Courses in Religious Studies

RELS 2305 World Religions
Recommended prerequisite: RHET 1311. This course examines the beliefs, practices, histories, and selected sacred texts of major Eastern and Western religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It examines the ways in which religious texts and traditions represent total symbol systems and expressions of cultures, and it emphasizes themes that reflect common values across different religious perspectives while acknowledging key differences. Three credit hours.

RELS 3300 Theories of Religion
This course familiarizes students with a variety of theoretical approaches and methods used in the study of religions, both currently and historically. It also highlights central issues that arise in studying religions from the academic perspective, including but not limited to: the difficulties of defining religion, the differences between “insider” and “outsider” perspectives, the challenges present in comparing religions, and attempts to explain the origin of religion. Three credit hours.

RELS 3320 Christianity
Prerequisite: RELS 2305 or consent of instructor. A survey of major developments in the history of Christian thought from its origins in the New Testament through the Protestant Reformation. Three credit hours.

RELS 3330 Religious Countercultures
A cross-cultural survey of countercultural sects and cults throughout history, emphasizing contemporary groups in America. Examination of relevant issues concerning cults; the definitions of sect and cult; the relationship between cults and main line religions; brainwashing, deprogramming, government regulation. Same a ANTH 3366. Three credit hours.

RELS 3333 Reading Sacred Texts
This course is designed to provide both an opportunity to examine the texts of a particular religious tradition in detail and to introduce students to interdisciplinary methods for interpreting such texts. Texts under discussion will vary by semester. Three credit hours.

RELS 3336 Islam
Prerequisite: RELS 2305 or consent of instructor. An examination of the history of Islam and its role as the primary cohesive element in the social, political, and cultural development of the modern Middle East. Comparison and contrast of Western and Middle eastern perspectives on relevant current issues. Three credit hours.

RELS 3338 Religion and Modern South Asia
The role of religion (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity) in the formulation of South Asian responses to the processes of Anglicization, Westernization, and Modernization. Same as HIST 3338. Three credit hours.

RELS 3340 Meditation Techniques
Theoretical framework for understanding the meditation experience, namely, Jung’s depth psychology, yoga psychology, and Buddhist psychology; training in specific meditation techniques of various religious traditions, including Hatha Yoga, Zen, and the Silence, as well as the self-analysis of dreams. Same as PSYC 3340. Three credit hours.

RELS 3350 Eastern Thought
Prerequisite: 3 hours of Philosophy, 3 hours of Religious Studies, or instructor consent. Survey of the beliefs, practices, and group structures of major Eastern religious and social traditions (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, and Confucianism). Same as PHIL 3350. Three credit hours.

RELS 3360 Philosophy of Religion
Prerequisite: 3 hours of Philosophy, 3 hours of Religious Studies, or instructor consent. Major issues in philosophy of religion including the knowledge of God; the problem of evil, life after death, religious language and experience, and the relationship of faith and reason. Same as PHIL 3360. Three credit hours.

RELS 3363 Psychology of Religion
Prerequisite: RELS 2305, PSYC 2300, or instructor consent. Varieties of religious experiences, psychological interpretations of religious experiences, religion and stages of human development, and techniques of religious counseling. Same as PSYC 3363. Three credit hours.

RELS 3370 Judaism
Prerequisite: RELS 2305 or consent of instructor. A survey of major developments in the history of Jewish thought from its origins in the Hebrew Bible through the present. Three credit hours.

RELS 4313/5313 Apocalypse Now… and Then: A History of Apocalyptic Thought and Movements
See HIST 4313/5313.

RELS 4315/5315 Religious History of the United States
See HIST 4315/5315.

RELS 4321 Religion, Society, and Culture
Introduction to the role of shamans, witches, diviners, cultic and magic belief systems, function of myth, ritual, religious symbolism, meaning of spirit possession, revitalization, and ancestor worship in tribal, peasant, and modern societies. Same as ANTH 4321. Three credit hours.

RELS 4180, 4280, 4380 Topics in Religion
Analysis of selected issues in religious studies. Course content will change by semester. For descriptive title on the content, refer to the semester class schedule. One, two, or three credit hours.

RELS 4385 Seminar in Major Religions
This course provides for a more in-depth examination of a particular religious tradition. The tradition examined is typically (but not exclusively) non-Western and varies by semester. Check with the department for details. Three credit hours.

RELS 4290, 4390 Independent Study
Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, consent of instructor. Selective reading and a formal written project on a topic submitted by the student and approved by the instructor in advance of registration. Open only to students with demonstrated ability to write research papers of superior quality in religious studies. Applicants unknown to the instructor should submit academic transcripts and samples of their research papers in religious studies. See the Independent Study Guidelines for more information. Two or three credit hours.