Religious Studies (RELS)

Major Courses

RELS A200 Early Christian Thought 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course is a study of the development of Christian thought through the Ante and Post Nicene periods to the end of the patristic period.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A201 Medieval Christian Thought 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course is a study of Christian thought from the end of the patristic period to the eve of the Reformation. Within this period, interest will center on the three centuries between 1000 A.D. and 1300 A.D.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A202 Modern Christian Thought 3 crs.

This course examines the development of Christian thought from the Reformation through the modern period.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A215 The Pentateuch 3 crs.

RAC: Premodern

The various theological traditions which comprise the Pentateuch and related writings are studied for their literary value, religious insights, and theological importance for their age and our own.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A216 Biblical Wisdom Literature 3 crs.

RAC: Premodern

Proverbs, Koheleth, Job, Sirach, and Wisdom are studied in terms of their literary quality, philosophical and existential attitudes towards life, theological content, and intellectual relationship to the rest of scripture and the ancient Near Eastern intellectual tradition.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A236 Hebrew Prophets 3 crs.

RAC: Premodern

The message of the Hebrew Prophets, with its religious, social, political, and economic implications, is studied in order to see its relationship with the rest of the Scriptures and the development of prophetic criticism which continues into our own age.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A255 Synoptic Gospels 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

After a brief introduction to the question of the literary genre of the gospel, the course deals with the different theologies of the first three gospels as they relate to the social concerns of the communities to which they were addressed.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A300 Pauline Writings 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course explores the development of Paul’s thought through his epistles, focusing on major themes such as sin, justification, faith, and the body of Christ. Influences on his thought such as Hellenistic philosophical and theological speculations and rabbinic theologizing are also considered.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A305 Theology of Liberation 3 crs.

Liberation theology is a facet of Catholic theology relating to Jesus Christ’s views of liberation from unjust conditions. The course covers a wide range of topics under this multi-disciplinary and unique way of viewing and practicing theology. Significant focus is placed upon understanding how the Latin American context impacts theological praxis.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A310 Religions of Asia 3 crs.

RAC: Premodern

This course is a study of the history and contemporary status of at least two of the following religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, the Chinese religious tradition, and Islam.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A315 Johannine Literature 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

Using literary, historical, and socio-contextual approaches, this course examines the Gospel of John and the epistles of John with focus on the Johannine themes of glory, salvation, love and service. It also explores the Book of Revelation and its message for ancient and contemporary Christians.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A320 The Christian God 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions

This course is a study of the problem of belief as it evolved from the enlightenment period to the present. It also examines the bearing of the secularization process on God-talk and traditional approaches to God, and investigates recent efforts by process thinkers to reconstruct the idea of God with implications for Christian theologies and life.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A335 Theological Method 3 crs.

An inquiry into how theology understands its role in religion, this course puts particular emphasis on theology after the advent of the historical sciences.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A350 Christology 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course includes a look at New Testament Christology, a brief study of the pre-Nicene views of Christ, the rise of counter-positions, and the official response in the Councils of Nicea, Constantinople I, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, as well as  contemporary critiques of the classical model and recent revisions.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A354 Dynamics of Salvation 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions

This course is a study of the history and contemporary status of theories of redemption.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A358 Ecumenical Theology 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions

This course begins with a review of the origins of Christian division and the motives for the restoration of Christian unity. It then analyzes progress towards this goal by reviewing the recent theological literature and focusing particularly on the joint statements of the official Lutheran-Catholic dialogues.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A360 Theology in 19th, 20th Centuries 3 crs.

This course traces the emergence of the modern theological consciousness in such major figures as Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Harnack, Barth, Tillich, Newman, Rahner, and others. It also attempts to assess the significance of movements such as Protestant liberalism, Catholic modernism, and neo-orthodoxy for this development.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A368 Christianity and the Environment 3 crs.

This course will involve participants in the developing understanding of the universe and Earth as divine manifestation. We focus particularly on the Creation-affirming tradition within the Christian tradition and discern its capacity to inform contemporary scientific perspectives and interpretations with an appreciation and articulation of their sacred dimension.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A370 Religion and Media 3 crs.

This seminar encourages awareness of the manifestations of religion in media -- the uses of media by religious groups, news coverage of media, and the treatment of religious themes in various media --to foster critical consumption and production of media relating to religion.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or or RELS H295

RELS A400 Theology of Vatican II 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions

This course is a study of the documents of Vatican II and the changes in Roman Catholicism since Vatican II. Also discussed is why the changes occurred and what fundamental shifts were behind the changes.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A411 Hindu Theology 3 crs.

RAC: Premodern

This course is a study of the rise and development of Hindu theistic thought in the millennium following Shankara (788 — 820 A.D.) The schools of identity, of difference, and of difference-in-identity are studied critically.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A417 Women, Religion, and Culture 3 crs.

RAC: Premodern

This course investigates the mutual impact of religious belief and gender roles: Special topics include the origin of patriarchy, structures of patriarchy, function of shamanism in women’s lives, women in patriarchal religions, violence perpetuated against women in patriarchal cultures/religions, and women creating women’s religion.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A430 Church and Sacraments 3 crs.

RAC: Catholic Traditions

This course offers an introduction to the theology of the Church and sacraments. Focus includes the nature and purpose of the Church starting with Jesus Christ, and the meaning and history of the seven sacraments.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A440 Philosophy of Religion 3 crs.

A study of the philosophical problems raised by religious experience, the course concludes with an investigation of religious experience at the individual level.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A441 Psychology of Religion 3 crs.

This course is a general introduction to the psychological study of religious behavior, comprising a short history of the subject with special attention to classic writings since 1890, a review of outstanding theories and methods, and a representative sampling of recent research, especially on personality and developments.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A442 Millennium Seminar 3 crs.

This course is a cross-cultural investigation of the diversity of religious patterns that scholars have termed millennialism: The expectation of an imminent transition to a collective salvation. Study includes catastrophic millennialism, progressive millennialism, nativist millennial movements, and why some millennial groups become involved in violence.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A470 The Spirituality of the Nature Writers 3 crs.

This course utilizes an interpretive methodology to probe the deeper spiritual meaning, significance, and relevance of the nature writers as spiritual guides who immerse themselves in the mysteries of Creation and share their experience through words, films, music, and other art forms.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A493 Directed Readings, credits vary

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A495 Special Project, credits vary

This project focuses on the creative or productive efforts of one or more students. A special project is distinguished from a research project in its lack of the historical or experimental method and perspective characteristics of research.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A496 Seminar/Workshop, credits vary

This course is comprised of a supervised group of students participating in a common effort and sharing the results of their research on a common topic.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A498 Research Project, credits vary

This project focuses on empirical or historical investigation, culminating in a written report.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS A499 Independent Study, credits vary

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS H295 Honors Religious Studies 3 crs.

An Honors-level Religious Studies course --topics vary.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

Introductory Common Curriculum

RELS T121 First-Year Seminar 3 crs.

Introductory Common Curriculum: First-Year Seminar

The gateway course to the Common Curriculum is the First-Year Seminar (FYS). This issues-based, interdisciplinary seminar introduces students to college-level thinking and learning as well as Jesuit values at the core of a Loyola education. This FYS has a specific topic within the scope of Religious Studies. A full list of currently offered FYS courses can be found on the Loyola Online Records Access (LORA) system.

RELS T122 Religions of the World 3 crs.

Introductory Common Curriculum: Religious Studies

This course surveys the history, literature, theology, practices and institutions of the world’s major living religions. It critically and comparatively assesses the patterns of behavior and organizational strategies that religions inspire.

RELS T124 Christianity and Society 3 crs.

Introductory Common Curriculum: Religious Studies

This course surveys the history, literature, core theology and doctrines of Christianity as well as the significant persons and formative events that shaped and continue to shape Christianity from its origins to its influence on contemporary society.

Advanced Common Curriculum

RELS U220 Biblical Literature in the Roman and Medieval Context 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

Usually part of the Italy Study Abroad program entitled The Ancient Crossroads of Culture, Literature and Religion, this course require students to immerse themselves into the ancient and medieval Roman world where they will explore the social structures and materials that gave shape to the daily life, worship, ethical practices, community structure, organization, and literature of primitive and medieval Christians.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U226 Anthropology of Religion 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Premodern

This course explores relationships between religion and culture, society, and human mental faculties including mythology, contact between cultures with distinct religions, religion as a mechanism of regulating social order, and aspects of human cognition that contribute to the development and maintenance of religious perspectives.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U240 The Qur’an 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Premodern

This course provides students with an introduction to the Qur’an and its interpretation in English translation. The weekly topics facilitate a thematic progression through various passages of the Qur’an in a manner which highlights important aspects of the text and its various interpretations in the Islamic tradition.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U246 Judaism 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity; Premodern

This course provides an overview of Jews and Judaism from religious, historical, and contemporary perspectives including the study of Jewish practices, rituals, beliefs, and the holiday structure.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U247 New Testament as Literature 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course explores the fundamentals of how the Christian Scriptures came to be and identifies the critical issues that challenge modern interpretations of biblical texts. Covers the basic structure, background, content, and theologies of New Testament literature with insights into the social, cultural, literary, and the religious contexts in which the early Christian texts arose.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U249 Old Testament as Literature 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies                     
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern                                                                                                                

This course examines the literary, theological, and social-cultural development of the Old Testament with frequent references to the ongoing implications for our modern day situation, both in regard to our religious institutions and society in general.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U253 Varieties of Hindu Tradition 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Premodern

This introduction explores the many facets of India's most diverse religious tradition. The approach is historical, beginning with Vedic religion and continuing on to material from the Rāmāyana and the Bhagavad Gītā. The use of primary sources allows voices from India's past to represent Hindu traditions on theological concepts such as dharma, moksha and samsāra. Ritual practices and ethical concerns supplement the exploration of these ancient religious traditions.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U260 Introduction to Islam 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Premodern

This course provides students with an introduction to the historical and intellectual development of the broader Islamic tradition. It acquaints students with major themes contributing to the evolution of Islam as a religion from the time of its emergence to the present. The topics covered demonstrate the diversity of the Islamic tradition and familiarize students with the appropriate methodologies involved in the academic study of religion.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course replaces RELS V260

RELS U263 The Ancient Mind 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern

This course concentrates on the intellectual heritage of the ancient Near East prior to the rise of classical culture. In particular, the course observes the interplay of ancient biblical values in an effort to understand the intellectual prehistory and origin of values for the Western tradition.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Relgious Studies Premodern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS U265 Spiritual Ways of China 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern

This course is a study of the spiritual traditions of China. Topics include Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, folk religion, cosmology and humanism, Mao, and contemporary developments.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS U269 Death: Comparative Views 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern

This course is a study of religious and nonreligious views of death in Eastern religions, Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, and the contemporary West, etc. Differences in these views will be examined on ethical issues concerning life and death, e.g., suicide, euthanasia, abortion, and the death penalty.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS U270 Poets and Sages: Old Testament 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern

This course is a study of hymnic and wisdom literature of the Bible (psalms, wisdom, novels). The goal is to perceive the human dimensions of this literature--its expression of human emotions and philosophical reflection of life's great issues.  Its impact upon aesthetix, intellectual, and psychological aspects of the Western tradition is taken under consideration.

Prerequisites: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS U277 Tibetan & Indian Religions 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity; Premodern

This course surveys the primary religious traditions of India as well as the development of Vajrayana Buddhism in northern India and its elaboration and preservation in Tibet. Attention is paid to discovering contemporary expressions of the Indian and Tibetan religions in order to consider the ways they are changing to remain relevant in today’s postmodern and globalized societies.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course replaces RELS V277

RELS U281 Women in World Religions 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity; Premodern

This course is the historical and cultural study of women in the world’s religions: It seeks to understand the ways religious beliefs and women’s roles in society are interrelated and affect one another. It examines women’s roles, experiences, and contributions in religions, as well as the ways women are depicted in scriptures, myths, and theologies. Theories of the factors supporting women’s subordination, as well as the factors promoting women’s equality in religions are examined.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U285 Heretics and Heresy 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity; Premodern

This course examines “heresy” both as a broad concept and as a phenomenon occurring throughout the history of the Christian Church from its inception to the time of the Reformation. Focus will be on major “heretics” whose beliefs and practices were deemed outside the acceptable parameters of Christian orthodoxy.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U299 Apocalyptic Literature 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern

This course studies Apocalyptic literature within the biblical context and its subsequent use by Western European culture. This course discerns the original historical, social, and religious context of the literature, and then traces its use and misuse through the Middle Ages up to our own modern American setting.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS U336 Parables of Jesus 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course studies the cultural and literary contexts of the parables of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and in the Gospel of Thomas. From within the Roman world of imperial politics and the honor-shame culture of the Mediterranean world, students examine how the parables might have been heard by ancient Christian audiences, and how they challenge modern Christians.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U339 Experiences of Grace 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course starts with a reflection on the methodology and the politics of a theology of grace: How can we experience and talk about God's grace and how does this change our world? By tracing how the concept of grace has been defined and refined in the historical controversies on grace and works, grace and sin, and grace and nature, this course traces the language of grace as a critical tool for negotiating what it means to be/become human.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U343 Women in Christianity 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity; Premodern

This course examines in historical terms the tension between the significant religious opportunities available to women in the Christian tradition, and the subordination of women in Christian institutions. This examination begins with women in the scriptures, traces women’s roles in European Christianity through the Reformation, and then focuses on Christian women in America to gain understanding of women’s roles in contemporary American society and in American Christian churches.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U348 Christian Origins 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course focuses on the development of Christianity during its first four centuries. Differing theological views as well as social and political tensions that eventually gave rise to the “Great Church” and its authoritative structure are investigated.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U358 Ignatius Loyola 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

Covers the life of Ignatius Loyola and his spirituality as expressed in his “Spiritual Exercises” and other texts. Provides an intensive introduction to Ignatian primary sources from the 16th century and traces their subsequent influence and contemporary relevance. Examines concrete events, interactions, and relationships of the founder of the Society of Jesus to reach an understanding of his teachings, as well as learn how they may apply to other’s lives and relationships with God.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course replaces RELS V358

RELS U359 Jesus and the New Testament 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern
RAC: Catholic Traditions

The post-resurrection Christian community reacted to the Jesus event in many and varying ways. This course explores the early Christian response to Jesus in all its unity and diversity as recorded in the writings that became known as the New Testament. Equal emphasis is given to biography and theology, and includes a study of not only the Gospels and Acts, but also the Pauline and Catholic Epistles, and Revelation, as they address the issue of Christology.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS U375 The Bible and Creation 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern

This course seeks to understand the biblical view of creation and to consider the implications for contemporary environmental issues, the relationship of the Bible to modern understandings of the universe, the debate over Scientific Creationism, and Christian theology which is sensitive to modern scientific theory. Creation accounts in the ancient Near East and narratives in Genesis 1-2 and Proverbs 8 are given close attention in terms of world origins, the divine-human relationship, the nature of the created order, and the male-female relationship.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies Premodern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS U377 Buddhism Across Asia 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Premodern

This course explores the many-faceted world of Buddhism, particularly in its historical contexts from the 5th century BCE to rise of the Mahāyāna movement. Primary sources cover teachings on cosmology, ritual and monastic life, ideas on nirvāna and how one pursues it. Two segments of the course focus on older traditions (India, China, Japan) while a third explores contemporary Asian developments in Tibet and Vietnam through literature and political developments.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U386 Medieval Synthesis 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course is a survey of Christian life and thought in the Middle Ages, approached with a view to grasping what might be called “the medieval worldview.” It emphasizes the intellectual foundations of this worldview in thinkers like Augustine, and traces their influence on subsequent thinkers such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Aquinas. It attempts to show how religious, political, economic, social, and emotional facets of life were integrated into a relatively comprehensive, cohesive, and synthetic approach to life.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U388 Sin: History of an Idea 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Premodern

This course links central human questions of personal, social, and moral responsibility, with questions about the relationship of humans with God. Sin is studied in historical and biblical contexts. Moral and psychological perspectives are used in reappraisal of this key category of Judeo-Christian tradition.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS U396 Law: Ancient World 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Premodern

This course examines the place of law in ancient society, emphasizing Semitic codes of the ancient Near East (Bible and Greco-Roman laws) and its relationship to morality. It shows how a meeting of Semitic-Judaic and Greco-Roman in the first Christian centuries produced natural law and canon law of later times. Relevant social issues are examined.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V228 Islamic Law 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Foundational Ethics

This course provides students with an overview of Islamic legal systems and their underlying ethical framework through a comparison of theories and examples of implementation. Students are furnished with a foundational understanding of Islamic law and Muslim ethics, as well as the ability to contextualize the contemporary legal discourse of Islam.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V232 World Religions and Music 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies          

RAC: Diversity                                                                                                                       

This course studies the important role of chant and music in the major world religions, using textual readings and audio/visual experiences to explore Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese religions, as well as the music of many normally under-represented or minority religious traditions such as Shinto, Sikhism, Islamic Sufism, Jewish sects, and little-known branches of Hinduism and Buddhism. It also focuses on issues of sound and music as aspects of ritual and liturgical action in religion. While abilities in playing music or reading musical notation will enhance the class experience, these are not requirements for the course. 

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V236 Political Theologies 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies

Theology can be understood as discourse about God. The political can be understood as the use of structural power to organize a society or community of people. Political theology, then, is the intellectual and practical struggle to relate these two discourses to each other.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V238 Christianity and Liberation 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions; Diversity

This course is a study of the historical development of the theology of liberation in Latin America and -- following the Ignatian paradigm of experience-reflection-action-- explores the relevance of its themes to the current situation in the region and in Latino communities in the US.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V242 Christian Ethics 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Ethics 
RAC: Catholic Traditions

This class is an introduction to the broader Christian conversation on ethical issues with a view towards creating intelligent participants: Students gain a coherent set of concepts to both identify and think through the ethical decisions they face every day -- not what to think, but rather how to think through these scenarios.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies a Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS V251 Protestant Christianity 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity; Premodern

This course describes and analyzes the characteristic ethos of Protestantism. It traces the historical development of this form of Christianity, from the Reformation of the 16th century until today, focusing on the central personalities involved, their beliefs, their values, their self-understandings, and the movements they gave rise to. Special attention is given to those elements which have had a formative influence on American Christianity.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V252 Catholicism 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies 
RAC: Catholic Traditions

What does it mean to be Catholic?  Contrary to our expectations, the Roman Catholic tradition does not ofer one single, unproblematic answer to this seemingly simple question; rather, Catholicism can be described in terms of ongoing negotiations in which it struggles with this question.  This course explores the "hotspots" of these negotiations, both historical and contemporary.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V267 Native American Religions 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies           
RAC:  Diversity

This course explores the history and continuing development of traditional Native American Religions in North America. Students learn about common Native American values and representative religious changes in indigenous religions induced by contact with Christianity and colonialism. Case studies of selected Native American cultures serve to assist students in understanding continuing worldviews and specific practices of several Native American cultures.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V270 Jesus Christ 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies II
RAC: Catholic Traditions 

This course examines the life and influence of Jesus of Nazareth.  Study of his theological significance equips students for work in "Christology": learning methods for understanding Jesus and what he taught. Historical, theological, and spiritual perspectives are all employed, both to note the results of each method, as well as to see the benefits and limits of these difficerent perspectives.  The historical depth of the course empowers students to undertake and suggest Christological possibilities for the 21st century.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013. 

RELS V283 Religious Response to Disasters 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity

This course examines religious responses to disasters in the context of diverse faiths, with special attention paid to the 2005 Katrina and Rita disaster in New Orleans. A comparative religions approach is combined with a service learning assignment. Students learn that religious worldviews influence the ways that individuals and congregations respond to disasters, and they are encouraged to evaluate which religious responses to disasters are most conducive to personal and community resilience, and hope.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V287 Feminism and Theology 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies 

Is our culture's dominant view of "God" complicit in creating and maintaining a sexist society? What might a feminist view of God look like? Do differences in social context (such as race, ethnicity, economic background, etc.) have an influence on how people conceptualize and relate to a "pro-woman" God? This class considers these and other questions as students gain knowledge about the reasons for, beginnings of, and developments in feminist theology.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V298 Psychology and Religion 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies

This course is a study of major modern psychological interpretations of religion. The writings of significant authors are presented and evaluated including but not limited to Freud, James, and Jung.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS V325 Public Policy: Ethical Perspectives 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Ethics

This course examines issues of public policy, ethics, and religion as they play out in the U.S. constitutional system. Readings are drawn partially from selected case studies, with both a domestic and an international focus. The subject is approached through an analysis of political, economic, and religious conceptions of social order. The class explores economic globalization, environmental issues, bioethics policies, the moral obligations of public officials, and the relationship between domestic and foreign policy.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T125 or RELS H295

RELS V330 Faith, Science, and Religion 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Catholic Traditions 

This course critically analyzes various ways of knowing: faith, science, and theology (the critical analysis of faith.) The methods of the physical sciences and the life sciences are discussed. Topics include the epic of creation, evolution, quantum theory, environmental issues, and medical ethics. This course is cross-listed with PHYS Z230.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V344 Social Policy and the Christian 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Foundational Ethics
RAC: Catholic Traditions

This course explores current social and moral problems such as terrorism, economic recession, peace and war, and environmental disasters. Drawing on principles of Catholic social ethics, the class examines these events from the diverse assessments that reflect the moral disposition of individuals and nations. An historical perspective is included to enable understanding of the development of social and moral stands of country and church.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V364 Contemporary Theologies 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies
RAC: Diversity

This course offers a survey of 20th and 21st century theological approaches starting with an introduction into theological methodology and then critically discussing liberation theology, feminist, queer, and liberal and post-liberal theology, as well as other approaches. The goal of the course is an understanding of how theology works: It does not deal with a stable, unchangeable set of “doctrine,” but offers creative responses to the complexities of our world.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295

RELS V368 Mystery of Suffering 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies 

Suffering is a common experience of all peoples. For this reason, all religions give it a place of central importance. In one sense, suffering is a cause of religion. What any religion has to say about suffering reveals its anthropology and its point of view about the purpose of existence.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.

RELS V381 Philosophical Reason and Catholic Faith 3 crs

Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies 

This course considers the relation between reason and faith, and philosophy and theology, with special attention to Catholic faith. It focuses upon contrasting views of these relations in such authors as Augustine, Aquinas, Lonergan, Rahner, Kierkegaard, Peperzak, Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, John Caputo, John Haldane, and John Paul II.

Prerequisite: RELS T122 or RELS T124 or RELS H295
This course satisfies an Advanced Common Curriculum: Religious Studies requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.