Religion Courses Fall 2014

REL 331: Religions of East Asia
What is religious about traditional Chinese medicine? Is the Japanese emperor divine? What does Shamanism have to do with student protest in Korea? This course tries to answer some of these questions. Students will be introduced to the basic worldviews, teachings, texts, and practices in the religions of China, Japan, and Korea.

REL 339: Studies in the History of Christianity
Martyrs. Theological Controversy. Heresy. Miracles. The second century had it all. The various Christianities of the second century were shaped by heated debates over everything to do with theology, ethics, and identity. Out of the second century come some of Christianity’s most familiar concepts and some of its most interesting lost possibilities. It was a time of new possibilities, experimentation, and debate around issues not all that dissimilar from those that find there way into our own political and theological debates. Christians in the second century debated piety, education, identity, ethnicity, politics, and even the interpretation of art and architecture. Come explore this fascinating and vibrant period of Christianity’s history. In this course we will read together the surviving texts of the second century and explore the complex engagements between Christians, Jews, Greeks, and the broader Roman Empire. No prerequisites required. All are welcome.

REL 364: Religion and Ethics
What counts as a good human life? What does it mean to be a human being? What is the difference between seeking justice and seeking righteousness before God? Our class will explore these fundamental questions by investigating some of the most fascinating authors in western religious thought. No prerequisites required. 

REL 462: Religion and Violence
How is it, we may ask, that religion, one of the most noble activities of the human race, has so often for hundreds of years – and still today – led people to commit horrendous acts? This course explores the timely issue of whether major world religions, especially Christianity, Judaism and Islam, actually lead people to commit acts of violence. Texts, videos, and scholars from different religions help the class explore in depth this complex and widely misunderstood phenomena.

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