Archive of Fall 2014

Displaying Courses 1 - 26 of 26
Fall 2014

Main Religious Studies Courses

Religious Studies 90 A Interpreting Religion: The Classic Theories
  • TuTh 8:00-9:30
  • J. Ronis
  • 101 Barker
  • 4
  • Class Number: 77603
Religious Studies C 109 Celtic Mythology and Oral Tradition
  • TuTh 2:00-3:30
  • A. Rejhon
  • 122 Wheeler
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77618

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. The course will examine the mythology of the Celts—their gods, goddesses, festivals, and belief systems—as it is reflected in medieval Irish and Welsh texts. Following a short presentation of introductory material regarding the history and civilization of the early Celts, the course will begin with the early Irish tale known as The Second Battle of Maige Tuired, a core mythological tale that best exemplifies the pattern of mythological deities and belief systems that pertain to varying degrees in other Celtic tales. These tales will include in Irish, the Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel, the Tale of Macc Da Thó’s Pig, Bricriu’s Feast, the Wooing of Etaín, the Dream of Oengus, the Wasting Sickness of CúChulaind, the Cattle Raid of Fróech, and the Táin, and in Welsh, the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, Culhwch and Olwen, Lludd and Llefelys, the Tale of Gwion Bach and the Tale of Taliesin, and the poems, “What Man the Gatekeeper” and “The Spoils of the Otherworld.” All the readings are in English translation.

Religious Studies C 132 Jewish Civilization: Biblical Period
  • MWF 11:00-12:00
  • R. Hendel
  • 136 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77621

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. Our understanding of the biblical period has been transformed in recent decades due to the rediscovery of Israel’s cultural context, archaeological discoveries, and the influence of literary and anthropological forms of interpretation. We will explore Israel’s culture from its inception to the end of the Second Temple period, emphasizing close readings of texts from the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Near East, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the New Testament.

Religious Studies C 134 Jewish Civilization: Middle Ages
  • TuTh 9:30-11:00
  • J. Efron
  • 103 Moffitt
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77624

THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED 

 

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. Description forthcoming. 

 

 

Religious Studies C 163 Religious Movements in Modern India
  • TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • V. Paramasivan
  • 183 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77633

This course introduces students to the history of religious movements in modern India, examining how sacred texts and religious practices have been disseminated, reinterpreted, and enlisted in various political and cultural projects during the colonial and post-colonial period. The focus is on religious “reform” movements and cross-cultural debates during the colonial period. Important themes include transformations in the role of women, debates around caste and “untouchability”, and religious conversions (to Buddhism and Christianity). Although the emphasis is primarily on Hindu traditions, some attention will also be given to Christianity, Buddhism and Islam in India. This course also examines how the concept of a secular state in post-Independence India has shaped and continues to shape religious practice and public policy. Readings include theological writings, doctrinal tracts, anthropological and sociological analyses, poetry, autobiography, and historical overviews. No prior knowledge of Hinduism or the Indian subcontinent is required.

 
Religious Studies C 165 Hindu Mythology
  • MWF 11:00-12:00
  • R. Goldman
  • 159 Mulford
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 77636

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. Description forthcoming. 

 

 

Religious Studies 190 Section 1 Augustine's City of God
  • TuTh 9:30-11:00
  • S. Elm
  • 78 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77639

This course fulfills the methodological requirement for the RS major. This course will focus on Augustine’s City of God.  A classic of “Western Civilization” as well as “Christianity,” this is a challenging text. We will use it as a guideline to investigate “on the ground” how Augustine saw the transformation of the later Roman Empire into a Christian empire and how he himself contributed to that transformation. We want to investigate how Christianity changes membership in the ancient city, what it meant for Augustine to be a Christian “citizen,” and how he thought about Roman history. In doing all this we will address recent scholarship positing (once more) the decline of the Roman Empire.

 

 

Religious Studies 190 Section 2 Controversies between Judaism and Christianity
  • TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • M. Duarte De Oliveira
  • 78 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77642

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major.  Despite their shared roots in biblical faith, Judaism and Christianity have profound theological differences and historically tended to regard each other with attitudes ranging from overt contempt and persecution to indifference or annihilation. Throughout this seminar, we will probe some of the theological complexities imbedded in these traditions, exploring possible ways to conceive a mutually respectful co-existence, while acknowledging their fundamental differences. 

 

 

 

Religious Studies 190 Section 3 Religion and Science Fiction
  • TuTh 12:30-2:00
  • L. Little
  • 9 Lewis
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77645

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. 

While the literary breadth and diversity of science fiction in print is vast, this class will offer a detailed survey of the historical development of the genre, emphasizing its longstanding relationship and complex treatment of religious themes. As they tend to have had a wider popular impact and a greater familiarity to modern audiences this class will feature film and television-based source materials when examining contemporary discourse within the genre. Readings for the course offer select passages of the primary sources that have impacted the history of the genre and will be accompanied by theoretical sources to deepen how we interpret both textual and visual sources that have shaped the character of the science fiction genre. Students will critique and discuss episodes from TV series such as Star Trek, Firefly, Babylon 5, Stargate and Battlestar Gallactica, as well as representative films of the genre.

 

 

Religious Studies 190 Section 4 Secularization, History, Religion
  • TuTh 3:30-5:00
  • A. Dubilet
  • 56 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77647

This course fulfills the methodological requirement for the RS major. This class reconstructs the complex interdisciplinary debates around the concept of ‘secularization’ that occurred in the first half of the twentieth century. These debates pose a set of interrelated interdisciplinary questions: Is religion superseded by the secular or does it persist in unexpected ways within its framework? Is there a radical discontinuity between a theological and religious past (and if so, which past? and whose past?) and a modern ‘secular’ world, or is the secular itself an unacknowledged continuation and transformation of religious structures (and if so, which ones?)? How are the configurations of periodization, historicity, and temporality transformed by the way we define – and understand the relationship between – religion and modernity? Is our experience of historical time itself a novel formation within a secular space, or, by contrast, is it structured by a theological lineage? If indeed there is a theological kernel in the temporality of modernity, how are we to think this kernel in relation to traditions of Jewish messianism, Christian eschatology, or Gnostic fullness?    

In various forms, these questions structure the complex theoretical debates between early twentieth century scholars like Georges Bataille, Karl Löwith, Jacob Taubes, Walter Benjamin, Max Weber, and Hans Blumenberg. We will unpack the theoretical stakes, conceptual contestations, and political ramifications of the multiple positions taken within these debates. Through analyzing the discursive space of these debates, we will become attuned to the theoretical complexity at the heart of the relationship between the secular and the religious (and the problematic nature of those terms). For example, we will see that thinkers like Taubes and Löwith find in modernity’s concept of time a distinctly theological heritage, and that Max Weber sees contemporary forms of discipline and subjectivity growing directly out of Reformation theological perspectives. Along the way, we will trace how these debates embody an interdisciplinary rigor by bringing together a diverse set of conceptual fields, including philosophy of history, Christian and Jewish theology, sociology, economics, intellectual history, history of religion and political theory. Attendance for the first two classes is mandatory. If you cannot attend, you must email the instructor ahead of time.

 

 

Theme

Religious Studies C 109 Celtic Mythology and Oral Tradition
  • TuTh 2:00-3:30
  • A. Rejhon
  • 122 Wheeler
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77618

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. The course will examine the mythology of the Celts—their gods, goddesses, festivals, and belief systems—as it is reflected in medieval Irish and Welsh texts. Following a short presentation of introductory material regarding the history and civilization of the early Celts, the course will begin with the early Irish tale known as The Second Battle of Maige Tuired, a core mythological tale that best exemplifies the pattern of mythological deities and belief systems that pertain to varying degrees in other Celtic tales. These tales will include in Irish, the Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel, the Tale of Macc Da Thó’s Pig, Bricriu’s Feast, the Wooing of Etaín, the Dream of Oengus, the Wasting Sickness of CúChulaind, the Cattle Raid of Fróech, and the Táin, and in Welsh, the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, Culhwch and Olwen, Lludd and Llefelys, the Tale of Gwion Bach and the Tale of Taliesin, and the poems, “What Man the Gatekeeper” and “The Spoils of the Otherworld.” All the readings are in English translation.

Religious Studies C 132 Jewish Civilization: Biblical Period
  • MWF 11:00-12:00
  • R. Hendel
  • 136 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77621

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. Our understanding of the biblical period has been transformed in recent decades due to the rediscovery of Israel’s cultural context, archaeological discoveries, and the influence of literary and anthropological forms of interpretation. We will explore Israel’s culture from its inception to the end of the Second Temple period, emphasizing close readings of texts from the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Near East, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the New Testament.

Religious Studies C 134 Jewish Civilization: Middle Ages
  • TuTh 9:30-11:00
  • J. Efron
  • 103 Moffitt
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77624

THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED 

 

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. Description forthcoming. 

 

 

Religious Studies C 163 Religious Movements in Modern India
  • TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • V. Paramasivan
  • 183 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77633

This course introduces students to the history of religious movements in modern India, examining how sacred texts and religious practices have been disseminated, reinterpreted, and enlisted in various political and cultural projects during the colonial and post-colonial period. The focus is on religious “reform” movements and cross-cultural debates during the colonial period. Important themes include transformations in the role of women, debates around caste and “untouchability”, and religious conversions (to Buddhism and Christianity). Although the emphasis is primarily on Hindu traditions, some attention will also be given to Christianity, Buddhism and Islam in India. This course also examines how the concept of a secular state in post-Independence India has shaped and continues to shape religious practice and public policy. Readings include theological writings, doctrinal tracts, anthropological and sociological analyses, poetry, autobiography, and historical overviews. No prior knowledge of Hinduism or the Indian subcontinent is required.

 
Religious Studies C 165 Hindu Mythology
  • MWF 11:00-12:00
  • R. Goldman
  • 159 Mulford
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 77636

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. Description forthcoming. 

 

 

Religious Studies 190 Section 2 Controversies between Judaism and Christianity
  • TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • M. Duarte De Oliveira
  • 78 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77642

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major.  Despite their shared roots in biblical faith, Judaism and Christianity have profound theological differences and historically tended to regard each other with attitudes ranging from overt contempt and persecution to indifference or annihilation. Throughout this seminar, we will probe some of the theological complexities imbedded in these traditions, exploring possible ways to conceive a mutually respectful co-existence, while acknowledging their fundamental differences. 

 

 

 

Religious Studies 190 Section 3 Religion and Science Fiction
  • TuTh 12:30-2:00
  • L. Little
  • 9 Lewis
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77645

This course fulfills the thematic requirement for the RS major. 

While the literary breadth and diversity of science fiction in print is vast, this class will offer a detailed survey of the historical development of the genre, emphasizing its longstanding relationship and complex treatment of religious themes. As they tend to have had a wider popular impact and a greater familiarity to modern audiences this class will feature film and television-based source materials when examining contemporary discourse within the genre. Readings for the course offer select passages of the primary sources that have impacted the history of the genre and will be accompanied by theoretical sources to deepen how we interpret both textual and visual sources that have shaped the character of the science fiction genre. Students will critique and discuss episodes from TV series such as Star Trek, Firefly, Babylon 5, Stargate and Battlestar Gallactica, as well as representative films of the genre.

 

 

Method

Religious Studies 190 Section 1 Augustine's City of God
  • TuTh 9:30-11:00
  • S. Elm
  • 78 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77639

This course fulfills the methodological requirement for the RS major. This course will focus on Augustine’s City of God.  A classic of “Western Civilization” as well as “Christianity,” this is a challenging text. We will use it as a guideline to investigate “on the ground” how Augustine saw the transformation of the later Roman Empire into a Christian empire and how he himself contributed to that transformation. We want to investigate how Christianity changes membership in the ancient city, what it meant for Augustine to be a Christian “citizen,” and how he thought about Roman history. In doing all this we will address recent scholarship positing (once more) the decline of the Roman Empire.

 

 

Religious Studies 190 Section 4 Secularization, History, Religion
  • TuTh 3:30-5:00
  • A. Dubilet
  • 56 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 77647

This course fulfills the methodological requirement for the RS major. This class reconstructs the complex interdisciplinary debates around the concept of ‘secularization’ that occurred in the first half of the twentieth century. These debates pose a set of interrelated interdisciplinary questions: Is religion superseded by the secular or does it persist in unexpected ways within its framework? Is there a radical discontinuity between a theological and religious past (and if so, which past? and whose past?) and a modern ‘secular’ world, or is the secular itself an unacknowledged continuation and transformation of religious structures (and if so, which ones?)? How are the configurations of periodization, historicity, and temporality transformed by the way we define – and understand the relationship between – religion and modernity? Is our experience of historical time itself a novel formation within a secular space, or, by contrast, is it structured by a theological lineage? If indeed there is a theological kernel in the temporality of modernity, how are we to think this kernel in relation to traditions of Jewish messianism, Christian eschatology, or Gnostic fullness?    

In various forms, these questions structure the complex theoretical debates between early twentieth century scholars like Georges Bataille, Karl Löwith, Jacob Taubes, Walter Benjamin, Max Weber, and Hans Blumenberg. We will unpack the theoretical stakes, conceptual contestations, and political ramifications of the multiple positions taken within these debates. Through analyzing the discursive space of these debates, we will become attuned to the theoretical complexity at the heart of the relationship between the secular and the religious (and the problematic nature of those terms). For example, we will see that thinkers like Taubes and Löwith find in modernity’s concept of time a distinctly theological heritage, and that Max Weber sees contemporary forms of discipline and subjectivity growing directly out of Reformation theological perspectives. Along the way, we will trace how these debates embody an interdisciplinary rigor by bringing together a diverse set of conceptual fields, including philosophy of history, Christian and Jewish theology, sociology, economics, intellectual history, history of religion and political theory. Attendance for the first two classes is mandatory. If you cannot attend, you must email the instructor ahead of time.

 

 

Courses From Other Departments

Buddhist Studies C 120 Buddhism on the Silk Road
  • TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • S. Mehendale
  • 229 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 07874

This course will discuss the social, economic, and cultural aspects of Buddhism as it moved along the ancient Eurasian trading network referred to as the “Silk Road”. Instead of relying solely on textual sources, the course will focus on material culture as it offers evidence concerning the spread of Buddhism. Through an examination of the Buddhist archaeological remains of the Silk Road, the course will address specific topics, such as the symbiotic relationship between Buddhism and commerce; doctrinal divergence; ideological shifts in the iconography of the Buddha; patronage (royal, religious and lay); Buddhism and political power; and art and conversion. All readings will be in English. Prerequisites: None. 

 

Buddhist Studies C 132 Pure Land Buddhism
  • TuTh 12:30-2:00
  • M. Blum
  • 209 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 07877

This course is designed as an upper division undergraduate class meeting twice a week. It will discuss the historical development of one school of East Asian Buddhism known as Pure Land. The Pure Land school is the largest form of Buddhism practiced today in China and Japan, though its study in the West has only recently been undertaken in earnest. There are literally thousands of books on this topic published in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese in the past 100 years, but limited materials are available in English. The curriculum is divided into India, China, and Japan sections, with the second half of the course focusing exclusively on Japan where this form of religious culture blossomed most dramatically, covering the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. The curriculum will begin with a reading of the core scriptures that form the basis of the belief system and then move into areas of cultural expression. The course will follow two basic trajectories over the centuries: doctrine/philosophy and culture/society. The first will require the critical reading of scriptures and their historical interpretations, the second looks at the impact of this doctrinal interpretation in society and the arts. Prerequisites: None

 

Buddhist Studies C 154 Death, Dreams, and Visions in Tibetan Buddhism
  • TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • J. Dalton
  • 156 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 07880

Tibetan Buddhists view the moment of death as a rare opportunity for transformation. This course examines how Tibetans have used death and dying in the path to enlightenment. Readings will address how Tibetan funerary rituals work to assist the dying toward this end, and how Buddhist practitioners prepare for this crucial moment through tantric meditation, imaginative rehearsals, and explorations of the dream state. Prerequisites: None.

 

Chicano Studies 110 Latino/a Philosophy and Religious Thought
  • TuTh 3:30-5:00
  • TBA
  • 175 Barrows
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 13423

Description forthcoming. 

Chinese 186 Confucius and His Interpreters
  • Th 3:00-4:00
  • TBA
  • 35 Evans
  • Class Number: 20777

This course examines the development of Confucianism in pre-modern China using a dialogical model that emphasizes its interactions with competing viewpoints. Particular attention will be paid to issues of ritual, human nature and morality, stressing the way that varieties of Confucianism were rooted in more general theories of value. Prerequisites: None. 

History 185 A History of Christianity to 1250
  • TuTh 2:00-3:30
  • S. Elm
  • 83 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39711

Description forthcoming. 

Music 139 Jewish Nightlife: Poetry, Music and Ritual Performance from Renaissance Italy to Contemporary Israel
  • M 2:00-3:30
  • F. Spagnolo
  • 2121 Allston Way, Room 110
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 60588

This course explores the inter-relations between the ritual performance of Jewish texts and social change across Jewish history, and focuses on three related topics:the rise of Kabbalistic nocturnal rituals in the Italian ghettos in early-modernperiod; the performance of Hebrew poetry in North Africa and the Middle East in the modern era; and the renaissance of piyyut (Hebrew liturgical poetry) in Israel fromthe 1970s to the present, from the singing of bakkashot among Syrian andMoroccan Israelis to the current transcultural activities of online and participatory communities.  The course will incorporate field trips to Berkeley synagogues, and will leverage the resources of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, including liturgical andpoetic manuscripts and printed texts, written music manuscripts, audio and video recordings, iconographic sources, and ritual and everyday life objects from theglobal Jewish diaspora. In addition, the course will be complemented  by weekly workshops led by Israeli artist, Yair Harel, during a residency at The Magnes,sponsored by the Schusterman Visiting Artists Program of the Charles and LynnSchusterman Foundation. Harel is also the creator of the website,  An Invitation to Piyyut, which integrates scholarship, digital archiving, and crowdsourcing,  in the study and the performance of Hebrew liturgical poetry and music.