REL W10 Movies and Music: Theological Themes . This course examines the expression of theological themes in select musical works and films. Compositions studied include works by Haydn (The Creation), Bach (St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, Cantata 106), and Mozart (Requiem). Films analyzed include Babette’s Feast, The Mission, The Seventh Seal, and Amadeus. Where possible, the relevant libretto or screenplay is read prior to listening to or viewing the work in question. Students should show an interest in theology, the arts, and their intersection; readiness to listen carefully and watch discerningly; and willingness to engage in discussion. Students will acquire a knowledge of select theological themes, become acquainted with certain sacred compositions (and their composers), enhance their listening skills, become acquainted with certain films (and their directors), advance their skills in film analysis and exercise their skills in
discussion and oral presentation. Evaluation will be based on readings, a journal, a paper, engagement in discussion, and a final exam. R. Plantinga. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
REL W40 Theology of Beauty in an American Context . How does the great Christian tradition of understanding beauty theologically (a tradition that is largely European) translate into an American context? This class considers that question by exploring America, focusing especially on art and landscape that is distinctively American. Participants travel exclusively by Amtrak, visiting Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Tucson, Los Angeles, and Yosemite National Park. Students visit museums, listen to music, read literature and theology, look at architecture, meet with local experts on various aspects of an American aesthetic, and experience the grandeur of the American landscape, all while encountering some of the cultural diversity of the United States. Student evaluation will be based on reading and listening assignments, to keep a response journal, and to be active, respectful, thoughtful participants in all activities. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major. Course dates: January 4-24. Fee: $2747. L. Smit. Off campus.
REL W41 Israel: Land of the Bible. This course, based in Israel at Jerusalem University College, studies the geographical and historical settings of the Bible. Students visit ancient historical and archaeological sites with about 80% of the course taught in the field. Students tour key sites in Jerusalem, throughout ancient Judea, and in the region of the Dead Sea, as well as making two overnight excursions—one to Galilee and another to the Negev (southern desert regions). Students also experience contemporary Jewish and Arab cultures, along with the current religious and political situation. Jerusalem University College’s location just outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem makes it a perfect venue for first hand study of the biblical world. Students engage in readings, map work, and field studies. Evaluation is based on completed mapwork, journals, and tests. This course will fulfill the CCE core requirement. Course dates: January 1-23. Fee: $4,175. K. Pomykala. Off campus.
REL W42 Elie Wiesel, Prophet of the Holocaust: In Search of God and Humanity . Among the atrocities of the modern world that aggravate the problem of evil for our times, the holocaust stands out. Among those who write and reflect on what an Auschwitz means for belief in God and humanity, and our future together, Elie Wiesel stands out. Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel laureate, is aptly called the prophet of the holocaust, devoting his life to the remembrance of this horrific event in the attempt to discern and publish its moral lessons. This course traces the life, times, and ethical vision of Wiesel, particularly through his holocaust experience and subsequent quest to sustain faith in God and hope for humanity in its ever-elusive task to build a just and humane society. Students journey with Wiesel by aid of documentary and film, but principally through his own writings, which include Night, The Trial of God, The Town Beyond the Wall, Twilight, and selections from his memoirs, All Rivers Run to the Sea, And the Sea is Never Full. Beyond the inspiration of Wiesel’s own life journey, students will deepen their appreciation of the question of theodicy, and of the Jewish resources for persevering in a world with an Auschwitz, a world still dangerously poised. More particularly, students will become conversant in the issues surrounding theodicy, the range of “answers” offered to the problem of evil, as well as how Jewish theological and ethical resources, as exemplified by Wiesel, are formally commensurate with Christian resources, even if materially differentiated by one coming of the Messiah. Evaluation will be based on two papers and a take home final. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major. T. Thompson. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
REL W43 Birth, Sex, & 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 into 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 is also used to illuminate the thought world of the Bible. Some of the aspects of the life cycle covered 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. Students get to study biblical texts as reflections of a particular moment in human culture; look at and interpret various biblical texts for themselves; think about how various biblical texts might apply today. Students write a paper which is based on the material covered in class. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major. R. Whitekettle. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
REL W44 Learning to Pray Like Jesus. Students in this course will study the prayers of the New Testament within their first-century, Jewish context; what NT prayers can tell us about the believer’s personal relationship to God; how one strain of ancient, desert monasticism developed contemplative prayer; and Martin Luther’s devotional advice in his book A Simple Way to Pray. We will also wrestle with some of the theological questions raised by petitionary prayer: Can God be influenced? Does God ever change his mind? Does prayer make a difference in the world? Student evaluations will be based on two book reviews, class participation, daily prayer with at least one other class member and keeping a daily prayer journal. This course may fulfill an elective in the Religion major. D. Crump. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS W52 One Bible, Many Readings. W. Lee. 8:30 a.m. to noon.