Approaches to the Study of Religion
- One course from the following list:
- One Religious Studies elective
- Two Allied Fields courses, approved by advisor or Chair.
- Seven courses required, five of which must be at the 300 level; choose at least three in one primary area and at least two more in one or more areas different from the primary area.
Area Studies Courses
Africa and the Diaspora
Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours.
THEORIES OF CULTURE AND RELIGION
An investigation of the cultural study of religion. Considers classical, modern and postmodern approaches from a variety of traditions and academic disciplines. Uses a variety of materials such as oral and written texts and visual artifacts, as well as the works of major theorists.
THEORIES OF RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
An interdisciplinary investigation into the nature of religious experience drawing on the fields of anthropology, psychology, sociology, and theology.
PSYCHOLOGY AND RELIGION
Psychological factors operative in acquisition, formation and development of religious expression and commitment.
RELIGION AND ETHICS I
Analytic and normative approaches to ethics in Western philosophical and Christian traditions.
LITERATURE AND THE SACRED
Variable topics. How human beings across cultures express their intimations of ultimate meaning in a variety of genres ranging from aphorisms and autobiographies to mythic and fictional narratives.
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES
Variable topics. Explores the interplay of religion, politics and culture in the United States, focusing on citizenship and religious identity in the USA's multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious society. Various sections will focus on different particular religious communities and themes, such as the Religious Right and the Religious Left, the political activities of particular communities, and the challenges of interreligious dialogue.
RELIGION AND THE ARTS
Variable topics. How human beings across cultures express their comprehension and experience of ultimate meaning in a variety of artistic forms.
RELIGION AND POLITICAL CONFLICT
An examination of the role of religions and religious movements in political conflicts. Particular sections will examine the relationship of religions to violence and peacemaking in different areas of the world.
RELIGION AND GLOBALIZATION
An examination of the moral, religious, and social dimensions of the phenomenon of globalization. Through a critical assessment of both the positive and the negative dimensions of globalization, students will seek to understand more fully the ethical implications of globalization for economics, culture, and society.
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
An exploration of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as they develop and interact in the Middle East, historically and in terms of contemporary religious and political issues. Includes a study of personal narratives of people from Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. Cross-listed as REL 263.
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
An exploration of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as they develop and interact in the Middle East, historically and in terms of contemporary religious and political issues. Includes a study of personal narratives of people from Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities.
TOPICS IN RELIGION AND CULTURE
Examines particular issues in the relationship between religion and culture. Specific topics for current offering are noted in the current class schedule.
THE AFRICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
A survey of the varieties of African religious practice and thought.
COLONIZATION, RELIGION AND RESISTANCE
This course will explore the religious traditions and cultural identities of some of the peoples native to the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania; problems they have with the "civilized" world and their potential solutions to them.
ISLAM IN THE UNITED STATES
An examination of the story of Islam in the United States in three historical periods: antebellum America, the first half of the 20th century, and the latter half of the 20th century. Explores Muslim slave life; the possibilities of retentions of Islam in slave culture; the religious, social/economic, and political life of Muslims at the beginning of the 20th century; the emergence of Islamic thought in the U.S. through an overview of the works of Ismail as-Faruqi, Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Fazlur Rahman. Cross-listed with IWS 266.
MUSLIM WOMEN IN TEXTS
Explores major current approaches to the study of Muslim women, focusing on the Qur'anic conversation on women, on the commentaries provided by men, and on the emerging voices of Muslim women and non-Muslims. Cross-listed with IWS 272.
TOPICS IN RELIGIOUS ETHICS
Examines methods and content of religious ethics. Specific topics for current offering are noted in the current schedule.
INQUIRIES IN WORLD RELIGIONS
Various topics within the comparative study of religions. Specific topics for current offering are noted in the current schedule.
Focuses upon the ideas and practices of a radical movement for the transformation of Christianity and for social justice that originated in the "Basic Christian Communities" of Latin America and spread from there to North America and the Third World. Entails either an Applied Research or Service Learning component.
FOREIGN STUDY IN RELIGION
Under this number, students taking courses in religion or theology as part of a DePaul-sponsored program of study abroad may receive Religious Studies credit when approved in advance by the director of the Foreign Studies Program and the chair of the Religious Studies Department.
THE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
Major religious movements in America with emphasis upon the development of religious pluralism. Impact of religious beliefs and values upon American culture.
THE LATINO RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES
An examination of the diverse nature of Latino religion, from its indigenous roots to its institutional forms, within the social and political context of American culture.
THE AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
An examination of the religious experience of African Americans and its African precursors through historical and literary resources, reflecting this people's distinctive past and its interactions with other elements of American culture. Formerly REL 215.
INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA
An introductory exploration of the close ties particular religious traditions of Native North America have with their own distinctive historical realities, geographic-celestial topographies, and political and social structures. Considers variety of oral, written, ritual, visual and archaeological texts.
POPULAR AND INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS OF MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
An exploration of old and new religious traditions of Mexico and Central America and its diaspora. Our studies will focus on myths and stories as ancient as pre-Conquest times and as recent as today's movies; and we will examine them in written, oral, visual, ritualized, theatrical, musical and even electronic forms.
RELIGION AND POPULAR CULTURE
An exploration of various forms of popular culture and their intersection with diverse religious traditions and ethical concerns. The course also examines the marketing in mass media of religious themes in popular culture.
An examination of central features of the modern Jewish experience including the transition from traditional to modern religious life and practice, American Judaism, the Holocaust, and the establishment of the State of Israel.
LOOKING FOR GOD IN LATIN AMERICA
An examination of religious traditions such as Catholicism, indigenous religions, and Protestantism in Latin America, with special focus on how these traditions have been transplanted and reshaped upon entry into varied Latino communities in the United States. Historical analyses of the Latin American roots of these traditions will provide contextualization for the ongoing examination of transnational religious cultures in the U.S.
A study of the thought and practice of Zen Buddhism, focusing on the role of Zen in shaping ideas, ethics and the arts in Japan and America.
SACRIFICE AND TIME IN ANCIENT MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
An exploration of the history of Mesoamerica before Columbus and the conquistadores, from the perspectives of the indigenous peoples, their conquerors, and contemporary scholars, with special emphasis upon the religious and cultural dimensions of Mesoamerican civilization.
RELIGION IN THE CONTEMPORARY UNITED STATES
An advanced examination of traditional communities and contemporary movements in the United States.
THE CULTURE OF AMERICAN CATHOLICS
How has the unique experience of immigration shaped the American Catholic Church from the colonial period to the 21st century? How did the idea of "the Church" as an authoritative hierarchy come about in the mid-20th century, and how has that notion been challenged by immigrant communities, as well as artists and intellectuals? Drawing on the disciplines of history, sociology, anthopology, cultural theory, literature and the arts, this course looks at those who built the church and those who challenged and changed it. (Course is cross-listed as REL 384, CTH 384 and MLS 464.)
ISLAMIC LAW (SHARIAH) AND AMERICAN CULTURE
An intensive study of the many dimensions of religious liberties in a pluralist society. Explores the language of constitutional and political discourse generally, and the ways in which language affects an understanding of the First Amendment. Includes case studies on particular religious communities and their encounters with American law.
A survey of the varieties of Hindu practice and thought. Hinduism in India and throughout the world will be examined.
A survey of the varieties of Buddhist practice and thought. Different forms of Buddhism throughout the world will be examined.
RELIGION IN CHINESE HISTORY, SOCIETY AND CULTURE
An exploration of the Chinese religious landscape, focusing on social and practical dimensions of Chinese religion, such as state rituals and private cults, liturgies and individual practices of Taoist priests and adepts, politico-religious ideas that inspired popular messianic movements throughout Chinese history, and interrelations of Buddhist and Taoist clergies and institutions in the state.
HINDU THOUGHT AND CULTURE
Hinduism is one of the world's oldest religions, but it is also the world's most diverse religion. Despite its variety, certain themes have remained throughout the ages--karma and ethical responsibility, liberation from the bonds of worldly existence through yoga and devotion, communication with the divine through ritual, and the many forms, male and female, that God can take. This course traces the development of Hinduism from 5000 years ago to the present, with emphasis on change and continuity in those themes.
BUDDHIST THOUGHT IN CULTURAL CONTEXT
A study of Buddhism from its beginnings as a "non-orthodox" renunciant and monastic movement in ancient India, through its development into a myriad of religious expressions and practices, philosophical tendencies, and social forms over its twenty-five hundred year history.
RELIGION IN JAPANESE HISTORY, SOCIETY, AND CULTURE
Explores the specific interplay between religion and culture in Japan. Taking historical and cultural factors into account, it considers prehistoric Japanese religion, ancient imperial myths, the assimilation of Buddhism, Confucianism, and continental (Chinese/Korean) culture, the religious and aesthetic worlds of the court nobility and the warrior class, popular mountain cults, the revival and systematization of Shinto, the impact of western culture, Japanese ultranationalism, and the religious situation in the post-war period.
TRADITIONS OF CHINESE POPULAR CULTURE
Promotes an understanding of Chinese worldview and life in the perspective of the common Chinese people from ancient to modern times. Based on historical and modern texts in translation, some historical and ethnographic studies, as well as visual and aural materials, the course explores gender and generational relations and conflicts, ancestor veneration, the worlds of ghosts and gods, festivals, art, and entertainment, but also aspects of misery and social unrest. Although the course will draw largely on popular and entertaining sources, it will also pay attention to historical developments, the relationship between popular and elite traditions, as well as sociological and anthropological issues arising from these contexts.
LITERATURE AND RELIGION IN JAPAN
Focuses on the pervasive influence of religious thought and sentiment on Japanese literature from ancient to modern times and explores the intricate relationship between religion, aesthetics, and the arts in Japanese culture. Considers original works including ancient Japanese mythology and poetry, the memoirs of court ladies and Buddhist hermits, romance, epics, folktales and social satire, with attention to their historical, social, religious and social dimensions, as well as to the individual experience expressed in them.
LITERATURE AND RELIGION IN CHINA
Focuses on the interpretation of literature and religion in China. Considers original works of literature and explores the religious origins of Chinese script and writing itself, poetry and mystical philosophy, cosmology and revealed scripture, popular tales, ballads, plays and novels, and the reworking of contemporary Chinese American authors of their literary and religious heritage, with attention to their historical, social, religious and social dimensions, as well as to the individual experience expressed in them.
TAOISM: CHINA'S INDIGENOUS HIGH RELIGION
A study of Taoist thought, imagination and expression, through sacred literature, the organization of clergy, and the nature and function of its institutions in interaction with the authority of the Chinese state, with Buddhism, and with the broader scheme of popular Chinese culture and religion.
MORAL PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS IN CHINA
An exploration of Chinese ethics the philosophical, religious and socio-political traditions which shaped them and were formed by them. Considers the major philosophical schools of China's classical age--Confucianism, Monism, Taoism, and Legalism--with Han dynasty cosmology, the ethical orientations of the Taoist and Buddhist religions, neo-Confucianism, and also the traumatic encounter with western power and thought. Addresses comparative issues concerning traditional Chinese values in relation to western views, particularly in terms of modern relations between China (and East Asia) and the west.
YOGA AND TANTRA
An examination of the history, philosophy and cultural meaning of body-oriented liberative techniques as they developed on the Indian subcontinent and Himalayan region in Hinduism and Buddhism. Students registering for this course are expected to have studied one or both of these traditions in courses such as REL 142, 143, 242, or 243, or in other courses. Background in theory is also useful.
TOPICS IN RELIGIOUS TEXTS
Examines methods and meanings in the study of religious texts. Specific topics for current offering are noted in the current class schedule.
THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE
An introductory course surveying the range of traditions that have emerged within the Christian movement, and offering an historical perspective on the life and thought of Christian communities, and their prospects for the future.
CHRISTIAN THOUGHT IN CLASSICAL AND MEDIEVAL TIMES
A study of the development of Christian theologies in Western civilization from post-New Testament times to the Renaissance, with emphasis on St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
TRANSFORMATION IN CHRISTIANITY: THE REFORMATION TO THE PRESENT
A study of the development of Christianity since 1500 C.E., exploring the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, the growth of Christianity in the United States, and its encounter with a variety of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment themes and figures, especially concerning science, justice, relativity and religious pluralism.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
An introduction to the historical-critical investigation of the New Testament. Topics include the earliest Christian writings (letters of Paul), the production of "gospels" about Jesus, and the development of early churches in the context of ancient history and society.
VARIETIES OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY
An examination of multicultural diversity in early Christianity through a study of materials excluded from the New Testament canon; Christian apologists defending the church against pagan intellectuals and Roman imperial magistrates; comparisons of early Christian fiction and ancient Greek novels; and an examination of Gnostic writings.
PAUL AND HIS INFLUENCE IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY
A critical study of Paul's literary remains as primary sources for reconstructing the development of the Christian movement, focusing on Paul's communities, ethics and theology. Early interpretations and assessments of Paul will also be considered.
THE HISTORICAL JESUS
An investigation of the early Christian Gospels and other sources for reconstructing the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The relation of historical reconstruction and religious interpretation, and the significance of conflicting interpretations of Jesus, will also be considered.
WOMEN IN THE BIBLE
An examination of the historical role of women in the Bible and the contemporary concerns of feminist theology, women's spirituality and ethical issues arising from the contemporary application of these biblical texts to women's experiences.
JESUS ACROSS CULTURES
A study of the multiple and diverse (primarily theological, but also literary, artistic and philosophical) historical and contemporary images of Jesus, as a way of understanding the diversity of this tradition and of its impacts on society, and of understanding the issue of plurality or diversity itself in religious traditions.
ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL THINKING
A study of the Roman Catholic tradition of "faith seeking understanding'' examining the content and the process of emergence of Catholic beliefs about such matters as God, sin, Jesus Christ, revelation, the church and eschatology. Cross-listed with CTH 243.
ROMAN CATHOLIC LITURGY
A study of the emergence, meaning and dynamics of ritual in the Roman Catholic tradition. Cross-listed with CTH 231.
ROMAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL LITERATURE
A study of the foundational religious experiences that underlie the Roman Catholic tradition, of the narratives they generate, and of their representations in various media such as poetry, music, myths, sacred legends and apologetic stories.
ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT IN CONTEXT
A study of Roman Catholicism's understanding of its relation to the social world, including such matters as the relation between Church and State, the moral authority of the Church, and of its teaching on such issues as social ethics, politics and economics.
CATHOLICISM AS A SPIRITUAL PATH
An experience-centered study of the relationship between contemplation and action, prayer and service, liturgy and social justice, personal religious experience and the wider experience of Catholics. Both historical and contemporary spiritualities will be explored. (Cross-listed as Catholic Studies 229)
ROMAN CATHOLICISM'S ENCOUNTER WITH OTHER RELIGIONS
A study of how Roman Catholicism understands and responds to other religious traditions, other ways of being religious, and how the encounter with those other traditions affects Roman Catholicism's understanding of itself and its teachings.
PILGRIMAGE, RELIGION AND POPULAR CULTURE
How has the role of pilgrimage evolved from antiquity to the present age, and how can the phenomenon of pilgrimage provide a modern window into how a people define what is spiritually significant? Might the phenomenon of pilgrimage, as it is found in nearly every religious tradition, provide a common language and thus a means for building bridges across boundaries of religious difference? This course examines pilgrimage as a religious, cultural, historical and ethical phenomenon. Using methodologies developed in the study of religion, ethics, anthropology and popular culture, this course will introduce students to pilgrimage as it is practiced in expressions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The aim of this course is to explore some of the competing typologies and events associated with the formal study of religious ritual and then apply these learnings to modern cultural phenomena, work that will prepare students for the project of constructing their own pilgrimages.
WOMEN AND RELIGION
A study of the historical and contemporary roles and contributions of women within major religious traditions, especially Christianity and Judaism.
INTERNSHIP IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Open only to students working on Religious Studies major or minor concentrations. For more information contact the department chair. .
THE ISLAMIC EXPERIENCE
An introduction to major recurrent religious themes and alternative models of religious interpretation and authority in Islam's manifold expressions, from the life of Muhammad and the Qur'an, to popular ritual and spirituality and the Islamic humanities.
ISLAM IN GLOBAL CONTEXTS
A study of Islam's developments in various global contexts, including Arabian beginnings, the Middle East, Central, Eastern and Western Europe, China, the former Soviet States and South Africa, with a focus on the impacts that these cultures and Islam have had on each other. Cross-listed as REL 217.
REFORM MOVEMENTS WITHIN ISLAM
This course will deal with the idea of "reform" within Islamic political movements in the modern period. The course will analyze various Islamic reform movements such as the Wahahabis, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Modernists, the Traditionalists, seeking a pattern in these movements. Cross-listed with IWS 265.
THE QUR'AN AND ITS INTERPRETERS
A study of the origin, transmission, and interpretation of the Qur'an. Cross-listed with IWS 271.
SECTARIAN MOVEMENTS WITHIN ISLAM
This course will look at the various sects within Islam such as Shi'ism, Kharjism, etc. The course will also look at theological sects such as the Mu'taziliets. The course will be concerned with the history, the beliefs, and the present circumstances (if they still exist today) of these sects. Cross-listed with IWS 295.
TEXTS, HISTORY, AND ISLAM
An advanced analysis of selected Islamic texts.
RELIGION AND ETHICS II
Analytic and normative approaches to ethics in a non-Christian tradition, such as Judaism, Islam or African traditional religions.
THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE
An introductory course offering a basic understanding of Judaism as the historic and evolving religious expression of the Jewish people, surveying the basic aspects of traditional Jewish life and thought as well as the people's many-sided experience of the modern world.
ANCIENT ISRAEL: HISTORY, LITERATURE, AND RELIGION
The development of Judaism from Moses to the Rabbinic era with special attention to social and historical questions. Cross-listed as CTH 212.
JUDAISM IN ANTIQUITY
This course traces the history of Israelite and Jewish culture and religion from their origins in the world of the Ancient Near East in the second millennium BCE until the rise of Islam in the seventh century CE. We will critically examine the meaning and mutual relationship of such categories as "ancient Israelite" religion, "biblical" religion, and "early Judaism." We will also discuss the history of religious institutions, texts, and practices, as well as the dynamics of continuity and change in ancient Israelite and Jewish society. This course will pay special attention to the complex relationship that exists between history and collective memory as constructed through texts and rituals.
COMMUNITY AND AUTHORITY IN MEDIEVAL JUDAISM
An introduction to the history, religion and culture of the Jewish people under Christendom and Islam from the fourth through the end of the fifteenth centuries.
CLASSICAL TEXTS IN JUDAISM
An advanced analysis of selected Jewish texts.