True and transformative knowledge of Christianity cannot exist without the study of other religions, their influence upon Christianity and its portrayals of these religious movements. This concentration engages the inexorably intercultural and interreligious nature of the various versions of Christianity from its very first days, whether Second Temple Judaism or religions of Rome in the first century, ce.; whether Islam from its birth or Hinduism, Buddhism and other religions as mercenaries, merchants and missionaries encountered them; and whether various new religious movements in the recent past.
This concentration offers a panoply of courses that are designed to introduce students to the variety of encounters between various religious traditions and Christianity, and the mutual gaze that has influenced both sides. The telos of this concentration is to help the larger VDS community - students, alumni, and friends - to become better equipped to understand the complexities and nuances of the historical contingencies of their version and vision of Christianity vis-à-vis other versions of Christianity as well as other religions.
Students will understand how religions emerge out of contact with one another.
Students will recognize their traditions as contingent, thus open to interpretation, with an awareness of accompanying historical harms and benefits of their tradition. Further, they will value difference and become aware of the dynamics of Christian privilege, with a concomitant commitment towards transformative solidarity not guilt.
Students will develop the capacity for deep listening and civil discourse across religious difference, thereby becoming more adroit in assessing religious traditions, building constructive alliances, and cultivating respect interreligiously.
A field education placement is strongly encouraged. Designated courses that emphasize the theory-praxis connection may also satisfy this requirement.
Courses that count toward the GCIE Concentration include but are not limited to:
- DIV5466 Through the Eyes of the Other: A History of Muslim-Christian Relations (Lim)
- DIV6522 Sexuality in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East (Azzoni)
- DIV6711 The History of Syriac Christianity (Michelson)
- DIV6777 Black Prophetic Discourse: Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin (Juan Floyd-Thomas)
- DIV7104 Exodus in America: Black Christians and White Jews in Interreligious Dialogue (Stacey Floyd-Thomas)