Religious Studies (RS)

RS201  Women & Religion  (3.0 Credits)  

This course will examine the status of women as defined by traditional religion and as reconstructed by feminist theological work. Students will explore the roles of women within the following major religions of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as within new religious movements, including Wicca. Ths course is cross-listed with WS201.

RS208  Discovering the Bible  (3.0 Credits)  

This course offers students an overview of significant themes of the bible. It will examine the historical, literary and theological formation of selected biblical texts and their impact on both the ancient communities and the world today. The class will include a summary of Israel’s geographical, cultural and political history and its association with other ancient Near Eastern nations. It will also provide a study of chosen New Testament texts that will afford an understanding of the growth and challenges of early Christian communities.

RS213  Women & the Bible  (3.0 Credits)  

In this course, the student will investigate selected passages from the Bible that affect or pertain to women. The student will study these texts and traditions from the viewpoint of feminist biblical scholarship. The study will include an introduction to the methodology of feminist hermeneutics, theological traditions about women, as well as a careful study of chosen narratives, speeches, dialogues and prayers about or by women in the Bible. Applicable to Women’s Studies minor. This course is cross-listed with WS213.

RS220  The Christian Tradition  (3.0 Credits)  

An introductory course allowing students to survey and update their understanding of Christianity’s basic beliefs and insights. Drawing upon contemporary theological research, the central truths of the Christian experience are explained and analyzed.

RS235  Journeys in Spirituality  (1.0 Credits)  

This course invites the student to enter into an experience of a particular dimension of spirituality, rather than studying it from a distance. Thus, the student will be asked to actively participate in the topic so as to learn from the inside-out. While there will be academic assignments, there will be an emphasis on experiencing the topic. This course may be repeated if the topic is different. 1 hour lecture.

Prerequisite(s): RS208 or RS220.

RS236  Social Justice  (3.0 Credits)  

In this course we examine both official Catholic social teaching (CST) and non-official Catholic social thought and action from the late 19th century to the present. Emphasis is placed on the ways in which the Catholic social-justice tradition has developed in response to social praxis within the wider church as well as to secular currents of thought, social movements and world events.

RS260  Christianity in Dialogue  (3.0 Credits)  

This course will provide an introduction to the Christian tradition with references to its relation, engagement, and dialogue with other major world religious traditions. We will begin with a treatment of ancient Judaism and the story of Christianity, followed by an exploration of Rabbinical Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. We will learn about the central tenets, history, and practices of these religious traditions with references to interfaith movement.

RS290  Topics in Religious Studies  (3.0 Credits)  

This course offers the student an opportunity to explore various areas in religious studies. The topic will be studied for the entire semester. This course may be repeated by students as different topics are presented. This course is cross-listed with TH537.

RS311  The Gospel of John  (3.0 Credits)  

A study of Johannine theological tradition as manifested in the fourth Gospel. The principal Johannine texts are examined in their historical context as witnesses of the Christian faith. Relevancy to contemporary Christian life is also indicated. This course is cross-listed with TH613.

RS320  Theology of Church  (3.0 Credits)  

This course provides a biblical, historical, and theological understanding of the nature and life of the Christian community. It will focus on the Roman Catholic Church, its origins, development, and contemporary life. The course pays particular attention to the Second Vatican Council as a watershed moment in the life of the church and to subsequent theological interpretations and movements within the church. This course is cross-listed with TH533.

RS323  Sacramental Theology  (3.0 Credits)  

Study of religious questions surrounding the notions of signs and symbols as expressions for the experience of the Transcendent. Exploration of the way in which signs can effectively render present to the individual what they signify. Focus of the study: Sacramental theology in the Catholic Tradition. This course is cross-listed with TH551.

RS325  Theology of Creation  (3.0 Credits)  

An exploration of different conceptions of nature/creation, the human place/role in the universe, and what it means to care for God's good creation. Case studies explore both particular environmental issues/problems and relationships between theology, science, ethics, and public policy. Alternative proposals for constructing more just, sustainable communities are studied and critically evaluated.

Prerequisite(s): RS208, RS213, RS220, or RS260.

RS334  Theological Ethics  (3.0 Credits)  

This course explores the major sources, methods and insights of Christian theological and social ethics. The study will focus on foundational sources and questions in Christian ethics and examine the moral significance of major theological claims and themes. Particular attention is given to Roman Catholic thought. It will show how these foundational theological themes and teachings guide ethical understanding for living an integrated just moral life with bearing on contemporary moral issues.

Prerequisite(s): 3 credits as required to meet the current General Education requirements in either philosophy or religious studies.

RS336  Social Justice Ethics  (3.0 Credits)  

In this course, we examine both official Catholic social teaching (CST) and non-official Catholic social thought and action from the late 19th century to the present. The course focuses on CST about justice, the human person in community, the role of government, economics, and global development. Emphasis is placed on the ways in which the Catholic social-justice tradition has developed in response to social praxis within the wider church as well as to secular currents of thought, social movements and world events.

Prerequisite(s): 3 credits as required to meet the current General Education requirements in either philosophy or religious studies.

RS340  A Survey of Eastern Religious Thought  (3.0 Credits)  

An examination of the major themes in the dominant traditions of the Asian cultural sphere (Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese religions). A study of the diversity of historical religious traditions aims at developing a fuller appreciation of the sacred dimension in human experience. Applicable to International Area Studies minor.

RS345  Comparative Monotheisms  (3.0 Credits)  

This course will study comparatively the three sibling religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Students will explore the history and development of each tradition from the ancient through the modern period. In the latter part of the course, focus will be on the comparative study of major elements of these traditions such as the concept of God, worship and ritual, ethics, and theories of religion and the political order.

RS360  African American Religious Experience  (3.0 Credits)  

This course will examine the history and experience of African American religious traditions. Starting from the foundational premise that diversity of experience leads to diversity of religious expression, this course will explore major developments in the history of African American religions and the ways different traditions (e.g., Christianity, Islam, etc.) have engaged the African American community. By reading texts from within these traditions, this course will examine the way different faith traditions engage the themes of religious experience, diversity, and racism/antiracism.

Prerequisite(s): RS208, RS213, RS220, or RS260.

RS401  Seminar in Religious Thought  (3.0 Credits)  

Intensive study in a particular area of theological thought (i.e., Scripture, theology, ethics, etc.) selected by participating students in consultation with department faculty members. Open to majors, minors, and other qualified students.

RS402  Independent Study  (1.0 Credits)  

An intensive study of a particular area, theme or concern of religious studies selected by the student with the consent of a department member. Offered on application.

RS403  Foreign Study: Biblical  (1.0 Credits)  

A course designed to offer the student a unique opportunity to go beyond the study of Scripture in the printed word. The student will visit biblical sites, archeological excavations and museums that feature ancient treasures. Further, exposure to the citizens of the land presents an occasion for the student to develop a greater awareness of other cultures, traditions and religions. Time and credit to be arranged.

RS404  New Testament Selections  (3.0 Credits)  

An in-depth examination of selected themes in the New Testament. Explore the influences of Judaism, Hellenism and other contemporary factors on the development of New Testament texts. Examine selected texts for their contribution to the early Christian Church and their relationship to each other. This course is cross-listed with TH502 and TH624.

RS405  Sources & Methods in Theology  (3.0 Credits)  

This course provides an advanced study of scholarly approaches to theological texts, current concepts in the literature, methods used by various schools of thought, and proper tools for research. This course is cross-listed with TH500.

RS406  Hebrew Bible Selections  (3.0 Credits)  

An in-depth examination of selected themes, from pre-exilic Hebrew scripture, in light of literary and historical formation of the texts. Includes an overview of Israel’s history; the cultural, political, and religious circumstances that influence the authors; and an overall presentation of a God who creates, protects, and loves the world as well as the response of the community. Selected themes include an in-depth review of the materials in Genesis and Exodus, as well as a look at sections of the Book of Judges, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Psalms. This course is cross-listed with TH501.

RS431  Christology  (3.0 Credits)  

This course traces Christian thought and teachings concerning the nature and identity of Jesus Christ from the biblical period, through the formation of Christian doctrine in the early councils, to subsequent interpretations of Jesus through the present day. This course is cross-listed with TH531.

RS436  Research Project in Social Justice  (3.0 Credits)  

Students work under the guidance of a faculty member to develop a research project or create an applied, real world project in the community pertaining to a social justice issue. Number of hours of coursework to be determined in relation to number of course credits. Offered on application. Course may be retaken up to 6 credits.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the chairperson or instructor.

RS450  Christian Formation Ministry  (3.0 Credits)  

A consideration of what helps or hinders religious development and the responsibility of Church to foster growth in faith. An examination of the various theological, philosophical, and educational models that inform the foundations of religious formation. Criteria for evaluating appropriate models of religious formation will be discussed. This course is cross-listed with TH650.

RS451  Counseling: Pastoral Applications  (3.0 Credits)  

This course examines the intersectionality of religious and/or spiritual identity and clinical mental health diagnosis from theoretical, philosophical, and developmental frameworks. In addition, students will explore trauma treatment that accounts for other identities (e.g, gender, age, sexual orientation, race, and culture), with an emphasis on clinical application and professional limits. (Not offered every year). This course is cross-listed with TH651.

RS452  Introduction to Canon Law  (3.0 Credits)  

Explore the nature, purpose, and function of Church law, using practical and pastoral applications in the Church. Special attention will be given to the role of basic canonical principles in the lives of members of the Catholic Church. This course is cross-listed with TH552.

RS456  Theology of Pastoral Ministry  (3.0 Credits)  

This course explores the historical, philosophical and pastoral approaches to the basis of ministry. We will look at the sources for each of these within Scripture and the Church's tradition. The practice of the believing community will play an important part in our examination of the formation of the ministerial and pastoral activities in Christianity. We will examine the intellectual frameworks which have shaped various theologies of ministry, both Catholic and Reformed. This course is cross-listed with TH556.