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Philosophy & religious studies curriculum

Discussion-Based Classes
In its beginnings, at the time of Plato, Western philosophy was taught through dialogue. Our students join in that tradition, learning in small classes taught by active scholars. These classes emphasize writing and speaking. We have also established regular discussion groups, which meet at faculty members’ homes, to take philosophy out of the classroom and into students’ lives. Every major completes a capstone project guided by a faculty member.

A Tradition of Religious Inquiry
We believe college is an ideal place to examine what you believe and why. Our tradition of religious thought goes back to our roots in the German Reformed Church. Today our students examine the foundations of religion, including Christianity and Judaism. Courses also explore Asian religions, the philosophy of religion, religion in American culture and the relationship between science and religion.

Great Thinkers, Great Ideas
Ursinus gets students thinking by introducing them not only to thematic courses based on big ideas (How do we know reality? What is the nature of evil?), but also to the best philosophical thinkers, from ancient to modern times. We also take you beyond Western perspectives through courses in Chinese philosophy and world religions.

An Art of Living
Say the word philosopher and most people think of someone whose head is in the clouds, but many of the great thinkers, from Confucius and Socrates to Sartre, have had a profound impact on the life of their times. Our time cries out for individuals who can help society think and speak clearly about what matters most. In fact, technology is forcing policymakers to ask philosophical questions such as What is a person? The quality of their answers can influence all our lives. Plato’s philosopher-king may be a myth, but the world can’t do without the philosopher-citizen and the philosopher-professional.

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Professors Goetz, Romano, Stern; Associate Professors Florka, Rein (Chair), Sorensen; Assistant Professors Rice, Townsend.

The department of philosophy and religious studies comprises two independent programs of study, offering a major and minor in philosophy and a major and a minor in religious studies.

Philosophy

Socrates claimed that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” and Aristotle said that philosophy begins in wonder. In fact, philosophical reflection is unavoidable. Fundamental questions and puzzles about the ultimate nature of the world and the mind’s place in it, the possibility of free will, the constituents of consciousness and intentional action, the foundations of moral judgment, and the character of justice animate our deepest thinking and structure our approach to life.

The American philosopher William James said that philosophy is “nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly.” That accurately describes our courses. Applying distinctively philosophical methods in studying both historical figures like Aristotle and Descartes and the best contemporary work, students learn to think rigorously, critically and creatively and to express their ideas effectively.

Requirements for Majors

A major in philosophy requires PHIL/MATH-260; and either PHIL/POL-237 or PHIL-240 or PHIL-340; and six other four-credit courses (with at most one from the 100-level); and one of the following: PHIL-404W, 437W (Senior Seminars). Students pursuing honors in Philosophy should also register for PHIL-491W and PHIL-492W in succession.

Requirements for Minors

A minor concentration in philosophy requires PHIL/MATH-260; and either PHIL/POL-237 or PHIL-240 or PHIL-340; and any three four-credit courses (with at most one from the 100-level).

Note: With the permission of the Department Chair, a student may take HIST-341 to fulfill requirements for a major or minor in philosophy.

Courses

PHIL-100. Introduction to Philosophy Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz

An introductory examination of many of the central issues in philosophy. Among the topics that may be discussed are: free will and determinism, skepticism about knowledge, the existence of God, the nature of the mind and its relation to the body, the ground of moral judgment, and the relation of language and thought to each other and to the world. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-106. The Meaning of Life Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz

A philosophical examination of whether life has a purpose or is absurd and meaningless. Particular attention is given to what it means for something to have a purpose, what are possible sources of a purpose, and the issues of the afterlife and God. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-107. Philosophy of Love and Sex Dr. Florka, Prof. Romano, Prof. Rice

Philosophers, writers and intellectuals have pondered love and sex from the ancient Greeks to the present, yet both key aspects of life are often seen as resistant to serious analysis or rational control. Looking at material from the philosophical, scientific and literary traditions, we'll test that view. Subjects to be discussed will range from the fundamental criteria of both love and sex to such related topics as the nature of desire, the idea of the natural and unnatural, and how love and sex should connect to matters of procreation. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-140. Applied Ethics Prof. Rice

An examination of the virtues of compassion, gratitude, and love, and the application of ethics to concerns of social justice such as just war, animal rights, and capital punishment. The course includes a preparatory overview of major ethical theories. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-160. Critical Thinking Dr. Florka

This course will train students in the systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs according to standards of good reasoning. Unlike symbolic logic, which is highly abstract and formal, critical thinking is applied to claims, reasons and arguments expressed in natural language as they are found in editorials, Supreme Court decisions, blog posts, talk radio, day-to-day decision making and most academic papers. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL/RELS-220. Philosophy of Religion. Dr. Goetz, Dr. Rein

A philosophical study of both belief itself as a psychological attitude and what has been believed about God. Particular attention is given to such questions as whether or not belief is a matter of choice and whether or not one must have a reason to believe in God. Questions about the natures of God and man, evil and immortality are also addressed. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-230. Philosophy of Race. Dr. Florka, Rev. Charles Rice, Dr. Christian Rice

This course will study the philosophical assumptions behind various concepts of race, the social realities underlying those concepts, and the ethics and politics of racial identity. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL/POL-237. Political Philosophy Dr. Marks, Dr. Stern

This course examines the nature of justice through a careful reading of major works in the history of political philosophy. Specifically, we will consider selected political writings of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Marx. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

Note: Every year, one section of this class will be offered as POL-237W. Students in this section will be required to do extensive writing and revision of papers. Enrollment is limited to freshman or sophomore Politics majors, or by permission of instructor. Majors are encouraged to enroll in POL-237W if they intend to take the senior seminar in Political Philosophy, POL-437W.

PHIL-240. Ethics Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz, Prof. Rice, Dr. Sorensen

A study of the theories of ethical relativism, psychological and ethical egoism, altruism, utilitarianism, Kantian deontology, and virtue theory, and of various views on the human good, virtue, the role of motive and consequences in determining right and wrong conduct, and the like. (Formerly PHIL-204.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, G.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former PHIL-204 may not enroll in PHIL-240.

PHIL-246. Biomedical Ethics Dr. Sorensen

An introduction to and examination of some major issues in bioethics, including abortion, euthanasia, surrogate motherhood, informed consent, doctor/patient confidentiality, medical futility, the distribution of health care resources, genetic engineering, prenatal testing, stem cell research, and medical experimentation. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, D.)

PHIL-247. Business Ethics Faculty

An examination of some major issues in business ethics, including duties to consumers and investors, duties between employers and employees, the ethics of advertising and marketing, accounting and finance ethics, hiring and firing, justice and the market system, the problem of public goods, social responsibility and stakeholders, whistleblowing, conflicts of interest, and the environment. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H)

PHIL/ENV-248. Environmental Ethics Dr. Sorensen

The central issue in environmental ethics concerns what things in nature have moral standing and how conflicts of interest among them are to be resolved. After an introduction to ethical theory, topics to be covered include anthropocentrism, the moral status of non-human sentient beings, preservation of endangered species and the wilderness, holism versus individualism, and the land ethic. (Formerly PHIL315.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-254. Early Modern Philosophy Dr. Florka

An examination of the major works of four or more of the major European philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among the candidates for study are Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and Kant. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL/MATH-260. Logic Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz

An introduction to the concepts and techniques used in symbolic reasoning, primarily through the study of first-order logic, the translation of sentences of ordinary English into a formal language, and the construction of derivations. Topics include: formalization, proofs, mathematical induction, propositional and predicate logic, quantifiers, and sets. (Formerly PHIL-202.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (M.)

Note: Students who have received credit for MATH-236W or the former PHIL-202 may not enroll in PHIL-260.

PHIL-274. Philosophy of Mind Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz

An examination of various arguments for and against different views of what a person or self is. Attention is given both to the claim that a person is a soul or mind which is distinct from its physical body and to the conflicting assertion that a self is identical with its body or brain. (Formerly PHIL-303.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former PHIL-303 may not enroll in PHIL-274.

PHIL-276. Freedom and Determinism Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz

An examination of what human action is, how it is explained, and whether it is free or determined. The examination raises such issues as how explanations in science are related to explanations of human behavior in terms of reasons, whether there is a science of human behavior, and for what, if any, behavior human beings are responsible. (Formerly PHIL-305, Philosophy of Action.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former PHIL-305 may not enroll in PHIL-276.

PHIL-278. Theory of Knowledge Dr. Florka, Dr. Stern

An examination of competing theories of knowledge and epistemic justification (foundationalism, coherentism, and externalism) with special attention to the problems of skepticism and the riddle of induction. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-279. Theory of Perception Dr. Florka

A philosophical examination of perception, including the analysis of the senses and the content of perceptual experience, the role of consciousness and of beliefs and concepts in perception, the arguments for and against sense-data and sensations, and the relation of perception and action. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-301. Reading in Philosophy Faculty

Individual study of one or more selected topics in the philosophical literature. May include preparation of a bibliography for a proposal for subsequent research. Requires consent of a member of the department who will serve as adviser. This course is graded S/U. One semester hour.

PHIL-302. Reading in Philosophy Faculty

Individual study of one or more selected topics in the philosophical literature. May include preparation of a bibliography for a proposal for subsequent research. Requires consent of a member of the department who will serve as adviser. This course is graded S/U. Two semester hours.

PHIL-309. Selected Topics in Philosophy Faculty

The course will concentrate on special issues, movements, and leading figures in philosophy. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL/POL-337. Classical Political Philosophy Dr. Stern

This course examines the classical understanding of politics through a careful reading of selected works of Plato and Aristotle. We will consider such issues as the nature of justice, the meaning of moral and intellectual virtue, and the relation between philosophy and politics. Prerequisite: PHIL/POL-237. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

PHIL-311. Reading in Philosophy Faculty

Group study of an important or classic philosophical book or a selection of articles centered around a philosophical topic. This course is graded S/U. One semester hour.

PHIL/POL-338. Modern Political Philosophy Dr. Stern

This course examines and evaluates the world-revolutionary challenge to classical and medieval political philosophy posed by such writers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau and Hegel. Prerequisite: PHIL/POL-237. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

PHIL/POL-339. Contemporary Political Philosophy Dr. Stern

This course examines selected authors and issues in contemporary political philosophy. We will read the works of such authors as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kojeve, Rawls and Foucault. We will consider such issues as historicism, contemporary liberalism, feminism, and Marxism. Prerequisite: PHIL/POL-237. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

PHIL-340. Metaethics Dr. Sorensen

A close examination of one or more controversial issues and theories in metaethics. Among the possible topics are: the nature of moral theory, the foundations of normative judgment, the “internalism” or “externalism” of practical reasoning, realism vs. anti-realism in ethical theory, the roles of reason and emotion in morality, moral skepticism, virtue theory, utilitarianism, and Aristotelian or Kantian moral views. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-344. Topics in Ethics Dr. Sorensen

An intensive investigation of one or more topics in ethics—such as well-being, autonomy, rights, consequentialism, Kantian ethics, virtue ethics, and other topics. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-351. Topics in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy Dr. Florka, Dr. Stern

An examination of one or more philosophers of the classical and medieval periods (for example, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Ockham), or a study in a single area such as metaphysics, ethics, or the theory of knowledge in several of the philosophers. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-354. Topics in Modern Philosophy Dr. Florka, Dr. Stern, Dr. Sorensen

An examination of one or more philosophers of the period from 1600 to 1900 (for example, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche), or a study in a single area such as metaphysics, ethics, or the theory of knowledge in several of the philosophers. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-356. Descartes Dr. Florka

A close study of the philosophy of René Descartes through reading his major works and some responses to and criticisms of his ideas. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-360. Quantification Theory Dr. Florka

A continuation of PHIL/MATH-260. Includes: further study of the logic of quantifiers and appropriate methods of proof, and working through the proofs of the Completeness and Soundness Theorems for propositional and predicate logic. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-364. Philosophy of Language Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz

An examination of the notions of truth, meaning, reference, and language use, including the distinctions between sense and denotation, synonymy and analyticity, direct and indirect discourse, and natural and non-natural meaning. Prerequisite: PHIL/MATH-260 (Logic) or permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-370. Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology Dr. Florka, Dr. Goetz, Dr. Stern

An intensive investigation of a few topics in metaphysics—such as personal identity, possibility and necessity, universals and particulars, causality—or in epistemology—such as skepticism, a priori knowledge, the problem of induction, knowledge as justified true belief. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-374. Consciousness and Thought Dr. Florka

An exploration of past and present philosophical studies of the nature of conscious awareness and the relation of the mind to the world. May include consideration of problems about perception, intentionality, representation, and rationality. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL-381. Internship Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Contact the chair of the department for further details. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Prerequisite: approval of a faculty internship adviser. Three semester hours. (I.)

PHIL-382. Internship Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Contact the chair of the department for further details. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work. Prerequisite: approval of a faculty internship adviser. Three semester hours. (I.)

PHIL-391. Independent Study in Philosophy Faculty

Independent work on a philosophical topic, under the supervision of a faculty advisor. A substantial written final product is required. Prerequisites: at least three Philosophy courses at the 200 level or above, a written project proposal, and permission of a department faculty member who will serve as advisor. Four semester hours.

PHIL-404W. Senior Seminar in Philosophy Faculty

The aim of this capstone course is to explore in great depth an area of philosophical concern using all the tools students have developed as philosophy majors. There will be several papers and oral presentations. Open only to senior philosophy majors or by departmental permission. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. Four semester hours. (H.)

PHIL/POL-437W. Seminar in Political Philosophy Faculty

This capstone course is an intensive study of a special topic in political philosophy emphasizing original research and substantial oral and written work. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and one 300-level course in political philosophy. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

PHIL-491W. Research/Independent Work Faculty

Open only to students seeking departmental honors or distinguished honors. Four semester hours. (I.)

PHIL-492W. Research/Independent Work Faculty

A continuation of PHIL-491. Prerequisite: PHIL-491. Four semester hours. (I.)

Religious Studies

Religious studies majors develop an informed awareness of the world’s religious traditions through the scholarly and theoretical study of religious ideas, practices, and communities, both contemporary and historical. Courses in religious studies also examine the critical role of religion in the world today. By taking courses in religious studies, the student will gain a critical knowledge of the reality of religious difference and acquire expertise in the skills of interpreting and analyzing religious practices, texts, and artifacts.

Requirements for Majors

A major in Religious Studies requires RELS-111 and RELS-212; either RELS-233, RELS-234, or RELS-236; RELS-404W (Senior Seminar); in addition to five other four-credit courses in Religious Studies. Religious Studies majors will fulfill the College’s capstone and oral presentation requirements by taking RELS-404W. Students pursuing honors in Religious Studies should also register for RELS-491 and RELS-492 in succession.

Requirements for Minors

A minor in religious studies requires RELS-111 (World Religions); and four other four-credit courses in Religious Studies.

Note: With the permission of the Department Chair, a student may take SOC-235, HIST 342, HIST-363 or HIST-364 to fulfill requirements for a major or minor in religious studies.

COURSES

RELS-111. World Religions Dr. Rein, Dr. Townsend, Faculty

An introduction to five major living religions, namely Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. An examination of the leading problems of religious traditions, their history and cultural context, and the approaches of world religions to ultimate questions concerning the meaning of human life. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, G.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former RELS-211 may not enroll in RELS-111.

RELS-161. Jesus in Film Dr. Townsend

Jesus has proved a fascinating subject for movie-makers throughout the history of film. This course will explore films about Jesus across a variety of genres, including films that set the story of Christ in contemporary contexts. The course will explore the cultural and theological questions raised by these varying interpretations of Jesus’ life, while also addressing the methodological issues involved in studying religion and film. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, G.)

RELS-212. What Is Religion? Dr. Rein, Dr. Townsend

An overview of definitions, theories, and interpretations of religion, with the goal of understanding the range of ways people have tried to make sense of the global phenomenon of religious traditions, beliefs, and practices. Theorists whose work we will examine and critique may include Frazer, Tylor, Durkheim, Freud, Marx, Weber, Eliade, Lévi-Strauss, and others. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H)

RELS/PHIL-220. Philosophy of Religion Dr. Goetz, Dr. Rein

A philosophical study of both belief itself as a psychological attitude and what has been believed about God. Particular attention is given to such questions as whether or not belief is a matter of choice and whether or not one must have a reason to believe in God. Questions about the natures of God and man, evil and immortality are also addressed. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-225. African American Religious Experience Prof. Rice

This historical, theological, and contextual study of religion examines the African American religious experience, including: the African Background, slavery in America, the struggle for freedom and identity, the development of the Black Church, the Black Muslims, the Civil Rights movement, and the emergence of Black and Womanist theologies. (Formerly PHIL-225.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, D.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former PHIL-225 may not enroll in RELS-225.

RELS-233. Christianity: An Introduction Dr. Rein, Dr. Townsend

A survey of important thinkers, literature and movements typical of the Christian tradition from the early church period through the 20th century. Careful study of such writers as Clement, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Ockham, Bernard, Luther, Edwards and others is included. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-234. Judaism: An Introduction Faculty

Attention is given to the history, traditions, and literature of the Jewish people from their origins in the second millennium B.C.E. to the present day. Stress is given to specific religious concepts and teachings which are pertinent to modern times. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former RELS-244 may not enroll in RELS-234.

RELS-236. Islam: An Introduction Faculty

An introduction to the religious tradition of Islam. Topics to be covered may include, among others, the origins and spread of Islam; the Qur’an; faith and practices of Muslims; theology and law; Islamic art and culture; Sufi mysticism; Islam and the West; and Islamic modernism. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, G.)

RELS-242. The Hebrew Bible Faculty

An introduction to the literature and thought of the Hebrew scriptures (the Christian Old Testament). Attention is given to the archeological and historical background of the Hebrew scriptures, as well as to the biblical materials themselves. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-245. Introduction to the New Testament Dr. Townsend

This course examines the Christian scriptures, focusing primarily on the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the other books of the New Testament. Attention will also be given to the historical tradition of biblical interpretation. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-301. Reading in Religious Studies Faculty

Individual study of one or more selected topics in the literature of religious studies. May include preparation of a bibliography for a proposal for subsequent research. Requires consent of a member of the department who will serve as adviser. This course is graded S/U. One semester hour.

RELS-302. Reading in Religious Studies Faculty

Individual study of one or more selected topics in the literature of religious studies. May include preparation of a bibliography for a proposal for subsequent research. Requires consent of a member of the department who will serve as adviser. This course is graded S/U. Two semester hours. (G, depending on topic.)

RELS-309. Selected Topics in Religious Studies Faculty

The course will concentrate on special issues, movements, and leading figures in the study of religion. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, G, depending on topic.)

RELS-326. Comparative Religious Ethics Dr. Christian Rice

In this course, we will analyze the complex relationship between religion and ethics. In what ways might a religious ethic differ from a secular ethic? Does religious belief and/or practice augment the ethical life or not? We will also explore carefully the worldviews of Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism in an attempt to understand the context in which ethical reflection is practiced in these traditions. Then, we will examine various social issues from the perspective of these religious traditions. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H)

RELS-327. Religion and Violence Dr. Rein

The turn of the twenty-first century has been accompanied by an alarming global increase in religiously-motivated violence. Historically, religious ideas have been used to justify both war and peace, both violence and reconciliation. This course will examine the relationship between religion and violence in various historical contexts. Topics will include: just war doctrine, crusades and holy wars; sacrificial rituals in traditional cultures; modern revolutionary and terrorist movements; and religious pacifism. (Formerly PHIL-327.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former PHIL-327 may not enroll in RELS-327.

RELS-328: Religious Diversity in Southeastern Pennsylvania Dr. Rein

Religious diversity and difference have become crucial political and social issues in the early years of the twenty-first century. In this course, students will participate in an ongoing effort to understand, investigate, and connect with the religious diversity of our region. Readings will focus on theoretical and practical interpretations of religious diversity, primarily in a modern American context. The course will also involve frequent field trips and site visits to religious institutions and organizations near Ursinus, including but not limited to Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic sites. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, D.)

RELS-361. Religion and Civil Rights Prof. Charles Rice

An examination of the lives and events of the Civil Rights era, focusing on religious leadership, student involvement, and local empowerment. Through religious, historical, and literary readings, we will explore and analyze the personalities and proceedings of the late fifties, sixties, and seventies. Topics may include the Mississippi movement, the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and of Malcolm X, the role of women in the movement, the black power movement, and King’s concept of the “Beloved Community,” among others. The course includes a study tour of historical Civil Rights sites in Mississippi, including meetings and dialogue with community representatives and spokespersons (optional). Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, D)

RELS-362. Sex and Gender in Early Christianity Dr. Townsend

An exploration of Early Christian attitudes towards sex and gender. Topics may include asceticism and celibacy, marriage and childbirth, women’s roles in the church, homosexuality, and the social significance of the body. Primary texts to be considered may include the letters of Paul, the acts of the martyrs, the writings of Augustine and Jerome, and the so-called “Gnostic gospels.” Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-364. Lost GospelsDr. Townsend

The New Testament contains only four gospels, but there were many other ancient texts written about the life of Jesus. In this course, we will explore these “lost gospels,” written centuries ago by early followers of Jesus, yet completely unknown to most modern Christians. Through an examination of these and other texts, we will learn about the life of Jesus, the development of early church teachings, and the process by which religious movements decide which texts to include in their sacred scriptures. Prerequisite: RELS-245 or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-365. The Protestant Reformation Dr. Rein

An examination of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation through the writings of Luther, Calvin, representatives of the Radical and Catholic reforms, and others, with attention to their social, cultural, and political context. Topics include the crisis of medieval culture, Luther’s biography and teachings, the theology of faith and grace, the creation of a Protestant culture, the radical reformers, and international Calvinism. (Formerly PHIL-325.) Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

Note: Students who have received credit for the former PHIL-325 may not enroll in RELS-365.

RELS-366. Religion and Human Rights Dr. Christian Rice

An exploration of the relationship between religion and human rights. Topics may include the connection between human rights and belief in God; religious traditions’ contributions and/or resistance to human rights movements and to individual rights; and the position of secular states towards religious freedom and related rights. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-391. Research/Independent Work Faculty

Independent work on a topic in Religious Studies, under the supervision of a faculty advisor. A substantial written final product is required. Prerequisites: a written project proposal and permission of a department faculty member who will serve as advisor. Four semester hours. (I.)

RELS-404W. Senior Seminar in Religious Studies Faculty

The aim of this capstone course is to explore in depth an area of interest in the field of religious studies, using all the tools students have developed as majors. There will be several papers and oral presentations. Open only to senior religious studies majors or by departmental permission. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

RELS-491. Research/Independent Work Faculty

This course is open only to candidates for departmental honors or distinguished honors. Four semester hours. (I.)

RELS-492. Research/Independent Work Faculty

A continuation of RELS-491. Prerequisite: RELS-491. Four semester hours. (I.)