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2010 Summer

Course offerings for the Summer 2010 semester


REL 110 The Nature of Religion

01 M, W 3:20p - 6:28p Staff (206W)

This introductory course considers what is distinctively religious about religions. Using a combination of in depth case study and cross-cultural comparison, it introduces the student to recurrent themes, forms and structures of religion, considering such topics as: the nature of myth and ritual; sacred time and sacred space; gods, spirits and ancestors; as well as the roles of shaman, prophet, and priest.

REL 111 Approaches to Religion

01 M, Tu, W, Th 1:30p - 3:04p Troy (205W)

A modern critical study of religion using a variety of methods to further understand the meaning and function of religion in personal and social life. Approaches and readings from philosophy, psychology, the arts, history, sociology and anthropology.

REL 207 Religious Sources of Morality

01 Tu, Th 6:40p - 9:48p Cole (206W)

Ethics has been defined as the tension between that which "is" and that which "ought" to be. This course will focus on the origin of the "ought": How do we decide what is good and evil? What are the sources of our understanding of what ought to be? Are these sources religious? Have they to do with belief in God? (What do we mean by "religion" and by God"?) Reading will be in Buber, The Book of Job, Genesis, Psalms, The Gospel of Matthew, Wiesel, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Tillich.

REL 252 Ancient Near Eastern Religions

01 M, W 6:40p - 9:48p Raver (206W)

This course is a survey of the basic history and of the most significant aspects of the religions of the major Near Eastern peoples in the Bronze Age (8000BCE-3000 BCE), including the Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Hittites, Canaanites, and Israelites. The magnificent civilizations that they built had an enormous influence on subsequent human culture. This course is based on primary material, of both archeological and literary natures, and will discuss the most important texts produced by religious and secular sources.

REL 254 Tribal Religions: From Australia to the Americas

01 Tu, Th 3:30p - 6:28p Venable (206W)

An examination of the traditional religions of Australia, the Pacific Islands, and North America. Study of the theological implications of myths and rituals (ideas of God, good and evil, humanity and the world), consideration of social values and the role of the individual in relation to the group, discussion of the meaning found in life and in death in traditional cultures.

REL 308 Religion and the Arts

01 M, Tu, W, Th 9:50a - 11:24a Raver (205W)

The arts have always been a medium for transforming spiritual beliefs, from prehistoric figurines to William Blake’s mystical paintings. Even in today’s society, the arts serve as a vehicle for religious expression, reflecting not only the individual’s experience with the sacred but society’s view of what art constitutes and how religion should be depicted. But how did we get to this point? We shall examine the relationship between religion and sculpture, painting, dance, theater, decorative arts, music and, finally, photography and film from a chronological and cross-cultural perspective.

REL 315 The Problem of Evil

01 Tu, Th 11:40a - 2:48p Bruinius (206W)

Is it possible to say that we are living in an "age of evil," that the events of our time reveal the presence of a "spirit of evil" in our midst?  What does religion have to say about such a phenomenon? How does religion think about and define evil? Who or what is responsible? Can anything be done about it?  These are the questions this course will address by way of Eastern and Western religious materials.

REL 361.51 Religion & Film

01 Tu, Th 8:00a - 11:08a Bruinius (206W)

Film is one of the most popular forms of literature in contemporary society. This course will explore the relationship between Religion and Film. As a class we will examine how film makers use religion to convey their points of view, as well as examining how western religions (Judaism/Christianity/Islam) use film technology for propagating faith.


REL 111 Approaches to Religion

51 M, Tu, W, Th 6:00p - 7:53p Cerequas (206W)

A modern critical study of religion using a variety of methods to further understanding of the role of religion in personal and social life. Approaches include those of philosophy, psychology, the arts, history, sociology, and anthropology. Readings are from a variety of differing religious traditions.

REL 206 Ideas of God in Contemporary Western Thought

01 M, Tu, W, Th 2:00p - 3:53p Cerequas (205W)

How does contemporary Western theology understand faith in God? What is meant--or ought to be meant--by the word "God"? How does the reality of evil figure into faith? Answers to these questions will be our primary focus as we read works by representative Jewish, Christian, and heterodox religious thinkers since World War II. Examples will be drawn from liberal, process, feminist, and radical perspectives, among others.


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