Fall 2018 Christian Studies Course Guide

Last updated: 12 April 2018
This list represents courses with substantial content in Christian history, theology, culture, the Bible, and the relationships between Christianity and other religions. By including courses on this list, the PGH Christian Studies project does not endorse them or take responsibility for their content. Unless otherwise indicated, classes do not have prerequisites and do not fulfill general education requirements.

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University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh

ENGLIT 597 Bible as Literature

Prof. Mark Best
We 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. / 10744
We will be reading the Bible as Literature. This is to say that we will be discussing, for example, the story of Adam and Eve, the story of Noah and the flood, and the story of the crucifixion of Jesus as stories. We will try to understand these wonderful stories in their historical contexts, and so we will be discussing a wide range of background materials -- art, anthropology, history, and more.

ENGLIT 1010 Magical Nature Before Modern World

Prof. Hannah Johnson
TuTh 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. / 29289
No description available, check for updates!

ENGLIT 1100 Medieval Imagination

Prof. Ryan McDermott
MoWe 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. / 27675
In this course, we will consider how early English texts represent, challenge and re-imagine the social world. Medieval Europe was a cultural cross-roads, sometimes peaceably borrowing, sometimes forced to adapt ideas, forms, religious and social practices not only from near neighbors but also from the older cultures of the Mediterranean. Such cultural volatility is evident not only in religious writings, but also in romance and works of social critique (both comic and visionary). We will read across a range of genres, including medieval lyrics, mystical writings and selections from The Canterbury Tales and Piers Plowman.

FP 0003 Freshman Seminar: Writing the Spiritual

Prof. TBD
MoWe 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. / 16516
In this course, we will explore the question, “How do you write about what you cannot see?” We will examine how the spiritual life—an inner dimension of life that has to do with our relationship with our own selves and/or the divine—is represented in writing while exploring the following inquiries: How do authors write about spiritual experiences/beliefs/questions/doubts that others cannot see? How do they push beyond religious rhetoric to convey their inner lives in language that others can understand? How can you write clearly and creatively about your own faith or skepticism? To investigate these questions and more, we will read writers from various disciplines (including neuroscience) and religions, visit several religious landmarks in the city of Pittsburgh, and write a series of essays designed to embody spirituality. This course welcomes students who want to use writing to explore their own spiritual lives and learn about the spiritual lives of others. Writing the Spiritual also includes an introduction to mindfulness meditation. First-Year Seminar (FP 0003) fulfills the seminar in composition requirement and includes academic foundations (FP 0001).  FP 0001 is designed especially for first-term students as an introduction to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Through class work and out-of-class activities, students will gain knowledge of the educational opportunities at the University, the cultural events on and off campus, and an understanding of what it means to be a college student. Additional meetings and activities will occur outside of class time. All students who enroll in this course will receive a free academic planner on the first day of class.

HIST 1110 Medieval History 1

Prof. Elizabeth Archibald
MoWe 3:00 pm. – 4:15 p.m. / 29659
Survey course in the social, political, economic and religious history of Europe from the Diocletian reforms to the year one thousand. Special attention to interpreting the primary documents and to integrating various areas of activity (e.g. economic and religious). Focus on France, England, Germany, and Italy.

HAA 0380 Art of the Spanish World

Prof. Christopher Nygren
TuTh 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. / 29395
Spain underwent a series of radical transformations in the period from about 1200-1700 CE. The peninsula was first the center of Muslim empire that controlled much of the Mediterranean. This gave way to a Catholic empire that then expanded across the Atlantic Ocean to encompass most of the New World. This succession of ambitious kingdoms gave rise to some of the most unique artistic expressions at the time. This class will examine the art produced in Spain and Spanish realms in this period. Because of the unique interreligious history of Spain, its art tends to sit uncomfortably with the art produced elsewhere in Europe and its empires. This course will recuperate some of the fascinating strangeness of Spanish images by focusing on the frictions created by the enhanced flow of peoples and the cultures with which they came into contact during the early modern period. As Iberian powers expanded into Latin American and south Asia, European cultures increasingly came into tension with indigenous cultures and forms of image production. Rather than leading to “imperfect” or “deformed” art, though, this friction led to the creation of novel images that show how cultural hybridity was both a coping mechanism and a productive artistic strategy. This course will examine works produced by some major artists in Spain. However, we will also look at how the concept of “the artist” evolved in Spain during the period in question. This we be supplemented by looking at how local modes of artistic production developed in the New World came into tension with Spanish ideas about art and aesthetics during the period of colonization. These cultures often lacked a strong notion of “the artist,” and we will consider how differing modes of creation helped produce a hybrid style of art the forces a reconsideration of the how we define colonial European art within a global context.

PHIL 1762 Guide Of The Perplexed

Prof. Brock Bahler
TuTh 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. / 29873
A description has not been provided yet. Please check again later.

RELGST 0405 Witches To Walden Pond

Prof. Paula Kane
TuTh 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. / 29793
This course is the first half of a two-part survey of American religious history. We focus on the colonial era of Spanish, French, and English colonization of America through the Civil War. While following the Puritan "mainstream" of New England, we also study Afro-American and immigrant traditions, religious reformers and radicals, highlighting how religious and social beliefs from 1600 to 1865 both reflected and shaped gender, racial, economic, and political change.

RELGST 105 Religions of the West

Prof. Paula Kane
TuTh 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 p.m. / 17348
This course is a historical introduction to the religious traditions that developed in ancient Near East and the Mediterranean. Our major emphasis is on the history of the religious traditions that emerged in late antiquity in this area and which continue to be major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. We focus on key concepts, historical developments, and contemporary issues. Throughout the course, we also examine interactions among these religious traditions. In the last part of the course we examine the issue of globalization and the spread of these religions around the world as well as the presence of "non-Western" religion in the "West." The course also serves as an introduction to the academic study of religion and provides a foundation for further coursework in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. No prior knowledge of any of the religions studied is expected or assumed.

RUSS 1202 Dostoevsky: The Major Novels

Prof. Vladimir Padunov
Th 2:30 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. / 30402
This course covers major works of Dostoevsky. It is cross-listed with a grad seminar and is conducted in English. Readings in English or Russian.

Duquesne University

Coming Soon

Carnegie Mellon University

79-296 Religion in American Politics

Prof. James Gilchrist
MoWe 10:30am -- 11:50am
Separation of church and state is an expression widely used but poorly understood. Thomas Jeffersons phrase, which does not actually appear in the Constitution, reminds us that religious institutions are kept separate from government in America, even though religious commitments and motivations have always played an important part in American politics. This course will provide an historical perspective on the role of religion in public life from the late 18th century to the present, including religions influence on political parties and public policies, and the boundaries set by the Constitution on such activity.

79-350 Early Christianity

Prof. Allyson Creasman
TuTh 1:30pm -- 2:50pm
This course examines the origins of Christianity in historical perspective. Using both Christian and non-Christian sources from the period, we will examine how and why Christianity assumed the form that it did by analyzing its background in the Jewish community of Palestine, its place in the classical world, and its relationship to other religious and philosophical traditions of the time. We will also examine historically how the earliest Christians understood the life and message of Jesus, the debates about belief and practice that arose among them, and the factors influencing the extraordinary spread of the movement in its earliest centuries. This course satisfies one of the elective requirements for the Religious Studies minor.