Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Upper Level Religion Courses for the Spring

REL 240 Jewish Religious Traditions (3:05-5:40, Tues)  
Dr. Yossi Zylberberg
Are you interested in learning more about the various forms of Judaism in contemporary society? And what are the major issues and concerns facing Jewish communities in the world today?  This course, taught by a visiting professor with many years of experience as a Rabbi and teacher of Judaic studies, deals with a question that is central to all forms of Judaism: how do written and oral traditions combine to create the fabric of contemporary Jewish life?  Students will become familiar with selected Rabbinic writings and methods of Jewish Biblical interpretation as well as distinctive Jewish religious practices and observances.  Meets Core credit for Humanities; no prerequisites.

 REL 214  Christian Formation  (9:25-10:40 TTh)  
Dr. Sue Dickson
What does it mean to be Christian? How does one become Christian and how do we keep growing in faithfulness? What does it mean to ‘make disciples of all nations’ and ‘teach
them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded’? This course explores these and other questions. Christian formation through Christian religious education, corporate worship, devotional practices, service, and church membership are all topics of exploration. This course is designed for those who wish to grow in their own understanding of faithfulness and to become more faithful participants in the life of the church—whether professional or volunteer, lay or ordained. It is part of the Practical Theology concentration of the Religion Major and an elective for other majors. No prerequisites but basic knowledge of the Bible and Christian theology and commitment to the Christian faith is expected.
REL 301C  Church, State, and Society  (10:50-12:15 TTh)  
 Dr. Craig Hovey
Ever wondered what role Christianity ought to play beyond one's individual faith? How should the church engage with other cultures, powers, rulers, and ideas? What is the political significance of the church by its mere existence? If you find these questions stimulating, then this course in Christian political theology is for you. Political theology is increasingly recognized as a crucial domain within the broader discipline of Christian ethics. Topics this semester will include the political use of the Bible, especially in non-western contexts; the relation between church and the wider culture; feminist and black Christian political thought; and some exciting theologies coming out of Japan, Africa, Latin America, and India. You will read some of the great theologians and Christian ethicists from the western canon (Barth, Bonhoeffer, Niebuhr, Hauerwas, Yoder) as well as emerging, important voices from the global South.  Fits within the ethics and theology concentration of the Religion major; no prerequisites.
   
REL 305 Advanced New Testament   (12:15-1:30 TTh)  
Dr. David Aune
How much do you know about the context and content of the later literature in the New Testament (Hebrews, the letters of James, Peter, John, Jude and the Book of Revelation)?  What are the key teachings and themes included in these Scriptures?  What do they tell us about the challenges and struggles of early Christian communities in the decades after Jesus’ death and resurrection?  And what are the exegetical skills needed for responsible interpretation of these seemingly difficult texts?  This course will provide an in-depth study of the later NT writings by considering both their social and historical settings and their textual relationship to the letters of Paul and the early gospel traditions.  Meets a requirement for the Biblical Studies area within the Religion major; REL 106 (Exploring the Bible) is a prerequisite.

REL 340  Religion and Civil Rights in America (1:40-2:55 TTh) 
Dr. Peter Slade
This course examines the involvement and non-involvement of churches and people of faith in the movement for civil rights in the United States.  Contextualized in the history of America’s racialized society, both African American and white religious responsibilities for, and responses to, social injustice are examined through the reading of autobiographies, primary documents and secondary sources.  No prerequisites; meets Core credit for Humanities and fits within the Christian History concentration for Religion majors. 


REL 404  Seminar in Christian Theology (1:40-2:55 TTh)  
Dr. Craig Hovey
From the profoundly renewed political self-awareness and self-confidence of fundamentalisms of many kinds, to the perceived inadequacies of secularizing moves enacted on entire nations (such as Turkey), to challenges from notable academics, Pope Benedict XVI, and others for Europe to find an identity visà-vis its Christian past, to many of the political assumptions long taken for granted in the Christian West now facing resistance within Islam in ways that are at times acute, to the well-attested shift of Christianity’s center of gravity to the global South, the opening decades of the twenty-first century present a pivotal opportunity to bring greater depth and clarity to topics that are likely to be with us for some time. This seminar will specifically investigate and interrogate some closely interrelated themes in contemporary Christian theology:  the place of religion in secular societies, the meaning and history of the secular as a concept, the roles of faith and reason especially in public, and the particular challenges posed by "the new atheism" that religion is harmful to culture.  This is one of the required theology seminars for Religion majors and both REL 106 (Exploring the Bible) and REL 208 (Exploring Christian Theology) are prerequisites.

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