Religion Courses (REL)

REL-100   Introduction to Religious Studies 3 credits

An introduction to the variety of religious experience and expression, and the methods by which religion is studied. Topics may include: the relationship between faith and belief; the role of symbol, myth and ritual; the nature of religious authority; personal and non-personal models of the Ultimate; the function of sacred texts; the influence of religion on personal and social behavior; the challenge of religious pluralism and the impact of secularism.

REL-101   Living a True Myth 3 credits

A thematic exploration of the nature and function of religion, using texts and insights from a variety of religious traditions. Topics may include the experience of the Sacred, the necessity of symbol and myth, the interpretation of sacred scriptures, the problem of evil, the "dark side" of religion, religion in American culture, the connections between the "religious" and the "secular", the catastrophe of relativism, and the possibilities for inter-religious conversation, understanding and appreciation.

REL-111   Old Testament Introduction 3 credits

A survey of the books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) in relation to their social, historical and cultural settings in the ancient Near East. In addition, the role and impact of that literature in Jewish and Christian faith communities are addressed.

REL-112   New Testament Introduction 3 credits

A survey of the books of the New Testament in relation to their socio-historical context within Jewish and Hellenistic culture.

REL-115   Introduction to Buddhist Studies 3 credits

An introduction to the variety of religious experiences and expressions found in the Buddhist tradition, and the methods by which they are studied. Topics may include: the sense of 'religion' in Buddhism; the function of sacred scripture and its interpretation; the relation of ritual, practice and doctrine in comparison to Western religion; the place of the religious community in wider society; the rise of modernist interpretations of Buddhism in contemporary Asia and the West.

REL-251.1   Theology & the Sciences 3 credits

An investigation of the similarities and differences in how theology and the sciences function, and an exploration of ways that conversation between them might be possible, encouraged and made mutually beneficial. The course examines the impact of such conversations in addressing shared, intertwined issues, such as ecological concerns, the understanding of the self, the nature of reality, the origin and diversity of life, and cosmic origins. Majors/minors in the sciences are especially invited to enroll.

REL-294   Independent Study 1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: Permission.

Research studies in religion for qualified students. See independent study guidelines.

REL-300   Zen 3 credits

Prereq.: One course religion or philosophy. A study of the doctrines, practices and institutional formations of the meditation school of Mahayana Buddhism in China, Korea, Japan and the contemporary West. Emphasis will be placed upon the transmission/creation of the tradition in China, its transmission/re-creation in medieval Japan and its transmission/re-creation in the West after World War ll.

REL-302   Ritual, Myth & World View 3 credits

(Same as ATH-302.) An anthropological approach to religious meaning and ritual in tribal and pre-industrial cultures. The course analyzes theories of religion, myth and ritual by comparing cultures in various areas of the world including contemporary crisis and change.

REL-303   Islam: History, Practices and Beliefs 3 credits

An examination of the history, practices and beliefs of Islam from its origin to the present, including both Islam's unity and its diversity.

REL-313   The Life & Teachings of Jesus 3 credits

Prerequisites: REL-112

An exploration of what can be known about the activity and teaching of the historical Jesus and of the methodological problems involved.

REL-315   Christian Theology 3 credits

Prerequisites: REL-112

A topical examination of the task of theological reflection and of its expression in the primary beliefs of the Christian church. Particular attention will be focused on the mutual correlation of scripture and tradition with a contemporary understanding of society.

REL-325   Ancient Greek Language & Literature I 3 credits

(Same as HIS-325.) A study of basic Classical and Hellenistic (Koine) Greek grammar and syntax with primary involvement in the New Testament.

REL-326   Ancient Greek Language & Literature II 3 credits

Prerequisites: HIS-325 or REL-325

A continuation of REL-325 with a focus on the translation of selected Greek texts and the use of textual criticism.

REL-327   Greek Readings 1 credit

Prerequisites: HIS-326 or REL-326

(Same as HIS-327.) Reading and translation of Greek texts selected to meet student needs and interests. This course is designed to maintain and improve student proficiency in Greek (may be repeated for a total of 4 credits).

REL-340.3   Spiritual Development 3 credits

Prerequisites: One course in religion.

An experiential encounter with the practice and theory of spiritual development, in an inter-religious context.

REL-340.X   Topics in Religion 1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: One course in religion.

An examination of specific issues, themes or figures in religion. Topics vary from year to year.

REL-346   Reformation of the 16th Century 3 credits

(Same as HIS-346) An examination of the tumultuous changes that rocked Europe between 1517 and 1648, focusing on the interactions between theological, economic, political and personal factors that split the Christian church and changed the Western world.

REL-351   Philosophy of Religion 3 credits

Prerequisites: One course in philosophy or religion.

(Same as PHI-351) A philosophical consideration of such fundamental ideas as the existence and nature of God, evil, miracles, freedom and immortality with special attention given to religious language and to representative systems of thought.

REL-352   Indian Philosophy & Religion 3 credits

Prerequisites: One course in philosophy or religion.

A survey of the principle philosophical and religious traditions of India.

REL-353   Chinese Philosophy & Religion 3 credits

Prerequisites: One course in philosophy or religion.

A survey of the principle philosophical and religious traditions of China.

REL-363   The Rise of Christianity 3 credits

(Same as HIS-363.) An analysis of the origins of Christianity within the Roman Empire. Special attention will be given to theological development and church-state relations between the second and fourth centuries.

REL-368   Jewish History 3 credits

Prerequisites: Permission

(Same as HIS-368) This course will serve as an introduction to the history of the Jewish people from the First Revolt against Rome in 66 A.D. until the reestablishment of the State of Israel. Students will also study the theological, literary and legal texts of the Diaspora (the Jews in Exile, 132 to 1948).

REL-378   Liberation Theology 3 credits

(Same as HIS-378). An examination of the Liberation Theology Movement from the 1960s to the present in Latin America. The course will examine the historical context of the movement and consider its impact on the Americas.

REL-398   Writing in Religion 1 credit

Prerequisites: Permission

A demonstration of writing competence in Religion for the Religion Minor, consisting of a) the submission of one exemplary paper selected and revised from a course taken for the minor, b) a critical self-assessment describing how and why that selected paper demonstrates "writing competence" in Religion, and c) a minimum 2000-word reflection on the minor as a whole (or some facet of it) in relation to "liberal arts education," to the student's major, and/or to the student's vocational plans. This competence demonstration is to be taken concurrently with the final course that completes the minor, or no later than one semester after other course work for the minor is completed.

REL-399   Readings in Religion 1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: Permission

Directed readings in religion on a topic selected by the student, to be evaluated by quizzes, examinations, journal and/or papers, as agreed upon with the instructor.

REL-494   Independent Study 1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: Permission

Research studies in religion for qualified students. See independent study guidelines.

REL-497   Internship 1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: Permission

Individually arranged internships designed to provide practical experience in the work and organization of religious institutions. Periodic reports and papers may be required. See internship guidelines.

REL-498   Religious Studies Seminar 1 - 4 credits

Prerequisites: Permission

Advanced study in religion with intensive reading in topics selected by the instructor. Most class discussion is student led. All religion majors are required to enroll in the seminar each year, though freshmen, sophomores and juniors may petition to be excused. Course is one credit per year for a maximum of four credits.

REL-499   Senior Thesis 1 - 2 credits

Prerequisites: Permission

A capstone experience for senior religion majors in which they will propose, research, write, and revise a senior thesis for formal presentation.