Spring 2019 Courses

Master's CoursesInsights Courses
(14-week semester runs Jan 21-April 21)(4-week sessions, dates given below)
M6350 Paganism and the Law
Instructor: John Halstead, J.D.
Class Meeting: Mondays 8:00 pm EST
First Class: Monday, January 21, 2019
Class Description: The American legal tradition was formed and continues to be shaped by a Judeo-Christian heritage. As a result, the law makes certain assumptions about the relationship between individuals, society and the earth. We will examine both historical and contemporary legal cases through a pagan lens with the goal of challenging some of those assumptions. We will cover the law of personal injury, property, contracts, criminal law, and constitutional law, including how the law impacts Pagan parents, employees, and prisoners. Finally, we will look at recent developments in the law relating to climate change and climate activism.
Required Reading: Capra, Fritjof and Ugo Mattei, The Ecology of Law: Toward a Legal System in Tune with Nature and Community. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2015/
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Session I TBA
Jan 27-Feb 23
T6860 Vedic Religion
Instructor: Michael York, Ph.D.
Class Meeting: Sundays 11:00 am EST
First Class: Sunday, January 27, 2019
Class Description: It is clear that in time Vedic religion as it can be discerned in the Rigveda became transformed into a gnostic understanding of reality. This class will focus on Vedism itself, its relation to its linguistic cousins (Hellenism, Zoroastrianism, Heathenism, Roman religion, etc.) and its transformation into Vedanta, Brahminism, and finally, Hinduism. We will examine Vedic religion as an earth-loving and life-affirming Pagan spirituality as well as one that became eclipsed as has much of Paganism elsewhere through concerted attempts to undermine the intrinsic vulnerability of telluric thought – whether because of bids for power and control on the part of a priesthood or through Abrahamic sentiment or both. In short, what is the more original this-worldly understanding and practice of the Vedic peoples before the Hindu reworking that grew out of them? Finally, what is or can be the importance of Vedic nature religion vis-à-vis today’s awareness of nature and contemporary environmentalism?
Required Reading:
Chattopadhya, Debprasad, Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism (New Delhi: People’s Publishing House/Tarun Sengupta, 1959, 3rd ed., 1973).
Macdonell, A.A. Vedic Mythology (Strassburg: De Gruyter, 1989; reprint in 1974 by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi).
York, Michael. The Divine versus the Asurian: An Interpretation of Indo-European Cult and Myth *Bethesda, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 1995).
Recommended Reading:
Figueira, Dorothy M., Aryans, Jews, Brahmins: Theorizing Authority through Myths of Identity. Allbany: SUNY, 2002
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Session II
Per Ankh II
Feb 24-Mar 30
Instructor: Holli Emore, M.Div.
Class Meetings: Saturdays, Mar 2, 9, 23 & 30 at 11:00 am EST
Class Description: Four more weeks about one of the most fascinating cultures of the past. Peek into the vast legacy of Djehuty (thoth), and the picture-writing we call hieroglyphs. What was heka, Egyptian magic and can we use it today? Explore the many aspects of human identity: ba, ka, akh, and khat, ren and more. What was the epic journey through the Duat (the afterlife)?
Required Reading: Pinch, Geraldine, Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
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P5102 Introduction to Pastoral Counseling
Instructor: David Ohringderff, Ph.D.
Class Meeting: TBA
First Class:
Class Description: pastoral counseling is a unique form of counseling which uses spiritual resources as well as psychological understanding for healing and growth. It is provided by certified pastoral counselors, who are not only mental health professionals but who have also had in-depth religious and/or theological training. Students explore the opportunities and limits of Pagan pastoral counseling, what it is and what it is not, and trace the history of pastoral counseling as distinguished from psychotherapy, pastoral care, chaplaincy and spiritual guidance. Addresses professional issues and develops a Pagan perspective to pastoral counseling.
Required Reading: Townsend, L., Introduction to Pastoral Counseling. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2009.
Harrow, J., Spiritual mentoring: A Pagan Guide. Toronto, Ontario: ECW Press, 2002.
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Session III
Pagan Consent Culture
Mar 24-Apr 20
Instructor: Christine Kraemer, PH.D.
Class Meeting: no live meetings
Class Description: How Druids, Wiccans, Heathens, Polytheists and others understand consent in the context of Pagan traditions. Although many Pagans see the body and sexuality as sacred, Pagan communities still struggle with the reality of assault and abuse. To build consent culture, good consent practices must be embraced by communities, not just by individuals – and consent is about much more than sexuality. Consent culture begins with the idea of autonomy, with recognizing our right to control our bodies in all areas of life; and it is sustained by empathy, the ability to understand and share the emotional states of others.
Required Reading: Pagan Consent Culture edited by Kraemer and Aburrow. Asphodel Press, 2016. (use this link to purchase http://www.paganconsentculture.com/ )
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