W40 Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. This course explores the historical, moral, and theological dimensions of the Nazi Holocaust. Students study the history of anti-Semitism that culminated in Hitler's persecution of the Jews, the historical account of the Holocaust itself, and the moral and theological issues raised by it. Resources used in this class are books on the history of anti-semitism and the Holocaust, two books by Elie Wiesel, and various films about the Holocaust and its significance. The course also includes a four-day field trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington , D.C. Evaluation is based on class discussion, a short written report, and a final exam. This course will fulfill the elective requirement for the religion major or minor. Fee: $275 (approximate) for the field trip. K. Pomykala. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
W41 Urban Missions in New York City . Urban Missions and race relations are inseparable dynamics of modern city life. To understand one demands knowledge of the other. This course examines the overlap of urban living and human diversity by critically analyzing: 1) demographic trends, 2) the sociology of American race relations, 3) historical and ‘modern' missiological strategies, 4) anti-racist strategies for urban living, and 5) a Reformed-Christian perspective on urban missions and race relations. Classroom learning will be supplemented by travel to New York City for 10 days to experience urban missions and race relations. Students will critically examine the history of CRC missions in New York City , visit contemporary urban churches, and study the complexity of ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Course evaluation will be based on journal entries, as well as presenting and writing a critical paper addressing urban missions and race relations. This course includes CCE credit. Fee: $1,212. J. Kooreman. Off campus.
W42 Birth, Sex, and Death in the Biblical World. Why is sexual intercourse "unclean" according to Lev 15:18? If the body is in the grave, where is the "person" after death? In recent years, anthropologists and other social scientists have begun to examine more closely the ways in which human cultures conceptualize and organize the ordinary events of the human life cycle. Biblical scholars, too, have begun to consider these things by using the Bible, not as a theological textbook, but as a window on the lives of ordinary people in ancient Israel and the early Church. This course looks at various aspects of the human life cycle as they are described or discussed in the Bible. Material from other ancient Near Eastern cultures will be used to illuminate the thought world of the Bible. Some of the aspects of the life cycle covered in this course are the reasons why people wanted to have children, theories of conception and fetal development, birth and the postpartum period, the female reproductive cycle, the structure of marriage, raising children, sexual activity and restrictions, celibacy, old age, death, and the afterlife. This course will give students the opportunity and framework to study hundreds of ancient texts, biblical and non-biblical, not as elements of a modern theological system, but in and of themselves – that is, to study the texts as reflections of a particular, ancient, cultural moment. This course will also give students the opportunity and framework to peel away the centuries and layers of interpretation that they are the inheritors of, so that they can look at various biblical texts for themselves, and so, generate for themselves their own interpretation. An finally, throughout this course students will be given the opportunity and framework to think anew about how various biblical texts might apply to the current religious and cultural situation. Students are required to write a paper. This course will fulfill the elective requirement for the religion major or minor. R. Whitekettle. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
W43 Learning to Pray Like Jesus. What does the New Testament teach about prayer, and how does that translate into real life? This course will explore the place of prayer in the New Testament, including the Jewish roots of Christian practice, and how the ancient church eventually developed its own monastic traditions through the Desert Fathers. Delving into the practical dimensions of the practice of prayer will include a look at the traditional spiritual disciplines of fasting and meditation. We will also investigate some of the theological questions raised by prayer: Can God be influenced? Does God change his mind? Does prayer make a difference in the world? Student evaluation will be based upon a book review, class participation and the keeping of a personal prayer journal. The final goal of this course will be for each student to cultivate of a more deeply personal, theologically informed, and historically aware, life of prayer. There are no fees or prerequisites for enrolling in this course. D. Crump. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
CANCELED W44 Asian Biblical Interpretation. This course examines the emergence, development, and practice of non-Western-centered biblical hermeneutics. Special attention is given to the phenomenon of biblical interpretation is Asia: how the Bible, a Semitic book formed in an entirely different geographic, historical, and cultural context, and interpreted for so many centuries by the West, can and should be interpreted in Asia by Asian Christians for their own people. In what way does biblical authority help Asian Christians confess Christ in a multi-scriptural content? The course aims to enable students to read an extensive amount of biblical theological works of the Third-world perspectives, summarize and analyze the nature and contribution of this movement, attain balanced attitude toward diverse readings of biblical texts, and examine and construct their own biblical hermeneutical perspective. Evaluation is based on papers and an exam. This course will fulfill the elective requirement for the religion major or minor. W. Lee . 8:30 a.m. to noon.
W80 Male and Female He Created Them: Biblical Portraits of Gender. The Old and New Testament explore the meaning of our being created male and female in the image of God. This course studies those biblical texts which focus on our sexuality, the roles of men and women and the relationship between them. We read the love poetry of the Song of Songs, ponder passages from Proverbs, and consider relevant narratives, including Genesis chapters 1-3, selections from the laws, as well as gospel accounts and excerpts from the epistles. Inescapably, our discussion takes place in the context of present day reflections concerning gender. Issues such as men and women's roles in the church, workplace, home and school, marriage and divorce, same sex relationships, and the ‘masculine' face of God are engaged. Teaching methods include readings, lectures, guest speakers, films, student presentations and class discussion. Students are required to do daily readings, keep a reading journal, participate in class discussions and write a formal paper. Prerequisite: core course in Biblical Studies . This course will fulfill the elective requirement for the religion major or minor. C. de Groot. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.