Course Descriptions RELS 3510   Islamicate Empires, 1300-1700: The Ottomans and Safavids
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Until the devastating Mongol invasions of the 13th century, the principal centers of Islamic power, culture, and thought had been based in Cairo and Baghdad. This course will examine the post-Mongol Islamic world, and how politics and religion were irrevocably changed with the annihilation of the Sunni `Abbasid caliphate. Religious heterodoxy, combined with the power vacuum left by Chingiz Khan and his descendents, allowed for the emergence of a number of unique Turkmen states in Western Asia, the most famous being the Ottoman Turks of Anatolia. By 1500, innovations in military technology and the paper-making industry allowed for the emergence of centralized and bureaucratically-sophisticated 'gunpowder' empires in western and south Asia. This course will discuss the three most significant of these: the Ottoman Turks (based in Istanbul), the Safavid Persians (based in Isfahan), and the Mughal Indians (based in Delhi). Areas of focus will include: issues of political legitimacy, use of military 'slave' corps, orthodox and popular religious movements, tensions between nomadic and sedentary segments of society, innovations in cultural expression (poetry, art, architecture), scientific and philosophical development, and the penetration and impact of the Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French 'world economies' into Asia and the Indian Ocean. This course will also examine different debates regarding the 'decline of the East', and introduce the theoretical implications of how the Islamic world is approached by contemporary scholarship.
NOTES: Credit can only be given for this course if X and Y are completed in consecutive terms and partial credit cannot be given for a single term.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

PREREQUISITES: HIST 2501.03 or 2502.03 or 2503.03
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 3510.03

RELS 3600   Sanskrit Texts I: Narrative and Epic Selections
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course provides a transition from first-year Sanskrit grammar to the reading of simple Sanskrit texts in their original form. In the first weeks, the materials selected for reading will be examined slowly and thoroughly as a means of introducing key aspects of grammar not covered in in the first year Students thus will be equipped with the tools for independent reading of simple narrative and epic sources such as the Pañcatantra, Hitopadesa, Kathasaritsagara, Mahabharata, Harivamsa, and Ramayana.
FORMAT: Other (explain in comments)
FORMAT COMMENTS: Guided Independent Reading. Contact department for details.
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 2
PREREQUISITES: Both RELS 1600.03 and RELS 2600.03, or both CLAS 1600.03 and CLAS 2600.03
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3600.03

RELS 3610   Studies in Ancient and Medieval Science
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Topics vary each year. Some of the topics are "Causation", "History of dissection", "Mesopotamian science", "Sciences and cultures in antiquity", "The mangle of praxis", "Ptolemy", "Ancient Method", "Embryology", "Posterior analytics", etc. For descriptions of the current year's studies topics, please contact the History of Science and Technology Programs.
NOTES: Not more than two studies courses (one full credit) and no more than one of each course number, can be taken for credit towards the History of Science and Technology Program.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: HSTC 3610.03

RELS 3661   The Epicureans
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A study of philosophy in the Hellenistic Age. We will investigate the development of Greek and Roman philosophy after Aristotle, focusing on Epicureanism. The course covers the logic, physics, and ethics of Epicurus' school, as well as its religious dimension.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: CLAS 2361.03 and 2362.03 or permission of instructor
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3661.03

RELS 3662   Hellenistic Philosophy: From Scepticism to Neoplatonism
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A study of philosophy in the Hellenistic Age. We will investigate the development of Greek and Roman Philosophy, focusing on Pyrrhonian and Academic Scepticism, as well as Middle Platonism. The course covers the logic, physics, and ethics of these philosophical schools, as well as their religious dimension.
PREREQUISITES: CLAS 2361.03 and 2362.03 or permission of instructor
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3662.03
EXCLUSIONS: RELS 4602.03, CLAS 4602.03

RELS 3850   The End of the World: The Apocalypse in German Thought
CREDIT HOURS: 3
The war, death and destruction that define European history in the 20th century can only begin to explain the obsession with the apocalypse in contemporary German thought. In this seminar we will study the secular appropriation of apocalyptic imagery from the Judeo-Christian tradition. The seminar will be conducted in English. All readings will be in English.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: GERM 3850.03
RESTRICTIONS: Restricted to students in second year or above

RELS 3910X/Y    Neoplatonism: Plato and Neoplatonism
CREDIT HOURS: 6
The philosophy of Plotinus and later thinkers considered as the resume of Greek Philosophy; in particular the role of Plato and other older philosophers in the formation of Neoplatonism is a principal interest.
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 3910.06

RELS 4010   Islamic Philosophy: al-Ghazali
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111) is one of the greatest Muslim thinkers of all time. This course is an introduction to his thought, focusing on al-Ghazali’s “two-tier” approach to theology – exoteric theology for the masses and esoteric theology for the select few – and on his attitude to Islamic philosophy and Islamic mysticism (Sufism).
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: At least one of RELS 1002, RELS 2003.03, Foundation Year Program, or permission of instructor.
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4010.03, CLAS 5817.03

RELS 4011   Jewish Philosophy: Maimonides
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) is one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of all time. This course is an introduction to his philosophical and legal writings, with special emphasis on his famous treatise The Guide of the Perplexed. Maimonides’ stance on such issues as God’s incorporeality, creation, and prophecy will be compared to that of other varieties of Judaism.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Seminar

PREREQUISITES: Students must have completed 5 full credits of university study and RELS 2001.03 or RELS 3382.03/CLAS 3382.03/PHIL 2382.03, or permission of the instructor
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4011.03

RELS 4018   Christian Theology in Islamic Lands: John of Damascus
CREDIT HOURS: 3
John of Damascus (d. 749) is one of the greatest Christian theologians of the Patristic age. Though he wrote in Greek, he was probably a Christian Arab (his Arabic name is Mansur ibn Sarjun), who lived under Muslim rule and was employed as a public official in the Umayyad administration in Damascus. The course will focus on his theological works (especially his summa of Christian theology, entitled On the Orthodox Faith, and his three treatises in defence of the icons), their Christian sources, and their Islamic context.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: At least one of: RELS 1002.03, RELS 2003.03, RELS 2281.03, RELS 3009.03, RELS 3282.03, foundation year program, or permission of the instructor
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4018.03

RELS 4019   Philo Judaeus: Philosophical Religion: Plato and Moses
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Reconciling Jewish Scripture and Plato, Philo culminates Second Temple Jewish thought and founds the Christian treatment of Scripture. He is the most influential Jewish theologian and presents the High Priest as priest of the cosmos so he is crucial both to understand our past and to carry us into the future.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: At least one course at the second year or above in CLAS or RELS
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4019.03

RELS 4060   The Consolation of Philosophy
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Boethius's Consolation is a strange example of Menippean satire, which is itself a strange genre. This class will consider the poetry, the prose and, most significantly, how these elements are combined in order to achieve the goal of the work, which is to offer consolation to the reader.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: Three years of undergraduate Latin or the permission of the instructor
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4060

RELS 4401   Philosophy of the Greek Church Fathers
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This seminar involves the detailed study of a text, or group of texts, from one or more of the Greek Church Fathers. The choice of text varies from year to year, in relation to the needs and interests of students.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: At least one of RELS 1002.03, RELS 3283.03, , RELS 3009.03, RELS 3282.03, Foundation Year Program, or permission of instructor.
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4401.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 4400X/Y.06

RELS 4402   Philosophy of the Latin Church Fathers
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This seminar involves the detailed study of a text, or group of texts, from one or more of the Latin Church Fathers. The choice of text varies from year to year, in relation to the needs and interests of students.
FORMAT: Seminar
PREREQUISITES: At least one of RELS 1002.03, , RELS 3009.03, RELS 3282.03, RELS 3283.03, Foundation Year Program, or permission of instructor.
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4402.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 4400X/Y.06

RELS 4450X/Y    Medieval Interpreters of Aristotle
CREDIT HOURS: 6
The course considers Latin philosophical texts of the Middle Ages. Given alternately with CLAS 4500X/Y.06.
NOTES: Credit can only be given for this course if X and Y are completed in consecutive terms and partial credit cannot be given for a single term.
FORMAT: Seminar
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4450.06

RELS 4451   Medieval Interpreters of Aristotle
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course normally focuses on a single philosophical text by a Latin author of the Middle Ages whose work is engaged with Aristotle and the Greek and Latin commentary traditions.
FORMAT: Seminar
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4451
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 4450X/Y.06; RELS 4450X/Y.06

RELS 4500X/Y    Seminar on Neoplatonism
CREDIT HOURS: 6
The course considers the origin and nature of Greek Neoplatonism. Given alternatively with CLAS 4450X/Y.06.
NOTES: Credit can only be given for this course if X and Y are completed in consecutive terms and partial credit cannot be given for a single term.
FORMAT: Seminar
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4500

RELS 4501   Seminar on Neoplatonism I
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course considers major texts in the history of Neoplatonism. Normally a single text is chosen from the works of authors from Plotinus to Cusa.
FORMAT: Lecture
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4501.03
EXCLUSIONS: CLAS 4500.03, RELS 4500.03

RELS 4502   Seminar on Neoplatonism II
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course considers major texts in the history of Neoplatonism. Normally a single text is chosen from the works of authors from Plotinus to Cusa.
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4502.03
EXCLUSIONS: RELS 4500.06; CLAS 4500.06

RELS 4600   Sanskrit Texts II: Poetry and Drama
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course continues from RELS/CLAS 3600 the reading of Sanskrit texts in their original form, introducing students to the elemental features and conventions of kavya or courtly poetry and drama. Students will work through short selections of representative works (e.g. Kalidasa, Harsha, Vidyakara, etc.), emphasizing thorough mastery of smaller and representative samples over quantity or exhaustive coverage of entire works.
FORMAT: Other (explain in comments)
FORMAT COMMENTS: Guided independent reading. Contact department for details.
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 2
PREREQUISITES: RELS 3600.03 or CLAS 3600.03
CROSS-LISTING: CLAS 4600.03