RE 112: Introduction to the New Testament:
Course Description: 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.
RE 189: Abrahamic Faiths:
Course Description: The category of “Abrahamic Faiths/Religions/Traditions” has recently been on the rise to describe and analyze the relationships between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What does this designation mean? Why can we categorize these religions together? What do they have in common that other religions do not also share, if anything? In this course, we will investigate the commonalities and differences of these three religions on a wide variety of beliefs, practices, and lived experiences with a strong emphasis on primary sources and experiential learning.
RE 216: Religion and Film:
Description: Many people's ideas about religion are shaped by how it is presented in film. This class will introduce the vocabulary of film analysis to students and then use it to study a variety of films. We will see that films often reflect the concerns of the time in which they were made, even if they claim to represent the life of Jesus or other biblical figures. Films to be studied include several Bible films (that is, films adapting stories from Bible), films that represent Jewish and/or Christian ideas, and films representing other religions. Films are one of the most complex art forms, but most people watch them passively. In this class we will learn to “read” them carefully, analyze them, and reflect upon them. While the content of the films will be biblical and religious, the skills learned in this class are applicable to any film-based medium.
I am also offering two independent studies: on on Hebrew language and one on Life after Death. The latter will likely appear as a full-fledged course in the next two years.