Christianity and Culture. World Religions

WR510. Introduction to Judaism

Credit, three hours. (Faculty)

The aim of this course is to provide students preparing for Christian ministry and education with a historical, theological, and practical introduction to Judaism and particularly the American Jewish community.

WR603. Ancient Judaism in the Mediterranean Diaspora

Credit, three hours. (Wilson) (Same as BI603.)

A survey of the literature and religion of the Jewish people during the Second Temple period, with special attention to their interactions with Greek culture and Roman rule.

WR605. Introduction to Islam

Credit, three hours. (Faculty)

This course aims to provide students of all backgrounds and educational levels an introduction to the religious tradition of Islam both as a dynamic system of faith and as a sociohistoric phenomenon. As a survey, this course focuses on the broad parameters of Islam in terms of its relationship to other religious traditions (mainly Judaism and Christianity) and in terms of its internal diversity (e.g. legal, theological, and sectarian division. The goal is to enable students with a basic proficiency of Islam in terms of historical scope, proper terminology, and conceptual approaches, which will allow them to pursue further inquiries into various aspects of the tradition. Most importantly, it will provide students with the ability to critically engage current events and issues as they relate to the religion of Islam and sociopolitical dynamics of the Muslim world.

WR607. Introduction to Hinduism

Credit, three hours. (Faculty)

This course will introduce students to some of the most prominent characteristics of Hindu religious traditions. The course will also encourage expansive thinking about what constitutes religion, religious practice, and religious experience through a focus on foundational sources of authority, the importance of practice, and the role of visual and material culture within the daily lives of Hindus.

WR614. Socially Engaged Buddhism

Credit, three hours. (Doyle)

This seminar will investigate what is commonly referred to as Socially Engaged Buddhism by focusing on modern social and political movements in both Asia and N. America. In particular, we will study contemporary Buddhist individuals and organizations involved in freedom struggles; peace and reconciliation work; training AIDS, hospice, and prison volunteers; alleviating social and economic injustice; and teaching meditation in non-Buddhist, ‘secular’ settings. Throughout, we will explore how Buddhist philosophies, precepts, practices, and institutions are being selectively adopted and adapted in these various venues. We will also consider the influences that non-Buddhist systems, worldviews, and practices have had on Socially Engaged Buddhist activists and movements around the world. The class typically will include several socially engaged Buddhist guest speakers, the viewing of award-winning films, and a field trip to Nipponzan Myohoji, a local Buddhist temple involved in peace and social justice activism.

WR624. Rastafari Religion

Credit, three hours. (Erskine)

This course seeks to draw students into a world of distinctive language, ideas, and meaning that is radically different from the Christian religion with which they and Rastafari are always in conversation. In addition it will highlight the basic concepts, doctrines, aims, and issues of faith and culture in Rastafari. The engagement with Rastafari practices, customs, beliefs, and institutions will begin the process of taking Rastas’ social location, engagement with the Bible (a text Rastas claim was written by black people) other cultural texts (the Holi Piby) and the reggae rhythms of Bob Marley as mediums for navigating the challenge of difference embedded in Rastafari. Further, Rastas will be invited to class to make possible a more direct access to the religion. (Race, Ethnicity, and Gender)

WR630. Sacred Spaces in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Credit, three hours. (Corrie, Ziada)

This course uses the lens of religious architecture and ritual practice to study and compare several major world religions, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. Students are able to develop a deeper understanding of other religions and gain an awareness of the theological significance of how believers use space to worship the divine.

WR640. Religions of Atlanta

Credit, three hours. (Faculty)

This course will explore Atlanta’s religious history and extraordinary religious diversity to develop a complex understanding of what religion is and where it can be found. The course also will prepare students to build a solid foundation for interreligious dialogue and collaboration.

WR645. Spiritual Care in African Religious Traditions

Credit, three hours. (Lartey) (Same as PC645.)

The course will examine how spiritual care is conceptualized and practiced in various African religious traditions including African- derived religions in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and North America. We will spend the first part of the course gaining theoretical grounding in African religious thought and philosophy. The second part of the course focuses on African traditional medicine, divination, rituals and practices of care. We will examine African healing systems, concepts of disease, traditional concepts of mental health, traditional beliefs and interpretations of various illnesses, as well as traditional healing and practices of medical and spiritual care. We also will explore some of the myths surrounding traditional healing in Africa. In the final part of the course African American and other African diasporan folk traditional understandings and practices of healing and spiritual care in the Americas and the Caribbean will be explored. (Race, Ethnicity, and Gender)

WR650. Islam in America

Credit, three hours. (Womack)

Aiming to promote relationships of trust and understanding between American Christians and Muslims, this course approaches Islam as a lived religious tradition not merely present in the United States but an American religion. It examines Islamic history, theological beliefs, and worship practices through the lens of Muslim American experiences and introduces students to the diverse manifestations of Islam in America and in Atlanta. It gives special attention to African American Muslim communities and to Muslim women’s voices. (Race, Ethnicity, and Gender)

WR652. History and Practice of Christian- Muslim Relations

Credit, three hours. (Womack) (Same as HC651.)

This course introduces students to the history of Christian-Muslim relations from the early Islamic period to present and acquaints them with recent initiatives for interfaith dialogue. Attention is given to multiple global contexts and to the cultural and theological diversity of both Islam and Christianity. Part I of the course introduces significant events, themes, and players in the history of Christian-Muslim relations. Part II centers upon Christian-Muslim dialogue initiatives since the mid-20th century.

WR655. Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue

Credit, three hours. (Womack)

Through this course, students will examine historical and contemporary Jewish- Christian-Muslim relations and explore theologies and practices of dialogue between members of these Abrahamic faiths. Attention will be given to the perspectives of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars and to interfaith initiatives in the Atlanta area.

WR673. Krishna Meets Jesus: Hindu Christian Interactions on the Indian Subcontinent

Credit, three hours. (Jones)

According to tradition, Christian communities have been present and active on the Indian subcontinent since the apostolic age. This course provides an understanding of what may be called a Hindu religious worldview and looks at how different Christian traditions such as the Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant have made their home in this religious context. Through the use of specific historical and contemporary examples the course also explores some representative modes of Hindu-Christian interactions, including symbiotic, ambivalent, and conflictual ones. (Race, Ethnicity, and Gender)

WR675. Interfaith Dialogue as Congregational Missions

Credit, three hours. (Jones, Womack) (Same as M675.)

Christian mission in the contemporary world takes many different forms and is expressed in a variety of modes. This course explores ways in which Christians in local congregations in the United States can enter into dialogue, which is characterized by mutuality and respect, with persons of other religious traditions in our increasingly religiously pluralistic world. Through such dialogical engagement, congregations respond to Jesus’ command to love God and one’s neighbor. There are three fundamental aims of the course. The first is to provide basic knowledge about religious pluralism in Atlanta and the United States. The second is to introduce students to different reasons for, and practices of interfaith dialogue. The third is to prompt students to provide leadership in interfaith dialogue in their congregations. (WR675CEE when offered as a Contextual Education elective)

WR682. Jewish Law

Credit, three hours. (Faculty) (Usually concurrently listed from Emory Law.) (Same as ES682.)

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.

WR683. Islam and Democracy

Credit, three hours. (Cornell) (Concurrently listed from Emory Law.)

This course will explore key philosophical, theological, jurisprudential, and cultural debates about democracy in Islam. The premodern part of the course will focus on: (1) the legal and theological problem of divine versus human origins of justice and (2) the epistemological problem of taking guidance from non-Islamic sources. The modern part of the course will focus theoretically on two other sets of problematics related to democracy: (3) the theological problem of autonomous human agency, and (4) three Enlightenment notions related to autonomy: freedom (a legal and moral problem), pluralism (a theological and legal problem), and human rights (mainly a legal problem) as expressions of universal values.

WR684. Islam and Politics

Credit, three hours. (An-Na’im) (Concurrently listed from Emory Law.)

An examination of issues of secularism and Islam in the modern context, with emphasis on themes of human rights and cultural transformation.

WR685. Islamic Law

Credit, three hours. (Faculty) (Usually concurrently listed from Emory Law.)

An introduction to the basic concepts and institutions of Islamic Law, the foundation for the legal system of a large number of countries where Islam is the dominant religion, ranging from North America through the Middle East to Indonesia.

WR686. Islamic Modernism

Credit, three hours. (Cornell) (Concurrently listed from Emory Law.)

This course will explore and critically assess the modernist movement in contemporary Islam. However, unlike other approaches to this subject, we will not draw a necessary distinction between modernism and fundamentalism, nor will we limit our study of Muslim modernist thinkers to liberals. Rather, the premise of the course will be that modernism is a pervasive worldview that comprises multiple dimensions and that its adherents include both liberal and conservative Muslims, including most of those who have been termed “fundamentalists” by outside observers.

WR690. Global Religions and Community Engagement

Credit, three hours. (Womack)

This course prepares students for leadership in a multifaith society through the study of global religions and active engagement with the diverse religious communities of Atlanta. It emphasizes community-engaged learning through site visits and field research in collaboration with religious congregations. Through this course, students will come to understand the core beliefs and practices of the world’s major religions and will gain in-depth knowledge of at least one non- Christian tradition.

WR698. Special Topics in World Religions

Credit, variable. (Faculty)

Special topic or one-time offering courses led by Candler regular and visiting faculty. Prerequisites may be required and are noted on the course schedule when applicable.