REL 251 Eastern Religions (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
In an age of increasing encounter between very different cultures, it is
critical that we attempt to understand religious traditions that are not
historically our own. In this course we will encounter primarily the
religious traditions of India (Hinduism and Buddhism) and China
(Confucianism and Taoism). Readings are in sacred texts and secondary
REL 320 Hinduism (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
A study of the nature of Hinduism and its development, literature,
philosophy, and religious practices. Readings in such traditional texts as
the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita, as well as in modern texts,will
explore Hinduism's understanding of God, human beings, the feminine
principle, society and community, time and history, and we shall study how
these understandings develop from 2000 BCE to the 21st century.
REL 321 Buddhism (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
Study of Buddhism, its development, literature, and religious practices.
Since Gautama Buddha is the outstanding figure in the history of Indian
religions, we will explore the myths about him in order to understand his
life and teachings. The emphasis will be Indian Buddhism. Whenever
possible, we will compare this Eastern tradition with the traditions of
the West in order to better understand our own faiths.
REL 324 Islam and Buddhism (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
A constructive study of Buddhism and Islam, two dynamic world religions
propagating differing world views. In the past, they have had historical
interactions with one another. This course is an examination of their
founders, their development, their major texts, their beliefs and rituals.
Special attention is given to their historic collisions and to the manner
in which they have met the challenges posed by the different cultural and
geographic contexts they have encountered. Their contrasting appeals for
contemporary Americans are considered.
REL 366 Zen (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
An inquiry into the complex nature of Zen--thought by some as the essence
of Buddhism, by others as a Buddhist-Daoist hybrid-- this course focuses on
the intellectual difficulties in understanding a teaching which represents
itself as "beyond words and phrases."
PHILO 234 Asian Philosophies(3hrs.,
Some of the principal movements in Asian thought. Readings will be
selected from Buddhist, Brahmin, Taoist, and Confucian works: emphasis may
be placed on Indian, Chinese, Japanese, or Tibetan writings. Some general
comparisons with Western ideas may be made. (Prereq: one course in
Philosophy or Religion.)
BLPR 220 African Spirituality in the Diaspora(3hrs., 3cr.)
An investigation into the nature and expression of unique ethos which
made for survival of Afro-American humanity. This course helps to answer
questions of cultural identity for people of African descent by
demonstrating in what ways we are African, and looking at the results of
the confrontation between African and European culture in New Europe.
REL 256 Afro-Caribbean Religions (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
This course is a survey of some of the most salient forms of African-based
religions in the Caribbean and South America, and in New York City. The
course will include some consideration of the transformations that have
occurred in the journey of the belief systems from Africa to the New
World, but the focus of the course will be on the integrity of the
Afro-Caribbean forms of religion. The course will include not only
attention to beliefs, but to art and ritual forms in which these religions
have expressed themselves. In addition, the course will raise the question
of the ongoing appeal of these religions.
BLPR 323 Islam and Christianity in Africa (3hrs., 3cr.)
This course is designed as a panoramic survey of the effects of Islam and
Christianity as they interact with traditional religious beliefs on the
peoples of Africa. The course will start with the earliest contact of the
Judeo-Christian religion with Africa,which, many people believe, dates
back to the reign of King Solomon and the establishment of the Ethiopian
Coptic Church. Special attention will be paid to some fundamental issues
such as the rise of the nativistic (separatist, independent) churches, the
phases of Islamic expansion and Islamic culture zones in Africa, and the
religious life of African Muslims. We will examine the stance of
Christianity and Islam on some basic issues such as race, social justice,
and women's liberation.
BLPR 420 The Black Church and Social Change (3hrs., 3cr.)
A historical and sociological examination of the
evolution of the Black Church in the United States: the founders and their
ideas, the dynamics of organization and the role of the church, over the
years, in social change. An inquiry into the nature of the relationship
between religious thought and revolution as a response to problems of
colonialism, oppression and slavery.
REL 255 Religions of Two
Gods (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
This course explores religious traditions which conceive of the world as
constituted by mutually exclusive, and indeed antagonistic, realities.
Gnosticism and Manichaeanism were once historically potent movements, but
are no longer practiced. Others, like Zoroastrianism and Jainism, are not
only of historical importance, but still claim adherents. Dualistic
currents of thought also manifest themselves in non-dualistic contexts.
This course examines the major historical dualistic religions--and some of
theological dualism's historical and contemporary step-children--to
understand what accounts for the appeal of dualistic understanding and to
appreciate the motivations behind the lifestyles to which they have
characteristically given rise.
REL 252 Ancient Near Eastern Religions (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
This course is a survey of the basic history and of the most significant
aspects of the religions of the major Near Eastern peoples in the Bronze
Age (8000BCE-3000 BCE), including the Egyptians, Sumerians,
Babylonians, Hittites, Canaanites, and Israelites. The magnificent
civilizations that they built had an enormous influence on subsequent
human culture. This course is based on primary
material, of both archeological and literary natures, and will discuss the
most important texts produced by religious and secular sources.
REL 253 Western Religions (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
Introduction to fundamental religious ideas in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, focusing on the essential
sacred texts in the Bible and the Qur'an. Attention is given to the
influence of dualistic thought from Zoroastrianism and Gnostic systems,
and to some mystical and contemporary interpretations.
HIST 210 History of Judaism (3hrs., 3cr.)
An introduction survey of
the development of the Jewish religious tradition from its origins to the
present, with special attention to the interaction between Judaism and
other civilizations, ancient, medieval, and modern, and to the role of
Judaism in the formation of Christianity and of Islam.
HIST 309 Jewish History in the Ancient World (3hrs., 3cr.)
The Jewish people from origins to late antiquity; social, economic, and
intellectual developments from the Biblical to the Talmudic periods. (Not open to freshmen.)
HEBR 290 Biblical Archeology (3hrs., 3cr.)
Comprehensive study of ancient Israelite history as reflected in Biblical
and ancient Near Eastern sources, and as illuminated by archeological
discoveries in Israel and the Near East. Course begins with the
patriarchal period and ends with the Israelite settlement of Canaan.
Readings and lectures in English.
HIST 310 Jewish History in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods
The Jewish people from late antiquity to the 17th century; social and
legal status under Islamic and Christian rulers; religious and
intellectual movements. (Not open to freshmen.)
HIST 320 Jewish History in the Modern World (3hrs., 3cr.)
After describing the social, economic, and religious features of Jewish
life in Christian and Muslim lands in the 15th-18th centuries, the course
deals with the changes and crises in Jewish history during the modern era,
political and economic forces on the Jewish people, the rise of Jewish
nationalism, Zionism, and Jewish socialism, the spread of virulent
anti-Semitism, and Jewish migrations to America and Palestine. The last
part of the course focuses on the Nazi holocaust of World War II, the
establishment of the state of Israel, and the condition of other Jewries
REL 322 Islam (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
An introduction to the major concepts, practices, and texts of Islam, as
well as an examination of the life and faith of the prophet Mohammed. A
study of Islam's origin in its own sociocultural framework, its
ideologies, ethos, and ethics, as well as its adaptive changes and
reinterpretations in the course of history, including its status in the
modern world as one of the most populous and wide-spread religions.
REL 337 Sufism (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
Within the Muslim community, Sufism has been alternatively regaled as
being profoundly un-Islamic and hailed as the completion of the Straight
Path which is Islam, by supplementing right action and belief with matters
of the heart. While considering the origins of Sufism within Islam, this
course concentrates on Sufism in its integrity, focusing on the nature of
Sufi path, its historical transformations, and its theological-doctrinal and
metaphysic underpinnings. Thus, the course offers the student an
opportunity to explore the continuities of Sufism with more conventional
forms of Islam as well as its innovativeness, but importantly concentrates
on an 'appreciation' of the Sufi path in its own right.
CLA 303 Religion of Ancient Greece (3hrs., 3cr.)
The nature of Greek mythology and its relationship to religious
experiences and practices, oracles and mysteries. A study with modern
theoretical analysis of official rites, family cults, private rituals, and
the relations of all classical sources.
CLA 304 Pagans and Christians (3hrs., 3cr.)
Discussion of the various religious forces and ideas in the Later Roman
Empire, both East and West; the collisions and compromises, the amalgams
of religion and politics which influenced Christianity. Readings from
primary sources, both pagan and Christian, both Eastern and Western, in
REL 323 Christianity (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
An upper level introduction to the liturgical, doctrinal, and spiritual
heritage of the various forms of Christianity.
REL 330 New Testament Religion (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
A scholarly consideration of the religion of the New Testament and
earliest Christianity. Examination of the theological interest of the
authors of the books of the New Testament in order to consider the major
facets of New Testament religion: the mystery of Jesus Christ, Paul's
mission and message, ethics, the relation to the Law of Judaism, salvation
theology, and apocalyptic thinking. Reading in the New Testament and
REL 333 Christian Theology (W) (3hrs., 3cr,)
Every religious tradition pauses to reflect upon its central religious
experience; "theology" is the articulate expression of this reflection.
In this course, we will examine the Christian form of theology with
regard to key doctrines in key works: the doctrines of Trinity,
Incarnation, existence of God, and Grace – by way of a range of
Christian theologians from the 5th century Agustine to the 20th century
HIST 314 Ancient and Medieval Christianity (3hrs., 3cr.)
A history of the Christian religion from the birth of Christ, ending
before the Protestant Reformation. For the period after about 500 A.D.,
the course will focus primarily on the development of the Roman church in
Western Europe. Our approach will be historical with the development of
Christian theology viewed as response to the changing needs of the church
over a long period of time. The history of church discipline and
ecclesiastical institutions will be studied in the context of development
of European civilization with emphasis on social, economic, and
psychological impact of the church upon the people of the West.
HIST 316 History of Religion in the United States (3hrs., 3cr.)
Selected topics in American religious history including the changes in
European religions in an American environment; and the relationship of
churches to other aspects of American history. (Not open to freshmen.)
REL 254 Tribal Religions: From Australia to the Americas (W) (3hrs.,
An examination of the traditional religions of Australia, the Pacific
Islands, and North America. Study of the theological implications of myths
and rituals (ideas of God, good and evil, humanity and the world),
consideration of social values and the role of the individual in relation
to the group, discussion of the meaning found in life and in death in
REL 262 Special Topics: Religious Traditions (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
Different topic each time offered. Specialized study of specific tradition
or groups of religious traditions.
REL 362 Special Topics: Religious Traditions (W) (3hrs., 3cr.)
Different topic each time offered. Specialized study of specific tradition
or groups of religious traditions.
REL 410 Independent Study in Religion (3 hrs., 3cr.)
Independent research and writing on a specific topic within the field
under the supervision of a Religion professor. (Prereq: permission of
Program Director; majors only.)
REL 450 Seminar in Religion (3 hrs., 3cr.)
Specialized studies in Religion. Different topic each time offered. May be
taken a second or third time with another subject. (Prereq: Five courses
in Religion; Permission of Program Director required; for majors or
CUNY-BA students focusing in religion only.)
REL 490 Honors Tutorial in Religion (3hrs., 3cr.)
Individual research and writing on a specific topic within the field under the direction of the Honors Committee of the Program in Religion. This course may be taken as a one semester 3 or 6 credit, or as two consecutive 3 credit courses. (Prereq: Permission of Program Director; majors only.)