Course Syllabus

Instructor: Amy Erickson

Burney Relief. Babylonia. 19th-18th century BCE  

from Great Prayer to Ishtar

I pray to you, lady of ladies, goddess of goddesses!

Ishtar, queen of the entire inhabited world, guiding mankind aright,

Irnini, you are noble, greatest of the Igigi.

You are the strong one, you are sovereign, your names are exalted!

You indeed are the luminary of heaven and earth, valiant daughter of Sin!

Wielding weapons, arranging battle,

Gathering the entirety of ordinances, wearing the crown of domination,

Lady, resplendent are your great deeds, exalted over all gods!

The notable explosion of thought and literature on the subject of the “body” in the last decades has begged a question of definition, which is not so easily grasped, let alone answered. It is as if we are clear about an agreed cultural obsession – the “body”—but far from assured about its referent… But why, then are “bodies” simultaneously so ubiquitous and yet so hard to get our “hands” around? -- Sarah Coakley (Religion and the Body, 2-3)

….the Bible’s sexual origin stories are chaotic, unpredictable, and immoral. That is why we like them. --Marcella Althaus-Reid


Assignments and Discussions

Discussion Forums: Some weeks there will be two forums (one on the readings and one on a text), while some weeks there will only be one (combining work on the readings and a text). See here for more info on your small groups.

Please note: I read but don't grade your individual discussion posts. At the end of the quarter, we'll collaboratively assign you a participation grade based on all the work you did in the forums.

No late posts (see 'Late Work' below)If you miss a forum deadline, just move on and account for it in your self evaluation (you might make more peer-responses in another forum to make up for it). If you miss two, contact me. If you miss three, you should consider dropping the class.

Presentations (10-12 min) : Sign up to present on a biblical text. This presentation should center on your exegesis of a particular text using the lens of the body and sexuality. Anything from a movie to a slide show is fine so long as you 1) incorporate visual elements (lots of great art out there), 2) highlight specific language from the text that supports your argument, and 3) draw on the readings from the course. Email me your presentation and I'll post it so that it will be accessible to the entire class.

Critical Book Review of Ben Sommer's Bodies of God due Tuesday, April 20 (that week, we'll have a Zoom session, but you'll have no other discussion posts).

Final Paper Details

Zoom Sessions: Wks 1,5,8 Tues 1:00-2:15pm MST 


Aharon April (Lithuania), from the Song of Songs series 4,12

Overview and Objectives


Late Work

Policies And Services

Course Summary:

Date Details Due