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First-Year Seminar: The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In this seminar students learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts dating to the time of Jesus from caves around the site of Qumran by the Dead Sea. An introduction to the Islamic religious tradition, focusing on major themes of Islamic religious thought, bringing out both traditional spirituality and the critical issues confronting Muslims today. It investigates religious experience; myth and ritual; teachings and scripture; historical, social, and artistic aspects of religion; and the nature and function of religion in society, with a special focus on ethics and values. This course examines forms of religious expression as embodied in several important religious traditions. How does religion become a source of ethnic or racial prejudice among religious practitioners? This course explores the ways in which religion, magic, and science are defined in the modern world and the different forms in which supernaturalism circulates within contemporary culture.
First-Year Seminar: Person, Time, and Religious Conduct. Within the vast field of activity called "religion," this course examines how people and societies give meaning to the relation between human organisms and the universe in time and space.
This seminar explores the ways the historical Jesus has been portrayed in the writings of modern scholars and films of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Philosophical and historical inquiries into organizational practices and styles of life.
This course examines a variety of Western Christian dissenters and the authorities who opposed them: Gnostics; medieval, Spanish, and Latin American inquisitions; Protestant Anabaptists; witches; Galileo; Mormons; and Pentecostals.
First-Year Seminar: A History of Heresy: Christian Dissent from the Gnostics to the Pentecostals. Christian orthodox beliefs or practices often get formulated expressly to marginalize a viewpoint or community considered too radical. They include early copies of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and sectarian works belonging to the Jewish community that lived in Qumran.
This class explores answers to these questions by examining the connections between religion and racism in modern societies like the United States and South Africa.