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2003 - 2004
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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Isenberg, S.R., Chair; Foltz, R.; Hackett, D.G.; Hiers, R.H.; Hochman, L.; Kessler, G.L.; Mueller, J.; Narayanan, V.; Peterson, A.L.; Poceski, M.; Simmons, G.Z.; Thursby, G.R.; Vasquez, M.; Undergraduate Coordinator: M. Vasquez; Graduate Coordinator: G. Thursdy.

REL 2121 American Religious History.

Credits: 3.

An historical inquiry into the ideological origins and social context of American religious life. (H)

REL 2130 American Religious Diversity.

Credits: 3.

A look at the major groupings of religion in the United States, how they differ, what they have in common, the various dimensions of each in their interaction, and their roles in the society of the American people. (H,I)

REL 2174 Social Ethics.

Credits: 3.

This course will guide the students to reflect on how ethical decisions are made, drawing on resources from Antiquity, the Bible, and texts and thinkers from several traditions across time and space. (H) GR-Eć

REL 2185 Religion Ethics and the Human Image.

Credits: 3.

An investigation of the ways in which ethical systems are connected to and rest upon understandings of human nature. (H)

REL 2210 Hebrew Scriptures.

Credits: 3.

The history, literature and beliefs of the Israelites from the Biblical text, in the light of modern scholarship. (H)

REL 2240 New Testament.

Credits: 3.

An introduction to the various literary, social and religious contexts of the books of the New Testament. (H)

REL 2317 Religion in Asia.

Credits: 3.

A study of the religious dimensions of human culture, focusing on Asia (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto). (H, I)

REL 2341 Introduction to Buddhism.

Credits: 3.

The course is an introduction to the doctrines, practices, and institutions that shaped the essential identity of Buddhism as a pan-Asian religion that transcended ethic, cultural, and linguistic boundaries.

REL 2362 Introduction to Islam.

Credits: 3.

An historical introduction to Islamic tradition. The course will explore foundational elements of the tradition, based on the life of Prophet Muhammad and the text of the Qurĺan, and on an examination of subsequent Islamic expressions. (H, I)

REL 2600 Introduction to Judaism.

Credits: 3.

A multidisciplinary approach to the Jewish experience from its Biblical origins to modern times. (H, I)

REL 2930 Topics in Religion.

Credits: 3.

Variable topics in religion at an introductory level. May be repeated with a change in content up to a maximum of 6 credits.

REL 3021 The Individual and Religious Experience.

Credits: 3.

An investigation of religious ideas and practices and their meaning for the individual. (H)

REL 3127 Church and State in America.

Credits: 3.

A survey of church-state relations in the United States from colonial times to the present, with close attention paid to church-state theory, crucial court decisions, controversies, and unresolved contemporary issues. (S) GR-Eć

REL 3131 Cults and New Religious Movements.

Credits: 3.

An investigation of significant new religious movements such as the Peopleĺs Temple and the Branch Davidians. The course seeks to uncover the origins, internal structure, popularity and functioning of these movements while attending to claims of manipulation and discrimination. (S)

REL 3140 Religion and Society.

Credits: 3.

The interaction of religion and social institutions, concerning the ways religious groups influence and are influenced by the socio-cultural environment. (S) GR-Eć

REL 3170 Ethics in Religious Perspective.

Credits: 3.

An exploration of ethical concepts in Western religions, and of religious dimensions of current moral issues. (H, S) GR-Eć

REL 3249 The Christian Gospels.

Credits: 3; Prereq: REL 2210 or REL 2240 or permission of the instructor.

A redaction-critical study of selected portions of the canonical gospels with particular attention to the development of traditions about Jesus in the earliest church. (H) GR-Eć

REL 3252 Acts, Paul and Early Christianity.

Credits: 3; Prereq: REL 2210 or REL 2240 or permission of the instructor.

An examination of the narrative of the beginning of Christianity according to the Book of Acts, especially as it describes the career of Paul. The second half of the course focuses on the letters of Paul as an alternative source for understanding the earliest forms of Christianity. (H) GR-Eć

REL 3317 Religions of Iran.

Credits: 3.

Influence of Iranian religions and Iranian influence on major traditions of the Mediterranean, India and China.

REL 3318 Chinese Religions.

Credits: 3.

The course is a comprehensive historical survey of the main religious traditions in China, with focus on Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.

REL 3321 Early Judaism and Christianity.

Credits: 3.

An examination of the Jewish-Christian encounter. The historical interaction between Judaism and Christianity including how each group symbolized the other, and the practical implications of the representations. (H, I) GR-Eć

REL 3330 Religions of India.

Credits: 3.

An historical look at the major religious traditions of the Indian sub-continent. (H, I) GR-Eć

REL 3335 Hindu Sacred Text/Social- Ritual Context.

Credits: 3; Prereq: any course in Asian Religion, Asian Scripture or REL 4024.

An investigation of the development, use, authority and performance of sacred texts in ritual, drama, festival and music within the Hindu tradition. (H,I)

REL 3336 Religion in Modern India.

Credits: 3.

A study of the religious traditions of India and their interpretation in relation to conditions of the modern world. (H, I) GR-Eć

REL 3363 Islam and Nature.

Credits: 3.

The various ways in which Muslims have historically understood their place within broader creation and how that understanding is being reshaped today in terms of the present global environmental crisis.

REL 3366 Islam in Asia.

Credits: 3.

An overview of the growth and development of the diverse Muslim societies of Asia from Iran to the Philippines, including their contributions to the arts, reform movements and responses to modernity.

REL 3367 The History of Islam in the Modern World.

Credits: 3.

The history of Muslims from the eighteenth century to the present with particular attention to certain critical issues and interpretations in relation to conditions of the modern world. (H, I)

REL 3370 Religions of Africa.

Credits: 3.

The course will focus on religion and culture in Africa, the encounter of Islam and Christianity with indigenous religions, and diasporic reformulations. (H, I) GR-Eć

REL 3381 Religion in Latin America.

Credits: 3.

This course provides a survey of the main religious traditions in Latin America: native religions, Catholicism in its various forms, Protestantism and African-based religions. (H,I)

REL 3392 Jewish Mysticism.

Credits: 3; Prereq: REL 2600 or WOH 3282.

Mysticism in Judaism in Biblical, Rabbinic, Medieval and Modern periods. (H) GR-Eć

REL 3420 Contemporary Religious Thought.

Credits: 3.

An attempt to discover what contemporary thinkers are saying about religion and the problems of modern life. (H) GR-Eć

REL 3440 Religion and the Modern Mind.

Credits: 3.

An examination of the modern outlook, focusing upon conceptual commitments associated with present cultural styles, with attention to certain critical issues for religion. (H) GR-Eć

REL 3463 God: Beliefs, Concepts, Issues.

Credits: 3.

An investigation of central issues connected with the concept of God in Western religious traditions. Topics include arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, theodicy, faith and reason. (H)

REL 3492 Religion Ethics and Nature.

Credits: 3.

Religious perspectives on nature and the environment, focusing on different theological understandings of the natural world, approaches to using natural resources and efforts to understand human responsibility for the realm of nature. (H)

REL 3500 History of Christianity.

Credits: 3.

An historical approach to those traditions, personalities, issues, and events that have shaped the growth of Christianity in the Western world. (H, I) GR-Eć

REL 3591 Christian Mysticism.

Credits: 3.

Mysticism as a type of religious thought and practice in Christian tradition. (H) GR-Eć

REL 3931 Junior Seminar.

Credits: 3.

An intensive introduction to approaches to the study of religion. Required of all religion majors during their junior year.

REL 3938 Special Topics in Religion.

Credits: 3; May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 12 credits. (H) GR-Eć

REL 4024 Ritual.

Credits: 3.

A study of religious action and performance: liturgy, festival, pilgrimage, healing, marriage, death and others. The course seeks to uncover how such rites look and how they affect, complement or undercut belief systems. (H)

REL 4134 Religion in Southern Culture.

Credits: 3.

Development of religious life in the South through its history, with particular reference to its interaction with regional culture. (H) GR-Eć

REL 4141 Religion and Social Change.

Credits: 3.

An investigation of the diverse relations between religion and processes of social change. The course uses both theoretical and ethnographic case studies to explore issues raised by religionĺs social role in the U.S., Britain, Asia, Latin America and Africa. (S) GR-Eć (4)

REL 4177 Special Topics in Religion and Ethics.

Credits: 3; May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 9 credits. GR-Eć

REL 4198 Religion Modern Postmodern.

Credits: 3; Prereq: one previous course in religion or philosophy or permission of the instructor.

This course examines the key themes that have characterized modernity-postmodernity debate and the impact of this debate for the study of religion. (H)

REL 4209 Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Jewish Literature.

Credits: 3; Prereq: any course on Judaism or Christianity or Western Scripture.

This course will explore the varieties of literature which arose within Judaism from 250 BCE to 220 CE, including selections from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the OT Pseudepigrapha, Philo and Josephus. (H)

REL 4293 Special Topics in Biblical Studies.

Credits: 3; May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 9 credits.

Advanced study of special topics for students with previous courses in biblical studies. GR-Eć

REL 4337 Women in Hindu Tradition.

Credits: 3; Prereq: one course in Hinduism.

A study of women in Hindu traditions focusing on their participation in temple practices, religious scholarship and practices of piety and austerity. Special attention is given to women poets, scholars, ascetics and patrons in Hindu religions and society. (H,I) GR-Eć

REL 4345 Chan/Zen Buddhism.

Credits: 3; Prereq: Intro to Buddhism/Chinese Religions/instructor permission.

The course is a comprehensive inquiry of the history, doctrines and practices of the Chan/Zen tradition of East Asian Buddhism.

REL 4349 Buddhist Meditation.

Credits: 3; Prereq: Introduction to Buddhism or instructorĺs permission.

The course explores the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation, with focus on the systems of meditation practice developed by the Theravada school in Sri Lanka and the main traditions of Chinese Buddhism.

REL 4364 Classical Islamic Thought.

Credits: 3; Prereq: 1 prior course in Islam.

The rise, development and articulation of diverse modes of rational inquiry during the first three formative centuries of Islam, including law, theology, philosophy, Qurĺanic exegesis, hadith, historiography, and science.

REL 4369 Shiĺi Islam

Credits: 3; Prereq: REL 2362 or permission of instructor.

Historical development and doctrines of Shiĺi Islam, including law, philosophy, political theory, and ritual practice.

REL 4382 Religion and Politics in Latin America.

Credits: 3.

This seminar focuses on the relationship between religion and politics in Latin America, from a variety of perspectives and approaches. It addresses millenarian movements, gender, ethnicity, and class, as well as church-state dynamics. (S, I)

REL 4482 American Religious Thought.

Credits: 3.

A study of the major intellectual movements in American religious thought and their social consequences. (H) GR-Eć

REL 4490 Special Topics in Religious Thought.

Credits: 3; May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 9 credits. GR-Eć

REL 4590 Selected Issues and Themes in Christianity.

Credits: 3; Prereq: 6 hours in religion or upper division standing. May be repeated with a change of content up to maximum of 9 credits.

An historical and textual examination of selected classical and modern issues and themes in Christianity. GR-Eć

REL 4625 Early Rabbinic Judaism.

Credits: 3; Prereq: REL 2600 or equivalent or instructorĺs permission.

A critical and historicized introduction to the Rabbinic texts of Mishnah, Midrash and Talmud. Emphasis is placed on the growth and development of the Rabbinic movement, and upon reading practices. (H, I)

REL 4671 Gender/Judaism.

Credits: 3; Prereq: REL 2600 or equivalent or instructorĺs permission.

An examination of the notions of male and female in Jewish religion, how they have been formed, and how they are changing.

REL 4905 Individual Work.

Credits: 1 to 5; Prereq: 9 hours in Religion or consent of the department. May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 9 credits.

Majors or other advanced undergraduates who wish to supplement regular course work by individual studies under guidance may apply to a member of the faculty for individual work.

REL 4930 Special Topics Religious Thought.

Credits: 3.

May be repeated with a change of content up to a maximum of 6 credits.

REL 4932 Thesis Seminar in Religion.

Credits: 3.

Honors level studentsĺ option for thesis preparation.

REL 4933 The Comparative Study of Religion.

Credits: 3; Prereq: Junior or senior standing and permission of the department.

A study of the history and major methods that have contributed to the modern study of religion. (H) GR-Eć

REL 4936 Special Topics in Religious Studies.

Credits: 3; May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 9 credits.

Advanced study for students with proper preparation of selected topics involving one or more religious traditions. GR-Eć

REL 4956 Overseas Studies.

Credits: 1 to 18; Prereq: by permission of the department. Interested students should consult with the Undergraduate Coordinator.

The following courses in the religion curriculum are offered in other departments:

ANT 3241 Anthropology of Religion. (I,S)

ANT 3375 Islamic Civilization. (H,I) GR-Eć

CLT 3371 Religions of the Graeco-Roman World. (H,I)

LIT 3173 Jewish Literature. (H,I)

POS 4291 Religion and Politics in the U.S.

SYO 4200 Sociology of Religion. (S,I) GR-Eć

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