Studies a variety of cinematic and television films that focus on Jesus; compares and contrasts documentary approaches with dramatic depictions; views the films alongside scholarship on Christian origins and asks what these films reveal about their creators, their social locations and their source material; investigates the reception of these films in both academic and popular culture. One course.
Centered on reading and discussion of extracts from important and influential Christian theological writings, which have become “classics” in the Christian tradition. While selections will span the whole of Christian history, more than half will be from the 19th and 20th centuries. Non-English texts will be read in the best existing modern English translations. Gain knowledge in these classical texts and acquire the necessary skills to properly understand, to historically contextualize, and to critically evaluate them. One course.
A survey of the changes in sixteenth-century European society, with particular reference to the continent, which grew out of the movement for religious reform and socio-political renewal. Focus on new developments in theology and religion and their relationship to society in such issues as the definition of a “good society,” just war, and social justice. One course.
Crucial events, issues, structures, and writings that have shaped the Christian community and influenced Western civilization from the time of the early church to the present. Special attention to ethical themes such as human destiny, the “good life,” reform and renewal that have been permanent elements in Christian history. One course.
Investigation of two major transitions in the early Christian movement and their impact on the formulation of Christian ethics: Christianity’s transition from a sect within Judaism to a Greco-Roman religious movement whose constituency came largely from the “pagan” world, and its transition from a sect in danger of persecution to a religion favored and supported by Roman imperial authorities.
Paul’s biography and character, the social and physical circumstances of his work, his thought, and its relationship to ancient Jewish and Hellenistic ethics and beliefs. One course.
An investigation of what can be known about Jesus of Nazareth, his teaching about the kingdom of God and ethical behavior, his symbolic acts, and his cures. Principal attention given to the first three gospels, secondary attention to comparative material from the Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds. One course.
Examines various trends and ideologies within Zionism, with emphasis on the movement’s religious aspects. Study of various forms of Zionism, both Christian and Jewish, in the context of the constantly shifting Christian-Jewish relationship. Introduction to the origins of political Zionism, with focus on the manner in which religious ideas influenced both Zionism and the State of Israel. One course.
How women have understood, experienced, and shaped Judaism from the Greco-Roman period to the present day. Discussion topics include: women’s traditional religious roles and status; the ways in which women themselves have understood and expressed their Jewish self-identity and religious experiences over the centuries; and the transformation of Jewish women’s roles, expectations, and opportunities in the modern world, especially in the U.S. One course.
Modern Jewish thought from Mendelssohn to the present, with particular reference to the dynamics of emancipation, anti-semitism, religious reform, Zionism, the rise of natural religion with its emphasis on the supremacy of ethics, and feminism. One course.