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Contemporary
Religious
Thought
(REL
240‐01,
Fall
2012)
 Wister
Hall
304
 [MWF

11:00am
–
11:50am]

 Instructor:
Dr.
Anthony
Paul
Smith
(smithanthony@lasalle.

edu)

 McShain
Hall
Room
211
 773‐931‐9570
(cell)
 Office
hours:
MWF
10:00‐11:00am,
T
11:00am‐12:00pm
or
by
appointment
 
 Course
Description
 

 “Where
is
God?
Where
is
He?”
someone
behind
me
asked.
..
 For
more
than
half
an
hour
[the
child
in
the
noose]
stayed
there,
struggling
 between
life
and
death,
dying
in
slow
agony
under
our
eyes.
And
we
had
to
look
 him
full
in
the
face.
He
was
still
alive
when
I
passed
in
front
of
him.
His
tongue
 was
still
red,
his
eyes
were
not
yet
glazed.
 Behind
me,
I
heard
the
same
man
asking:
 “Where
is
God
now?”
 And
I
heard
a
voice
within
me
answer
him:
 “Where
is
He?
Here
He
is—He
is
hanging
here
on
this
gallows.
.
.
.”
–
Elie
Wiesel
 “Misery’s
the
river
of
the
world.”
–
Tom
Waits
 The
experience
of
suffering
is
one
of
the
most
profound
in
all
of
creation.
People
who
 undergo
suffering
often
try
to
find
meaning
in
why
they
are
suffering.
Some
turn
to
 religion
for
that
meaning,
others
turn
away
after
feeling
that
the
meaning
offered
there
 is
hollow.
But
in
each
case,
there
is
some
relationship
between
abstract
thought
and
 suffering,
between
trying
to
make
sense
of
what
all
of
this
is
and
the
overwhelming
 experience
that
seems
to
outrun
our
ability
to
account
for
it.
This
course
will
examine
 the
problem
of
suffering
and
abstract
thought
by
looking
at
the
book
of
Job
(thought
to
 be
the
first
of
the
Hebrew
Scriptures
to
be
written)
and
contemporary
responses
to
that
 ancient
text.
The
class
is
ecumenical
in
the
greatest
sense
of
that
word,
meaning
we
are
 not
just
going
to
read
Christians
responses,
but
will
read
the
responses
of
Contemporary
 Jewish,
Muslim
and
secular
thinkers
as
well.
We
may
not
find
any
answer
for
our
 suffering,
but
we
may
have,
by
the
end
of
it
all,
created
something
in
the
midst
of
it.


 Learning
Outcomes

 Upon
completing
the
course
the
student
should
be
able
to:
 • engage
with
a
variety
of
religious
discourses
and
practices;
 • understand
and
use
different
theoretical
methods
in
religious
thought;
 • identify
and
explain
the
different
ethical
and
social
positions
arising
out
of
 various
forms
of

religious
experience;

 • be
able
to
identify
the
central
themes
and
arguments
of
the
texts
and
state
them
 in
a
clear
and
sympathetic
way
in
class
discussion
through
participation
and
 leading
the
discussion;
 • be
able
to
formulate
criticisms
in
a
way
that
is
attentive
to
the
original
author’s
 intent
and
argumentation.
 
 Grade
Summary
 There
will
be
two
tests
(comprised
of
short‐answer
questions
and
essay
questions),

1
 


discussions,
leading
a
class
seminar
and
preparing
a
protocol,
and
a
final
paper
(10‐ pages,
double‐spaced).
Each
test
will
count
for
20%
(for
a
total
of
40%)
of
your
final
 grade,
leading
group
discussion
will
count
for
20%,
the
final
paper
will
count
for
30%,
 and
finally
10%
for
class
participation
(which
includes
attendance).


 
 It
is
important
that
you
do
not
miss
a
class
and
especially
an
exam.
Any
make‐up
for
the
 in‐class
exams
will
only
be
given
due
to
extreme
situations,
and
this
is
done
very
rarely.
 You
must
have
prior
permission
from
the
instructorical
to
take
a
make­up.


 
 The
paper
is
due
via
Blackboard
(information
on
how
to
submit
will
be
given
later
in
the
 semester)
by
the
end
of
the
day
(11:59PM)
on
Friday,
May

10th.
The
paper
is
to
be
 submitted
electronically
only.
I
prefer
that
the
paper
be
a
PDF.
Details
concerning
the
 paper
(its
format
and
content)
will
be
passed
out
after
the
first
exam.
Late
papers
will
 not
be
accepted.
Cheating/plagiarism
will
be
dealt
with
as
the
serious
infractions
that
 they
are,
possibly
leading
to
failure;
see
the
Academic
Integrity
Policy
for
details
 (available
on
the
portal).

 
 The
grade
scale
is
as
follows:
100‐95
=
A,
94‐90
=
A‐,
89‐87
=
B+,
86‐84
=
B,
83‐80
=
B‐,
 79‐77
=
C+,
76‐74
=
C,
73‐70
=
C‐,
69‐67
=
D+,
66‐64
=
D,
63‐60
D‐,
59
and
below
=
F
 
 Cell
Phone,
Laptop
and
Tablet
Policy
 While
I
understand
the
addiction
to
cell
phones,
especially
smart
phones,
the
material
 we
are
studying
is
very
difficult
and
therefore
requires
your
undivided
attention.
If
you
 are
caught
using
your
phone
during
a
lecture
you
will
be
given
one
warning
(either
 verbally
or
by
email).
If
you
are
caught
a
second
time
or
more
you
will
face
a
reduction
 of
five
points
for
each
offense
from
your
highest
scoring
piece
of
coursework.
Please
turn
 all
cell
phones
off
during
the
lecture.
If
I
can
do
it,
so
can
you.
 Laptops
and
tablets
are
acceptable
in
the
class,
but
for
note
taking
only.
If
you
appear
 not
to
be
paying
attention
because
you’re
distracted
by
something
non‐lecture
related
 on
your
laptop
then
I
will
ask
you
to
read
the
last
line
of
notes
you
have
just
written.
If
 you
can’t
then
you
will
be
given
a
warning
(either
verbally
or
by
email).
If
you
are
 caught
a
second
time
or
more
you
will
face
a
reduction
of
five
points
for
each
offense
 from
your
highest
scoring
piece
of
coursework.
 Blackboard
 Please
make
sure
that
you
check
the
email
attached
to
your
Blackboard
profile.
I
will
be
 sending
emails
to
that
address.
All
course
documents,
powerpoints,
audio
of
lectures,
 and
other
helpful
links
will
be
available
on
the
Blackboard
course
page.

 Remarks
on
Lectures,
Readings,
Films,
and
Classroom
Discussions
 We
are
dealing
with
adult
themes
and
a
range
of
different
belief
systems
in
this
class.
 You
will
be
exposed
to
different
ways
of
thinking
both
in
the
readings,
the
lectures,
and
 discussions
in
class.
At
times
you
may
find
yourself
offended
by
one
or
more
of
the
ideas
 presented
and
when
you
are
not
offended
a
fellow
classmate
may
well
be.
This
is
ok!
 While
of
course
verbal
or
physical
abuse
(name
calling,
use
of
hate
speech
directed
at
 another
student,
etc.)
is
strictly
not
tolerated,
we
have
to
give
each
other
permission
to
 be
offensive
(within
the
bounds
of
respectful
discourse)
and
to
be
offended.
By
 remaining
in
this
course
you
are
agreeing
to
have
respectful
conversations
about
a
wide
 range
of
different
beliefs
which
may
sometimes
become
heated.

 This
goes
especially
for
the
films
and
clips
we
will
watch
in
class.
At
times
I
have
chosen
 material
that
may
be
offensive
to
some.
Some
films
will
be
rated‐R
and
some
clips
from
 TV
shows
will
be
rated
TV‐MA.
By
remaining
enrolled
in
this
class
after
the
first
session

2
 


you
are
entering
into
a
non‐verbal
agreement
that
you
understand
and
accept
you
will
 be
asked
to
watch
these
films
and
clips.
 Required
Texts
(All
texts
are
available
from
the
bookstore,
though
sometimes
may
be
 cheaper
to
buy
them
online.
Please
check
to
make
sure
you
are
buying
the
correct
edition.)
 • Course
Reader
(pdfs
on
Blackboard):
 o Elie
Wiesel,
Messengers
of
God
 o Martin
Buber,
The
Prophetic
Faith
 o Philippe
Nemo,
Job
and
the
Excess
of
Evil
 o René
Girard,
“Job
as
Failed
Scapegoat”
 • The
Book
of
Job
in
Robert
Alter
(trans.),
The
Wisdom
Books

(Norton)
 • CG
Jung,
Answer
to
Job
(Princeton)
 • Antonio
Negri,
The
Labor
of
Job
(Duke)
 • Gustavo
Gutiérrez,
On
Job
(Orbis)
 • Navid
Kermani,
The
Terror
of
God
(Polity)



 Outline
of
Course
and
Reading
Schedule

 Readings
listed
are
to
be
read
for
that
class
period.
If
the
reading
is
listed
under
September
 14th,
it
is
to
be
read
prior
to
the
September
14th
session
of
class.
The
schedule
and
 procedures
for
this
course
are
subject
to
change
in
the
event
of
extenuating
circumstances;
 changes
will
be
announced
in
class.

 
 Each
class
will
consist
of
lecture
and
organized
group
discussion
of
the
text.
 January
14th

 
 Introduction
 
 January
16th

 









Job,
pp.
11‐70.

 
 
 
 
 
 January
18th

 
 Job,
pp.
71‐126
 
 January
21st


 
 No
Class
MLK
Jr
Day
 
 
 
 
 January
23rd


 
 Job,
pp.
127‐179
 
 January
25th


 
 Wiesel,
pp.
211‐236
(on
Blackboard)
 
 
 
 
 January
28th


 
 Buber,
pp.
183‐202
(on
Blackboard)
 
 January
30th

 
 Nemo,
pp.
81‐99
(on
Blackboard)
 
 February
1st



 
 Seminar
Group
1
 
 
 
 
 February
4th
 
 Gutiérrez,
pp.
xi‐10
 
 February
6th


 

 Gutiérrez,
pp.
11‐30

 
 February
8th



 

 Gutiérrez,
pp.
31‐49

 
 February
11th

 

 Gutiérrez,
pp.
51‐66

 
 February
13th

 

 Gutiérrez,
pp.
67‐81

 
 February
15th

 

 Gutiérrez,
pp.
82‐103
 

3
 


February
18th

 
 February
20th


 
 
 February
22nd

 
 February
25th

 
 February
27th

 
 March
1st


 

 
 March
4th
–
8th

 
 March
11th


 
 March
13th


 
 March
15th
 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Seminar
Group
2

 Jung,
pp.
3‐29
 Jung,
pp.
29‐56
 Test
#1
 Jung,
pp.
57‐82
 Jung,
pp.
82‐108
 No
Class
(Mid­Semester
Holiday)
 Girard
(Article
on
Blackboard)
 Girard
(article
on
Blackboard)

 Seminar
Group
3
 
 
 



 March
18th

 
 Kermani,
pp.
2‐30

 
 March
20th


 
 Kermani,
pp.
30‐57

 
 
 March
22nd


 Kermani,
pp.
57‐93
 
 March
25th


 
 Kermani,
pp.
93‐126
 
 March
27th



 
 Kermani,
pp.
126‐155
 
 March
29th
–
April
1st



No
Class
Easter
Break

 
 
 April
3rd

 
 Kermani,
pp.
155‐179
 
 April
5th

 
 
 Kermani,
pp.
180‐206
 
 April
8th
 

 
 Kermani,
pp.
206‐222
 
 
 April
10th

 

 
 Seminar
Group
4
 Negri,
pp.
xvii‐9
 
 April
12th
 

 
 Negri,
pp.
9‐29
 
 April
15th

 
 
 Film
TBA
(use
these
days
to
get
ahead
on
your
reading
as
well)
 
 
 April
17th
 
 Film
TBA
 
 April
19th

 
 
 Seminar
Group
5
 
 
 April
22nd

 
 Negri,
pp.
29‐47
 
 
 April
24th
 
 Negri,
pp.
48‐69
 


4
 


April
26th

 

 
 April
29th

 

 
 May
1st


 
 
 May
3rd

 

 
 May
10th

 
 
 Final
Paper




 
 
 
 


Negri,
pp.
69‐91
 Negri,
pp.
91‐107
 Seminar
Group
6
 Test
#2
 Final
Paper
due
(by
midnight)


The
paper
(2500
words,
which
is
around
10
pages,
normal
12
pt
font,
double
 spaced,
normal
margins
with
citations)
(information
on
how
to
submit
will
be
given
 later
in
the
semester)
by
the
end
of
the
day
(11:59PM)
on
Friday,
May
10th.
The
paper
 is
to
be
submitted
electronically
only.
I
prefer
that
the
paper
be
a
PDF.
You
can
save
the
 paper
as
a
PDF
in
Word
by
clicking
“Save
as”
and
selecting
PDF
where
it
says
“Save
as
 type”.
Late
papers
will
not
be
accepted
except
for
extreme
situations.
 Cheating/plagiarism
will
be
dealt
with
as
the
serious
infractions
that
they
are,
most
 likely
leading
to
failure;
see
the
Student
Handbook
for
details.



Prompts:
 1. Compare
in
detail
any
two
readings
of
the
Book
of
Job
we’ve
read
in
the
 course.
For
example,
but
not
limited
to
these
examples,
this
paper
can
 look
at
the
difference
between
the
Christian
and
Jewish
readings
by
 focusing
on
Gutierrez
and
Weisel,
or
even
the
difference
between
the
 Christian
reading
of
Gutierrez
and
Girard,
or
the
difference
between
 Negri’s
secular
readings
compared
with
Kermani’s
Islamic
one.

 2. Write
an
essay
on
the
question
of
faith
and
the
Book
of
Job
that
engages
 with
one
of
the
readings
we’ve
discussed
in
class.
This
paper
should
 investigate
the
meaning
of
faith
(so
what
does
it
really
mean
to
have
faith
 in
God)
and
its
relationship
to
suffering.
Job,
remember,
does
not
simply
 accept
his
suffering,
but
demands
a
response
from
God.
This
looks
very
 different
from
a
simply
fideistic
faith.

 3. Write
an
essay
on
theological
method
that
examines
the
way
we
do
 theology
by
comparing
the
method’s
present
in
the
speeches
of
Job’s
 friends
and
Job’s
responses
with
the
method
present
in
one
or
two
of
the
 books
we
have
read.
This
will
require
you
to
analyze
these
texts
 themselves
to
see
how
they
engage
with
their
tradition,
reason,
and
 suffering
present
in
the
world.

 4. Choose
your
own
adventure
(must
speak/email/meet
with
me
prior
to
 beginning
research
on
your
topic).


You
must
engage
with
texts
in
your
paper
and
have
a
bibliography!
Citations
are
 necessary
and
extra
research
will
also
be
necessary.
In
your
bibliography
you
must
 include
at
least
one
journal
article.
Use
whatever
system
of
citation
you
are
comfortable
 with
but
it
must
remain
consistent.
If
you
are
unfamiliar
with
citations
use
the
system
 on
the
other
side
of
this
paper.
A
good
rule
of
thumb
is
that
you
should
have
at
least
two
 citations
per
page.


5
 


This
is
a
university­level
research
paper
and
you
must
treat
it
as
such.
This
 means
you
must
read
BOOKS.
Do
not
quote
from
Dictionary.com,
Biography.com,
or
 above
all
Wikipedia.com.
This
will
result
in
an
automatic
C
as
the
highest
 grade
for
the
paper.
If
you
are
unfamiliar
with
books,
go
where
they
live,
in
the
 library,
and
talk
to
a
librarian.
If
you
have
any
questions
about
appropriate
 sources
please
contact
me.


Remember
an
essay
has
a
beginning,
a
middle,
and
an
end.
It
should
have
a
clear
thesis
 statement.
It
should
take
everything
it
is
arguing
and
relate
it
back
to
that
thesis
 statement.
You
should
also
feel
free
to
try
and
write
creatively
as
long
as
you
stay
within
 the
bounds
of
presenting
an
argument.
I
strongly
encourage
you
to
set
up
meetings
 with
me
to
talk
about
your
paper
at
least
two
weeks
prior
to
its
due
date.




 Citations:
 Book
 One
author
 (First
time
citing
in
a
footnote):

Michael
Pollan,
The
Omnivore’s
Dilemma:
 A
Natural
History
of
Four
Meals
(New
York:
Penguin,
2006),
99–100.
 (After
the
first
citation):
Pollan,
Omnivore’s
Dilemma,
3.
 (Bibliography):
Pollan,
Michael.
The
Omnivore’s
Dilemma:
A
Natural
 History
of
Four
Meals.
New
York:
Penguin,
2006.
 Two
or
more
authors
 1.
Geoffrey
C.
Ward
and
Ken
Burns,
The
War:
An
Intimate
History,
1941– 1945
(New
York:
Knopf,
2007),
52.
 2.
Ward
and
Burns,
War,
59–61.
 Ward,
Geoffrey
C.,
and
Ken
Burns.
The
War:
An
Intimate
History,
1941– 1945.
New
York:
Knopf,
2007.
 For
translated
books
 1. Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, trans. Edith Grossman (London: Cape, 1988), 242–55. 2. García Márquez, Cholera, 33. García Márquez, Gabriel. Love in the Time of Cholera. Translated by Edith Grossman. London: Cape, 1988.

Journal article
In a note, list the specific page numbers consulted, if any. In the bibliography, list the page range for the whole article. 1.
Joshua
I.
Weinstein,
“The
Market
in
Plato’s
Republic,”
Classical
Philology
 104
(2009):
440.
 2.
Weinstein,
“Plato’s
Republic,”
452–53.
 Weinstein,
Joshua
I.
“The
Market
in
Plato’s
Republic.”
Classical
Philology
 104
(2009):
439–58.
 


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