100-Level

200-Level

300-Level

400-Level


108. World Religions (3 cr)
This course surveys the main classical religious traditions of the world, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The approach taken is academic and comparative. We will examine methodologies for religious studies, the worldviews of each tradition's followers, and such topics as the role of scripture, the status of women, inter-faith dialogue, "fundamentalism," and religion and violence.

118. Introduction to Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism (3 cr) (ACE 9)
This course introduces students to the essential texts, ideas, beliefs and practices of the religious traditions of South and East Asia. Our emphasis will be on Hinduism in South Asia, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto in East Asia, and Buddhism in South and East Asia. We will look at both traditional and modern expressions of these religions in Asia as well as the ways in which Asian religions have taken root in the West.

125W. Religion, Peace and Social Justice (3 cr)
Prereq: Permission from Classics Office. This class is taught at NE Wesleyan Univ.
Explores religious, particularly Christian, responses to social justice issues such as peace, poverty, oppression, discrimination and the environment, the death penalty and abortion.

130W. Women and Religion (3 cr)
Prereq: Permission from Classics Office. This class is taught at NE Wesleyan Univ.
Introduction to, and critical evaluation of, the participation and leadership roles of women in American religious life. Primarily the roles of women in American Christianity.

134W. Religious Diversity in the United States (3 cr)
Prereq: Permission from Classics Office. This class is taught at NE Wesleyan Univ.
Introduction to the religious traditions in the U.S. through thematic, historical, denominational and cultural considerations. Emphasizes the variety and diversity of religious experiences in the U.S., including Native American, Protestant, Catholic, African-American, Judaism, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

150. Explaining Religion (3 cr)
Introduction to religion as an academic subject. Examines religion in terms of four interconnected elements: myth, ritual, transformative experience, and ethics. Representative materials drawn from different religions and cultures, including both western and non-western traditions. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

181. Judaism, Christianity & Islam (3 cr)
A comparative study of the three great monotheistic faiths, from their historic beginnings to the present-day manifestations. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements (F & H only)

182. Alpha Learning Community Freshman Seminar (3 cr)
Requires enrollment in the Alpha Learning Community Program. RELG 183 is normally taken in the next term.
    Topic varies. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

183. Alpha Learning Community Freshman Seminar (3 cr)
Prereq: RELG 182. Requires enrollment in the Alpha Learning Community Program.
Topic varies. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

205. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (JUDS 205) (3 cr)
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in translation. History, culture and religion of Ancient Israel as it is reflected in the biblical books and the archaeological record. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

206. Ways of Western Religion (3 cr)
Introduction to the nature and range of religious traditions in western culture from the Bronze Age to the present as seen through selected primary religious texts. Nature of religion and religious tradition, how these function to shape our view of self and society, and how religion functions to render human experience interpretable and significant. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

208. Introduction to Islam (3 cr)
This course provides an introduction to the religion and history of Islam. Topics examined include the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an the hadith, Islamic theology and law, Shi'ism, Sufism, and modern Islam. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

209. Judaism and Christianity in Conflict and Coexistence(JUDS 209) (3 cr)
An overview of the history of Jewish-Christian relations from the birth of Christianity until the present. Readings will include both primary and secondary sources, written by Jewish and Christian authors. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

212W. Life and Letters of Paul (3 cr)
Prereq: Permission from Classics Office. This class is taught at NE Wesleyan Univ.
Pauline literature, Paul’'s interpretation of Jesus, and his work as missionary to the Gentiles. Acts and the Pauline Epistles are primary sources. Contemporary analyses of Pauline thought and its importance for the contemporary situation.

214. History of Islam (3 cr)
Survey of Islam's development from its origins to the present. Includes Islamic theology, art, and literature, the structure of traditional Islamic societies, and the changing role of Islam in the modern world.

215. Religions & Culture Before 1000 (3 cr)
Survey of he natures of religions prevalent in European cultures before 1000 C.E. Differing cultures and peoples and the role of religion in their interaction. The nature of pagan European culture and religion, and analysis of the conversion to Christianity. Conflicts between pagan and Christian culture as related in cultural artifacts like texts, art, ritual, and linguistic history. Cultural adaptations of Greek and Latin Christianity.

217. Israel: The Holy Land (HIST/JUDS 217) (3 cr)
For course description, see HIST 217. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

218. Introduction to Buddhism (3 cr) (ACE 9)
This survey course introduces students to a complex variety of Buddhist traditions from several perspectives that include, but are not limited to, historical, philosophical, contemplative, and ethical dimensions of Buddhism. The course is divided into four parts. In the first part, we will focus on the figure of Buddha and his basic teachings, development of the Buddhist monastic communities, and early forms of Buddhism. In the second part, we will examine the rise of Mahayana, Buddhist philosophical and contemplative systems, and different models of the Buddhist path and it stages. In the third part of the course, we will study about ritual, historical, and other aspects of several South and East Asian Buddhist traditions. In the final part, we will concentrate on contemporary issues in Buddhism, especially those related to ethics and bioethics, transformations of Buddhist practices in Europe and America, and contemporary Buddhist education in the West.

220. Reason and Religion (3 cr)
Addresses issues arising from the attempt to understand the human encounter with the divine. Introduces the study of philosophical theology, with attention to significant figures from the past as well as contemporary approaches. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

225. Science and Religion (3 cr)
A look at the clash between science and religion, past and present. Are current scientific theories of the origin of the universe and the evolution of matter, life, and mind compatible with religious belief?. Responses to science by various religious movements. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

230. Tibetan Buddhism (3 cr) (ACE 9)
This course explores several dimensions of arguably the most complex form of Buddhism surviving in the world today. While many elements of Tibetan Buddhism derive from South Asian and partly East Asian Buddhist traditions, Tibetans incorporated many elements of indigenous Tibetan culture into their worldviews and practices. As a result, not only did they preserve many Buddhist elements that had either been lost or never caught on elsewhere, but they also created a unique form of Buddhism that permeates multiple layers of Tibetan society, thought, imagination, and artistic expression. We will start with the basic Buddhist themes of the four truths, constituents of external and internal universe, cyclic existence and nirvana, conventional and ultimate realities, models of mind and path, divinities and spirits, and diverse perspectives on enlightenment. We will then analyze interwoven elements of Tibetan Buddhist world, including its history, monastic education and debate culture, popular forms of Buddhism, Tibetan art and architecture, relationship of Buddhist learning and practice, tantric meditations, and lives and practices of Buddhist yogis. Finally, we will explore the state of Tibetan Buddhist studies in modern American universities, as well as transformations of Tibetan Buddhist education in the West.

305. Israel: The Holy Land (CLAS 305) (3 cr)
For course description, see CLAS 305. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

306. Second Temple Judaism (JUDS 306) (3 cr)
An in-depth study of the literature, history and culture of Judea and the Jews in the Second Temple period, from 550 BCE to 70 CE. Readings include apocalyptic texts, Wisdom literature, and selections from the Dead Sea Scrolls. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Integrative Studies requirements

307. Early Christianity (CLAS/HIST 307/807) (3 cr)
For course description, see CLAS 307/807. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

310. Great Ideas in Religious Thought: From God to Nothingness (3 cr)
Six traditions in the history of religious thought, from Greek and medieval conceptions of divinity through the Enlightenment to the modern era, including existentialist, humanistic, and atheistic responses to religion, and Buddhist thought. A comparative look at central religious ideas within these traditions contrasting western and non-western conceptions of ultimate reality, self, ethics, and responses to evil. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

318. Islam in the Modern World (3 cr)
This course examines the diversity of Islam in the modern world. It explores a variety of Muslim responses to modernity including traditionalism, secularism, Islamic modernism, and Islamic fundamentalism.     This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Integrative Studies requirements 

331. Israel: The Holy Land (CLAS/HIST/JUDS 331) (3 cr)
Prereq: Sophomore standing or permission.     For course description, see HIST 331. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

332. Jews in the Middle Ages (HIST, JUDS 332) (3 cr)
Prereq: Sophomore standing or permission.
This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

334. Jews, Christians and the Bible (JUDS 334) (3 cr)
A study of the history of Jewish and Christian interpretation of the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament from c. 400BCE to 1800 CE. The readings will include selections from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, the Church Fathers and the Talmud, medieval and early modern Christian and Jewish biblical commentators. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

335. Buddhist Scriptures (3 cr)
This course focuses on seminal texts from the Tibetan, Pali, and Chinese Buddhist canons that contain records of the Buddha’s teachings as well as writings of his followers that assumed canonical status. The course’s objective is to introduce students to the key Buddhist scriptures and commentarial strategies used by their interpreters. Most of our readings will consist of primary Buddhist texts in English translation augmented by contemporary scholarly writings. The course will have four parts. We will start with scriptures that provide details of the Buddha’s life, teaching career, community of his followers, and contain the Buddha’s discourses on such fundamental teachings as the four truths and the eightfold path. In the second part of the course we will focus on the Perfection of Wisdom literature and explore in detail one of the most influential Mahayana scriptures—the Heart Sutra with its commentaries. In the third part we will read such seminal Mahayana sutras (recorded teachings of the Buddha) as the Lotus, Pure Land, Flower Garland, Vimalakirti, and other sutras that comprise the Mahayana scriptural foundations. We will also study related commentaries and independent influential texts written by Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, and other prominent Buddhist thinkers. In the last part of the course we will study in detail Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva that summarizes key elements of the Buddhist scriptures.

340. Women in the Biblical World (JUDS 340) (3 cr)
Role and status of women as depicted in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament. Focuses on the stories and laws concerning women found in the Bible, as well as considering extra-biblical evidence. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

350. Theory & Study of Religions (3 cr)
Issues in the field of Religious Studies. Diverse methods and approaches in the study of the issues. Sample topics: religious experience across cultures; the nature and interpretation of scriptures and sacred texts; religion as self-defined and externally understood; and the relation of religion to Western science.

351. Death, Immortality, and Transcendence in Asian Religions (3 cr)
This course explores perspectives of several religious traditions of South and East Asia on ritual practices, contemplative techniques, devotional elements, philosophical questions, and ethical issues related to death, immortality, and transcendence. We will analyze how Asian religions approach the issues of death, rebirth, and post-mortem existence; the nature of ghosts, ancestors, divinities, and the role they play in daily life; funerary and other rituals aimed at assisting the dead and communicating with ancestors and spirits; physical exercises, inner alchemy, and visionary journeys aimed at achieving longevity and immortality; as well as ritual and contemplative techniques leading to physical and mental transformation and transcendence of death. We will also address in detail such important ethical issues as killing, suicide, abortion, and euthanasia. These and other topics will be studied within the broader context of several traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese religions.

370. Religion and Reform: Utopian and Communal Societies in America (3 cr)
Survey of communal and utopian societies residing in North America, 17th century to present, examination of belief, systems, organization, and spiritual and secular challenges to these groups. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies requirements

398. Special Topics in Religious Studies (1-3 cr, max 6 cr)
Topics vary.

399. Independent Study in Religious Studies (1-12 cr)
Prereq: Permission.

408. Dead Sea Scrolls (CLAS 408/808, JUDS 408) (3 cr)
Prereq: RELG 205 or 306 or permission.
Dead Sea Scrolls, including the history and thought of the Qumran inhabitants, the archaeology of Qumran, and the corpus of the Scrolls. Concentration on the reading of selected primary texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

409. Religion of Late Western Antiquity (CLAS/HIST 409/809) (3 cr)
For course description, see CLAS 409/809. This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Essential Studies and Integrative Studies requirements

410. Gnosticism (CLAS 410/810) (3 cr)
For course description, see CLAS 410/810.

418. Fundamentalism, Religion, and Politics (3 cr)
This course analyses the complex relationship between fundamentalism, religion, and politics. We will begin by examining a variety of theories that scholars have advanced to define and explain the phenomenon of fundamentalism. We will then examine various examples of fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

450. Buddhist Paths to Enlightenment (3 cr)
This course focuses on different presentations of the Buddhist path from the perspectives of Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism in its Indo-Tibetan form including Tantra, as well as East-Asian Zen and Pure Land Buddhism. We will be comparing different models of and perspectives on the Buddhist path and its results, such as presenting enlightenment as a gradual versus sudden process; seeing progress on the path as depending on an individual's own power versus salvific powers of enlightened beings; viewing enlightenment as already present within versus as a distant possibility; encouraging abandonment of desires versus their transformation. In this course, we will explore how Buddhists approach such questions as whether or not all beings can attain buddhahood, whether multiple enlightenments are possible, whether conceptual thinking can result in negation of concepts, and so forth. The assigned readings will consist of a balanced amount of primary and secondary sources/materials.

489/889. Medieval Literature and Theology (ENGL 489/889) (3 cr)
For course description, see ENGL 489/889.
    This course counts toward fulfillment of the University-wide Integrative Studies requirements