Meaning of Civility;” 1997, Conflict Research Consortium, Univ. of Colorado, www.colorado.edu/conflict/civility.htm )

Religion in particular raises the issue of civility because it is often blamed as a cause of conflict but in the very context, one leader acknowledges, religious leaders themselves are uniquely able to intervene and provide a catalyst for “conflict transformation, reconciliation and social justice.” In that connection this researcher offers a user guide especially compiled for such leaders caught in difficult or intractable conflicts (www.beyondintractability.org/user_guides/religious_leaders_and_workers/?nid=5305); Jonathan Smith, “A User Guide to the Beyond Intractability Website, Built Specially for Religious Leaders and Workers”). This course attempts to provide a similar resource for the Emory campus and its local or regional constituencies. The result will be a curricular anthology comprising a spectrum of faculty presenters across the university, each of whom will also offer an annotated bibliography that addresses the core course question: “What is civility, and what perspectives or practices would foster civil discourse on intractable conflict(s) x, y, or z involving religious communities and their leaders?”

Texts: TBA

Prospective Faculty-Staff-Student Presenters (preliminary): Victoria Armour-Hileman, Matthew Bersagel-Braley, Elizabeth Bounds, Oded Borowski, Robert Nick Fabian, Thomas Flores, Shalom Goldman, Susan Henry-Crowe, David Montgomery, Gordon Newby, Wendy Newby, Laurie Patton, Edward Queen, Theophus “Thee” Smith, Ofra Yeglin.

Assessment: Course evaluations will be based on the quality of the following assignments archived on LearnLink:

  • Course log reviewing a representative set of guest presentations
  • Micro-teaching presentation by each class member and at least two reviews of other class members’ presentations
  • Term paper that sorts and evaluates a representative set of responses to the core course question.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 358R-000: Religion and Healing: Religious Literacy/Healthcare

Joyce Flueckiger, Tues 2:30-5:30 pm, (Same as GH 590R/SR 658), Max: 21 (REL 7/GH 7/SR 7), New Psychology Bldg, Room 250

Content: The goal of this interdisciplinary course is to introduce terminologies, analytic frameworks, and resources for cultural and religious literacy to students interested in the intersection of religion, health and healing - including those training to be in health-related fields. Studying this intersection through the framework of the academic study of religion will help students to recognize cues for where religion "matters" and how it functions in health contexts of the individual, family, and community, and to develop a critical empathy, a way of thinking, which identifies and takes religion seriously. We will be learning many specifics of particular religious traditions, but the emphasis will be on learning to recognize where and how religion plays itself out in contexts of healing/health. Topics will include, among others: indigenous categories of illness and health; sources of religious authority affecting health/healing/health policy decision-making; impact of gender on healing/health; religious frameworks and rituals at beginning and end of life. We will also read three full-length ethnographies based in particular religious/cultural communities.

Students will pursue their own interests through a research project, based either on fieldwork in Atlanta or on secondary materials.

This interdisciplinary offering was developed as part of the Religion & Health Collaborative. It will be an undergraduate course in the College and also listed in Public Health and School of Theology. Each discipline will contribute unique perspectives to the study.

Texts: Possible Texts:

  • Selections from Linda Barnes and Susan Sered, eds., Religion and Healing in America
  • William LaFleur, Liquid Life: Abortion and Buddhism in Japan
  • Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
  • Joyce Flueckiger, In Amma's Healing Room: Gender & Vernacular Islam in South India
  • Reading packet

Assessment: Requirements: Class participation and in-class exercises. Weekly one-page responses to readings. 12-15 page research paper and oral presentation.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 365-000: Buddhist Philosophy: Wisdom, Meditation, and Ethical Engagement

Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Thurs 2:30-5:15 pm, Max: 20

Content: This course offers an opportunity to study not only Tibetan Buddhist philosophy of reality, but also the way it informs the individual’s everyday life and actions as he or she engages as a member of society. It draws on the extensive resources of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that deal with the techniques and methods for enhancing an understanding of reality and cultivating affective qualities such as compassion, tolerance, and altruism.

Each year Emory University invites a Distinguished Visiting Tibetan Scholar for a one-semester long residency to teach a course and give lectures. This Fall’s distinguished scholar, Prof. Geshe Yeshe Thapkhe, is one of the most senior and preeminent scholars and meditation masters of the Tibetan tradition, and will present the subjects of the course in a traditional pedagogical style. Opportunities to engage in meditation practice will also be possible given student interest. Preliminary readings and lectures will place the subject in the wider context of Buddhist contemplative theory and practice.

Texts:

  • William Hart, The Art of Living. Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka
  • Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism
  • Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations
  • H.H. the Dalai Lama, Practicing Wisdom

Texts: TBA

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 370R-000: Special Topics: Religion and Culture: Religion and Fantasy

Eric Reinders, MWF 2:00-2:50 pm, (same as CPLT 389-000), Max: 30 (20 REL/10 CPLT)

Content: We will consider the fantastic—the “normally impossible”—in religious stories and fantasy fiction. What happens to a religious story when it is read as fiction? What happens to fictions when we read them as religious stories? In what sense are stories like Lord of The Rings, Princess Mononoke or Hellboy “religious”? What is the function of truth in all this? Coleridge wrote of the “willing suspension of disbelief;” Tolkien wrote that when we are “enchanted” by a story, we leave the “primary world” and live in a “secondary world.” We will explore this movement between this real world and fantasy worlds, with its implications for our identity and self-transcendence. Other themes include violence, heroism, iconography, nostalgia and technology. We will read a selection of texts including comics and anime, and draw from various fantasy and fan cultures, modern and pre-modern. Since we will start with discussion of masks and assumed identities, attendance for at least one day at DragonCon (September 4-7; www.dragoncon.org) is highly encouraged.

Texts: may include:

  • Lord Dunsany, The King of Elfland’s Daughter
  • Susan J. Napier, Anime: From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle
  • David Loy & Linda Goodhew, The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons: Buddhist Themes in Modern Fantasy
  • a selection of texts by Tolkien, Chuang Tzu, Gerard Jones, and others.

Assessment: Evaluation will be based on active participation, an exam early in the semester, several short written assignments, a take-home final essay, and a research paper (first draft and final version). This is a heavily discussion-based course.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 370R-001: Special Topics: Religion and Culture: Anthropology of Modern Religion

Don Seeman, TT 4:00-5:15 pm, (same as JS 370-001/ANT 385-000), Max: 30 (14 REL/8 JS/8 ANT)

Content: This course takes an ethnographic and anthropological approach to the study of contemporary religion. We will examine religious communities in the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist traditions plus a few others. Students will also be encouraged to do their own mini-ethnography, and to think comparatively about religion in its social and cultural contexts. We will focus on methodology as well as theory and on great readings. We will consider what makes religion a nearly universal human phenomenon.

Texts: TBA

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 372-000: Special Topics: Classical Texts and Religious Thought: Akeda: The Binding of Isaac

David Blumenthal, TT 2:30 – 3:45 pm, (same as JS 370-000), Max: 18 (9 REL/9 JS)

Content: The Akeda is arguably one of the most important stories in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition. It is the root of God’s promise to the Jewish people of land and of forgiveness of sin, the adumbration of the crucifixion of Jesus, and the story of the chosenness of Ishmael. We will study the basic text carefully and then take a deep look at the rabbinic interpretations. The students will teach the rest of the semester as we study the Akeda in Christianity and Islam, as well as in art, music, literature, and feminist revisionings.

Texts:

  • Bible, any translation; best: Tanakh, Jewish Publication Society.
  • S. Spiegel, The Last Trial.
  • Packet of midrashim (to be distributed).

Reserve:

  • D. Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest (theology).
  • E. Wiesel, Messengers of God (69-97) (theology).
  • D. Blumenthal, “Confronting the Character of God” (theology).
  • J. Levenson, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son (theology).
  • Review of Levenson, Death and Resurrection, by D. Blumenthal (theology).
  • H. Fisch, Poetry With a Purpose (literature).
  • N. Sarna, “The Binding of Isaac” (historical).
  • D. Levenson, “Child Sacrifice: Deviation or Norm” (historical).
  • P. Trible, Texts of Terror (feminist).
  • S. Heschel, “Jesus as Theological Transvestite” (feminist).
  • E. Umansky, “Re-Visioning Sarah” (feminist).
  • C. Thompson, “Imagining Sarah”(feminist).

Assessment: This is a reflection-intensive class. Very active class participation is expected plus one final paper.

Pre-requisites: none

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REL 380R: Internship in Religion: “Emory as Place: Living an Ethic of Sustainability”

Bobbi Patterson, Tentative: Wed 4:00-4:50 , (equivalent ENVS credit given) NOTE: 2 credit hours (more hrs negotiable), Non-Majors Welcome, Max: 12

** Permission only - contact Prof. Patterson **

Special Fall ’09 GREEN Offering

  • Ready to Explore and Teach Others about Sustainability at Emory?
  • Eager to Design Field Experiences for First Year Students Acquainting them with Basic Concepts of Sustainability Applied in Emory’s Forests, Streams, History, and Culture?
  • Committed to Living a Sustainable Ethics on Campus while Reaching Out in Service Partnerships with Atlanta Neighborhoods?
  • Want to Learn and Teach Others About the Ecosystems of this Bio-Region?

Content: This Fall’s Internship Course offers students a two-credit option (additional credits may be requested) to create an experiential learning program with field activities for first year students living in the New Sustainability-Themed Residence Halls (by McDonough Field).

Teaching new students at Emory what it means to belong to the Emory bioscape and our responsibilities to live sustainably, interns will begin a new venture in integrated learning at Emory.

Serving as peer mentors, students will study and introduce first year students to the following topics: water, power/electricity, biodiversity in the Piedmont (human, biotic, and abiotic), and recycling. Approaching these topics through the academic study of sustainability, ethics, and religion, interns will create and implement intellectual content modules, experience-based exercises, and service opportunities.

Classroom content also will address mentoring through educational sharing and service and skills development for designing effective learning modules including information-sharing projects, hikes, field identification, campus service, and community outreach. Projects could include woods walks in Emory’s forests, invasive species removal, visiting sites like The Chattahoochee River Trails and the Atlanta Water Works Plant, creating and maintaining a contemplative garden, and learning basic mindfulness practices while engaged in natural settings. Service partnerships will involve organizations such as Volunteer Emory, the Office of Sustainability and Emory as Place, and the Office of University Community Partnerships, emphasizing environmental education and action.

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REL 472R: Topics in Religion: Theologies of the Grotesque: Kierkegaard and Kafka

Jill Robbins, TT 1:00-2:15 pm, (same as CPLT 490), Max: 15 (5 REL/10 CPLT)

Content: This seminar focuses on the topic of the broken engagement in Kierkegaard and Kafka and its intertwining with theological questions. We will attend especially to Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and Repetition in relation to the history of biblical interpretation. We will read stories and journal entries by Kafka, The Trial and Parables and Paradoxes, and consider his rewriting of New Testament parable from the point of view of the unredeemed. Both authors will allow us to explore the way in which literary and religious texts pose questions within and to continental philosophy. Requirements: two ten-to-twelve page papers.

Texts: TBA

Assessment: TBA

Pre-requisites: TBA

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REL 495R: Directed Reading (honors)  or

REL 495RWR: Directed Reading (honors) 

Faculty, (Permission of Instructor Required)

Content:  Independent research for senior major and joint major students selected to participate in the department's Honors program.  Readings on special topics in Religion as arranged between individual students and a specific member of the Department who consents to guide the student in her/his study, arrange requirements and appointments. 

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REL 497R: Directed Reading 

Faculty, (Permission of Instructor Required)

Content: Readings on special topics in Religion as arranged between individual students and a specific member of the Department who consents to guide the student in her/his study, arrange requirements and appointments.

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