Updated March 28, 2013

Please note that students will not be able to register for Religion courses until August 15.

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Course Timetable

Courses by session

Courses by instructor

Instructor(s) Course Code Alt. Code Course Title Session Day Time Location
Phyllis Airhart RLG3207H EMH5801H Christianity and Crisis in North America F Wed. 9-11 EC205
Joseph M. Bryant, Pamela Klassen RLG1000Y Method & Theory* Y Tues. 3-6 JHB317
Simon Coleman RLG3290H RLG441H Words & Worship S Thurs. 10-12 JHB212
Simon Coleman Take as DR RLG406H Constructing Religion S Tues. 10-12 JHB317
James DiCenso RLG2072H RLG422H Kant’s Theory of Religion S Mon. 3-5 JHB317
James DiCenso RLG2060H RLG420H Philosophy & Religion in the European Enlightenment F Mon. 3-5 JHB317
Terry Donaldson RLG3655H WYM5981H Readings in Jewish Literature (200BCE-200CE) S Wed. 11-1 Wycliffe
Christoph Emmrich RLG3740H RLG465H The Mahaparinirvanasutra S Mon. 10-12 JHB317
Mohammad Fadel RLG3501H JPJ2029/LAW321 Special Topics in Islamic Studies: Religion and the Liberal State: The Case of Islam F Wed. 2-4 FH 3
Harry Fox RLG3611H Hebrew Literature and Religion F Thurs. 12-2 BF313
Ken Green RLG3622H RLG433H Maimonides and His Modern Interpreters S Wed. 4-6 UC326
Jennifer Harris RLG2030H Historiography of Religion F Fri. 10-1 JHB317
Marsha Hewitt RLG2025H TRT5948H Religious Thought (Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis, and Religion) F Tues. 11-1 JHB214
Marsha Hewitt RLG2016H TRT4936H “Radical Evil”: Religious, Philosophical and Psychoanalytic Responses S Tues. 2-4 Larkin 213
Pamela Klassen, Kevil O’Neill RLG3931H RLG442H North American Religions S Wed. 1-4 JHB317
Reid Locklin RLG3236H Religious Pluralism and the Church S Fri. 10-1 CR106
John Marshall RLG3201H RLG453H Xy and Judaism in a Colonial Context S Tues. 10-12 UC257
Ruth Marshall JPR2057H JPR457H Democracy and the Secular F Mon. 12-2 JHB317
Judith Newman RLG3610H Wisdom in Second Temple Judaisim F Thurs. 12-2 JHB317
Judith Newman RLG3144H Isaiah and Post-Exilic Prophecy (CANCELLED) S Wed. 11-1 EC205
Kevin O’Neill RLG1200H Method & Theory** F Tues. 10-12 JHB317
Srilata Raman RLG3730H RLG475H Fasting and Feeding in Hindu Religious Traditions S Tues. 10-12 JHB214
Karen Ruffle RLG3720H RLG416H Sex & Gender in South Asian Religion S Wed. 2-4 JHB214
Walid Saleh RLG3505H Topics in Islamic Literature F Tues. 2-4 BF220
Kyle Smith RLG3212H Martyrdom and Christian Identity S Tues. 10-12 JHB319
Glen Taylor RLG3134H WYB5016H Hebraica S Thurs. 11-1 Wycliffe
Mark Toulouse RLG3237H EMH5372H Religion and Public Life in Canada S Wed. 9-11 EM205
Michael Vertin RLG3261H SMT5210H Augustine, Aquinas, Lonergan F Fri. 10-1 CF206
Richard Vaggione RLG3210H TRH5049H Mani and the Kingdom of Light: Exploring and Alternate Christianity F Tues. 2-4 Larkin 212

*PhD Group
**MA Group
Faculty on leave: John Kloppenborg, Amira Mittermaier, Frances Garrett, Ajay Rao, Kenneth Mills

Graduate Course Descriptions 2012-2013

Please check for updates with the Department. Please be aware that course registration in RLG courses will begin August 15. For permission to enrol 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. Directed Reading Courses can be found here.

RLG1000Y1Y Method & Theory PhD group
Joseph M. Bryant, Pamela Klassen
Tues. 3-6 JHB317

The seminar is the core course of the Centre’s doctoral program. It is required of, and limited to, all first year Ph.D. students of the Centre. 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.

RLG1200H1F Method & Theory MA group
Kevin O’Neill
Tues. 12-2 JHB317

The M.A. Workshop Group is required of all first year M.A students of the Centre. 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 Centre. 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.

RLG2000Y1Y 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.

RLG2016H1S Radical Evil: Religious, Philosophical and Psychological Responses
Marsha Hewitt
Tues. 2-4 Larkin 213

Terrorism, war, genocide, sexual abuse, murder: how can the human mind make sense of these horrors without reducing them to the ‘obscenity of understanding’ in trying to imagine and account for what to a healthy mind is the unimaginable? How can we possibly try to imagine the mind of perpetrators of violence, sexual abuse and terror? Yet these phenomena are becoming more pervasive and immediate and the destruction of human bodies and minds is worsening. How is it possible to sustain hope and faith in human goodness when our capacity for evil grows more sinister and ingenious? We will explore these and other questions comparatively and cross-culturally, examining the perspectives of religious, philosophical and psychoanalytic thinkers who represent Western and non-Western cultural and religious traditions.

RLG2025H1S Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis & Religion
Marsha Hewitt
Tues 2-4 JHB214

Psychoanalysis, critical social theory, and religion share in common what might be described as an “emancipatory interest.” What each of these fields means by this is widely diverse and often contradictory. There are both strong resonances between all three fields as well as sharp, at times insurmountable, divergencies. For all of this, the emancipatory interest of critical theory, psychoanalysis and religion are able to mount important critiques of particular social, cultural lifeforms that implicitly and explicitly point toward the possibility of transformed futurity for individuals and societies. At the same time, both critical social theory and psychoanalysis have a long-standing, deeply ambivalent relationship to religion that has often been mistaken for dismissive antagonism. While there is some truth to this view, it is based on partial, simplistic and distorting interpretations.

RLG2030H1F Historiography of Religion
Jennifer Harris
Fri. 10-1 JHB317

A seminar that examines theories of historical writing through two lenses, by exploring 1) the ways historians have examined religious traditions, and 2) the ways scholars of religion have employed historical categories.

RLG2060H1F Religion & Philosophy in the Enlightenment
James DiCenso
Mon. 3-5 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 include the rational critique of traditional religion, and the relations among religion, ethics and politics.

RLG2072H1S Kant’s Theory of Religion
James DiCenso
Mon. 3-5 JHB317

An advanced study of Immanuel Kant’s interpretation of religion, as developed in major writings such as Critique of Practical Reason and Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Emphasizes rational ethical criteria as the basis for analyzing the doctrines, symbols, and institutions of historical religions.

RLG3134H1S Hebraica
Glen Taylor
Thurs. 11-1 Wycliffe College*

*Contact instructor for location

Relevance of comparative (especially northwest) Semitic philology and historical Hebrew grammar to the exegesis of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and to the teaching of biblical Hebrew. Weekly reading, assignments, term paper/project. NB either this course or Biblical Aramaic satisfies a program requirement for TST doctoral studies in Old Testament. Lectures, student presentations, discussions of readings. Quizzes, assignments, term project.

RLG3144H1S Isaiah and Prophecy in the Early Judaism and Christianity CANCELLED
Judith Newman
Wed. 11-1 EC205

The course considers the various ways in which the medium of prophecy is transformed in the post-exilic period, particularly as this relates to the retrieval and extension of Isaianic traditions. The course will focus on the deployment of Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. The prerequisite languages for this course are Biblical Hebrew and Koine Geek.

RLG3201H1S Christian Origins: Christianity and Judaism in a Colonial Context
John Marshall
Tues. 10-12 UC257

Topics vary from year to year, but can include analyses of literary and historical problems concerning canonical and extracanonical gospels, apocalypses, acta, dialogues, and epistolary literature of the Jesus movement as well as literature of second Temple Judaism.

RLG3207H1F Christianity and Crisis in North America
Phyllis Airhart
Wed. 9-11 EC205

The role of religion in times of war and unrest: religious interpretations of conflict and violence, peace movements, and national identity in times of crisis. Responsible participation, mid-term written assignment, research paper.

RLG3210H1F Mani and the Kingdom of Light: Exploring an Alternate Christianity
Richard Vaggione
Tues. 2-4 Larkin 212

Mani, an inhabitant of 3rd century Iraq/Iran believed himself to be the Paraclete promised by Jesus. From that belief grew a church which reached from North Africa to China and lasted over a thousand years, including among its sympathizers the young St. Augustine. This course will use the writings of Manichaeans and their opponents, including Augustine, to address the criteria of Christian identity.

RLG3212H1S Martyrdom & Christian Identity
Kyle Smith
Tues. 10-12 JHB319

In late antiquity, narrative accounts of Christians who chose to suffer and die rather than renounce their beliefs emerged as a distinct (and hugely popular) literary genre. The “acts” of the martyrs did more than preserve the memory of those who had died—they helped to shape the very identity of the remembering community. In this course, we will examine the persecution of Christians in the Roman and Persian Empires historically, literarily, theoretically, and culturally. Why were Christians persecuted, and what can we know about the periods of persecution? Furthermore, how did Christians narratively represent and celebrate pain and death, and how did the literary “making” of martyrs forge a religious identity premised upon the collective memory of suffering? In asking these questions, we will consider how literary concepts about the body, death, and holiness ultimately drove the development of the cult of the saints.

RLG3236H1S Religious Pluralism and the Church
Reid Locklin
Fri. 10-1 CR106

This course will examine Christian responses to religious pluralism, focusing particularly upon 20th-century developments in comparative theology, theology of religions and interreligious dialogue. Although the course will focus on examples from the context of post-Vatican II Catholicism, students will have opportunities to study comparable developments outside this tradition.

RLG3237H1S Religion and Public Life in Canada
Mark Toulouse
Wed. 9-11 EM205

Seminar exploring patterns of involvement of religion in the public sphere. Traditional assumptions about church and state, impact of 19th-century “disestablishment” and 20th-century pluralism, Catholicism and the state in Quebec, women as religious reformers, the social gospel, Christian populism in the prairies, ecumenical and evangelical approaches to public engagement, implications of constitutional change are among the topics considered. Informed participation, mid-term written assignment, research paper.

RLG3261H1F Augustine, Aquinas, Lonergan
Michael Vertin
Fri. 10-1 CF206

This course investigates certain key developments regarding God in the theological tradition of Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and Bernard Lonergan. The focus is three topics: God as knowable by natural reason, God as manifested by supernatural revelation, and the psychological analogy for the Trinity. Readings include appropriate sections of Augustine’s Confessions and On the Trinity, Aquinas’ Summa theologiae, and Lonergan’s Method in Theology and Third Collection. Lecture plus seminar. Requirements: weekly seminar preparation and participation, four one-page reflections, final paper, and take-home exam.

RLG3270H1F Christianity and Crisis in North America
Phyllis Airhart
Wed. 9-11 EC205

The role of religion in times of war and unrest: religious interpretations of conflict and violence, peace movements, and national identity in times of crisis. Responsible participation, mid-term written assignment, research paper.

RLG3290H1S Words & Worship
Simon Coleman
Thurs. 10-12 JHB212

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 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. Some techniques for the analysis of ritual texts are explored, and the advantages and disadvantages of close textual analysis are discussed.

RLG3501H1F Religion & the Liberal State: The Case of Islam
Mohammad Fadel
Wed. 2-4 FH3

This seminar will address, as a theoretical matter, the relationship of religion to a liberal state, with particular attention to the writings of John Rawls as set forth in Political Liberalism and leading “religion” cases law from Canada, the United States and the European Court of Human Rights that address the relationship of religion and a liberal constitutional order. The course will also provide an introduction into classical and modern Islamic thought on the Students are required to write 750 word weekly papers based on assigned readings for a total of 7,500 words representing 90% of the final grade. Papers are to be submitted in advance of the class meeting in an electronic format. The remaining 10% will be awarded based on class participation. In addition the instructor will designate two or more students (depending on the enrollment) each week who will be responsible for leading class discussion on that week’s readings. Students who wish to write a SUYRP will be required to submit the first three papers (ungraded) and a 7,500 to 8,750 word paper due on the final day for written work in the relevant term.

Evaluation: Students are required to write 750 word (3 page) weekly papers based on assigned readings for a total of 7,500 words (10 papers) representing 90% of the final grade. Papers are to be submitted in advance of the class meeting in an electronic format. The remaining 10% will be awarded based on class participation. In addition the instructor will designate two or more students (depending on the enrollment) each week who will be responsible for leading class discussion on that week’s readings. Students who wish to write a SUYRP will be required to submit the first three papers (ungraded) and a 7,500 to 8,750 word (30-35 pages) paper due on the final day for written work in the relevant term.

RLG3505H1F Topics in Islamic Literature
Walid Saleh
Tues. 2-4 BF220

This course is tailored to suit the needs of graduate students working on Islamic religious thought. The aim of the course is two fold: to allow students to acquire the skills necessary to use primary material in Arabic and to familiarize them with the research tools in the field. This is a reading course in primary sources as well as exemplary secondary scholarship in the field. Topics may include: apocalyptic, theological, and polemical literatures. Students will be required to master the vocabulary needed to become independent readers of these specialized texts. Since most of the Islamic sources are still in manuscript form, students will be introduced to reading from manuscripts.
Prerequisite: Two years of Arabic Study.

RLG3610H1F Wisdom in Second Temple Judaism
Judith Newman
Thurs. 12-2 JHB317

In different years, this seminar treats either books (Job, Ben Sira/Sirach, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon) or thematic aspects (creation, prayer, eschatology) of the wisdom tradition as it evolved in the period 333 BCE – 70 CE with an eye to the relationship of these books to the broader swath of sapiential traditions of the era, including the instruction literature from Qumran. In 2012, the focus will be on the book of Daniel and related prophetic and wisdom materials from the Dead Sea Scrolls and their significance for our understanding of the formation of the Bible. Seminar participation, seminar presentations, major paper. Requires working knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic.

RLG3611H1F Hebrew Literature and Religion
Harry Fox
Thurs. 12-2 BF313

The themes of Eros and Thanatos will be explored in Aggadic texts from Song of Songs Rabbah. This midrashic text stands halfway in the tradition, both making use of earlier texts and being used by editors of later compilations. These interrelations will be the focus of our study as well as the relationship of the work to Scripture. This course will introduce students to the skills required in reading ancient literature. We will study Midrash Song of Songs with its manuscripts, sources and parallels. The language of instruction is either in Hebrew or English. The assignments may be written either in Hebrew or in English. The texts and most of the readings are in Hebrew.

RLG3622H1S Maimonides and His Modern Interpreters
Ken Green
Wed. 4-6 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.

RLG3655H1S Readings in Jewish Literature (200 BCE-200CE)
Terry Donaldson
Wed. 11-1 Wycliffe College*

*Contact instructor for location

A study of selected Jewish literature from the Second-Temple period. To provide thematic unity to our reading, we will pay particular attention to issues of Jewish self-definiton and identity within the Greco-Roman world, and to the range of Jewish attitudes toward “the Nations” and their place in Jewish frames of reference.

RLG3720H1S Sex & Gender in South Asian Religion
Karen Ruffle
Wed. 2-4 JHB214

This course is designed to explore the central ideas and problems in the study of such South Asian religious traditions as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism in its control and maintenance of the body through asceticism, sexual regulations, and other practices; in debates over women’s religious authority and leadership, and other questions. We will examine sexual abstinence and promiscuity as forms of piety, and we will examine performances of the gendered body that transcend and/or problematize the binary construction of masculine and feminine. In this course we will assess some of the work that has been done to date on the role of gender, sexuality, and the body in South Asian religious tradition, and to consider new ways in which theories on gender and the body can be applied to religion.

RLG3730H1S Fasting and Feeding in Hindu Religious Traditions
Srilata Raman
Tues. 10-12 JHB214

This course, a graduate course, will look at a wide range of narratives and ritual practices as well as philosophical reflections from classical Indian thought on the relationship between food and religion and how this relationship plays out in the context of feasting and fasting in Indian/Hindu traditions. The texts looked at include those on ascetic and religious fasting in classical Indian literature, on th myths relating to sacrificial notions of swallowing and devouring in Vedic and later Hindu mythology, on conceptions of the Hungry God in Tamil bhakti literature, on issues of feeding the guest and hospitality in purāṇic thought and issues of bioethics and vegetarianism that have had a lasting impact up to the religious ideology of Mahatma Gandhi. The aim of the course is to examine the centrality of food culture, the relationship between the body and food and ritual practice, of notions of being empty in order to be full of god-experience in medieval, devotional culture – all of which can also be looked at in a comparative perspective with say, medieval Chrtistianity, with the intention of seeing this as a broader phenomena of religious culture in general.

RLG3740H1S The Mahaparinirvanasutra
Christoph Emmrich
Mon. 10-12 JHB317

With the Buddha’s final nirvana at its centre the MPNS is one of the most important narratives in Buddhist literature. The course will show its impact on Buddhist historiography, hagiography and ritual across Asia by looking at parallel readings of the text on the basis of Waldschmidt’s synoptic edition.

RLG3931H1S North American Religions
Kevin O’Neill, Pamela Klassen
Wed. 1-4 JHB317

The course considers the varieties of religious practices in North America from anthropological and historical perspectives. Of particular interest are the ways religions have mutually influenced each other in the context of North America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Each year it is offered, the course will focus on a specific theme, for example, millenialism, religion and consumerism or gender and the body, as found across a range of religious traditions including Christianity, Judaism, Afro-Caribbean religions, and new religious movements. In addition to analysis of primary and secondary texts, students will be required to submit a research paper (20-25pp.) concerning the theme under study.

JPR2057H1F Democracy and the Secular
Ruth Marshall
Mon. 12-2 JHB317

The dramatic resurgence of religion in the public sphere and in political discourse and practice around the globe demands a critical reappraisal of the relationship between the religious and the political. The urgency of this interrogation is underscored by the growing crisis in democratic politics and the inability of liberalism to respond to the challenge of the religious. This seminar in theory will explore contemporary dilemmas of democracy, sovereignty, community, justice and violence with a view to a critical theoretical reappraisal of the relationship between democracy and the secular; an inquiry into the theologico-political. Engaging with the question of the theologico-political entails rethinking the secular ‘all the way down’: beyond current denunciations of the ideological or coercive aspects of the secularization narrative, it requires a critical engagement with the onto-theological roots of contemporary ‘secular’ political forms and concepts If there is a nexus that binds the theological to the political, what forms does it take, and is there, or should there be, a way to /sever/ it?How can the exploration of this relationship enable us not only to undertake a critique of religion, but also appreciate the ways in which the religious or theological can contribute to a critique of the politics of our time? Readings will be drawn from Schmitt, Benjamin, Agamben, Derrida, Nancy, Zizek, Badiou.

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

RLG406H1S Constructing Religion
Simon Coleman
Tues. 10-12 JHB317

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.

NMC385H1  Introduction to Islamic Law
Anver Emon
Thurs. 2-4 UC161

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 (RLG4001H/1502H) but students should speak with the Graduate Director (Jennifer Harris) before enrolling.

RGT6745HF Issues in the Philosophy of Religion and the Brothers Karamazov
Michael Stoeber
Mon. 4:30-6:30
*Contact instructor for location

This course explores issues in the philosophy of religion, with special reference to The Brothers Karamazov. Major themes include: the existence and nature of God, religious language, religious experience, faith and reason, the problem of evil, religion and morality, and afterlife beliefs. Readings include Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and selections from theologians and philosophers of religion. Lectures, discussion, participation, and critical reflection papers.

RGP6207HF Spirituality and Suffering
Michael Stoeber
Thurs. 9-11
*Contact instructor for location

A critical exploration of religious responses to suffering. Focal issues will include the relation of love and spiritual transformation to suffering, the role of religious models or exemplars of suffering, and religious experience and the problems of theodicy. Readings will include works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Dorothee Soelle and Simone Weil, as well as other selections drawn from the Christian, Buddhist, and Jewish traditions. Lectures, discussion, critical reflection papers.

RGP6210HS Comparative Mystical Traditions
Michael Stoeber
Tues. 2-4
*Contact instructor for location

A comparative study of selected mystical traditions of the major world religions. Themes of analysis will include: the nature and forms of mystical experience; perspectives on ultimate Reality; the role of the spiritual teacher or master; spirituality and social action; disciplines, methods and ideals of spiritual salvation or liberation. Readings will be drawn both from mystic writers and comparative theorists. Lectures, discussion, critical reflection papers.

RGP6280 HS Themes in Hindu Spirituality
Michael Stoeber
Thurs. 2-4
*Contact instructor for location

An exploration of religious experience in various Hindu traditions, within the context of an overview of relevant beliefs and practices. Lecture, discussion, exam and critical reflection papers.

KNB6930HF Hermeneutical Theory 1
Bradley McLean
Wed. 11-1

*Contact instructor for location

An exploration of contemporary hermeneutical theories, including those of Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas, Ricoeur and Levinas.

SMB6551HF The Role of Emotions in the Letters of St. Paul
Colleen Shantz
Wed. 5-7

*Contact instructor for location

The course offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the role of emotion in Paul’s communication with early Christian communities. We will study emotional appeals as a rhetorical strategy of the letters as well as the effects of such emotions in human beings (including their cultural construction, biological and psychological effects, role in cognition)?. The overarching question of the course is how to cultivate emotional intelligence in our readings of Paul’s letters. Lectures, class discussions of assigned readings, graded presentations and writing assignments.

NMC385H1F Introduction to Islamic Law
Anver Emon
Thurs. 2-4 UC161

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

Courses from Other Departments


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

ANT6030HS Anthropology and the Ethical Imagination
Girish Daswani
Thurs. 3-5 AP367

At the heart of the ethnographic endeavor are centrally ethical questions: the meaning and relationship of self and other; universality and particularity; and the limits and possibilities of dialogic engagement. Any discussion of the self in relation to others must necessarily engage with questions of the ethical. This course addresses the place of ethics in socio-cultural anthropology from the discipline’s social scientific and philosophical foundations to the contemporary questions ethnographers are increasingly exploring: around the ethics of everyday life, the role of values and virtues in shaping religious and social change, the role of the imagination in the making of new social worlds, and the ways that the displaced and dislocated remain human. Among our problematics is to explore how the categories of “the ethical” and “the moral” have been variously produced through anthropological engagement with such issues as piety and religious transformation, charity and love, sexuality and activism, dreams and the imagination, violence and belonging, death and life. This course will be run as a seminar with evaluation based on participation, one oral presentation, weekly reports, and a final paper.

ANT6007HS Magic, Science and Religion
T. Sanders
Tues. 3-5 AP367

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.

ANT4043HS Archaeology of Ritual, Religion and Ideology
Tues. 3-5 AP246

This course presents an intensive study of archaeological approaches to ritual performance, religious belief, and ideology within a cross-cultural comparative framework. Students will examine key theoretical paradigms in the anthropology of religion while assessing the ways in which inferences on social process, political structures, and prehistoric worldviews can be made from ritual contexts preserved in the material record. Emphasis will be placed on critically evaluating both archaeological methods deployed in the analysis of ancient ritual as well as theoretical approaches mobilized to interpret the material signatures of past ceremonialism. Other themes to be addressed in the course include: a critique of functionalist interpretations of prehistoric religion popular in current archaeological research; the intersection of power and ritual experience as embodied practice; the material and spatial specificity of religious events; the aesthetics and ideological valence of ritual theatre; and the archaeological investigation of world religions (with a particular focus on the potential political controversies posed by such research).

Centre for Comparative Literature

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

COL5106HF The Language of Origins
I. Balfour
Tues. 11-1 BT319

This course addresses a wide range of texts, fictional and non-fictional, that focus on the matter of origins during the Enlightenment and Romanticism and since. Authors may include Defoe, Rousseau, Diderot, Mary Shelley, Freud, and Derrida. The “language of origins” refers here to discourses about origins of all kinds (humanity, society, property, language, self, etc.) but especially to theories of the origins of language per se. Both the Enlightenment and Romanticism focused on origins when organizing the very protocols on which writing was based. Imagining and arguing about origins had profound consequences for thinking and writing about politics (social contract, human rights), history, subjectivity and more. The selected texts on origins will be analyzed with attention to their rhetorics and to the stakes involved in their arguments and stories. Students will be able to write term papers on pertinent texts not on the syllabus (e.g. Vico, Herder, Hamann, Sterne, Hume, Kant, etc.)


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

ENV1008HS Worldviews and Ecology
Stephen Scharper
Thurs. 2-4 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
Thurs. 2-4 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.

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.

HPS 1107HS Topics in Philosophy of Science: Miracles
J. Berkovitz, Y. Fehige
Tues. 2-4 NF008

Among the fast growing interdisciplinary fields is the study of the  relationships between science and religion. Christian philosophers of  the analytic school dominate this field. This explains the revived  interest in miracles, a classical topic in the philosophy of religion.  The resurgence of interest in miracles is carried by significant  changes in the historiography of the so called Scientific Revolution  and developments in epistemology pertaining to our understanding of  science. This seminar revisits the widely contested idea that there is  a God who has violated laws of nature in order to bring about certain  events of religious meaning. The principal aim of the course is to  contextualize this idea in historical and systematic perspective. A special focus is placed on the growing importance of probability  theory in contemporary accounts of miracles. In doing so, the seminar  deals with central questions in philosophy of science (the nature of  science, laws of nature, scientific explanation, scientific  confirmation etc.) and confronts them with fundamental theological  claims related to the possibility and nature of miracles.

Italian Studies

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

ITA 1550HF Literature and Culture in Sixteenth-Century Florence
Konrad Eisenbichler
Tues. 4-6
*Contact instructor for location

This course will examine the literary and cultural world of Florence in the sixteenth century focussing primarily on the reign of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (1530s-1570s). After looking at the historical circumstances that affected Florence in those decades, we will proceed to an examination of various cultural products (narratives, poetry, histories, biographies, theatre, spectacle, printing, etc.) to determine how they related to the socio-political realities of the time and how they contributed to Florentine and Italian culture in general. The course may be conducted in Italian or English depending on registrants.

Medieval Studies

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

MST3103HS Gender and Desire in Aelred
David Townsend
Wed. 2-4 LI301

An analysis of categories of gender difference, the rhetoric of desire, and the relation of flesh to spirit in selected writings of Aelred, principally the De spirituali amicitia and the De institutione inclusaram.  Special attention will be paid to Aelred’s departures from and continuities with previous Western monastic tradition on the subject of personal affect and affiliation; to his place in the development of anchoritic spirituality, and especially the relation of the De institutione to the Ancrene Wisse; to his subsequent influence; and to the gender-specific aspects of his understanding of emotion and embodied affect as positive resources for the spiritual progress of the individual.

MST3262HS Monastic Identities
Isabelle Cochelin
Wed. 10-12 UC204

The goal of this course is to explore the various modes through which medieval monks and monastic houses defined and developed their sense of self. We will ask how they conceived their identity within the social hierarchy; with or against other social communities; in space; and with respect to other monks and monastic houses. Issues to be discussed include oblation, control of relics, hagiographical writing, and the production and transmission of rules and customaries, either in general or with reference to one specific community.

MST3346F Medieval Islamic Philosophy
Deborah Black
Mon. 2-4 LI301

Topic for 2012-13: The Philosophy of Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā).
Ibn Sīnā (980-1037 CE), known to the West as Avicenna, was one of the most influential and innovative philosophers in the medieval Islamic world. In this course we will explore a range of topics in Avicenna’s philosophy, including his philosophy of language, natural philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. Time permitting we will also look at some of Avicenna’s critics and followers in the Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions, such as Al-Ghaẓālī, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Moses Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas.

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
Mon. & Wed. 4-5:30 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.

NMC1102Y Palestinian Aramaic Texts
Tirzah Meacham
Thurs. 10-1 BF308

This course is designed to enable students to undertake intensive study in the Palestinian dialect of Aramaic (Western Aramaic) found in the Palestinian Talmud and the Palestinian midrashic texts. This year we will begin our study with Tractate Niddah chapters 1 and 2. We will focus on Aramaic terminology and its function in the punctuation of the text. We will examine the way in which tannaitic material, especially Tosefta is used in text. Special attention will be paid to the parallels in the Babylonian Talmud to determine the mode and accuracy of transmission. Secondary literature and aids such as the Bar-Ilan data base, concordances and dictionaries will be introduced to the student.
Required text: Palestinian Talmud Tr. Niddah with the commentary of Pnei Moshe

NMC1104Y Ancient Aramaic Epigraphy
Amir Harrak
Tues. 9-11 BF316

In this course students will read, translate and discuss a large selection of ancient inscriptions written in the various Aramaic dialects. Inscriptions dated between the 9th and 7th centuries B.C.E., originating mostly from Northern Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine, will be read first; inscriptions coming from Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, dated between the 7th and 3rd centuries B.C.E. will be then dealt with; and later in the academic year students will read inscriptions from Palmyra, Edessa and Hatra, dated after the 2nd century B.C.E.
Evaluation is based on class participation, one major essay and one final exam.

NMC1110HS Palestinian Targum
Tirzah Meacham
Wed. 1-4 BF316

Various texts in the Pentateuch dealing with ritual impurity, birth, Levirate marriage, marriage, and divorce in both legal and narrative sections will be studied using the following Targumim: Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan, and Neofiti. The Samaritan and Syriac Targumim will be collated as additional references. Midrashic sources of Pseudo-Jonathan and Neofiti will be discussed. A comparative study of the Targumim will be made in reference to grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and translation strategies. Solid background in Biblical Hebrew or Introductory Aramaic or experience with Eastern Aramaic from the Babylonian Talmud required.

NMC1315HS  Advanced Readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Sarianna Metso
Thurs. 12-2 BF 214

Discoveries at Qumran near the Dead Sea unearthed a library of an ancient Jewish community containing over 900 fragmentary scrolls. Included were manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures, apocrypha and pseudepigrapha‹some of which were previously known, many unknown‹and writings composed by the community. Among them were texts concerned with religious law, exegetical texts, calendrical and sapiential texts, as well as liturgical and poetic compositions. This course focuses on selected Scrolls with special attention to the language, form and content, and scribal characteristics of these texts. Knowledge of Hebrew is required.

NMC2053Y Images of the Prophet Muhammad in Literature
Todd Lawson
Thurs. 11-1 BF323

This seminar will consider questions surrounding the image or picture of the prophet Muhammad as such may be perceived in literary works. In the first semester we will consider works written from the rise of Islam until 1258. In the second semester we will consider works written from 1258 to the present. In addition, other representations of the Prophet will be discussed. Seminar participants are encouraged to explore a wide range of genres and types of literary compositions touching on and including (but not restricted to): Qur’an, Sira, Hadith, Tafsir, Adab, Poetry, Fiqh, Kalám, Falsafa, and Tasawwuf. Literature written from outside the Muslim community may also be of interest. The specific topic this term is the Prophet Muhammad as epic hero. We will be using the works of Henry Corbin and Northop Frye as a way of approaching the question.
Prerequisites: Ability in the Languages of Islamicate Culture and Civilization

NMC2056HF Readings in Qur’an and Tafsir
Walid Saleh
Mon. 1-3 BF315

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
Mon. & Wed. 6-8 SS2118

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.

NMC2228HS Zoroastrian Apocalyptic Literature
Enrico Rafaelli
Thurs. 2-4 BF214

The course studies the Zoroastrian apocalyptic texts that we have received. These texts (composed in the 9th-10th century AD, based on texts written in the Sassanian times, 3rd-7th cent. AD) present divine beings disclosing to human recipients the future developments of history, and the structure of the netherworld. The course also discusses whether apocalyptic texts were produced by Zoroastrians before the Sassanian times, thus constituting a possible source of Judaic apocalypticism.


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

PHL2143HS Dislocations of Democracy
Mark Kingwell
Tues. 12-3 JHB418

In keeping with a research project bgeun last year at the Jackman Humanities Institute, this course will focus on the theme ‘location/dislocation’. We will examine in particular the current state of democratic theory and the status of public space as a public good, using works by Taylor, Ranciere, Derrida, Agamben, and others.

PHL2182F  Philosophy of Religion
Colin Howson
Tues. 9-12 Trinity 24

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.

SOC6201HS Sociological Theory III: Theory and Method in Historical Social Science
Joe Bryant
Tues. 4–6 Dept. of Sociology, 725 Spadina Ave, Rm 240

Can the major constraining dichotomies and polarities that have skewed the history of the social sciences over the past two centuries—voluntarism/determinism, agency/structure, nominalism/realism, micro/macro, objectivism/subjectivism, nomothetic/idiographic, maximizing rationality/cultural specificity—be resolved and transcended through use of a contextual-sequential logic of explanation, as offered in historical sociology?  In an effort to answer that question, we will examine the central ontological and epistemological issues and controversies raised by recent efforts to develop a fully historical social science, a fully sociological historiography.

Toronto School of Theology

This list of 5000 level TST courses taught by DSR cross appointed faculty. Further information can be found on their website.

EMB5703HS Paul: Biographical Problems
Leif Vaage
Thurs.  11-1
*Contact instructor for location

An examination of different issues related to the “historical” Paul, including sources, composition history, composition history of the corpus paulinum, social location, mission, and comparative analogies. Research seminar with paper.

TRT5631HS Juan Luis Segundo & the Theology of Liberation
Marsha Hewitt
Tues. 9-11
*Contact instructor for location

Course will cover major works of Juan Luis Segundo, exploring ways his ‘liberative theology”  was also a radical social theory for emancipatory transformation on the levels of individual spirituality and political life. Implications for the ‘liberation of theology’ he embraced will also be discussed. Reference to some of his contemporary liberation theologians and intellectual influences will be made where applicable.