An introduction to the study of religion as cultural, social, and intellectual phenomena. The course teaches students how to interpret influential philosophical, social, scientific and theological theories. Students analyze aspects of religious systems-such as myth and ritual-across countries, regions, and ethnicities and produce a variety of writing assignments characteristic of the inherently interdisciplinary field of Religious Studies.
Religious Studies Courses
RS 101 - Introduction to Religion
RS 151/PHIL 151 - World Religions
Introduction to many of the world’s major religious traditions (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as well as other selected ancient and modern religious traditions. The course will also consider the nature and significance of religious experience, the impact of religion on culture, basic approaches to the study of religion, and different theories used to interpret religious beliefs and practices.
RS 152/PHIL 152 - Philosophy of Religion
Systematic and historical analysis of philosophical problems of religion, such as the problem of evil and theodicy, the conflict between religion and science, the relationship between faith and reason, the nature of religious language, and arguments about the nature and existence of God.
RS 170/HIST 170 - Religion in American History
This course covers the origins, beliefs, practices and cultural significance of the major religious traditions and movements in American history. Close reading and interpretive analysis of primary texts constitute the major course activities.
RS 175 - Religions of the Middle East
This course examines the major religious traditions that developed in the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism) from their origins through their rise and development into the modern period, including their current roles in the region. The course familiarizes students with the beliefs, practices, institutions and historical significance of these traditions. Attention is paid to sacred scriptures; historical developments; political, cultural and social impacts of the religious traditions on the region and the world; relations between the traditions; and the influence of these traditions upon issues and movements in the contemporary Middle East.
RS 180 - Asian Religions
This course explores the similarities and differences among the various Asian religions (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Sikhism and Jainism), with comparison to Western religious traditions, and references to the cultural traditions in which the religions arose.