Lower Division Courses

C050/H090. Introduction to Asian Religions (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: IS.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies C050.

Crosslisted with: Asian Studies C050.

Introduction to the major Asian religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto) with emphasis on the cultural roots of each religious tradition, the analysis of its principal teachings and practices, and the major cultural expressions in religious art, ritual, poetry, music, and scriptures.

C051/H091. Introduction to Western Religions (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: IS.

This course will study the major Western religious beliefs, values, and practices from their origins in Africa, Europe, and the Near East through the rise and development of the culturally and religiously related traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Attention will also be given to the influence of Western religious ideas and institutions upon issues and movements in the contemporary world scene.

C052/H092. Religion in America (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: AC.

A historical and sociological study of practices and beliefs of various religious groups that have shaped American culture, with special attention to ethnic and racial minorities, and to women, as well as to traditional main-line groups and newer movements.

C053/H093. Introduction to World Religions (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: IS.

Introduction to the major world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam) as a way of coming to know and appreciate the world-views of other cultures. Attention to beliefs, values, and practices of these religions as ways of dealing with the issues basic to human life.

C054/H094. Religion and Society (3 s.h.) F S. Core: IN.

This course deals with such issues as: What is the nature of religion? What impact does it have on personal identity, social life, and political structures? What ethical issues arise out of the tensions between religion and society? Emphasis on contemporary Western society and forms of religion. Some historical background provided.

R055/H095. Racial Justice: A Religious Mandate for Obedience and Revolt (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: RS.

This introductory course on race and religion examines the emergence and development of religious faith and social protest thought, in order to propose critical options that foster emancipatory practices in the contemporary struggle for racial justice

C081. Religion and the Arts (3 s.h.) S. Core: AR.

Focuses on the artistic expression of theological themes in a given religious tradition. Students explore the varieties of art in that tradition, learning to recognize the plastic (architecture, sculpture, metal), visual (painting, glass, fabric), and musical art forms. Analyzing how these forms function in prayer, liturgy, and theology is of primary importance. In addition, the fundamental questions of how the religion deals with the tension between iconic/aniconic, eternal/finite, and divine/human are covered. Course also deals with what religious art "means" in a secular context.

Upper Division Courses

0100. Topics in Religious Studies I: Women in Chinese Religion (3 s.h.) S.

The course focuses on the images, roles, and experience of women in Chinese religions: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Topic discussions include: gender concepts, norms, and roles defined by each tradition; the body image and feminine symbols; and the biographies and narratives of women recorded in Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist literature

0101. Topics in Religious Studies II (3 s.h.)

Arranged each semester, please consult with the instructor.

0106. Religions of India (3 s.h.)

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0162.

An introduction to the foundations, the nature, and the principles of classical Hinduism. An introduction to the fundamentals of Buddhism and Jainism.

W106. Religions of India (3 s.h.) Core: WI.

See Religion 0106.

0113. Buddhism-Psycho-Existential Analysis (3 s.h.)

The leading question for this course is: “how best can we live our life, given the structure of the human psyche?" In response the course explores the experiential dimension of the human psyche by delving into three prominent conceptual articulations of it in Buddhism, Psychoanalysis (also Analytical Psychology) and Existential analysis. The reading material for this course includes selections from early Buddhist texts, Mahayana Buddhist texts, Freud, Jung and Sartre.

0115. Introduction to Zen Buddhism (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0168.

This course surveys the historical development of Zen Buddhism as it unfolds in India, China, and Japan, and focuses on the examination of the nature of satori experience. It analyzes its existential meaning from perspectives of therapy, Zen practice, and philosophy.

0116. Chinese Religions—Confucius to Mao (3 s.h.) S.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0165.

Critical study of the development of Chinese religions from the time of Confucius to Mao, including the problem of ideological continuity in contemporary China (Maoist Marxism versus Confucianism).

0117. I-Ching, Tao, and Ch’an/Zen (3 s.h.) S.

This course covers selected topics in the history of Taoist ideas and religious practice, which have broadly influenced China for two and a half millenia. Discussion topics include: symbols and divination; the philosophy of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu; the interaction between Taoism and Ch’an/Zen Buddhism; the Taoist/Ch’an influence on the Chinese literary tradition and ideals of beauty; the Taoist view on ch’i energy, meditation, sexuality, and the good life; and Taoism/Zen in America today.

0118. Chinese Buddhism (3 s.h.) F S.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0166.

The history and schools of thought and practice of Buddhism in China, from the introduction of Buddhism to China from India and its interaction with the classical religions of China (Confucianism, Taoism), the rise of the major schools of Chinese Buddhism (Tien Tai, Hua Yen, Chan (Zen), and Pure Land).

0119. Japanese Religions (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0161.

An introduction to Japanese religions, their origins and development in the social, cultural, and intellectual history of Japan. Religions covered are: Shinto, Japanese Buddhism, folk religions, Japanese Confucianism, and the "New Religions." Some attention to the expression of Japanese spirituality in the fine arts, martial arts, festivals, and rituals.

0120. Japanese Buddhism (3 s.h.)

This course is an introduction to Japanese Buddhism, covering some of the major Buddhist figures including Kukai, Dogen, Shinran, Hakuin, Takuan, and Myoe. In order to understand how Japanese Buddhism accepted Indian and Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, the course traces some of the prominent conceptual frameworks of Mahayana Buddhism which were developed in India and China. The methodological orientation of the course is philosophical or intellectual.

W122. Introduction to Buddhism (3 s.h.) F. Core: WI.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0122.

See Religion 0122.

0122. Introduction to Buddhism (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0122.

Introduction to the historical development of Buddhism in relation to other East Asian religions. Topics include the Four Noble Truths of basic Buddhism and the Hinayana-Mahayana controversy over the Buddhist Dharma and practice, as well as the development of Buddhist thought throughout Asia.

0151. Introduction to African American Religion (3 s.h.) F.

Examines African American religion in the context of four periods of African American history: the exercise of slave religious leadership in the "invisible church"; during the post-Emancipation period (1863-1900), the development of institutionalized black religion, that is, the black church; in the period of northern immigration (1916-1945), the evolution of many aspects of black liturgy—especially black gospel music; and the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and 70s.

0153. Introduction to Philosophy of Religion (3 s.h.)

This course will introduce the students to the current issues in the field of philosophy of religion. At the discretion of the instuctor, the students will explore the philosophical writings in several different religions (for example, Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism) on a variety of philosophical/theological topics.

0157. Traditional Religions of Africa (3 s.h.) F SS.

This course is an interdisciplinary analysis and evaluation of selected readings on African religions that have not only survived but migrated across several continents, attracting a growing following in the contemporary societies of North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

0158. African Religions and New World Culture (3 s.h.) S.

African religion and culture continues to exist in the religious and cultural life of African Americans. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will examine African American religion, folklore, literature, music, and communication in order to assess the continuation and transformation of African culture in the world-view of African Americans.

W200. Introduction to Islam (3 s.h.) S. Core: WI.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0260.

See Religion 0200.

0200. Introduction to Islam (3 s.h.) S.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0260.

A general survey of the religion of Islam, including history, beliefs, sacred texts (Qur’ân and Hadîth) and their interpretation, religious law, Sûfism, philosophy, art, and science. Particular attention also is given to actual Muslim practice and to Islam as a way of life.

0202. Religion in the Ancient Near East (3 s.h.)

This course will explore the religion of the pre-Biblical Near East. We will read texts from Akkadian, Egyptian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Mesopotamian cultures and civilizations. Special emphasis will be put on the differences and competing astpects of these religions with Israelite religion.

0203. The Islamic State (3 s.h.) S.

Cross Listed with History 0315.

This course examines both the classical theory and modern theory and practice of self-described Islamic states in the modern world. Main focus is on the Middle Eastern area.

0204. Islam and Art (3 s.h.)

In this course students will explore the rich world of Islamic art and architecture. The course will take a geographic approach as well as an historical approach to the varieties of ways artists have expressed themselves and their cultures in the religion of Islam. What theological truths or purposes this art serves in Islam will be dealt with. How Islam has dealt with artistic expression will also be addressed.

0205. Women in Islam (3 s.h.)

This course will explore the issues confronting women in the religion of Islam and how the surrounding cultures, Indian, Arab, Egyptian, American, Eastern European, Indonesian, African (to name a few) react to these issues. Topics of Feminism, Imperialism, Westernization, and endemic religious culture will organize the course. The syllabus will include Islamic female and male authors on these topics.

0207. Islamic Mysticism (3 s.h.) F.

Introduction to the doctrines, practices, and history of Sufism. Analysis of the nature of mystical experience and Sufi principles. The course also includes a survey of Sufi literature and will discuss the brotherhoods, their relationship with orthodoxy, and al-Ghazali’s synthesis.

0208. Islam in America (3 s.h.) F.

This course deals with Islam in the United States, including the history, practice, lifestyles, and experiences of American Muslims. Islam in America is presented in all its variety, with special attention to Philadelphia, which is a major center of American Islam. The contribution of both African American Muslim movements and recent immigrant Muslim groups is covered.

0221. Foundations of Judaism (3 s.h.)

In this course students will explore Judaism from a variety of perspectives: historical, religious, literary, artistic, and cultural. What constitutes "Judaism" in it variety of contemporary expressions will be an organizing question for the class.

0222. Philosophy of Judaism (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with Political Science 0322 and Jewish Studies 0211.

An introduction to various medieval and modern Jewish philosophies.

0224. What Is Judaism? (3 s.h.) S.

Cross Listed with Jewish Studies 0110.

Introduction to the variety of rituals, customs, and practices of the Jewish people in a historical context. Compares and contrasts liberal and traditional Jewish religion with Zionism. Contemporary Jewish novels, poetry, and drama.

0226. Biblical Archaeology (3 s.h.) F.

An introduction to the history, theory, and methods of Near Eastern Archaeology and its relation to Biblical Studies. Tracing the history of Biblical Archaeology from its roots in the treasure hunters of the eighteenth century down to the present, we will examine the changing philosophy of archaeology, and the evolving techniques of excavation, by studying several sites and archaeologists.

0227. Dead Sea Scrolls (3 s.h.)

This class will introduce the students to the texts found in Qumran and their implications for the fields of Biblical studies and New Testament studies. In addition to reading the texts, the students will be introduced to archeology and the technological innovations that science has brought to bear in the reconstruction of the texts and in their publication.

0234. Judaism and Literature (3 s.h.) S.

Cross Listed with Jewish Studies 0223.

Readings of various Jewish literatures focusing on America and issues of immigration and cultural assimilation.

W240. Introduction to the Bible (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: WI.

Cross Listed with Jewish Studies W221.

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). What is the Bible? Where did it come from? How can there be so many different interpretations of the Bible? An examination of the historical and religious background of the Old Testament and the various kinds of literature in the Bible.

0241. Introduction to the New Testament (3 s.h.) F S.

An introduction to the New Testament including such issues as: how these books came to be called "the New Testament"; the various literary types of "gospel," "epistle," theological tract (e.g. Hebrews), visionary writing (Revelation or Apocalypse); and the outlooks of the various evangelists and Paul.

0245. History of Christianity I (3 s.h.)

This semester-long course will cover the beginnings of Christianity from its Jewish roots in the first century and finish in the 12th century. We will take geographic, theological, cultural, and institutional approaches to the study of the history of Christianity. The course will explore issues of the formation of the New Testament, heresies and doctrines, asceticism and monasticism, and the differences political power had on various Christian groups.

0246. History of Christianity II (3 s.h.)

This semester-long course will begin with the 13th century and continue to the 20th century. We will take geographic, theological, cultural, and institutional approaches to the study of the history of Christianity. The course will explore the issues, political and theological, that culminated in the Protestant Reformation. Topics such as explorations of the New World, the Enlightenment, scientific revolution, and the advent of Communist power will organize the exploration of Christianity's pathway in the last seven centuries.

0253/W253. What Is Christianity? (3 s.h.) S. Core: W253: WI.

The development of the Christian religion from the Bible to today. What are the principal beliefs of Christianity? How did they come to be so? What have been the major criticisms of Christianity? How can we understand the variety of Christian churches as they face the modern world?

0256. Jesus in the Gospels (3 s.h.) F.

An examination of the various interpretations of Jesus and his work in the four gospels and in some non-Biblical works, both ancient and modern. The cultural and historical background of Jesus and the authors of these works are also investigated.

0292. Junior Honors Paper (3 s.h.) F S.

Independent study and writing of a major research paper in the area of the student’s special interest.

0293-0294. Senior Honors Thesis I-II (3 s.h. each) F S.

A year-long research project of independent study and writing of a substantial research dissertation in the area of the student’s special interest.

0295. Senior Honors Paper (3 s.h.) F S.

Independent study and writing of a major research paper in the area of the student’s special interest.

0301/H391. Women in Religion and Society (3 s.h.) SS.

Cross Listed with Women's Studies 0271.

A study of both the roles and understanding of women in major premodern and modern religious traditions, particularly of the West, including an investigation of the authoritative writings and practices of the various traditions.

0304. Earth Ethics (3 s.h.)

This course examines the relationship of human and environmental science to ethical principles. By analyzing case studies that deal with resource sustainability, environmental protection, divergent views of technology and respect for all forms of life, students will assess individual life-styles and alternative visions of the the good life on planet earth.

0306. The Holocaust: Resistance and Response (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with Jewish Studies 0305.

This course will ask questions about what it means to resist and respond to the Holocaust. It will do this through: film, art, literature, politics, and theology.

0307. Ethics and Human Institutions (3 s.h.) F.

This course focuses on how religion plays a significant role in the lives of ordinary people. Special attention is given to analyzing the moral reasoning, laws, codes, and values that help women, men, and children make ethical decisions in their daily affairs.

0326. Philosophy of Religion (3 s.h.) F.

Issues in philosophy of religion, including the nature of religion, the relation between reason and faith, concepts of God and proofs of the existence of God, religious and mystical experience, the nature of religious language, the problem of evil, the relation of religion to morality, concepts of death and immortality, conflicting truth-claims of different religions, and interreligious dialogue.

0327/H397. Comparative Philosophy of Religion (3 s.h.) S.

Comparative Philosophy of Religion, Asian-Western. An introduction to comparative philosophy of religion, Asian and Western. After asking what is meant by "comparative philosophy of religion," we will focus on comparative philosophical study of basic concepts and issues in Western and Asian religious traditions. For example: concepts of divine or ultimate reality; arguments for the existence of an ultimate reality; the relation of faith and reason; critiques of religion; the problem of evil; concepts of personal destiny and immortality; the relation of religion to morality; religious and mystical experience; the nature of religious language; the problem of conflicting truth-claims and religious pluralism.

0328. American Religious Thought. (3 s.h.)

An introduction to representative thinkers, movements, and issues in American religious thought from the 17th C. to the present. Thinkers selected from among Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josiah Royce, William James, John Dewey, A.N. Whitehead and Reinhold Niebuhr. Movements such as American Puritanism, the American Enlightenment, Transcendentalism, American Idealism, pragmatism and religion, religious naturalism, process theology, American neo-orthodoxy, and the new religious empiricism. Issues such as the centrality of religious experience; the relation of faith and reason, philosophy and theology; liberalism vs. conservatism in theology; the conflict of religion with science and evolutionary theory; and the relation of religious thought to personal morality, social ethics, and public life.

0341. Religion and Psychology (3 s.h.) F.

Course examines major psychological thinkers’ views on religion’s origins, functions, and meanings. What personality factors create and sustain religiousness? Some attention to the formation of new religious groups as well as individual spiritual life.

W343/H393. Death and Dying (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: WI.

Concepts, attitudes, and practices associated with death and dying in the major religious traditions and in literature, philosophy, and psychology. Contemporary implications for related fields such as medicine, psychiatry, social work, and education.

0352. Religion and Bioethics (3 s.h.)

This course is designed to introduce the students to the burgeoning world of biotechnology and the issues raised by it in various religious traditions. The class will explore the questions of ethics, responsibility, and venues of control that religions bring to the phenomena of euthanasia, cloning, genetic engineering, and reproductive technologies.

0359. Religion and Science (3 s.h.) S.

This course offers a historical examination of the relationship of religion and science, leading up to current debates. A variety of views are considered, ranging from those who have viewed the relationship in terms of conflict, to those who see the two as operating in separate spheres, to those who believe that each influences the other in important and often beneficial ways.

0368. Comparative Mysticism East and West (3 s.h.) F.

In this class the students will be introduced to the mysticism of certain eastern religions and certain western religions, which will be determined by the Instructor. They will be chosen from Japanese Buddhism, Hinduism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholocism, Judaism, Islam. The students will read primary texts from these traditions. Understanding the practice of mysticism in these traditions, as well as the theoretical systems that support these practices -- in a comparative framework -- will organize the readings and the lectures for the semester.

0391/0392. Independent Study (2 s.h. each) F S SS.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission.

Individual research project with a specific faculty member.

0393/0394. Independent Study (3 s.h. each) F S SS.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission.

Individual research project with a specific faculty member.