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Graduate Program


Graduate Program

Course Offerings

Graduate JS Spring 2015 Courses

JS 597-R 00P
Directed Study

JS 598-R 00P
Thesis/Exam Preparation

JS 730-000 (also RLHT 735)
American Religious History: Placing American Religions: Geographies, Materials, Powers, and Memories

TU 1:00-4:00pm
Dr. Barbara Patterson

What changes or shifts when histories and cultures of American and Trans-American Religions are examined through the lenses of place and space? From foundational to current theories and methods, this course will explore a range of approaches including: human and regional geography, socially and politically produced space, and topophila, affective bonds, meaning making between people and place. Particular attention will be drawn to questions of materiality in places and feminist approaches to space and place. Putting these approaches in dialogue with historical and contemporary examples of American and Trans-American religious cultures, we will consider place as content of the human condition an evolving way of being in the world, and/or commoditized, material destination. We will consider how and why memory and imagination construct religious practices of place from home-making, to nation-crafting, to sacred searching. Studying forms of resistance to place-making that attempt to modify or deconstruct sacred meaning and power, our analysis will include dynamics of urban/suburban, race, gender, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation – ethical consequences and critiques of place and globalism.

JS 730-001 (also RLR 700)
Ritual Studies

W 4:00-7:00pm
Dr. Marko Geslani

JS 730-002 (also RLR 700)
Peoples of the Book: Ethnography and Scripture in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
TU 6:00-9:00pm
Dr. Don Seeman

This new seminar explores the meaning of text and Scripture in ethnographic context for all three of the Abrahamic religions. We will read critical ethnographies exploring both the cultural grounds of textual practice and the ways in which textual practice helps to constitute the sacred. Special attention to recent works in the anthropology of ethics in Islam and anthropology of reading in Christianity. This course will also include participation in a special conference on “Jews, Text and Ethnography” held this spring at Emory. We will consider theoretical and methodological issues in the ethnographic study of textual societies as an emerging field. Students from all disciplines and research interests are welcome.

JS 730-003 (also RLR 700)
Genesis in Paul, Luke-Acts, and John

TH 1:30-4:30pm
Dr. Vernon Robbins

The opening chapters and the chapters on Abraham in the biblical book of Genesis have played a substantive role in much Jewish and Christian literature. This seminar will analyze and explore their relation especially to Job 38, Proverbs 8, 1 Enoch 1-16, Jubilees, Wisdom of Solomon, and Philo of Alexandria as antecedents to first century Christian literature. Focusing especially on the LXX text in the antecedent literature (except 1 Enoch and Jubilees), we will investigate specific relationships of various chapters and verses to portions of 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, and Colossians in the Pauline literature, portions of Luke-Acts, and portions of the Gospel of John. Underlying the approach will be an awareness that Genesis 1-3 plays a special role in wisdom literature and discourse, Genesis 6 and the Abraham story a special role in apocalyptic literature and discourse, and Genesis 1-2 in precreation literature and discourse.

Students will write and post online weekly exercises of analysis and interpretation, distributing the load to make it workable for everyone. The goal by the end of the semester will be for each student to complete a research paper of 25-30 pages that contains substantive exegetical analysis and interpretation.

Books (either required or recommended, but also on reserve):
-Vernon K. Robbins,The Invention of Christian Discourse
-George A. Nickelsburg,1 Enoch(2 volumes)
-Carol A. Newsom,The Book of Job
-Various commentaries on Genesis, Job, Proverbs, Jubilees, Wisdom of Solomon, Philo, Pauline writings, Luke-Acts, and John

JS 730-004 (also RLL 702)
RLL 702 – Ugaritic
Ugaritic and Selected Topics in “Canaanite” Religion
TH 9:30am-12:30pm
Dr. Brent Strawn

The course introduces the language, literature, and culture of ancient Ugarit, giving special attention throughout the semester to the ways that Ugaritology affects the study of the Hebrew Bible.

Other Courses That May Be Relevant for JS Certificate Students

Graduate Division of Religion

RLHT 735 American Religious Cultures: Global Histories

TH 10:00am-1:00pm
Dr. Gary Laderman

This history of religion in America has been and continues to be embedded in global networks of peoples and ideas crossing national boundaries, of experiences and aspirations creating transnational orientations, and of rituals and mythologies transcending local communities. This vision of religious activity and commitments embedded in worldwide patterns of social migration and cultural calibration is an important corrective to the conventional view of American religious history. In other words, religion in America is not simply a domestic matter, unfolding seamlessly through time after the creation of a Constitution which singled out religious freedom as a basic human right and in isolation from religious histories unfolding around the rest of the world.

This seminar will break through the narrow and parochial understanding of religion in contemporary society by exploring an alternative perspective. Instead of remaining blinded by national sentiments tied to notions of exceptionalism and chosenness, this seminar will illuminate the more ordinary international realities throughout history shaping religious life and diversity in the United States; and instead of simply segregating religion into discrete units (for example, Jews, Christian, Muslims, and so on) and charting their historical trajectories in America, students will be asked to consider a more complex picture of the historical and cultural forces that often blur the lines between religions, and create new religious amalgamations which can only be understood in a global context.

RLR 700 Introduction to the Study of Religious Practices
F 9:00am-12:00pm
Dr. L. Edward Phillips

In recent decades talk of “practice” has swirled through multiple academic discourses: anthropology, sociology, philosophy, literature, history, and every discipline and field associated with studies in religion and theology. Emphasis on practice has brought new attention to the quotidian, the performed, and the material. It has illuminated embodied forms of knowing and reinvigorated language of virtue. It has helped subjugated discourses to find voices, and it has stressed the importance of culture and community. It has reoriented the field of practical theology and helped scholars, students, religious leaders and lay people rediscover faith as a way of life. Talk of practice has also produced much confusion. “Practice” has become a word to conjure with, and so a word that different people use in very different ways – often without awareness of the differences or the choices implicit in their own use. In this seminar we will parse some of the most important forms of talk about practice that currently circulate in the fields associated with theological and religious studies. We will trace their roots in sociology, anthropology, and moral philosophy. Tracing these genealogies will involve close reading. Reading will be a key part of individual preparation for each week. And reading together will be at the center of seminar meetings. Close reading is a necessary means to the goals of the seminar. But it is not only an instrumental good. Growing in the practice of close reading is one of the main outcomes of the course. The course is designed to cultivate skills for close reading that can serve other research projects. More than this, the seminar takes the practice of close reading to be a good in itself, a practice that is a constitutive part of a good academic life. The seminar will read texts together to construct genealogies of theories of practice. It will then provide opportunities to develop theories of practice in two different directions: in the study of the lived religion of some community, past or present, and in relation to important literature in each member’s field of study. Developing theories of practice in these directions involves more than simply applying them. It involves creating generative, reciprocal, and critical relationships in which the theories gain depth and rigor even as they illumine academic fields and concrete situations.

School of Law

LAW 664 Jewish Law
Dr. Michael Broyde

This course will survey the principles Jewish (or Talmudic) law uses to address difficult legal issues and will compare these principles to those that guide legal discussion in America. In particular, this course will focus on issues raised by advances in medical technology such as surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, and organ transplant. Through discussion of these difficult topics many areas of Jewish law will be surveyed.

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Last updated: January 12, 2015



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