2013-14 Catalogs

Minor in Religious Studies

Director: Gary J. Johnson (History)

Religious Studies Committee: Aicher (Classics), Atkinson (Human Resource Development), Johnson (Psychology), Jelali (Multicultural Student Affairs), Whitmore (History), Zhao (History)

The religious studies program offers an opportunity to study religion from an academic, multicultural, and global point of view. The interdisciplinary courses will expand students' knowledge beyond Western, monotheistic religions to include Eastern, African, and Native American faith traditions. Students who enroll in this minor explore the nature of religious beliefs and the role of language, metaphor, culture, and social institutions in establishing these views. The program's curriculum emphasizes the history of religious practices and how they have changed over time.

The minor in religious studies is available to students in any major who are in good standing at the University. To obtain the minor, students must successfully complete 18 credits as designated below:

1. REL 100 Religion and Human Culture (3 credits)

  • All students are required to complete this course or the REL Ethical Inquiry Core course with a grade of C or better.

2. Multiple Religious Systems (6 credits)

Select any two of the following courses:
     PHI 230 Philosophy of Religion
     PSY 399 Psychology of Religion
     SOC 334 Sociology of Religion
     HTY 309 Religious Violence and Persecution in Early Western History
     REL 200 Humanity's Spiritual Heritage

3. Non-Western Religious Systems (3 credits)

Select one of the following:
     HTY 377 Chinese Thought: Confucianism, Daoism and Zen Buddhism
     PHI 315 Eastern Philosophy
     HTY 390 Traditional Japan: Court and Warriors

4. Western/Monotheistic Religious Systems (3 credits)

Select one of the following:
     HTY 307 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
     HTY 366 History of Religion in America
     HTY 308 Polytheists, Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire

5. Electives (3 credits)

Select one additional course from any of the above categories or from those listed below:
     ARH 322 Medieval Art
     ARH 323 Renaissance Art
     ARH 329 Asian Art
     COR 122 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
     CLA 285 Classical Mythology
     ENG 316 The Bible
     ENG 317 Studies in Ancient and Biblical Literature and Culture
     HTY 152 The Islamic Near East
     HTY 305 The Historical Jesus
     HTY 312 Renaissance and Reformation
     HTY 334 The Holocaust: Policy, Practice, Response
     HTY 308 Polytheism, Judaism, and Christianity in the Roman Empire
     HTY 309 Religious Violence and Persecution in Early Western History

Course Descriptions

REL 100 Religion and Human Culture
This course is an analytical survey of topics central to religious thought and practice. It considers religion as a worldwide human phenomenon, attempts to extract data about religion from multiple sources and contexts, and focuses upon the common functions of religion from a global perspective. The course also aims to develop sensitivity to topics and issues of a sacred and secular nature as they impact the daily lives of people in a variety of social, cultural, and religious settings. Cr 3.

REL 101 The Language of Spiritual Texts: Answering the Problem of Violence
Close reading of texts with explicitly spiritual content from world traditions, include the Bible, the Tao te Ching, the Koran, and others, ancient and modern. Inquiry as to whether or not such texts offer answers to the problem of violence. Theory and practice of contemplative as well as critical approaches to language that expresses spiritual experience will be explored.

REL 200 Humanity's Spiritual Heritage
This course uses a textual, chronological, and interfaith approach to trace the historical development, practices, and principles of the world's religions and spiritual traditions. Using the world's scriptures as primary texts, each faith community speaks for itself, allowing an exploration of the richness underlying the diversity of sacred expressions. Special emphasis is placed upon recognizing differences as well as the similarities in humanity's belief systems.