RELS101 Introduction to the Study of Religion (3 semester hours)
This introductory course explores the basic nature of religion, both historical and contemporary, and familiarizes the student with a multidisciplinary approach to religious study. Students examine the importance of religious thought and expression, from the viewpoints of both a participant and a critic.
RELS201 Introduction to World Religions (3 semester hours)
This course introduces the major religions of the world with attention to origin, history, beliefs and practices. The course provides a balanced consideration of both Eastern and Western religions. No force has influenced human life and civilization more than religion; no understanding of human affairs, on an individual scale or a global one, can succeed without comprehending it.
RELS202 Religion in America (3 semester hours)
This course examines the variety of ways in which religion is found in contemporary American experience. Course content focuses on the changes within traditional historical religions as well as new religious groups which have evolved within American society.
RELS211 Introduction to the Old Testament (3 semester hours)
This course acquaints students with the content and major themes of the Old Testament and familiarizes them with important contemporary scholarship which helps to illuminate the biblical documents. Course content explores the socio-political and religious forces that shape the thirty nine books of the Old Testament and examines the enduring significance of their diverse messages.
RELS212 Introduction to the New Testament (3 semester hours)
This course provides a detailed exploration of the historical and religious context, literary styles and theological themes of each of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, and offers an overview of current New Testament studies.
RELS311 Introduction to the Bible (3 semester hours)
This course explores the languages, canonization, organization and translation of the Bible. The genres of narrative, poetry, wisdom, law, prophecy, gospels, parables, letters, and apocalypse are analyzed in order to thoughtfully read the Bible without the aid of other reference works. This course is foundational to further Biblical study.
RELS330 Religions of the Middle East (3 semester hours)
This course is a study of the three primary religions whose origins were in and which are still practiced in the Middle East: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For each religion, topics include history, culture, beliefs, scriptures and practices. Variations within the religions will be studied in context of their expression in the Middle East. In addition, the relationship of the three in the present day context will be studied, as well the influence of the religions on political and social situations.
RELS350 Hinduism (3 semester hours)
This course introduces students to Hindu religious life with the primary focus being on the examination of some key concepts (such as dharma, samsara, atman, maya, moksha, artha, monism, and pantheism), along with an attempt to have a firm grasp of the meaning of religious ideas, symbols, and practices, as related to the participants. Course topics include the disciplines (yogas) of devotion (bhakti), action (karma), knowledge (jnana), ethics, and the major schools of thought.
RELS351 Buddhism (3 semester hours)
This course is a study of Buddhism's major historical movements and cultural expressions. Students examine the origin and development of the teachings, rituals and institutions of the Buddhist tradition in South Asia since the beginning of the common era to the present day. Course topics include the life and times of Siddhartha Gautama (“the Buddha”); implantation in East Asian societies of the various forms of Buddhism that developed in South Asia; development of new Buddhist “schools” in East Asia; relationships between Buddhism and the other religious traditions in East Asia; relationships between Buddhism and the State; early Buddhist community; popular Buddhist piety and social movements; development of the three main branches of the Buddhist tradition, and the role of women in Buddhism.
RELS353 Islam (3 semester hours)
This course is an introduction to Islam - and its associated civilization - through readings, case studies, projects, and interaction within the classroom. Course content will examine the people and nations that practice this fascinating religion.
RELS405 Myth and Ritual (3 semester hours)
This course is a study of the role of myth and ritual in historical terms as well as modern myth and ritual developments. Students explore the influence of pervasive myths and rituals in society as they are infused throughout people and religious thought. Students will examine the continued influences of classical, religious and new myths in American popular culture and society today.
RELS411 Religious Existentialism (3 semester hours)
This course is a study of the set of philosophical ideals that emphasizes the existence of the human being, the lack of meaning and purpose in life, and the solitude of human existence. The course will cover the existentialist philosophy and its leading historical proponents.
RELS422 The Teachings of Jesus (3 semester hours)
Jesus Christ has impacted the world unlike any other person in history. Profound and multifaceted, Jesus' life and teachings are explored through the careful study of the history, culture, miracles and teachings presented in the four ancient Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
RELS452 Religious Cults (3 semester hours)
This course examines religious cults that span specific times and religions. Its focus is on the causes of cult formulation, cult leadership, cult purpose, and cult interactions with the outside world. Course content also explores what is meant by the terms "cult," "new religious movement," and "alternative religion," using historical and contemporary examples to illustrate these ideas.