RELST-UA 9671 Magic, Religion & Inquisition (MEDI-UA 9995)
This course is made up of four sections. The first opens with an analysis of the intellectual foundations of the witch-hunt from late Antiquity to the early Renaissance. The second section concentrates on the most infamous handbook for witch-hunters, Malleus Maleficarum (“The Hammer of the Witches”) and on the roots of medieval misogyny. The third section looks at the mass witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on the backdrop of the break between Protestant and Catholic Europe, and examines the connections linking witch-hunting to the momentous social, political and religious changes of the times. In the fourth part, the course will shift focus to the grassroots level, shedding light on the economic and social mechanisms which lead a community to “make a witch”.
RELST-UA 9360 Religion, Culture and Politics in Eastern and Central Europe
Religion is without doubt one of the most important elements that shaped the history and contemporary face of Central Europe. Religion played an important role in the political and cultural development of this part of the world. The history of the mutual interaction between religion and politics is evident in the cultural richness of this part of the world, particularly in Bohemia and Prague.
This course explores various religious phenomena that formed political ideas and cultural values of this region indifferent historical periods. We examine particularly those religious characteristics and figures that remarkably influenced the world's history and enriched human thinking. First, we study the Christianization of Central European society and the prominent role of religion in the political and cultural transformation of the medieval period. Then we follow the religious reformation process and development of the relationship between Judeo-Christian tradition and the secular world in the early modern period. Finally, we explore the policies of communist regimes in the spheres of religion and culture and study the struggle of Christian churches against communist totalitarianism. The transformation of Catholicism in the 1960s is also examined together with the role of religion in post-communist society.
Excursions to significant historical and religious sights are an important part of the course.
RELS-SHU 9270 Religion and Society in China: Ghosts, Gods, Buddhas and Ancestors
This course is a survey of the major historical and contemporary currents of China's religious thought and practice, including Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism and “popular religion”. It will focus on the interactions between such teachings and practices, as well as on the contributions of all four to Chinese culture. You will study various topics including divination, visual culture, ritual, ancestor worship, morality, longevity techniques, healing practices and meditation. A selected number of primary and secondary sources will be discussed in lecture; documentary films and visits to sacred spaces will be also be key constituents of the course.
NYU Tel Aviv
RELST-UA 9613 Religion, Politics and the State in Comparatie Perspective
The purpose of this course is to examine the relation between religion and public life in both western and non western societies. Recently, the question of the relation between religion and public life has come to the fore again, for several reasons. First, the Third Wave of Democratization in certain Catholic, Orthodox and non-Christian socities has raised the question of the relation between religion and democratic political culture. Second, the immigration of non-Christians to certain western, "Christian" nations has tended to underline the Christian foundations of those national states. And third, the resurgence of religious fundamentalism in many parts of the world has sharpened the question of the relation between religion and public life in still other socities. All of these developments cast doubt on traditional theoretical formulations about both the privatization of religion and the secularization of the state. It seems that religion plays an important role in the formation of regimes and political patterns; that religious establishments and religious communities are occassionally involved in political struggles; and that religions introduce powerful symbols of identification that often moblize the public for political purposes.