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REL 370

Advanced Topics in Religion

Usually a category of religious phenomena, such as religious experience, mysticism, the nature of deities; or the role and status of persons; healing in religious traditions; sectarian groups; major thinkers or movements; or themes and approaches in the study of religion. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Fall Semester information

Valarie Ziegler

370A: AdvTps:Christianity and Pop Culture

It's no secret that Christianity pervades popular culture. You don't have to drive far from Greencastle to visit a young earth creationist museum, play the New Testament course at a Bible putt putt park, or visit an Adam & Eve adult store.

In this class, we will learn to understand Christianity as a cultural system and to develop our observational powers by providing "thick descriptions" of particular expressions of Christianity in popular culture. Through readings, games, toys, films, television, shopping, politics, wars, scientific developments, and presentations, we will analyze ways, since the mid-nineteenth century, that Christianity and popular culture have intersected, co-opted, and been transformed by one another. And we will have fun.

Jeffrey Kenney

370B: AdvTps:Spiritual Ecstasy

Mystics, prophets, gurus, shamans, and 60's drug experimenters all attest to the reality of ecstatic or peak experiences, of making contact with some great mysterious unknown that lies "beyond" or "within" the self. Students of religion find these experiences difficult to explain because they take many cultural forms--Eastern and Western traditions, small- and large-scale groups, ancient and modern societies--and blur social, psychological, and metaphysical categories of interpretation. This course will explore a variety of traditional and modern accounts of spiritual ecstasy to gain a better sense of their importance for understanding religion and the human search for meaning.

Spring Semester information

Justin Glessner

370A: Adv Tps: Critical Men's and Masculinities Studies in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Cults of masculinity have been intrinsic to Near Eastern and Western culture for millennia. Whether in ancient Israelite literature, or in the diverse religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; whether in the ascetic traditions of Christian monasticism, the scholarly debates of rabbinic study houses, or the configuration of images of Muhammad's virility -- the leading Man has been carefully fashioned to represent power, purity, prestige, and privilege. This course examines such texts and traditions from diverse periods in Near Eastern ancient and late antique history in order to identify and deconstruct the ideologies that divinize masculinity and masculinize divinity.