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RELIGIOUS STUDIES (REL)

Professor Russell T. McCutcheon, Chairperson
Office: 212-A Manly Hall

REL 100 Introduction to the Study of Religion. Three hours.

Various methodological approaches to the academic study of religion, with examples of religious life and thought drawn from a variety of cultures.

REL 101 Western Approaches to the Problem of Evil. Three hours.

An introduction to religious studies surveying five of its approaches: philosophical, psychological, feminist, artistic, and African-American.

REL 105 Honors Introduction to the Study of Religion. Three hours.

Honors version of REL 100; honors-eligible students only.

REL 110 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Three hours.

Introduction to the books of the Hebrew Bible in their historical setting, with emphasis on textual analysis and on literary forms and their function and use in the past and present.

REL 112 Introduction to the New Testament. Three hours.

Hellenistic world as the matrix in which Christianity appeared; traditions about Jesus that were variously framed and organized in the Gospels, and the writings and religious issues of Paul.

REL 115 The Myths of Our Lives. Three hours.

A study of the ways in which several significant myths, legends, scriptures, and tales provide individual and cultural orientation and guidance.

REL 124 Religion in America. Three hours.

The history of ideas as the key to understanding the religious scene in America as a cultural phenomenon—a broad set of ideas, symbols, social movements, and institutions that affect and are affected by the total American culture.

REL 205 Ethics and Religion. Three hours.

An examination of the foundations of morality contrasting biblical prophetic morality with the challenges of alternative foundations, such as Aristotle's natural rights ethics, Immanuel Kant's rational ethics, and Friedrich Nietzsche's historical philosophical relativization of ethics.

REL 208 Hinduism. Three hours.

An historical survey of the major religious traditions of Asia, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto.

REL 210 Buddhism. Three hours.

A historical survey of the Buddhist traditions of South Asia and East Asia.

REL 213 Sociology of Religion. Three hours.

Sociological analysis of religion as a universal social institution and its relationship to personality and other social institutions.

REL 220 Survey of Asian Religions. Three hours.

Introductory survey of the major religious traditions of Asia, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto.

REL 223 Holocaust in Historical Perspective. Three hours.

Examination of this complex historical phenomenon from various historical and critical perspectives.

REL 224 Judaism. Three hours.

A study of some of the leading schools and interpreters of Judaism and a review of modern developments including the Holocaust and the state of Israel.

REL 225 Survey of Western Religions. Three hours.

A survey of the major religious influences in the West from early antiquity through the rise of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

REL 226 Black Religious Experience. Three hours.

An examination of black religious life in the Americas, emphasizing present institutions and practices; its African roots, its shape and function during slavery, and its development from Emancipation to the present.

REL 228 History of Christian Thought. Three hours.

The major symbolic and theological orientations that have shaped the expression of Christianity in various social and historical contexts.

REL 231 Twentieth-Century Religious Thought. Three hours.

An examination of modern religious thought, mainly of the West, with emphasis on the implications of the "modern mind" and the "post-modern perspective" for religious belief.

REL 234 Women and Spirituality (same as WS 234). Three hours.

Women's spiritual experiences in several religious traditions, ancient and modern.

REL 235 Native American Religions. Three hours.

A comprehensive introduction to the types and themes of North American Indian religions, with detailed study of at least two systems; the Vision Quest, the shaman, the trickster/clown, the sacred cosmos, peyote, and myths and legends.

REL 237 Self, Society, and Religions. Three hours.

A survey and evaluation of psychological and anthropological approaches that influence the methodologies in the academic study of religions. Personal and social functions of religious practices and systems.

REL 238 Philosophies of Judaism. Three hours.

Survey of major philosophical formulations of the unique nature and role of Jews and Judaism, by Jewish thinkers such as Judah Halevi, Moses Maimonides, Judah Loew of Prague, Moses Mendelssohn, and Martin Buber.

REL 240 Portraits of the Apocalypse in Contemporary Films. Three hours.

Examines contemporary portrayals of the end times in popular films.

REL 305 Honors Religion and Science: The Spiritual and Secular in Dialogue about Nature. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Admission to the University Honors Program or a 3.3 GPA.

Critically examines narratives about nature from science and religion, with the aim of exploring 1) their overlap in an environmental ethic and 2) the consonance and dissonance between religion and science themselves.

REL 311 English Bible as Literature (same as WL 363). Three hours.

Prerequisite: 12 hours in English.

Analytical and critical study of a number of books of the Bible; each book is examined and evaluated as a specimen of a particular literary genre.

REL 324 Tibetan Buddhism. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Three hours within the department in Asian religions.

An introduction to the rich Buddhist traditions in Tibet and the Himalayas, focusing on religious thought and practice, history, and contemporary developments.

REL 325 Religious Conservatism in America. Three hours.

Survey of the origins, growth, and general ideas of the American religious movement known as Fundamentalism. Special attention is devoted to contemporary Fundamentalism's understanding of various religious ideas.

REL 332 Contemporary Jewish Thought. Three hours.

Examination and analysis of modern Jewish reformulations of divinity, revelation, redemption, election, etc., in critical contrast to classical Jewish and Greek traditions; Buber, Cohen, Fackenheim, Hirsch, Levinas, Luzzatto, Mendelssohn, Rosenweig, Soloveichik.

REL 333 Buddhist Stories from Ancient India. Three hours.

A close reading of Indian Buddhist narrative literature in English translation, with special focus on persistent religious themes and concerns of the Indian Buddhist tradition.

REL 335 Psychology of Religion (same as PY 334). Three hours.

Prerequisite: 3 hours of religious studies courses and 6 hours in psychology courses.

Surveys various psychological analyses of religion, myth, and ritual.

REL 341 Emergence, Origin, Creation Myths. Three hours.

After an advanced orientation to mythologies and their functions in cultures, we move to features of this specific type of myth and study how they function within social contexts—how they set out long-lasting parameters of values, gender roles, and the like. Ancient Near Eastern biblical, and native American materials plus students' choices as research topics.

REL 344 God and Moral Reasoning. Three hours.

Examines debates on the relation between belief in God and ethics (theistic vs. atheistic ethics). Development of these issues in the classical Greek and the Jewish and Christian traditions.

REL 346 Advanced Studies in Biblical Research. Three hours.

Particular course topics will be announced in the schedule of classes booklet at the time the courses are offered.

REL 347 Jewish-Christian Relations. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Three hours in the department or permission of the instructor.

Critical examination of the 2,000-year-old relationship focusing on areas of commonality and difference.

REL 360:361 Individual Directed Research: Student Topics. Three hours.

Prerequisite: 6 hours in the department and permission of the instructor.

Supervised research of the student's choice.

REL 370 Advanced Studies in Self, Society, and Culture. Three hours.

Junior level course offered every other year in area one. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 371 Advanced Studies in American Religion. Three hours.

Junior-level course offered every other year in area two. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 372 Advanced Studies in Western Religion. Three hours.

Junior-level course offered every other year in area three. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 373 Advanced Studies in Asian Religion. Three hours.

Junior-level course offered every other year in area four. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 409 Classic Native American Texts. Three hours.

Analysis of classic Native American texts, mostly mythological and with emphasis on rituals in terms of their literary and cultural aspects.

REL 419 Myth, Ritual, and Magic (same as ANT 419). Three hours.

REL 420 Gospel of Mark. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Three hours in the department or permission of the instructor.

Investigates the Gospel of Mark through the lens of contemporary biblical, literary, and cultural criticism.

REL 460:461 Individual Directed Research: Student Topics. Three hours.

Prerequisites: 6 hours in the department and permission of the instructor.

Supervised research of the student's choice.

REL 480 Seminar in Self, Society, and Culture. Three hours.

Senior-level course offered every other year in area one. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 481 Seminar in American Religion. Three hours.

Senior-level course offered every other year in area two. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 482 Seminar in Western Religion. Three hours.

Senior-level course offered every other year in area three. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 483 Seminar in Asian Religion. Three hours.

Senior-level course offered every other year in area four. Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that year.

REL 490 Capstone Seminar. Three hours.

A seminar offered first semester of each year for seniors majoring or minoring in religious studies. The subject of the seminar rotates through the four areas of the curriculum. Required of all REL majors and minors; offered each spring semester.

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