Graduate Courses

List of Graduate Courses offered by the Department of Religion

Please note that with approval from the Director of Graduate Studies students may take up to two graduate courses (total of 8 credit hours) in other departments at the University of Illinois.

RLST 403    Women in Muslim Societies
RLST 408    Islam and Modern Society
RLST 409    Transnational Islam, Europe-US
RLST 410    Islam in Egypt
RLST 412    Readings in Sanskrit I
RLST 413    Readings in Sanskrit II
RLST 415    Intro Readings of the Talmud
RLST 416    Readings in Rabbinic Midrash
RLST 420    Jewish Life-Writing
RLST 424    Philosophy of Religion
RLST 429    Language of Religion
RLST 434    History of Jews in Diaspora
RLST 435    Revivalism and Evangelicalism
RLST 436    Religion in the United States, 1900-1941
RLST 437    Religion and American Cinema
RLST 440    Early Christian Thought
RLST 442    History of Early Judaism
RLST 443    Ancient Near Eastern Cultures
RLST 447    Modern Catholic Thought
RLST 458    Christians and Jews 1099-1789
RLST 463    Religion and Society
RLST 478   US Intel & Cultr Hist to 1865
RLST 479    US Intel Cultr Hist from 1859
RLST 481    Muslim Ethics in Global Age
RLST 482    Muslim-Christian Interactions
RLST 484    Buddhist Meditation
RLST 488    History of Chinese Buddhism
RLST 494    Topics in Religious Thought
RLST 495    Topics in Asian Religions
RLST 496    Topics in History of Judaism
RLST 498    Topics in Biblical Studies
RLST 503    Renaissance of the Bible
RLST 510    Introduction to Graduate Studies in Religion
RLST 511    Seminar in the Study of Religion (Topics will vary; may be repeated.)
RLST 514    Islamic Theology
RLST 535    Historiography of American Religion
RLST 562    Philosophical and Theological Responses to Religious Diversity
RLST 567    Mahayana Buddhism
RLST 599    M. A, Thesis Research (up to 8 credit hours) 

REL 401 - Gender and Hinduism

Exploration of the traditional identities, role and expectations of Hindu women and men, as well as popular Hindu beliefs and lived practices informed by understandings of gender, from the ancient period through the present day. Further, the course assesses the way in which these normative ideologies and gendered practices are being perpetuated and/or challenged in the modern world. Sources will include traditionally authoritative texts and treatises, myths and other historical narratives, contemporary ethnographies, and film. Same as SAME 410. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

REL 403 - Women in Muslim Societies

Examination of gender ideologies and social realities affecting the lives of women in various Muslim countries. Same as ANTH 403, GLBL 403, GWS 403, HIST 434, and SAME 403. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: A course in Islam or the Middle East, or consent of instructor.

REL 408 - Islam & Politics in Mid. East

Examines the role of Islam in contemporary politics, the contemporary resurgence of Islam, and the articulation of Islamic approaches to the new economic order, nationalism, and the changing role of women. Same as PS 408 and SAME 408. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent of instructor.

REL 409 - Transnational Islam, Europe-US

Same as ANTH 402 and ASST 402. See ANTH 402.

REL 412 - Readings in Sanskrit I

Same as SNSK 403. See SNSK 403.

REL 413 - Readings in Sanskrit II

Same as SNSK 404. See SNSK 404.

REL 414 - Advanced Biblical Hebrew

In-depth study of the grammar and syntax of selected texts from the Hebrew Bible. Texts to be studied will change from year to year. Selections will cover the full range of biblical genres and styles, including prophecy, law, historical narrative, psalms, and wisdom literature. Same as HEBR 414. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 undergraduate hours or 8 graduate hours in separate terms. Prerequisite: REL 205, or demonstrated proficiency at the 205 level.

REL 415 - Intro Readings of the Talmud

The Talmud is one of the most important works of Jewish literature. For the last millennium, Talmud study has been a central part of Jewish religious and cultural practice. This course will explain the Talmud's import and durability within Jewish culture while introducing students to the rigors of legal analysis that lie at the heart of most Talmudic passages. The course is ideal for those interested in religion, law, logic games and questions of textual interpretation. The course will study the Talmud entirely in English translation. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours.

REL 416 - Readings in Rabbinic Midrash

Seminar on the foundational text of Judaism- the Midrashic collections (3rd c. - 8th C.E.). We will consider the distinctiveness of Midrashic form and content, and also reflect upon the central methodological issues and problems for the study of this classic corpus. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours.

REL 420 - Jewish Life-Writing

Same as CWL 421, HIST 436, SLAV 420, and YDSH 420. See YDSH 420.

REL 424 - Philosophy of Religion

Same as PHIL 424. See PHIL 424.

REL 434 - History of Jews in Diaspora

Same as HIST 433. See HIST 433.

REL 435 - Revivalism and Evangelicalism

Examination of the history of revivalistic and evangelical Christianities in North America from the colonial period to the twenty-first century. A combination of primary texts and scholarly studies will focus on religious, social, and political legacies, and the current shape of evangelical Christianity in America. Same as HIST 486. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

REL 436 - Religion in America: 1900-1941

An exploration of the religious lives and thoughts of Americans in the first four decades of the twentieth century and the many overlapping issues confronting American society and American religion during that time. Focuses on four themes: debates over the meaning of modernity, understandings of the relationship between religion and society, the gendering of faith, and the relationship between religion and American identity. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: REL 235 or REL 236.

REL 440 - Early Christian Thought

Study of major developments in early Christian thought (first four centuries) through discussion of primary texts in translation. Same as MDVL 440. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 or 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: REL 121 or REL 202, or consent of instructor.

REL 442 - History of Early Judaism

The history of Judaism from Ezra to the rise of Islam: Hellenism and Judaism, varieties of Judaism, Palestinian Judaism and its documents, Babylonian Judaism, the rabbis, and popular Jewish culture. Same as HIST 432 and JS 442. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Credit in one course in religion at the 200-, 300-, or 400-level, or consent of instructor.

REL 447 - Modern Catholic Thought

Traces the history of Catholicism in its interaction with the modern world from the sixteenth century to the present, concentrating on the uneasy relationships that Catholicism has sustained with the modern world. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: REL 127 or consent of instructor.

REL 458 - Christians and Jews 1099-1789

Examines the complex relations between Christians and Jews in Europe from the high Middle Ages through the Enlightenment. Among our topics are the religious and social roots of medieval persecutions of Jews; the history of Jewish banishments; construction of myths to foment hostilities; Renaissance humanism (especially the Christian absorption of Jewish scholarship); the impact of the Christian reform movements, both Protestant and Catholic, on the status of Jews; mercantilism and the re-admission of Jews; and the emergence of a discourse of religious tolerance in the Enlightenment. Same as HIST 458. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

REL 461 - Indigenous Traditions

Interdisciplinary seminar on indigenous religious traditions, focusing especially on the study of native North American religions. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

REL 462 - Ecological Criticism

The scientific, political, and economic policy debates about global environmental crisis have tended to ignore its religious, historical, and literary dimensions. This interdisciplinary seminar in the environmental humanities redresses that omission by focusing attention on the emerging fields of religion and ecology, environmental history, and literary ecocriticism. Same as CWL 460 and ESE 462. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

REL 463 - Religion and Society

Same as ANTH 463. See ANTH 463.

REL 468 - Religions of Africa

Same as AFST 468 and ANTH 468. See ANTH 468.

REL 472 - Kierkegaard and the Self

Same as CWL 472, PHIL 472, and SCAN 472. See SCAN 472.

REL 478 - 19thC US Intel & Cultr Hist

Same as HIST 479. See HIST 479.

REL 479 - 20th Century US Culture Wars

Same as HIST 481. See HIST 481.

REL 480 - Islamic Law

Introduction to Islamic legal philosophy and the historical evolution of Islamic legal and jurisprudential system. Begins by studying the origins, nature, sources and interpretive methodologies of classical Islamic law, and the main institutions for upholding this law, the madhhab, or school of law, examining its development from the formative to the post-formative periods and highlighting important controversies generated along the way. Then looks at the early encounter of Islamic law with modernity. Followed by an exploration of several contemporary topics that have served as catalysts for new tensions and alternative approaches and interpretive theories. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Previous coursework on Islam or consent of instructor.

REL 481 - Muslim Ethics in Global Age

Exploration of contemporary, often revisionist Muslim ideas on a broad range of ethical issues that face societies today, such as human rights, democracy, gender equality, just war, pluralism, and bioethics. Same as SAME 481. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Previous coursework on Islam or the Middle East.

REL 482 - Muslim-Christian Interactions

Explores the complexity of Muslim-Christian interactions since early Islam, including theological and philosophical exchanges, debates, polemics, interfaith dialogue, perceptions of each other, Muslim minorities in the West, and Christian minorities in the Muslim world, and the relationship of religion to culture. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

REL 483 - Salvation in Islamic Thought

Introduction to salvation in Islamic thought, with emphasis on discussions of the fate of "Others" (i.e. non-Muslims). Begins with a study of the origins and sources of this discourse, followed by an examination of evolving orientations from the formative to the post-formative periods. Important controversies generated along the way, including exclusivist-inclusivist, universalist-anti-universalist, and Sufi-anti-Sufi debates, will be explored. This is followed by an assessment of the new approaches to salvation in modern Islamic thought, with particular emphasis on the contemporary pluralist-inclusivist debate. Finally, alternative approaches to the topic of salvation, including reincarnation, will be examined. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Previous coursework on Islam or consent of instructor.

REL 484 - Buddhist Meditation

Examines classical systems of Buddhist meditation and their relation to Buddhist psychology and world view. Same as EALC 484. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: REL 287 or consent of instructor.

REL 488 - History of Chinese Buddhism

Same as EALC 488. See EALC 488.

REL 493 - Honors Senior Thesis

Two-term research project. 3 undergraduate hours. No graduate credit. May be repeated in separate terms for a total of 6 undergraduate hours. Prerequisite: Senior majors in religion who are eligible for graduating with distinction from the program.

REL 494 - Topics in Religious Thought

Various topics in religious thought. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated as topics vary.

REL 495 - Topics in Asian Religions

Topics in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and other Asian religious traditions. Same as EALC 495. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 undergraduate hours or 8 graduate hours as topics vary. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.

REL 496 - Topics in History of Judaism

Examination of two or three of the most important practices, beliefs, icons, texts, myths, and spiritual encounters that have and continue to shape Judaism as a religion. Same as JS 496. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 undergraduate hours or 8 graduate hours.

REL 498 - Topics in Biblical Studies

Detailed interpretation of selected books of the Bible. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 undergraduate hours or 8 graduate hours as topics vary.

REL 503 - Renaissance of the Bible

Explores the cultural, intellectual, and, in several key instances, political circumstances of the Bible in the Renaissance. Topics include the impact of print technology, the biblical philology of Renaissance humanism, the function of biblical studies in the reform movements (including the Catholic Reformation), the Renaissance Bible and doctrine, translations of the Bible, the politics of the English-language Bible, and the artistic presentation of the Bible.

REL 504 - Genesis in History

Survey of Jewish and Christian cultural reception of Genesis in the ancient and medieval worlds. Examines techniques of exegesis and strategies of interpretation in the ancient world, such as allegory, narrative expansion, and retelling. Engages with foundational studies of modern scholarship on biblical reception. While focusing on the initial chapters of Genesis, we will also explore the appropriation of Abraham traditions and the Joseph story. Same as MDVL 504.

REL 510 - Graduate Intro to Religion

Introduction for first semester graduate students to selected methods and techniques for conducting research in the area of Religion. Students will receive general guidance on strategies for conducting bibliographic research and designing research projects. Includes study of some currently salient issues and areas of inquiry in a number of disciplines pertaining to the study of religion. The course will be supervised by one professor and will offer a series of presentations on several methodologies and historical issues by experts in various fields. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.

REL 511 - Seminar in Study of Religion

Intensive study of select topics or issues in the study of religion. May be repeated in the same or separates terms as topics vary.

REL 514 - Islamic Theology

Study of the language, arguments and schools of classical Islamic theology, mainly through direct study of English translations of theological texts from two different theological schools. Same as SAME 514.

REL 515 - History of Jewish Theology

Study of Israelite and Jewish thought from the biblical to modern period. Particular attention will be paid to theological matters and to the historical, cultural and intellectual challenges that engendered a re-thinking and re-conceptualization of the Jewish faith.

REL 520 - Hindu Pilgrimage, Power & Place

This course undertakes a critical examination of the nature and practices of Hindu pilgrims, pilgrimages, and pilgrimage sites. We will examine central beliefs and practices of lived religion in the Hindu tradition and situate Hindu pilgrimage within the broader context of pilgrimage and related discussions of power and place. Same as SAME 520. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.

REL 535 - Historiography of Religion in America

Immerses students in major works of recent American religious history. Written from multiple disciplinary perspectives and wrestling with the knotty problems in which religion has been interwoven, these books will give the student a solid foundation in American religious history. Same as HIST 574. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.

REL 562 - Religious Diversity

Intensive study of philosophical and theological responses to the phenomenon of religious diversity. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in one of the relevant fields, or consent of instructor.

REL 564 - Global Religion and Politics

Same as SAME 564 and SOC 564. See SOC 564.

REL 567 - Mahayana Buddhism

An investigation of Buddhist core notions as conceived from the point of view of the three Major Mahayana traditions with an examination of the ways in which these Mahayana traditions are presented in modern and early modern scholarship. At stake is the fundamental hermeneutic issue of the ways in which the "moderns" look at pre-modern thought, that is, the questions of the historical situatedness of thought. Prerequisite: At least one previous course in Buddhism or consent of instructor.

REL 568 - Popular Religion in East Asia

Study of the history of East Asian religions through primary and secondary sources primarily focusing on Buddhism and indigenous faiths. Students will gain an understanding of the social and historical character of popular religion through East Asia. Same as EALC 567. Prerequisites: Graduate Students majoring in East Asian religions must be prepared to read some primary sources written in the original language; graduate students in the other majors are not required to read in the original language.

REL 590 - Independent Study

Special topics not treated in regularly scheduled courses; for graduates. 2 to 6 graduate hours. No professional credit. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Evidence of adequate preparation for such study and consent of staff member supervising the work.

REL 599 - Thesis Research

Researching and writing a thesis in consultation with a faculty adviser. 0 to 16 graduate hours. No professional credit. Approved for S/U grading only. May be repeated. The M.A. program in Religion allows students to receive a maximum of 8 hours for the M.A.