Courses

January 2015

CLAS 3600: Medieval Manuscripts at UVA
Gregory Hays
MTWRFS 9:00-3:00

An introduction to the study of medieval manuscripts, built around the holdings of the Small Special Collections Library at UVA. We will look at the production and use of books in medieval culture and at some particular types of manuscript (Bibles, Books of Hours). We will also consider the manuscript as an object of collecting in the modern age and the problems (including ethical issues) involved with manuscript fragments. We will conclude with the move from manuscript to print in the fifteenth century, and the impact on manuscripts of the “post-print” culture of the twenty-first. On a concrete level we will practice reading the three most common medieval script families (Carolingian, Gothic and Humanistic). Most days will include hands-on time in Special Collections. Student responsibilities will include secondary reading and some transcription exercises, plus a short (3 pp.) writing assignment. As a culminating project, each student will give a 20-minute illustrated presentation on a manuscript or fragment in the UVA collection. No previous familiarity with manuscripts is assumed. Some knowledge of Latin would be handy, but is not a prerequisite.

Spring 2015

Undergraduate (1000-4000 level*)

(*Undergraduates may be eligible to enroll in 5000-level courses with instructor approval)

ARTH 2153: Romanesque and Gothic Art
Eric Ramirez-Weaver
TR 9:30-10:45

The medieval monk, Raoul Glaber, described Europe in the year 1000 as a place of Christian renewal in which the continent “…[was] clothing herself everywhere in a white garment of churches.” From the Romanesque churches along the Pilgrimage Routes to the new Gothic architecture at St. Denis outside Paris and on to late medieval artistic production in Prague, this course examines profound and visually arresting expressions of medieval piety, devotion, and power made by artists from roughly 1000-1500. In this class, both sacred and secular artworks supply important records of the philosophical, theological, political, and scientific beliefs espoused by their different patrons from disparate time periods and the artists they commissioned to translate their visions into churches, castles, liturgical objects, sculptures, stained glass, tapestries, household items, and illuminated manuscripts. Throughout our investigations, particular attention will be paid to the contributions of important medieval women, who rose above social inequalities, and demonstrated their power and prestige through cultivated programs of patronage.

ARTH 2862: Arts of the Buddhist World
Daniel Ehnbom
TR 2:00-3:15

Surveys the Buddhist sculpture, architecture and painting of India, China, Japan and other areas of Asia. Considers aspects of history and religious practice.

ARTH 2961: Arts of the Islamic World
TBA
TR 2:00-3:15

The class is an overview of art made in the service of Islam in the Central Islamic Lands, Egypt, North Africa, Spain, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and South and Southeast Asia. (SIS).

ARTH 3559: The Art of Byzantine Warfare
Foteini Kondyli
MW 3:30-4:45

In Game of Thrones the siege of King’s Landing is not entirely a product of Martin’s imagination but rather inspired by Byzantine warfare. In this course we will examine the socio-economic, and political history of Byzantine warfare (c. 400-1500) based on fortifications, weapons, and artistic representations of war. We will focus on the people engaged in warfare, on military technology, logistics, borders and the impact of religion on warfare.

ARTH 3591-001: Medieval Manuscript Illumination
Eric Ramirez-Weaver
TR 2:00-3:15

This course examines the development of manuscript illumination following the birth of the codex in ca. 300.  Each manuscript studied exemplifies aspects of changing period styles, scientific beliefs, and spiritual identities. The myriad ways that books manifest crafted confessions of medieval ideas and reveal a sensual appreciation for beauty and value will be interrogated through a set of case studies ranging roughly 450-1450. Students in this course will learn the fundamental research skills required to undertake original study of medieval manuscripts.  Consultation of local resources will be complemented by work with manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD.

ARTH 3591-003: Monuments of Japanese Art
Dorothy Wong
MW 10:30-11:45

The course focuses on key monuments and artistic traditions that have played a central role in Japanese art and society. Topics range from art and architecture of Shinto and Buddhism of the classical period, late Heian court art, Zen paintings and garden architecture, and also decorative paintings and woodblock prints of the later period.

ARTH 4591-001: Architecture and Identity in the Byzantine City
Foteini Kondyli
T 1:00-3:30

This seminar explores the development of Byzantine cities in relation to Byzantium’s political and socio- economic structures (4th-15th c). It aims at examining cities as lived spaces, investigating their architecture and topography as well as a range of urban experiences from mundane daily deeds to public processions. Emphasis will also be placed on the different social groups responsible for the transformation of Byzantine urban spaces.

ENLT 2511: The Bible and Early English Literature
Zachary Stone
TR 11:00-12:15

Throughout the medieval period writers consistently returned to biblical narratives in order to engage their audience. Readings in this course will include a wide range of texts in poetry and prose and ranging in genre from devotional lyrics of to historical chronicles. The course will explore the ways in which English writers prior to Shakespeare read and appropriated biblical narratives, themes, and styles. This class will strive for generic and theoretical breadth, and focus as much on discontinuity and heterodoxy as orthodox representations of Biblical narratives in Early English literature. Selections from Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, and Judges will be read in conjunction with selections from Old English Genesis, Beowulf, Pastoral Care and Heptateuch.  The Davidic narratives from 1&2 Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Psalms inform both Old and Middle English chronicles as well as psalmody.  Selections from the prophetic books will be juxtaposed with medieval commentary and homiletic materials from both the Old and Middle English periods. The passion narratives will be paired with selections from dramatic and devotional texts such as N-Town and Nicholas Love’s Blessed Life of Jesus Christ. I hope to conclude by exploring Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale” alongside the Pauline antifeminist tradition and Langland’s apocalyticism.  While the primary focus of the course will remain on the literary texts in question, this course also aims to provide students with a basic cultural literacy regarding scriptural appropriation that would inform the study of any period of English Literature.

ENLT 2555: King Arthur in Time
Paul Broyles
MWF 9:00-9:50

King Arthur has sparked the imaginations of authors and readers for almost a millennium. In this course, we will explore Arthur’s popularity and literary appeal by studying some major Arthurian texts, from the twelfth-century “history” in which he burst onto the European literary scene through contemporary fantasy. As we examine texts from many ages and genres, we will pose a number of questions: What’s the secret of Arthur’s lasting appeal? How much of his story did readers think was true? What’s the relationship between texts telling versions of the same story? As we compare versions of the enduring Arthurian legend, we will focus both on the literary techniques that texts use to imagine Arthur’s world and on how Arthurian narratives respond to the concerns and needs of their own time, paying particular attention to issues like the role of women, perceptions of the past, and ethics and behavior. Requirements include a series of essays designed to develop literary analysis skills, a final exam, and regular contributions, both in writing and in class.

ENMD 3110: Medieval European Literature in Translation: Illicit Love
A.C. Spearing
TR 2:00-3:15

Love is one of the most important themes of medieval European literature, and when the love is illicit it’s at its most emotionally intense and morally problematic. In this course, after some introductory readings in love stories from ancient Rome and in troubadour lyrics, we shall read a variety of medieval narratives of adulterous and otherwise forbidden love, translated from medieval English, French, Italian and German, including tales of famous pairs of lovers such as Tristan and Iseult, Lancelot and Guinevere, and Troilus and Criseyde. Requirements: two papers, a mid-term, and a final exam.

ENMD 3260: Chaucer II
Elizabeth Fowler
TR 11:00-12:15

This is a course on Geoffrey Chaucer’s four dream poems together with bits of some poems he had read and some others that his poems engendered; it’s a good course for beginners and for Chaucer adepts alike.  The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, and The Legend of Good Women are surreal, sweet, funny, philosophical, emotionally intense, and visually overstimulated poems which are even more interesting in our age of complex virtual reality; dreams seem to provide Chaucer with a way of thinking about what it is to have the out-of-body experience of reading.  Here you will learn to “explicate” short passages of text — that means to describe rather technically how words, images, genre, tropes, figures of speech and so forth work to produce the effects we call meaning.  Thus, this is a “close reading” course as well as a Chaucer course.  We will also talk about his other ambitions — philosophical, political, theological, aesthetic, imagistic.  Two short papers, two in-class exams, perhaps a few quizzes.  (It’s fine to take this if you’ve already had ENMD 3250.)

ENMD 4500: Advanced Studies in Medieval Literature I
Bruce Holsinger
MWF 11:00-11:50

No description available.

ENRN 4530: Metamorphic Poetics: Transformations of Classical Myths
Clare Kinney
TR 11:00-12:15

This seminar will look at the ways in which Renaissance (and some medieval) writers appropriated, revised and subverted the fascinating narratives of pagan antiquity. Modern readers sometimes declare that 16th and 17th century poets are “just showing off their classical education” when they make allusions to mythological material; in this course I hope to complicate that point of view. We’ll explore the finer nuances of the dialogue between Renaissance poets and some of their epic predecessors, and discuss the ways in which pagan myth is variously “kidnaped” and refashioned to serve different poetic agendas. We will start by reading (in translation) Virgil’s imperial epic, the Aeneid, as well as Ovid’s influential and bewitching tapestry of mythic narratives, the Metamorphoses. After a glance at some medieval mythography (including that of Christine de Pisan) and some Chaucerian myth-making, the second half of the course will focus on transformations of Virgilian and Ovidian material in works by Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, John Milton and their contemporaries. Course requirements: regular attendance and energetic participation in discussion. A series of e-mail responses to the readings from Virgil and Ovid. A 7 page paper, a longer term paper, final examination.

FREN 4123:  Medieval Love
Amy Ogden
TR 12:30-1:45

Love fascinated people in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries—as it still does today.  This course will examine understandings and uses of love in religious and secular literature, music and art.  What is the relationship, for medieval writers, between the love of God and the love of human beings?  What is the role of poetry in promoting and producing love?  To what ends did medieval poets depict and sing about desire and affection?  What medieval ideas about love continue to shape our modern understandings and assumptions about emotions and relationships? Readings will be in modern French translation (with consideration of the Old French original).

HIEU 3131: The World of Charlemagne
Paul Kershaw
MW 2:00-3:15

This course examines the political, social and cultural history of continental western Europe in the period c. AD 730 to 850, with its central focus on the reign of Charlemagne (AD 769-814). Moving chronologically from the rise to the dominance of the Carolingian dynasty through the formation of the Carolingian empire to Charlemagne’s imperial coronation of 800 and beyond we will explore in depth the political, religious, intellectual and economic history of the period through a mix of textual and archaeological evidence, and much current scholarship. Sources will be in English translation. The thought and works of a number of Carolingian authors, including Alcuin and Einhard, the two scholars closest to Charlemagne, will come under particular scrutiny. Over the semester we’ll seek to set the Carolingian achievement in its wider contemporary context as we examine both neighbouring polities and peoples (Christian Spain, the Saxons, Lombards) as well as the Byzantine Empire in the period of Iconoclasm under the Empress Eirene (797-802) and Emperor Nikephoros I (802-811) as well as the early Abbasid Caliphate in both its ‘Golden Age’ under Harun al-Rashid (AH 170-193/AD 786-809) and the darker years of civil war that followed. It is, however, the Carolingian world that will engage us above all. Classes will be a hybrid of lecture and discussion. Typically, the Monday class will be predominantly lecture; the Wednesday class will place the emphasis upon the discussion of texts and the participation of class members. Readings (c. 150-220 pages per week) will be assigned for each week and for each meeting. Students will write two 2,000 word essays, make presentations (singly or in groups), contribute comments to a collective class blog that will serve at times to set the frame for class discussion, take a mid-term and a final exam. It is strongly recommended that those who opt to take this course have some prior experience of European history in the earlier Middle Ages.

HIEU 3181 = RELC 3181: Medieval Christianity
Jolanta Komornicka
MW 3:30-4:45

This is a lecture and discussion course on the history of Latin-rite Christianity in Western Europe. The course begins with the Desert Fathers at the close of Antiquity and continues to the eve of the Reformation. The course is especially concerned with how ordinary people experienced and understood Christianity, whether they were monks, the self-confessed Christian laity, heretics, or Jews. Transformations in lay devotion and piety were connected to developments in the administrative and intellectual culture of the Church, such as the Investiture Controversy, the nature of the Eucharist, and the creation of the mendicant orders. Over the course of the semester, students will explore how official doctrine and daily practice interacted, cooperated, and clashed. The topics covered will include, but are not limited to, the adaptation of pagan beliefs and practices into a Christian framework, the development of the papacy, the creation of heresy, miracles and the preternatural, saints and relics, and popular conceptions of priests and God. At the 3000 level, students are expected to engage with a wide variety of primary and secondary source materials. Readings will include sermons, papal bulls, narrative histories, academic articles, fabliaux, letters, and chronicles. Students will write periodic source analyses, two shorter papers, and a final, longer research paper.

HIEU 4501: Crime in Late Medieval Europe (Major Seminar)
Jolanta Komornicka
T 1:00-3:30

Crime is a constant in human civilization, but what constitutes a criminal offense is not. From 1200 to 1500, medieval jurists, judges, kings, theologians, and accused criminals all debated when an offense rose to the level of a crime and the appropriate response it entailed. Should the victim or the victim’s family be the arbiter of what was just? The bishop? The local lord? The king? Time immemorial? This course explores how people in Western Europe approached the task of defining wrong-doing and castigating wrong-doers. We will look at the legal position of women and the question of sentencing disparities, debates over whether a crime was the same thing as a sin, and arguments over jurisdiction. Modern popular conceptions of the Middle Ages often depict a lawless society, swift, cruel and arbitrary in its punishments. Over the course of the semester, students will encounter numerous law codes, the origin of the concepts of due process, the right to a lawyer and the confrontation of witnesses, and the solemnity of the twin ideals of justice and mercy. The course is run as weekly discussions that draw upon primary sources and academic literature. Students will learn how to read law codes and court cases as historians as they develop a historian’s skill to analyze primary documents while critically engaging with scholarly arguments. Students will write periodic primary and secondary source analyses, prepare an annotated bibliography and an annotated edition of a primary text, all of which build toward a final research project designed in consultation with the professor.

HIME 3192: From Nomads to Sultans: The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1700
Joshua White
TR 2:00-3:15

By the mid-seventeenth century, the Ottoman Empire stretched from the gates of Vienna in the west to Iran in the east, from Poland and the Crimea in the north, to Arabia and the Sudan in the south. Its territory encompassed the contemporary Middle East, most of North Africa, Turkey, Central and Southeast Europe. Its population was a polyglot mixture of religions and cultures. The impact of Ottoman rule continues to be felt today from the Balkans to the Arab world, and its story is an essential and inseparable part of world history and the history of pre-modern and modern Europe. Nevertheless, the Ottoman Empire continues to be caricatured in popular culture, forced uncomfortably into Orientalist stereotypes animated with bloodthirsty pashas, religious zealots, and tempting odalisques and presented as the antagonist in a Eurocentric triumphalist narrative—the mortal threat to Christian civilization that was ultimately defeated and defanged. At the same time, nationalist historians in the former Ottoman lands (including Turkey) have played a key role in (mis)shaping popular understandings of Ottoman history. We will confront the myths and misrepresentations head-on, tracing the history of the Ottoman Empire from its obscure Anatolian origins through to the end of the Empire’s expansionary period around 1700. In addition to introducing the major political and military events, we will explore some aspects of the social, economic, and cultural life of the Empire. Readings are a mix of primary sources and scholarly writings. There are regular response papers, a midterm, and a take-home final exam.

ITTR 3559: Reinventing Dante: Influence, Adaptation, Appropriation
Deborah Parker
MW 2:00-3:15

Dante’s Inferno has captivated the imagination of artists as diverse as Botticelli, Milton, Keats, and David Fincher. Artists, writers and filmmakers re-imagine Dante for their own purposes. This course will explore reinventions of Dante’s Inferno, the most enduring vision of the afterlife that has ever been created. Our investigations of adaptation and appropriation will be carried out in two directions: we will analyze re-workings of the poem not only to understand how they differ from the original but also how these changes prompt us to think about innovation and creative reinvention in new ways.

MEST 2620: Aspects of Creativity in Arab-Islamic Heritage
Ahmad Z. Obiedat
TR 9:30-10:45

This course aims to expose students to samples of original translated texts from the creative heritage of the classical Arab-Islamic civilization. Creativity is defined as the venture of resolving cultural problems within available intellectual and literary means. In addition, this class is relevant to inter-disciplinary studies between the East and West, particularly European Renaissance culture and Southern Mediterranean Arabic culture. Topics and authors to be covered include: historical sociology (Ibn Khaldun), rebellious poetry (Abu al-’Ala’ al-Ma’arri), the idea of love (Ibn Hazm), psychological ethics (al-Ghazali), religion and secular truth (Averroes), coherence theory of rhetoric (al-Jurjani), legal pragmatics (al-Shatibi), informal logic (Ibn Taymiyya), creative metaphysics (Ibn ‘Arabi), social ethics (Juwayni), semantic theory (Bazdawi). This class is taught in English and has no prerequisites.

RELC 1220: New Testament and Early Christianity
Janet Spittler
MW 9:00-9:50

This course is an introduction to the 27 individual books that the New Testament comprises.  Our goal is to reach a better understanding of what each of these texts meant in its ancient context, and to learn something about the individuals and communities that produced and used them.

RELC 3181 = HIEU 3181: Medieval Christianity
Jolanta Komornicka
MW 3:30-4:45

This is a lecture and discussion course on the history of Latin-rite Christianity in Western Europe. The course begins with the Desert Fathers at the close of Antiquity and continues to the eve of the Reformation. The course is especially concerned with how ordinary people experienced and understood Christianity, whether they were monks, the self-confessed Christian laity, heretics, or Jews. Transformations in lay devotion and piety were connected to developments in the administrative and intellectual culture of the Church, such as the Investiture Controversy, the nature of the Eucharist, and the creation of the mendicant orders. Over the course of the semester, students will explore how official doctrine and daily practice interacted, cooperated, and clashed. The topics covered will include, but are not limited to, the adaptation of pagan beliefs and practices into a Christian framework, the development of the papacy, the creation of heresy, miracles and the preternatural, saints and relics, and popular conceptions of priests and God. At the 3000 level, students are expected to engage with a wide variety of primary and secondary source materials. Readings will include sermons, papal bulls, narrative histories, academic articles, fabliaux, letters, and chronicles. Students will write periodic source analyses, two shorter papers, and a final, longer research paper.

RELC 3292 = RELJ 3292: The Book of Job and its Interpretation
Martien Halvorson-Taylor
T 2:00-4:30

The biblical figure of Job continues to shape how we conceive of the nature of divine justice, the problem of unjust suffering, the limits of human knowledge, and the possibility of integrity. In this seminar, we will consider first how Job is depicted in the Bible. Then, we will examine how Job has been interpreted and portrayed in early Jewish and Christian interpretations and, finally, how Job serves as a vehicle for articulating profound questions about the nature of human existence in philosophical and literary works of the modern period; we will consider, for example, interpretations of the book of Job by the artist and poet William Blake, the theologian Søren Kierkegaard, the writers Franz Kafka and Cynthia Ozick, and the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen.

RELG 3630: Idolatry
Asher Biemann
TR 11:00-12:15

To the monotheistic traditions, idolatry represents one of the most abhorrent moral transgressions. Permeating both the religious and the secular, the prohibition against idol worship has become deeply ingrained in Western culture delineating the boundaries between “true” and “strange.”  Yet, while the religious significance of idolatry seems to have vanished, the idol continues to remain in the vocabulary of our everyday language.  Beginning with Biblical sources and concluding with contemporary texts, this course will examine the philosophical framework of casting idolatry as an unspeakable sin: What is an idol, and why is idolatry so objectionable?  With an emphasis on Judaism, though not exclusively, we will discuss idolatry in the context of representation, election, otherness, emancipation, nationalism, secularism, religious innovation, and messianism.

SPAN 3400: Survey of Spanish Literature I (Middle Ages to 1700)
Alison Weber (TR 12:30-1:45)
Michael Gerli (TR 2:00-3:15)

This course comprises an introduction to masterpieces of literature written in Spanish from the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. We will examine examples of epic poetry, lyric poetry, satire, narrative, and drama, with attention to the historical context in which they were written. Spanish 3300 (Texts and Interpretation) is a pre-requisite. It may not be taken concurrently with 3400. Students with a score of 5 on the Spanish AP literature exam may enroll directly in 3400. The grade will be based on the quality of oral participation, postings on Collab, two papers, a midterm, and a comprehensive final exam. The class will be conducted in Spanish. Works from medieval literature include Poema del Mío Cid, Libro de buen amor, Celestina, Milagros de Nuestra Señora, and the poetry of Jorge Manrique.

Graduate (5000-9000 level)

ENMD 5200: Beowulf
Peter Baker
TR 12:30-1:45

Reading of the poem, emphasizing critical methods and exploring its relations to the culture of Anglo-Saxon England. (SIS).

ENMD 8559: Medieval Narrative
A.C. Spearing
TR 5:00-6:15

The medieval period is a great age of storytelling, at every level from apparently simple oral tales to complex and sophisticated written narratives by poets such as Chaucer and Chrétien. This new course will explore some of this range through a variety of approaches including: narrative style and structure; narrative as retelling and the development of first-person narration; narrators and their absence; point of view and perspective in texts and pictures; time in narrative; the told and the untold; stories and moral teaching. Texts to be studied will include lais by Marie de France, Chrétien’s Knight with the Lion (Yvain), King Horn, The Awntyrs of Arthure, Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, Troilus and Criseyde and Physician’s Tale, the Gawain-poet’s Cleanness and Saint Erkenwald, and Malory’s Morte Darthur. There will be some reading in current narrative theory, and what we learn about medieval narrative will often be relevant to narrative in more recent periods. Requirements: an oral presentation, two papers, a final exam. This is a one-off course: it won’t be repeated.

ENRN 8200: Spenser
Elizabeth Fowler
TR 2:00-3:15

Edmund Spenser is a medievalist too, and of interest to anyone who is curious about allegory, epic, romance, humanism, feminism, the reception of medieval literature in the 16th c., Arthuriana, English colonialism in Ireland, Irish literature, narrative poetry, early modern political thought, the Reformation and sexuality, and so on — from A Theatre for Worldlings to A Vewe of the Present State of Ireland, there’s a lot to wrestle with and be charmed by.

GERM 5100: Middle High German
Bill McDonald
T 3:30-6:00

Introduces Middle High German grammar and includes readings in Middle High German literature. Taught in English and open to interested undergraduates (with instructor permission). Students of all disciplines are welcome.

HIME 5559: Slavery in the Middle East
Joshua White
T 6:00-8:30

This course explores the practice of slavery in its various forms in the Middle East and North Africa, from pre-Islamic times to its abolition in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, and considers its impact on the political, military, social, and economic histories of the wider region. Topics include: the sources of slaves and the slave trade; the regulation of slave markets; the employment of slaves and their economic importance; the social and legal position of slaves in Islamic societies; manumission practices; the slave-soldier phenomenon; captivity and ransom; questions of religion, gender and race; and the movement towards abolition. This discussion-based class is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have taken at least one HIME course previously. Weekly readings—mostly scholarly books and articles—will average 150-200 pages. Evaluation is based on participation, weekly response papers, and a final research paper.

ITTR 5250: Dante’s Purgatory in Translation
Deborah Parker
W 3:30-6:00

Close reading of Purgatory, the second realm of the Afterlife. Lectures focus on Dante’s social, political, and cultural world. Incorporates The World of Dante (www.worldofdante.org) a multimedia pedagogical and research website, that offers a wide range of digital materials related to the Comedy.

MEST 6620: Aspects of Creativity in Arab-Islamic Heritage
Ahmad Z. Obiedat
TR 9:30-10:45

This course aims to expose students to samples of original translated texts from the creative heritage of the classical Arab-Islamic civilization. Creativity is defined as the venture of resolving cultural problems within available intellectual and literary means. In addition, this class is relevant to inter-disciplinary studies between the East and West, particularly European Renaissance culture and Southern Mediterranean Arabic culture. Topics and authors to be covered include: historical sociology (Ibn Khaldun), rebellious poetry (Abu al-’Ala’ al-Ma’arri), the idea of love (Ibn Hazm), psychological ethics (al-Ghazali), religion and secular truth (Averroes), coherence theory of rhetoric (al-Jurjani), legal pragmatics (al-Shatibi), informal logic (Ibn Taymiyya), creative metaphysics (Ibn ‘Arabi), social ethics (Juwayni), semantic theory (Bazdawi). This class is taught in English and has no prerequisites.

RELC 5292 = RELJ 5292: The Book of Job and its Interpretation
Martien Halvorson-Taylor
R 3:30-6:00

This seminar focuses on the book of Job and its related texts—ancient, medieval, and modern—which allow us to establish the literary, theological and philosophical traditions in which Job was composed and the literary, theological, and philosophical legacy that it has engendered. Our study will begin with a grounding in ancient compositions from Mesopotamia and biblical Wisdom Literature; proceed through the book of Job itself (with accompanying critical scholarship); and then finally turn to interpretations of the book. (These interpretations may include, for example, early Jewish and Christian retellings of Job, Kierkegaard, Kafka’s The Trial, J.B. by MacLeish, the writings of later liberation and Jewish theologians, or the etchings of William Blake; students will select and present on these materials based on their research interests.) We will pay particular attention to the ways in which interpretations of Job play off one another in literary form and expression and in their treatment of such themes as divine justice, human piety, the limits of human knowledge, and the nature of the divine-human encounter. Undergraduates who wish to take this course should have taken RELC/RELJ Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and should confer with the instructor first (maht@virginia.edu).

RELI 5559 Ethics and Identity in Medieval Islam
Ahmed al-Rahim
M 2:00-4:30

The seminar examines how ethics shaped the scholastic identity of the philosophers, jurists, and mystics of medieval Islam (900-1400). The topics addressed are: (i) normative religious ethics of the Koran and hadith, including ethical manuals of Sufism and Islamic law; (ii) normative secular ethics, specifically the Graeco-Persian wisdom literature (hikma) in Islam and virtue ethics (adab) of the philosophers; and (iii) how these two ethical genres informed intellectual identity.

SPAN 5300: Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Literature
Michael Gerli
R 3:30-6:00

The course will deal with the “canonical” works of the Iberian Middle Ages and the early modern period. It seeks to provide an overview of current thinking regarding their nature and origin, while at the same time seeking to interrogate many of the prevailing assumptions and received ideas of Spanish literary historiography and, indeed, literary history itself.