2013-2014 Graduate Courses

Note: This is an archive. View current courses.

Updated January 6, 2014

Room bookings 2013-2014 for web updated Jan 14_2014


Jump to: Course Timetable by Instructor | Course Descriptions

Language Courses at UofT (listed at bottom of page)

Other courses of interest to DSR students (listed at bottom of page)

Course Timetable by Instructor


Instructor(s) Course Code Alt. Code Course Title Session Day Time Location
Joseph M. Bryant, Pamela Klassen RLG1000Y - Method & Theory* Y Tues. 3-6 JHB318
Simon Coleman RLG3290H RLG441H Words & Worship S Wed 10-12 JHB214
Simon Coleman RLG2064H RLG406H Constructing Religion S Tues. 10-12 JHB318
Arti Dhand RLG3744H RLG460H Hindu Epics: Ramayana in Literature S Wed. 12-2 NF009
James DiCenso RLG2062H RLG425H Hermeneutics and Religion F Wed. 3-5 JHB317
James DiCenso RLG2060H RLG420H Philosophy & Religion in the European Enlightenment S Wed. 3-5 JHB317
Christoph Emmrich RLG2043H RLG465H Buddhism as Translation S Mon. 10-12 JHB317
Harry Fox RLG3645H - Religion and Law in Judaism S Thurs 5-7 TBA
Sol Goldberg Take as DR RLG418H Tolerant Ethics, Intolerant Religions S Thurs. 12-2 JHB317
Amanda Goodman RLG3470H RLG470H Buddhist Tantra S Wed. 1-3 JHB214
Ken Green RLG3622H RLG433H Maimonides S Tues. 2-4 UC326
Marsha A. Hewitt RLG2016HS TRT5936HS "Radical Evil": Religious, Philosophical and Psychoanalytic Responses S Wed. 11-1 LA341
Marsha A. Hewitt RLG2025HF TRT5948HF Critical Theories of Religion from a Psychoanalytic PerspectiveFWed.9-11LA248
Ayesha Irani RLG3703H - Indo-Islamic Civilization S Mon. 10-12 JHB100B
John Kloppenborg RLG3243HF RLG449 The Synoptic Problem F Wed. 9-12 TC24
John Marshall RLG3250H RLG455 Heresy&Deviance in Early Christianity S Tues. 1-3 UC257
Amira Mittermaier RLG1200H - Method&Theory MA group** F Tues. 10-12 JHB317
Amira Mittermaier Take as DR RLG428H Religion and Economy F Mon. 3-5 JHB317
Amira Mittermaier JAR6510H - Anthropology of Religion S Tues. 10-12 JHB317
Judith Newman RLG3634H - Scripture and Worship in Qumran F Thurs. 11-1 JHB317
David Novak RLG2011H RLG432Y Natural Law in Judaism& Christianity 1 F Tues. 1-3 SS621
David Novak RLG2012H RLG432Y Natural Law in Judaism& Christianity 2 S Tues. 1-3 SS621
Srilata Raman RLG3760H - Vedanta Through the Ages F Mon. 10-12 JHB317
Ajay Rao RLG3460H RLG474 Sanskrit Reading 1 F Tues/Thurs 330-5pm/10-1130am JHB214/319
Ajay Rao/Libby Mills RLG3461H - Sanskrit Reading 2 S Mon/Wed 10-12 JHB214/319
Karen Ruffle RLG2073H - Que(e)rying Religion S Wed. 2-4 JHB319
Kyle Smith RLG3242H - Christian Asceticism in Late Antiquity S Mon. 10-12 JHB319

*PhD Group
**MA Group

Graduate Course Descriptions 2013-2014

Please check for updates with the Department. Please be aware that course registration in RLG courses will begin August 15. For permission to enroll in an RLG course (for non RLG students), please bring a completed Course Add/Drop Form to the Graduate Administrator. To enroll in a Directed Reading Course, students must have a Reading Course Form completed and signed by the instructor.

RLG1000Y Method & Theory PhD group

Joseph M. Bryant, Pamela Klassen

Full year, Tues. 3-6,  JHB318
The seminar is the core course of the Department’s doctoral program. It is required of, and limited to, all first year Ph.D. students of the Department. The purpose of the course is to provide doctoral students with a general understanding of the study of religion through constructive engagement with a number of fundamental challenges–theoretical and methodological–that commonly confront researchers in the field. Among the foundational themes to be explored: the ontological specificity of religious phenomena; the peculiarities of religious language, discourse, and worldviews; the varieties of religious institutionalization; the historical transformation and social “embeddedness” of religions; the embodiment of religion; and the constitution of religious selves or actors. To facilitate our seminar engagements with problems of theory, concept-formation, methods, data, and explanation, a number of major interpretive controversies in the study of religion will also be featured.

RLG1200H Method & Theory MA group
Amira Mittermaier
Fall, Tues. 10am-12pm, JHB317
The M.A. Workshop Group is required of all first year M.A students of the Department. M.A. students will meet every week during the first term in a seminar course designed to provide rigorous training in method and theory in the study of religion. Topics considered include: historical development of religious studies, significance and application of interdisciplinary methodologies, key theorists and theoretical controversies.

RLG1501H/RLG1502H Directed Reading
Independent Study Courses – Undertaken in Any Term with Approval
With the approval of the Associate Director, and, in the case of a doctoral student, with the approval of the student’s Advisory Committee as well, a student may construct an independent study course of Directed Reading with a professor who agrees to supervise the work. The form for this purpose is available at the Department. Normally no more than one full year or two half year courses of this type are permitted in a degree program. These courses may be undertaken during any term, including the summer.

RLG2000Y Major MA Research Paper
Prepared Under Direction of a Professor
Major research paper (at least 50 pages) on a topic relevant to the study of religion, prepared under the direction of a professor. By January 30 of the year in which they intend to write the paper, students should identify their topic and secure the approval of the professor who will direct their work on the paper.

RLG2011H (RLG432Y) Natural Law in Judaism and Christianity 1
David Novak
Fall, Tues 1-3pm, Location TBA
This course deals with the question of natural law in the Jewish and Christians traditions. The question for these traditions is: How can a religious tradition, rooted as it is in a particular divine revelation to a particular community, advocate moral norms for all human beings, especially for those who are not part of their tradition and do not want to be part of it? Over and above such texts as the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Talmud, authors such as Philo, Augustine, Maimonides, Aquinas, Albo, and Grotius will be read and discussed. In the second semester, we will also be reading and discussing some more modern Jewish and Christian natural law thinkers. Regular seminar participation plus a 15-20 page term paper each semester are the course requirements.

RLG2012H (RLG432Y) Natural Law in Judaism and Christianity 2
David Novak
Spring, Tues 1-3pm, Location TBA
This course deals with the question of natural law in the Jewish and Christians traditions. The question for these traditions is: How can a religious tradition, rooted as it is in a particular divine revelation to a particular community, advocate moral norms for all human beings, especially for those who are not part of their tradition and do not want to be part of it? Over and above such texts as the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Talmud, authors such as Philo, Augustine, Maimonides, Aquinas, Albo, and Grotius will be read and discussed. In the second semester, we will also be reading and discussing some more modern Jewish and Christian natural law thinkers. Regular seminar participation plus a 15-20 page term paper each semester are the course requirements.

RLG2016HS (TRT5936HS) "Radical Evil": Religious, Philosophical and Psychoanalytic Responses to Religion
Marsha A. Hewitt

Spring, Wed. 11:00 to 13:00, LA341
Terrorism, war, genocide, racism, religious militancy and violence: how can the human mind make sense of these horrors without reducing them to an ‘obscenity of understanding’? The course begins with a discussion of Kant’s notion of ‘radical evil’ that provides a conceptual framework for an in-depth examination of these disturbing phenomena. The aim of the course is not to establish clear definitions of ‘evil,’ but rather to open up the concept to religious, theological, philosophical and psychological investigation. Among the authors studied are Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, Richard Bernstein, Sigmund Freud, Theodor Adorno, Susan Neiman and Christopher Bollas.

RLG2025HF (TRT5948HF) Critical Theory of Religion from a Psychoanalytic Perspective
Marsha A. Hewitt
Fall, Wed. 9-11, LA248

Inquiry into the role and meaning of religion in a post/metaphysical, post/secular time within the frameworks of critical theory, psychoanalysis and ethics. Authors include Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Freud, Habermas and their theological/religious interlocutors, i.e. Charles Davis, Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza, Hent de Vries. Major paper.

RLG2043H (RLG465) Buddhism as Translation
Christoph Emmrich
Spring, Mon 10am-12pm, JHB317
In terms of both idiom, volume and time span, Buddhist texts are arguably the most widely translated texts in the world. This process of ongoing transfer and reformulation spans from the Middle Indic languages in the early centuries BCE to the ‘classical’ Buddhist languages such as Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese, including most ‘big’ East, South, Southeast Asian and European tongues and many less well-known languages such as Mon, Newar or Tocharian. It is in these shifts that both the continuities and the discontinuities of Buddhism have been reinscribed into its very textual fabric. In that sense, Buddhism has been forever both lost and found, and in fact may have never existed anywhere else than, in translation. This course will take a peep into the Buddhist translator’s workshop and confront the insights gained there with new theories that have emerged out of the current theoretical interest in translation.

RLG2060H(RLG420) Religion and Philosophy in European Enlightenment
James DiCenso
Spring, Wed 3-5pm, JHB317
This is an advanced study of selected Enlightenment thinkers with a focus on their analyses of religion. The course is mainly devoted to the work of Spinoza, Hume, and Kant,  although this may vary from year to year. Issues addressed include the rational critique of traditional religious sources  and concepts, the relations among religion, ethics and politics, and the modern re-interpretation of religious ideas.

RLG2062H (RLG425) Hermeneutics and Religion
James DiCenso
Fall, Wed 3-5pm, JHB317
This is a study of the way textual interpretation and theories of language have been central to the development of modern philosophy of religion. We begin with the foundational work of Schleiermacher and then move to a detailed inquiry into the hermeneutical contribution of Heidegger's Being and Time and Gadamer's Truth and Method. In particular, we explore the way in which twentieth century hermeneutical theory advances from the study of textual meaning per se to wider questions of the role of language in modes of consciousness and in the presentation of reality.

RLG2064H Constructing Religion
Simon Coleman
Spring, Tues 10am-12pm, Rm318
How have different researchers constructed 'religion' as their object of study, and are some frameworks simply incompatible with each other? We discuss -- but also provide critical assessments of -- different theoretical and methodological frameworks. A running theme of the course relates to the politics as well as the epistemology of defining religion.

RLG2073H Que (e)rying Religion
Karen Ruffle
Spring, Wed 2-4pm, JHB319
This seminar situates religious studies at the intersection of queer theory in order to explore the multiplicity of same-sex desires, subjectivities, and ritual practices in different religious traditions. We will pay particular attention to issues of how sexuality is defined, circumscribed, and expressed in religious discourse and practice. In this course we will interrogate assumptions of religiously defined heteronormativity, especially as it pertains to celibacy, trans identities, lesbian, bisexual, and homosexual subjectivities and desires.

RLG3242H Christian Asceticism in Late Antiquity
Kyle Smith
Spring, Mon 10am-12pm, JHB319
Through studies of fasting, sexual renunciation, and other bodily disciplines, this course considers the ways by which ascetic elites and their promoters constructed a Christian ascetic ideal in late antiquity. In surveying the development of Christian asceticism from its Greco-Roman philosophical roots through to the rise of a flourishing monastic movement, our sources will include hagiographies, church histories, letters, sermons, rules, and practical treatises that address various modes and methods of ascetic renunciation. Thematic explorations include ascetic interpretations of the bible, solitary and communal forms of asceticism, asceticism as the basis for conversion and contemplation, asceticism and gender, and the importance of asceticism as a marker of class, status, and authority in the late ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds.

RLG3243HF (RLG449) The Synoptic Problem
John Kloppenborg
Fall, Wed 9am-12pm, TC24
This course investigates the literary relationships among the Synoptic gospels, the Gospel of Thomas, and other early gospels. Special attention is paid to the major solutions to the Synoptic Problem current today, the revival of the Griesbach hypothesis and the Farrer hypothesis, and recent advances in the Two-Document hypothesis. A range of issues will be presented, from the assessment of minor agreements to theories of synopsis construction. The currently competing hypotheses will be tested carefully by an examination of Synoptic texts.

RLG3250H(RLG455) Heresy & Deviance in Early Christianity
John Marshall
Spring, Tues 1-3pm, UC257
A study of the construction of deviance or heresy within the literature of first and second century Christianity: tasks include a survey of sociological theory in its application to deviance in the ancient world and close readings of selected texts from first and second century Christian and pre-Christian communities. Prerequisite: RLG 241Y1 and at least one of RLG 319H1-327H1

RLG3290H (RLG441) Words & Worship
Simon Coleman
Spring, Wed 10am-12pm, JHB214
How are we to analyze the words that Christians use? How might oral forms compare with written ones? And how should we try to understand the relationships between religious language and ritual action without seeing one as merely derived from the other? This course provides the opportunity and the methodological toolkit both to explore theories of language use and to apply them to forms of verbal discourse ranging from prayers, speaking in tongues, and citing biblical verses to more informal narratives. Protestant and Catholic attitudes to religious language are examined in ways that sometimes reinforce, something challenge, theological distinctions between the two, and there will be the opportunity for students to bring their own texts for analysis. While we focus on Christianity, there is scope for branching out into other religions, and many of the readings should be relevant for the study of non-~Christian discourse. Some techniques for the analysis of ritual texts are explored, and the advantages and disadvantages of close textual analysis are discussed.

RLG3460H (RLG474) Sanskrit Readings
Ajay Rao
Fall, Tues 3:30-5pm, Thurs 10-11:30am, JHB214/319
This course will have students read choice pieces of South Asian literature.  While tackling a text in simple Sanskrit from a major literary tradition, Buddhist or Hindu, and discussing it’s content and context, students will learn strategies for translating and interpreting Sanskrit literature.

RLG3461H Sanskrit Readings 2
Ajay Rao and Libby Mills
Spring, Mon & Wed, 10am-12pm, JHB319/214

RLG3470H Buddhist Tantra
Amanda Goodman
Spring, Wed 1-3pm, JHB214
A critical survey of the field of Tantric Buddhist Studies, focusing on seminal works in the field, as well as on new approaches to the study of Esoteric or Tantric Buddhist history, institutions, art, ritual, and doctrine. Emphasis will be place on the early history and historiography of Tantric Buddhism from its rise in early medieval India to its developments in Central and East Asia. The course is intended for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in any area of Asian history, literature, art history, and religion.

RLG3622H (RLG433) Maimonides
Kenneth Green
Spring, Tues 2-4pm, UC326
An introduction to The Guide of the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides, and to some of the basic themes in Jewish philosophical theology and religion. Among topics to be considered through close textual study of the Guide: divine attributes; biblical interpretation; creation versus eternity; prophecy; providence, theodicy, and evil; wisdom and human perfection. Also to be examined are leading modern interpreters of Maimonides.

RLG3634H Scripture and Worship in Qumran
Judith Newman
Fall, Thurs 11am-1pm, JHB317
This graduate seminar will examine selected psalms, prayers, and hymns and other less overtly "liturgical" texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We will consider the performative role of such texts in the Qumran movement and their relation to the evolving growth of the Hebrew Bible in the two centuries before and after the common era.  The relationship of these texts to later Jewish and Christian liturgical texts (e.g., the book of Psalms) and the New Testament will also be considered. Seminar participation,
seminar presentations, major paper.  Requires working knowledge of Hebrew.

RLG3645H Religion and Law in Judaism
Harry Fox
Spring, Thurs 5-7pm, Bancroft TBA (moved from fall to spring)
This graduate course is designed to deepen the student’s abilities to deal with Jewish legal texts, most particularly the Babylonian Talmud. The significance of philology and relocation criticism in outlining the history of halakha as well as historicist division between Tannaim and Amoraim, Amoraim and Stammaim will be explored. Regnant positions of Rosenthal, HaLivni, Friedman, and others serve as a background to a critique of contemporary scholarship. Judicious use will be made of codes such as Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and the Rabbi Joseph Caro’s Shulhan Arukh and their super commentaries. The topics explored vary from year to year and student to student and are subject to negotiations dependent on mutual interest. Ability in source languages is a prerequisite.

RLG3703H Indo-Islamic Civilization
Ayesha Irani
Spring, Mon 10-12pm, JHB100B
This course is an introduction to the cultural legacy of Islamic civilization in South Asia’s pre-colonial period (1000–1707). Beginning with the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, the course traces the development of Indo-Islamic civilization through the Mughal period up until the end of Awrangzeb’s reign. Indian Islamic cultural forms and traditions are examined through the lens of literature, visual culture, and performance. Themes explored include religious encounter, religion and statecraft, Islamization and conversion, Sufi orders and practices, Persianate culture and the arts, and the development of regional forms of Islam.

RLG3744H (RLG460) Hindu Epics: Ramayana in Literature
Arti Dhand
Spring, Wed 12-2pm, Location TBA
This course explores how this conception is the result of a historical process by examining documentable transformations in the reception of the Ramayana. Our focus will be on the shift in the classification of the Ramayana from the inaugural work of Sanskrit literary culture (adi-kavya) in Sanskrit aesthetics to a work of tradition (smrti) in theological commentaries, the differences between the Ramayanas ideal of divine kingship and medieval theistic approaches to Ramas identification with Visnu, the rise of Rama worship, and the use of Ramas divinity in contemporary political discourse.

RLG3760H Vedanta Through the Ages
Srilata Raman
Fall, Mon 10am-12pm, JHB 317
A survey of Vedantic thought beginning with the classical commentaries on the Brahmasutras (such as those of Sankara, Ramanuja etc.) and ending with neo-Vedanta in the writings of  Sri Aurobindo and Radhakrishnan.

JAR6510H Anthropology of Religion: From Theory to Ethnography
Amira Mittermaier
Spring, Tues 10am-12pm, JHB317
This course introduces graduate students to anthropological approaches to religion through both classic and contemporary texts. We will read ethnographies alongside key theoretical texts that inform them. Besides teaching students about (the anthropology of) religion, goals of the course are a) to introduce students to theoretical frameworks that have effectively been employed by anthropologists; b) to collectively develop strategies for integrating ethnography and theory, and c) to explore possible tensions between them.


The following courses may be taken as a Directed Reading Course (RLG1501H/1502H).


RLG418H Tolerant Ethics, Intolerant Religions
Sol Goldberg
Spring, Thurs 12-2pm, JHB317
Few deny that liberalism and multiculturalism rest on promoting tolerance towards divergent religious outlooks. Yet, the value of tolerance seems to be plagued by several contradictions, paradoxes, and shortcomings. For example, tolerance can only be exercised with respect to outlooks deemed intolerable so that the more liberalism champions the virtue of tolerance the more it must also apparently encourage moral disapproval of other views. Also, although liberalism does not extend tolerance to intolerant belief systems, it nevertheless claims its superiority to them because of its alleged tolerance. Finally, tolerance is often indistinguishable from indifference, which hardly deserves the status of a value or virtue, especially when compared with the ideal of respecting others. This course will look at the necessity, sufficiency, and congruity of tolerance as a value, paying special attention to the historical and contemporary problem of religious diversity.

RLG428H Religion and Economy
Amira Mittermaier
Fall, Mon 3-5pm, JHB317
This course introduces students to classical and contemporary work on the relation between religion and economy. It is organized around two famous thinkers on the topic – Max Weber and Marcel Mauss – pairing and complementing their writings with more recent anthropological work. Through the readings we will consider what religious studies might be able to contribute to our understanding (and rethinking) of trade, capitalism, neoliberalism, gifting, charity, philanthropy, and prosperity gospels.


NMC385H1F  Introduction to Islamic Law
Anver Emon
Fall, Thurs. 2-4, SS1087
The course will introduce students to the history, theory, and doctrines of Islamic law, and focus on hot-topics that are at the center of public debate in various regions across the world. Students will be required to do close readings of primary sources, provide oral and written responses to secondary literature, and engage the materials of the course in light of their own context and experiences. It will be designed for students from various departments, teach them critical thinking skills, and help them understand the dynamics of legal reasoning and analysis in a comparative perspective.
Prerequisite: NMC283Y/RLG204Y


The following courses may also be taken as a Directed Reading Course (RLG1501/2H) but students should speak with the Graduate Director (Jennifer Harris) before enrolling.


EMH6371HF  Varieties of North American Christianity
Phyllis Airhart
Fall, Wed, 9-11am, location TBA
Topics for the seminar will vary from year to year but will focus on issues related to approaches to spiritual formation and the relationships between individual experience, social transformation, and institutional identity in North American contexts. Seminar format involving student leadership; discussion of assigned readings, presentation of research.

SMT6605HS Comparative Theology Seminar
Reid Locklin
Spring, Friday, 10am-1pm
An introduction to comparative theology and comparative theologies, with special attention to their close interrelation and emergence with comparative religion and religious studies in the modern period. Our study will begin with a genealogical examination of the early modern discipline of "comparative theology", a liberal Christian project designed to overcome the prejudices and limitations of "dogmatic theology" through its engagement with the claims of other religious traditions. In a second major unit of the course, we will examine the mutual self-definition of neo-Orthodox theology and the field of comparative religious studies in the mid-twentieth centuries including the efforts to build bridges between these disciplines by prominent theologians in North America. Finally, we will turn our attention to contemporary critiques of comparative religion itself and the emergence of a "new" comparative theology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

EMH6813HS The History of Christianity in the United States
Mark Toulouse
Spring, Tues, 2-4pm
This course will examine the history of Christianity in the United States, within the context of how Christianity, the development of its theology, leadership, practice and expressions, have related to the cultural and public life of the nation. Lectures and discussions. Evaluation: informed participation in group discussions, both in-class and on-line, and a couple of writing assignments.


Courses from Other Departments


For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Anthropology please visit their website.

ANT6007HS Magic, Science and Religion
T. Sanders
Spring, Tues 3-5pm, AP246
Magic, science and religion have long preoccupied anthropologists. This course considers these topics by raising fundamental questions about the nature of knowledge: what can we know about the world, and how can we know it? Through close readings of key anthropological texts we consider what – if anything – differentiates magic, religion and science, belief and knowledge, subjectivity and objectivity, irrationality and rationality.

ANTH6055F Anthropology of Subjectivity and Human Nature
Valentina Napolitano
Fall, Mon, 3-5pm, HA409
This course analyses different approaches to the study of subjectivity. It engages with the question of the human as a core field in the discipline of anthropology and ethnography, and it specifically opens up this field to key concepts in psychoanalysis, philosophy and history in relation to readings on nature, materialty and power.



Centre for Comparative Literature

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Centre for Comparative Literature please visit their website.




For further information on graduate courses offered by the Deparmtent of Classics please visit their website.

CLA 5028F Moving Peoples, Goods and Ideas: Connectivity in the Ancient Greek and Roman World
K. Blouin
Fall, Wed 9am-12pm, LI 103
This seminar will explore the manifold connectivity networks that characterized the ancient Greek and Roman world. Starting from an examination of ancient evidence (both written and material) and secondary literature, issues related to ancient migration, travel, commercial and diplomatic networks, technology, and religious beliefs and practices will be examined. Special attention will be dedicated to case studies, and a great emphasis will be put on multidisciplinary openness and methodological issues.

CLA 5024S Religious Life in the City of Rome (2nd cent. BC - 2nd cent. AD)
A. Bendlin
Spring, Fridays 10:00-13:00, LI 205
We will begin by looking at some of the constants of religious life at Rome, such as ritual, sacrifice, divination, and the Roman calendar, will critically assess the sources at our disposal, and will try to understand the history of scholarship. We will also analyze the role of religion in the political decision processes of the city-state, paying particular attention to the changes rituals and institutions underwent in the late Republican and early imperial periods. However, rather than focusing exclusively on the realm of “civic religion” we will spend a considerable amount of time discussing the alternative religious options available in the ancient metropolis, as well as the impact of an ever-increasing number of new cults and deities on the urban sacred landscape. Particular attention will be paid to the religion of migrants to Rome – Greeks, Judaeans, Syrians, Egyptians, Christ-followers, and others – and how the polytheistic system at Rome accommodated (or rejected) these religious choices. In that context, the seminar will also survey intellectual responses to religious pluralism in Latin literature.




For further information on graduate courses offered by the School of the Environment please visit their website.

ENV1008HS Worldviews and Ecology
Stephen Scharper
Spring, Thurs. 2-4pm,  ES1042
This course undertakes a historical and interdisciplinary examination of diverse ecological worldviews as a means for instigating and enhancing class discussion. Our focus will be the current environmental situation/crisis and the several religious/spiritual as well as contemporary cultural worldviews that have given rise to the environmental situation today and the way in which we understand the way things are. We will assess the cosmological dimensions of human-nonhuman natural dynamics in various historical traditions/paradigms: (a) the spiritual worldviews of First Nations, Judaism, Islam, Western Christianity, Orthodox Easter Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism; (b) contemporary dominant secular worldviews: globalization, postglobalization, modernity/enlightenment/modern science, capitalism/consumerism; and (c) emerging worldviews with new possibilities: ecofeminism, deep ecology, Whiteheadian process philosophy, Bateson’s systems theory, Thomas Berry’s ecozoism. We will delve into these worldviews with the hope of understanding them and their context for environmental concerns today. We will try to see how each one of them affects human consciousness and knowing awareness, as well as how each separately or some of them jointly inform our decision-making and activity in terms of the natural (human and nonhuman) systems.



For further information on the courses offered by the Department of History please visit their website.

HIS1201HF Materials of Medieval History
Joe Goering
Fall, Thurs. 2-4pm, KL406
Required course for MA students of the medieval area in the Department of History but open to others. The course is concerned with the discovery and critical use of the materials of medieval history.  It includes exercises in the use of published source collections and bibliographical aids.

HIS 1709H-F Conversion and Christianities in the Early Modern Spanish World
Ken Mills
Fall, Tues 1-3pm, LA340
Our seminar investigates processes of religious transformation and the ways in which human allegiances and identities change. In a broader sense, we aim to understand the interactive emergence and mobility of religion and culture. The points of view and actions of purveyors and promoters of would-be universal brands of religion prove as interesting as those of the receivers, users and re-makers of local systems of belief and practice. Our readings and discussions will range widely, but ultimately concentrate on the proliferation of Catholic Christianities in the Spanish world between about the fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries. Surrounding subjects and settings will vary from year to year. Along the way, we will also discuss a selection of methods and "thinking tools," many of them employed in the study of other times and places.Our readings consist of a mixture of books, essays compiled in a course reader prepared only for class use, and some materials available online. Completing the readings, and giving yourself time to reflect on them, are vital in preparation for discussion.There will normally be one seminar each week in the Fall semester. There is an emphasis on discussion. This is a joint graduate / upper level-undergraduate course (HIS 441 HF).

HIS 1784H-S The Islamic Revolution
M. Tavakoli-Targhi
Spring, Tues 6-9pm, BF214
This seminar explores the making of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Framed in a comparative historical perspective on revolutions, it interrogates the cultural and political peculiarities that made possible the rise of Shi‘i clerics to power after the overthrow of the Pahlavi Dynasty in February 1979. This course particularly focuses on the pre-revolutionary conception of a diseased “social body” that required the intervention of “spiritual physicians” to restore the moral and spiritual health of society. Exploring the consolidation of revolutionary regimes and the utilization of Islam as a state ideology, students will examine the interplay of public and private spheres as well as possible desacralization of everyday life in post-revolutionary Iran. Each student in this course is expected to write a publishable research paper that addresses a significant aspect of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.


History & Philosophy of Science

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology please visit their website.


Medieval Studies

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Centre for Medieval Studies please visit their website.

MST3225S Jews and Christians in Medieval and Renaissance Europe
Mark Meyerson
Spring, Mon 10-12, LI301
Description TBA


Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations 

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies please visit their website.

NMC1100Y Introduction to Aramaic
Amir Harrak
Full year, Mon. & Wed. 9-11am,  BF315
The course is designed to introduce the student to the Aramaic language through selected readings and a study of grammar. First term: Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; and selected Aramaic texts from the 5th/4th centuries B.C.E. Second term: Daniel 2:4-7:28. Grammar will be studied with reference to Hebrew and Syriac. Because of the type of Aramaic studied, students of Akkadian and Egyptian should be interested. The course is valuable for students concentrating on Syria-Palestine. Evaluation is based on class participation, at least two tests, and an essay.

NMC1101Y Early Syriac Texts
Amir Harrak
Full year, Tues 9-11am,  BF315
As a first step in this course, Old Syriac inscriptions and contracts from Edessa and its vicinity (1st to 3rd centuries C.E.) are read. These texts belong to a late Aramaic dialect and, therefore, a description of the grammatical features of this dialect is given, as contrasted with Imperial Aramaic. As a second step in this course, sections from the Peshitta version of the Bible, namely the Pentateuch, are read and analysed. Comparison of vocabulary, expressions, and verb usages in the Peshitta and in the various Targumim will be made. Exegetical commentaries of the Bible, verse homilies and hymns, historiographical literature, and spiritual and mystical writings could also be read. Syriac literature is of interest to Near and Middle Eastern studies, religious studies, church history and theology, Jewish studies, classics, mediaeval studies, etc.

NMC1111Y Babylonian Aramaic
Tirzah Meacham
Fully year, Tues 10am-1pm, BF316
Learning the syntax of Babylonian Aramaic and building vocabulary will be accomplished through study of the text of a Babylonian Talmud tractate and its traditional commentaries. Comparisons to Biblical Aramaic and other Aramaic dialects will be noted. Y. N. Epstein’s Aramit Bavlit will be the reference for grammar study. M. Sokoloff’s A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic is the required dictionary.  Jastrow’s Dictionary of Talmud Babli, Yerushalmi, Midrashic Literature and Targumim may also be helpful. Strong Hebrew background and/or introductory Aramaic required.

NMC1306HS Scribes, Manuscripts and Translations of the Hebrew
Sarianna Metso
Spring, Thurs 12-2pm, BR316
This course focuses on text-critical study of the Hebrew Bible, providing an introduction to the manuscript evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Masoretic text, and the Samaritan Pentateuch, as well as from other ancient sources. Issues pertaining to paleography, orthography, and manuscript production are discussed, as well as processes of textual composition and development, and techniques used by ancient translators (Greek, Latin, etc.). Of particular interest is the state of the biblical text leading to the time of canonization in the first or second century C.E. Elementary Hebrew is a prerequisite and elementary Greek recommended.

NMC 1316HF Modern Hebrew Poetry
Harry Fox
Fall, Tues 5-7pm, BF316
Extensive reading in the works of a major poet. Emphasis will be on the poetry of Bialik and Amichai. Conducted in Hebrew.
Evaluation:    Based on one paper, one term test, and class participation
Prerequisites:   Permission of instructor

NMC 1318HS Midreshei Halakha: Purity and Cultic Texts
Harry Fox
Spring, Tues 1-4pm, BF308
Halakhic Midrash, the rabbinic continuation of biblical law, is one of the three major literary creations of the Tannaitic period, making it one of the most important sources for Middle Hebrew. Midreshei Halakha are the ancient Jewish biblical interpretations and constitute the earliest and closest reading of the Pentateuch excluding Genesis. A study of terminology and methodology indicates the existence of two midrashic systems: D’vei R. Yishmael and D’vei R. Aqiva. We will examine the scholarly debate concerning the exact time in which midreshei halakha were composed and redacted and concerning the transfer of terminology and material between the schools.  In this course we shall study selections from the cultic and purity texts from Leviticus in Sifra or Torat Kohenim and/or from Numbers in Sifrei and Sifrei Zuta. In the course of our study, we shall develop facility with midrashic terminology and midrashic logic. We shall compare the texts in the standard scholarly editions with the manuscripts of those texts, parallel material in other compositions in Middle Hebrew (Mishnah and Tosefta) and the Talmudim. Students will gain facility in reading and creating a critical apparatus. This course will demonstrate the context of ancient Jewish law in matters of purity and cultic practice for students of Hebrew Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Rabbinics.

NMC 1609HF   Gender-Related Topics in Law and Religion
Tirzah Meacham
Fall, Mon 12-3pm, BF315
This year’s topic is Levirate Marriage. We will examine various modes of marriage in the Bible and Rabbinic Literature in the context of levirate marriage. We will examine the regnant theories of the genesis of this phenomenon: polyandry or group marriage; preservation of the bride wealth in the dead husband’s family; preservation of the dead husband’s name; preservation of the dead husband’s line by assigning the firstborn to his place in the line of inheritance; and the treatment of wives as property. We will examine the legal changes from the biblical context to the rabbinic context with particular reference to concepts of adultery and the “chained woman”.

NMC2050Y  Prayer in Islamic Thought
Todd Lawson
Full year, Thurs 11-1pm,  BF315
Description TBA

NMC2056HF Readings in Qur’an and Tafsir
Walid Saleh
Fall, Wed 2-4, BF220
This course is an introduction to the rich literature that has grown around the study of the Qur’an in the Arabic tradition. In addition to readings in the Qur’an students will read selections from works in ma’ani, and majaz; we will then move to the major works in tafsir; selections include material from al-Tabari, al-Tha`labi, al-Zamakhshari, al-Qurtubi, al-Razi, Ibn Taymiyah and al-Suyuti. The course will culminate in the study of al-Itqan of al-Suyuti. The course will also introduce students to the major reference works that are used for research in this field. Prerequisite: At least two years of Arabic, or advanced reading knowledge, or the permission of the instructor.

NMC2090Y  Islamic History to the fall of Baghdad
Linda Northrup
Full year, Mon. & Wed. 6-7pm,  SS1069
An introduction to the history of Islamic civilization in the core Islamic regions from the rise of Islam to the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad to the Mongols in 1258. Covering aspects of the religious, political, socio-economic and cultural history of the formative period of Islamic civilization and focusing on some major themes and issues, this course provides a foundation and framework for further study in Islamic history and essential background for other fields. NMC 2090Y is the graduate section of NMC 273Y. Graduate students attend all of the lectures, but in addition to some shared assignments, are expected to read more widely and to write a major research paper.

NMC 2224HF  Persian Myths, Islamic Legends, and Mystical Allegories
Maria Subtelny
Fall, Mon 2-5pm, BF2008
The course examines the ways in which ancient Persian myths and mythological motifs drawn from Zoroastrian cosmology and Iranian epic history were utilized allegorically by such Perso-Islamic philosophers, theosophers, and poets as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Suhravardi (Shaikh al-Ishraq), and ‘Attar in order to illustrate Islamic theosophical and mystical concepts. The course includes a discussion of tales from the Persian Book of Kings (Shahnama), Qur’anic legends (qisas al-anbiya’), Islamic cosmological doctrines, and Sufism. The main readings will be from the Persian treatises of Suhravardi, hence an adequate knowledge of classical Persian is required. However, students with a background in Arabic and/or Islamic mysticism are encouraged to take the course, as the readings are available in a parallel Persian-English edition: Suhrawardi. The Philosophical Allegories and Mystical Treatises. Ed. and trans. W. M. Thackston. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, 1999.

NMC 2227HS  Zoroastrian Cosmic History: From Genesis to Universal Judgement
Enrico Rafaelli
Spring, Thurs 11am-1pm, BF308
The course surveys the history of the Zoroastrian religion from antiquity to the modern times, with a particular attention to the pre-Islamic Iranian history. The main focus of the course are the cosmological doctrines attested in the Zoroastrian texts in Avestan and Middle Persian. The position of these doctrines in the system of beliefs and practices of the Zoroastrian religion is highlighted, as well as the points in common of cosmological doctrines of Zoroastrianism and of other Iranian and Near Eastern religions.



For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Philosophy please visit their website.

PHL2182F  Seminar in Philosophy of Religion:Examination of Arguments of GOD
Colin Howson
Fall, Tuesdays, 9:00-12:00, location TBA
We shall be looking at classical arguments for and against the existence of  God. Generally speaking, this God is the God of theism: the creator of all  things, omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good. He is the common core of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Though usually addressing the specific God of one or other of these religions, and mainly the God of Christianity, the arguments we shall be evaluating bear fairly directly on the God of theism. Most are of fairly ancient lineage, though all have received modern reworkings and updates: for example, in the twentieth century the ontological argument originally produced by Anselm in the 11th century has been given a modal logic (S5) formulation by Alvin Plantinga and no less a person than Kurt Gödel, while the ancient Cosmological Argument has been reproduced within the context of Big Bang cosmology.



For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Sociology please visit their website.


Toronto School of Theology

This is a list of 5000 level TST courses taught by DSR cross appointed faculty. For purposes of SGS registration these courses are assigned a Departmental designation of RLG4001H.  Further information can be found on their website.

TRT5631HS Juan Luis Segundo and the Theology of Liberation
Marsha Hewitt
Spring, Wed 9-11am, Larking Building Room 341
Examination of the major writings of Juan Luis Segundo. His place in the emergence and establishment of Latin American Liberation Theology, relationship between theology and social theory in his work.

RGP5209HF  Spiritual Theology of Evelyn Underhill
Michael Stoeber
Fall, Tues 11am-1pm, Location tba
A critical exploration of the mystical, liturgical and pastoral theology of Evelyn Underhill, as she develops these in her novels and scholarly writings. Her thought will be examined in light of contemporary issues in spirituality, such as the status of the body, mysticism and social action, the subjectivization of mystical experiences, and the effect of socio-political structures on spirituality. Lectures, discussion, presentation, critical reflection paper.

RGT5729HS  Theology and Spirituality of Dorothee Soelle
Michael Stoeber
Spring, Mon 2-4pm, location TBA
Critically explores the theology and spirituality of Dorothee Soelle, with special attention on the themes of creation-liberation theology, suffering, God, feminist concerns, embodied spirituality, and mysticism. Seminar discussion, lecture, short presentations, major essay.

WYB5111HF  Book of Genesis
Glen Taylor
Fall, Tues 2-4pm, location TBA
Critical and exegetical study of Hebrew text of Genesis. In addition to historical-critical issues, attention will be paid to Ancient Near Eastern parallels as well as to the book's themes, structure and theological significance.

EMB5002HS  Greek Texts of the Early Roman Empire
Leif Vaage
Spring, Thurs 11am-1pm, location TBA
This course will examine selected Greek texts written under the early Roman Empire (200 B.C.E. - 180 C.E.) for the sake of comparison with writings of earliest Christianity. The purpose is twofold: to familiarize the student with the larger literary context (Greek) of earliest Christianity and to develop the analysis of ancient literary style.

SMT5521HF  Rahner and Lonergan
Michael Vertin
Fall, Fri 10am-1pm, location TBA
Both Karl Rahner and Bernard Lonergan devote much study to the role of philosophy in theology. Moreover, both are influenced importantly in this effort by the modern interpretation of Thomas Aquinas developed earlier by Belgian philosopher and mystical psychologist Joseph Maréchal. However, besides some obvious similarities in what they take from Maréchal, there also are certain crucial (if often unnoticed) differences. This course investigates these crucial philosophical differences and how they influence the basic theological perspectives of Rahner and Lonergan. Special attention will be given to their differing theological accounts of religious experience, Jesus’ human knowledge, and the role of the psychological analogy in Trinitarian theology.

WYB5032HS Early Christian Self-Definition
Terry Donaldson
Spring,  Thurs 9-11am, location TBA
A study of the developing self-understanding of early Christianity, seen in the context of the process by which the Christian movement separated from its Jewish matrix and developed into a distinct, largely Gentile religion. The major portion of the course will consist of a study of selected Christian literature (up to the mid-second century) with attention to specific issues of self-definition. Lectures, discussions of assigned readings and student presentations. Seminar paper and final research paper.



UofT Language courses available to graduate students


GER6000H F/GER600H S Reading German for Graduate Students

Tuesdays 3-5


FSL 6000H F/ FSL 6000H S Reading French for Graduate Students

Tuesdays 4-6


LAT1000H F Advanced Studies in Latin Language: Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-3:00 (may not be offered 2013-2014)

MST 1000 Y Introductory Medieval Latin :Monday-Friday 1:00-2:00

MST 1001 Y Intermediate Medieval Latin: Monday-Friday 1:00-2:00

Summer Latin Program: Beginning Latin; Level One Latin; Level Two Latin


GRK 1000H S Advanced Studies in Greek Language: Thursday 1:00-4:00  (may not be offered 2013-2014)


NMC 1300Y  Intensive Prerequisite Hebrew (may not be offered 2013-2014)


NMC 2100Y Introductory Standard Arabic: Monday and Wednesday 10:00-12:00, Friday 10:00

NMC 2102Y Intermediate Standard Arabic II: Monday and Wednesday 1:00-3:00, Friday 11:00

NMC 2103Y Advanced Standard Arabic: Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-12:00