Introduction to World Religions (G) (R) (3)
A general introduction to the basic religious concerns of humanity and the ways in which religions have developed in Eastern and Western history, giving intellectual, moral, and institutional expression to the meaning of human existence.
Introduction to Religion and Contemporary Culture (3)
A study of the ways that religion may or may not have significance for our world today, examining issues such as the meaning of religious experience, evil and goodness, the purposes of ritual, roles of religion in society and culture, the impact of science and technology on religion, and issues in ethics.
Introduction to the Bible (3)
Historical and literary exploration of portions of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and New Testament that have had the most lasting influence on Western culture. Focus on the meaning of key terms like covenant and evil, biblical authorship, and different ways the text may be interpreted today.
Eastern Religions (G) (3)
A historical and comparative study of the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto and their expressions in the cultures of India, China, and Japan.
Jews, Christians, and Muslims (G) (3)
The historical development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from the
earliest roots in the myths and rituals of the ancient world to their
modern forms. The interaction between each tradition and the cultural
context in which it emerges and develops. The popular expression of
each religion's beliefs in its holidays, rituals, and legends.
Myth and Symbol (G) (3)
Comparative studies of the creation myths and hero myths of selected Eastern, Middle Eastern, European, Native American, and African cultures. Attention given to the religious worldview, the psychological and social implications, and the symbolic forms of expression of each. Various methodologies for the study of myth investigated.
African-American Religion (D) (3)
The effects of American enslavement on the religious and social institutions of the African people and the development of religious beliefs and institutions within the black community in the United States. The relationship between the black and white religious institutions and the role of religion in the development of black political consciousness.
Religion in Contemporary America (D) (3)
An investigation of some of the major religious issues which have emerged in recent years in American culture. Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and black representatives studied; the influence of Eastern religions and extradenominational manifestations of religious concern examined.
Contemporary Religious Thought (3)
Major trends in current Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant theology as
related to developments in modern thought. Questions of God's
existence, evil, morality, and meaning.
Philosophy of Religion (3)
An exploration of religious issues which are live options. Examples: Do
science and reason leave any room for faith? Without a belief in a
supreme being who is supremely good, is life pointless? Can an atheist
be moral? Can God's existence, or human immortality, be proven? Do
religious experiences occur, and do they prove anything?
Credit not given for this course and 50:730:326.
Lecture Series in Religion (3,3)
Visiting lecturers speak on a central topic selected by the religion department. Students participate through attendance at the lectures, prescribed background reading under the direction of a faculty member, and submission of a paper.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Women and Religion (D) (3)
An examination of the image of women and the feminine in the myths,
symbols, and theology of major religious traditions. Consideration
given to the status and role of women in relation to the issues of
religious practice, participation in rituals, and ordination. Finally,
a look at feminist options for women's changing image and role in
Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust (D) (3)
An investigation into the nature and historical development of anti-Semitism in general and Nazism in particular. Examination of specific stages of Nazi genocide as well as implications for modern religion, theories of human nature, and situations we may confront in the future. Integrates material from history, psychology, ethics, theology, and literature in order to evaluate possible responses.
Examines the phenomenon and meaning of evil, especially
"moral" evil. Key questions pursued are how evil may be explained, why
humanity is capable of it in the first place, whether it belongs to
some or all people, how to differentiate its perpetrators and its
victims, whether evil is compatible with the existence of a good God,
and how one may judge the difference between evil and good. These and
other fundamental questions are pursued through a range of classic,
historical, and contemporary texts and in relation to examples of evil
in today's world.
Credit not given for this course and 50:730:333.
Religion and Science (3)
Explores the historic tension between science and religion and analyzes areas of conflict and compatibility. Issues such as cosmology and creation, evolution and human nature, neurology and spirituality are discussed.
Comparative Religious Ethics (G) (3)
The value systems embodied in the myths, rituals, and traditions of the major world religions examined in light of their influence on the formation of personal identity and the relation of traditional ethics compared to modern ethical theory. Specific contemporary issues analyzed, such as racism, sex, abortion, gender discrimination, divorce, pacifism, civil disobedience, ecological destruction, and genetic manipulation.
Religion and Film (3)
Examines the use of mythical and religious images and symbols in contemporary films. The cinematic representation of issues such as ultimate meaning and ethical values, spiritual quests, hopelessness, and salvation are analyzed.
May be taken as part of a minor in media studies.
Religion and Psychology (3)
Survey of different approaches to the psychological interpretation of religious phenomena, such as images of God, myths and legends, rituals, mysticism, faith healing, meditation, and conversion experiences. The works of Freud, Jung, and others considered.
Family Ethics (D) (3)
An examination of the complex issues facing families in today's world.
Such issues include home versus work life, divorce, same-sex
marriage, marriage's changing meaning, domestic violence, and raising
children. Approaches are ethical, religious, historical, legal,
psychological, and sociological.
Biomedical Ethics (3)
An examination of ethical theories and their application to such issues as abortion, cloning, physician-patient relations, genetic manipulation, and health care justice.
Credit not given for this course and 50:730:349.
Contemporary Judaism (D) (3)
A study of the development of Judaism in America and an analysis of the major religious issues of modern Judaism as expressed by major Jewish thinkers. Topics include contemporary attitudes toward God and Torah, Israel and Zionism, the Holocaust and the death of God, the dialogue of Judaism and Christianity, the challenge of secularism, and the Jew in modern literature.
Independent Study (3,3)
Advanced students pursue a research topic under the direction of a faculty member, culminating in a paper.
Special Topics in Religion (3)