what we know of the religion traditions

minimum of 2 pages that covers what we know of the religion traditions from the one covered in class , please check the Final Assessment Assignment doc for more details and check the Class Schedule for the topic regarding it from class, single space 12 pt font, double-spaced, 1” margins, no space between paragraphs). Your header material (name/date/assignment title/etc) should be no more than 4 single-spaced lines at the top of your document.


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M, August 28th
Th, August 31st Defining Religion
Oxtoby, “What is Religion?” and “Why Study Religion?” in chp 1
Martin, C. Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion. (Routledge: 2014), Chapter 1
Th, Sept 7th Near Eastern Religion
Enuma Elish, Introductory material and Tablets IV-V
Epic of Gilgamesh Intro and selections.pdf
Introduction, pp. xxvii-lii
The short paragraph summaries of Tablets 1-8
Tablets 9-11 (all)
Reading questions:
For the primary sources, what are the characteristics of gods, heroes, and human beings?
What is the relationship between heroes and gods?
M, Sept. 11th Greco-Roman religion: Religion and the State
Th, Sept 14th Greco-Roman Religion: Mystery cults and philosophy
“The Biography of a Pagan Saint: Apollonius of Tyana,” in S.I. Johnston, ed. Religion: Narrating Religion.
Part of the Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Religion series. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan
Reference USA, 2017.
Read pgs. 227-236 (first ten pages), stop at “From Apology to Encomia”
Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6.11 (stop at “[6.12] Damis says that he breathed afresh….”)
Reading Questions:
How is philosophy described in Apollonius?
Was there anything unexpected in the description of philosophy in Apollonius?
Unit 2: Judaism
M, Sept 18th Introduction to Hebrew Bible / Primeval History
Creation: Genesis 1-2:3; 2:5-4
Flood: Genesis 6-9; 11
If you do not have your Bible yet, use this online translation:
Alter, R. Genesis: Translation and Commentary. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1996. Genesis 1- 3 (A
Jewish English translation of Genesis)
Coogan, M. The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford. 2008. Chps 1-2
Oxtoby, World Religions: Western Traditions. chp. 3, sections: “Jewish Identity as Ethnicity and Religion”;
“Earliest Jewish History: The Biblical Story”
Reading questions:
How does the Enuma Elish creation story compare to the ones in Genesis? What’s different? Are there
any similarities
Compare Genesis 1-2:4 to 2:5-25; what’s different between the two, especially in terms of literary style?
What is the lesson of Utnapishtim in The Epic of Gilgamesh and how does it compare to the Noah story?
Does the Epic of Gilgamesh give you any insight into the primeval history of Genesis?
How does Alter’s translation compare to the NRSV (=HarperCollins Bible)?
Th, Sept 21st
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
Genesis 12, 15-17
Genesis 21-22 (Abraham and Isaac)
Genesis 25-36 (Jacob Saga)
Dozeman, T. The Pentateuch: Introducing the Torah. Augsburg Fortress, 2017. pp. 231-267 _(Abraham
Genesis to Joseph and his brothers)_
Reading Guide:
As you read the selections in Genesis – pay attention to the themes of promise/covenant; land; and
As you read Dozeman, pay attention to those same themes, but also to the connections he notes
between the various stories, and how he differentiates the sources.
M, Sept 25th
Exodus, Covenant, and the Promised Land
Exodus 1-24; 32-34; compare Exodus 20 and 34 with Deuteronomy 5
Oxtoby, World Religions: Western Traditions, pp. 83-89 (be sure to read the “Focus” and “Document”
Coogan, M. The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford. 2008. Chps 5
Hendel, R. Remembering Abraham: Culture, Memory, and History in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford, 2005.
Chp 4
Th, Sept 28th Israel and the Temples
2 Kings 17, 22-25
Isaiah 6-12
Ezra 1-7; 8 (skim); 9-10; Nehemiah 8-10
Sweeney, M.A. “The Religious World of Ancient Israel to 586 BCE,” in J. Neusner and A.J. Avery-Peck,
eds. The Blackwell Companion to Ancient Judaism. Blackwell Publishing, 2000.
Goldenberg, R. The Origins of Judaism: From Canaan to the Rise of Islam. Cambridge, 2007. chp 3, “The
Book and the People.”
Oxtoby, World Religions: Western Traditions, pp. 89-92 (stop at “The Second Temple Period”
M, Oct 2nd Hellenistic and Second Temple Judaism(s)
Review Ezra/Nehemiah/Goldenberg (what is the big “problem” Ezra/Nehemiah try to fix? What does the
“problem” suggest about the realities on the ground, i.e. what Judaism might have actually looked like)
2 Maccabees 4-10
Shiffman, L.H. Texts and Traditions: A Source Reader for the Study of Second Temple and Rabbinic
Judaism. Grand Rapids: KTAV Publishing, 1998
266-9; [Josephus on three sects; 6.2.1-6.2.3]
275-281 [Josephus on Essenes, 6.3.1-6.3.2]
285-291 [Rule of the Community, 6.3.5]
Murphy, F.J. “Second Temple Judaism,” in J. Neusner and A.J. Avery-Peck, eds. The Blackwell
Companion to Ancient Judaism. Blackwell Publishing, 2000. pp. 58-77
Oxtoby, Western Traditions, pp. 91-99
Reading Guide:
In 2 Maccabees, focus on the story itself. What do the Seleucids do wrong? How is “Greek” / “Hellenism”
Pay attention to the differences between the three sects
What, according to Josephus, are the differences between the Essenes and the Pharisees/Sadducees
Ignore the numbers on the Rule of the Community (they are oddly placed);
How does the Rule of the Community compare to Josephus’s Essenes?
Who do you think are the ones “in the hand of the Angel of Darkness”?
Th, Oct 5th — Class Cancelled
M, Oct 9th: Th, Second Temple Judaism (continued)
Review 2 Maccabees and Texts and Traditions pieces from Monday
Cohen, Shaye, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987. (selections)
Pirkei Avot 1 (Oral Torah)
b. Baba Metzia 59a-b
Texts and Traditions 517-522 (Written and Oral Torah)
Texts and Traditions 700-705 (on rituals of Pesach)
Bereshit Rabbah 1.3-4
Oxtoby, Western Traditions, pp. 99-106/
Th, Oct 12th – Test #1
Unit 3: Christianity
M, Oct 16th Apocalypticism/Messianism of Second Temple Judaism
Fredericksen, P. “Apocalypticism” from Frontline: From Jesus to Christ.
Ehrman, B. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millenium. Oxford: OUP, 1999. chp. 7, “Finding a Fit:
Jesus in Context,” pp. 103-123.
Jewish Apocalyptic Literature — pay attention to the role of human and divine saviors in each text
1 Enoch 90
Daniel 7 -8 (HarperCollins Bible, pp. 1184-1188)
War Scroll (selection)
“Messiah” from livius.org: http://www.livius.org/articles/religion/messiah/
This page contains several short articles on Messianism. Please read the following pages:
Roots of the Concept: “”Anointment” and “Prophets”
From Anointed One to Restorer of Israel: “The Hasmoneans;” Type #1, #2, #3, #4; Literary motifs “The
‘son o” -titles”; “Messianic Expectations”
Claimants: Judas the Galilean; The Egyptian Prophet; Menahem, the son of Judas the Galilean.
Th, Oct 19th
Ehrman, B. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1997. pp. 241-256.
Richards, E.R. “Classifying Paul’s Letters,” from Paul and First-Century Letter Writing (InterVarsity Press,
2004), pp. 122-140
Galatians 1:11 – 2:21 (pp. 2043-2045) — how does Paul describe his former life? what does he recount
after he was converted? What does God tell him to do? How does Paul proceed?
Acts 9:1-31; Acts 15:1-35 — compare with what aul says in Galatians — be prepared to discuss
1 Thessalonians
When reading 1 Thessalonians, keep these questions in mind:
What is the demographic make-up of the Thessalonian ekklesia (=assembly/church)?
What information does Paul reveal about how he established the ekklesia in Thessaloniki?
What events have happened since Paul originally visited Thessaloniki and established the ekklesia?
What is Paul’s message about Jesus? What does Paul say as reminders for his audience and what does
he say that answers new questions?
Is Paul’s message apocalyptic? If yes, how so? If no, why not?
As you’re reading, try to note specific passages that might help answer these questions.
M, Oct 23rd Paul, Gentiles, and Jews
Galatians (all)
Romans 1-9
Gager, J. Reinventing Paul. (OUP, 2000). chp 4″The Letter to the Romans,” pp. 101-143. (not “full” pages,
so it is not quite as long as it sounds).
Reading Questions:
How does the tone of Galatians, especially in regard to Paul’s view of the community, compare to that of
1 Thessalonians?
In Galatians, what is Paul’s argument about the Jewish Law?
In Galatians, who are his opponents, and why do they disagree with Paul?
How does a person come into right standing (i.e. “justification”) with God according to Paul in Romans?
How is sin characterized in Romans?
How is legal language used in Romans?
What is the role and importance of baptism in Romans 6?
Th, October 26th. Paul: Romans (con’t)
Romans 1-11
Review Gager
Reading Question:
How does a person come into right standing (i.e. “justification”) with God according to Paul in Romans?
How is sin characterized in Romans?
How is legal language used in Romans?
What is the role and importance of baptism in Romans 6?
What is the relationship between Israel and the Gentile mission in Romans 9-11?
Papers on Judaism due
M, Oct. 30th Gospels I: Synoptic Problem
Read/Watch the following before reading gospel passages:
White, Michael L. Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite. HarperOne: 2011. pp. 1-16.
Mark Goodacre on the Synoptic Problem (about 2 1/2 minutes)
Read from New Testament:
Mark (all)
Matthew 1-3; 5-6; 8:28-34; 13; 24; 26-7
Luke 1-3; 6 8:1-39; 11:36-12:34 21; 22-23
Pick one of the following sets, note the similarities/differences in the three parallel passages
Mk 5:1-20; Mt 8:28-34; Lk 8:26-39; (Gadarene Demoniacs)
Mk 4:1-25; Mt 13; Lk 8:1-18 (parable of sower)
Oxoby, Western Traditions, 150-159 (stop at “Authority in the Early Church”)
Th, Nov 2nd Gospels II: From Gospels to Historical Jesus
John 1:1-34; 6:1-59; 18-19
Review Scripting Jesus
Ehrman, B. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1997. pp. 185-202
Synoptic Exercise
Read each section of “Healing of the Paralytic” (pdf here). Underline in one color sections where all texts
Underline in different colors elements that appear in: Mark alone; Matthew alone; Luke alone
Where are the areas of agreement and disagreement? Do any of the disagreements change the story in
significant ways?
What precedes and follows this story in each gospel? Are they the same or different?
What tentative hypotheses can you venture? What questions do you want to have answered?
M, Nov 6th
Test #2
Unit 4: Islam
M, Nov 13th The Birth of Islam and the Qu’ran
Oxtoby, World Religions: Western Traditions., pp. 230-244 (stop at “Practice”)
Study Quran,
Peters, F.E., A Reader on Classical Islam, pp. 43-53 (read intro, skim selection 1, read 2, 3, and 5)
Introduction pp. xxiii-xxxvi;
Approaching the Quran, pp. lii-liii
“How to Read the Quran” 1587-1600
Lumbard, “The Quranic View of Sacred History and Other Religions,” pp. 1765-1784. NEW ADDITION TO
Quran, Suras 1, 3, 4
For the Suras, I recommend first reading the introduction to the Sura, then the Sura in its entirety, and
then go back and skim through the footnotes.
Th, Nov 16th Early Revelation and Eschatology
Quran, Suras 78-114
skip 89, 94, 96, 112
read commentary on 78, 99, 101
Study Quran, “Death, Dying, and the Afterlife” (pp. 1819-1856)
Papers on Christianity DUE
M, Nov 27th Qur’an as Sripture
Qur’an, Suras 2, 22
Oxtoby, 244-249
Th, Nov 30th Varieties of Islam
Oxtoby, 259-267 (“Variations”)
Peters, F.E. Reader on Classical Islam,
Sunni/Shia selections : 109-124 (#7-#12); 133-140 (#17-#18)
Sufism selections: 310-312 (#2); 332-339 (#10-#13)
Chittick, “The Quran and Sufism,” SQ, 1737- 1749
For the final assessment, I would like for you to:
1. Tell me one thing that you have learned about the three major religions we studied this
term (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). This can be a concept (e.g. “covenant”), something
from a specific text (e.g., “Paul thought that the world was going to end very soon”), an
event in this history of that religion (e.g., “the mir’aj”). The only requirement is that it has
to be something we covered for this class, whether from class lecture or from the
secondary readings.
a. Explain each thing in detail. Your explanation should include (but is not limited to)
the following questions:
i. Where does that thing come from (is it from a specific text or an idea that
isn’t directly related to a text we read)?
ii. Why does it matter for the religion / what does it tell us about the
iii. What is interesting about it to you
b. Suggest something about what these three things say about the similarities
and/or differences in the three religions? In essence, do these three things
suggest a common “Abrahamic” religion? Why or why not?
2. Tell me if the things you’ve learned changed your view or understanding of any of the
religions. Be specific. For example, you might want to refer to a current event and how
what you’ve learned this semester helps you understand the event. You may also choose
to look at the way news media covers or talk about the event and critique how they
present it based upon what you’ve learned. (These are just two possibilities, you might
find another way to approach this part of the assignment)
a. This does not have to refer back to the answers for #1.
b. The answer to #2 may very well be “no.” If so, tell me why. Was all the material
stuff you had already learned? If so, in what context did you learn that material?
Did your view/understanding not change because of some failure in the course
structure or content? Was there something you wish we would have discussed
that didn’t get covered (and why is that thing interesting to you)? Was there
material that was never explained well enough for you? Was there something in
the structure of the course that could have been changed that would have
You do not (and should not) do any secondary research for this. Everything you need should
come from class readings or lecture. If you cite primary sources, please cite Bible selections
(Tanakh/New Testament) by name of book chapter:verse(s), and Qur’an by sura:verse(s).
Anything else, name by author and page number.

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