Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spring Courses for University of Mississippi - Desoto

If you are a University of Mississippi student and looking around for some courses to take as classes start up on Wednesday (and happened to stumble onto my blog), check out the following, both of which the first class is Thursday, Jan 23:

Rel 395: Sacred Road-Tripping: Pilgrimage from Mecca to Memphis
Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-4:15 p.m.


As a practice, pilgrimage stands at many intersections, crisscrossing the complex topographies of a multi-religious world.  It ties together sacred place, sacred time, and myths and legends of heroes, saints, and gods.  As one traverses a landscape, one may try to connect to the past, while providing another link for future travelers.  A pilgrimage may be a religious requirement or an individual quest.  It blurs the line between a religious journey and tourism.  Its destination may be a physical place, but also may be within oneself.  In this class we will explore this multi-faceted phenomenon from antiquity to modernity and across several religious traditions.

Rel 366: Sex, Gender, and the Bible
Meets Thursdays 6-8:30 p.m.

This course will critically examine images of women, gender, and sexuality in biblical sources, including the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the Apocrypha, and the New Testament, which biblical readers throughout the centuries have reinterpreted to changing circumstances to reconstruct “normative” views and values of gender, sex, and the body for each new generation.  Our investigations will make these values explicit, and will help us explore what different groups of people think ought to be the case.  In order to do this, we will expose the value issues to alternative theories and systematic analysis.  In this course, the normative values that we are interested in are attitudes toward sexuality and the body prevalent in Christian societies.  Historical Biblical Criticism, Feminist Biblical Criticism, and Queer Theory will be some of the perspectives used to explore these values, exposing for us the values and opening up for us alternative worldviews.

I also have an Introduction to New Testament course that will meet Tuesday nights 6-8:30:  here is a short description for it as well:

The Bible has been one of the most influential collections of literature on religion, other literature, politics, society, and culture.  Jesus and Paul are immediately recognizable figures, popularly invoked in daily life and even public policy.  From the Gospels to Revelation, the books of the New Testament saturate our culture from popular films and novels to shaping people’s behavior and national politics.  Despite the New Testament’s seeming familiarity in religious institutions and public life, however, it can be very strange and disorienting.  In this class we will recover the strangeness of the New Testament in order to read it anew in their ancient Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern contexts.  To do this we will critically examine their transmission, development, historical contexts, and literary aspects.    

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