Courses 2009-2010

Fall 2009


TH 107 Religion in Africa (Fall: 3)

Undergraduates Only. Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core Requirement
The course is designed to introduce the variety of African religious experiences within the context of world religions. The significance and contents of Africism as the African autochthonal religion will be outlined. Heterochthonal religions to Africa will be discussed. These include the following: Middle East originating religions, like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and those originating in India, like Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Parseeism. While emphasis will be laid on the impact religion has had on African communities within the context of peace and justice in the world, the course will also consider the role of Africism in a changing Africa.
Aloysius M. Lugira

TH161 Religious Quest: Comparative Perspectives

Undergraduates only. Satisfies Theology and Cultural Diversity Core Requirements
Religious Quest courses present Christianity and at least one other world religious tradition. Students are strongly encouraged to take both semesters of the same Religious Quest class. If circumstances require switching sections students need permission of the instructor of the spring term course and may be asked to do additional background reading and writing for the religious tradition(s) not covered in their first semester of the course.You must take both sections of the Religious Quest I and II (TH 161 and TH 162) to receive Core credit. There are no exceptions. Each section covers different non-Christian traditions.
C Cornille--Hinduism
N DeLong-Bas--Islam
K Enriquez--Christianity & Buddhism
A Lugira--African Religions
J Makransky--Buddhism
B Mayemba--African Religions
J Morris--Judaism and Islam
R Sonsino--Judaism

TH 174 Islamic Civilization (Fall: 3)

Cross Listed with FA 174, HS207
course introduces the varieties of Islamic civilization from the seventh century to the modern world. It explores not only the tenets of faith and practice, and political, social, theological, and economic history, but also the diverse cultural expressions of Muslims through the verbal and visual arts from Indonesia to Morocco and in the Western world. Students will read primary sources, look at works of art, listen to recordings, and view films. The course will emphasize the variety of experiences of Muslims and their contributions to world cultures.
Sheila Blair
Jonathan Bloom
James Morris
Dana Sajdi


TH 352 Israelis and Palestinians: Two Peoples, Three Faiths (Fall: 3)

The parties in the Middle Eastern Conflict came, in 1993, to a watershed agreement, which had eluded them earlier, to recognize one another's legitimacy as peoples. The agreement has been difficult to maintain and to withdraw, and has figured massively in the turbulent events in the region since that time. This course examines how, in the whole history of the conflict, the elements of ethnicity and faith have contributed to the hatreds and resentments of these peoples, and the extent to which mutual acceptance and respect at these levels of faith and ethnicity can contribute to healing the conflict.
Raymond Helmick, S.J.

TH 432 Women in World Religions (Fall: 3)

The issue of gender plays an important and at present controversial role in most of the World Religions. We will explore the position and roles of women in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Within each of these traditions, we will focus on the conception of women in sacred scripture, institutional and hierarchical development of the tradition, and contemporary feminist reflection. Critical issues which will be discussed; relation between the conception of the absolute and that of women, connection between religious authority and the traditional images of women, and diversity of contemporary conceptions of gender within any particular religion.
Catherine Cornille

TH472.01 Buddhist Ethics: Ancient and Contemporary (Fall: 3)

Connections between doctrines, practices and ethical principles in early Buddhism, in Mahayana traditions, and in contemporary ethical cultivation and social values. Readings in ancient texts in translation, manuals of meditation and ethics, and current analyses of Buddhist ethics and society.
John Makransky

TH 531 Abrahamic Family Reunion (Fall: 3)

The purpose of this course is to explore initial family relationships and the religious issues and tensions that drive these social and political dynamics. Abrahamic Family relations have enormous implications in shaping the 21st century for good or for ill.
Jews, Christians and Muslims are commonly referred to as members of the Abrahamic family of faith. Each faith tradition looks to Abraham as progenitor. Christianity and Judaism experienced a "parting of the ways" in the second to the fourth century. Islam emerged as a further prophecy and self-perceived clarification of earlier prophetic witness in the seventh century (610 A.D.). Today, at the heart of political and military tension in the Middle East and elsewhere are deep issues of religious identity that are either specific to this family of faiths or particularly exacerbated within the relationships among them.
Raymond Helmick
Rodney Petersen

TH 544 Prophetic Tradition: Exploring the Hadith (Fall: 3)

For Advanced Undergraduates and Graduates.
Using English translations, this seminar surveys the ways the corpus of Prophetic hadith has inspired every area of Islamic life, including spiritual devotions and practices; theology, cosmology and eschatology; family, social and economic life; models of proper behavior (adab); the interpretation of the Qur'an and sacred history; and later disciplines of Arabic learning. Focuses on acquiring familiarity with the structure, contents, and uses of major Sunni hadith collections (but including representative Shiite sources), as well as later influential short collections (Nawawi, Ibn `Arabi).
James Morris


Spring 2010


TH 108 Christianity in Africa (Spring: 3)

Undergraduates only
Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core Requirement
This course is intended to give a historically interdisciplinary bird's-eye-view of Christianity in Africa. While Christianity in general will be touched upon, emphasis will be laid on the development and extension of the Christian tradition in Africa. The three stages within which Christianity has so far been established in Africa will be discussed. Finally a response Christianity has received in Africa will be considered for the purpose of visualizing the future role of Christianity in changing Africa.
Aloysius M. Lugira

TH162 Religious Quest II

See TH161 in the Fall listing.

TH 428 Ten Commandments: Biblical & Contemporary Ethics (Spring: 3)

This course is sponsored in part by the Jewish Chautauqua Society.
In this elective we shall study the Ten Commandments in light of biblical, rabbinic, and modern Jewish interpretations of the sages, with specific emphasis on the moral issues of our time requiring difficult choices.
Rabbi Rifat Sonsino

TH 443 History and Methods in Comparative Religion (Spring: 3)

Offered Periodically, Graduate Students
The Comparative Study of Religions has evolved through different stages of methodological reflection since its establishment as an autonomous discipline over a century ago. Questions concerning the nature and goal of comparison and the possibilities and limits of understanding individuals belonging to other religions remain at the heart of any engagement with religious pluralism. In this course we will explore these questions through a study of the theories of early phenomenologists of religion such as Gerardus Van der Leeuw, through the work of Mircea Eliade and his critics, up to the contemporary approaches of figures such as Jonathan Z. Smith.
Catherine Cornille

TH 506 Tibetan Buddhist Traditions (Spring: 3)

Prerequisite: Strong interest to do weekly reading and writing.
Permission of instructor required.
Focusing on the Vajrayana (tantric) Buddhism of Tibet. Includes early Buddhist and Mahayana foundations of tantric Buddhism, philosophical bases of Vajrayana, sacred myths and biographies, concepts of tantric mandala, guru, empowerment, meditation methods, inner yogas, unities of wisdom and means, the feminine divine in Tibet, and supporting cultural and social institutions. We will explore Tibetan traditions both through writings of modern Buddhist studies scholars and Tibetan lamas.
John J. Makransky


TH 527 Buddhist Meditation, Service & Social Action (Spring: 3)

Prerequisite: Restrictions: Department permission (contact professor).
Cross Listed with PL 537
Tibetan Buddhist understandings of the nature of mind with its capacities for stable attention, loving communion, compassion and wisdom will be explored through contemporary writing and guided meditations. The meditations are adapted for students of any background to explore-- to deepen understanding of Buddhism, to shed light on students' own spiritualities and traditions, and to see how meditation may inform contemporary social service and action
John Makransky

TH 566 Mystical Poetry in the Islamic Humanities (Spring: 3)

Limit 16 with maximum of nine undergraduates. Additional Master's students with consent.
Spiritual poetry and music have long been the primary cultural vehicle for the popular communication of Qur'anic teaching throughout the Islamic world. Beginning with essential background from the Qur'an and hadith, this seminar will focus on three classics of the Islamic humanities: Attar's Language of the Birds, Rumi's Masnavi, and Hafez's lyrical poetry. Each participant will also study another major work from the Islamic humanities in a different Muslim culture (in translation), or cognate artistic forms (film, music, literature) from contemporary spiritual settings.
James Morris

TH 985 Comparative Doctoral Seminar (Fall/Spring: 3)

By arrangement.
The Department

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Updated: 15-Jul-2009
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