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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. This course surveys Jewish history and religion during the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods, from the destruction of the First Jewish Temple (Solomon's Temple) in 586 BCE to the Muslim conquest of Palestine (640 CE). The course offers a comprehensive understanding of the development of Judaism from the late Middle Ages to contemporary times. First-Year Seminar: Ethics and the Spirit of the New Capitalism. What does it mean to be ethically literate in the age of information technology? This course explores the messianic idea in America as well as the messianic movements that have been active in the nation's history and their interaction with American society and culture. How does religion become a source of ethnic or racial prejudice among religious practitioners?
This course will consider the questions of debt, loss, and surrender as we explore the problem of sacrifice. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Literature. This course introduces students to the various books of the Hebrew Bible and to the history and culture of ancient Israel, focusing on the formation of national identity, ancient conceptualizations of divinity, ritual practice, and modes of social regulation, all of which are set against the background of the ancient Near East. In it students learn to wrestle with the nature of historical evidence, develop their skills for making argumentation, and learn how to analyze the philosophical and ethical claims of the ancient Christian texts, and participate in class debates on contemporary ethical issues. First-Year Seminar: Human Animals in Religion and Ethics. This course investigates the figure of the human animal in religion and philosophy. First-Year Seminar: Religion and Writing in the Ancient World. This seminar considers the role of writing as a technology in the shaping of ancient religious traditions, from the inventions of writing in Mesopotamia and Egypt to the advent of Islam. It asks how religious traditions have defined and negotiated normative models for marriage and family in their connection to larger theological frameworks and religious source texts. First-Year Seminar: Sex, Marriage, and Family in Religion. This course approaches the central role of discourses about sexual norms, marriage, and family in select religious traditions.