The academic study of religions is coextensive with the broad field of humane learning in which questions pertaining to the meaning of human existence are most prominent. The study of religions in the University is therefore taken up in close conjunction with the humanities, arts, letters, and the several sciences.
In course offerings, two emphases prevail: first, the scholarly analysis and transmission of the literature and forms of the world's religions; second, the sensitization of the student to the value of religious studies for appreciating his/her cultural and social existence. Thus, courses are designed to illuminate religious traditions in historical depth as they inform modern cultures generally, and the individual within American cultural situations in particular.
The offerings in Religious Studies do not constitute a pre-professional program. They are intended to extend and deepen the student's education in the liberal arts.
U = for undergraduate credit only, UG = for undergraduate or graduate credit, G = for graduate credit. R after the credit indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R.
U 100 Introduction to the Study of Religion 3 cr. Offered intermittently.An inquiry into the literary and historical phenomena of religion in relation to the symbolic, cultural and social expressions of selected major world religions.
U 106H Introduction to Old Testament Studies 3 cr. Introduction to the literature and history of ancient Israel and to modern methods employed in studying Israel's religion as an academic discipline.
U 107 Introduction to New Testament Studies 3 cr. An introduction to the literature and history of early Christianity and to the scholarly methods used in studying the New Testament.
U 130S Sociology of Religious Cults 3 cr. Same as SOC 130S. Offered spring. Unconventional religious groups in American society. Topics include recruitment, conversion, commitment, defection, leadership, belief systems, organizational structure and change.
U 195 Special Topics Variable cr. (R-6) Experimental offerings of visiting professors, experimental offerings of new courses, or one-time offerings of current topics.
U 198 Cooperative Education Experience Variable cr. (R-6) Prereq., consent of faculty supervisor and the Cooperative Education Office. Extended classroom experience which provides practical application of classroom learning during placements off campus.
U 202H Middle Eastern Archaeology 3 cr. Coreq., ANTH 250 suggested. Offered alternate years. An examination of recent archaeological discoveries in the Middle East and their impact on our understanding of ancient history and religion; an emphasis on the techniques and disciplines used in modern Syro-Palestinian archaeology.
U 230H The Comparative Study of Religion 3 cr. Offered alternate years. An introduction to the comparison of religions on themes and topics common to them, such as origin of the earth or cosmos, sacred space and time.
U 232H Buddhism 3 cr. Offered autumn. A historical introduction to the development of Buddhist thought and practice in the cultures of Asia and the West.
U 233 Traditions of Buddhist Meditation 2 cr. Offered autumn. Prereq. or coreq., RELS 232H. A critical and phenomenological introduction to meditation as the Buddhist method of systematic inquiry into the nature of the mind and its role in the construction of experience.
U 237H The Religion of Islam 3 cr. Offered intermittently. An introduction to Islam; the Quran, the Prophet, the Sunnah, the way of the Sufis and the cultural forms and lifeways which have developed from these traditions.
U 249H The Medieval Vision 3 cr. Offered alternate years. Interdisciplinary introduction to the medieval west; study of symbolic structures in literature, philosophy, popular religion, art and architecture.
U 252L Medieval Allegory 3 cr. Offered alternate years. Study of creative allegories of the spiritual quest or journey and critical interpretive allegories of sacred texts. Typical authors include Gregory of Nyssa, Dante, the Pearl poet, Farid ud-Din Attar.
U 260H Religion in America 3 cr. Offered alternate years. A survey of the history of religion in American society, thought and culture from the advent of the first Europeans to the present.
U 276 Contemporary Religious Thought 3 cr. (R-6) Offered alternate years. Study of selected major critical and constructive proposals in modern religious thought in various traditions.
U 295 Special Topics Variable cr. (R-6) Experimental offerings of visiting professors, experimental offerings of new courses, or one-time offerings of current topics.
UG 301E American Indian Religion and Philosophy 3 cr. Prereq., lower-division course in Perspective 5 or consent of instr. Same as NAS 301E. A study of selected ethical belief systems; origins, world views; religious ceremonies and the way they have been affected by Western civilization.
UG 302H Religions of the Ancient Near East 3 cr. (R-6) Offered intermittently. The literature, thought, institutions, and archaeology of major religions in the ancient Near East.
UG 311 The Gospels 3 cr. Offered alternate years. An investigation of the origins, nature and development of the gospels.
UG 312 The Legacy of Paul 3 cr. Offered alternate years. The life and letters of Paul; the structure of the Pauline understanding of the Christian faith; the legacy of Paul in later Christian thought.
UG 335 Western Religious Thought I 3 cr. Offered autumn. Selected studies in the intellectual history of western religions, alternating between studies of periods and seminal thinkers. Emphasis will be on the ancient and medieval periods.
UG 336 Western Religious Thought II 3 cr. Offered spring. Selected studies in the intellectual history of western religions, alternating between studies of periods and seminal thinkers. Emphasis will be on the late medieval and early modern periods.
UG 347 Nature and Cosmology 3 cr. Offered intermittently. An investigation of religious views of nature in the west including ancient near eastern creation myths, medieval speculative cosmologies and nature mysticism, romanticism and contemporary accounts.
UG 360 Classics of Buddhist Literature 3 cr. (R-6) Offered spring. Close reading of a selection of core Buddhist texts drawn from various Asian cultures and spanning the three main phases of the tradition.
UG 370 Mysticism 3 cr. (R-6) An inquiry into the literature and interpretation of mysticism in the major religious traditions. Each offering will focus on a specific tradition or period.
UG 381E Comparative Ethics 3 cr. Prereq., lower-division course in Perspective 5 or consent of instr. An examination of models for cross-cultural study, concentrating on the formation and exercise of values in eastern cultures as approached from the standpoint of western students.
U 395 Special Topics Variable cr. (R-12) Experimental offerings of visiting professors, experimental offerings of new courses, or one-time offerings of current topics.
U 396 Independent Study Variable cr. (R-6)
UG 495 Special Topics Variable cr. (R-12) Experimental offerings of visiting professors, experimental offerings of new courses, or one-time offerings of current topics.
UG 496 Independent Studies 3 cr. (R-9) Prereq., consent of instr. Work on selected problems by individual students under direct faculty supervision.
Paul A. Dietrich, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1981 (Director)
Alan Sponberg, Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 1980
Thomas R. Lee, Ph.D., University of California, 1979
Adjunct Assistant Professor
David Toole, Ph.D., Duke University, 1996