2013-2014 Undergraduate Courses

Note: This is an archive. View our current courses.


Course Descriptions 2013-14

Additional details about courses can be found on the Arts & Science timetable


100 Series Courses

TBB199Y1Y Embarrassment of Scriptures/ Harry Fox

In this first year seminar we shall explore the concept of embarrassment as an emotion different from its common usage as a weaker cousin and synonym of shame. In our sense it will convey the feeling of discomfort elicited by a sense of superiority that someone other than ourselves has disappointed us, or done something unseemly in one way or another, eliciting from us embarrassment. In literature this sense of the word elicits a catalytic effect of causing texts to be ignored, or re-read so as to avoid the embarrassment. As a result we shall explore toxic texts, texts of terror, the process of canon formation, mainly in the Jewish tradition. Students will be encouraged to explore taboo topics which often hide the embarrassment tradition has had with embarrassing texts. These will include such topics as sexuality, anthropomorphism, election, polygamy, genocide, slavery, and the environment.

TBB199Y1Y Food for Thought/ Frances Garrett

What is good food? What does it mean to say that "we are what we eat"? How is food understood differently in different cultures? This course in the philosophy of food will cover a range of metaphysical, epistemological, aesthetic, and ethical topics relating to what and how we feed ourselves and others. Drawing on readings in philosophical and religious traditions from around the world, we will discuss food rituals, vegetarianism, cannibalism, biotechnology, the globalization of food, agricultural ethics, the responsibilities of producers and consumers, and more. We will also consider how philosophers around the world distinguish between natural and artificial foods, between foods and other edible substances (such as medicine), and between who eats and who is eaten. In addition to intensive instruction and practice in critical reading and writing, students will learn and practice audio/video recording and editing, geographic information analysis and mapping, and website development through a series of course projects.

MHB155H1F Elementary Modern Hebrew I/ Yigal Nizri

Introduction to the fundamentals of Hebrew grammar and syntax. Emphasis on the development of oral and writing skills. Exclusion: Grade 4 Hebrew (or Grade 2 in Israel)/NML155H1

MHB156H1S Elementary Modern Hebrew II/Yigal Nizri

Continued introduction to the fundamentals of Hebrew grammar and syntax. Emphasis on the development of oral and writing skills. Prerequisite: MHB155H1/NML155H1 or permission of instructor. Exclusion: Grade 4 Hebrew (or Grade 2 in Israel)/NML156H1

MHB255H1F Intermediate Modern Hebrew I/ Yigal Nizri

Intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew. Prerequisite: MHB156H1/ NML156H1 or permission of instructor. Exclusion: Grade 8 Hebrew (or Ulpan level 2 in Israel)/NML255Y1)

MHB256H1S Intermediate Modern Hebrew II/ Yigal Nizri

Continued intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew. Prerequisite: MHB255H1/NML156H1 or permission of instructor. Exclusion: Grade 8 Hebrew (or Ulpan level 2 in Israel)/NML255Y1

MHB355H1F Advanced Modern Hebrew I/ Yigal Nizri

Advanced intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew. Prerequisite: MHB256H1/NML255Y1 or permission of instructor. Exclusion: OAC Hebrew/NML355Y1

MHB356H1S Advanced Modern Hebrew II/ Yigal Nizri

Continued advanced intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew. Prerequisite: MHB355H1 or permission of instructor. Exclusion: OAC Hebrew/NML355Y1

RLG100Y1Y World Religions L0101

An introductory study of the ideas, attitudes, practices, and contemporary situation of the Judaic, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, and Shinto religious traditions. Exclusion: RLG280Y1; HUM B03H3, HUM B04H3. Note: HUM B03H3 and HUM B04H3 taken together are equivalent to RLG100Y1. Note: RLG101H5 is not equivalent to RLG100Y1.
Day Section/ Arti Dhand
Evening Section/ David Perley

200 Series Courses

Note: No 200-series RLG course has a 100-series RLG course prerequisite or co-requisite.

RLG200H1F Study of Religion/ Matt King

An introduction to the discipline of the study of religion. This course surveys methods in the study of religion and the history of the discipline in order to prepare students to be majors or specialists in the study of religion. Prerequisite: Open to Religion Specialists and Majors. Exclusion: RLG200Y1

RLG202Y1 Jewish Religious Tradition/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG203Y1Y Christian Religious Traditions/ Erin Vearncombeand Amy E. Fisher

An introduction to Christian religious traditions as they have developed globally from the 1st century C.E. to the present and have been expressed in diverse teachings, institutions, social attitudes, and the arts. Exclusion: RLG203H5. Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200Y1/RLG280Y1

RLG204Y1 Islamic Religious Traditions/ Laury Silvers

The faith and practice of Islam: historical emergence, doctrinal development, and interaction with various world cultures. Note: this course is offered alternatively with NMC283Y1, to which it is equivalent. Exclusion: NMC185Y1, NMC185H1, NMC283Y, RLG204H5 Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1

RLG205Y1Y Hindu Religious Traditions/ Ian Richards

A historical and thematic introduction to the Hindu religious tradition as embedded in the socio-cultural structures of India. Exclusion: RLG205H5. Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1

RLG206Y1 Buddhist Religious Traditions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG207Y1 East Asian Traditions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG209H1F Justifying Religious Belief/ Sol Goldberg

A survey course that introduces students a range of epistemological and ethical issues in the study of religion. The issues include: the justification of religious belief; the coherence of atheism; reason vs. faith; the nature of religious language; religious pluralism, exclusivism, and inclusivism.

RLG210Y1 Introduction to the Sociology of Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG211Y1Y Introduction to the Psychology of Religion/ David Perley

A survey of the psychological approaches to aspects of religion such as religious experience, doctrine, myth and symbols, ethics and human transformation. Attention will be given to phenomenological, psychoanalytic, Jungian, existentialist, and feminist approaches.

RLG212H1 Anthropology of Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG213H1S Reading Sacred Texts/ Nathalie LaCoste

This course surveys interpretative traditions related to sacred texts. The focus is on reading strategies that range from the literal to the figurative with attention to understanding the rationale behind different textual meanings and copyists manipulation of texts. This year the emphasis will be on reading ancient Jewish narratives (canonical and non-canonical). Lectures will be character driven (i.e. Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses), analyzing different interpretations of the narratives that developed around the figures through Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions.

RLG215H1F Pilgrimage as Idea and Practice/ Simon Coleman

The study of pilgrimage has become increasingly prominent in anthropology and religious studies in recent decades. Why should this be? This course provides some answers while engaging in a cross cultural survey and analysis of pilgrimage practices. We also explore whether research into pilgrimage has wider theoretical significance.

RLG220H1 Philosophical Responses to the Holocaust/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG224Y1 Problem in Religious Ethics/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG225H1 Christian Ethics and Human Sexuality/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG227H1S Animals and Religion/ Paul York

Animals appear in numerous myths, legends and parables as anthropomorphized symbols of human traits, as bearers of moral instruction, as agents of supernatural powers, and as divine messengers. Such questions as how to treat them properly and how human beings differ from them have helped define religious and cultural identities for millennia. This course examines how animals figure into religious and cultural identities, from Paleolithic times to the present, by examining their place in myths, art, legends, and parables. The course also examines the intersection of religious cosmologies, religious imagination, animal ethics, and environmental problems, as they relate to animals. A central focus of the course is the paradox of human-animal relations, as reflected in religious traditions and cultures that advocate animal welfare but use them instrumentally. The role of religious imagination in both oppression and liberation of animals is examined, from both theological and atheist perspectives.

RLG228H1F Religious Ethics: The Environment/ Simon Appolloni

This course explores various traditional religions, as well as non-traditional forms of religion, in conjunction with specific environmental issues or dimensions (such as climate change, agricultural-food issues, Western consumerism, environmental racism, and the wisdom of women and of science), with a view to providing students opportunities to understand and think critically about the nexus of religion, ethics, and environment.

RLG229H1S Death, Dying and Afterlife/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG230H1 Religion and Public Life/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG231H1 Religion and Science/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG232H1S Religion and Film/ Maria Dasios

An introduction to the study of religion and film that engages a variety of film forms to explore classical and contemporary understandings of what religion does and what films do. Close attention will be paid to the ways in which the particularities of the film medium contribute to the production of affect and meaning and to the central role film has played in a variety of cultural movements. Exclusion: RLG232H5

RLG235H1F Religion, Gender, and Sexuality (formerly RLG314H1)/ Bonnie deBruijn

This course explores the topics of gender and sexuality in the context of religion. It examines religious understandings of these categories as well as the social organization, values, and life-choices that have emerged as a result of certain religious world-views. A survey of themes including: essentialism and constructivism, gender roles, agency, celibacy and homosexuality. Examples will be drawn from a variety of religious traditions and groups, contemporary and historical. Exclusion: RLG314H1, RLG314H5

RLG237H1 Women and Western Religions/Not Offered 2013-14

RLG239H1F Special Topics: Intro to Rabbinic Literature/ Zvi Septimus

This course offers an overview of Rabbinic Literature from the first century BCE through the eight century of the common era. Each class will combine broad historical background with the close reading of Rabbinic texts. We will not only try to understand what these texts say and how they say it but we will also explore how Rabbinic ideas and modes of expression compare to those with which we as modern readers are more familiar. We will begin with a survey of various forms of Biblical and post-Biblical Second Temple writings. These texts will serve to establish the literary frameworks against which the rabbinic genres form. We will then explore the Mishanh, Tosefta, and the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds. Through an exploration of the development of parallel themes, we will come to an understanding of how and when these texts evolved. Finally, we will explore a number of Midrashic compilations and assess their historical settings as well as their literary and ideological relationships to the two Talmuds. All texts will be read in English translation.

RLG239H1S Special Topics: Telling Sacred Lives/ Arun Brahmbhatt and Eric Steinschneider

This course will explore the rich textures of these traditions of sacred biography, or hagiography, and the dynamic roles they play in South Asian religious traditions. The course offers thematically guided investigations of the salient features of sacred biography in order to encourage students to think about how hagiography functions across religious, temporal, and regional boundaries within South Asia. Among the topics considered are the relation of hagiography to biography and other forms of historiography, the role of hagiography in community formation, the aesthetics of sainthood, and the relationship between sacred life stories and performance traditions.

RLG241Y1Y Early Christian Writings/ John Kloppenborg

An introduction to New Testament literature and early Christian writings, examined within the historical context of the first two centuries. No familiarity with Christianity or the New Testament is expected. Exclusion: RLG241H5; RLG341H5; HUMC14H3

RLG243H1 Diasporic Religions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG245Y1 Religions of the Silk Road/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG246H1 Karma and Dharma in Indic Traditions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG248H1S Martyrs, Mystics and Saints/ Leslie Hayes

An examination of the variety of ways in which religious traditions construct sanctity, articulate categories of exceptionalism, and how exceptional persons function within social systems. Includes consideration of gender and social status in definitions of sanctity. Focus varies from year to year, and may include one study of a single religious tradition, or comparative study of multiple religious traditions, and may include historical or contemporary focus.

RLG249H1 Dreams and Visions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG251H1 Women in Islam/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG260Y1 Introduction to Sanskrit/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG261Y1 Introduction to Tibetan/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG280Y1Y World Religions: A Comparative Study L0101

An alternative version of the content covered by RLG100Y1, for students in second year or higher who cannot or do not wish to take a further 100-level course. Students attend theRLG100Y1 lectures and tutorials but are expected to produce more substantial and more sophisticated written work, and are required to submit an extra written assignment. Prerequisite: Completion of 5.5 full course equivalents. Exclusion: RLG100Y1
Day Section/ Arti Dhand
Evening Section/ David Perley

RLG285Y1 Great Religious Books/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG290YI Special Topics/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG299Y1Y Research Opportunity/ Staff

Credit course for supervised participation in faculty research project.

300 Series Courses

Note: All 300-series courses presuppose at least three prior RLG half courses (or equivalent). Only specific prerequisites or recommended preparations are listed below. Students who do not meet the prerequisites but believe they have adequate preparation should consult the undergraduate coordinator regarding entry to the course.

RLG301H1F Sigmund Freud on Religion/ Nick Dion

Systematic analysis of Freud’s main writings on religion, studied within the context of central concepts and issues in psychoanalysis such as: the Oedipus Complex, the meaning and function of symbols, the formation of the ego and the superego, and the relations between the individual and culture. Prerequisite: RLG211Y1

RLG302H1 Carl Jung’s Theory of Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG303H1 Evil and Suffering/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG304H1 Language, Symbols, Self / Not Offered 2013-14

RLG305H1F Material Religion/ Simon Coleman

Religions are constituted by material forms, including bodies, shrines, films, icons, and ‘ kitsch’. Anti-material impulses have also prompted many religious impulses, involving forms of iconoclasm that ironically demonstrate the power of objects. What is at stake in studying materiality? How might such a perspective transform our view of religion? Prerequisite: See note above for general prerequisites.

RLG306H1 Anthropology of Christianity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG307H1 Religion and Society in Canada/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG308H1 Religion and the City/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG309Y1Y Religion and Human Rights/ Eleanor Pontoriero

This course examines the critical engagement of religious-cultural perspectives with the United Nations human rights discourse as well as with the secular sphere. These include Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and North American Aborginal perpectives. Issues examined include the relation between rights and duties; the universalism-cultural relativism debate; globalization; the right to self-determination; women's rights; and the role of religion as a pretext for violence and also as a basis for multi-lateral peacebuilding initiatives. Prerequisite: three RLG or PHI/PHL half-courses and third year standing. Exclusion: RLG309H5

RLG310Y1Y Modern Atheism and the Critique of Religion/ James DiCenso

This course examines major classical thinkers who have contributed to the development of critical approaches to religion in the modern West, and whose theories still influence contemporary debates. We begin with the 18th century European Enlightenment and proceed to examine selected 19th and 20th century thinkers. The approaches considered are mainly philosophical, but include historical, social, and political issues as well. Authors studied include Hume, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche and others. Prerequisite: three RLG or PHI/PHL half-courses and third year standing.

RLG311H1S Gender in Asian Traditions (formerly RLG236H1)/ Srilata Raman

A study of women in the religious traditions of South and East Asia, including historical developments, topical issues, and contemporary women’s movements.

RLG314H1 Gender and Sexuality/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG315H1 Rites of Passage/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG316H1 Classical Anthropological Theories of Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG317H1 Religious Violence and Nonviolence/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG318Y1 Special Topics/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG319H1 Reconception of Biblical Figures in Early Jewish and Christian Sources/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG320H1 Judaism and Christianity in the Second Century/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG321H1 Early Christian Writings II/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG322H1S Early Christian Gospels / Callie Callon

Literary, historical, and rhetorical analyses of selected early Christian gospels. The gospels to be treated will vary, but each year will include a selection from the four canonical gospels and extra-canonical gospels (the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Truth, infancy gospels, and fragments of Jewish-Christian gospels). Prerequisite: RLG241Y1

RLG323H1 Jesus of Nazareth/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG324H1F Paul of Tarsus/ John Marshall

An examination of Paul’s life and thought as seen in the early Christian literature written by him (the seven undisputed letters), about him (the Acts of the Apostles, the Acts of Paul) and in his name (the six disputed NT letters). Prerequisite: RLG241Y1. Exclusion: RLG324H5

RLG325H1 Visions and Revelations in Ancient Judaism and Christianity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG326H1S Roots of Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism/ Judith H. Newman

Analysis of selected documents of Second Temple Judaism in their historical contexts, as part of the generative matrix for both the early Jesus movement and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism.

RLG327H1 Magic and Miracle in Early Christianity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG 328H1 The Politics of Belief in Early Christianity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG329Y1 The Development of Christian Identity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG330H1 God and Evil/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG331H1 Eastern Christianity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG332H1 Memoir and Confession: Telling Christian Lives/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG333H1 Christianity and Conflict/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG337H1F Witchcraft and Magic in Christian Tradition/ Leslie Hayes

This course considers the history and theory of Western witchcraft, magic, and heresy in the medieval and early modern periods. Using a social-historical approach and relevant anthropological theory, the course emphasizes changes in historical intellectual, institutional, and legal definitions of witchcraft in relation to elements such as gender, class, religion, and science. Recommended Preparation: RLG203Y1/RLG203H5

RLG338Y1 Technology, Ethics and the Future of Humanity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG339Y1 Religion and Globalization/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG340Y1 Classical Jewish Theology/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG341H1 Dreaming of Zion: Exile and Return in Jewish Thought/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG342Y1Y Judaism in the Modern Age (formerly RLG244Y1)/ Ken Green

The development and range of modern Jewish religious thought from Spinoza, Mendelssohn and Krochmal, to Cohen, Rosenzweig and Buber. Responses to the challenges of modernity and fundamental alternatives in modern Judaism. Prerequisite: RLG100Y1/RLG202Y1/RLG221H1/RLG280Y1

RLG343H1F Kabbala: A History of Mystical Thought in Judaism/ Ken Green

A historical study of the Kabbala and the mystical tradition in Judaism, with emphasis on the ideas of Jewish mystical thinkers and movements.

RLG344H1S Anti-Semitism/ Sol Goldberg

Described by some as "the longest hatred," antisemitism in fact goes by many names, (e.g., anti-Judiaism, Jew-hatred, Judeophobia, and anti-Zionism); takes many forms of expression from pagan antiquity to the present; and results from a variety of social, economic, political, and religious factors. By looking at diverse phenomena named by this highly contested and frequently problematic term, the course draws crucial distinctions within and alongside the concept of "antisemitism" in an effort to make sense of its long and diverse history. Topics include: philosemitism; Jewish self-hatred; pagan vs. Christian vs. Islamic antisemitism; philosophical theories of antisemitism. Prerequisite: A 200-level course in Judaism or Christianity or Western history; see note above for general prerequisites

RLG345H1 Social Ecology and Judaism/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG350H1F The Life of Muhammad/ Walid Saleh

This course examines Muhammad's life as reflected in the biographies and historical writings of the Muslims. Students will be introduced to the critical methods used by scholars to investigate Muhammad's life. Issues include: relationship between Muhammad's life and Qur'an's teachings, literature about Muhammad, celebrations of his Night's Journey and birthday, and the veneration of the prophet in poetry.

RLG351H1 The Qur’an: An Introduction/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG352H1 Post-Colonial Islam/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG354H1 Islam in Egypt/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG355H1 Anthropology of Islam/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG356H1 Islam in China/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG359H1F Intermediate Sanskrit I / Libbie Mills

Review of grammar and the development of vocabulary with a focus onreading simple narrative prose and verse.

RLG360H1S Intermediate Sanskrit II / Libbie Mills

Review of grammar and the further development of vocabulary with a focus on reading simple narrative prose and verse. Prerequisite: RLG359H1

RLG362H1F Rama of Ayodhya: From Literature to Politics/ Arti Dhand

A study of the figure of Rama, from his genesis in the Valmiki Ramayana, to his historical evolution as a cultural and political icon through mediaeval and modern India. Prerequisite: RLG205Y1

RLG363H1S Bhakti Hinduism/ Srilata Raman

A study of Hindu bhakti traditions through classical and vernacular texts, in conversation with colonial and post-colonial theoretical perspectives on the notion of "bhakti" in Hinduism. Prerequisite: RLG100Y1/RLG205Y1/RLG280Y1

RLG365H1 Modern Hinduism/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG366H1S Hindu Philosophy/ Srilata Raman

A study of six classical schools of Hindu philosophy, focusing on the key issues of the Self, the Real, karma and ethics. Prerequisite: RLG100Y1/RLG205Y1/RLG280Y1; see note above for general prerequisites. Exclusion: RLG362H1

RLG368H1 Yoga and Ayurveda/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG369H1 Mahabharata/ Not Offered 2013-14

JPR364Y1 Religion and Politics/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG370Y1 Intermediate Tibetan/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG372H1 Tibetan Buddhism/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG373H1 Buddhist Meditation: Historical, Doctrinal, and Ethnographic Perspectives/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG374H1 Buddhist Auto/Biography/ Not Offered 2013-14

JPR374Y1 Religion and Power in the Post Colony/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG375H1S Buddhist Thought / Rachel Pang

This course explores major ideas in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist thought - such as buddha-nature, no-self, emptiness, mind-only, and compassion - as they took root on the Tibetan plateau during the period of Later Transmission (Tib. phyi dar), or the Tibetan Buddhist Renaissance. Gampopa's (1074-1153 C.E.) seminal "path" or "lamrim" work, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, will serve as our main point of entry into the Buddhist thought of this period. Alongside this main text we will be examining these major Buddhist ideas through a variety of literary genres, including life narrative, poetry, exposition of the path, philosophical treatises, and Indian Buddhist scriptures in translation. Prerequisite: RLG206Y1; see note above for general prerequisites.

RLG376H1 Death and Rebirth in Buddhist Traditions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG377H1 Theravada Literature/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG378H1 Himalayan Buddhism/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG379H1F Central Asian Buddhism/ Amanda Goodman

This course attempts to deal with the perennial “black box” of Buddhist history, namely the course and mode of its transmission from India to China across Central Asia along the old Silk Road. The semester will begin with the founding of the early Buddhist empires in northwest India and end with the modern discovery of buried Buddhist treasures in the deserts of contemporary China. Along the way, we will explore key issues in the regional transmission of Buddhism across Central Asia, including the role of trade and commerce, patronage (royal, lay), language and translation, art and architecture, ritual, and so on. Each class will incorporate both primary and secondary readings in translation, as well as maps and slides. Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG280Y1/RLG207Y1

RLG380H1 Comparative Mysticism/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG382H1S The Taking of Human Life/ David Novak

Frequently today, in discussions in bioethics dealing with life and death, even secular thinkers invoke the concept of the sanctity of human life. Yet that concept is clearly religious in origin. What do the three great monotheistic traditions have to say about this concept and its ethical significance? Prerequisite: Instructor's permission required for admission to course

RLG384H1 Pluralism and Dialogue/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG387H1 Research Training in the Study of Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG388H1F Special Topics: Buddhism and Medicine/ Jenny Bright

This course will explore the theory and practice of medicine and healing in Tibetan societies from both scholarly Western and Tibetan perspectives. After an introduction to theoretical perspectives of science, medicine and religion, Tibetan medical and Buddhist ideas of the body, health, illness, and healing will be explored. The latter half of the course focuses on issues of gender, modernity, social change and the integration of biomedicine.

RLG388H1S Special Topics: Islamic Law, Reform and Modernity/ TBA

What are the legal and theological bases of the claim that the Shari'a is God's 'divine' code of law? Can the Shari'a be exhausted and how? If so, can it be restored, and what are the challenges of modernity to Islamic legal reform efforts? Students will approach these and related questions from within the context of the classical subject of the "fatigue of the Shari'a" and Sunni debates over legal reform. The conceptual question of the changing and unchanging in Islamic Law will be grounded in contemporary legal issues of gender justice and sexual ethics, the regulation of the veil, and the recent Ontario Sharia debate.

400 Series Courses

Note:400-series courses are intended primarily for Specialists and Majors who have already completed several RLG courses. Prerequisite for all 400-level courses requires permission of the instructor. All 400-level courses are E indicator courses and also cross-listed as graduate courses. 

RLG400Y1Y/401H1Y/402H1Y Independent Studies/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG404H1F Departmental Capstone-Research/ Dianna Roberts-Zauderer

The purpose of this course is to get students from idea to first draft to finished academic paper. Components of this process include: analysing and dissecting published academic essays on the study of religion, identifying and researching a thesis topic, writing a sample abstract and annotated bibliography, and finally, presenting and writing a well-argued and cohesive academic paper.

RLG405H1 Departmental Capstone-Practical/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG406H1S Constructing Religion/ Simon Coleman

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. Prerequisite: open to 4th year Religion Specialists and Majors

RLG410Y1 Advanced Topics in Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG411H1 Advanced Topics in Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG 412H1 Advanced Topics in Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG416H1 Sex, Religion and Gender in Iran/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG418H1S Advanced Topics in the Philosophical Study of Religion: Tolerant Ethics, Intolerable Religions/ Sol Goldberg

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.

JPR419H1 Secularism and Religion (formerly RLG419H1)/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG420H1S Religion and Philosophy in the European Enlightenment/ James Dicenso

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 include the rational critique of traditional religion and the relations among religion, ethics and politics.

RLG421H1 Topics in Psychology of Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG422H1 Kant’s Theory of Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG423H1 The Birth of Anthropology/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG425H1F Hermeneutics and Religion/ James DiCenso

A study of the way textual interpretation and theories of language have been central to the development of modern philosophy and theory of religion. We begin with the foundational work of Schleiermacher, examine some of the contributions of Dilthey, and then move to a more detailed inquiry into the hermeneutical aspects of Heidegger's Being and Time. Twentieth century hermeneutical theory advances from the study of textual meaning per se to questions of the role of language in consciousness and the presentation of reality. The work of Gadamer and Ricoeur will be studied with reference to these issues.

RLG426H1S Religion in the Public Sphere Service Learning/ Amy E. Fisher

For upper-year students, from any discipline. In a 40-hour community service placement, discover first-hand religion’s significance in Toronto and examine how religion manifests in public spaces, institutions, and interactions, while critically reflecting on the experience of working with professionals and their “clients” in settings where religious diversity is at play. Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission required for admission to course.

RLG428H1F Religion and Economy/ Amira Mittermaier

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 their writings with more recent anthropological work. Through case-studies we will consider what religious studies might be able to contribute to our understanding of the economy, capitalism, neoliberalism, money, gifting, charity, philanthropy, and prosperity gospels. Recommended Preparation: RLG212H1

RLG430H1 Advanced Topics in Judaism/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG431H1 Old Yiddish literature and the History of Ashkenazi Society/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG432Y1Y Natural Law/ David Novak

This seminar deals with the question of how a religion like Judaism or Christianity, based on revelation and its norms, can acknowledge and incorporate norms discovered by human reason, without reducing reason to revelation or revelation to reason. Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission required for admission to course.

RLG433H1S Maimonides and His Modern Interpreters/ Ken Green

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. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission required for admission to course.

RLG434H1 Modern Jewish Thought/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG435H1 The Thought of Leo Strauss/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG437H1 Constructions of Authority in Early Christianity/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG440H1 Religion and Healing/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG441H1S Words and Worship in Christian Cultures/ Simon Coleman

How are we to analyze the words that Christians use? And how are such words related to ritual forms? We explore techniques for the analysis of texts, while looking at forms of verbal discourse ranging from prayers, speaking in tongues, and citing the Bible to more informal narratives. Prerequisite: ANT356H1/RLG212Y1 and permission of instructor

RLG442H1 North American Religions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG443H1 Guitierrez and Berry/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG448H1 Pseudepigraphy in Ancient Mediterranean Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG449H1F The Synoptic Problem/John Kloppenborg

Investigation of 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, and recent advances in the Two-Document hypothesis. Prerequisite: RLG241Y1 and at least one of RLG319H1- RLG327H1; instructor's permission required for admission to course

RLG451H1 The Parables of Jesus/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG452H1 The Death of Jesus/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG453H1 Christianity and Judaism in Colonial Context/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG454H1 Christianity and Judaism in Colonial Context/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG454H1 Social History of the Jesus Movement/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG455H1S Heresy and Deviance in Early Christianity/ John Marshall

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: RLG241Y1 and at least one of RLG319H1-RLG327H1; instructor’s permission required for admission to course.

RLG456H1 Readings in Qu’ran and Tafsir/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG457H1 The Qur’an and its Interpretation/ Not Offered 2013-14

JPR457H1 Democracy and Secular/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG458H1S Advanced Topics in Islam: Sufism in Formative Period/ Laury Silvers

This course will be an in-depth survey of the major figures, movements, and ideas of the piety movement and Ahl al-Hadith oriented Sufism in the formative period. We will examine phenomena in their historical contexts with a special focus on the construction of theological, piety, and gender norms in the biographical material, treatises, and manuals. We will begin our discussion with the piety movement in Basra looking specifically at women's piety, popular theology, and the practice of weeping. We will continue by examining the rise of Sufism in Baghdad with an examination of teaching methods, theological and ritual controversies, and Sufi metaphysics produced by Junayd's circle. Then we will address mystical movements in Khurasan such as the Malamatiyya, the arrival of Baghdadi Sufism, the solidification of a "Sunni" Sufism, and the development of a model of Sufi teaching and disciplehood that would become the norm for centuries to come. Major figures will include Rab`ia al-`Adawiyya, al-Hasan al-Basri, Abu al- Qasim al-Junayd, Abu Bakr al-Wasiti, Abu Sa`id Abu al-Khayr, Abu `Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami, and `Abd al Karim b. Hawazin Qushayri.

RLG459H1 Disciplining Islam/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG460H1S Ramayana in Literature, Theology, and Political Imagination / Arti Dhand

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. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission required for admission to course. Recommended Preparation: RLG205Y1/RLG205H1

RLG461H1 Ismaili History and Thought: The Persian Tradition/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG462H1 Newar Religion/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG463H1 Causation, Movement and Time in Buddhist Scholastic Debate/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG464H1 History and Historiography of Buddhism/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG465H1S Readings in Buddhist Texts: Buddhism as Translation/ Christoph Emmrich

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. Prerequisite: Reading knowledge of Sanskrit/Pali/Tibetan or Chinese; instructor's permission required for admission to this course.

RLG466H1 Buddhism and Society in East Asia/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG467H1 Theravada Practice/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG468H1 Religion and Society in Classical Japan/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG469Y1Y Readings in Tibetan Buddhism/ Kunga Sherab

Advanced readings in Tibetan Buddhist literature. Tibetan language skills required. Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission required for admission to course

RLG470H1S Buddhist Tantra/ Amanda Goodman

A study of Tantric Buddhism, addressing ritual and scholastic practices, and problems of translation and interpretation. Themes will vary by year. Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission required for admission to course.

RLG471H1 Hinduism Topics: Dharma, Artha and Kama/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG471H1 Hinduism Topics: Mahabharata/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG472H1 Religion and Aesthetics in South Asia/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG473H1F Vedanta Through the Ages/ Srilata Raman

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 Dayananda Saraswati, Sri Aurobindo and Radhakrishnan. Prerequisite: RLG205Y1; RLG205H5; instructor's permission required for admission to course.

RLG474H1F Sanskrit Readings/ Ajay Rao

This course will have students read choice pieces of South Asian literature. While tackling a text in Sanskrit from a major literary tradition, Buddhist or Hindu, and discussing its content and context, students will learn strategies for translating and interpreting Sanskrit literature. Prerequisite: Intermediate Sanskrit.

RLG475H1 Fasting and Feeding in Hindu Traditions/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG482H1 The Taking of Human Life/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG483H1 Christian Political Philosophy/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG484H1 Religion and the Environment/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG486H1 Critiques of the Technological Society/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG487H1 Liberation Theology/ Not Offered 2013-14

RLG490Y1F\RLG490Y1S\RLG490Y1\RLG491H1F\RLG492H1F\RLG492H1S\RLG493H1S\RLG493H1Y\RLG494Y1S\RLGY1Y Individual Studies\Staff

Student-initiated projects supervised by members of the Department. The student must obtain both a supervisor’s agreement and the Department’s approval in order to register. The maximum number of Individual Studies one may take is two full course equivalents. Deadline for submitting applications to Department including supervisor’s approval is the first week of classes of the session.