Religious Studies (RS)

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RS-101   Introduction to Religious StudiesCredits: 3   

Term Offered: Fall Term

Course Type(s): CD

Introduction to the study of religion. Emphasis on the cultural history of the study of religion, classical theories and methods in the study of religion, and contemporary conversations and issues in the study of religion. Readings drawn from anthropology, sociology, history, political theory, psychology, economics, and the biological sciences.

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RS-104   EthicsCredits: 3   

Term Offered: Fall Term

Course Type(s): SJL

Theoretical ethics and its application to enduring and contemporary moral issues. Thorough examination of the basic principles of a rational, humane, and practical moral system. Also listed as PL-104.

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RS-201   Philosophy of ReligionCredits: 3   

Prerequisite(s): PL-101

Term Offered: Spring Term

Course Type(s): None

An examination of certain salient features of Western religious thought emphasizing the problems of religious language, the nature and validity of religious experience, traditional and contemporary ideas of God, morality, death, and evil. Also listed as PL-201.

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RS-211   Introduction to JudaismCredits: 3   

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): None

Introduction to Judaism provides students with a comprehensive view of Jewish thought, history, and life. Judaism has flourished in a great variety of cultures in the past and in the present. Our courses therefore examine it as a living and dynamic religion in the ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary worlds. Students will develop academically and professionally useful skills as they apply different methods and models for understanding religion, history, and culture.

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RS-212   The Christian Intellectual TraditionCredits: 3   

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): None

Students will explore the history of Christianity through some of its most provocative and significant "turning points." They will study both the historical context and the intellectual particulars of theological and philosophical debates over the origins of the universe, the humanity of Jesus Christ, the formation of the biblical canon, the nature of religious reformation, the nature of God, and the role of religion in public life. Also listed as PL-212.

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RS-216   Religions and Philosophies of IndiaCredits: 3   

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): BI.EL, CD, RE

Introduction to the fundamental elements of the orthodox and non-orthodox philosophical and religious systems of India. Highlights plurality of timeless, distinct gnostic systems that, having discovered the "Self," search for liberation from the stream of time. Also listed as PL-216.

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RS-272   Magic, Witchcraft, and ReligionCredits: 3   

Prerequisite(s): EN-101 and EN-102 or permission of the instructor

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): WT

Explores the motivation of human behavior within the realm of religion and the supernatural with an emphasis on the role of gods and goddesses. A cross-cultural approach will be used while exploring cultures both past and present across the globe. Also listed as AN-272.

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RS-277   Comparative ReligionsCredits: 3   

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): BI.EL, GU, RE

Students are introduced to the fundamental differences and similarities of world religions that, throughout history, were and are at war with each other. Highlights a plurality of distinct creeds that, postulating an Absolute Truth, search to regain that Ultimate Reality through various ways of life or moral codes. Also listed as PL-277.

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RS-298   Special Topics in ReligionCredits: 1-3   

Term Offered: Fall Term

Course Type(s): None

Exposition and discussion of a current event or an enduring human concern with religious significance. If a prerequisite is required it will be announced in the course schedule.

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RS-375   Islam and PoliticsCredits: 3   

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): RE

Examination of the interrelationship between Islam as a religion and a way of life and politics in different regions of the world. Following a quick survey of the belief and practice of Islam since its inception, the focus will be placed on the past 100 years, particularly the Muslim responses to the challenges of colonialism, modernization, and globalization and Islam's reassertion in public affairs and society. Concludes with ways for improving Islam-West relations in the hope that these will generate better understanding and peace. Also listed as PS-375.

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RS-397   Christianity in AfricaCredits: 3   

Prerequisite(s): EN-101 and EN-102 or permission of the instructor

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): RE, WT

Examination of Christianity from a historical perspective. Discussion of the foundation of the religion, its spread to the Roman Empire, and its introduction to Africa. Discussion of the proliferation of Christian missions and missionaries and the relationship between Christianity and other religions in Africa. Examination of the impact of Christianity on the social, cultural, and political life of Africans. Also listed as HS-397.

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RS-400   Love, Life, and LibertyCredits: 3   

Prerequisite(s): Completion of eighty-seven credits

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): ISP

Examination of the historical and philosophical aspects of love and the assertion for freedom starting from the biological concept of life. Throughout history, the various interpretations of these ideas have shaped the world. Students will be introduced to some of the most important related works that are the fiber of history, philosophy, and science. The analysis of revered cultural traditions will show the impact of love on the rational thinking and artistic creation. Also listed as PR-400.

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RS-435   The Way and the WordCredits: 3   

Prerequisite(s): Completion of eighty-seven credits

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): ISP

A comparison of classic texts central to two Asian traditions, The Bhagavad Gita and The Analects; the impact of the ethos of each tradition on secular narratives, Asian and Western. The disciplines represented include Comparative Religion and Literature. Also listed as PR-435.

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RS-436   The ReformationCredits: 3   

Prerequisite(s): 12 credits in History or Junior standing

Term Offered: Summer Term

Course Type(s): HSEU

A study of sixteenth and early seventeenth-century religious and political developments in Europe: causes of the Reformation, its political and social institutionalization, ideas of reformers, wars of religion, and the Counter-Reformation. Also listed as HS-436.

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RS-465   Music and ReligionCredits: 3   

Prerequisite(s): Completion of eighty-seven credits

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): AT, ISP

This course explores the relationship between music and religion from a global perspective, examining ideas, values, and practices of music and sound in various religions and spiritual traditions around the world. In addition to learning about the music-cultures (context, instruments, repertoire, etc.) that coincide with various religious traditions, students will be encouraged to consider how worldview and ideology lend to differing perceptions of musical meaning, performance, form, symbolism, and the importance of sound, generally. This survey covers the most prominent world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and their denominations, as well as Central Asian Shamanism, Japanese Shinto rituals, and religious traditions of Native Americans. Syncretic religious practices in the Americas, including, African American gospel music, Brazilian Candomblé, Cuban Santeria, Haitian Voodoo, and Jamaican Rastafarianism are also presented to examine global issues such as colonization, transculturation, and the localization of culture and religion. Drawing upon academic articles, indigenous texts, musical recordings, and videos, students can expect to be introduced to a number of theoretical dimensions that arise within studies of music and religion globally. Also listed as PR-465.

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RS-499   Independent Study in Religious StudiesCredits: 3   

Term Offered: All Terms

Course Type(s): None

Guided research on selected topics; conference with sponsoring professor. Junior standing and prior permission of the directing professor and department chair is required to take this course.