Course Descriptions RELS 3101   The Self and the World in Indian Story
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Through a close reading of narrative and other forms of story literature, this course explores the twin themes, fundamental to all South Asian religions, of renouncing and embracing the world. Reading materials will draw from Hindu, Indian Buddhist, Jain and Sikh narrative literature, and will reflect a range of religious attitudes towards engaged worldly life within the family and society, and the pursuit of personal liberation through asceticism, renunciation and monasticism.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: A 2000 level RELS course or permission of the instructor
EXCLUSIONS: RELS 3002.03

RELS 3111   Vishnu and Krishna the Dark Lord
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course focuses on the Hindu god Vishnu and his various manifestations, particularly Krishna, the "Dark Lord." Through an examination of early Sanskrit sources (particularly the Mahabharata, Harivamsa and Vishnu Purana) and popular regional and vernacular traditions across India, the course treats the varied theological, mythic and cultic expressions of one of South Asia's most beloved figures.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: any 2000 level RELS or permission of the instructor

RELS 3112   Buddhism in India and Tibet
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course engages the student with the Tantric forms of Buddhism practiced initially in early medieval India and subsequently in the Tibetan cultural region, emphasizing the ritual, devotional, meditative and social expressions of Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism which informed the rise of Buddhist institutions and popular practice in premodern Tibet and the Himalayan region. The course also examines issues of religion and the Tibetan state, diaspora and the fraught nature of the Western reception of Tibetan Buddhism.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: Any 2000 level RELS or permission of the instructor

RELS 3113   The Mahabharata: India's Great Epic of Strife and Salvation
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Barring perhaps the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or "Great [Epic] of India" is the most widely known and retold narrative in all South Asian tradition, and is one of the most important literary works of human civilization. The Sanskrit Mahabharata is enormous, complex, endlessly fascinating, and has remained for 2000 years the principal venue for the Hindu tradition's reflection on the dark and elusive dimensions of war, violence, civil and divine law, human destiny and freedom. This course will lead students into the colourful world of India's great Sanskrit epic, provide them with the tools for mastering the narrative itself and the scholarly issues arising from its study.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: A 2000-level RELS course or permission of the instructor.

RELS 3114   Special Topics in Eastern Religions
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course treats a variety of special themes in Asian religious traditions. Topics may include ritual, scripture and its interpretation, gender and social expressions of faith, religion and modernity, and the relationship between political and religious authority in India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea and Japan.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Seminar

LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 3
PREREQUISITES: A 2000-level RELS course or permission of the instructor.

RELS 3121   In Search of the Philosopher's Stone: The History of European Alchemy
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course traces the development of alchemical theories and practices in the Medieval Latin West up to the emergence of early modern chemistry. It employs a multi-disciplinary approach which treats the scientific, technological, esoteric and iconographic dimensions of alchemy as interdependent. The entire development of European alchemy is covered from the transmission of the Greek and Islamic alchemical traditions in the 12th century up to Newton, whose alchemical theories represent a point of transition to early modern chemistry in one direction, and to a more spiritualised occult philosophy in the other.This course is independent of HSTC 3120.03. All students interested in the intersections of science, magic and mysticism are welcome.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Seminar

CROSS-LISTING: HIST 3990.03, EMSP 3321.03, HSTC 3121.03

RELS 3200   Science and Religion: Historical Perspectives
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course tells the story of interactions between religious belief and the study of nature from deepest Antiquity to 1800. Beginning with an overview of the history and methodology of the study of science and religion, encounters between science and religion are traced from the dawn of civilization to the end of the eighteenth century, with a special focus on the early modern period. From an examination of the biblical view of nature and Creation, ancient Babylonian astrology and divination and Plato’s Timaeus, this course moves through a treatment of the centrality of theology to Medieval science on to natural theology and the “Watchmaker” Design Argument of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Models of conflict, harmony and complementarity offered to characterize relations between science and religion are explored through case studies such as the understanding of the soul, Galileo’s controversy with the Church and instances where religious belief inspired natural philosophers like Boyle and Newton. Claims that certain confessional traditions (notably Protestantism and its dissenting offshoots) facilitated the rise of modern science are also appraised. Science-religion relations are examined both from the standpoint of mainstream religion and with respect to religious heterodoxy, prophecy, alchemy, magic and witchcraft. This course employs examples from Judaism, Christianity and Islam and involves the reading and discussion of primary texts.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: HSTC 3200.03, EMSP 3330.03, HIST 3075.03

RELS 3201   Science and Religion: Contemporary Perspectives
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course tells the story of interactions between religious belief and the study of nature from 1800 to today. Beginning with an overview of the history and methodology of the study of science and religion, encounters between science and religion are traced from the rise of Darwinism in the early nineteenth century to the contemporary postmodern age. From an examination of nineteenth-century natural theology and the religious impact of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859), this course moves on to such contemporary topics as the religious interpretations of quantum mechanics, the Big Bang, the anthropic principle, medical science, bioethics, evolutionary psychology, chaos theory, aesthetics in nature, science fiction, extra-terrestrial life (including the SETI Project) and the quest for techno-immortality. Case studies of “conflict” emanating from Darwinism, the Scopes Trial, the on-going Creation-Evolution debates and the New Atheism are contrasted with examples of harmony and interdependence between science and religion in the careers of modern scientists, along with phenomena like neurotheology and the Intelligent Design (ID) movement. The religious scope of the course is intentionally wide-ranging, and examinations of science-religion interaction within indigenous spirituality are added to treatments of traditional eastern and western religion.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: HSTC 3201.03, CTMP 3201.03, HIST 3076.03

RELS 3211   Ecology and Religion
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course examines the relationship between spirituality and the human encounter with the environment in history and today. Beginning with an examination of some of the ancient, Medieval and early modern religious foundations of ecology and the environmental movement, the course moves on to focus on contemporary green theology, the practice of religious environmentalism and the interaction between religious traditions and the environmental sciences and technologies. It engages with primary sources from and scholarship about Western (Abrahamic), Eastern (Dharmic) and indigenous religions, along with twenty-first-century green theology, religious environmentalism, ecofeminist perspectives and Dark Green Religion. Grounded in the history of science and technology, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to its themes, incorporating historical, literary, theological, political, sociological and philosophical perspectives.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: HSTC 3202.03

RELS 3250   Atheism in Early Modern Europe
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Although atheism continues to be a source of controversy and debate, one of the most significant features of the modern world is the extent to which religious unbelief has become accepted as a morally and intellectually defensible position. This course will seek to understand the rise of modern atheism by examining its origins in the Early Modern world.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Tutorial

CROSS-LISTING: EMSP 3250.03

RELS 3260   Renaissance and Reformation Europe, 1450-1650
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A survey of the major themes, subjects, and personalities in western European history from the Italian Renaissance through to the Protestant Reformation, with a focus on the latter. Topics to be covered include the rise of Italian humanism, religious thought and practice, the various reform movements of the era, the rise of religious conflict, and the nascent stirrings of toleration. Although most areas of western Europe will be dealt with, the focus will be on Italy, France, and German.
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 3006

RELS 3282   Christian Beginnings: Catholicism
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course will consider the formation of Catholicism (Latin Christianity) up to the 12th century in relation to the Greco-Roman context and the barbarian invasions. Moving from North Africa to Western Europe, and using a combination of text, music and artistic, architectural, and archaeological evidence, it will examine the formation of doctrine and discipline in relation to schisms, heresies and Hellenic philosophy, the origin and developments of western monasticism, the papacy, church and state relations, and the construction of liturgy. A theme will be the interplay between the centrifugal and centripetal.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3282.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 3280X/Y.06

RELS 3283   Gods in the Flesh: Iamblichus and Anselm
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course presents two opposed arguments for the union of divinity with the sensuous and human ("incarnation") and looks at one instance of how they meet: Iamblichus, On the Mysteries, Anselm, Why the God-man, Bonaventure, The Journey of the Mind into God. We shall look at how these arguments bridge the pagan / Christian, philosophy/ theology/ religion, Orthodox / Catholic, and Greek / Latin divides.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3283.03

RELS 3371   The Augustinian Tradition
CREDIT HOURS: 3
same as Clas 3370
FORMAT: Seminar
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3371.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 3370.03

RELS 3381   Medieval Philosophy from Augustine to Anselm
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A study of texts, primarily within the Latin tradition from Augustine to Anselm, but including selected writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius. Three works will normally be read in their entirety: Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy; Dionysius, Mystical Theology; Anselm, Proslogion. The main interest is the use and transformation of the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and the Neoplatonists in this development.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3381, PHIL 2381

RELS 3382   Medieval Philosophy from Arabic and Jewish Thinkers to Aquinas
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A study of texts which reflect the transformation of the ancient philosophical tradition within the works of medieval Arabic and Jewish thinkers and of the Latin Christians to whom they mediated ancient philosophy. Selections from al-Farabi, Moses Maimonides, Averroes, and Aquinas, among others will be read. Bonaventure's The Mind's Journey into God will be read in its entirety.
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3382, PHIL 2382

RELS 3413   Augustine's Confessions
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A study of the 13 books of Augustine's Confessions.
FORMAT: Seminar
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 3
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3413.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 3410.06; CLAS 3411.03; CLAS 3412.03; RELS 3410.06; RELS 3411.03; RELS 3412.03

RELS 3431   St. Augustines On the Trinity Part I
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A study of Books 1-7 of Augustine's De Trinitate, in which he establishes what is the orthodox teaching about God through scripture and a consideration of the categories of substance, relation and act.
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3431.03

RELS 3432   St. Augustine's On the Trinity Part 2
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A study of Books 8-15 of Augustine's De Trinitate, in which he attempts to understand what has been shown in the first 7 books (the orthodox teaching about God through Scripture and a consideration of the categories of substance, relation and act) through the distinction of scientia and sapientia.
FORMAT: Seminar
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3432.03

RELS 3508   From Lahore to Hyderabad: History of Persian Culture in South Asia, 1000-1800
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This class focuses on the history of South Asia during the medieval and early modern periods (1000-1700), with an emphasis on the various Muslim sultanates and kingdoms which dominated much of the subcontinent. Traditional narratives have historically emphasized the spread of Islamic culture by Turkish dynasties to compete with ‘indigenous’ Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cultures. However, recent scholarship has highlighted the idea of a “Persian cosmopolis” wherein Muslim culture in South Asia was especially enamoured with Persian culture and systems of literature, religious thought and philosophy which were better recognized and understood as “Perso-Islamic”. This class purports to examine the history of South Asia with such priorities in mind. In additional to political narratives, the class will be dedicated to introducing and discussing important Indo-Persian texts which were produced in this “Persian cosmopolis” which shaped so much of western and south Asia in the medieval period.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 3508