Religion

Course Offerings

  • Religion (REL). Religion courses are taught by the faculty of the Department of Philosophy and Religion.
  • Biblical language studies. Focused on acquiring the skills for study of the Bible in its original languages, Greek and Hebrew

Religion (REL)

REL 130 Christian Thought (3) Introduces themes of Christian thought in historical and contemporary perspectives.

REL 140 Reading the Old Testament (3) Engages select passages from the Old Testament, examining their historical context, place in the Bible, textual features, and a wide variety of subsequent interpretations. Focus is on developing basic skills for reading the Old Testament.

REL 150 Introduction to the New Testament (3) Introduces the New Testament, its background, content, and major themes. Explores the ancient world and the life of the first Christian communities in order to illumine the New Testament texts. Emphasis on key topics of theology and interpretation and their contemporary relevance.

REL 201 Christian Ethics (3) Provides an introduction to Christian moral thinking, paying attention to the basis, nature, content, and consequences of Christian thought and traditions for various ethical issues. Includes a close reading and discussion of various approaches to Christian ethics as well as analysis of selected moral issues such as violence and war, euthanasia, abortion, sexuality, and racism.

REL 210 Ancient Christianity (3) Traces the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Fathers at the close of the 1st century until the early medieval period. Emphasis on the life, theology, spirituality, and expansion of the early Church, with special attention to Christianity in ancient Roman and Saxon Britain.

REL 212 Living World Religions (3) Comparative study of the origin, development, literature, organization, and controlling ideas of major world religions. Prerequisite: First Year Seminar 112.

REL 220 Reformers and Revolutionaries in Christian History (3) Examines key issues in the history of Christian thought through study of significant figures in late medieval and modern Christian history. Examples of theologians covered include Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Teresa of Avila, Anne Hutchinson, and Jonathan Edwards.

REL 250 John Wesley and the People Called Methodists (3) Traces the history and theology of John Wesley, the Methodist movement’s founder, providing understanding of denominational traditions in Christianity. Emphasis on Wesley’s commitments to social justice and personal piety, as well as issues of the church’s ongoing mission.

REL 310 Contemporary Theologies (3) Examines major Christian theologies of the 19th and 20th centuries, including neo-orthodoxy, liberalism, existentialism, process theology, global theology, and feminist, Latin American, African American, and Asian liberation theologies. Prerequisite: One course in religion or permission of instructor.

REL 314 Religions of East Asia (3) Studies the texts, thought and practices of the religions of East Asia, specifically China and Japan, including Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto and Buddhism. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

REL 315 Jews, Christians, Muslims (3) Examines the three religious traditions that trace their heritage to Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

REL 320 Jesus and the Gospels (3) Studies the Gospel texts, explores issues and options of interpretation, and engages the key issues of modern scholarly debate concerning the Gospels. Emphasis on the use of contemporary methods of Biblical exegesis to illumine the Gospel texts. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or religion, or permission of instructor.

REL 330 Paul and His Letters (3) Explores Paul’s letters to illumine Paul’s thoughts, the life of the ancient Christian communities which he founded and the place of Paul within the history of early Christianity. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or religion, or permission of instructor.

REL 335 Biblical Narratives (3) Examines theory and practice of biblical interpretation through in-depth study of select biblical narratives, including the Joseph Story, the Succession Narrative (King David), the books of Ruth, Jonah, Daniel, Esther, Tobit, and Judith. Special attention given to literary approaches and theological issues.

REL 340 Women and Religion (3) Examines women’s religious thought in historical or contemporary set­-tings. Explores how women’s sense of self-identity and their social position shaped their unique theological perspectives.

REL 345 Theology and Story (3) Explores the role of story in human experience as a means of theological communication and seeks to read literature as a resource for theological reflection. Examines both fiction and autobiography as vehicles of theological discourse. Prerequisite: One course in religion or permission of instructor.

REL 350 God, Suffering, and Evil (3) Considers how women and men have thought about and lived in relation to evil and the experiences of suffering, especially with regard to the question of God’s role in such situations. Focuses particularly on ways persons within religious traditions, mainly Christian and Jewish, have responded to evil and suffering, and how they have understood the relationship of God to such events. Prerequisite: One course in religion or permission of instructor.

REL 375 Bible, Gender, and Culture (3) Examines representative interpretative traditions of biblical women in literature and art from antiquity to the present through a study of the history of interpretation. Emphasis on informed analysis of how literary and artistic portraits of biblical women reflect social attitudes and beliefs concerning gender roles.

REL 380 Topics in Comparative and Cultural Studies (3) Repeatable course. Content changes each time course is offered. Prerequisite: One course in religion or permission of instructor.

REL 430 Topics in Biblical Studies (3) Repeatable course. Content changes each time course is offered. Prerequisite: One course in biblical studies or permission of instructor.

REL 431 Prophets (3) Examines Old Testament prophets in light of their historical, social, political, and religious backgrounds. Taught as a seminar. Prerequisite: One course in religion or permission of instructor.

REL 435 Biblical Languages Practicum (3) Provides opportunity to employ Greek or Hebrew skills and tools in biblical interpretation and exegetical research. Usually taken in conjunction with one of the following: Religion 320, 330, 335, or 431. Repeatable course. Content changes each time course is offered. Repeatable up to four credit hours. Prerequisite: Greek 211 or Hebrew 112.

REL 440 Topics in Theological and Ethical Studies (3) Repeatable course. Content changes each time course is offered. Prerequisite: One course in religion or permission of instructor.

REL 445 Religion, Peace, and Justice (3) Provides in-depth engagement with religious approaches to ethical concerns in the social sphere, especially related to questions of war and peace, violence and nonviolence, and economic and social justice. Predominantly focused on the Christian tradition, the course will also include engagement with significant figures in selected other religious traditions. Prerequisite: One course in religion (preferably Religion 201) or permission of instructor.

REL 481 Directed Study in Religion (1-3) Offers research in special problems or persons under the direction of a member of the religion faculty. Repeatable course. Content changes each time course is offered. Repeatable up to nine credit hours. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

REL 492 Religion Internship (1-3) Supervised field experience in church or other house of worship, nonprofit organization, or similar area of direct relevance to a religion major.

REL 499 Senior Seminar (3) Required of all senior religion majors. Opportunity to work independently in the preparation of an extended paper and to present this paper in a seminar to other majors in religion. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

Biblical Languages

HEB 111, 112 Elementary Hebrew (3 each) Emphasizes basic grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of Classical Hebrew in order to prepare students to begin to read and study the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Fall (111), spring (112) in alternate years.

HEB 211, 212 Intermediate Hebrew (3 each) Continues to develop skills in the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of biblical Hebrew. Emphasizes reading of extended passages from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Poetry is introduced in 212.

GRK 111, 112 Elementary Ancient Greek (3 each) Presents the basic grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of ancient Greek so that students can begin reading passages from ancient authors. Fall (111), spring (112) in alternate years.

GRK 211 Intermediate Ancient Greek (3) Continues to develop skills in the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of Ancient Greek begun in Greek 111-112. Reading of extended passages from authors such as Herodotus, Plato and, Thucydides.

GRK 212 Introduction to Greek Prose (3) Reading of prose texts in both Attic and hellenistic Greek. Emphasis on reading a variety of literary genres and prose styles. Students also review and enhance their knowledge of Greek grammar. Texts read include the Tabula of Cebes, Lysias' On the Murder of Eratosthenes, Paul's letters, and the book of Acts.

GRK 351 Attic Prose (3) An advanced ancient Greek course dedicated to the reading, analysis, and discussion of Attic prose texts of the fourth century B.C. Authors read depend on student interest, and may include Aristotle, Plato, Lysias, and Isocrates.

GRK 371 New Testament Greek (3) An advanced ancient Greek course devoted to the reading and exegesis of the New Testament in the original language. Emphasis on gaining competence in koine Greek, skill in exegesis and literary analysis, and facility in the use of scholarly tools for New Testament study.

GRK 421 Greek Poetry (3) An advanced ancient Greek course dedicated to the reading of Greek poetry. Students read a variety of Greek poets and poems, gain exposure to several different Greek dialects, and learn about poetic meter and scansion. Authors read depend on student interest, and may include Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, and Solon.

GRK 430 Individual Readings in Greek Literature (1-6) Topics and credit hours must be prearranged with the instructor. Repeatable as texts and topics change.