Fall 2017 Course Descriptions for Religion

REL 126 New Testament
An Introduction to the origins of Christianity, to the New Testament as the primary source of Christian thought and practice for nearly two millennia, and to modern critical methods in the research of the biblical text. Themes include the nature of Jesus as the Messiah, the "Kingdom of God," sin and salvation, the relationship of Christianity to Judaism, what it meant to be a Christian in the Roman empire, human interactions in the Christian community, and views about Christianity and history.

REL 240 Buddhist Philosophy
An examination of Buddhist philosophical theories regarding the nature of the self, reality, knowledge, language, the ultimate goal of sentient existence, and the path to that ultimate goal.

REL 251G Topic: Holocaust - Issues and Answers
This course provides an overview, on an introductory level, of major issues raised with respect to the destruction of European Jewry and other ethnic and religious groups during the period of the Nazi terror (1933 - 1945). It will probe such questions as the historical roots of anti-Semitism in Europe, whether Nazi fascism was "destined" to arise in Germany, the racist nature of the Nazi “worldview,” the role of the "occupied countries" in perpetrating genocide, the response of the Jewish communities, in Germany and elsewhere, and the attitude of the allied powers and the western Church toward the developing tragedy. The course will conclude with an examination of Holocaust denial and questions about new holocausts around the world. Does the past repeat itself? Could something like the Holocaust ever happen again?

REL 330 Semiotics
Studies the theory of signs, with particular focus on how semiotics may offer perspectives on the nature of language and thought, and their relation. Also considers the question of the limits of thought and language, and how such limits might be relevant to the study of religion. Concludes with Buddhist approaches to semiotics.

REL 351B Judaism and Science
An examination of the relationship between Judaism and modern science, including consideration of biblical, rabbinic and mystical teachings, especially concerning creation, cosmology and human life.  The course will deal with both medieval and modern attempts to harmonize religious beliefs and scientific discoveries about the universe and earth.  It will compare and contrast Jewish teachings about creation and cosmology with modern scientific discoveries.