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Islam in the Americas

Explores how Muslim communities live and practice Islam in the American context. Examines diverse Muslim communities emerging from transatlantic exploration, trade in slaves, and migration as well as indigenous conversion. Discussion of religious and cultural identities of American Muslim peoples and consideration of questions of communal organization, religious authority, gender dynamics, youth culture, political and civic engagement, as well as American Muslim comedy and entertainment.

Women in Judaism

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.

Jewish Ethics

Survey of Jewish ethics from antiquity to modern times, with focus on both general methods and specific case studies. How different traditional Jewish sources and communities respond to ethical challenges such as the death penalty, abortion, cloning, the environment, and economic justice, especially in the U.S. responses from a variety of Jewish perspectives (Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative). One course.

 

Jewish Mysticism

The main historical stages, personalities, texts, ethical doctrines, social teachings, and metaphysical doctrines from rabbinic to modern times. Topics include the significance of context and cross-cultural influence in shaping mystical traditions of a minority population living in Christian, Muslim, and secular environments and ways in which mysticism has served to empower and marginalize women. Readings emphasize primary sources (Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic writings, medieval mystical works) in translation and consider them both as literary works and elements of religious ritual.

Ethics in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

An introduction to ethics in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, addressing moral and ethical dilemmas within the varied sources of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the diversity of views and opinions within the text, and passages often regarded as problematic for modern readers. The use of the biblical text as a resource for the construction of pre-modern and modern Jewish and Christian ethics will also be explored. One course.

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