Christian Liberation: Race and Sex
Over the past 50 years, Christians have been engaged in efforts to liberate and establish justice for women, post-Jim Crow era African-Americans, and LGBT persons. What’s more, feminist, black and womanist, and queer theologians claim that involvement in such efforts is at the core of what it means to be Christian. But there are many who disagree. In fact, right here in Mississippi, people claim that “liberation theology” is a divergence from the true gospel: God wants women to submit, servants to remain in their stations, and marriage only between a man and a woman. In this course, we will investigate the roots of liberation theology within Christian thought and practice. In conversation with the ground-breaking texts of early feminist, black and womanist, and queer theologians, we will consider what is at stake in discussions of Christian liberation.
Schleiermacher and Ramanuja: Christianity in Dialogue
In this upper-level religious studies seminar, we will discuss the thought of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Ramanuja, putting them in dialogue with one another. Schleiermacher (1768-1834, Germany) is the founder of modern Christian theology. He has influenced the whole stream of Christian thought since the enlightenment. Ramanuja (1017-1137, S. India) is one of the great Hindu philosophers in the school known as Vedanta, whose influence is so vast that many acclaim his work as the basis of popular Hindu philosophy. Although Schleiermacher and Ramanuja come from dramatically different contexts, both have tendencies toward pan(en)theism, which holds that the world and humanity constitute the divine embodiment. In addition, both thinkers understand the divine in personal terms and emphasize divine grace. In addition to delving into the thought of each of these figures, we will discuss methodological features of religious studies, like how comparisons between traditions may be legitimately made.