Courses

This course explores some of the common themes and patterns of religion, such as myth, ritual, symbolism, sacred space, and the quest for salvation. Examples are taken from different religions, especially those of the Western/American tradition. The course highlights Catholicism in general and the Vincentian heritage in particular.

Credit Hours: 3

A survey of the historical and theological development of the Christian religion from its Jewish origins to contemporary American Christianity. There will be an emphasis on the key historical moments and personages who have had a far-reaching impact on the Christian tradition, especially its Roman Catholic dimension. Aspects of the Vincentian heritage will be considered as part of the latter.

Credit Hours: 3

This course introduces students to the category of world religion and surveys several examples, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Confucianism. Attention is given to the founders, communities, scriptures, teachings, and practices of each tradition.

Credit Hours: 3

An introduction to the critical interpretation of the Jewish Bible/Old Testament. The composition and key themes of the individual works of the Bible will be examined in light of ancient Israelite history and religion. The formation of biblical canons in early Judaism and early Christianity will also be considered.

Credit Hours: 3

The course will explore the meaning of human personhood using the theological language of grace, sin, freedom, and conscience, both from traditional and contemporary sources. We will discuss issues of human character as well as current issues in family, church and society, whose solutions have implication for the dignity of persons.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of Jesus as presented in the Gospels, with special emphasis upon Jesus as savior, the resurrection, the role of the cross, and Jesus as revealing the Word of God. Also treated are various theological developments (including the Formula of Chalcedon) and the distinction made between “the Jesus of History” and “the Christ of Faith.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of the scriptural, historical and cultural influences on the development of Christian worship. Beginning with the human experience of worship, the course proceeds to examine the Jewish roots of Christian worship and the various sacraments and rites which Christians celebrate. Special emphasis is given to baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist, and their relevance for the contemporary Christian.

Credit Hours: 3

An introduction to the critical interpretation of the earliest Christian literature within the historical, cultural and social settings of the ancient Mediterranean world in which it was produced. Close reading of primary texts will be emphasized, with a focus on issues of method and the question of unity and diversity in early Christianity.

Credit Hours: 3

A comparative study of two different branches of Christianity. Ranging from historical foundations to contemporary expressions, possible topics include worship, doctrine, scripture, church organization, art and architecture, and church-state relations.

Credit Hours: 3

Conflict and antagonism between religion and science are neither uncommon nor unusual, yet they have a common origin in the quest for truth and meaning in life. Modern scientific knowledge is required to be objective, logical, empirical, and quantitative. Religion deals primarily with meaning; it gains knowledge through faith, contemplation and revelation. This course examines the contemporary relationship between religion and science.

Credit Hours: 3

This course is an introduction to the comparative study of religion.  Using examples from ancient shamanism to contemporary 'cults', it explores various ways to classify religions and make sense of their similarities and differences.

A Christian understanding of the human person as a basis for moral thought and action is applied to contemporary moral issues, with emphasis on human sexuality, health care ethics and issues of adult moral development.

Credit Hours: 3

An introductory survey of Catholic thought examining Christian belief from a mature and developed perspective, and exploring the applications of this synthesis to Christian existence.

Credit Hours: 3

Using examples from different time periods and traditions, this course explores some of the interconnections between religion, language, and music. Possible topics include prayers and mantras, sacred languages and scripts, calligraphy, chant, and classical and contemporary forms of music. No special background in language or music is required.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of the social history and thought of the community of the “Beloved Disciple” through literary, rhetorical, and historical-critical examination of the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine epistles. Special focus will be given to comparison of this form of Christianity to other forms of early Judaism and Christianity.

Credit Hours: 3

An exploration of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, including the Book of Revelation, through detailed study of the texts in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, New Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other ancient literature, as well as its effects on popular culture and contemporary media.

Credit Hours: 3

An in-depth study of the emergence of Judaism and Christianity from the religion of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, their process of achieving independent self-definition and the effect of this independence upon their past, present, and future relations.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of the monotheistic religions, Judaism and Islam. The beliefs, rituals and practices of these religions is examined through history, literature and tradition. Special emphasis on contemporary issues and their relationship to the past.

Credit Hours: 3

An exploration of the central religious tradition of India, as well as the origins of the wisdom of Buddhism. The development within Buddhism of the Theravada and Mahayana (e.g., Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, etc.) “vessels” of thought are studied. The values, rituals, and practices of these religions are examined through art, classic writings and spiritual techniques.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of the prophetic dimension of ancient Israelite society and religion from its origins through the post-exilic period. Special attention will be given to close reading of the primary evidence, with an eye to the political, socioeconomic and religious crises that Israel’s prophets perceived, interpreted, and addressed.

Credit Hours: 3

A critical examination of Jesus of Nazareth as an historical figure. Recurring themes to be considered will include the role of authorial interests in shaping literary representations of Jesus, ancient and modern; the problems this poses for attempts to recover the “historical” Jesus; and the extent to which such a recovery is possible at all.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of the scriptural, historical and cultural influences on the development of ministry in Christianity. This exploration of the origins and evolution of ministry, and the various forms it has taken from the New Testament period to the present, enables a critical reflection on current trends and concerns for both “lay” and “ordained” ministry.

Credit Hours: 3

A literary and historical study of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, including the hypothetical Synoptic Sayings Source “Q.” The literary relationship between these texts will be explored, and the distinctive narrative and theological features of each will be investigated.

Credit Hours: 3

An examination of Paul’s letters through the lenses provided by contemporary biblical criticism. Special attention will be given to the social circumstances in which they were written, their rhetorical aims, the religious and ethical thought they manifest and, finally, Paul’s legacy in subsequent Christianity.

Credit Hours: 3

Christian spirituality, often described as the lived experience of the Christian faith, is systematically analyzed from biblical, historical, theological, and cultural perspectives. Special emphasis is given to Christian spirituality’s contribution to an understanding of God, self, community, and the promotion of justice and peace.

Credit Hours: 3

An introduction to the God question as it has evolved in religious and philosophical thought. Included will be a critical analysis of the search for God as expressed in biblical, medieval, reformational and  contemporary literature. This course will include participation in a 20-hour community service project.

Credit Hours: 3

A survey of issues pertinent to the life and role of women in the church and society, with special focus on equality, development and peace.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of Carl Jung’s theory of personality, an application to spiritual themes, and a consideration of writings within the Christian tradition reflected on from a Jungian perspective.

Credit Hours: 3

This course examines some of the critical and complex issues confronting the Christian church as it interacts in a postmodern, pluralistic world. It will examine the relationship of church, culture  and belief in different international settings. It will explore such issues as the mission of the church in a global world, and how belief and practice of the Christian life is challenged and expressed in different contexts.

Credit Hours: 3

The meaning of human love experience: its expression in human sexuality, the conditions within which this value is experienced, the relationship of human sexuality and marriage, and marriage as the sign of the unity among people with God is discussed in its sacramental, psychological, physiological, moral and social aspects.

Credit Hours: 3

This course will examine the relationship between Christian belief and citizenship, including the exploration of social responsibility in one’s personal ethical code. We will study church teaching on social issues as well as examine a range of contemporary social problems.

Credit Hours: 3

A study of current medical and biological issues from the viewpoint of Christian ethics. An examination of contemporary moral and legal problems such as eugenic engineering, artificial insemination, compulsory sterilization, and abortion. Recommended for premedical and prelaw students.

Credit Hours: 3

This course is a research-based exploration of the religious tradition of Islam, and is intended to go beyond a basic introduction. Special emphasis will be placed on the foundational texts, individuals and concepts of Islam. Islam in the modern world will also be considered with its classical foundations in mind.

Credit Hours: 3

An in-depth study of the history of the Christian Church from its apostolic days to the Middle Ages. The course will examine the development of Christian doctrine, the evolution of Church structures and the relationship of the Church to society and culture during the first 1500 years of its existence.

Credit Hours: 3

An in-depth study of the history of the Christian Church from the Reformation period to modern times. The course will examine the development of Christian doctrine, the evolution of Church structures and the relationship of the Church to society and culture during the last 500 years of its existence.

Credit Hours: 3

This course will address the history and theology of Catholics in the United States as well as the issues which have confronted the church in America. Special emphasis will be placed on contemporary issues in the final unit of the course.

Credit Hours: 3

A survey of the historical and theological dimensions of the Second Vatican Council. The course will consider historical background, as well as the salient moments in, significant contributors to, and major pronouncements of, this major cultural and religious event of the 20th century. It will also investigate the debate over its spirit and teaching as they continue to impact Roman Catholics, Christians, and members of other religions.

Credit Hours: 3

This course is designed as a one-time course. It will deal with special topics in religion, theology, church history, morality, or scripture according to the research agenda and interests of a particular professor.

Credit Hours: 3

Individual research of a substantive nature pursued in the student’s major field of study. The research will conclude in a written thesis or an original project, and an oral defense.

Credit Hours: 6

A junior or senior work-study program providing relevant employment experience. Registration will occur at the beginning of the experience. The objective of the program is to integrate classroom theory and practical work experience, thus lending relevancy to learning and providing the student with a realistic exposure to career opportunities. Students interested in taking an internship or co-op should talk with their adviser.

Student development of a research project under the guidance of a mentor and with permission of the chairperson of the department and dean of the college. Research paper required.

Credit Hours: 3

Majors will complete an individually tailored research project which will apply the department’s holistic approach to the study of religion to a specific topic determined by the majors and their advisers and approved by the chairperson. Research paper required.

Credit Hours: 3