Religion


Department of Philosophy and Religion
*REL 101. Religions of the World. 3 credits.
An investigation of the world's major religions which will give attention to their origin, history, mythology and doctrines.
REL/HEBR 131-132. Elementary Biblical Hebrew. 4 credits each semester.
An introductory course for students who intend to acquire the ability to read the Massoretic text of the Bible. Systematic study of the fundamentals of grammar, with emphasis on reading, pronunciation and translation.
*REL 200. Exploring Religion. 3 credits.
An examination of the various components in the study of religion including myths, rituals, mystical experiences, theologies, ethics and current issues. Examples will be taken from the sacred texts, rituals and the lives of religious personalities in traditions around the world.
*REL 201. Introduction to the Literature and Religion of the Old Testament. 3 credits.
A study of the foundation of the Judaeo-Christian tradition through an examination of selected writings of the Old Testament in their historical setting. Emphasis is placed on the student's direct familiarity with the text of the Bible.
*REL 202. Introduction to the Literature and Religion of the New Testament. 3 credits.
A study of the faith of the New Testament community as reflected in its literature including the Gospels, Acts and Letters of Paul. Attention is given to the development of tradition and problems of interpretation.
REL/HEBR 231-232. Intermediate Biblical Hebrew. 3 credits each semester.
An intensive reading course. Selections from the Massoretic text of the Bible. An introduction to the critical apparatus used within the Massoretic text and the variant reading apparatus printed in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Prerequisite: One year of college biblical Hebrew or equivalent.
*REL 270. Religious Ethics. 3 credits.
An investigation of the historical development of religious values and moral concepts in the Western religious traditions of Judaism, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.
REL 300. Selected Topics in Religion. 3 credits.
Selected topics in religion are studied in depth. See Schedule of Classes for current topic. Course may be repeated for credit when content changes.
REL 310. Religions of India. 3 credits.
An introduction to the thought and practice of four major religious traditions of India: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Islam. Topics include myth, ritual, yoga and meditation, philosophy, community, and devotionalism.
REL 312. Religions of East Asia. 3 credits.
An introduction to the religions of China and Japan, including Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Shinto, Folk Religions and the "New Religions" of Japan. Attention to the role of religion in the family and the state, classic texts, the importance of nature and expressions of spirituality in the fine arts.
REL 315. Women and Religion. 3 credits.
Study of women and world religions, historically and today, emphasizing Buddhism, religions of China and Japan, Judaism, and Christianity. The variety of women's religious roles and practices are studied in a comparative context. Feminist scholarship's proposals for revising our understanding of religious history and reforming religious traditions.
REL 320. Judaism. 3 credits.
An examination of the beliefs, practices and historical development of the various forms of Judaism represented in America today: Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist.
REL/SOCI 322. Sociology of Religion. 3 credits.
A sociological analysis of religion; how it influences and is influenced by social existence. See crosslisting in Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
REL 325. Catholicism in the Modern World. 3 credits.
Study of the variety of responses by contemporary Catholic theologians and philosophers to key elements in Christian doctrine and practice. Topics include Vatican II; scripture, tradition and modern scholarship; Jesus and Christology; contemporary Catholic spirituality; moral issues in the Church; and ecumenism.
REL 330. African and African-American Religion. 3 credits.
An examination of the character and nature of religious traditions and liturgical practices of African and African-American communities through history.
REL/ANTH 337. Archaeology and the Bible. 3 credits.
An examination of the relationship between material cultural remains, texts and history. Specific exercises in recreating the history of ancient Israel and Judah through the use of texts and artifacts will be undertaken in class and in student papers.
REL/PHIL 350. Philosophy of Religion. 3 credits.
An intensive examination of religion from the standpoint of philosophical thinking with particular emphasis on the way philosophers view such problems as the existence of God, evil, immortality, religious language, etc.
REL 360. History of Christian Thought. 3 credits.
A survey of the development of Christianity with primary emphasis on the people, ideas, doctrines and major crisis points around which the development took place.
REL 370. Mysticism. 3 credits.
An examination of the nature of mysticism and its forms of practice in selected religious communities through the world.
REL/PHIL 375. The 19th Century: Age of Ideology. 3 credits.
A study of selected 19th century philosophers and theologians with special attention to rationalism, romanticism and idealism. Views of Hegel, Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Marx and others are considered. Prerequisite: PHIL 101 or permission of the instructor.
REL/PHIL 385. Buddhist Thought. 3 credits.
Buddhist thought from its origins to the contemporary world in South Asia and East Asia. Emphasis on the understanding of the human condition; analysis of the mind and of the nature of the cosmos; and the expression of Buddhist thought in the fine arts and in social activism.
REL 450. Major Religious Thinkers 3 credits.
Critical examination of contemporary theological classics by Buber, Barth, Tillich, the Niebuhrs, Bultmann and others, exploring the renewal of theology in the 20th century in both method and content as thinkers address problems of modern religious thought and society in the West.
REL 460. Biblical Texts in Context. 3 credits.
An in-depth examination of the literary, theological and historical dimensions of selected biblical texts. Texts will be studied in their ancient contexts, with a focus on ancient literary patterns and writing strategies. Students will apply critical methods used in the academic study of the Bible in their analyses. Prerequisite: REL 201 or 202, or permission of the instructor.
REL 475. Inter-Religious Dialogue. 3 credits.
Dialogue is today the most important response of the world's religions to the diversity of world religions. It is a vehicle for mutual understanding, mutual challenge and joint response to contemporary problems. Students will study the theory and practice of dialogue and then engage in dialogue. Prerequisite: Familiarity with two world religions or permission of the instructor.
REL 490. Special Studies in Religion. 3 credits.
Designed to give capable students an opportunity to complete independent study in religion under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: Permission of the department head.
REL 499. Honors. 6 credits. Year course.

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Undergraduate Catalog Contents


1996-97 Undergraduate Catalog
Last reviewed: 30 November 1996
Information Publisher: Division of Academic Affairs
James Madison University