Course Descriptions RELS 2203   Philosophy and God
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Does God exist? Can God be known? Have a nature? Do evil? Beginning by occupying the same ground as religion, philosophy has asked these questions. Starting with Pythagoras, Empedocles, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and continuing with their pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic followers, we shall learn to state the answers of sages and mystics with historical accuracy and to judge their persuasive power.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 2024

RELS 2205   Philosophy of Religion
CREDIT HOURS: 3
The philosophical exploration of the nature and function of religious faith, belief, and practice. Topics typically include: relations between religion and morals; the existence of divinity/divinities; problems of evil; the nature and significance of religious experiences
CROSS-LISTING: PHIL 2205.03
EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 2200X/Y.06

RELS 2209   The Roman World from Constantine to Theodosius (312-395)
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course covers one of the most important periods of Roman history in which Christianity became the dominant religion in the empire and foreign peoples threatened the existence of the empire itself. The course is open to first-year students. There is no foreign language requirement.
FORMAT: Seminar
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 2017.03, CLAS 2209.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 2210X/Y.06, HIST 2004X/Y.06

RELS 2220   Ancient Israel in Her Near Eastern Context
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Students will become familiar with the broad outlines of ancient Israelite history with specific attention to Israel's relationship to her immediate neighbours and the major imperial powers from the 2nd millennium BCE to first century CE. This will entail an initial survey of biblical texts in order to lay an adequate understanding of ancient Israel's self-conception, followed by a detailed survey of Israel's interaction with other nations, including early Mesopotamia, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, the Seleucid empire, and Rome.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Seminar

FORMAT COMMENTS: Lecture and seminar presentations
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 2220.03/HIST 2520.03

RELS 2281   Christian Beginnings: The Orthodox and Oriental Churches
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course traces the development of Christianity from its origin as a Jewish sect to its status as the dominant religion within the Byzantine Empire. The Christian religion as patronized by the Eastern Roman Emperors identified itself with the persecuted Christian sect of the first three centuries through the cult of the martyrs, articulated in the increasing importance of relic, icon, and pilgrimage to holy place. The seven ecumenical councils (325-787) progressively defined the Orthodox faith and resulted in the rise of Oriental churches, rejecting aspects of the definitions. Through to our end-date of 843 (when the icon was finally accepted) themes will be treated by attention to historical events (including the rise of Islam), art, architecture, liturgy, and various genres of literature (including hagiography).
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 2281.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 3280X/Y.06

RELS 2292   Goblins, Ghosts, Gods, Gurus I
CREDIT HOURS: 3

NOTES: This course is the first part of the former full-year course RELS 2291X/Y.06. This course description reflects the entirety of the pair (RELS 2292.03 and RELS 2293.03).
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: SOSA 2292.03
EXCLUSIONS: RELS 2291X/Y.06, SOSA2291X/Y.06

RELS 2293   Goblins, Ghosts, Gods, Gurus II
CREDIT HOURS: 3

NOTES: This course is the second part of the former full-year course RELS 2291X/Y.06. This course description reflects the entirety of the pair (RELS 2292.03 and RELS 2293.03).
FORMAT: Lecture
PREREQUISITES: RELS 2292.03
CROSS-LISTING: SOSA 2293.03
EXCLUSIONS: RELS 2291X/Y.06, RELS 2291X/Y.06

RELS 2362   Ancient Philosophy: From Aristotle to Plotinus
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course covers the period in Ancient Philosophy from Aristotle to Plotinus: selected texts of Aristotle, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Pyrrhonean and Academic Scepticism, Middle Platonism, Neoplatonism.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: PHIL 2362.03, CLAS 2362.03

RELS 2365   Plato and the Case of Socrates: Philosophy on Trial
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Socrates (469-399 BCE) never wrote a single word, but posed such threat to Athens that a jury put him to death for the alleged ethical corruption and impiety of his thought. This course will explore the revolutionary life and thought of Socrates, and consider whether the jury's decision against him was justified.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 2365, PHIL 2365

RELS 2420   Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe
CREDIT HOURS: 3
The period of European history from 1500 to 1800 saw the rise of modern science and philosophy. It was also a period in which thousands of witch trials and executions were carried out. This course will seek to understand how these seemingly contradictory developments could have occurred simultaneously. The course will examine changing conceptions of the witch and witchcraft in their historical, intellectual, cultural, religious, and political contexts. Questions that will be addressed include: How did the Renaissance interest in magic influence the Early Modern understanding of witchcraft? What impact did concerns about popular religion have on the witch trials? What constituted evidence that someone was a witch? What did Early Modern scientists think about witchcraft? The course will pay special attention to Early Modern notions of gender and sexuality and their influence on the witch hunts and witch trials.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Tutorial

CROSS-LISTING: GWST 2320.03, EMSP 2320.03

RELS 2503   Medieval Islamic Civilization
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course will introduce students to the Perso-Levantine world at the time of Muhammad's prophecy in the 7th century, and how the Arabian Peninsula was impacted by the creation and emergence of an Islamic society in Medina and Mecca. With the displacing of Byzantine control in the Holy Land and the collapse of the Sasanian Empire in Persia, the Arab-centric society of Mecca and Medina had become an empire of unprecedented size and ethnic complexity. The course will examine the respective Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties, as well as the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals. The central theme of this course will be an examination of the Islamic surrounding traditions and cultures in the Mediterranean, the Iranian Plateau, the Caucasus, the Steppe, India, and Southeast Asia. Another important theme will be the study of how various Islamic societies understood and resolved the age-old dynamic between tribal nomadism and hierarchical urbanism.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 2503.03
EXCLUSIONS: first year students and HIST 2501.03

RELS 2509   Hindu, Muslim, Sikh: Identity, Culture and State in Precolonial South Asia
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course introduces students to the fundamental units of the religious and political history of South Asia from the pre-Islamic period to approximately 1750 CE, guided by the following questions: who are the peoples that have made up the religious, cultural and political communities of South Asia? What, if anything, defines religious and political identity in the ancient and early modern world? What role has religion played in the formation and administration of political regimes in South Asia? And how have the identities of those whom we today call "Muslim," "Hindu" and "Sikh" changed and evolved in the centuries preceding the British Imperial period?
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Tutorial

FORMAT COMMENTS:
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 2
TUTORIAL HOURS PER WEEK: 1
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 2509.03

RELS 2510   Hindu, Muslim, Sikh: Colonial Trauma and Nationalism in Modern South Asia
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course will examine the region of South Asia from the mid-19th century - the height of the British Raj - to the present. Areas of concentration will include resistance to British rule, rise of the Congress Party, the 1947 Partition, and subsequent decolonization. The respective histories of modern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh will be examined against the backdrop of nationalism, communalism, and regional conflict.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 2510.03

RELS 2600   Introductory Sanskrit II
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course develops further the basic grammar and vocabulary of Introductory Sanskrit I, emphasizing the basic past tense verbal systems, participial formations, and translation of simple Sanskrit texts.
PREREQUISITES: RELS 1600.03 or CLAS 1600.03
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 2600.03

RELS 3000   Topics in Religious Studies
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course treats a range of theoretical and methodological issues in the study of religion and serves to introduce students to key problems in scholarship on both Western and Eastern traditions. A variety of themes will be explored such as the relationship between philosophy and religion, the functions of doctrine and ritual, the nature of holiness and the nature of scripture. Beyond a basic understanding of these and other themes, however, the course will engage students with the various - often conflicting - ways in which these themes have been treated in Religious Studies scholarship.
FORMAT: Seminar
RESTRICTIONS: Students must be in their third year of study, or beyond

RELS 3009   Christianity in the Lands of Islam
CREDIT HOURS: 3
After the Islamic conquest of the Middle East in the seventh century, approximately half of the world’s Christians found themselves under Islamic rule. The course tells the story of these Christians, their religious practices, their literatures, written in Greek, Arabic, Syriac, and Coptic, and their complex relations with the Muslims from the seventh century until today.
FORMAT: Lecture
PREREQUISITES: RELS 1002.03 or RELS 2003.03 or permission of the instructor.

RELS 3012   Mystics of the Middle East
CREDIT HOURS: 3
The course is designed as an introduction to mystical dimensions of Islamic thought and practice in their historical development and in relation to Jewish and Christian mysticism in the Middle East. Topics to be covered include: Middle Eastern Christian mysticism, the beginnings of the Sufi tradition in relation to other varieties of Middle Eastern mysticism, orthodoxy and heresy in early Sufism, stations and states on the Sufi path, Sufism and philosophy in interaction, Sufi orders, Sufi poetry as vehicle of mystical experience.
PREREQUISITES: RELS 1002.03 or RELS 2003.03 or permission of the instructor.

RELS 3018   Meetings Between Hellenism and the East to Philo the Jew
CREDIT HOURS: 3
We consider the constitution of Hellenism in relation to Eastern cultures as this emerges in Homer and Herodotus, the emergence of philosophy and the polis. With Alexander and the Hellenistic empires we look at the results and limits of military conquest especially in what is now Afghanistan. The course concludes with the constitution of Jewish religion and culture and its meeting with Hellenism with Philo Judaeus in Alexandria. In order to integrate the presentation of text and art the lectures are all in PowerPoint.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3016.03, HIST 3016.03

RELS 3019   Meetings between Hellenism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam until the Renaissance
CREDIT HOURS: 3
We consider the constitution of Christianity in relation to Hellenism and Judaism during the first six centuries of the Christian era. After treating the constitution of Islam, we consider its meetings with Christianity and Judaism especially in Spain and Norman Sicily. We conclude with medieval Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophical theologians. Integrating the presentation of text and art the lectures are all in PowerPoint.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3017.03, HIST 3017.03

RELS 3100   Readings in Western Religions
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course will focus on a single body of literature from the Jewish, Christian, or Islamic religious traditions such as the Gospels, Midrashic collections, or Tafsir. The course will examine the interpretation of the literature in its original context, in traditional commentaries, and in the modern academy.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Seminar

PREREQUISITES: A 2000 level course or permission of instructor
EXCLUSIONS: RELS 3002.03