Religion (REL)

Professors: Gaber, Hughes, Johnson (Chair)
Assistant Professor: Knauth
Instructors: Adams, Gilmore, McNassor

  • Major: Religion
  • Concentrations: General Religion, Religion with a concentration in Biblical Studies
  • Courses required for major: 10
  • Capstone requirement: Significant paper, Portfolio, Oral Defense
  • Minors: Religion, Biblical Languages, Biblical Studies

The Religion Department offers two options for the completion of the Religion major. The major in Religion encourages exploration into fundamental questions of living such as “Who are we?” “Does life have meaning or purpose?” and “Is there an ultimate reality?” A Religion major with a concentration in Biblical Studies is designed especially for pre-ministerial students and students interested in the critical, analytical study of texts held sacred in Judeo-Christian traditions.

Religion (REL)

Major Requirements

A major in Religion consists of 10 courses, including:

  1. Two courses in comparative religions: REL 110 Introduction to World Religions, plus one of the following:

    REL 121         After Death and Dying
    REL 210         Judaic Studies: From the Exodus to the Romans
    REL 212         Islam
    REL 225         Asian Religions
    REL 320         Topics in Comparative Religions
    HIST 232        The Rise of Islam

  2. Two courses in analysis of scriptures—either REL 113 Old Testament Faith and History or REL 114 New Testament Faith and History, plus one of the following:

    REL 333         Old Testament Women
    REL 337         Biblical Topics
    REL 433         The Sayings of Jesus

  3. One theology/ethics course selected from the following:

    REL 211         Judaic Studies: Talmud to Today
    REL 222         Protestantism in the Modern World
    REL 230         Psychology of Religion
    REL 331         Christian Social Ethics
    PHIL 227        Religion & Reason
    PHIL 228        Philosophy and the Environment
    PHIL 302        Medieval Philosophy

A major in Religion with a concentration in Biblical Studies requires A. and C. above; REL 113 and 114; and three courses from REL 333, 337, and 433 (REL 337 may be repeated with different topics; one course from GRK 221, GRK 222, HEBR 221, or HEBR 222 may be substituted for an upper-level scriptures course).

No more than four 100 level courses may be applied toward the major, and at least two courses must be numbered 320 or above. At least seven courses must have a REL prefix. Up to three of the following courses may be counted toward fulfilling major requirements: GRK 221, 222; HEBR 221, 222; HIST 232; PHIL 227, 228, 302.

Capstone Requirements

Seniors must (1) select, expand upon, and submit for department review a significant paper, written in an upper-level course, that concerns theology or ethics, analysis of scriptures, or the comparative study of religion; and (2) submit a portfolio of writing during the first month of their final semester. The portfolio must include four major papers from Religion courses and an essay in self-understanding. (3) Seniors will also arrange an oral defense with the department faculty, consisting of an assessment interview occurring during the last two months of the final semester.

REL 120 is strongly recommended for pre-ministerial students after their first year, regardless of
their major.

Diversity and Writing Courses

The following courses satisfy the Global Cultural Diversity Requirement: REL 226, 323, 328, and 401. The following courses satisfy either the Domestic or Global Diversity Requirement: REL 110, 121, 210, 211, 212, 225, 320, and 333. The following courses, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement: REL 230, 323, 331, 333, 337, and 433.

Minor Requirements

A minor in Religion consists of one course from REL 110, 113, or 114, and four REL courses numbered 200 or above. At least one course must be taken from REL 110, 210, 211, 212, 225, or 320.

A minor in Biblical Studies consists of REL 113 and114 and 3 courses from REL 333, 337, and 433 (REL 337 may be repeated with different topics; one course from GRK 221, GRK 222, HEBR 221, or HEBR 222 may be substituted for an upper-level scriptures course).

An interdisciplinary minor in Biblical Languages requires the completion of GRK 101, 102; HEBR 101, 102; and two from GRK 221, GRK 222, HEBR 221, or HEBR 222.

110
INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS
Designed for the beginning student, this course examines what it means to be religious, especially within the major traditions of the world. Issues include the definition of religion, the meaning of ritual and symbolism, and ecstatic phenomena. Attention is paid to significant developments within the major religious traditions. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement.

113
OLD TESTAMENT FAITH AND HISTORY
A critical examination of the literature within its historical setting and in the light of archaeological findings to show the faith and religious life of the Hebrew-Jewish community in the Biblical period, and an introduction to the history of interpretation with an emphasis on contemporary Old Testament criticism and theology.

114
NEW TESTAMENT FAITH AND HISTORY
A critical examination of the literature within its historical setting to show the faith and religious life of the Christian community in the Biblical period, and an introduction to the history of interpretation with an emphasis on contemporary New Testament criticism and theology.

120
DEATH AND DYING
A study of death from personal, social, and universal standpoints with emphasis upon what the dying may teach the living. Principal issues are the stages of dying, bereavement, suicide, funeral conduct, and the religious doctrines of death and immortality. Includes optional practical projects with terminal patients under professional supervision. Only one course from the combination of REL 120 and 121 may be used for Distribution requirements.

121
AFTER DEATH AND DYING
An examination of the question of life after death in terms of contemporary clinical studies, the New Testament resurrection narratives, the Asian doctrine of reincarnation, and the classical theological beliefs of providence and predestination. Prerequisite: REL 120 is recommended but not required. Only one course from the combination of REL 120 and 121 may be used for Distribution requirements. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement. Alternate years.

210
JUDAIC STUDIES: FROM THE EXODUS TO THE ROMANS
An examination of the Jewish vision of the foundation stories, the history, and the impact of events upon the Jewish world-view. The sources of the Bible are examined in detail, and the changing self-perception of the Israelites is a major focus. This period is formative in the development of what will become the Jewish People. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement. Alternate years.

211
JUDAIC STUDIES: TALMUD TO TODAY
An examination of the development of Jewish traditions from the destruction of the second temple in 70 C.E. to the present day. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between the living situations of Jews in the Diaspora to the development of interpretation of Jewish law. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement. Alternate years.

212
ISLAM
A comprehensive examination of the many religious dimensions of Islam, including the life of Muhammad, key textual sources such as the Quran and Hadith, basic beliefs and practices, Sufism, Muslim theology, differences between Sunni and Shi’ite interpretations of the faith, the historical evolution of Islam and its interaction with other cultures, and the theological and socio-political roots of the recent worldwide resurgence of Islam. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement. Alternate years.

222
PROTESTANTISM IN THE MODERN WORLD
An examination of Protestant thought and life from Luther to the present against the backdrop of a culture rapidly changing from the 17th century scientific revolution to Marxism, Darwinism, and depth psychology. Special attention is paid to the constant interaction between Protestantism and the world in which it finds itself. Alternate years.

225
ASIAN RELIGIONS
A phenomenological study of the basic content of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese Taoism with special attention to social and political relations, mythical and aesthetic forms, and the East-West dialogue. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement. Alternate years.

226
BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
A study of the role of archaeology in reconstructing the world in which the Biblical literature originated, with special attention given to archaeological results that throw light on the clarification of the Biblical text. Also, an introduction to basic archaeological method and a study in depth of several representative excavations along with the artifacts and material culture recovered from different historical periods. Fulfills Global Cultural Diversity Requirement.

227
EARLY HISTORY AND THEOLOGIES OF CHRISTIANITY
Traces the development of Christianity from the early Jesus movements up to the post-Constantinian, institutional Church. Issues include early apostolic preaching; the formation of the New Testament canon; the structuring of the community; and controversies regarding the person and nature of Christ, the trinity, the nature of salvation, and the sacraments.

230
PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION
A study into the broad insights of psychology in relation to the phenomena of religion and religious behavior. Concentrates on religious experience or manifestations rather than concepts. Tentative solutions are sought to questions such as: What does it feel like to be religious or to have a religious experience? What is the religious function in human development? How does one think psychologically about theological problems? Alternate years.

320
TOPICS IN COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS
A topics course with a comparative religions focus. Prerequisite: REL 110. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor when topics are different. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement.

323
THE HELLENISTIC-ROMAN CULTURAL WORLD
A survey of historical, cultural, and religious aspects of the eastern Mediterranean world that helped shape the development of second-temple Judaism and early forms of Christianity. Topics include political history, patronage and other Roman social structures, education, rhetoric, literature, philosophy, and Hellenistic-Roman modes of religious expression, including Judaism, the mysteries, and imperial religion. Fulfills Global Cultural Diversity Requirement.

328
HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST
A study of the history and culture of Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt from the rise of the Sumerian culture to Alexander the Great. Careful attention is given to the religious views prevalent in the ancient Near East as far as these views interacted with the culture and faith of the Biblical tradition. Fulfills Global Cultural Diversity Requirement.

331
CHRISTIAN SOCIAL ETHICS
A study of Christian ethics as a normative perspective for contemporary moral problems
with emphasis upon the interaction of law and religion, decision-making in the field of biomedical practice, and the reconstruction of society in a planetary civilization. Alternate
years.

333
OLD TESTAMENT WOMEN
An in-depth study of a variety of biblical texts and themes relevant to the roles and character of women in the Old Testament, including selections from Genesis, Ruth, Esther, Song of Songs, Proverbs (esp. ch. 31), and the songs of Deborah and Miriam. Also considers excerpts from the prophecies of Hosea and Ezekiel. Prerequisite: REL 113, 114, or consent of instructor. Fulfills either Domestic or Global Cultural Diversity Requirement. Alternate years.

337
BIBLICAL TOPICS
An in-depth study of Biblical topics related to the Old and New Testaments. Recent topics include Exodus, King David, Kingship Ideologies, and The Gospels of Mark and Thomas. Prerequisite: REL 113, 114, or consent of instructor. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor when topics are different.

342
THE NATURE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH
A study of the nature of the Church as “The People of God” with reference to the Biblical, Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic traditions.

401
FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY
Participation in an approved archaeological dig or field school program. Includes instruction in excavation techniques, recording and processing of artifacts. A survey of excavation and research and the use of archaeology as a tool for elucidating historical and cultural changes. Cross-listed as ARCH 401 and ANTH 401. REL 401 for Mediterranean and Near Eastern digs only. Students desiring credit toward the Religion major or Humanities Distribution Requirement should register for REL 401; students desiring credit toward the Anthropology major or Social Science Distribution requirement should register for ANTH 401; students desiring credit toward the Archaeology major should register for ARCH 401. Fulfills Global Cultural Diversity Requirement. Special fees apply. May Term or Summer Sessions only.

433
THE SAYINGS OF JESUS
An exploration of the ways in which early followers understood the nature and person of Jesus of Nazareth through their appropriation and interpretation of his teachings. An examination of the means and methods by which the teachings of Jesus were passed down from community to community and adapted to changing social and theological contexts in the first centuries of the Christian era. Prerequisite: REL 113, 114, or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

470-479
INTERNSHIP 
Interns in religion usually work in local churches, hospitals, or other religion-based organizations or programs under the supervision of the pastor, chaplain, or supervisor and a member of the faculty.

N80-N89
INDEPENDENT STUDY 
Current study areas are in the Biblical languages, Biblical history and theology, Biblical archaeology, comparative religions, and the ethics of technology.

490-491
INDEPENDENT STUDY FOR DEPARTMENTAL HONORS  

Ancient Languages

Greek, Hebrew, and Latin satisfy the Modern and Ancient Language Distribution Requirement, not the Humanities Distribution Requirement. They are not offered as majors. An interdisciplinary minor in Biblical Languages requires the completion of GRK 101 and 102; HEBR 101 and 102; and two from GRK 221, GRK 222, HEBR 221, or HEBR 222.

Greek (GRK)

101
BIBLICAL GREEK GRAMMAR AND READINGS I
Fundamentals of Biblical Greek grammar, with an emphasis on the writings of the Greek New Testament. Alternate years.

102
BIBLICAL GREEK GRAMMAR AND READINGS II
Continuation of fundamentals of Biblical Greek grammar, with readings from selected passages of the Greek New Testament. Introduction to the use of lexicons, library resources, and the critical apparatus of the UBS Greek New Testament for word study and exegesis. Prerequisite: GRK 101 or equivalent or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

221
READINGS IN THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS
A comparative study of the synoptic tradition in Greek. Prerequisite: GRK 102 or equivalent or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

222
READINGS IN THE PAULINE EPISTLES
Selected readings from the letters of Paul in Greek with a focus on the translation of one letter in its entirety. Prerequisite: GRK 221 or equivalent or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

Hebrew (HEBR)

101
BIBLICAL HEBREW GRAMMAR AND READINGS I
Fundamentals of Biblical Hebrew grammar and readings of selected passages of the Hebrew Bible. Alternate years.

102
BIBLICAL HEBREW GRAMMAR AND READINGS II
Continuation of fundamentals of Biblical Hebrew grammar and readings of selected passages of the Hebrew Bible. Introduction to the use of lexicons, library resources, and the critical apparatus of BHS for word study and exegesis. Prerequisite: HEBR 101 or equivalent or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

221
READINGS IN BIBLICAL HEBREW NARRATIVE
A critical reading of the Hebrew text of selected narrative portions of the Old Testament with special attention being given to exegetical questions. The texts vary from year to year.  Prerequisite: HEBR 102 or equivalent or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

222
READINGS IN THE PROPHETIC BOOKS AND WISDOM LITERATURE
A critical reading of the Hebrew text of selected portions of Old Testament prophecy and wisdom literature, with special attention being given to poetic texts and to exegetical questions.  The texts vary from year to year.  Prerequisite: HEBR 221 or equivalent or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

Latin (LAT)

101
LATIN GRAMMAR AND READINGS I
Fundamentals of classical Latin grammar and readings of selected passages from Latin authors.

102
LATIN GRAMMAR AND READINGS II
Continuation of fundamentals of classical Latin grammar and readings of selected passages from Latin authors. Prerequisite: LAT 101 or equivalent or consent of instructor.

221
LATIN READINGS AND CULTURE I
Readings in a variety of classical Latin texts, including a brief grammar review. Prerequisite: LAT 102 or equivalent or consent of instructor.

222
LATIN READINGS AND CULTURE II
Readings in a variety of classical Latin texts, including the study of Latin inscriptions. Prerequisite: LAT 221 or equivalent or consent of instructor.