Religious Studies Curriculum

Area A: World Religious Traditions: History and Practice

RELS 205 Jesus (4)

Exploration and analysis of the person of Jesus.  Includes examination of our sources of knowledge about him, his self-understanding, and various interpretations of him in historical, comparative, and contemporary settings.

RELS 301: Religions of Asia (4) - GE C4

Comparative study of the religions of Asia, particularly Hinduism, Buddhism, and the religions of China. Topics include historical continuities/discontinuities, worldviews, sacred texts, practices, responses to modernity, the place of women across the traditions. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 302: Monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (4) - GE C4

(formerly RELS 309) 
The monotheistic traditions of Christianity and Islam, with focus on their origins from Judaism. Topics include: Jewish history, the Hebrew Bible, the Christian New Testament, formation of the Church, the Quran and Mohammad. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 304: Judaism (4) - GE C4

Origins, beliefs and practices of Judaism and central themes in the Hebrew Bible. The development of Judaism in the post-biblical and Talmudic period. Jewish philosophy, life, rituals and customs. The emergence of modern Judaism, Zionism and post-Holocaust philosophy. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 306 Hinduism (4) - GE C4

Origins, beliefs and practices of Hinduism from the Veda and the Upanishads through the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas. Modern Hindu institutions, saints and sages, and social philosophy contrasted with the ancient. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 307 Buddhism (4) - GE C4

Buddhist origins, viewpoints and practices will be seen in their development in India, Tibet, China, Japan, South Asia and America. The life of Buddha, Gautama, the rise of Theravada, Mahayana and Tantra. Encounters with Shinto and Confucianism. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 310 Christianity (4) - GE C4

The development of the Christian religion from the story of Jesus, the New Testament, Church formation, the role of St. Paul, dissenting ideas, Protestant and Catholic views, and contemporary issues of conscience, such as the Social Gospel and liberation theologies. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 311 Islam (4) - GE C4

The development of Islamic civilization from the inspiration of the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad and the Sunni-Shi’i split to contemporary political and social issues. Emphasis of Sufi literature, art, architecture, and philosophies of Islam. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

ART 318 Buddhist Art (4) - GE C4

Buddhist Art is a survey of Buddhist art from its origin in India to its later spread and transformation in other areas of Asia (China, Japan, Tibet, etc.) The course focuses on traditional forms of Buddhist art and architecture and the influence that diversity in Buddhist sects and national cultures had on these art forms. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C3. Art and Design majors will not receive GE C4 credit.

ENG 354 Bible as Literature (4) - GE C4, GWR

The most important and representative books of the Bible. Exposure to works based on the Bible in literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and film. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Areas A and C1. English majors will not receive GE C4 credit.

Area B: Approaches to Religion

RELS 344 Approaches to Religion - GE D5

Examination of religion from an academic perspective by surveying the various historical approaches employed within the discipline of religious studies to col-lect, analyze, and interpret religious phenomena cross-culturally. 4 lectures. Pre-requisite: Junior standing; completion of GE Area A and any D3 or D4 course. Fulfills GE D5.

PHIL 320 Asian Philosophy (4) - GE C4

Historical and contemporary case studies of how various religions have condoned, motivated and justified violence. The place of sacrifice, martyrdom, self-injury and forced conversion in religious doctrines. Representations of religious violence in the media. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

PHIL 342 Philosophy of Religion (4) - GE C4

Inquiry into the rational and nonrational bases of religious claims. Arguments for and against the existence of God. Discussion of miracles, revelation, the definition of God, the problem of evil, the relation of faith and reason, the nature of religious experience, the verification of religious claims. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2. Philosophy majors will not receive GE C4 credit.

PHIL 449 Epistemology of Religious Belief (4)
 

SOC 377 Sociology of Religion (4) - GE D5

Religion from a sociological perspective. Topics may include the nature of religious experience, the role of religion in politics, economics, and social change, and the role that social forces have in influencing religious beliefs and practices. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A, and two courses from two categories in Area D. Social Sciences majors will not receive GE D5 credit.

Area C: Contemporary Issues in Religion

RELS 201: Religion, Dialogue and Society (4)

The way in which interactions between religious traditions shape society at various levels. Case studies drawn from eastern and western religious traditions during the ancient and modern periods. 4 lectures. GE D3

RELS/WS 370 Religion, Gender and Society (4) - GE C4, USCP

Critical examination of religious ideas and institutions in America in relation to gender, race and politics. Focus on women and religion, the religious experience of minorities, and on politics. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2. Cross-listed as RELS/WGS 370.

RELS 372 Spiritual Extremism: Asceticism, Mysticism and Madness (4) - GE C4

Shaping influence of ascetics, mystics and the insane on global religious traditions. Topics may include the relationship between spiritual extremists and society, cultural construction of holiness and insanity, and literary
depictions of spiritual extremists. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 374 Religion and Violence (4) - GE C4

Historical and contemporary case studies of how various religions have condoned, motivated and justified violence. The place of sacrifice, martyrdom, self-injury and forced conversion in religious doctrines. Representations of religious violence in the media. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Area A and C2.

RELS 376 Religion, Science and Technology (4) - GE F

Interdisciplinary investigation of relationships between religion, science and technology, including the ethical implications of various technologies. Topics may include human origins, medical technology, environment, reproduction, social media and emerging technologies. Prerequisite: completion of GE area B and Junior standing.
 

RELS 378 Religion and Contemporary Values (4) - GE C4

Descriptive analysis of how diverse religious traditions construct moral decisions about a variety of contemporary issues including sexuality, ecology, and justice. Challenges for religious value systems in secular and pluralistic societies.  4 lectures.  Prerequisite: GE Area A and C2

RELS/POL 380 Religion and Politics of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict (4)

Cross-disciplinary course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will examine the root causes of the conflict, its current manifestation.  Possibilities for solutions from the perspectives of religious studies and political science. Prerequisite: POLS 225 Introduction to International Relations/POLS 229 Introduction to Comparative Politics OR RELS 201: Religion, Dialogue and Society.

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