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Religious Studies Courses (REL)

GE Core denotes General Education Core credit;
GE Marker
denotes General Education Marker credit;
CAR denotes College Additional Requirement credit.

Courses for Undergraduates

101 Introduction to Religious Studies (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GL

Inquiry into religion through consideration of forms, patterns, categories, symbols, and practices which characterize various religious experiences.

104 Religion, Ritual, and the Arts (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GL

A study of how myths and stories are used in ritual and the arts. The specific traditions treated will vary.

107 Myth and Ritual in Antiquity (3:3)

Exploration of classic religious themes in their earliest expression in ancient myth and ritual.

109 Religion and Contemporary Culture (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

Understandings of religion as shaped by contemporary social institutions, the arts, politics, and philosophy.

111 Non-Western Religion (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

Comparative study of non-Western religions and their contributions to modern religious self-understanding, focusing critically and evaluatively on such patterns of expression as myth, ritual, and social forms.

121 Religious Themes in World Literature (3:3)

Religious attitudes and themes concerning suffering, bafflement, and evil.

190 Introduction to Scriptural Language (1–3)

May be repeated when topic changes.

Introduction to the language of a major scriptural tradition, such as Hebrew, Chinese, Tibetan, or Sanskrit. Emphasis on writing system, grammar, and vocabulary. (Fall)

191 Studies in Scriptural Language (1–3)

May be repeated when topic changes.

Directed readings of significant religious texts in their original languages, such as Hebrew, Greek, Chinese, Tibetan, or Sanskrit. (Spring)

201 The Bible in Western Culture (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GL

Study of significant themes and issues in the Bible and their expression in the religious literature and history of Europe and America.

202 Hebrew Bible (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

CAR: GPM

Study of the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) in historical, sociological, and literary context.

204 New Testament and the Origins of Christianity (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

GE Marker: GL

CAR: GPM

Study of the New Testament texts in their historical, sociological, and literary contexts.

207 Modern Problems of Belief (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

Exploration of ways in which God has been understood in the context of the eclipse of religion in Western culture from the Enlightenment to the present.

209 Elements of Christian Thought (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE marker: GL

Investigates the coherence of Christian accounts of such topics as incarnation, trinity, creation, evil, sacraments, the body, and salvation. (Fall)

210 Christianity to the Reformation (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

GE Marker: GL

CAR: GPM

Study of classic Christian texts, symbols, rituals, and social movements to the dawn of the Reformation.

212 Christianity from the Reformation to the Present (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

GE Marker: GL

CAR: GMO

Examination of a range of themes in the history of Christian thought from the sixteenth century to present, through reading of a variety of texts representative of Christian traditions.

215 Judaism (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

GE Marker: GL

CAR: GPM

Introductory study of Judaism, its history, texts, life, and thought.

217 The Synagogue (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

GE Marker: GN

CAR: GPM

The synagogue has been and remains the center of Jewish life. This course will explore the history, architecture, art, and literature of the synagogue in ancient, medieval, and modern times. (Spring)

218 Chinese Religion (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

A study of the religions of China in the classical and modern periods focusing on thought, ritual, social structure, and aesthetics.

220 Japanese Religion (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

A study of the religions of Japan in the classical and modern periods focusing on thought, ritual, social structure, and aesthetics.

221 Buddhism (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

Introduction to the origin, development, and impact of Buddhism in Asian cultures. Focus on religious doctrines, forms of community, religious practices, techniques, art and iconography, and the implications of the Buddhist perspective for the contemporary world in both Asia and the West.

223 Hinduism (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

Introduction to the Hindu religious tradition, its myths, rituals, music, social structure, and philosophical thought.

225 Islam (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

Introduction to origins of Islam and its development as a world religion focusing on doctrine, ritual practices, and community structures.

229 Introduction to African American Religions (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

CAR: GMO

Examination of the diverse beliefs and practices of African American religious traditions and their development in the Americas.

231 Religion in America (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

CAR: GMO

Diverse religious traditions and thinkers that have played a significant role in the history of the United States from Native American beginnings to the present. (Formerly REL 131)

232 American Religious Thought: A Survey (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

Three Americans—Jonathan Edwards (1702–1756), a Puritan-reformed Christian; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802–1882), a Romantic; and William James (1843–1910), a pragmatist—pursue tensions between grace and law.

240 Modern Judaism (3:3)

GE Core: GHP

GE Marker: GL

CAR: GMO

A survey of modern Jewish thinkers from Spinoza to Rozensweig.

248 Comparative Religious Ethics (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

Comparative study of the ethical teachings of two or more Western and non-Western religious traditions focusing on the diversity within and among traditions and their effects on modes of life. (Alt Spring)

250 Religious Traditions and Care of the Earth (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

GE Marker: GN

Examination of the thought, ethics, and practice of major religious traditions and worldviews with regards to the care of the earth. Emphasis on non-Western, indigenous, and ecofeminist traditions.

251 Topics in Religious Social Ethics (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Inquiry into the social teachings of diverse religious traditions with respect to such current topics as economic development and social justice, human rights, democracy, freedom, human well-being and the environment.

252 Ritual Studies (3:3)

May not be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Inquiry into ritual through the consideration of the relations among ritual experience, practice, and theory. The specific traditions treated will vary.

253 Religion, Art, and Visual Culture (3:3)

May not be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Explores religion and its relation to visual culture through the exploration of specific works of art. The specific traditions treated will vary.

254 Religion in Traditional Societies (3:3)

GE Marker: GN

Study of religion in traditional societies in which the basic question “What is it to be human?” is raised by entering into the diverse symbolic worlds of native Americans, Africans, or others.

258 Darwin, Evolution, and Human Nature (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man revolutionized our understanding of life. In this course, we explore the religious, philosophical, and ethical implications of Darwin's evolutionary theory. (Fall or Spring)

259 Philosophy of Religion (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

Arguments concerning God’s existence, the problem of evil, God’s foreknowledge and human freedom, the analysis of divine attributes, immortality and the soul.

298 Thinking About Religion (3:3)

Critical reflection on the academic study of religion. Evaluation of theories of religion drawn from the social sciences, humanities, and religious traditions themselves through their application to case studies. (Fall)

301 Early Christianity (3:3)

Development of various kinds of Christian beliefs and practices from the second to seventh centuries. Focus on primary sources.

303 Christianity in Byzantium (3:3)

Explores the formation of Orthodox Christianity from the sixth to the twelfth century. Topics include liturgy, icons, church architecture and decoration, saints' cults, monasticism, and lay practice.

305 Religions of the Greco-Roman World (3:3)

Study of themes in Judaism, Christianity, and pagan religious movements of the Mediterranean world from Alexander to Constantine.

309 Spirituality and Culture in the West (3:3)

Examines spirituality in Western religious traditions in relation to changing roles of men and women, spiritual needs, culture, and identity.

310 Christianity and the Construction of Gender (3:3)

Study of the role of categories of male and female in the creation and maintenance of Christian notions of holiness, authority, and hierarchy in historical perspective.

311 Topics in Biblical Studies (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topics vary, with permission of instructor.

Examination of specific biblical texts, themes, or interpretations in the context of Jewish and Christian religious traditions or in terms of significant literary or historical issues.

312 Judaism and the Construction of Gender (3:3)

Jewish understandings of gender from ancient to modern times, with focus on law and tradition, roles in the Jewish community, family, sexuality, and Jewish theology.

313 Topics in Ancient Judaism (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topics vary, with permission of instructor.

Diversity of Judaism in the ancient world; study of major themes, texts, and movements in ancient Judaism; focus on primary texts, material culture, and scholarly approaches.

314 Saint and Society in the Early Middle Ages (3:3)

Examination of the concept of sanctity and of the rise and function of the veneration of holy men and women in Christian tradition from the fourth to the seventh century.

315 Religious Autobiography in the West (3:3)

Exploration of changing views of selfhood in the Western autobiographical traditions from Augustine’s Confessions to the present.

317 Islam and the Construction of Gender (3:3)

Study of the role of gendered categories in the creation and maintenance of Islamic notions of piety, authority, and community. (Alt Fall)

318 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion (3:3)

Examination of theories of religion advanced by anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and theologians. Consideration of case studies to understand religion as a system of beliefs and practices.

323 Religious Movements and Communities: Selected Topics (3:3)

May be repeated when topic varies.

Selected topics will bring to bear historical, analytical, theological, and ethical tools to understand religious movements. Faculty and topics will vary.

324 Philosophical Issues in Religion (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Modes of philosophical reflection, groups of human conceptuality and their relation to the truth of religious claims.

325 Contemporary American Jewish Thought (3:3)

Analysis and evaluation of American Jewish thinkers: Kaplan, Heschel, Soloveichik, and Fackenheim. Topics include the Holocaust, Israel, relations with Gentiles, Jewish life in a democracy, and relations with African Americans.

326 American Religious Thought I (3:3)

Exploration of American religious thought from settlement through the National Period (mid-19th century), focusing on the works of Puritans, Rationalists, and Romantics.

327 American Religious Thought II: The Romantic Tradition (3:3)

GE Core: GPR

A study of thinkers like Emerson, Whitman, and Thoreau that focuses on issues concerning religion in a democracy, divinity and nature, and the ‘revelatory’ character of poetry.

328 American Religious Thought III: The Pragmatic Tradition (3:3)

Study of classic pragmatic religious thinkers, including Peirce, James, Royce, Santayana, and Dewey. Focuses on issues concerning the character of religious experience, divinity and nature, the problem of evil.

330 Major American Religious Thinkers (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Topics to vary. Analysis and evaluation of major works by an American religious thinker, e.g., Jonathan Edwards, or works exemplifying a particular intellectual movement, e.g., the Puritan Christian Enlightenment.

332 Contemporary African American Religious Thought (3:3)

Explores the variety of contemporary African American religious thought: Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Judaic, and New World Yoruba. The relation between religious racial identities is a primary focus.

333 Religion and Psychology (3:3)

Presents classic Western and/or Asian psychological theories of religion and shows how various religious traditions understand the human psyche.

340 Modern Jewish Thinkers (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Analysis and evaluation of major works by a Jewish thinker, e.g., Martin Buber, or works exemplifying a particular intellectual movement, e.g., Jewish existentialism. Topics will vary.

341 Topics in Jewish Thought (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topic changes.

Explores specific topics in Jewish thought. Topics vary and may include studies in mysticism, philosophy, literature, or culture. (Fall)

355 The Religious Discourse of Civil Rights (3:3)

Explores Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish involvement in American racial reform in the twentieth century.

356 Religion and Colonialism (3:3)

Explores colonialism as an ensemble of ritual performances—performances of charisma, violence, gender, race, and writing—that provide the interpretive context for the study of religion.

365 Myth and Theory (3:3)

An examination of theories of myth in light of intensive readings in Asian, African, and Western Mythology, with emphasis upon the role of myth in religion and culture.

366 Religions of China: Selected Topics (3:3)

Explores selected aspects of Chinese religions. Possible topics include ritual, Taoist alchemy, ancestor worship, Ch’an Buddhism, the underworld and the dead.

367 Religions of Japan: Selected Topics (3:3)

Exploration of selected aspects of Japanese religions. Possible topics include ritual, Japanese festivals, Shinto, ancestor worship, Zen Buddhism, the underworld and the dead.

368 Religion in South Asia: Selected Topics (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Selected aspects of religion in South Asia. Possible topics include ritual, myth, festivals, and pilgrimage in Jainism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or other religions of the Indian subcontinent. (Alt spring)

382 Topics in Christian Thought (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Examination of an issue in Christian thought or history. (Fall)

383 Seminar in a Major Christian Thinker (3:3)

May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Examination of a major thinker in Christian thought or history. (Fall)

401, 402, 403, 404 Tutorial (1–3), (1–3), (1–3), (1–3)

Pr. permission of instructor

Directed program of reading, research, and private instruction.

410 Senior Seminar (1–3)

Pr. REL 298

Required of all seniors.

May be repeated for up to 9 hours of credit when topic varies.

Colloquium on a unifying theme or major recent work in Religious Studies. Topic will vary with instructor.

420 Internship in Religious Studies (3:0:10)

Pr. two REL courses at the 300 level or permission of instructor

Religious Studies majors and minors only.

May be repeated once for credit.

Practical experience in a variety of professional settings. Includes 10 hours per week at internship site, plus regular meetings with a faculty advisor.

493 Honors Work (3–6)

Pr. permission of instructor; 3.30 GPA in the major, 12 s.h. in the major

May be repeated for credit if the topic of study changes.

 

Courses for Advanced Undergraduates & Graduate Students

503 Topics in Religious Studies (3:3)

May be repeated once for credit.

Study of role, nature, and function of selected social forms of religious life through cross-cultural comparison or intensive study of one religious tradition.

Please refer to The Graduate School Bulletin for additional graduate-level courses.