Religious Studies Courses

REL 103 - Introduction to Christian Thinking

(Credits: 3.00)

An introduction to the foundational ideas of Christianity as taught by Catholic and other Christian traditions, understood by contemporary theologians, and expressed in the lives of believers. The course provides opportunities for investigation of human/religious experiences at the core of the Christian heritage and some of the diverse ways these have been expressed and passed down through generations, and for critical exploration of the relationships that exist among Christian beliefs, practices and theological expressions.

REL 104 - World Religions

(Credits: 3.00)

This course introduces six major religious traditions: The Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Indigenous traditions. Study includes the major founders (where applicable), beliefs, scriptures, practices and ethics of the traditions as well as contemporary internal issues, the impact of globalization on the traditions, an introduction to the concept of contextualization in the study of religion as well as interfaith dialogue around common issues of concern to the traditions.

REL 105 - Religion Today: Is it of Any Use?

(Credits: 3.00)

Although the vast majority of the people in the world believe in and practice some religion, religion is often seen as a problem and is frequently described as hopelessly out of touch with contemporary society. Using some of the world religions, this course proposes to examine the components that make up religion and to see if and how they are able to respond to contemporary life.

REL 106 - Introduction to the Bible

(Credits: 3.00)

This course introduces students to the writings of the Bible as products of their original historical and religious setting, as well as foundational documents for Judaism and Christianity. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions are studied as interpretive responses to the life situations of Jews and Christians in the ancient world and normative forming texts of respective religions thereafter. While many faith communities understand these writings as a source of divine guidance, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience. Prerequisite: Not open to students who have taken REL 101 or REL 201..

REL 202 - Modern Science, Living Faith

(Credits: 3.00)

This course will introduce students to some of the central themes and issues that mark the contemporary interaction between Modern Science and Religious Faith (primarily, Christian Faith) by helping them to reflect critically and appreciatively on that interaction. It will include: 1) examining select historical engagements between Science and Faith; 2) investigating the way Modern Science and Contemporary Theology establish and relate their respective claims; 3) probing the questions that the contemporary study of biology, physics and astronomy present for theology; and 4) surveying the thought of select, influential scientists and theologians on the interaction of Science and Faith. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 209 - Judaism: The 4000-Year Journey

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an investigation of contemporary Jewish life and practice dealing with foundations and developments within Judaism. Current challenges and responses are examined. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 212 - Islam: Faith, Practice and Contemporary Issues

(Credits: 3.00)

The course will cover the foundational elements of the religion, along with an overview of the life of Prophet Muhammad. Relationships with other faith communities, the role of women, and contemporary issues and controversies will be analyzed in detail. The role of the Quran and the Mosque in the lives of the faithful will also be discussed. This course includes a trip to a Mosque to watch a Friday congregational prayer. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 220 - The Greening of Religion

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an introduction to the role of religious traditions in addressing key issues created by the ecological impact of humans on their environment and the need for an integrated ethic of stewardship. Topics addressed include: how the Bible has been used to justify both stewardship and exploitation of the environment; the Franciscan view of nature; the spirituality of radical environmentalists; concepts of eco-justice and deep ecology; practical examples of how world religions are addressing environmental concerns. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 225 - Philosophy for Theology

(Credits: 3.00)

An historical and methodological overview of philosophical themes and concepts important in the study of religion and Christian theology, with emphasis on the modern and contemporary periods. The main objectives of the course are to become familiar with important philosophical figures, issues, and methods, and to gain an appreciation of the relation of these to a variety of contemporary approaches in theological study. Cross-listed with PL 225. Prerequisite: One course in religious studies or philosophy.

REL 226 - Introduction to the Pentateuch

(Credits: 3.00)

Beyond an introduction to the Bible or the Old Testament, the intention of this course is to delve more deeply into the five books of the Pentateuch. The goal of the course is to help students to discover the original historical and religious settings which helped produce these texts in order to better understand the biblical stories. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions will be studied as interpretive responses to the life situations in the ancient world. Meeting this goal will better enable the reader of the Pentateuch to interpret and appreciate these books as foundational religious literature for both Jews and Christians. However, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience.

REL 230 - Religious Dimensions of Sexuality

(Credits: 3.00)

The experience of sexuality directly or indirectly touches every aspect of people's lives. From ancient times to the present, human sexuality has carried religious connotations. At times religion has enriched the meaning of sexuality; at times it has limited the appreciation of sexuality. In short, sexuality is so basic to human experience that it profoundly influences spiritual and religious experience, and vice versa. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 235 - Religious/Ethical Principles for Health Science

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is a study of the religious and ethical dimensions of health care, specifically of the nursing profession. Students consider bioethical principles insofar as they apply to practical, concrete cases. They have an opportunity to reflect upon the dignity of human life and the human person as foundational for decision-making in both clinical and research settings. Philosophical treatments of bioethical principles and issues will be supplemented with a Christian understanding of humanity, community, freedom, the body, suffering, and healing. Prerequisite: Nursing students or consent of department.

REL 243 - Peace and Justice in the World's Religions

(Credits: 3.00)

Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace requires that society is built upon justice for all members. Most of the world’s religious traditions include teachings on how the truly religious person should care for the poor and the needy in society. A society that strives for just relationships and equality is one in which peace is possible. This course will explore and note convergences in social justice themes between diverse religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Native American traditions and Far Eastern traditions. By exploring the common language of justice, the class will aim to find ground for respectful inter-religious dialogue and teachings that will inspire students to work for justice and equality in a diverse society. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 303 - Contemporary Judaism

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an investigation of contemporary Jewish life and practice dealing with foundations and developments within Judaism. Current challenges and responses are examined. Prerequisite: First core course.

REL 308 - Contemporary Catholicism

(Credits: 3.00)

This course examines the evolution of the life and teachings of the Roman Catholic tradition from the modern period to the present. In particular the course focuses on the documents of Vatican Council II (1962-1965) and the subsequent developments in the life of the Church. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 310 - Franciscan Tradition: Yesterday/Today

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an introductory course which examines the life and values of Francis and Clare of Assisi, the expression of those values in history and the significance of the Franciscan lifestyle in current times. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 312 - Myth and Ritual

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an exploration of myth and ritual as key elements within a religious heritage. Students will investigate how sacred stories and rites of various traditions function narratively and symbolically as expressions of and frameworks for human beings, thinking and acting in relation to communities’ understandings of the divine. The course highlights the role of story, symbol and rite in addressing interfaith conflict and social division and in providing a compassionate and reconciling worldview. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or department consent or common core course in Religious Studies, Philosophy or Sociology.

REL 313 - Baptism and Eucharist

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an historical, anthropological and theological investigation of the constitutive elements of Christian worship and sacrament (time, space, word, and ritual/symbolic act), with special attention to the sacraments of baptism and eucharist. The course includes an overview of liturgical practices, texts, and theology from Jewish and scriptural origins to the 20th-century Vatican II reforms; basic principles of liturgical and sacramental theology; and groundwork for interpreting liturgical documents and ritual texts with a view to pastoral practice, multi-/inter-cultural concerns, and ecumenical considerations. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 316 - Sacred Scrolls: The Bible and the Qur'an

(Credits: 3.00)

This course introduces students to the writings of the Bible and the Qur’an as products of their original historical and religious setting, as well as foundational documents for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions will be studied as interpretive responses to the life situations of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the ancient world and normative forming texts of respective religions thereafter. While many faith communities understand these writings as a source of divine guidance, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience. In the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, this course will seek areas of common ground between these text traditions and the religious worldviews that they represent. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 320 - Women and Religion

(Credits: 3.00)

This course examines the historical beliefs about the nature, place and role of women as understood in Christianity and the major world religions as well as an overview of the goddess and wiccan traditions. Topics include a study of contemporary women theologians, women's spirituality and women in ministry. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 322 - Ecumenism in Historical Perspective

(Credits: 3.00)

This course will present a historical view of the Christian Church from an ecumenical perspective. It includes an examination of the resources Christian ecclesial communities possess to pursue the goal of Christian unity and the possibilities for the understanding of and collaboration with other world religions.
Prerequisite: REL 103, 104, 105 or 106 or junior standing.

REL 336 - Pastoral Dimensions of Ministry

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an interactive course which utilizes the principles of adult learning. This course examines ministry as a vocation, the theological roots of ministry and what it means to have a pastoral perspective in specific situations in the faith community. Students will focus on resources and choose assignments pertinent to their ministry area while becoming aware of common ministry issues.

REL 343 - Catholic Social Teaching

(Credits: 3.00)

This course will examine the historical settings and the biblical and theological foundations for Catholic Social Teaching. By applying a process of social analysis, students will probe the underlying causes of issues of social justice and peace. The course will explore how the principles of Catholic Social Teaching address these issues and how students might apply these principles to their future service experiences. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 345 - Christian Spirituality:Personal Growth and Development

(Credits: 3.00)

The spiritual journey moves people toward wholeness as integral human persons. The goals of this course are to explore the dynamics of Christian spirituality, to examine several psychological-theological views of the integration process, and to pursue the implications of the process for pastoral ministry. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 350 - Christian Moral Theology

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an introduction to the Biblical/theological foundations of morality in the Christian tradition. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 360 - Discovering One's Path in Life

(Credits: 3.00)

This course explores the factors, especially the places and people in one's life, that shape a person's identity and higher calling in life. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105, REL 106 or junior standing.

REL 400 - Independent Study

(Credits: 1.00)

This is an independent study course, with topics and materials to be decided in consultation with the instructor.

REL 401 - Research Seminar

(Credits: 2.00 - 3.00)

This research seminar includes the senior culminating experiences, i.e., a research study designed to demonstrate the student's grasp of research techniques, methodology and resources. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

REL 402 - Synthesis Seminar

(Credits: 2.00 - 3.00)

This seminar provides an integration of findings from the history and sociology of religion. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

REL 403 - Religious Studies Practicum

(Credits: 1.00 - 3.00)

Utilizing the resources of theology, psychology, sociology and experience, the course is designed to assist the student toward competency in a religious leadership role.

REL 405 - Christology

(Credits: 3.00)

This is a study of the person and mission of Jesus as presented in the Scriptures, in ecclesiastical tradition and in religious classics. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 410 - Selected Topics

(Credits: 3.00)

This is a study of particular topics in theology and/or Christian ministry formation. Prerequisite: Will be determined for each course.

REL 411 - Scripture Selected Topics

(Credits: 3.00)

This is a study of a particular upper-level scripture topic. This class provides students with advanced scripture study and will be run in conjunction with graduate scripture courses. Scripture topics include: John's Gospel, Pauline letters, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke, Gospel of Matthew, Wisdom Literature and Psalms, The Prophets and others. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 445 - Christian Spirituality: Personal Growth and Development

(Credits: 3.00)

The spiritual journey moves people toward wholeness as integral human persons. The goals of this course are to explore the dynamics of Christian spirituality, to examine several psychological-theological views of the integration process, and to pursue the implications of the process for pastoral ministry. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 465 - Introduction to Urban Ministry

(Credits: 1.00)

This course introduces students to the theology and practice of urban ministry. Students will examine the biblical foundations and analytical skills necessary to plan effective strategies in urban ministry. Students will assess the needs of their own professional and spiritual formation for this ministry. The course is the initial learning experience for students seeking certification in urban ministry.

REL 468 - The Bible and the City

(Credits: 2.00)

The course explores the biblical authors' viewpoints about the city as a social and theological reality. Students also will review contemporary approaches to biblical interpretation, applying these skills to the uses of the Bible in an urban pastoral setting.