5: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Programs and Degrees Offered | Admission Information
Financial Assistance | Graduate Academic Regulations
Requirements for Specific Graduate Degrees | Departments and Programs | Faculty

Non-Departmental | Anthropology | Art | Asian and Middle Eastern | Asian Studies | Astronomy
Biochemistry | Biology | Biological and Physical Sciences | Biophysics | Cell and Molecular Biology
Cell Biology | Chemistry | Classics | Commerce | Drama | Economics | English | Environmental Sciences
French | German | Government and Foreign Affairs | Health Evaluation Sciences | History | Linguistics
Mathematics | Microbiology | Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics | Music | Neuroscience
Pharmacology | Philosophy | Physics | Psychology | Religious Studies | Russian and East European Studies
Slavic | Sociology | Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese | Statistics | Surgery

Department of Religious Studies
Course Descriptions | Departmental Degree Requirements

Buddhism | Christianity | General | Hinduism | Islam | Judaism | Special Topics

Course Descriptions

Note   Prerequisite for the following courses: Twelve credits in religious studies or permission of instructor.


RELB 500, 501 - (4) (IR)
Literary and Spoken Tibetan I, II

An introduction to the philosophical and spiritual texts of Tibet. Includes grammar, basic religious terminology and structure.

RELB 502 - (3) (O)
Tibetan Perspectives on Tantra

Study of Tibetan presentations of the distinctive features of Tantric Buddhism.

RELB 525 - (3) (O)
Seminar in Japanese Buddhism

Prerequisite: RELG 213 or RELB 3l6 or permission of instructor
Examination of selected topics in the major schools of Japanese Buddhism: Tendai, Shingon, Pure Land, Nichiren and Zen.

RELB 526 - (3) (IR)
Seminar in Tibetan Buddhism II

Study of the theory and practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

RELB 527 - (3) (O)
Seminar in Chinese Buddhism

Study of selected doctrinal and historical issues in Chinese Buddhism.

RELB 535, 536 - (4) (IR)
Literary and Spoken Tibetan III, IV

An intermediate course in the philosophical and spiritual language of Tibet, past and present.

RELB 539 - (3) (IR)
Tibetan Buddhist Tantra—Dzokchen

Study of the Dzokchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhist Tantra, focusing on its philosophical and contemplative systems, and its historical and social contexts.

RELB 543, 544 - (3) (SI)
Sanskrit Religious Texts

Prerequisites: SANS 501, 502 or equivalent
Readings in Sanskrit religious and philosophical works, including their syntax, meaning, and translation.

RELB 546 - (3) (IR)
Seminar in Mahayana Buddhism

Study of the Middle Way School of Madhyamika, including Nagarjuna’s reasoning, its intent and place in the spiritual path.

RELB 547, 548 - (4) (IR)
Literary and Spoken Tibetan V, VI

Prerequisites: RELB 500, 501, RELB 535, 536 or equivalent
Advanced study in the philosophical and spiritual language of Tibet, past and present.

RELB 549 - (3) (Y)
Religious History of Tibet

Survey of political, social, religious and intellectual issues in Tibetan history from the fifth to fifteenth centuries, emphasizing the formation of the classical categories, practices, and ideals of Tibetan Buddhism.

RELB 555 - (3) (IR)
Buddhist Philosophy

Prerequisite: RELB 210 or equivalent
Advanced study of a major issue, thinker, or text (in translation) from the Pali/Sanskrit Buddhist tradition.

RELB 560 - (3) (SI)
Elementary Pali

Prerequisites: SANS 501, 502, or equivalent
Study of Pali religious and philosophical works, and their grammar and translation.

RELB 561 - (1-3) (IR)
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit

Prerequisites: SANS 501, 502 or equivalent
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit works, and their grammar and translation.

RELB 566 - (3) (E)
Approaches to Buddhist Studies

Investigation of the techniques and presuppositions involved in the methods used to study Buddhism, including textual, historical, philosophical, and social scientific methods.

RELB 591 - (3) (E)
Seminar in Chinese Buddhism

Study of the major schools of Chinese Buddhism: T’ien-t’ai, Hua-yen, Pure Land, and Ch’an.

RELB 599 - (3) (O)
South and Inner Asian Buddhist Bibliography

Critical survey of Theravada and Mahayana literature including modern secondary and tertiary sources with practical exercises in using the materials for study and research.

RELB 700, 701 - (3) (Y)
Readings in Japanese Buddhist Studies I, II

Prerequisite: JAPN 102 or permission of instructor
Practice in reading and translating selected works of modern Japanese Buddhist scholarship. Introduction to research materials in Japanese.

RELB 702, 703 - (3) (Y)
Readings in Chinese Buddhist Texts I, II

Instruction in the reading and interpretation of Chinese Buddhist texts and the use of reference tools such as Chinese language dictionaries, bibliographies, encyclopedias, and indices.

RELB 818 - (3) (SI)
Buddhist Logic and Epistemology

Detailed examination of the Dignaga-Dharmakirti school of Buddhist logic and epistemology. Emphasizes syllogisms, consequences, modes of debate, the meaning of words, and types of mental activity.

RELB 820, 821 - (4) (IR)
Literary and Spoken Tibetan VII, VIII

Prerequisites: RELB 500, 501, RELB 535, 536, RELB 547, 548 or equivalent
Examination of the Yogachara-Svatantrika system as presented in Jang-kya’s Presentation of Tenets, oral debate, and exercises in spoken Tibetan.

RELB 823 - (3) (S)
Advanced Literary and Spoken Tibetan

Examination of selected topics and techniques of Tibetan education.

RELB 831, 832 - (1-3) (SI)
Advanced Sanskrit/Pali I, II

Advanced readings in poetry, psychology, or philosophy.


RELC 504 - (3) (SI)
The Apocalyptic Tradition

The tradition of apocalyptic thought, as expressed in ancient Jewish and Christian literature and in selected contemporary literature. Emphasizes literary forms and features, historical and theological presuppositions, and primary themes.

RELC 510 - (3) (Y)
Natural Law in Judaism and Christianity

A study of the concept of natural law in Jewish and Christian theology and how these respective religious traditions dealt with a concept that claims that all morality is not the direct result of specific religious prescription.

RELC 511 - (3) (IR)
Phenomenology and Christology

A systematic exposition of the phenomenon of selfhood on the basis of some traditional materials from Christology and of some recent investigations in phenomenology.

RELC 512 - (3) (E)
Development of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Catholic Liberalism

Roman Catholic theology underwent a significant change in the middle of the 19th century as the Catholic Church sought to defend itself against the secular liberal state and emerging historical consciousness within philosophy and theology. Study of this change from the Thomistic revival (1878), through the condemnation of Modernism (1907), to the emergency of the “New Theology” with such theologians as Karl Rahner, Yves Congar, and Henri deLubac.

RELC 513 - (3) (IR)
Being and God

A constructive treatment of questions related to the possibility of the experience of being and God or of the being of God.

RELC 519 - (3) (O)
Theology in the Nineteenth Century

An analysis and interpretation of the theology of major thinkers in the 19th century. Special attention to Kant, Hegel, and Schleiermacher.

RELC 520 - (3) (E)
Contemporary Theology

An analysis and interpretation of major currents in philosophical and systematic theology in the 20th century.

RELC 530 - (3) (IR)
Early Christianity and Classical Judaism

Study of early Christian writings directed to Judaism; the role of Judaism in shaping the Christian intellectual tradition; and Christian interpretation of Jewish scripture.

RELC 531 - (3) (IR)
Early Christianity and Graeco-Roman Culture

Pagan criticism of Christianity and the response of Christian apologists; and Christianity and the Greek philosophical traditions, especially Stoicism and Platonism.

RELC 551 - (3) (E)
Early Christian Thought

Prerequisite: REL 205 or permission of instructor
Intensive consideration of a selected issue, movement, or figure in Christian thought of the second through the fifth centuries.

RELC 552 - (3) (Y)
Seminar in American Catholic History

Intensive consideration of a selected movement, issue, or figure in the history of Catholicism in America.

RELC 564 - (3) (IR)
Seminar in Modern Christian Thought

A critical examination of a major modern Christian thinker or movement, or of a major problem in modern Christian thought.

RELC 567 - (3) (SI)
Early Christian Ethics

A survey of ethical thought and moral issues in early Christianity, on the basis of New Testament and early patristic materials.

RELC 580 - (3) (E)
Advanced Exegesis of the New Testament I

Prerequisite: Intermediate knowledge of Hellenistic Greek
Reading and interpretation of the Greek text of one of the Gospels.

RELC 581 - (3) (O)
Advanced Exegesis of the New Testament II

Prerequisite: Intermediate knowledge of Hellenistic Greek
Reading and interpretation of the Greek text of one or more of the epistles.

RELC 583 - (3) (E)
Love and Justice

An examination of various conceptions of love and justice in selected Protestant and Catholic literature, mainly from the last 50 years.

RELC 711 - (3) (IR)
Seminar in Roman Catholic Moral Theology

A systematic review of the Catholic tradition in moral theology, emphasizing the manner in which historical consciousness has influenced post-Vatican II ethics in natural law, the use of scripture, social ethics, and issues of authority.

RELC 724 - (3) (SI)
Popular Religion, 1300-1700

Analysis of various approaches to the study of western Christianity, focusing on the experience and practice of religion by the laity. Cross-listed as HIEU 724.

RELC 815 - (3) (IR)
Patristic Greek

Readings of Greek fathers such as John Chrysoston and Gregory of Nazianzus, with emphasis on grammar, syntax and rhetoric. An intermediate to advanced level course.

RELC 841 - (3) (IR)
Seminar on American Religious Thought I: Edwards to Emerson

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
A historical and theological examination of seminal figures in the development of American religious thought from the Enlightenment through the “American Renaissance.”

RELC 842 - (3) (IR)
Seminar on American Religious Thought II: Liberalism Through Neo-Orthodoxy

A historical and theological examination of the work of major religious thinkers in American from 1860 to 1960.

RELC 844 - (3) (Y)
Seminar in Reformation Studies

Intensive study of a selected movement, issue, or figure in the 16th century.

RELC 846 - (3) (SI)
Development of Catholic Social and Political Thought

Study of papal encyclicals since Renum Novarium (1891), and American Catholic attitudes toward organized labor and social action.

RELC 847 - (3) (SI)
American Catholic Approaches to Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty was the distinctive contribution of American Catholicism to the Second Vatican Council. Traces the development of this doctrine from the 17th to the 20th century in the United States.

RELC 889 - (3) (E)
Seminar in New Testament Theology

Consideration of the nature and scope of New Testament theology and of one central theme, such as Christology.

RELC 890 - (3) (O)
Topics in New Testament Studies

Systematic consideration of selected issues in the theory and methods of New Testament criticism.

RELC 892 - (3) (Y)
Seminar in Early Christianity

Study of selected topics in early Christian history and thought. Topic varies from year to year.


RELG 503 - (3) (SI)
Readings in Chinese Religion

An examination of selected readings from a specific text, figure, or theme. Readings emphasize possible structures of religious language and their translation.

RELG 506 - (3) (IR)
Interpretation of Myth

An interdisciplinary study of myth, focusing on structuralist, hermeneutical, and history of religion methodologies.

RELG 507 - (3) (O)
The Nature and Problems of Interpretation

Study of existentialist, phenomenological, structuralist, literary, historical, and psychological approaches to the interpretation of texts, especially narrative religious texts; and the interactions of language, history, and understanding.

RELG 508 - (3) (IR)
Seminar on Religion and American Culture I

Prerequisites: A course in either American history or American religious history. Open to upper-level undergraduates
A historical examination of Americans’ religious identities in relation to the dominant values of American social and intellectual life, emphasizing the concept of community. Subjects include Puritanism, the Mennonites, the Shakers, Mormonism, and the growth of Evangelicalism.

RELG 514 - (3) (SI)
Seminar on a Major Religious Thinker

Study of the relationship between philosophical and religious thought as seen in a selected philosopher or theologian.

RELG 515 - (3) (Y)
Issues in Religious Ethics

Study of selected issues such as mysticism and morality, conscience, natural law, nonviolence, and methodology in religious ethics.

RELG 517 - (3) (Y)
Seminar in History of Religions

An introduction to the basic thinkers in the field of History of Religions and to fundamental problems in the study of religious sociology, mythology, and ritual.

RELG 518 - (3) (IR)
Seminar in Philosophical Theology

Study of ideas of God in Western thought from Plato through Descartes.

RELG 524 - (3) (SI)
Problems in Philosophy of Religion

A critical examination of classic and contemporary discussions of selected problems in philosophy of religion.

RELG 541 - (3) (O)
Seminar in Social and Political Thought

An examination of the social and political thought of selected religious thinkers.

RELG 563 - (3) (S)
Seminar: Issues in the Study of Religion and Literature

An analysis, in terms of fundamental theory, of the purposes, problems, and possibilities of interdisciplinary work in religion and literary criticism.

RELG 569 - (3) (IR)
Contemporary Religious Movements

A study of the psychological, sociological, and political dimensions of conversion and ideological commitment in selected contemporary religious movements.

RELG 571 - (3) (O)
Victorian Crisis of Faith: Its Religious and Literary Expressions

Analysis of the central religious and philosophical issues of Victorian thought (as they are presented in literature, philosophy and theology) from the time of Keble’s Assize sermon and the advent of the Oxford Movement into the period of Thomas Hardy.

RELG 573 - (3) (IR)
Theology of Culture

Study of the relationship between religion and culture. Topics include a theological assessment of the value of culture; the impact of secularization; the critique of religion levied by various disciplines; and the problems of theology in a pluralistic context.

RELG 575 - (3) (IR)
Myth and Ritual

Study of theories of myth and ritual from an interdisciplinary perspective, including the study of selected mythological and ritual texts.

RELG 578 - (3) (Y)
Human Genetics, Ethics, and Theology

Prerequisites: RELG 265 or permission of instructor
Study of ethical problems in genetic screening, counseling, and prenatal diagnosis. Ideas of biological and theological determinism are explored critically.

RELG 585 - (3) (SI)
Narrative in Ethics and Theology

Examination of the nature of narrative modes of representation and argument and how narrative theory has been employed in contemporary ethics and religious thought.

RELG 590 - (3) (IR)
Ethics, Politics and Rhetoric

Study of the perennial problems of politics and morals, considered primarily by the reading of plays, novels, speeches, and historical documents.

RELG 705 - (3) (Y)
Myth and Modern Drama

Study of the religious and narrative elements of Greek, biblical, and other mythic traditions as they exist in the works of modern dramatists.

RELG 714 (1) (IR)
Comparative Indo-European Mythology

Study of structural parallels between myths of the Indo-European language family, based on the methods pioneered by Georges Dumezil.

RELG 720 - (3) (SI)
Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Religion

A study of several major works of Ludwig Wittgenstein as they bear on the problems raised by the philosophical study of religion.

RELG 721 - (3) (SI)
Kant and Philosophy of Religion

Examination of Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason and Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, with special attention to Kant’s view of the relation between the theoretical and practical employments of reason, and the implications for theistic belief.

RELG 722 - (3) (SI)
Rationality, Justification and Religious Belief

Examination of several major contemporary approaches to the question of the justification of religious belief, involving issues of relativism and kinds of rationality.

RELG 725 - (3) (IR)
Kierkegaard and Philosophy of Religion

Examination of Søren Kierkegaard’s contribution to the philosophy of religion through his major philosophical works, Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Their bearing on the philosophical study of religion is highlighted by a prefatory examination of some works by Hume or Kant which provide useful contrast.

RELG 800 - (3) (E)
Negativity and Religious Imagination

Constructive examination of the ways in which imaginative literature, theological reflection, and hermeneutical inquiry interpret aspects of negativity in human experience and understanding.

RELG 808 - (2) (Y)
Principles and Practice of Bioethics Services

Review of the underlying principles, existing models, and literature in the practice of ethics consultation in health care.

RELG 809 - (3) (Y)
Proseminar on Current Controversies in Bioethics

A study of controversies regarding research with the embryo and fetus, issues in AIDS prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and requests for assistance with suicide or euthanasia.

RELG 810 - (3) (Y)
Proseminar in Clinical Ethics

This proseminar explores ethical perspectives and clinical decisions, including situation ethics, casuistry, principlism, and feminist perspectives.

RELG 812, 813 - (1-3) (Y)
Figures and Traditions in Philosophical and Religious Ethics

This two-semester course introduces students to the basic ethical works and theories of central figures in the Western tradition: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Bentham, Mill, Buber, Dewey, and Rawls.

RELG 814 - (3) (Y)
History of Bioethics Via the Great Cases

Topics include Tuskegee, Jewish Hospital for Chronic Diseases, Jehovah Witness cases, Philadelphia Head-Injury Studies, Quinlan and Cruzan, Jehovah’s Witness, Bouvia, Quill and Freud, Baby Jane Doe, Baby Theresa, Angela Carder, Wanglie, the Oregon Plan, etc. Concentrates on analysis of cases and turning points in field of bioethics.

RELG 833 - (3) (E)
Comparative Religious Ethics

Examination of the theoretical and methodological questions underlying comparative studies of religious ethics. Several methods are tested in relation to materials from different religious traditions.

RELG 834 - (3) (O)
Contemporary Theological Ethics

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
An examination of trends and controversies in contemporary theological ethics.

RELG 840 - (3) (IR)
Historiography Seminar in American Religion

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
An examination of current historiographical issues in the interpretation of religion in American history.

RELG 855 - (3) (SI)
Seminar in the Thought of Martin Heidegger

An examination of the works of Heidegger (especially Being and Time) and their contribution to contemporary theology.


RELH 554 - (3) (O)
Hindu Ethics

An exploration of the place of ethics and moral reasoning in Hindu thought and practice. Materials examined are drawn from a wide range of sources, emphasizing the particularity of different Hindu visions of the ideal human life.

RELH 589 - (3) (IR)
Vedic Hinduism

Taking the Vedic textual tradition and the theories of Jan Heesterman as its dual starting point, this seminar investigates the interplay of myth, ritual, and society in ancient India.

RELH 718 - (3) (O)
Hindu Tantrism

A study of Medieval Hindu mysticism, concentrating on the sects, texts, worship forms, esoteric practices, and literary genres grouped under the heading of Tantra, with particular attention to the disciplines of hatha-yoga and alchemy.


RELI 540 - (3) (Y)
Seminar in Islamic Theology

Prerequisite: REL 207 or permission of instructor
Study of Islamic theology, mainly Sunni, from its origins through the 14th century.

RELI 541 - (3) (IR)
Islamic Theology: The Shi’ite Creed

A study of Twelver Shi’ite religious thought in comparison with other Shi’ite and Sunni sects.

RELI 542 - (3) (IR)
War and Peace in Islam: A Comparative Ethics Approach

A study of Islamic notions of holy war and peace as they relate to statecraft and political authority in Muslim history.

RELI 710 - (3) (SI)
Islamic Religious Law

Prerequisite: REL 207 or RELC 530
A study of the sources and implications of the Islamic Religious Law (the Sharia).

RELI 860 - (3) (SI)
Seminar in Shi’ite Theology

Prerequisites: RELI 540, two years of Persian or Arabic
An in-depth study of Shi’ite Islamic Theology from its origin through the 14th century.


RELJ 505 - (3) (IR)
Judaism and Antiquity

A description and analysis of representative systems of Judaic religion which flourished in Palestine, Egypt, and Mesopotamia from 500 B.C. to 200 A.D.

RELJ 522 - (3) (IR)
The Shaping of the Rabbinic Tradition

Investigates specific aspects of premodern development of Rabbinic Judaism, e.g., “the holy man,” “mysticism and society,” “canon and exegesis,” and “law as theology.”

RELJ 523 - (3) (O)
Modern Jewish Thought: From Phenomenology to Scripture

Study of postmodern trajectories in the Jewish philosophies of Rosenzweig and Levinas, with comparative readings in Derrida and Ricoeur, and with supplementary studies of Descartes, Kant, Husserl, Cohen, Buber, and Lyotard.

RELJ 528 - (3) (O)
Seminar in Israelite Religion

Advanced study in a selected aspect of the religion of ancient Israel.

RELJ 529 - (3) (SI)
Seminar in Hebrew Bible

Investigation of a selected topic in the study of Hebrew scriptures.

RELJ 594 - (3) (SI)
Judaism and Kantian Philosophy

Prerequisite: Courses in philosophy or Jewish thought, or permission of instructor; reading knowledge of German helpful
The interaction of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Jewish theology in the 19th century and early 20th century, primarily concentrating on the thought of the German-Jewish thinker Hermann Cohen (1842-1918).

RELJ 888 - (3) (SI)
Biblical and Jewish Palestinian Aramaic

An introduction to the Aramaic language, intended especially for New Testament graduate students. Emphasizes mastery of the grammar and syntax of Official or Imperial Aramaic and especially Middle Aramaic (second century B.C.E. to second century C.E.).

Special Topics

RELS 895 - (3-9) (S)

Systematic readings in a selected topic under detailed supervision.

RELS 896 - (3-9) (S)

Research on problems leading to a master’s thesis.

RELS 897 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Research

For master’s research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.

RELS 898 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research

For master’s thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.

RELS 997 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research

For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.

RELS 999 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research

For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.

Continue to: Departmental Degree Requirements
Return to: Chapter 5 Index