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Religion Courses

REL 1001 Introduction to Prayer and Meditation
This half-semester practicum introduces students to a number of practices of prayer and meditation. We will explore practices of praying the psalms (the prayer book of the Hebrew Scriptures), Buddhist mindfulness meditation, and Christian prayer. Class time will be devoted to experiencing these practices and discussion, and students will be asked to continue these practices and complete brief readings in between sessions. Grading: CR/NC

REL 1014 Introduction to Religion
An introduction to and exploration of what ’religion’ means, what it means to live religiously, and what it means to study religion from an academic perspective. Areas of focus include (but are not limited to) notions of the sacred as manifested in symbol, myth, doctrine, text, and ritual. II Humanities

REL 1054 Judaeo-Christian Heritage
Asurvey of the historical development of the Jewish and Christian religions and their relationship to one another from the first century of the common era to the present. II Humanities or III B

REL 1134 Foundations of Asian Religions
An introductory course designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the ideas and practices that shape several Asian religious traditions. Focuses primarily on Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist traditions; attention also given to Jain, Sikh, and Shinto traditions. II Humanities or III A

REL 2024 The Bible
An examination of the development and meaning of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. By reading the biblical text critically and appreciatively, students better understand the Bible-its content, its cultural environment, its vision of life, and its relevance for today. IV; V

REL 2122 Religious Biography
A study and evaluation of selected figures in religion. The intention is to discern the interrelatedness of religious and personal formation in the development of thought and in action. (1/2 course unit.)

REL 2154 Gender Roles in Religious Life
An exploration of the relationships and roles of women and men in the context of religious life, paying attention to the way male perspectives have dominated many areas of formal religious discourse, but also noting the dissenting voices of women often hidden in alternative forms of expression. After reviewing selected contemporary theories about the evolution of gender roles and the dynamics of gender relationships, the course will focus on the Christian and Hindu traditions, and then conclude by examining selected writings from other traditions. IV; V

REL 2204 Christian Worship
An introduction to the nature and history of Christian worship, with an overview of the basic elements of Christian worship and how they shape the Christian identity. Particular focus on the development and ongoing practice of baptism and eucharist (Lord’s Supper) in the church. Course enables students to locate and appreciate individual traditions within the larger and inclusive liturgical tradition. IV; V

REL 2294 Special Topics in Religion
The study of a seminal figure, school of thought, era, issue, or topic of interdisciplinary interest not fully treated in other courses. Topics will be announced in advance. May be repeated for credit as long as the topic is different. IV

REL 2304 Major Thinkers
The exploration of a major theologian or thinker crucial to the development of a religious school of thought, seminal idea, or doctrine in a particular religious tradition, who is not fully treated in other courses. May be repeated for credit as long as the designated thinker is different. IV

REL 2314 Biblical History and Archaeology
An examination of the historical and archaeological records of the ancient Near East that relate to the Biblical period (circa 1800 BCE to 135 CE). Students will gain an understanding of how the study of history and archaeology affects the interpretation of the Bible. IV

REL 2324 Journey Through the Bible
An examination of the history, geography, and archaeology of the Biblical world (circa 1800 BCE to 135 CE) by studying and traveling to the land of the Bible (Israel). This is a May term travel course. IV

REL 2344 Jewish-Christian Relations
Examines the tragic and bloodstained history of the relationship of Christianity-beginning with its inception as a Jewish sect and culminating in the Holocaust-to Judaism. Two questions will frame our thought: How is it that a Jewish sect, whose "founder" was a Jewish rabbi, had within less than a century become avidly and outspokenly anti-Jewish? Was the Holocaust an inevitable consequence of the long, entrenched Christian tradition of anti-Judaism? IV

REL 2414 The Hebrew Bible
An examination of the collection of literature that is called the Hebrew Bible (Tanak) in the Jewish tradition and the Old Testament in the Christian tradition. Students will gain an understanding of Israelite history, major religious ideas of the text, and knowledge of and experience in interpreting the Hebrew Bible both critically and appreciatively. Must have at least sophomore standing. IV

REL 2424 The New Testament
An examination of the collection of 27 books that is called the New Testament by the Christian tradition. Students will gain an understanding of the formation of the early church, major religious ideas of the text, and knowledge of and experience in interpreting the New Testament both critically and appreciatively. Must have at least sophomore standing. IV

REL 2504 Ancient Chinese Thought
Between the sixth and the second centuries BCE, China burgeoned with philosophical schools and their texts. Students will read those texts closely and critique them, concentrating especially on the Analects, the Chuang-Tzu, the Mencius, and the Hsun-Tzu. Special emphasis will be placed on how the traditions such texts represent react to each other as they develop increasingly sophisticated defenses of their positions. The course will also attempt to identify, assess, and avoid popular Western readings of the Chinese philosophical tradition by incorporating recent historical findings and textual apparatus. Also listed as PHIL 2504. III A or IV

REL 2524 Islamic Religious Traditions
An exploration of Islamic identity, religious expressions, and institutions. Topics of study include the life of Muhammad, the nature and teachings of the Qur’an, and Islamic sectarian identities. III A or IV

REL 2534 Hindu Religious Traditions
A survey of the history, practices, ideas, and social institutions associated with the variety of Hindu religious traditions. Students will learn about the Indus Valley civilization and the Aryan settlement of the Indian subcontinent. Discussions will focus on the development of classical Hindu India. Students will read foundational texts in English translation as well as selections from modern Indian thinkers such as Aurobindo, Radhakrishnan, Vivekananda, Gandhi, and Ambedkar. III A or IV; V

REL 2544 Buddhist Religious Traditions
An examination of the philosophical and historical roots of classical Buddhism, its sectarian developments, and its spread from India to other countries. Topics of study include the life of Guatama; the nature of suffering, of the self, and of mind; gender issues in the religious community; and the nature of devotion. III A or IV; V

REL 2644 Psychology of Minority Rel. Traditions
The purpose of this course is to examine through novels and films, the practice of religious traditions in cultural contexts, in which the religious tradition is not the mainstream or dominant tradition (e.g. a Hindu residing in a predominantly Muslim cultural space). In some contexts this would be an immigrant religion, in others, it would be a long standing and well-established minority tradition. We will investigate how cultural spaces shape and influence the construction of the non-dominant religious identity. Also listed as PSY 2644. IV

REL 3024 The Synoptic Gospels
Through a systematic reading of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), students will develop critical skills in analyzing and appreciating these canonical texts. The synoptic problem, redaction criticism, and the unique theological perspective of each Gospel will be highlighted. IV

REL 3054 Philosophy of Religion
A discussion and lecture course dealing with the intellectual problems of religion (such as those of God, freedom, faith, immortality, evil, and religious knowledge). Time is also given to a study of the various schools of religious philosophy. Also listed as PHIL 3054. IV; V

REL 3074 Christian Theological Reflection
Primarily designed to encourage theological reflection about the Christian faith by acquainting students with several of the classic doctrines (God, Christ, Holy Spirit, and Church), by reading representative theologians (Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Schleiermacher, and Barth) who have significantly shaped the development of those doctrines, and by constructing theological arguments. IV; V

REL 3154 Religion and Gender in Popular Culture:
This course uses famous and relevant popular culture as a medium for the study of religion and gender at an elevated level. Students will be expected to have some familiarity of the popular culture to be examined prior to the class. The class will build from other religion courses, namely Intro and Gender Roles in two specific ways. It will focus on theory coupled with its application in a variety of religious traditions with concentrations on religion, gender, social justice, race, and culture with a view to understanding their intersection. Prerequisites: Any one of the following classes or permission from the Instructor: REL 1014; REL 2154; WS 1004; WS 2004/PHIL 2004; WS 2044; WS 2294; WS 2414/SOC2414; WS2524/PSY 2524; WS 2934; WS 3204; WS 3244; WS 3514; WS 3534. IV; V

REL 3214 Quest for the Historical Jesus
An exploration of the perennial question that Christians, or any reader of the Gospels, must ask: Who is Jesus? After reading portraits of the historical Jesus proposed by representative scholars of the ’third quest for the historical Jesus’ (from the 1980s to the present), their responses will be examined and evaluated. IV

REL 3454 The Gospel of John
Through a systematic reading of the Gospel of John, students develop critical skills in analyzing and appreciating the biblical text. John’s unique literary and theological perspective and the distinctions between John and the other gospels will be highlighted. IV

REL 3534 The Qur’an
Students will read the Qur’an and work with various ways of reading it. Beginning by situating the Qur’an in the context of revelation and prophecy, the class will learn about Prophet Muhammad before turning to themes within the Qur’an itself. This will be followed by an investigation of the ways the Qur’an has been interpreted and used by Muslims in various cultural contexts. Prerequisites: REL 1014 or 2524, or permission of instructor. IV;V

REL 4014 Independent Study
Readings on an approved topic. The student will submit an evaluative paper. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

REL 4204 Internship
Internship experience. The student will submit an evaluative paper. CR/NC grading. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

REL 4444 Seminar in Religious Studies
A seminar designed to encourage student initiative, research, and responsibility in probing, independently and with others, the vital areas of the study of religion. Topics change each time the seminar is offered and are arranged to include concentration on theological, ethical, biblical, historical, ecumenical, interdisciplinary, and intercultural concerns. May be repeated for credit. IV

REL 4904 Senior Honors in Religion
Independent study on a given problem chosen in consultation with the instructor, with tutorial conferences. (1 course units.) Prerequisites: Senior standing, 3.3 grade point average in major courses, at least 4.5 course units in religion, and permission of instructor.

REL 4908 Senior Honors in Religion
Independent study on a given problem chosen in consultation with the instructor, with tutorial conferences. (2 course units.) Prerequisites: Senior standing, 3.3 grade point average in major courses, at least 4.5 course units in religion, and permission of instructor.

REL 4912 Senior Honors in Religion
Independent study on a given problem chosen in consultation with the instructor, with tutorial conferences. (3 course units.) Prerequisites: Senior standing, 3.3 grade point average in major courses, at least 4.5 course units in religion, and permission of instructor.

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