REL – Religion

REL 110 Old Testament History and Religion (3)

Examines the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in its original ancient Near Eastern cultural and historical context as a library of theological literature. Considers the modern relevance of the Old Testament as scripture for Christianity and Judaism as well as theological questions arising from the Scriptural texts. Develops critical reading and listening abilities, writing skills and verbal self-expression. (REL, EXP)


REL 111 Introduction to the New Testament (3)

A study of the New Testament within its literary, cultural and canonical context in order to understand its central theological teachings. (REL)


REL 135 Islam (3)

General introduction to Islam dealing with three main topics: (a) the life of Muhammad and the origins of Islam; (b) the diversity of Muslim religious beliefs and cultural forms throughout Islamic history to the present; (c) an introduction to Islamic texts, including the Qur’an, legal interpretation, theology, and philosophy, especially in Classical or Medieval period. (REL, GPN, EXP)


REL 150 The Christian Heritage (3)

The Christian Heritage introduces students to Christian thought in its historical development. The course examines various historical contexts, from Late Antiquity to the present, and explores their distinct influences on the shaping of the Christina faith. While focusing on the historical particulars of Christian thought, the course locates the universal elements shared by different Christian traditions. (REL, EXP)


REL 210 The Prophets (3)

Studies selected passages from the second division of the Old Testament (Tanakh in Judaism), consisting of Joshua through II Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Twelve Minor Prophets. Through a careful study of selected texts, the course explores the significance of these books for an understanding of the history of ancient Israel and for the history and teachings of Judaism and Christianity. (REL, WRT)


REL 211 The Writings (3)

Studies selected passages from the third division of the Old Testament (Tanakh in Judaism), consisting of the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and I and II Chronicles. Through careful study of selected texts, the course explores the purposes of this diverse material for an understanding of Biblical history and religion. (REL, WRT)


REL 216 Jesus and the Gospels (3)

Introduces students to the modern Christian perspectives on Jesus, studies the traditions about Jesus in the pre-gospel period, the portrayals of Jesus and salvation in the New Testament gospels, and the modern so-called “quest for the historical Jesus”. (REL)


REL 218 Pauline Epistles (3)

Examines the epistles of the apostle Paul in their historical and religious contexts. Among the topics treated are: the “historical” Paul, to the extent that this can be constructed from the available sources, the structure and theology of the Pauline and deutero-Pauline epistles, the influence and image of Paul in early Christianity, and contemporary controversies and issues in the study of Paul. (REL)


REL 220 Christian Worship (3)

Introduces the student to the origins and history of Christian worship from the Old Testament period to the present. Examines various aspects of worship, including orders of service, church architecture and music, reflecting on their historical and theological dimensions. Includes field trips to observe religious services. (REL, WRT)


REL 233 Judaism (3)

Studies the history and teachings of Judaism from its formative texts in the Mosaic Law and in the Targums and Talmuds of the Rabbinical schools through to the Medieval and Modern periods. The emphasis is on primary texts of the Classical tradition as well as writers such as Saadya Gaon and Maimonides. Students will be introduced to modern variations within Judaism, including the formation of Zionism. (REL)


REL 236 Islamic Law, Theology, and Philosophy (3)

Studies the religion of Islam from its beginnings to Modern times with particular interest in the emergence of schools of law, theology, and philosophy in both Eastern and Western Islam. Explores the religious, political, scientific, and philosophical aspects of the formative texts and thinkers of medieval Islam as a context for understanding the relation of Islamic political philosophy to modern political thought. (REL, GPN)


REL 238 Taoism and Confucianism (4)

This course examines ideas and practices of Taoism and Confucianism. It explores how these two schools of thought have sought out meaning in their respective understandings of ultimate reality and how the latter translate to everyday living. Students will gain knowledge in historical, religio-philosophical, and cultural contexts of Taoism and Confucianism. Students will speak and write competently about theological and ethical problematics of the two traditions. The course will seek to foster students’ appreciation for the oriental schools of thought.  (REL, GPN, WRT)


REL 252 The Reformation (3)

Studies the religious movements in 16th-century Europe that shaped modern Protestantism and Catholicism. Religious ideas will be examined in relation to their political, social and intellectual setting, as well as to the broader Christian tradition. (REL)


REL 254 The Early Church (4)

Studies the history of the early church within the context of ancient Judaism and the Roman Empire through the middle of the fifth century A.D. Particular attention is given to the development of a Christian “orthodoxy” from the diversity of early Christian thought. (REL, WRT)


REL 265 Religion and Sustainability (3)

Examines how religious worldviews and practices can be both promising and problematic in meeting the challenge of sustainability. The course introduces key concepts and methods in the academic study of religion and sustainability, applying these to case studies representing a diversity of local and global religious cultures, and a variety of sustainability issues. Students in the course will have opportunities to engage with these issues through readings and discussions, independent research projects, and ethnographies of religious communities. (REL,GS)


REL 274 World Christianity (4)

Examines the encounters of the church with new cultures and civilizations, especially during critical periods of expansion and adaptation. Considers issues faced by contemporary Christianity in non-Western settings: missions, relations with indigenous religions, inculturation, religious pluralism, and political participation. (REL, GPN, WRT, EXP)


REL 285 The Pre-Ministerial Seminar (Arr)

Prerequisite: one course in religion at the 100-level and instructor’s permission. An introduction to the pre-ministerial program will be taught and coordinated by the director. The seminar is designed to introduce students to the wide variety of types of ministry and is taught by people working as professionals in the various fields of ministry.


REL 310 Readings in The Prophets (4)

Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. Offered jointly with REL 210 and covering the same topics, but with some separate assignments, sessions and expectations for advanced discussion and research. Students cannot receive credit for both REL 210 and REL 310. (REL, WRT)


REL 316 Readings in Jesus and the Gospels (4)

Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. Offered jointly with REL 216 and covering the same topics, but with some separate assignments, session and expectations for advanced discussion and research. Students cannot receive credit for both REL 216 and REL 316. (REL)


REL 325 History of Spirituality in the Christian Tradition (4)

History of Spirituality in the Christian Tradition examines Christian spirituality in historical perspective. The course studies the development of Christian spirituality over time and considers how works of Christian spirituality were created and what influences shaped their creation. The course also explores the study of spirituality as a discipline with a distinct body of forms, texts, and topics, with its own schools and forms of transmission. As such, spirituality is examined in an interdisciplinary fashion, integrating critical historical research, theology, anthropology, psychology, and sociology (REL, WRT)


REL 335 Readings in Islam (4)

Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. Offered jointly with REL 135 and covering the same topics, but with some separate assignments, sessions and expectations for advanced discussion and research. Students cannot receive credit for both REL 135 and REL 335. (REL, GPN, WRT)


REL 336 Readings in Islamic Law, Theology, and Philosophy (4)

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.  Offered jointly with REL 236 and covering the same topics, but with some separate assignments, sessions, and expectations for advanced discussion and research.  Students cannot receive credit for both REL 236 and REL 336. (REL, GPN, WRT)


REL 390 Topics in Religious Studies (Arr)

Varying topics determined by the interests of students and the staff. May be repeated for credit.


REL 397 The Ministry Internship (Arr)

Prerequisite: two courses in religion with at least one at the 200-300 level and instructor’s permission. The ministry internship is a supervised work experience that exposes the student to some aspect of ministry. Ideally it occurs in the summer between the third and fourth years, or perhaps a weekend assignment during a semester. The internship gives the student on-the-job experience in the area of service interest, under the supervision of an established minister, who works closely with the preministerial program director on campus. Pass/No Credit basis.


REL 497 Internship in Religion (Arr)

Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. The internship provides an opportunity for the student to explore a career option in the major field of study. Pass/No Credit basis.