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Harvard Divinity School

School

Harvard Divnity School

HDS 2922

Preaching and Worship in the Black Church Tradition

BTI Category

Semester

Practical/Pastoral Theology

SP24

This course engages students in historical, theological, and practical study of preaching and worship in the Black Church tradition.  Readings in black homiletics and practical theologies of worship introduce students to a variety of approaches for the development and delivery of sermons and for the construction and ministerial leadership of worship within black Christian church contexts.  The course considers these proposals for ministry practice against the backdrop of the social, political, economic, and cultural dynamics that shape the contemporary context of black communal life in the United States.  The purpose of the course is to increase students' ministerial capacity through the incorporation of theological and practical wisdom from the Black Church tradition into their own understandings and uses of ritual and rhetoric.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Teddy Hickman-Maynard

T

3-6 PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

This is a limited enrollment course.  To apply, send a statement to thickmanmaynard@hds.harvard.edu with the following information: your name, degree program, year of study, school or university, previous relevant academic background, and a brief statement of your goals for the course

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 1563

Beyond the Canon: Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and Other Outside Books

BTI Category

Semester

Scripture & Biblical Studies

SP24

This seminar revisits the making of "the Bible" with a focus on ancient writings about the biblical past outside of the Tanakh and Protestant Old Testament. First, we will consider the biblical past in precanonical perspective, reading selections from Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and Dead Sea Scrolls. Then, we will explore their later Jewish and Christian reception, asking how a focus on such materials might shed new light on the formation of Jewish and Christian biblical canons. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1317.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Annette Reed

T

12-3PM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3392

Can We Still Read Religious Classics? An inquiry with Christian, Hindu, and Confucian Classics

BTI Category

Semester

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

SP24

Theology is grounded in belief in God, or some Transcendent Reality that engages normatively our minds, hearts, bodies, lives. It is the practice of faith seeking understanding, exploring all manner of realities, human, all other worldly life form, and the divine. And, pertinent to this course, it is very often preserved primarily in classic religious texts that have for millennia been normative for believers. Today, such texts cannot be taken for granted. Our reading of them must be purified by the hardest critical questions, such as expose biases and systemic injustice, uncover elite power structures and exclusions and, in our interreligious world, undercut overdependence on the ideas, words, and methods of the Christian West. This course experiments with the retrieval of the reading of religious classics by taking seriously classics of three normative traditions: tentatively, in Christianity, Augustine's Instructing Beginners in Faith (4th century CE, North African Christian); in Hinduism, Sankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination (8th century CE, orthodox Hindu), and in Confucianism, Confucius's Great Learning (6th century BCE, Chinese). We will read each carefully, and consider each in terms of its portrayal of the human, the transcendent (God, the One), the nature of learning, and, indeed, Truth such as survives our critiques of it. Each text is taken seriously, in light of critiques, and each is comprehended in light of the other two. Yes, we can still read the classics, but only if we work really hard at doing so, with the questions of the 21st century. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1040PPM.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Francis Clooney

MW

10:30-11:45AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3357

Critical Perspectives on the Dynamics and Development of Islam in Africa

BTI Category

Semester

Islamic Studies

SP24

An estimated 450 to 500 million Muslims live in Africa - close to a third of the global Muslim population. The overwhelming majority of them lives in the northern half of the continent, above the equator. The spread of Islam increased the contact between the peoples of North Africa, the Sahara, and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The course is designed to provide an understanding of the spread of Islam and the formation and transformation of Muslim societies in Africa. It is organized in two parts. The first part of the course will focus on the history of Islamization of Africa, and topics will include the ways in which Islam came to Africa, the relationships of Islam to trade, the growth of literary in Arabic and Ajami, the rise of clerical classes and their contribution to State formation in the pre-colonial period. The second part of the course will feature guest lecturers who will present cutting edge research on the transformation of Islam in postcolonial Africa. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Islamic Civilization 179.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Ousmane Oumar Kane

F

11-1PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 1309

Topics in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Exegesis at Qumran

BTI Category

Semester

Scripture & Biblical Studies

SP24

This course explores the diverse functions of scripture within the literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls, focusing in particular on the forms and methods of interpretation attested, and considered in light of other varieties of interpretation in early Judaism. Sessions will be devoted to reading, translation and discussion of primary sources in Hebrew, as well as to discussion of relevant secondary literature.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Andrew Teeter

T

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

Y

Notes

The course presumes facility in Biblical Hebrew, as well as the ability to read unpointed Hebrew texts. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Jewish Studies 149.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2202

Queering Congregations: Contextual Approaches for Dismantling Heteronormativity

BTI Category

Semester

Practical/Pastoral Theology

SP24

Queering Congregations introduces students to three systematic and process-oriented approaches for dismantling heteronormativity within American congregations. Using the lenses of practical theology, ecclesiology, gender studies, queer theory, and queer theology, the course examines the cultural backgrounds, beliefs, morals, values, and heteronormative structures of American churches and proposes methods for restructuring, reimagining, and subverting the heterosexist paradigms and binary assumptions that perpetuate oppression in American ecclesial spaces. The class examines how mainline open and affirming congregations understand what it means to be churches while paying close attention to the differences and similarities within their approaches to queering their congregations. The class will interrogate the following questions: (1) What happens to the church when it is queered, where queering as a verb can denote a rethinking of sexual identities as well as a challenging of normative understandings of ecclesiology and liturgy? (2) Can a queering of theology do more than critique and deconstruct traditional church structures, practices, performances, and self-understandings by pointing the way forward to the renewal of the church by suggesting new, more liberating, and truthful structures, practices, performances, and self-understandings? (3) Is ecclesiology a good meeting place for queer, practical, and classical theologies?

Professor

Class Day & Time

Brandon Crowley

R

9-11AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

This is a limited enrollment course. To apply, send a statement to bcrowley@hds.harvard.edu (selection process will begin Thurs. Jan. 20) with the following information: your name, degree program, year of study, school or university, previous relevant academic background, and a brief statement of your goals for the course.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 4055

Intermediate Pali II

BTI Category

Semester

Languages

SP24

This course is the final part of a two-year program designed to allow the student to read Buddhist canonical materials in Pali independently. The readings are taken from the canonical collections and are chosen and arranged thematically, exposing the student to key aspects of the teachings of Theravada Buddhism. The course readings are chosen to enrich the student's understanding of these teachings, at the same time as strengthening language skills. The course will also introduce the student to commentarial material. The Theravada tradition has a rich body of material that explicates and comments on the canonical texts. Gaining familiarity with this style of writing will greatly benefit the student in subsequent reading of Pali material.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Beatrice Chrystall

MWF

10:30-11:30AM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

Y

Notes

Prerequisites: Intermediate Pali I or equivalent (with the permission of the instructor). Note: Auditors not allowed.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3113

Magic Today: An Anthropological Perspective

BTI Category

Semester

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

SP24

What is “magic”? Is it different from “religion”? Is magic a “way of knowing”?
In this course, we will look at “magic” from an anthropological perspective. We will focus, in particular, on contemporary magic in Europe and North America, addressing e.g. Contemporary Paganisms, Wicca, Chaos Magic, New-Age Spirituality, and contemporary Esotericism. By engaging with ethnographic works, students will get acquainted with or deepen their knowledge of the main issues, traditions, debates, and research in the field of the Anthropology of Religion and in the Anthropology of Magic. Students will analyze contemporary magic vis-à-vis e.g. popular culture, feminism, globalization, medicine, social media, history, and well-being. They will do so through ethnographic readings, films, music, arts, discussions, and independent research.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Giovanna Parmigiani

T

3-5:30PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

This is a limited enrollment course: students will be asked to fill a questionnaire and to submit it to the instructor. The questionnaire will be available on Canvas two weeks before the beginning of the classes. Petitions will be accepted by the first day of classes. This course provides a research paper option for students interested in this possibility.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3191

Buddhist Historiography

BTI Category

Semester

Buddhist Studies

SP24

A profound concern with knowing the past is centrally visible across the Buddhist world historically. This course is a critical introduction to Buddhist concern with knowing the past, both in terms of its major contours and the significance of historical consciousness in Buddhist thought and practice. Close considerations of examples of Buddhist historiography and especially on different ways of reading them are the main focus of the course. These examples will be drawn from different times and places in the history of Buddhism in Asia.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Charles Hallisey

R

9-11AM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2964

Pentecostal Polity

BTI Category

Semester

Church Polity/Canon Law

SP24

The history, principles and practice of Pentecostal believers. To understand the nature and functioning of Pentecostal denominations. To prepare Pentecostal students for ordination. The course will include liturgy, worship, and theology of the Pentecostal faith. The focus primarily will be on the major Pentecostal denominations and the charismatic flavor of other major denominations.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Samuel Hogan

M

12-2PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 4413

Intermediate German Readings

BTI Category

Semester

Languages

SP24

Second semester course to cover German grammar, syntax, and translation; reading and translation practice of selected texts at the intermediate level related to theological and religious studies. Prerequisite: One semester of German at the college-level or German AX (offered by FAS). Limited enrollment course. Enrollment priority given to HDS students and other Harvard faculty cross-registrants.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Karin Grundler-Whitacre

W

9-11AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

Y

Notes

Permission to enroll in the course will be granted as petitions are received. If enrollment exceeds the allowed limit, priority will be given to those students that completed HDS 4412 in the fall, followed by date of petition submission.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 4463

Intermediate Spanish Readings

BTI Category

Semester

Languages

SP24

This course focuses on Spanish reading comprehension and translation at the intermediate level, with special attention to theological and religious texts from across time periods, traditions, and genres. Students will also review key grammatical structures with the goal of improving students' comprehension of written material in Spanish. In addition to the course readings, students will have the opportunity to work with and translate a text of their choice from their own research discipline.

Professor

Class Day & Time

TBA

TBA

TBA

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

Y

Notes

Prerequisite: successful completion of elementary level Spanish courses, or the equivalent language knowledge.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2293

The Holocaust and the Churches, 1933-45

BTI Category

Semester

Interreligious Learning

SP24

This seminar will approach the Nazi persecution of European Jewry from several disciplinary perspectives. Initially the seminar will explore the topic historically. In these weeks, the seminar will use a variety of historical materials dealing with the history of European anti-semitism, German history from Bismarck to the accession of Hitler, the evolution of anti-Jewish persecution in the Third Reich, and the history of the Holocaust itself. Sources to be used will include primary sources produced by the German government 1933-1945, by Jewish victims-to-be or survivors, documentary and feature films, and secondary interpretations. The aims of this part of the seminar will be to understand the basic background to and narrative of the Holocaust, to introduce students to the critical use of primary historical sources, and to familiarize them with some of the major historiographical debates. Then the members of the seminar will ponder religious and theological reactions to the Holocaust. The seminar will also consider the historical question of the role played by the Protestant and Catholic churches and theologies in the Holocaust. The seminar will conclude with an assessment of the role played by the Holocaust in today's world, specifically in the United States. Throughout the seminar, participants will use various literary and cinematographic sources and test their limits in helping to understand and to represent the Holocaust. Prerequesite: Some familiarity with the general shape of modern European history is desirable but not required. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1529.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Kevin Madigan

M

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

Enrollment limited to 15 with the permission of the instructor, by application at the first course meeting.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2935

Compassionate Care of the Dying: Buddhist Training and Techniques

BTI Category

Semester

Practical/Pastoral Theology

SP24

Traditional Buddhist monastics and teachers have long played a key role in helping others prepare for death. This course will explore the central approaches to death and dying in Buddhism, the Buddhist view of compassion, and how these are being adapted in the US for professional end-of-life care. Students will develop an understanding of basic skills in compassionate care of the dying, and tools to approach death as an opportunity for spiritual growth through readings, meditation exercises, listening practices, group work, and discussions with guest speakers. Some prior knowledge of Buddhism preferred.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Cheryl Giles, Chris Berlin

R

12-2:30PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

Y

Notes

Prerequisite: Spiritual Care, Chaplaincy, or CPE required.This class has a limited enrollment to facilitate a personal group dynamic of safety and support around issues of death and dying, collective processing, and contemplative cultivation. Priority will be given to students who have completed one or more prerequisite courses with the instructors, have a basic knowledge of Buddhism and Buddhist practice, are third-year M.Div. students about to graduate, or will be in CPE or a field education placement working with end-of-life care. During the first class, Thursday, January 27, instructors will ask prospective students to write a one-paragraph summary of their readiness, aspirations for the class, and above criteria to determine the class cohort. Decisions will be made by both instructors on the same day of the first class and they will email students that evening to let them know if they are in the class.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3063

Spiritual Care from a Muslim Perspective

BTI Category

Semester

Practical/Pastoral Theology

SP24

This course introduces students to practices of spiritual care from a Muslim Perspective. As we will survey spiritual care practices of different Muslim cultures, our focus will be the relevant application of these practices in North America with a special focus on contemporary issues. We will study meditative/ritualistic, medical, philosophical, counseling, and psychological practices that have relevance and meanings in personal journeys of Muslim spiritual experience in different settings such as hospital, prison, university, community, social, and professional settings. Through a combination of readings, class discussions, practical exercises and expert guest lecturers in each class, students will begin to develop their own approaches to spiritual care in different circumstances such as the issues involving spiritual crises, trauma, mental illness, marriage/divorce, refuge related mental and spiritual complications, substance abuse, and others. Different stake holders such as pastoral care/chaplaincy (minister) candidates, students in education, social work, counseling, psychology, and health sciences as well as medical school students will find much value and benefit in this course. Class format will include weekly expert guest speakers including medical doctors, counselors, social workers, psychologists, clergy, and chaplains, from different disciplines who provide service to Muslim clients, patients, students, or inmates followed by a class discussion.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Yunus Kumek

M

12-2PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2085

Moral Conflict

BTI Category

Semester

Ethics (all traditions)

SP24

Conflicts about abortion, climate change, economic inequality, gun regulation, LGBTQ+ rights, and other matters often occur when foundational values of different moral communities collide. This seminar provides an opportunity to examine conflicts implicating groups' deeply held values. Topics include the role these conflicts play in the formation and maintenance of moral communities; the role beliefs play in these conflicts; value pluralism and incommensurability; moral relativism; and possibilities for, and alternatives to, consensual resolution of value-laden conflict. We also will consider how these conflicts impinge upon and are processed within moral communities, including the hermeneutical challenges and opportunities value-laden conflicts present for religious communities. Readings will span multiple disciplines, including moral philosophy, theology, political theory, law, and the social sciences. Students will complete a final project that considers course themes in relation to a conflict of their choice.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Jeffrey Seul

M

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

This is a limited enrollment course. To apply, send an email to jseul@hds.harvard.edu by January 18 and attend the first class session on January 22. In your email, include your name, degree program, year of study, school or university, previous relevant academic and other experience, and a brief statement of your goals for the course. Please indicate whether you seek to take this course to fulfill a curriculum distribution requirement or other special requirement.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3547

The Buddhist Body, Its Materiality, and Its Moral Cultivation

BTI Category

Semester

Buddhist Studies

SP24

This is a seminar for exploring Buddhist understandings of the human body, including such topics as the nature of its materiality, sensitivity and gender; specialized practices for the body's moral cultivation using imagination, ritual, and yoga; and types of embodied knowledge. Most readings will be primary sources in English translation, including Abhidharma materials, sutra and tantra passages, medical treatises, and descriptions of bodily performance in both ritual and artistic spheres. Students will write one midterm paper with critical reflection on course readings, and one final paper creatively engaging one or more primary Buddhist source, which may include a course reading.Background in the study of Buddhism preferred.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Janet Gyatso

W

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

Enrollment limited to 16; students wishing to take the course should write a one page summary of their academic background and why they want to take the course. They will be notified of their admission before the pre-registration period ends.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 1649

Sources of Jewish Spirituality

BTI Category

Semester

Judaic Studies

SP24

In the 11th century Rabbi Bahia Ibn Pakuda wrote a book called "Hovot Halevavot" -- duties of the heart. He wrote it to counteract the idea that Judaism was a tradition of practice and did not prescribe or evoke emotional and spiritual responses. Bahya and others made clear that Judaism has a long and rich spiritual tradition, which encompasses not only biblical and Talmudic texts, but mysticism, poetry, song, story, art and ritual objects. Tracing this from the Bible, we will explore how generations of poets, mystics, philosophers and artists have elaborated and innovated themes of the soul and its yearnings, seeking God, nature, relationship, depth theology, a sense of wonder, laughter and love. Questions of evil, the Hidden face of God, mystic ecstasy and insight, relations to other faiths and the foundational biblical stories and ideas that undergird these quests will be discussed, bringing us into practices and ideas current in present day Jewish life. Class will be a combination of lecture/discussion with both the midterm and final being a creative working of these themes orally or in writing.

Professor

Class Day & Time

David Wolpe

MW

10:30-11:45AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3175

Indian Ocean Islam

BTI Category

Semester

Islamic Studies

SP24

Does thinking oceanically influence the study of Islam? Can we remember a people's history of the Indian Ocean world? This course considers these questions and others as it focuses on religious worlds within port cities and the networks of Indian Ocean Islam. The course examines how religion in port cities and islands was centered upon a plethora of saints, missionaries, divinities and other agents of Islam, who have been marginalized in academic literature on the Indian Ocean. It simultaneously examines how oceanic religion was intimately connected to economic, political and technological developments. Students will be introduced to scholarship on oceanic Islam and monsoon Islam, before they are introduced to a variety of sources on transregional Islamic networks and agents of Islam, including biographies, hagiographies, travelogues, novels, poems and ethnographic accounts. Students will, moreover, be encouraged to consider ways in which approaches to studying Islam could be enhanced by a focus on religious economies and networks, as well as the lives of "subalterns" who crossed the porous borders of the Indian Ocean world and shaped its religious worlds. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1821 and Islamic Civilizations 136.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Ali Asani

R

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3931

The Yoga Sutras: Text, Meaning, Purpose

BTI Category

Semester

Hinduism Studies

SP24

The brief Yoga Sutras (only 195 sutras) of Patanjali (c 100 BCE-100 CE) is a vastly influential and fundamental text of yoga. It is the focus of the course, along with its primary commentary (Vyasa's Bhasya) in several translations, and with the 20th century commentator of Swami Hariharananda, a mystic practitioner. What was Patanjali up to? What are the Sutras for? What do the Sutras tell us about the meaning and purpose of yoga then and now? We will both stress the importance of the Yoga Sutras and be mindful that the Sutras are not the only normative authority regarding yoga. Though not a course about the practice of yoga or yoga in the modern world, it is always attentive to the implications for practice, and thus potentially of great use for practitioners and teachers today. Apt comparisons will be made with ancient Hindu and Buddhist parallels, other syntheses of yoga, Al-Biruni's 11th c. Arabic translation, and modern Christian interpretations of the Sutras. Weekly written responses, plus two twelve-page course papers. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1661.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Francis Clooney

T

3-5:30PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2171

Forgiveness

BTI Category

Semester

Ethics (all traditions)

SP24

When, if ever, are we obliged to forgive? What should forgiveness look like in the aftermath of violence? What conditions should be attached to its offer? Does forgiveness foster peace at the expense of justice? Should it? This course will examine the complicated problem of forgiveness through an examination of several diverse sources: theological, philosophical, and literary. The aim will be to develop a sophisticated understanding of the promise and problems of forgiveness in human lives, and to foster the critical application of such lessons to contemporary contexts and moral problems. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 145.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Matthew Potts

R

12-2:45PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2248

The Medium and the Mission: Technology and Communication in Global Christianity

BTI Category

Semester

Church History/History of Religions

SP24

This course will explore the many diverse mediums through which Christianity travels around the globe to save, heal, touch, prophecy and connect Christian communities from diverse places. In order to do so, we will combine ethnographic case studies and theoretical analysis. The case studies will vary in locale (providing a global scope) and in the medium. Some weeks might consist of a Zoom visit from a Pentecostal deliverance minister or faith healer. Others might require watching a Pentecostal Ghallywood film. Some weeks might center on technology as a material object, while still others will consider television programming, radio programming, telegraphs, or the ubiquity of the Jesus Film. This ethnographic breadth seeks to capture some of the dynamism of medium in World Christianity.
We will pair each case study with a theoretical consideration of how technology has played a significant role in shaping Christian ideas of the human, sin, senses, the body, transference/impartation, gifts, evangelism, and the world around them. While considering these topics, special attention will be paid to how marginalized communities have incorporated various mediums as means of resistance. Assignments will include participation in class conversations, leading seminar discussions, analyzing diverse mediums, and a final paper.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Nathanael Homewood

M

12-2PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3348

The Emergence of Islam: Contours and Controversies

BTI Category

Semester

Islamic Studies

SP24

The birth of Islam in the seventh century C.E. was a momentous historical turning point, but many aspects of this crucial process remain vigorously contested in modern scholarship. Was the Prophet Muhammad a local preacher of righteousness or the conscious creator of a religion with global ambitions? Is the Qur'anic text a record of Muhammad's own preaching or the result of a collective effort that continued after Muhammad (and perhaps had begun before him)? Did the early Muslims believe in the imminent end of the world or not? Was Islam originally an ecumenical monotheistic movement open to Jews and Christians, or did Islam's earliest adherents consider it a new and exclusive religion separate from Judaism and Christianity? Did Arabian tribes have a shared sense of belonging to a unified "Arab" ethnos before Islam, or did this sense of identity grow after disparate Arabian peoples conquered the Near East together? This course is dedicated to an in-depth discussion of such fundamental historiographic questions. In the process, we will delve into some of the earliest literary and documentary witnesses to early Islamic history and read from seminal works of scholarship on Islam's origins. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 2800.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Mohsen Goudarzi

T

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3182

Mind, Spirituality, and Mental Health in Hinduism

BTI Category

Semester

Hinduism Studies

SP24

This course will interrogate the various ways in which discussions on Hinduism have been included or have illuminated issues in the contemporary psychological sciences. We will read how different intellectual approaches ranging from psychoanalysis, folk psychology, cognitive anthropology, global mental health, and psychedelic sciences engage the archives of Hinduism as well as how ideas and practices from Hinduism are employed to provide an alternative to the therapeutic and treatment registers found in these approaches. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1606.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Swayam Bagaria

T

12-2PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

Permission to enroll in the course will be granted as petitions are received.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3137

Ethnography and Religion

BTI Category

Semester

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

SP24

This course critically considers how methodological experiments have brought together the ethnographic field and the religious archive in innovative ways. Particular attention is paid to questions that have arisen in post-colonial societies, that compel us to re-evaluate scholarly presumptions and methods that have been produced in the 'west'. Discussions will focus on a variety of global societies, considering how 'religion' has been the object of ethnographic, ethnohistorical, anthropological and historical inquiry in the past and present. Readings and presentations by invited speakers will acknowledge the methodological difficulties involved in pursuing research on the phenomenon and practice of religion across social contexts. We will be deliberating about ethnographic methods of studying religion as the everyday experience of diverse communities and identities, while paying attention to questions of power, race, gender and class, amongst others. The discussions will also consider how ethnography has been informed by religion and theological dispositions, and whether ethnographic inquiry should be free from religious inclination at all. As a methodology course, a key aim of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to develop their research interests, projects and ethnographic methods.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Teren Sevea

F

9:30-12PM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2060

Devotional Poetry

BTI Category

Semester

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

SP24

This course surveys the work of English and American lyric poets writing in the devotional mode, primarily from the Christian tradition, from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries. Poets include the English Metaphysicals (Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Traherne), John Milton, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, R.S. Thomas, Denise Levertov, Franz Wright, Christian Wiman, Jericho Brown, Anya Silver, and others. Poems and poets are approached thematically rather than chronologically (for example, poems of praise, lamentation, doubt, etc.). Students will leave this course experienced in the discipline of reading deeply and with attention. New readers of poetry and projects that engage Arts of Ministry are welcome. This course is eligible for Episcopal/Anglican polity Art of Ministry.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Regina Walton

W

3-5:30PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3171

Spiritual Cultivation in Islam Part I: The Classical Era

BTI Category

Semester

Islamic Studies

SP24

This course, as part of the new HDS Initiative on Islamic Spiritual Life and Service, is intended for students preparing for vocation in a variety of settings in which they will provide Islamically-inspired service and support. The course will acquaint students with Islamic pedagogy and practice on spiritual cultivation, highlighting the foundational importance of spiritual-ethical virtues in Islamic piety and the lifelong quest for nearness to and knowledge of God. In addition it will:-explore ways in which spiritual-ethical cultivation has been fostered holistically in the lived devotion of Muslim communities across time, place, and culture, including in various manifestations of the Islamic science of Sufism (ta_awwuf) and its traditional integration within educational and religious life and institutions, with attention to topics such as spiritual mentorship, spiritual training (tarbiya), spiritual companionship, oral tradition and transmission, devotional arts, and the creation of spaces for spiritual connection and service across religious, cultural, and social differences
-engage the students in experiential-learning exercises to deepen their understanding of relevant concepts and practices
-invite students to reflect upon what they are learning in relation to:
*their personal development, faith perspectives, and spiritual, ethical, intellectual, and vocational formation
*the Islamically-inspired service they will provide within and beyond Muslim communities
*ways to support their own and others' growth in this pursuit
*language and approaches for engaging varied audiences with this topic and pursuit in their respective settings

Professor

Class Day & Time

Ousmane Oumar Kane, Khalil Abdur-Rashid

T

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2798 01

Religion and Ecology

BTI Category

Semester

Ethics (all traditions)

SP24

This course will explore the intersection between religious traditions and ecological activism, with special attention to current conversations about sustainable agriculture and ethical eating. We will consider both the resources that religious traditions provide to ecological activists and the ways these activists have challenged aspects of traditional religion. The course will also function as a general introduction to the multiple ways of knowing that comprise the scholarly study of religion, with attention to scriptural interpretation, history, ethnography, theology, ethics, spirituality, and ritual. For MTS students, this course will support the attainment of degree goals 2 (theories and methods) and 5 (public communication). Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1046.Note: This course will include an optional, multi-day field trip.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Dan McKanan

MW

9-10:15AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2975

United Church of Christ Polity

BTI Category

Semester

Church Polity/Canon Law

SP24

The history, polity, theology and practice of the United Church of Christ. Issues addressed throughout include covenantal polity, how five historic streams combined to form the UCC, theological framings, wider church mission and justice, professional practices, and the ordination process. This course seeks to enhance authorized or lay ministry at the local church level by strengthening understanding of the covenantal connections among all settings of the UCC. MDiv students seeking ordination in the UCC are urged to take this course but all are welcome. Auditors by permission of instructor only.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Reebee Girash

M

3-6PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

Permission to enroll in the course will be granted as petitions are received. If enrollment exceeds the allowed limit, priority will be given to those needing the course for UCC ordination, followed by date of petition submission.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 4212

Elementary Greek II

BTI Category

Semester

Languages

SP24

Continuation of 4211. Focus on the reading of portions of the New Testament, along with continued work in classical Greek grammar and syntax. Course has additional section hour to be arranged.

Professor

Class Day & Time

James Skedros

MWF

9-10AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

Y

Notes

Prerequisite: Successful completion of HDS 4211 or equivalent.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 1260

History of Early Christianity

BTI Category

Semester

Church History/History of Religions

SP24

This course will provide a basic historical introduction to early Christianity from the first to fourth centuries CE. How did different Christians in this period navigate the diverse teachings, rituals, and social practices associated with Jesus of Nazareth to produce a religious movement that came to dominate the Roman Empire, even as it was itself always complex, variegated, and internally contested from its earliest moments? Throughout the course, we will explore the diversity of early Christian thought and practice across a range of topics and geographical areas, as well as the ways in which Christians situated themselves within the larger Roman world and in relation to others both internal and external. This is an introductory-level course and it offers the possibility of writing a research paper. Note that the course is designed to complement and build upon HDS 1202 "Introduction to the New Testament." Each can be taken as a standalone class or the two can be taken in any order; but overlap between them will be kept to a minimum. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 2432.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Giovanni Bazzana

TR

9-10:15AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2390B

Colloquium in American Religious History

BTI Category

Semester

Church History/History of Religions

SP24

Presentation and discussion of the research of doctoral candidates in American religious history. Available, with instructors' permission, to Harvard doctoral students in other fields of religious studies or American studies. Note: Second half of an academic year bi-weekly course. Credit will not be earned unless both the fall and spring semester of the course is completed. Course may be taken on a Sat/unsat basis only.Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 3505B.

Professor

Class Day & Time

David Holland

T

6-8PM

Grading Option

P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisites?

Y

Notes

PREREQ: HDS 2390A

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3044

Shi'a Islam and Politics in the Middle East

BTI Category

Semester

Islamic Studies

SP24

From the conflict in Yemen pitting the Shi'a Houthis against a Saudi-led coalition, to the civil war in Syria and the Shi'a majority militia-led fight against the remnants of ISIS in Iraq, dominant media narratives portray conflict in today's Middle East as part of a proxy battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia rooted in an ancient dispute within the Muslim world between the Shi'a and Sunni sects of Islam. In this rendering, primordial hatreds are driving religious wars and civil conflict with Iran, at the heart of the so-called Shi'a crescent, and Saudi Arabia, the stalwart of true Sunni identity. However, such thinking masks over a more complex understanding of the changes occurring in today's Middle East and prevents accurately differentiating between distinct yet overlapping factors such as actual substantive theological and intellectual differences between Shi'a and Sunni Islam, state competition (that is, between Iran and Saudi Arabia), and historical legacies of empire and state building in the Middle East. This course addresses such dominant narratives and challenges conventional understandings of the interplay between religion and politics in the Middle East and how sectarianism, Shi'a Islam, and geopolitical conflict can be more properly understood from a rigorous analytical perspective and focuses on the foundations and varieties of modern Shi'a political thought; religious clerical institutions; Shi'a political parties and militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen; and Iran's Islamic revolution, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and the Basij paramilitary organization. The course assumes no prior knowledge of Islam or the Middle East.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Payam Mohseni

W

3-5PM

Grading Option