Saint Patrick: From Slave to Patron Saint RELST-UA.983.001 (Same as IRISH-UA 991), Waidler
Monday, Wednesday 2:00pm-3:15pm. 4 pts. Online. Syllabus
This course will focus on the figure of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, whose feastday is celebrated around the world on March 17th. Starting with his own writings from the early Middle Ages in which he tells how he was captured and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of sixteen and defends himself against an unknown wrong, we will explore what can be known of the man behind the saint and trace the many interpretations of his legend across medieval and early modern history, ending with an examination of how he is seen in the modern period and throughout the world today. Students will explore how Patrick came to be seen as the chief saint of Ireland and the seventh-century political machinations behind the promotion of his cult, how he came to be associated with Jewish roots and viewed as a Moses of the Irish, how medieval writers depicted him as saving epic heroes from hell and recording the stories of centuries-old legendary warriors and how he eventually became an enduring symbol of Ireland itself. This class will give students a grounding in critical thinking and how to approach historical and literary texts of a variety of genres and will also explore what defined a saint at different periods and how the role of one man from the early Middle Ages could be remolded again and again according to changing religious, political and literary needs for over a millennium and a half.
Bible as Literature RELST-UA.23 (Same as HBRJD-UA.23), Feldman
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. 4 pts. Online
Approaches the Bible as a “full-fledged kindred spirit” of modernism through a broadly literary approach. The focus is on narrative—the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy), the Former Prophets (Joshua to Kings), and the shorter narrative books (Ruth, Jonah, and Esther)—but also studies Ecclesiastes and Job as ancient precursors to modern skepticism. Examines one modernist engagement with the Bible: Kafka’s Amerika.
Belief and Social Life in China RELST-UA.351 (Same as ANTH-UA.351), Zito
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. 4pts. Online
The Chinese word for “religion” means “teaching.” Explores what Chinese people “taught” themselves about the person, society, and the natural world and thus how social life was constructed and maintained. Examines in historical perspective the classic texts of the Taoist and Confucian canon and their synthesis as well as Buddhism, especially Ch’an (Zen). Discusses the practices of filiality in Buddhism, Confucian orthodoxy, and folk religion.
Classical Mythology RELST-UA.404 (Same as CLASS-UA.404), Meineck
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class #8482. 4 pts. Online
Discusses the myths and legends of Greek and Roman mythology and the gods, demigods, heroes, nymphs, monsters, and everyday mortals who played out their parts in this mythology. Begins with creation, as vividly described by Hesiod in the Theogony, and ends with the great Trojan War and the return of the Greek heroes, especially Odysseus. Roman myth is also treated, with emphasis on Aeneas and the foundation legends of Rome.
Creating a Good Society: Greek, Christian and Jewish Perspectives RELST-UA.428 (Same as HBRJD-UA.428), Gottlieb. Recommended prerequisite: Living a Good Life: Greek and Jewish Perspectives (HBRJD-UA 422)
Wednesday, 11:00am-1:00pm. 4 pts. Online
Central questions: What is the best form of government? What economic system is ideal? Should government actively promote a vision of the good life or leave it to individuals to decide the good for themselves? Should government prioritize the freedom, equality, or happiness of its inhabitants? What role should religion and nationhood play in society? What models of education should government promote? Careful analysis of primary texts by Plato, Maimonides, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Mendelssohn, Marx, and Hess.
Gods and Profits: Religion and Capitalism RELST-UA.626 (Same as ANTH-UA.626), Oliphant
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00pm-3:15pm. 4 pts. Online
This course explores the "enchanted" production and reproduction of capitalism and the effects of capitalism on ever-transforming religious practices. Through a combination of classical and contemporary approaches in political economy, religious studies, and anthropology, we will address what makes capitalism a unique mode of exchange and explore examples of the spirits that haunt the market's invisible hand as well as those that resist its powerful reach. Our readings and discussions will cover important debates surrounding the history and origins of capitalism in Europe; classical anthropological writings on "pre-capitalist" economies encountered during European colonial expansion; and current writings that refuse the distinction between the supposedly separate spheres of religion and economy.
Religions of India RELST-UA.337 (Same as HIST-UA.117), Fleming
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30pm-4:45pm. 4 pts. Online
Examines Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Jain, and Sikh traditions, as well as the ancient and modern contexts in which they are situated. Focuses on how various problems (material, intellectual, political) have served as catalysts for the formation and dissolution of communities of interpretation and practice and reexamines the multiple pasts of South Asia without projecting modern categories onto those traditions.
Seminar: St. Augustine’s City of God RELST-UA.991 (Same as CLASS-UA.291.002), Becker
Wednesday 11:00am-1:45pm. 4 pts. Online. Department consent required. Syllabus
This seminar will focus on St. Augustine’s City of God. Brief lectures will set out the historical,
literary, and intellectual context. However, a work such as this allows for questions and
conversation that go well beyond its original setting. Our focus will be the text itself and the
dialogue it provokes.
Topics addressed include: Augustine’s critique of Roman religion, his relationship to Virgil and
other Classical authors, his engagement with Greek philosophy, Christian political theology, the
Christian understanding of history, the problem of suffering, demonology, the origin of evil, the
creation of the human being, Original Sin, war and peace, judgment and punishment,
eschatology (the end time), envisioning God, and Augustine’s doctrine of the two cities.
Permission required. 1-4 pts. Staff
Independent Study RELST-UA.998
Permission required. 1-4 pts. Staff.
COURSES APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Texts and Ideas: God CORE-UA.420.020, de Vries
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30am-11:45am. 4 pts. Online. See Albert for recitations
What or who is- or was- “God”? And what or who might “He” still - or yet again- become, for us, whether we consider ourselves true believers or not? Do admittedly insufficient philosophical proofs for His existence that, throughout the ages have been attempted, add up, in the end? And, if so, in what sense or to what extent, precisely? Or, if God's existence and essential predicates can neither be verified nor even sharply defined, can they instead be falsified, as has also been claimed? Are God's concept and names - and there are, across past and prsent traditions and cultures quite a few in circulation - as many instances of "nonsense," at least in rigourous logical, conceptual and argumentative terms? Is to speak of and reason about “God” proliferate mere noise, an inchoate feeling of cosmic and existential dependence, nothing more?
This course is devoted to historical and contemporary efforts to nonetheless understand and justify this at once most familiar and strangest of invocations or references: the Being called highest, by many, but also eternal, all-knowing, perfectly good, itself enough, and much else besides.
Gender and Violence SCA-UA.493.001, Pelligrini
Monday, Wednesday 2:00pm-3:15pm. 4 pts. Online. See Albert for recitations
This class explores the relationship between gender and violence from a range of disciplinary vantage-points and through a diverse archive of materials (including performance and film, literature, law, and photography). As a way to focus our investigations, units in the course will be organized around a series of case studies, among them: campus sexual assault, Abu Ghraib, civil disobedience and political protest, anti-trans violence, and trigger warnings. Throughout the semester, we will pay especial attention to how gender-based violence is shaped by other social variables, such as class, race, and religion. How do these terms get put to work in public debates, policy decisions, and scholarship – and with what effects, positive and negative? What do we mean when we say “violence” and according to whose perspective is something “violent”? Rather than assuming we know in advance what any of the course’s keywords means (gender, violence, religion, and race), over the course of the semester we will together seek to refine and rethink these terms individually and in relation.
Religion, Politics & State in Comparative Perspective, RELST-UA.9613, Staff
Class Times TBD. 4pts. NYU Tel Aviv
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.
Magic, Religion & Inquisition, RELST-UA.9671, Staff
Tuesday 3:00pm-5:45pm. Class #9273. 4 pts. NYU Florence
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”.