skip to content

Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Undergraduate courses in Religious Studies

RELIGST 2N. Theories of Ethics in Classical Islamic Thought

(F,Sem) Stanford Introductory Seminar. Preference to freshmen. Premodern Islamic theories of ethics. Homegrown ethical theories and adaptations of Greek thought. How various groups molded their ethical theories to fit their respective theological outlooks, including dialectic theologians, the Greek-inspired philosophers, and the mystics. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Spr (Sadeghi, B)

RELIGST 3N. Jesus the Jew and the Origins of Christianity

(F,Sem) Stanford Introductory Seminar. Preference to freshmen. Contemporary historical-critical methods in investigating how one might study Jewish and Christian texts of the 1st century CE. Social contexts including economic realities and elite ideological views. What can be known historically about 1st-century Judaism and Jesus' part it in it. How Jewish apocalyp-tic messianism shaped the birth of Christianity and its trajectory through the 1st century. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Aut (Sheehan, T)

RELIGST 4N. The Creation of Woman

Preference to freshmen. The biblical story of human creation and its Greek equivalent, the myth of the creation of Pandora as told by Hesiod and in later Roman literature; contemporary commentaries. How the master stories of Eve and Pandora have been used, interpreted, retold, and readapted in later settings. Historical and intellectual context, and the ideas about gender and women's roles that they reflect and attempt to influence. Readings include New Testament selections, Jewish and Christian commentaries, the Qur'ân, Kabbalah, art and film, and contemporary interpretations by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim feminists. GER:DB-Hum, EC-Gender

3 units, not given this year

RELIGST 6N. The Life of the Buddha

Preference to freshmen. Who was the historical Buddha Gautama and what is known about him, and his time and society? The oldest texts attributed to him and what they reveal about him, and his ideas and spirituality. Sources include Indian literary works in translation, Buddhist art, and contemporary films about the Buddha's life. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

3 units, not given this year

RELIGST 7N. The Divine Good: Secular Ethics and Its Discontents

(F,Sem) Stanford Introductory Seminar. Preference to freshmen. What is the good and how does it orient human choice and activity? Is it natural to human beings, or in some way transcendent? How do people come to know it? Why do people often fail to do the good they know? What human capacities and dispositions enable its enactment or attainment? What resources does religion offer for its reparation? Classical and modern readings in moral theory emphasizing the difference that religious aspiration makes for moral reflection. GER:DB-Hum, EC-EthicReas

4 units, Win (Sockness, B)

RELIGST 9N. Transgression and Transcendence: Exploring Tantric Buddhism

(F,Sem) Stanford Introductory Seminar. Preference to freshmen. Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism, its historical development and primary doctrines, ritual practices, and iconography. Focus is on their transgressive aspects, broader Indian background, and contemporary representations. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Aut (Harrison, P)

RELIGST 11. Religious Classics of Asia: India's Ramayana Epic

The Ramayana as one of the most important religious and cultural texts of India. Its heroes, Rama and Sita, as incarnations of the supreme God and Goddess and models for ideal manhood and womanhood. Textual and performative versions including Valmiki's 2,000-year-old Sanskrit poem, medieval vernacular versions, rural women's folk songs, and the TV serial of 1988-89. Ramayana traditions through the lenses of religion, literature, performance, popular culture, gender, and politics. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

3 units, not given this year

RELIGST 11SC. Religion in Science Fiction and Fantasy

How the literature of science fiction and fantasy explores current conceptions about religion. Religious themes such as free will and determinism, immortality, apocalypse, and redemption. How religion figures in the contemporary imagination.

2 units, not given this year

RELIGST 12. Introduction to Hinduism

Historical study from earliest period to the present, including religious poetry, narrative, performance, concepts of self and liberation, yoga, ritual, God and gods, views of religion through history, region, class, caste, and gender. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 14. Introduction to Buddhism

From its beginnings to the 21st century. Principal teachings and practices, institutional and social forms, and artistic and iconographical expressions. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, Win (Harrison, P)

RELIGST 18. Introduction to Zen Buddhism

Classical Zen thought in China, and its background, origins, and development. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, Aut (Bielefeldt, C)

RELIGST 20. Introduction to the Zoroastrian Religion

The origins of Zoroastrianism, its role in the Iranian empires, and its relation to Judaism, Christianity, Manichaeism, and Islam, and its later forms and function in Iran, India, and its diaspora. The impact of the religion on European literati such as Voltaire, Mozart, the romantic poets, and Nietzsche. GER:DB-Hum

3 units, Win (Rose, J)

RELIGST 23. Introduction to Judaism

The historical development of Jewish religious thought and practice, from the biblical period to the present. Scriptural, liturgical, midrashic, legal, historical, and philosophical texts reflecting that development. The Sabbath, and annual festivals and sacred days. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Spr (Radwin, A)

RELIGST 24. Introduction to Christianity

The historical development of Christian religious thought and practice from Jesus to the present. Emphasis is on the formation of Christianity's major teachings and their transformation and diverse expressions in the medieval, reformation, and modern periods. Readings focus on primary texts. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 27. Introduction to Islam

Ideas, foundation texts, competing interpretive hegemonies, and historical compromises and syntheses that shaped and inform Islam. Readings from the Qur'ân, hadîth, and seminal theological texts in translation. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 35. Introduction to Chinese Religions

(Formerly 55.) Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and the interchange among these belief systems and institutions. Set against the background of Chinese history, society, and culture, with attention to elite and popular religious forms. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 37. Introduction to Japanese Religions

Major themes in Japanese religious culture, including gods, religious sites, and specialist and popular practices. Films and readings from literary, ethnographic, and historical sources in translation. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Spr (Blair, H)

RELIGST 46. Introduction to Daoism

(Formerly 56.) Historical survey from origins to the present. Main schools, notions, communal rites, and individual practices, and the relation of Daoism to facets of Chinese culture. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 52. The Problem of God

(Formerly 32.) Monotheism is a belief for which people continue to live and die. Philosophical inquiry into the concept of God through its classic formulations, modern critics, and contemporary defenders. What has the idea of God meant to serious minds in the past? And in the modern or postmodern world? GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 54. The Roots of Right and Wrong in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

What Christian, Jewish, and premodern Muslim thinkers have to say about these questions: what makes an act right or wrong; can a basis for right and wrong be identified independently of revealed religion; is observing commands and prohibitions sufficient to lead a life of virtue and refinement? Readings in primary texts. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 57. Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem

How the apocalypse has captured the imaginations and influenced the behaviors of many Jews and Christians who predict the end of the world during their lifetimes, whether facilitated by the arrival of a human or divine emissary, preceded by a cataclysm, or announced by a renunciation of normative morals. Examples include the Book of Revelations, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Brotherhood of the Free Spirit, Shabtai Tzvi, Jacob Frank, the Mormons, and Chabad Chasidism.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 62. Philosophy of Religion

Classic and modern questions in the philosophy of religion traced through Western and Eastern traditions: the coherence of theism, relativism, verification and ethics of belief, and mystical experience. Readings from traditional and modern texts. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Aut (Gelber, H)

RELIGST 82. Approaches to the Study of Religion: Christianity

Historical and contemporary Christianity from four viewpoints: ritual and prayer; sacred texts and creeds; ethics and life; and community governance. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 84. Mystics, Pilgrims, Monks, and Scholars: Religious Devotion in Medieval Christianity

The variety and vitality of religious expression in medieval Christian Europe. How Christians sought God through mystical encounter, the structure of monastic life, visits to shrines, devotion to the saints, and the study of scripture and ancient Christian wisdom. Readings focus on primary texts. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Win (Pitkin, B)

RELIGST 101. Classical Islamic Theology

How did attitudes towards God's nature define and distinguish different theological movements in premodern Islam? Were theological differences due to different methods of interpreting the Qur'ân? God's power, free will versus predestination, the age of the Universe. Political and social contexts. Readings mostly in primary sources. GER:DB-Hum

3 units, Spr (Sadeghi, B)

RELIGST 104. Views of the Human Body in Daoism

The human body as seen in Daoist traditions and related areas, particularly cosmol- ogy and medicine. Major sources including images and charts, and the views of the human being that they reflect. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 107. Hindus and Muslims in South Asia

The history of Hindus and Muslims living together in S. Asia for over 1,000 years. Peace and conflict, composite cultures, and interdependent social worlds. Partition in 1947 and the creation of separate nations. Religion, arts, society, and politics. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 108. The Mahabharata

How the Sanskrit epic and its versions in other languages are interwoven with the history of Hinduism and S. Asian arts, philosophy, and social and political thought. How the text is interpreted through performance, including village ritual dramas, classical dance, and mass market television. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Win (Hess, L)

RELIGST 111. Religions of Mexico

Key issues in the study of religion and religions of Mexico. Sacred cities of the Aztec and Maya, the encounter between Christianity and indigenous religions and contemporary religious performances in Mexico and among Mexican Americans. Theoretical frames of Mircea Eliade, Emile Durkheim, and Victor Turner. Emphasis is on the recently recovered indigenous codex known as the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan #2. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Win (Carrasco, D)

RELIGST 112. Handmaids and Harlots: Biblical Women in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Miraculous births, wandering in the wilderness, encounters with angels: stories of Hagar, Sarah, Hannah, and Mary, and how their tales are read and re-told by later Jews and Christians. Sources include the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, Jewish and Christian commentary, and religious iconography. GER:DB-Hum, EC-Gender

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 113A. Sacred Space and the Supernatural in Japanese Religion

Ties to place in Japanese religious history, legends, and religious practices. The role of Japan's mountains in the religious imagination.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 114A. Sacred Journeys in Chinese Religion

Journey themes in Shamanic, Buddhist, Daoist, and popular Chinese religion from ancient to early modern period. Genres and traditions such as ancient shamanesses and their ecstatic trysts with nature deities, Daoist poets and their literary flights, and monks and their legendary westward journeys in search of Buddhist scripture.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 115. Hope and Prophetic Politics: Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The biblically informed prophetic tradition that has long shaped the history of American religious and political thought and that has often clashed with an impulse towards empire and the desire to accumulate power. Focus is on Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King, Jr., 20th-century religious intellectuals whose lives and works draw on this tradition to raise and address questions basic to the role of religion in public life. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Spr (Lerner, A; Gonnerman, M)

RELIGST 116. Daoist Thought, Daoist Religion

Main traditions and lineages of Daoism over its two and a half millennia of history. Sources include translated primary sources and secondary studies.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 118. Gandhi, King, and Nonviolence

(Same as HISTORY 105.) Lives, times, theory, and practice of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.; their significance to issues of violence and nonviolence today. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 124. Sufi Islam

The complex of Islamic intellectual and social perspectives subsumed under the term Sufism. Sufi mystical philosophies and historical and social evolution. Major examples include: Qushayrî, Râbi'a, Junayd, Hallâj, Sulamî, Ibn al-'Arabî, Rûmî, Nizâm al-Dîn Awliyâ'. Social and political roles of Sufi saints and communities. Readings include original prose and poetry in translation, secondary discussions, and ethnography. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Aut (Bashir, S)

RELIGST 126. Protestant Reformation

16th-century evangelical reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli) and reform movements (Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist) in their medieval context. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Aut (Pitkin, B)

RELIGST 127A. Kabbalah: The Mystical Teachings of Judaism

Jewish mystical literature, especially the Zohar. Mystical concepts of the divine: masculine and feminine aspects of the Godhead, divine sonship; eroticism and sexuality; cosmogony and apocalypse; mystical secrecy and popularization, including the contemporary Kabbalah movement in the U.S. and figures such as Madonna and Roseanne. Guest lectures by scholars of Kabbalah including Moshe Idel from Jerusalem and Daniel Matt, the American translator of the Zohar.

2 units, Aut (Fonrobert, C; Radwin, A)

RELIGST 129. Modern Jewish Thought

From the early Enlightenment to the present. Universalism, subjectivity, and redemption within Judaism's encounter with modernity as reflected on by Jewish intellectuals within the Western philosophical tradition; how modern Jewish intellectuals have shaped and been shaped by current debates. Challenges to religious identity by secularism, capitalism, and the nation state. Messianism, mysticism, reactionary romanticism, critical theory, post-Holocaust philosophy, spirituality, and feminism. Thinkers include Spinoza, Marx, Freud, Buber, Strauss, the Frankfurt school, Benjamin, Arendt, and Levinas.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 132. Jesus the Christ

How did Jesus of Nazareth, who never claimed to be Christ or divine, become the son of God after his death? Sources include the history of first-century Judaism and Christianity.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 133. Inventing Christianity in Late Antiquity

The transformation of an apocalyptic sect into an imperial religion from 200 to 600 C.E. Shifts in structures of authority, worship, and belief mapped against shifts in politics, economics and religion in the larger Roman empire. Cultural visions of this history including Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Dan Brown's conspiracy theory in The Da Vinci Code, and Elaine Pagels' The Secret Gospel of Thomas. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Spr (Lyman, R)

RELIGST 135. Daoist Ideals of Sainthood

Differing representations of the ideal of sainthood in Daoist texts from different backgrounds. Views of the Dao and application to self-cultivation, ethics, and government.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 136. Buddhist Yoga

Buddhist models of spiritual practice emphasizing issues in the interpretation of the contemplative path. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, Win (Bielefeldt, C)

RELIGST 144. John Calvin and Christian Faith

Close reading and analysis of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion as a classic expression of Christian belief. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 148. From Jesus to Paul

Jesus considered himself God's definitive prophet, but he did not think he was God, and had no intention of founding a new religion. How did this Jewish prophet become the gentile God and the founder of Christianity? The role of Paul. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 150. The Lotus Sutra: History of a Buddhist Book

The Lotus school of Mahayana, and its Indian sources, Chinese formulation, and Japanese developments. GER:DB-Hum, DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, Aut (Staff)

RELIGST 151. T'ien-t'ai Buddhism

The Lotus school of Mahayana Buddhism in E. Asia, its history and teachings. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 154. Buddhism Today: Responses to New Global Challenges

How do the traditions of Buddhism cope with new social, ethical, and global challenges? Case studies from Sri Lanka, Japan, and the West. The historical position of Buddhist social thought. Buddhism's ascetic and meditative legacy: friend or foe of social engagement? GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 156. Goddesses and Gender in Hinduism

India's tradition of worshiping female forms of the divine, including Kali, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Radha, Sita, and local deities. The stories, histories, iconographies, theologies, arts, and practices associated with these goddesses. How the worship of goddesses impacts the lives of women. Readings include Is the Goddess a Feminist? GER:DB-Hum, EC-Gender

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 159. Music and Religion in South Asia

Music and religion have been closely related for millennia in the India subcontinent. Topics include theories of sound, mantra, music as yoga, guru-disciple relationship, devotional singing, gods and their relation to music, aesthetic theory, classical and folk forms, and Hindu and Muslim traditions. Practical instruction in music. GER:DB-Hum, EC-GlobalCom

4-5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 159A. Religion and Performance in South Asia

(Same as RELIGST 359A.) What happens when religion is viewed through the lens of performance? Texts become dramas, songs, recitations, oral commentaries, dances, movies, and political appropriations. Beliefs become embodied enactments; doctrine puts on a costume and indulges in role play. Approaches to performance theory through religious enactments such as ritual, prayer, festival, drama, music, and film. Most examples from S. Asian religions; students may undertake research projects into other cultures and traditions. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Spr (Hess, L)

RELIGST 167. Medieval Religious Philosophy

(Same as PHIL 101.) Focus is on God, world, and words. A pervasive assumption about the structure of the world, that it reflected the categories of God's mind and emerged from an act of divine speech, gave impetus to the interest in the nature of language and its relation to the world. Scripture served as one kind of divine communication to human beings, and The Book of the World as another. The problem of universals, the question of how words relate to God, epistemology, theories of reference, and semiotics. Readings from Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 170C. Reading in Biblical Hebrew

Third of a three quarter sequence. Readings and translation of biblical narratives emphasizing grammar and literary techniques. Prerequisite: AMELANG 170B.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 172. Sex, Body, and Gender in Medieval Religion

Anxiety about sex and the body increased markedly during the early years of Christianity, while the doctrine of the Incarnation put the human body at the center of religious concern. Ideals of virginity, chastity, ascetic self-denial of necessities like food, sleep, and freedom from pain were central to lay and clerical piety. The religious theory and practice associated with questions about sex, body, and gender in the Middle Ages as constructed in literature, mythology, ritual, mystic, and monastic texts. GER:DB-Hum, EC-Gender

4 units, Spr (Gelber, H)

RELIGST 174. Martyrdom in the Ancient World

(Same as CLASSGEN 174.) Jewish, Christian, and pagan narratives of persecution and resistance. Emphasis is on ancient documents in translation. Competing agendas of parties involved, group dynamics, individual motivation, symbolic violence, and the body as a locus of power and control. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Aut (Gleason, M)

RELIGST 176. Religious Diversity: Theoretical and Practical Issues

What does it mean for a religion to be true? If one religion is true, what about the truth of other religious possibilities? How, and why, should religious traditions be compared? Readings address tolerance and pluralism, relativism, comparative theory, and new religious virtues. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Win (Rapp, J)

RELIGST 183. The Death of God: Between Hegel and Marx

The radical transformations in Western notions of God between the death of Hegel and the birth of historical materialism, arguing that questions about theism and atheism, humanism, and history formulated in the period 1831-50 are still pertinent today. Texts from Hegel, the young Hegelians, Feuerbach, and Marx on issues of God, history, and the social dimensions of human nature. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, Win (Sheehan, T)

RELIGST 185. Prophetic Voices of Social Critique

Judges, Samuel, Amos, and Isaiah depict and question power, strong leaders who inevitably fail, the societal inequities and corruption inevitable in prosperity, and the interplay between prophet as representative of God and the human king. How these texts succeed in their scrutiny of human power and societal arrangements through attention to narrative artistry and poetic force, and condemnation of injustice. Includes service-learning component in conjunction with the Haas Center. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 199. Individual Work

Prerequisite: consent of instructor and department. May be repeated for credit.

1-15 units, Aut (Staff), Win (Staff), Spr (Staff), Sum (Staff)

RELIGST 201. Classical Islamic Law

(Same as RELIGST 301.) Emphasis is on methods of textual interpretation. History of premodern Islamic law, including origins, formation of schools of law, and social and political contexts. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Win (Sadeghi, B)

RELIGST 203. Myth, Place, and Ritual in the Study of Religion

(Same as RELIGST 303.) Sources include: ethnographic texts and theoretical writings; the approaches of Charles Long, Jonathan Z. Smith, Victor Turner, Michael D. Jackson, and Wendy Doniger; and lived experiences as recounted in Judith Sherman's Say the Name: A Survivor's Tale in Prose and Poetry, Jackson's At Home in the World, Marie Cardinal's The Words to Say It, and John Phillip Santos' Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Spr (Carrasco, D)

RELIGST 210. Translating the Daode Jing

One of the most frequently translated works in world literature. Challenges faced by translators, support from commentaries and related sources, and assumptions underlying translations into Western languages. Recommended: classical Chinese. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 212. Chuang Tzu

The Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi) in its original setting and as understood by its spiritual progeny. Limited enrollment. GER:DB-Hum

5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 216. Japanese Buddhism

Recent scholarship. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 217. Japanese Studies of Religion in China

(Same as RELIGST 317.) (Graduate students register for 317.) Readings in Japanese secondary sources on Chinese religions.

3 units, not given this year

RELIGST 219. Buddhism and Death

The role of pre and post mortem practices in ancient and modern Buddhist traditions; examples from India, China, and Japan. How the clergy and laity conceived of the process of dying, and how those beliefs were transformed into rituals.

4 units, Spr (Brose, B)

RELIGST 220. Modern Muslim Thought: Philosophy, Politics, Society

Focus is on major challenges of the modern period. Historicity and plurality. Questions concerning governance, law, development, and political and social order in majority and minority Muslim contexts. Readings include original works in English and in translation. GER:DB-Hum

5 units, Spr (Staff)

RELIGST 221. The Talmud

(Same as RELIGST 321.) Strategies of interpretation, debate, and law making. Historical contexts. Prerequisite: Hebrew. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 222. Literature and Society in Medieval Islam

The development of literary traditions, 600-1500. Major poetic and prose topoi through examples from Arabic, Persian, and Turkish literature in translation. Literature's place in Islamic societies and biographies of significant authors. The religious value of literary forms. Literary canons as unifying agents in different parts of the medieval Muslim world. Comparison between high and folk literatures. The role of aesthetic paradigms in the formation of Islamic religious and cultural identities. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 223. Studying Islam: History, Methods, Debates

Islam as a subject of academic inquiry since the 19th century. Origins and critiques of major methodological perspectives in Islamic studies such as philology, religious studies, history, art history, and anthropology. Landmarks in the development of the field and the work of major scholars. Academic debates regarding unity versus diversity, orientalism, fundamentalism and Islamism, Sufism, and gender. Current trends in scholarship on medieval and modern Muslim societies. Prerequisite: course work in Islamic studies or methodology in religious studies. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 224. Classical Islamic Texts

(Same as RELIGST 324.) Premodern Islamic scholarship. Genre-specific historical research methods. The hadith literature, tafsir, biographical dictionaries, fiqh, tarikh, and geographical works. Prerequisite: reading knowledge of Arabic. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Spr (Sadeghi, B)

RELIGST 226. Philosophy and Kabbalah in Jewish Society: Middle Ages and Early Modern Period

(Same as RELIGST 326.) Characteristics of religious philosophy from Saadia Gaon to Maimonides, Jewish opposition to and support of philosophy in the medieval Christian and Muslim world, texts from the early development of Kabbalah, the relationship between philosophy and Kabbalah, and conflicting views of Kabbalah from the 16th through 18th centuries.

5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 227. The Qur'ân

(Same as RELIGST 327.) Early history, themes, structure, chronology, and premodern interpretation.relative chronology of passages.

5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 237. Jewish and Christian Rome, 1st to 6th Centuries

To what extent are Judaism and Christianity products of the Roman Empire, and shaped by its politics? Literature concerning Jewish and Christian perceptions of power, and archaeological and artistic traces of both religions in the imperial city of Rome. What roles did strategies of resistance and accommodation play in the formation of these religious communities' emerging identities? Possible optional field trip to Rome over Spring break. GER:DB-Hum

5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 238. Christian Neo-Platonism, East and West

(Same as RELIGST 338.) Christianity's shift to neo-Platonic Greek philosophical categories and its significance for contemporary spirituality. Readings from Plotinus, Proclus, Greek fathers such as Pseudo-Dionysus, and from Ambrose and Augustine. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Win (Staff)

RELIGST 239. Luther and the Reform of Western Christianity

(Same as RELIGST 339.) Luther's theology, ethics, biblical interpretation, and social reforms and their significance for the remaking of Western Christianity. Readings include Luther's own writings and secondary sources about Luther and his world. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Spr (Pitkin, B)

RELIGST 240. Contemporary Religious Reflection

(Same as HUMNTIES 196S, RELIGST 340.) Focus is on normative and prescriptive proposals by recent and contemporary philosophers and theologians, as opposed to the domination of Religious Studies by textual, historical, cultural, and other largely descriptive and interpretive approaches. Do such normative and prescriptive proposals belong in the academy? Has Religious Studies exorcised its theological nimbus only to find contemporary religious reflection reappearing elsewhere in the university? GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Aut (Sockness, B)

RELIGST 247. Chinese Buddhist Texts

(Same as RELIGST 347.) From the first millennium C.E., including sutra translations, prefaces, colophons, and biographies. Prerequisite: reading competence in Chinese. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Aut (Staff)

RELIGST 248. Chinese Buddhism in World Historical Perspective

(Same as RELIGST 348.) Shared cosmologies, trade routes, and political systems. Prerequisite: background in Chinese or Japanese.

3-5 units, Spr (McRae, J)

RELIGST 250. Classics of Indian Buddhism

Texts in English translation includING discourses (sutras), philosophical treatises, commentaries, didactic epistles, hymns, biographies, and narratives. GER:DB-Hum

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 251. Readings in Indian Buddhist Texts

(Same as RELIGST 351.) (Graduate students register for 351.) Introduction to Buddhist literature through reading original texts in Sanskrit. Prerequisite: Sanskrit. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Win (Harrison, P)

RELIGST 253. Mountains, Buddhist Practice, and Religious Studies

(Same as RELIGST 353.) The notion of the sacred mountain. Readings from ethnographic and theoretical works, and primary sources. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Aut (Blair, H)

RELIGST 254. Recent Contributions to Buddhist Studies

May be repeated for credit.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 257. Readings in Daoist Texts

(Same as RELIGST 357.) Readings from primary sources. Prerequisite: classical Chinese.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 258. Japanese Buddhist Texts

(Same as RELIGST 358.) Readings in medieval Japanese Buddhist materials. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: background in Japanese or Chinese.

3-5 units, Spr (Bielefeldt, C)

RELIGST 260. Martin Buber: Philosopher, Theologian, Revolutionary

How Buber's philosophy of dialogue influenced fields including sociology, education, Bible scholarship, psychology, political philosophy, and Jewish and Christian theology. Focus is on I and Thou, his retellings of Hasidic stories, Bible commentaries, and controversial approach to Zionism. His definition of what it means to be human and to live as part of a human community.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 263. Judaism and the Body

Representations and discourses of the body in Jewish culture; theories of body and ritual. Case studies of circumcision, menstrual impurity, and intersexuality. Readings include classical texts in Jewish tradition and current discussions of these textual traditions. GER:DB-Hum, EC-Gender

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 271A. Dante's Spiritual Vision

Mysticism, poetry, ethics, and theology in Dante's Divine Comedy. Supplementary readings from classical authors such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas, and from modern writers. Students may take 271A without B. GER:DB-Hum

4-5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 271B. Dante's Spiritual Vision

Mysticism, poetry, ethics and theology in Dante's Divine Comedy. Brief, supplementary readings from both classical authors, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas, and modern writers. Prerequisite: 271A. GER:DB-Hum

4-5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 273. Historicism and Its Problems

(Same as RELIGST 373.) The emergence, varieties, and crises of historicism as a world view and approach to the study of religion in the 19th and 20th centuries. The implications of historical reason and historical consciousness for the philosophy of religion, ethics, and theology. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Spr (Sockness, B)

RELIGST 274. From Kant to Kierkegaard

(Same as RELIGST 374.) (Graduate students register for 374.) The main currents of religious thought in Germany from Kant's critical philosophy to Kierkegaard's revolt against Hegelianism. Emphasis is on the theories of religion, the epistemological status of religious discourse, the role of history (especially the figure of Jesus), and the problem of alienation/reconciliation in seminal modern thinkers: Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Kierkegaard. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 275. Kierkegaard and Religious Existentialism

(Same as RELIGST 375.) (Graduate students register for 375.) Close reading of Kierkegaard's magnum opus, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, in its early 19th-century context. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 278. Heidegger: Hermeneutics of the Self

(Same as RELIGST 378.) Heidegger's work on meaning, the self, and the sacred. Texts include Being and Time, courses and opuscula up to 1933, the Letter on Humanism, and Contributions of Philosophy. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, Aut (Sheehan, T)

RELIGST 279. Heidegger and the Holy

(Same as RELIGST 379.) Heidegger's philosophy as opening a new door onto the possibility of experiencing the sacred after the collapse of traditional metaphysical theology. A close reading of Being and Time as an introduction to the question of the holy.

4 units, not given this year

RELIGST 280. Schleiermacher

(Same as RELIGST 380.) Idealist philosopher, Moravian pietist, early German Romantic, co-founder of the University of Berlin, head preacher at Trinity Church, translator of Plato's works, Hegel's opponent, pioneer in modern hermeneutics, father of modern theology. Schleiermacher's controversial reconception of religion and theology in its philosophical context. GER:DB-Hum

3-5 units, not given this year

RELIGST 290. Majors Seminar

Theories of religion versus religions themselves: attempts to define the phenomenon of religion in anthropology, psychology, sociology, and cultural studies, such as ny Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Mircea Eliade, Max Weber, and Clifford Geertz; critical perspectives on the study of religion, such as gender and postcolonialism. WIM

5 units, Win (Gelber, H)

RELIGST 297. Senior Essay/Honors Essay Research

Guided by faculty adviser. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and department.

3-5 units, Aut (Staff), Win (Staff), Spr (Staff)

RELIGST 298. Senior Colloquium

For Religious Studies majors writing the senior essay or honors thesis. Students present work in progress, and read and respond to others. Approaches to research and writing in the humanities.

5 units, Spr (Pitkin, B)

© Stanford University - Office of the Registrar. Archive of the Stanford Bulletin 2008-09. Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints