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RELIGST 6N: Religion in Anime and Manga

Religious themes and topoi are ubiquitous in Japanese anime and manga. In this course, we will examine how religions are represented in these new media and study the role of religions in contemporary Japan. By doing this, students will also learn fundamental concepts of Buddhism and Shinto.
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Mross, M. (PI)

RELIGST 8N: Gardens and Sacred Space in Japan

This seminar will explore gardens and sacred spaces in Japan. We will study the development of Japanese garden design from the earliest records to contemporary Japan. We will especially focus on the religious, aesthetic, and social dimensions of gardens and sacred spaces. This seminar features a fieldtrip to a Japanese garden in the area, in order to study how Japanese garden design was adapted in North America.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Mross, M. (PI)

RELIGST 9N: What Didn't Make it into the Bible (CLASSICS 9N, JEWISHST 9N)

Over two billion people alive today consider the Bible to be sacred scripture. But how did the books that made it into the bible get there in the first place? Who decided what was to be part of the bible and what wasn't? How would history look differently if a given book didn't make the final cut and another one did? Hundreds of ancient Jewish and Christian texts are not included in the Bible. ¿What Didn't Make It in the Bible¿ focuses on these excluded writings. We will explore the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic gospels, hear of a five-year-old Jesus throwing temper tantrums while killing (and later resurrecting) his classmates, peruse ancient romance novels, explore the adventures of fallen angels who sired giants (and taught humans about cosmetics), tour heaven and hell, encounter the garden of Eden story told from the perspective of the snake, and learn how the world will end. The seminar assumes no prior knowledge of Judaism, Christianity, the bible, or ancient history. It is designed for students who are part of faith traditions that consider the bible to be sacred, as well as those who are not. The only prerequisite is an interest in exploring books, groups, and ideas that eventually lost the battles of history and to keep asking the question "why." In critically examining these ancient narratives and the communities that wrote them, you will learn about the content and history of the Bible, better appreciate the diversity of early Judaism and Christianity, understand the historical context of these religions, and explore the politics behind what did and did not make it into the bible.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Penn, M. (PI)

RELIGST 17N: Love, Power, and Justice: Ethics in Christian Perspective

From its inception, the Christian faith has, like all religions, implied an ethos as well as a worldview, a morality and way of life as well as a system of beliefs, an ethics as well as a metaphysics. Throughout history, Christian thinkers have offered reasoned accounts of the moral values, principles, and virtues that ought to animate the adherents of what eventually became the world's largest religion. We will explore a variety of controversial issues, theological orientations, and types of ethical reasoning in the Christian tradition, treating the latter as one 'comprehensive doctrine' (John Rawls) among many; a normative framework (actually a variety of contested religious premises, moral teachings, and philosophical arguments) formally on par with the religious ethics of other major faiths as well as with the various secular moral theories typically discussed in the modern university. We will learn to interpret, reconstruct, criticize, and think intelligently about the coherence and persuasiveness of moral arguments offered by a diverse handful of this religious tradition's best thinkers and critics, past and present.
Last offered: Spring 2016 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

RELIGST 26: The Bible and its Interpreters

Introduction to major stories, figures, and themes of the Christian Bible and their retellings in theological writing, art, literature, film, and music throughout the ages.
Last offered: Winter 2018 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

RELIGST 31: The Religious Life of Things

Temples, prayer beads, icons, robes, books, relics, candles and incense, scarves and hats, sacred food and holy water; objects of all sorts play a prominent role in all religions, evoking a wide range of emotional responses, from reverence, solace and even ecstasy, to fear, hostility and violence. What is it about these things that makes them so powerful? Is it beliefs and doctrines that inspire particular attitudes towards certain objects, or is it the other way around? Many see a tension or even contradiction between religion and material pursuits and argue that the true religious life is a life without things. But is such a life even possible? This course adopts a comparative approach, drawing on a variety of traditions to examine the place of images, food, clothing, ritual objects, architecture and relics in religious thought and practice. Materials for the course include scholarship, scripture, images and at least one museum visit.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

RELIGST 32: Spiritualism and the Occult

T.W. Stanford, Leland Jr¿s uncle, was on the original board of trustees for Stanford, and his will left money for founding psychic studies at Stanford. His apports, or occult séance objects are now in the University collections and he claimed to speak with Leland Jr. after his death through a séance encounter. The Stanfords were far from alone in engaging in occult practices. Millions of people in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries described themselves as spiritualist. Far from being the rejection of science, this movement saw itself--and often was seen by others¿as the forefront of scientific inquiry. From spirit rapping to telepathy, its practitioners often drew a thin line between physics and metaphysics mixing the most recent technological innovations with traditions as diverse as Christianity, Jewish Kabbala, Buddhism, and Jainism.nnnOur class will examine spirit photographs allegedly capturing images of dead relatives (and Satan himself), explore novels about outer space travel enabled by electrical beverages, read the account of a walking and talking seance table named "Mary Jane," and handle artifacts that TW Stanford used to communicate across the astral plane and beyond the grave. These sources will immerse us in a technologically modernizing world experiencing a new wave of global empires, a world in which spiritualists blend Eastern and Western mystical concepts, hitch spiritual understanding to the emerging prestige of the scientific, and focus on the unseen, inner, and mystical as the new frontier awaiting full revelation.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Willburn, S. (PI)

RELIGST 53: Exploring Jewish Spirituality (JEWISHST 53)

It was once accepted as fact that Judaism is a purely rational religion devoid of any authentic mystical tradition. But the past century of scholarship has reversed this claim, demonstrating that the spiritual life has been integral to Judaism's vital heart since ancient times. This yearning for a direct immediate experience of God's Presence, a longing to grasp the mysteries of the human soul and know the inner dynamics of the Divine realm, has taken on many different forms across the centuries. This course will introduce students to the major texts and core ideas of Jewish mysticism and spirituality, tracking their development from the Hebrew Bible to the present day. Close attention will be paid to the sources¿ historical context, and we will also engage with broader methodological questions regarding the academic study of religion and the comparative approach to mysticism.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Mayse, E. (PI)

RELIGST 55: Exploring Zen Buddhism

This course is an introduction to Chan/Zen Buddhism. We will study the historical and doctrinal development of this tradition in China and Japan and examine various facets of Zen, such as the philosophy, practices, rituals, culture, and institution. For this aim, we will read and discuss classical Zen texts in translation and important secondary literature. This class will further feature a visit of a Zen teacher, who will give an introduction to sitting meditation.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

RELIGST 56: Exploring Chinese Religions

An overview of major themes and historical developments in 5000 years of Chinese religion. In this course, we will try as much as possible to appreciate Chinese religion from the Chinese perspective, paying particular attention to original texts in translation in an attempt to discern the logic of Chinese religion and the role it has played in the course of Chinese history. To a greater extent perhaps than any other civilization, Chinese have left behind a continuous body of written documents and other artifacts relating to religion stretching over thousands of years, providing a wealth of material for studying the place of religion in history and society.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
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