Religion

REBECCA CHOPP, Professor*
YVONNE P. CHIREAU, Professor
STEVEN P. HOPKINS, Professor 2
MARK I. WALLACE, Professor
TARIQ al-JAMIL, Associate Professor 3
GWYNN KESSLER, Associate Professor
ELLEN M. ROSS, Associate Professor and Chair
HELEN PLOTKIN, Visiting Assistant Professor (part time)
SARAH KISTLER, Visiting Instructor
CHLOE MARTINEZ, Visiting Instructor (part time)
ANITA PACE, Administrative Assistant

*President of the College.
2 Absent on leave, spring 2014.
3 Absent on leave, 2013–2014.

The Religion Department plays a central role in the Swarthmore academic program. One attraction of the study of religion is the cross-cultural nature of its subject matter. The discipline addresses the complex interplay of culture, history, text, orality, performance, and personal experience. Religion is expressed in numerous ways: ritual and symbol, myth and legend, story and poetry, scripture and theology, festival and ceremony, art and music, moral codes and social values. The department seeks to develop ways of understanding these phenomena in terms of their historical and cultural particularity and in reference to their common patterns.

Courses offered on a regular cycle in the department present the development of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Afro-Caribbean religions, and Christianity as well as the development of religion and religions in the regional areas of the Indian Sub-Continent (Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh), Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam), China (Taoist, Confucian, spirit cults), Japan (Buddhist and Shinto), Africa (Fon, Yoruba, Dahomey, and Kongo), the Middle East (Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Gnostic, Mandean), Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Europe and the Americas (from New World African traditions, Vodou and Candomblé, to Neo Paganism and Civil Religion in North America). Breadth in subject matter is complemented by strong methodological diversity; questions raised include those of historical, theological, philosophical, literary, feminist, sociological, and anthropological interests. This multifaceted focus makes religious studies an ideal liberal arts major.

The Academic Program

Normally, the student who applies for a major or minor in religion will have completed (or be in the process of completing) two courses in the discipline. Majors successfully complete eight credits in religion, including the required Senior Symposium (Religion Café) in the fall of the senior year, to meet departmental and college graduation requirements. Minors complete five credits in the Religion Department and are not required to take the Senior Symposium. For many students, courses numbered Religion 001–013 serve as points of entry for advanced work in the department, and sometimes as prerequisites for higher-level courses, though this is not always the case.

Students come to the study of religion through various courses at various levels, and the department encourages this flexibility and diversity of entry-points by having no introductory course requirements, nor are there required distribution courses. The major in religion is planned in consultation with faculty members in the department, the individual student’s adviser, along with other relevant faculty, who encourage curricular breadth (close work in more than one religious tradition) and methodological diversity in the proposed program. Such breadth and diversity in the program is encouraged at the very beginning in the major’s Sophomore Plan.

The curriculum in the Religion Department is strongly comparative, thematic, and interdisciplinary, so it is relatively easy for students to propose programs that are cross-cultural and trans-disciplinary in scope. Religion majors are encouraged to include study abroad in their programs, planned in collaboration with the department. Often a student’s independent study project done while studying abroad is expanded into a one or two-credit honors or course thesis upon return to Swarthmore.

Course Major and Minor

Requirements

General major requirements are 8 credits in religion, including the Senior Symposium. En route to completing (at least) eight religion credits, students who major in religion are free to take a variety of courses of their own choice, in consultation with the department and their departmental adviser, but are required to enroll in the Senior Symposium: Religion Café, in the fall of the student’s senior year. Successful completion of the symposium will be the culminating requirement for the course major. For all religion majors the symposium will be a one-credit seminar and will include a term essay assignment.

Religion minors will complete (at least) five religion credits, and will not enroll in the Senior Symposium: Religion Café.

Students may choose to write a thesis. Those seniors who desire to complete a one-credit thesis or a two-credit thesis as part of the major will need to obtain permission from a faculty adviser in consultation with the department. For majors, this exercise will not substitute for the Senior Symposium.

With department approval, up to three courses cross-listed but not housed within the Religion Department may count toward the major. Only one such cross-listed course will count toward the minor. Up to two non-Swarthmore courses (i.e., courses taken abroad or domestically) may count toward the major; only one such course is permissible for the minor. The department will accept two courses in language (Arabic, Hebrew, or other proposed research languages) toward the major with the approval of department faculty. The department will accept one course in language (Arabic, Hebrew, or other proposed research languages) toward the minor with the approval of department faculty.

Admission to the Major

The Religion Department considers two areas when evaluating applications: overall GPA and quality of prior work in religion courses. Applicants are sometimes deferred for a term so the department can better evaluate an application for the major (generally it is expected that students will have taken two courses in religion before being accepted into the major/minor). A student’s demonstrated ability to do at least B/B- work in religion is required for admission to the major in course.

Honors Major and Minor

Requirements

All honors majors and minors fulfill requirements for the Course Program. Beyond this step, the normal method of preparation for the honors major will be done through three seminars, although with the consent of the department, a single 2-credit thesis, a 1-credit thesis/course combination, or a combination of two courses (including attachments and study abroad options) can count for one honors preparation. In general, only one such preparation can consist of non-seminar-based studies.

In the religion major, the mode of assessing a student’s three 2-credit preparations in religion (seminars or course combinations, but not 2-credit theses) will be a three-hour written examination set by an external examiner. In addition, with the exception of a thesis preparation, a student will submit to each external examiner a Senior Honors Study paper. Senior Honors Study papers will be between 2500 and 4000 words and will normally be a revision of the final seminar paper or, in the event of a non-seminar mode of preparation, a revised course paper. A final oral examination by the examiner follows the written exam. 2-credit theses will be read and orally examined by an external examiner (with no extra Senior Honors Study requirement).

In the minor, the mode of assessing a student’s one 2-credit preparation in religion will also be a three-hour written examination (and the oral) set by an external examiner, along with a Senior Honors Study paper.
Seminars and the written and oral external examinations are the hallmarks of honors. Seminars are a collaborative and cooperative venture among students and faculty members designed to promote self-directed learning. The teaching faculty evaluates seminar performance based on the quality of seminar papers, comments during seminar discussions, and when required, a final paper. Since the seminar depends on the active participation of all its members, the department expects students to live up to the standards of honors. These standards include: attendance at every seminar session, timely submission of seminar papers, reading of seminar papers before the seminar, completion of the assigned readings prior to the seminar, active engagement in seminar discussions, and respect for the opinions of the members of the seminar. Students earn double-credit for seminars and should expect twice the work normally done in a course. The external examination, both written and oral, is the capstone of the honors experience.

Admission to the Honors Program

Because of the nature of different instructional formats (e.g., seminars) and of the culminating exercise in the Honors Program, the department expects applicants to this program to have at least a B+/B average in religion courses as well as an overall average above the College graduation requirement for admission to the Honors Program.

Application Process for the Major or the Minor

Sophomore applicants: for instructions and forms, please visit the “Sophomore Plan of Study” page under “Academic Advising & Support” on the Dean’s Office website.
Junior and senior applicants: please visit the Registrar’s Office website for the “Change/Add a Major or Minor” form.

Please note: All applications to the religion major or minor should include a one to two paragraph statement that details the applicant’s reason for applying to the department (we encourage curricular breadth and diversity of courses).

All religion majors must take RELG 095 Religion Café: Senior Symposium in the fall of senior year.

Transfer Credit

For policy regarding domestic study or any summer study see the Registrar’s Office and website: Policies, “Transfer Credit Policy - Credit for Work Done Elsewhere.”

Off-Campus Study

In many cases, credit may be earned in the Religion Department for study abroad or at other institutions in this country. Typically, the Religion Department will approve a maximum of 2 religion credits for off-campus study. For international study during the academic year, see the Off-Campus Study Office and website. In addition, students who are seeking credit for study to be completed at other institutions should consult with the Religion Department off-campus study representativeprior to enrolling in courses. In order to seek credit for any work completed while away from Swarthmore the general policy is that students must have the Registrar’s or Off-Campus Study Office’s approval form signed by the Religion Department representative prior to undertaking the course or courses.

Further Notes about International Off-Campus Study:

  1. Prior to the international study opportunity, speak with Sharon Friedler, Faculty Adviser for Off-Campus Study, or with Rosa Bernard, Assistant Director for Off-Campus Study, in the Off-Campus Study office. Carefully review all material received from the Off-Campus Study Office.
  2. Complete the “Application for Pre-Estimation of Study Abroad Credit.” This will include getting signatures from representatives in departments from which you will be requesting credit.
  3. While away, contact the Religion Department if any changes are made to the preapproved schedule.
  4. During your study away from Swarthmore, keep all relevant course material including syllabi, class notes, papers, and examinations, etc.
  5. At the beginning of the semester after your return, meet with an Off-Campus Study Office staff member to organize your materials for evaluation for credit.
  6. Complete the “Record of Departmental Materials Submission” (available at the Off-Campus Study Office). At the time you submit all supporting documents (e.g., syllabi, papers, examinations, class notes, etc.) to the Religion Department, have this form signed by the Religion Department representative who oversees transfer credit requests in religion.
  7. The Religion Department will then consider credit award and will send the student, the Registrar, and the Off-Campus Study Office its decision. At this time, you may pick up your supporting materials in the Religion Department Office.

Courses

RELG 001. Religion and Human Experience

This course introduces the nature of religious worldviews, their cultural manifestations, and their influence on personal and social self-understanding and action. The course explores various themes and structures seminal to the nature of religion and its study: sacred scripture, visions of ultimate reality and their various manifestations, religious experience and its expression in systems of thought, and ritual behavior and moral action. Members of the department will lecture and lead weekly discussion sections.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 001C. Religion and Terror in an Age of Hope and Fear

Religion kills: this is the verdict against religion since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Since that time, here and abroad, the United States views many forms of religion as potent security threats. Various forms of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in particular, are seen as direct challenges to the secular ethos and global mission of late capitalist societies. This team-taught course in religion, politics, and culture, will offer a counter-narrative to the argument that religion and violence are equivalent terms using the resources of postcolonial theory, critical race theory, sustainability economics, liberation theology, and psychoanalytic theory. No prerequisites.
1 credit.
Eligible for ISLM or PEAC credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 002. Religion in America

This course is an introduction to religion in the United States, beginning with Native American religions and European-Indian contact in the colonial era, and moving forward in time to present-day movements and ideas. The course will explore a variety of themes in American religious history, such as slavery and religion, politics and religion, evangelicalism, Judaism and Islam in the United States, “cults” and alternative spiritualities, New Age religions, popular traditions, and religion and film, with an emphasis on the impact of gender, race, and national culture on American spiritual life.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Chireau.

RELG 003. The Bible: In the Beginning…

The Bible has exerted more cultural influence on the West than any other single document; whether we know it or not, it impacts our lives. This class critically examines the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)—from its Ancient Near Eastern context to its continued use today. We explore a variety of scholarly approaches to the Bible—historical, literary, postmodern—as we read the Bible both with the tools of source-criticism and as cultural critics. Particular focus will be placed on constructions of God, gender, nature, and the “other” in biblical writings as well as the themes of collective identity, violence, and power.
Eligible for GSST or INTP credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Kessler.

RELG 003A. Hebrew Bible and its Modern Interpreters

When was the last time you read the most important text in the West? The Hebrew Bible isn’t what it used to be. In the modern period, the scientific study of the Bible opened up new ways of thinking about sacred texts. This is an introduction to the Hebrew Bible as a literary, historical, political, and religious document. We will explore the use and abuse of the Hebrew Bible by Jews and Christians, paying attention to its role in contemporary culture, politics, and ethics. Reading select books of the Bible, we will emphasize issues of gender and race, revolution and Zionism, genocide and slavery, good and evil.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 004. New Testament and Early Christianity

A discussion-rich introduction to the New Testament in light of recent biblical scholarship. The class engages the issues of authorship and redaction, purpose and structure, and historical context and cultural setting. Some of the particular themes that are studied include the dynamic of canon formation, the synoptic problem in relation to the Gospel of John, first-century Judaism, Greek and Roman influences, the messianic consciousness of Jesus, the use of epistolary literature in Paul, the problem of apocalyptic material, and the wealth of extra-canonical writings (e.g., Gospel of Thomas) that are crucial for examining the rise of Christianity in the years from 30 CE to 150 CE. Novels and films inspired by the New Testament are read and viewed as well.Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 004B. Jewish Interpretation: From the HolyLand to Hollywood

A famous rabbinic statement proclaims, “If you wish to know The-One-Who-Spoke-and-the-World-Came-Into-Being, learn aggadah” (Sifre Deuteronomy 11:22). This course further proclaims, if you wish to know Judaism, study Jewish interpretation. The process of Jewish interpretation, begun in the Hebrew Bible and continuing to the present day, offers great insight not only into the ways Jewish tradition, literature, and culture have come into being, but also how these facets of Judaism, and Judaism writ large, adapt and develop over time. This class begins with Jewish interpretations during the 2nd Temple Period, proceeds to examine in some depth classical rabbinic exegesis, moves on to explore some “off the beaten track” medieval sources, and culminates in contemporary meditations (and movies) about Judaism. We pay attention to both the continuities and disjunctions of Jewish writings and representations over time as we explore what the boundaries are-if indeed there are any-of both Jewish interpretation and Judaism.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 005. World Religions

Wars are fought; walls go up; hope marches on. Religion plays a crucial role in culture, politics, global events, and in the lives of contemporary peoples world-wide. This class, by examining what religion is and how it manifests itself in multiple ways around the world and in the United States, provides students with religious literacy and analytic skills to better engage as citizens of the world in the 21st century. This course introduces students to both the academic study of religion and to religions as practiced around the world. We will explore textual traditions and lived practices of religions—and investigate the relationships between such texts and practices—in numerous historical and cultural contexts. Topics covered include: definitions and meanings of the term “religion;” understandings and expressions of the sacred; the relationship between violence and religion. We will examine the myths and rituals, the beliefs and practices, institutions, and expression of global religious traditions.
Eligible for PEAC credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Kistler.

RELG 005B. Introduction to Christianity

This course is a selective introduction to Christian religious beliefs and practices. This course introduces students to the development and diverse forms of Christianity, drawing on categories from the study of religion including ritual, narrative, art, and theology.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 006. Judaism: God, Torah, Israel

This course explores Judaism through a survey of its history, literature, practices and beliefs—with particular emphasis on the concepts of God, Torah, and Israel (the Jewish people). We examine the fundamental historical developments of Judaism from the biblical to modern eras, paying attention to how Judaism has developed and continues to develop over time. We consider the diversity of Judaism as a religion and the diverse expressions of Jewish identity, particularly in their contemporary North American context(s).
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 006A. First-Year Seminar: Religion and Law

This course explores the influence of religion on legal systems and codes of law. Taking as our starting point the concept of the separation of church and state, we examine what this idea has meant in U.S. Constitutional law and Western European legal codes. We then study legal systems that have traditionally privileged the role of religion, particularly those in North and West Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Students consider what effect, if any, reliance on religion as the foundation of a legal system has on social practice, legal theory and codes of law. We conclude with an examination of current legal debates and cases.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Kistler

RELG 007B. Women and Religion

This course will examine the variety of women’s religious experiences in the United States. Topics will include the construction of gender and religion, religious experiences of women of color, spiritual autobiographies and narratives by women, Wicca and witchcraft in the United States, and feminist and womanist theology.
Eligible for GSST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 008. Patterns of Asian Religions

A thematic introduction to the study of religion through an examination of selected texts, teachings, and practices of the religious traditions of South and East Asia structured as patterns of religious life. Materials are drawn from the Buddhist traditions of India, Tibet, China, and Japan; the Hindu and Jain traditions of India; the Confucian and Taoist traditions of China; and the Shinto tradition of Japan. Themes include deities, the body, ritual, cosmology, sacred space, religious specialists, and death and the afterlife.
Writing course.
Eligible for ASIA credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 008B. The Qur’an and Its Interpreters

This is course will include detailed reading of the Qur’an in English translation. The first part of the course will be devoted to the history of the Qur’an and its importance to Muslim devotional life. The first portion of the course will include: discussion of the history of the compilation of the text, the methods used to preserve it, styles of Qur’anic recitation, and the principles of Qur’anic abrogation. Thereafter, attention will be devoted to a theme or issue arising from Qur’anic interpretation. Students will be exposed to the various sub-genres of Qur’anic exegesis including historical, legal, grammatical, theological and modernist approaches.
Eligible for ISLM or MDST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 009. The Buddhist Traditions of Asia

This course explores the unity and variety of Buddhist traditions within their historical developments in South, Central, and East Asia, by way of the study of its texts The course will be organized chronologically and geographically, and to a lesser extent thematically, focusing on the formations of early Indian Buddhism (the Nikaya traditions in Påli and Sanskrit), the Theravada in Sri Lanka and Thailand, Mahayana Ch’an/Zen traditions in China and Japan, and Vajrayana (tantra) traditions in Tibet. Themes include narratives of the Buddha and the consecration of Buddha images; gender, power, and religious authority, meditation, liberation, and devotional vision; love, memory, attachment and Buddhist devotion; the body, and the social construction of emotions and asceticism.
Writing course.
Eligible for ASIA credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Hopkins.

RELG 010. African American Religions

What makes African American religion “African” and “American”? Using texts, films, and music, we will examine the sacred institutions of Americans of African descent. Major themes will include Africanisms in American religion, slavery and religion, gospel music, African American women and religion, black and womanist theology, the civil rights movement, and Islam and urban religions. Field trips include visits to Father Divine’s Peace Mission and the first independent black church in the United States, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 011. First-Year Seminar: Religion and the Meaning of Life

“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will save it.” One of the most intriguing contradictions in comparative religious studies is the claim that only when one forfeits the self can one discover genuine selfhood; the journey to the true self begins by first abandoning one’s assumptions about selfhood through practicing the disciplines of self-emptying and self-giving. In this seminar, we will analyze the collapse of the received notions of the stable self in classical thought and then move toward a postmodern recovery of the self-that-is-not-a-self founded on the spiritual practice of solicitude for the other. Readings may include Plato, Augustine, Rumi, Kierkegaard, Weil, Nishitani, Bonhoeffer, Levinas, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Dillard. This discussion-rich seminar includes regular student presentations and a community service-learning component.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 011A. Islamic Politics

This course examines the intersection of religion and politics in Islam. We consider the nature of Islamic political theory, the relationship between the religious and political establishments, the characteristics of an Islamic state, and the range of Sunni and Shi'i thought, from medieval to modern times and from secular modernist to radical Islamist ideologies. We also examine the compatibility of Islam and the nation-state, democracy, and constitutionalism, and recent social movements and social movement theory, among other topics.
Eligible for ISLM credit.  
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Kistler

RELG 011B. The Religion of Islam:  The Islamic Humanities

This course is a comprehensive introduction to Islamic doctrines, practices, and religious institutions in a variety of geographic settings from the rise of Islam in the seventh century to the present. Translated source materials from the Qur’an, sayings of Muhammad, legal texts, and mystical works will provide an overview of the literary expressions of the religion. Among the topics to be covered are: the Qur’an as scripture and as liturgy; conversion and the spread of Islam; Muhammad in history and in the popular imagination; concepts of the feminine; Muslim women; sectarian developments; transmission of religious knowledge and spiritual power; Sufism and the historical elaboration of mystical communities; modern reaffirmation of Islamic identity; and Islam in the American environment.
Writing course.
Eligible for ISLM or MDST credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Kistler.

RELG 012. The History, Religion, and Culture of India I: From the Indus Valley to the Hindu Saints

A study of the religious history of India from the ancient Indo-Aryan civilization of the north to the establishment of Islam under Moghul rule. Topics include the ritual system of the Vedas, the philosophy of the Upanishads, the rise of Buddhist and Jain communities, and the development of classical Hindu society. Focal themes are hierarchy, caste and class, purity and pollution, gender, untouchability, world renunciation, and the construction of a religiously defined social order.
Eligible for ASIA credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 012B. Hindu Traditions of India: Power, Love, and Knowledge

This course is an introduction to the religious and cultural history of Hindu traditions of India from the prehistoric Indus Valley in the northwest to the medieval period in the southeast, and major points and periods in between, with a look also at formative points of the early modern period. Our focus will be on the interactions between Vedic, Buddhist, brahmanical, popular/ritual, and Jain religious traditions in the development, and formation of Hindu religious streams, along with major ritual and ascetic practices, hagiographies, and myths, hymns and poetry, and art and images associated with Hindu identities and sectarian formations, pre-modern and modern. In addition to providing students with a grasp of the basic doctrines, practices, and beings (human, superhuman, and divine) associated with various Hindu traditions, the course also seeks to equip them with the ability to analyze primary and secondary sources.
Eligible for ASIA credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 013. The History, Religion, and Culture of India II: Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Dalit in North India

After a survey of premodern Hindu traditions, the course tracks the sources of Indo-Muslim culture in North India, including the development of Sufi mysticism; Sindhi, Urdu, and Tamil poetry in honor of the Prophet Muhammad; syncretism under Mughal emperor Akbar; and the consolidation of orthodoxy with Armad Sirhindi and his school in the 16th to 17th century. We then trace the rise of the Sikh tradition in the milieu of the Mughals, northern Hindu Sants and mendicant Sufis, popular goddess worship and village piety, focusing on several issues of religious experience. We then turn to the colonial and post-colonial period through the lenses of the Hindu saints, artists, and reformers (the “nationalist elite”) of the Bengali Renaissance, and the political and religious thought of Mohandas Gandhi and Dalit reformer Ambedkar. We will use perspectives of various theorists and social historians, from Ashis Nandy, Partha Chatterjee, Peter van der Veer, to Veena Das and Gail Omvedt.
Eligible for ASIA or ISLM credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Martinez.

RELG 014. Christian Life and Thought in the Middle Ages

Survey of western Christian religious culture and thought from the early to the late Middle Ages. Among other topics, the course will consider debates about the nature of the Divine, the person and work of Jesus Christ, heresy and dissent, bodily devotion, love, mysticism, scholasticism, and holy persons. Readings may include Augustine, Anselm, Avicenna, Abelard, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, and John Wyclif.Eligible for MDST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 014A. Muhammad

This cross-disciplinary course explores the varied and contested understandings of Muhammad from his lifetime down to the present day. We examine Muhammad as a radical historical figure, as the Seal of the Prophets, as an inspiration for mystical and for heretical religious sects and as a symbol of Islamic extremism. Students explore Muhammad’s continued significance in the modern era, paying particular attention to Islamists, religious ethicists, modernists and African and African-American Muslims. We consider textual sources, from the Qur’an to the poetry of Rumi to the missives of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as liturgy, art and music, including illuminated manuscripts, chants, iconography and recent depictions of Muhammad in mass media.
Eligible for ISLM credit.
1 credit. Kistler

RELG 015. First-Year Seminar: Religion and Literature: Blood and Spirit

A seminar-style introduction to study of relation of religious ideas to visionary literature, including novels, stories, sacred texts, and films. A variety of critical theories are deployed to understand (or construct) the meaning of different imaginative variations on reality. Academic and creative writers include many or all of the following: Sophocles, Augustine, Joyce, Morrison, O’Connor, Updike, Dostoevsky, Crace, Lewis, Weil, Scorsese, Kazantzakis, Snyder, Abbey, and Camus.
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 015B. Philosophy of Religion

(Cross-listed as PHIL 016)
Searching for wisdom about the meaning of life? Curious as to whether there is a God? Questioning the nature of truth and falsehood? Right and wrong? You might think of philosophy of religion as your guide to the universe. This course considers Anglo-American and Continental philosophical approaches to religious thought using different disciplinary perspectives; it is a selective overview of the history of philosophy with special attention to the religious dimensions of many contemporary thinkers’ intellectual projects. Topics include rationality and belief, proofs for existence of God, the problem of evil, moral philosophy, biblical hermeneutics, feminist revisionism, postmodernism, and interreligious dialogue. Thinkers include, among others, Anselm, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kant, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Levinas, Weil, and Abe. This year, the central theme of the course is the problem of evil.
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 016. First-Year Seminar: Spiritual Journeys: Into the Wild

What does it mean to take religion “on the road”? How does one “pray with one’s feet”? Where is the sacred to be found—on the journey itself or at the place of destination—or both? What is the sacred anyway? Spiritual journeys—pilgrimages to places old and new—are on the rise in contemporary society. By reading a number of accounts of personal spiritual journeys we will travel the landscape of contemporary religious America—with its vibrancy and variety—and consider our own journeys (spiritual or otherwise) along the way.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Kessler.

RELG 018B. Modern Jewish Thought

Is modern reason compatible with biblical revelation? Beginning with the heretic Spinoza, we’ll examine the giants of Jewish thought—religious reformers, philosophers, and theologians wrestling with the challenge of modernity, politics, and multiculturalism. Topics will include: the essence of Judaism, the nature of law, religion and state, God and evil, the status of women and non-Jews, the legacy of the Holocaust. Readings from: Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Judith Plaskow, Emmanuel Levinas, and others.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 019. First-Year Seminar: Religion and Food

Why do some people eat the body of their god? What is soul food? Is the pig an abomination? Is there such a thing as “devil’s food” and “angel’s food”? Which is more spiritual, to feast or to fast? All of these questions are tied together by a common theme: They point to the relationship between food, eating, and the religious experiences of human beings. This seminar will introduce students to the study of religion, using food as an entry point. We will investigate the significance of food across a variety of traditions and explore such issues as diet, sacrifice, healing, the body, ethics, and religious doctrines concerning food. Topics will include religious fasting, vegetarianism, eating rituals, food controversies, purity and pollution, theophagy and cannibalism as sacred practice.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Chireau.

RELG 020. Christian Mysticism

This course considers topics in the history of Christian mysticism. Themes include mysticism as a way of life, relationships between mystics and religious communities, physical manifestations and spiritual experiences, varieties of mystical union, and the diverse images for naming the relationship between humanity and the Divine. Readings that explore the meaning, sources, and practices of Christian mystical traditions may include Marguerite Porete, Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Simone Weil, Thomas Merton, and Dorothee Soelle.
Eligible for MDST credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Ross.

RELG 021. Prison Letters: Religion and Transformation

Focusing on themes of religion and transformation and prison as a literal and metaphorical space, this course explores themes of life and death, oppression and freedom, isolation and community, agency, and identity. Drawing primarily on Christian sources, readings move from the New Testament through Martin Luther King, Jr., to the contemporary U.S. context where more than 2 million people are incarcerated today.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 022. Religion and Ecology

This course focuses on how different religious traditions have shaped human beings’ fundamental outlook on the environment in ancient and modern times. In turn, it examines how various religious worldviews can aid the development of an earth-centered philosophy of life. The thesis of this course is that the environment crisis, at its core, is a spiritual crisis because it is human beings’ deep ecocidal dispositions toward nature that are the cause of the earth’s continued degradation. Course topics include ecological thought in Western philosophy, theology, and biblical studies; the role of Asian religious thought in forging an ecological worldview; the value of American nature writings for environmental awareness, including both Euro-American and Amerindian literatures; the public policy debates concerning vegetarianism and the antitoxics movement; and the contemporary relevance of ecofeminism, deep ecology, Neopaganism, and wilderness activism. In addition to writing assignments, there will be occasional contemplative practicums, journaling exercises, and a community-based learning component.
Eligible for ENVS credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Wallace.

RELG 023. Living in the Light: Quakers Past and Present

This course explores the beliefs and practices, the social activism, and the impact of Quakers in North America from the 1650s to the present. Topics include Quakers and social reform including peace work, women’s rights advocacy, prison reform; Quakers and nature; Quakers and education; and Quaker writings about God, self, and the world. Readings will include the work of George Fox, Margaret Fell, William Penn, John Woolman, John Bartram, Lucretia Mott, Elias Hicks, Elise Boulding, and Rufus Jones. Students will have the opportunity to work with the resources of Swarthmore College’s Friends Historical Library and Peace Collection.
Writing course.
Eligible for PEAC credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 024. From Vodun to Voodoo: African Religions in the Old and New Worlds

Is there a kindred spirituality expressed within the ceremonies, beliefs, music and movement of African religions? This course explores the dynamics of African religions throughout the diaspora and the Atlantic world. Using text, art, film, and music, we will look at the interaction of society and religion in the black world, beginning with traditional religions in west and central Africa, examining the impact of slavery and migration, and the dispersal of African religions throughout the Western Hemisphere. The course will focus on the varieties of religious experiences in Africa and their transformations in the Caribbean, Brazil and North America in the religions of Candomblé, Santeria, Conjure, and other New World traditions. At the end of the term, in consultation with the professor, students will create a web-based project in lieu of a final paper.
Study abroad credit may be available.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 025. Black Women and Religion in the United States

This course is an exploration of the spiritual lives of African American women. We will hear black women’s voices in history and in literature, in film, in performance and music, and within diverse periods and contexts, and reflect upon the multidimensionality of religious experience in African American women’s lives. We will also examine the ways that religion has served to empower black women in their personal and collective attempts at the realization of a sacred self. Topics include: African women’s religious worlds; women in the black diaspora; African American women in Islam, Christianity, and New World traditions; womanist and feminist thought; and sexuality and spirituality. Readings include works by: Alice Walker; Audre Lorde; bell hooks; Zora Neale Hurston; Patricia Williams, and others.
No prerequisites.
Eligible for BLST or GSST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 026. Performing Judaism: Feasts and Fasts

This course introduces students to Judaism as lived—enacted and embodied—through a critical examination of Jewish holiday and lifecycle rituals. We will study the beginnings of Jewish rituals and chart their development throughout centuries of Jewish history, noting how ritual allows Judaism to retain ancient roots and grow new branches. Our discussions will be informed by contemporary scholarship in performance studies, ritual studies, gender studies, and anthropology. These current approaches will help us compare (and contrast) Jewish rituals with rituals of other religions.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 027. Radical Jesus

This class is a discussion-intensive, student-led exercise in the critical study of Jesus that centers on analytical reading and writing; contemplative practice; and community action. Beginning with the joyous and terrifying Gospel of Mark and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, and continuing with the rise of Constantine, Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, and Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor,” this class theologically analyzes Jesus today as the mystic-prophet revolutionary who, alternately, is “the first and last Christian” (Friedrich Nietzsche), “the preacher of Christian atheism” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer), “the face of divine affliction” (Simone Weil), “my great brother” (Martin Buber), “the advocate for the disinherited” (Howard Thurman), “the God within each of us” (Thich Nhat Hanh), “the prophet of simplicity” (Shane Claiborne), and “the liberating Corn Mother” (George Tinker).
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Wallace.

RELG 030. The Power of Images: Icons and Iconoclasts

This course is a cross-cultural, comparative study of the use and critique of sacred images in biblical Judaism; Eastern Christianity; and the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions of India. Students will explore differing attitudes toward the physical embodiment of divinity, including issues of divine “presence” and “absence”; icons, aniconism, and “idolatry”; and distinctions drawn in some traditions between different types of images and different devotional attitudes toward sacred images, from Yahweh’s back and bleeding icons to Jain worship of “absent” saints.
Eligible for ASIA or MDST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 031. Religion and Literature: From the Song of Songs to the Hindu Saints

A cross-cultural, comparative study of religious literatures in Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Hindu traditions. How “secular” love poetry and poetics have both influenced and been influenced by devotional poetry in these traditions, past and present.
Eligible for ASIA or MDST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 032. Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology

The God of the Bible and later Jewish and Christian literature is distinctively masculine, definitely male. Or is He? If we can point out places in traditional writings where God is nurturing, forgiving, and loving, does that mean that God is feminine, or female? This course examines feminist and queer writings about God, explores the tensions between feminist and queer theology, and seeks to stretch the limits of gendering—and sexing—the divine. Key themes include: gender; embodiment; masculinity; liberation; sexuality; feminist and queer theory.
Eligible for GSST or INTP credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 036. Christian Visions of Self and Nature

This course is a thematic introduction to Christianity. Beginning with early Christian writings and moving historically up through the contemporary period, we will explore a wide variety of ideas about God, self, and nature. Readings will focus on scientific and natural history treatises in dialogue with theological texts. We will explore the writings of Christian naturalists to study the linking of science and religion, and we will investigate a multiplicity of views about Christian understandings of the relationship between the human and non-human world. This class includes a community-based learning component: Students will participate in designing and teaching a mini-course on “Nature and Chester” to students in the nearby community of Chester. Readings include Aristotle (critical for understanding science in the later Middle Ages), Hildegard of Bingen, Roger Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Charles Darwin, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, Graceanna Lewis, Thomas Berry, Nalini Nadkarni, and Terry Tempest Williams.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 038. Religion and Film

An introductory course that uses popular film as a primary text/medium to explore fundamental questions in the academic study of religion. In particular, we will be concerned with the ways that religion and religious experience are constituted and defined on film as well as through film viewing. In discussing films from across a range of subjects and genres, we will engage in the work of mythical, theological and ideological criticism, while examining the nature, function, and value of religion and religious experience. We will also consider some of the most significant writers and traditions in the field of Religion and develop the analytical and interpretive skills of the discipline. Scheduled films include The Seventh Seal, The Matrix, Breaking the Waves, Contact, Jacob’s Ladder, The Passion of the Christ, The Rapture, The Apostle, as well as additional student selections. Weekly readings, writing assignments, and evening screening sessions are required.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Chireau.

RELG 039. Good and Evil

What do the Western religious traditions have to teach us about the evils of alienation, racism, war, disease, exploitation and the possibility of solidarity, resistance, love, and goodness? This course will be an intense examination of modern philosophical and theological responses to the mysteries of radical evil and radical good.
Eligible for PEAC credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 041. Religion and Poetry

How is poetry uniquely suited to describing religious experience and concepts? How and why does poetry draw upon the language and techniques of sacred texts? We will read poetic texts from various religious traditions alongside modern and contemporary poetry (including Hopkins, Frost, Larkin, Bidart, Komunyakaa, Levin, and Tracy K. Smith) that is nonetheless engaged in religious inquiry of one kind or another. Assignments will include both critical and creative writing in response to these texts.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Martinez.

RELG 053. Gender, Sexuality, and the Body in Islamic Discourses

An exploration of sexuality, gender roles, and notions of the body within the Islamic tradition from the formative period of Islam to the present. This course will examine the historical development of gendered and patriarchal readings of Islamic legal, historical, and scriptural texts. Particular attention will be given to both the premodern and modern strategies employed by women to subvert these exclusionary forms of interpretation and to ensure more egalitarian outcomes for themselves in the public sphere. Topics discussed include female piety, marriage and divorce, motherhood, polygamy, sex and desire, honor and shame, same-sex sexuality, and the role of women in the transmission of knowledge.
Eligible for GSST, ISLM, or MDST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 054. Power and Authority in Modern Islam

This course examines some of the salient issues of concern for Muslims thinkers during the modern period (defined for the purposes of this course as the colonial and post-colonial periods). Beginning with discussion of the impact of colonialism on Islamic discourses, the course moves on to address a number of recurrent themes that have characterized Muslim engagement with modernity. Readings and/or films will include religious, political, and literary works by Muslims in variety of cultural and linguistic settings. Topics to be discussed will include: nationalism and the rise of the modern nation-state, questions of religion and gender, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, developments in Islam in the United States and Canada, and case studies of reformist and revivalist movements in the modern nation-states of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Special attention will be paid to contemporary Muslim responses to feminist critiques, democracy, pluralism, religious violence, extremism, and authoritarianism.
Eligible for ISLM credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 057. Hebrew for Text Study I

(Cross-listed as LING 007)
What does the Bible really say? Have you ever noticed how radically different the Hebrew Bible seems in different translations? If you want to understand the enigma of this text, if you want to experience it through your own eyes, if you want to plumb its depths, appreciate its beauty, confront its challenges, and understand its influence, you must read it in Hebrew. In this course, you will learn the grammar and vocabulary required to experience the Hebrew Bible and ancient Hebrew commentaries in the original language. You will learn to use dictionaries, concordances, and translations to investigate word roots and to authenticate interpretations of the texts. In addition to teaching basic language skills, this course offers students the opportunity for direct encounter with primary biblical, rabbinic, and Jewish liturgical sources. No experience necessary. If you already have some Hebrew competence, contact the instructor for advice.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Plotkin.

RELG 059. Hebrew for Text Study II

(Cross-listed as LING 010)
This course is a continuation of Hebrew for Text Study I. Students who have not completed that course will require the permission of the instructor to enroll in this course.
This set of courses teaches the grammar and vocabulary required to experience the Hebrew Bible and ancient Hebrew commentaries in the original language. You will learn to use dictionaries, concordances, and translations to investigate word roots and to authenticate interpretations of the texts. In addition to teaching basic language skills, this course offers students the opportunity for direct encounter with primary biblical, rabbinic, and Jewish liturgical sources.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Plotkin.

RELG 067. Judaism and Nature

“We are not obligated to complete the task; neither are we free to abstain from it.” (Pirke Avot 2:21) The task before us is to examine the relationship(s) between Judaism and Nature. We are setting out to decide—or at least ponder—the following questions (though we will surely encounter more along the way): What does Jewish literature from the Garden of Eden to the present day say about the earth and humanity’s relationship with it? Because of the growing awareness about current ecological concerns and crises, Jewish tradition is being mined—or cultivated—for historical precedents that reflect ecologically sound models of Jewish living. How fruitful is this process? To what extent can contemporary Jews rely on tradition to provide such models, and to what extent must Jews today find new ways of bringing humanity and nature together?
1 credit.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 093. Directed Reading: Readings in Classical Jewish Texts

Section 01.
0.5 credit.
Fall 2013 and spring 2014. Plotkin.

RELG 093. Directed Reading

Section 02.
1 credit.
Fall 2013 and spring 2014. Staff.

RELG 095. Religion Café: Senior Symposium

This seminar is a weekly symposium for senior majors addressing some of the major themes, theories, and methods in the academic study of religion. The seminar will highlight the inherently multidisciplinary nature of religious studies by reading scholars from several disciplines who have influenced certain theoretical and philosophical assumptions and vocabularies in the field. The seminar will examine a number of approaches to religious studies including, but not limited to, those drawn from: post-structuralism, gender studies, critical theory, cognitive science, phenomenology, ethics, pragmatism, social history, and anthropology.
1 credit.
Fall 2013. Kessler.

RELG 096. Thesis

Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2013 and spring 2014. Staff.

RELG 097. Thesis

1 credit.
Fall 2013 and spring 2014. Staff.

Seminars

RELG 100. Holy War, Martyrdom, and Suicide in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

An examination of the concepts of martyrdom, holy war, and suicide in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. How are “just” war, suicide, martyrdom presented in the sacred texts of these three traditions? How are the different perspectives related to conceptions of death and the afterlife within each tradition? Historically, how have these three traditions idealized and/or valorized the martyr and/or the “just” warrior? In what ways have modern post-colonial political groups and nationalist movements appropriated martyrdom and holy war in our time?
Eligible for ISLM or PEAC credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 101. Jesus in History, Literature, and Theology

This seminar explores depictions of Jesus in narrative, history, theology, and popular culture. We consider Jesus as historical figure, trickster, mother, healer, suffering savior, visionary, embodiment of the Divine, lover, victorious warrior, political liberator, and prophet.
2 credits.
Spring 2014. Ross.

RELG 102. Folk and Popular Religion

This seminar investigates the cultural complexity of the American religious experience through the lens of folk and popular traditions. We will utilize historical, anthropological, and literary approaches to explore folk Catholicism in the United States, local religious celebrations, 19th- and 20th-century popular movements, and folk art and other material representations of religion. Topics include serpent handling in Appalachia; American consumerism as religion; heterodox spiritualities in America; Marian shrines and spirit apparitions; and black Gods and racial folk religions.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 108. Poets, Saints, and Storytellers: The Poetry and Poetics of Devotion in South Asian Religions

A study of the major forms of Hindu religious culture through the lenses of its varied regional and pan-regional literatures, with a focus on the literature of devotion (bhakti), including comparative readings from Buddhist and Islamic traditions of India. The course will focus on both primary texts in translation (religious poetry and prose narratives in epic and medieval Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Hindi, Pali, Sinhala, Sindhi, and Urdu) as well as pertinent secondary literature on the poetry and poetics of religious devotion. We will also pay close attention to specific literary forms, genres, and regional styles, as well as the performance (music and dance) and hagiographical traditions that frame the poems of Hindu saint-poets, Buddhist monks, and Muslim mystics. Along with a chronological and geographical focus, the seminar will be organized around major themes such as popular/vernacular and “elite” traditions; the performance and ritual contexts of religious poetry; the place of the body in religious emotion; love, karma, caste, and family identity; asceticism and eroticism; gender and power; renunciation and family obligations.
Eligible for ASIA or MDST credit.
2 credits.
Fall 2013. Hopkins.

RELG 109. Afro-Atlantic Religions

This seminar explores the historical experiences of the millions of persons who worship African divinities in the West. We will consider the following questions: How were these religions and their communities created? How have they survived? How are African-based traditions perpetuated through ritual, song, dance, drumming, and healing practices? Special attention will be given to Yoruba religion and its New World offspring, Santeria, Voodoo and Candomblé.
Eligible for BLST or LASC credit.
2 credits.
Fall 2013. Chireau.

RELG 110. Religious Belief and Moral Action

The seminar will explore the relationship between religion and morality. Basic moral concepts in Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, Islam and Hinduism will be studied in relationship to their cosmological/theological frameworks and their historical contexts. The course will analyze concepts of virtue and moral reasoning, the religious view of what it means to be a moral person, and the religious evaluation of a just society.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 112. Postmodern Religious Thought

This seminar asks whether religious belief is possible in the absence of a “transcendental signified.” Topics include metaphysics and theology, the death of God, female divinity, apophatic mysticism and deconstruction, ethics without foundations, the question of God beyond Being, and analogues to notions of truth in ancient Buddhist thought. Readings include Eckhart, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Nagarjuna, Nishitani, Ricoeur, Marion, Rorty, Loy, Taylor, Panikkar and Vattimo.
Eligible for INTP credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 114. Love and Religion

The course will explore the concept of “love” and many of its ramifications in several western traditions and in Hindu traditions of ancient and contemporary India through a careful reading of both primary and secondary texts. We will focus primarily on the uses of erotic love (along with the body and the “passions”) in religious discourse—in poetry, commentary, and prose narratives—the many ways passionate love and/or sexuality are used cross-culturally to describe the relationship between the human and the divine. We will also explore other emotions and attitudes evoked by the word love: devotion, affection, friendship, “charity” (caritas), parental love, and the tensions of these forms of “love” with erotic love. Along with primary texts from the Greek, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, secular troubadour, and Hindu traditions, we will explore the theoretical writings of Martha Nussbaum, Peter Brown, David Halperin, Julia Kristeva, David Biale, Daniel Boyarin, Caroline Walker Bynum, Henry Corbin, Michael Sells, A.K. Ramanujan, Wendy Doniger, David Shulman, and Margaret Trawick. Such a thematic treatment of what we in the English-speaking West call “love” brings to the fore many important theoretical questions concerning the cultural construction of emotions, particular love and “ennobling virtues,” the erotic life, the body, and religion.
Eligible for GSST or MDST credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 119. Islamic Law and Society

A survey of the history of Islamic law and its developments, with particular attention to the ways Islamic legal principles were formed, organized, operated in practice, and changed over time. It will focus on issues in Islamic legal theory, methodology, constitutional law, personal law, and family law that have had the greatest relevance to our contemporary world. This course functions as a basic introduction to the Islamic legal system in its pre-modern and contemporary forms. The course will also provide comparative discussion of the contrasts between Islamic legal theory and positive law and European and American legal and constitutional thought.Eligible for ISLM or MDST credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 126. The Poetry and Prophesies of William Blake

This course focuses on the lyric poems, extended epic cycles, and illuminated books of one of the most unique poets in English literature, William Blake (1757–1827). We will do a close reading of the poetry and images of the major works of Blake, with the help of text-critical, theoretical and historical perspectives, views of the body, innocence, experience, sexuality, the “margins” of literature; selfhood, self-giving, and “the gift of death” in the late prophetic books. Along with published books of the designs and extended commentaries on the illuminated books by David Erdman, images, bibliographies, and other resources from the online “Blake Archive” of Eaves and Viscomi will be used for “close reading” of Blake’s illuminated books and visionary designs.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 127. Secrecy and Heresy

This seminar will explore religious literature, bodily practices, and social behaviors associated with the performance of secrecy in various geographical, historical, and political contexts. Religious communities have often employed secrecy as a strategy for the maintenance of group solidarity and religious identity when faced with allegations of heresy. Secrecy functions not only as a means to subvert and undermine the marginalization of religious minorities but as a powerful tool for the creation of more egalitarian possibilities through preservation of privileged knowledge and the presence of internally shared though externally undisclosed social and religious connections. What kinds of religious secrets are meant to be safeguarded? What set of behaviors and strategies are required to keep these “secrets” or sustain adopted personas? Is religious secrecy merely a tactic for ensuring survival in the context of social marginalization and political persecution? What is the relationship between secrecy and suspicion? Is it necessary that what one wishes to conceal is inherently negative, pernicious or even heretical?
Eligible for ISLM or MDST credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 128. Sex, Gender, and the Bible

The first two chapters of the biblical book of Genesis offer two very different ancient accounts of the creation of humanity and the construction of gender. The rest of the book of Genesis offers a unique portrayal of family dynamics, drama and dysfunction, full of complex and compelling narratives where gender is constantly negotiated and renegotiated. In this class, we will engage in close readings of primary biblical sources and contemporary feminist and queer scholarship about these texts, as we explore what the first book of the Bible says about God, gender, power, sexuality, and “family values.”
Eligible for GSST, INTP, or MDST credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2013–2014.

RELG 180. Senior Honors Thesis

1 credit.
Fall 2013. Staff.

RELG 180S. Senior Honors Thesis

Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2014. Staff.

RELG 199. Senior Honors Study

0.5 credit.
Spring 2014. Staff.