SYLLABUS. REL 156: Christianity Fall 2013 Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 A.M. to 12:20 P.M. Life Science Building, Room 105

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1 SYLLABUS REL 156: Christianity Fall 2013 Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 A.M. to 12:20 P.M. Life Science Building, Room 105 Instructor: Robert Michael Ruehl Office Hours: Thursdays, 12:30 to 1:30 P.M. and by appointment Location: Milton Atrium Teaching Assistant: Dai Newman Office Hours: Tuesdays, 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. and by appointment Location: Pages Café Teaching Assistant: Courtney O Dell-Chaib Office Hours: Thursdays, 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. and by appointment Location: T.A. Office, Department of Religion Course Description This is an introductory course on the study of Christianity from an academic perspective. It will focus on Christianity s emergence, growth, and its many present forms. This means examining its history, theology, institutions, and practices. This will allow students to better understand how Christianity helps to shape lives, communities, and civil society. The underlying concern is how Christianity helps to create quality lives that are worth living. Course Structure The lectures and readings will largely move in a chronological fashion, but the course will be anchored to two foundational texts: Paul s Letter to the Romans and The Letter of James. While reading the assigned textbook for historical, intellectual, and political contexts, we will place the source documents in dialogue with the two foundational texts above. We will examine the primary sources to discover if their emphases are more on grace (Paul), more on works (James), or more intent on forming a new or synthesized approach. Class sessions will consist of lectures and informed discussions that allow the textbook and primary sources to mutually illuminate one another. Course Goals 1. Develop critical-thinking skills 2. Develop writing skills 3. Introduce students to the basic elements of Christian history, theology, and cultural formations 4. Provide students with an awareness of Christianity s diversity and its political implications Expectations 1. Be on time and prepared for class (have the readings with you, and you should have completed the reading assignments before class) 2. Active participation (discussing the readings and taking part in any group work) 3. Turn in assignments by the due date 4. Courteous, respectful behavior (no texting during class, no surfing the internet, no sleeping, etc.) 5. Thoughtfully complete student evaluation forms at the end of the semester 1

2 Course Requirements 1. Participation constitutes 10% of your grade (10 points). Participation means being prepared for each class and actively shaping the dialogues: reading the texts, understanding key points, and contributing to in-class discussions in a respectful manner. 2. A short reflection paper constitutes 10% of your grade (10 points). In this paper, you will respond to four questions asking you to engage what strengths and weaknesses you bring to the study of Christianity. As with all written assignments, always proofread your work and make sure spelling and punctuation are correct, and remove any typos. Post this to Blackboard in the Short Reflection Paper section by 11:00 A.M. on Sunday, September 1, Papers posted within 24 hours after the due date will lose two points. Papers later than 24 hours will not be accepted. You will answer four questions in concise, clearly written, well-developed paragraphs. All answers together should total a minimum of one page or a maximum of two pages in length. 3. Two critical papers constitute 30% of your grade (15 points for each paper). These assignments are designed to test your ability to carefully examine a topic(s) and reading(s) covered in class. You will be given questions to choose from. The papers should be approximately three pages in length (or 1,000 words). As with all work, check your spelling and punctuation. Make sure you properly cite your sources. They are to be posted on Blackboard in the appropriate sections: First Critical Paper and Second Critical Paper. The first is due by 11:00 A.M. on Sunday, September 22, 2013, and the second is due by 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, November 23, Late papers posted within 24 hours after the due date will lose 2 points. Papers later than 24 hours after the due date will not be accepted. 4. Two exams constitute 50% of your grade (25 points each). These exams will be in-class exams; you will have the entire class session. It will be composed of 40 questions: true and false, multiple choice, and matching. You need to be in class before the first person leaves the room. Once the first person takes the exam and leaves the classroom, no more exams will be handed out. The only excuses accepted for missing an exam are documented excuses (such as medical emergencies, family emergencies, traveling in association with Syracuse University events, etc.). Bring a #2 pencil to the exam (as the answers will be registered on Scantron sheets). The first exam is on Tuesday, October 15, 2013, and the second is on Thursday, December 5, Assignments Assignment Points Reflection Paper Sunday, September 1, 2013 by 11:00 A.M. 10 1st Critical Essay Sunday, September 22, 2013 by 11:00 A.M. 15 Mid-Term Exam Tuesday, October 15, nd Critical Essay Saturday, November 23, 2013 by 11:00 A.M. 15 Final Exam Thursday, December 5, In-Class Participation and Discussions (to be assessed at the end of the semester) 10 The assignments added together equal 100 points, which means your final letter grade, your final points, and your final percentage for the class are easy to figure out: for example, 85 out of 100 points is 85%, and 85% is a B. By following your points over the semester, you will be able to calculate what your final grade is. A points A points B points B points B points C points C points C points 2

3 D F points 0-59 points Required Textbook and Readings There is one required textbook for this class: Cory, Catherine A., and Michael J. Hollerich, eds. The Christian Theological Tradition. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, All other required readings are posted online. They can be found on Blackboard in the Documents section. Each textbook reading and primary document needs to be read for the class for which it is assigned. (For example, if texts are assigned for Thursday, August 29, 2013, then you are to read the assigned texts for class that day.) You are expected to be able to discuss the content. Being prepared for class means reading the texts before class and being able to address the content in class. Because of copyright laws, the readings are only for your use in this class; they are not to be shared with others outside of the class. Academic Integrity The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work. The policy also governs the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments as well as the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verifications of participation in class activities. Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty of any sort. For more information and the complete policy, see Disabilities The Office of Disability Services (ODS) is the designated campus office that facilitates access for students with documented disabilities to programs and activities at Syracuse University. If you are a student with a disability and plan to request accommodations, it is important that you contact the Office of Disability Services. Students with disabilities may choose to self-disclose at any time. However, in order to ensure sufficient time to arrange for and provide auxiliary aids and services, requests for accommodations should be made as early as possible. Please feel free to contact the Office of Disability Services at (315) or (315) TDD, to speak with an ODS Counselor regarding any questions or concerns. See their webpage at Class Assignments Date Focus and Readings WEEK 1 08/27/2013 Introduction to the Course 08/29/2013 Contemporary Issues: Aslan, Faith, and Scholarship; Wright, Religion, and Politics Reza Aslan, Selection from Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Article: Reverend Jeremiah Wright 3

4 WEEK 2 09/03/2013 Studying Christianity Cory and Hollerich, Chapter 1, Part I, and Part II, pages 1-27 and /05/2013 In Medias Res, Part I Cory and Hollerich, Chapter 7, pages The Letter of Paul to the Romans WEEK 3 09/10/2013 In Media Res, Part II The Letter of James 09/12/2013 The Jewish Background Cory and Hollerich, Chapters 2, 3, and 4, pages WEEK 4 09/17/2013 The Emergence of Jesus and the Good News Cory and Hollerich, Chapters 5 and 6, pages The Gospel According to Mark 09/19/2013 Christianity and Empire Cory and Hollerich, Part III, Chapters 8 and 9, pages Lost Scriptures: Peter, Mary, Paul, and Thecla WEEK 5 09/24/2013 Augustine and His Conversion Experience Cory and Hollerich, Chapter 10, pages Confessions: The Birthpangs of Conversion 09/26/2013 Christianity in the East and Islam Cory and Hollerich, Chapters 11 and 12, pages Passages from the Qur an Addressing Jesus WEEK 6 10/01/2013 The Medieval Period and High Middle Ages Cory and Hollerich, Chapters 13 and 14, pages Papal Bulls 10/03/2013 Aquinas and Late Medieval Christianity Cory and Hollerich, Chapters 15 and 16, pages Aquinas Political Writings WEEK 7 10/08/2013 Renaissance, Luther, and the Birth of Protestantism Cory and Hollerich, Part IV, Chapters 17 and 18, pages The Bondage of the Will 10/10/2013 The Spread of Protestantism and Catholic Resistance Cory and Hollerich, Chapters 19 and 20, pages John Calvin, Selections from Book II, Institutes of the Christian Religion 4

5 WEEK 8 10/15/2013 *****Mid-Term Exam***** 10/17/2013 Colonialism and Global Christianity Cory and Hollerich, Chapters 21 and 22, pages WEEK 9 10/22/2013 Puritanism and Anne Hutchinson Cory and Hollerich, Chapter 23, pages Enemy of the State 10/24/2013 Against Calvinism: The Emergence of Unitarianism Channing and Humanity s Likeness to God WEEK 10 10/29/2013 A New American Religious Sensibility Emerson and the Lord s Supper Wild Life, Wild Mind 10/31/2013 Christianity and World War II Readings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer WEEK 11 11/05/2013 Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. Readings from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cornel West 11/07/2013 Second Vatican Council and the Emergence of Liberation Theology Cory and Hollerich, Chapter 24, pages South American Liberation Theology: Gutierrez and Gebara WEEK 12 11/12/2013 The Rise of Black Liberation Theology and Womanist Theology Cory and Hollerich, Chapter 25, pages Black Liberation Theology and Womanist Theology: Evans, Hayes, and Williams 11/14/2013 Feminist and Mujerista Theology Feminist and Latina Theology: Althaus-Reid and Isherwood WEEK 13 11/19/2013 Continental Philosophy and Christianity Selected Readings from John D. Caputo 11/21/2013 Interreligious Dialogue and Native Americans Cory and Hollerich, Chapter 26, pages Native American Theology: Tinker and Archambault WEEK 14 *****Thanksgiving Break No Classes 11/24/2013 through 12/01/2013***** 5

6 WEEK 15 12/03/2013 Ecology and Christianity Eco-Theology and Christianity: McFague, Borg, and Page 12/05/2013 *****Final Exam***** I plan to follow the above schedule, but current events, class needs, and unforeseeable situations may lead to minor modifications. I reserve the right to change the syllabus as needed. 6

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