Richmond Home

Fall 2018 Course Offerings

BIBLE AS LITERATURE (Frank Eakin)
RELG 201•TR 3:00–4:15

A non-confessional study of the diverse genres of Biblical literature, viewing passages in historical context to understand the multiple layers of the intended message: period about which written, the time of the writer, and the time of the recipient. Within Biblical exegesis, primary emphasis is given to literary and historical criticism. FSLT

NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIONS (Douglas Winiarski)
RELG 257-01/02 • TR 10:30–11:45; TR 12:00–1:15 

Historical survey of selected native American religious traditions from prehistory to the present. Course topics include Mississippian cultures; rituals of trade, agriculture and war; impact of European missionaries and revitalization movements; okipa and body piercing practices of Plains Indian cultures; and religious freedom issues in contemporary Indian communities. FSHT

MEDIEVAL RELIGIOUS THOUGHT (Scott Davis)
RELG 258 • MWF 10:30–11:20

Introduces ideas and institutions of the Latin west, from Augustine of Hippo (d. 430) to Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274). Topics include faith and reason, the sacraments, pilgrimage, and the ethics of sex, war, and death. We will conclude with a reading of selected cantos from Dante’s Inferno. FSHT

RELIGION AND THE ARTS (Miranda Shaw)
RELG 263 •MW 1:30–2:45

Visual and performing arts are vital forms of religious expression, conveying what is revered in a given culture. With a thematic focus on cultural constructions of gender, this course examines how gender is coded in colors, shapes, symbolic motifs, divine figures, and varied performance genres across a range of traditions, past and present. Students will learn to correlate the symbolic order of the sacred realm with gender roles, social patterns, and leadership in the human realm. FSVP

SATAN (Stephanie Cobb)
RELG 268-01/02•TR 12:00–1:15; TR 1:30–2:45

This course investigates the origins, development, and significance of personified evil—Satan—in Judaism and Christianity. Through studying some of the most important literary developments of this figure, we will shed light not only on how ancient authors thought of him, but also on the ways that Satan came to play an important role in popular culture in the modern era. FSLT

NINETY-NINE NAMES OF GOD (Mimi Hanaoka)
RELG 287-01/02 • MW 10:30–11:45; MW 12:00–1:15  

This course is a historical approach to the foundational concepts, events, and texts in the Islamic tradition, paying particular attention to the Quran (scripture) and hadith (accounts of what Muhammad said, did, and saw but did not object to). In Islam, God is understood as having ninety-nine names. This course explores Muslim understandings of God and various interpretations of the Quran. FSHT

WITCHCRAFT IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD (Douglas Winiarski)
RELG 358 /AMST 391 • M 3:00–5:40

Advanced seminar examining witchcraft trials and related events throughout the Atlantic world. Participants assess witchcraft using various methodological frameworks: theology, social history, gender studies, legal history, popular culture studies, and ethnohistory. Topics include witchcraft in England and the British North American colonies, witchcraft and the Inquisition in colonial Latin America, African and Native American witchcraft beliefs and practices, and witchcraft on the early American frontier.
 

ETHICS, RELIGION & WAR (Scott Davis)
RELG 369 • MW 1:30–2:45

This course introduces the central issues and arguments surrounding war and peace in the 21st century, focusing on Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. The goal is to foster systematic critical thought about justice, religion and war in a global perspective. Topics will include just war criteria, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and martyrdom.

First-Year Seminars

ANXIETY AND ETHICS (Kathleen Skerrett)
FYS 100-09•TR 1:30–2:45

This first-year seminar approaches anxiety as an existential or spiritual condition that is entwined with the practice of freedom. We will discuss late modern philosophers, theologians, and creative artists, who explore how ethical lives are intricately woven into the opportunities and challenges that anxiety presents.

IS JEWISH-CHRISTIAN DIALOGUE POSSIBLE? (Frank Eakin)
FYS 100-11 • TR 12:00–1:15

This course analyzes antisemitism and anti-Judaism through Biblical and non-Biblical materials, written and artistic, and the possibilities for meaningful Jewish-Christian dialogue. Topics include historical origins of antisemitism, overview of Jewish-Christian relations, writings of church fathers and rabbis, medieval antisemitism, and antisemitism and the Holocaust.

TOLKIEN & THE MEDIEVAL IMAGINATION (Scott Davis)
FYS 100-12 • MWF 12:00–1:15

J. R. R. Tolkien is best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but he was also an eminent and influential scholar of medieval literature. This course investigates his work as a medievalist and how it illuminates his imaginative writings.

CULTURAL HISTORY OF SEX: FROM HOLY RITE TO HOOKING UP (Miranda Shaw)
FYS 100-13/100-14 • TR 10:30–11:45; 12:00–1:15

Students will be introduced to a spectrum of cultural constructions of sexuality, gain awareness of varying ranges of values associated with sexuality in different cultural worlds, and become aware of multiple interpretive lenses through which sexuality can be viewed.

Fall 2018 Course Flyer

Download a PDF of our Fall 2018 course flyer.