Introduction to Religious Studies
Professor Banner

This course introduces students to major academic methods for the study of religion and theories about religious belief and practice. It draws on diverse materials from the world’s religions and multiple disciplinary approaches. Topics may include belief systems, morality, sacred literature, myth, ritual, history, gender, ethnicity, and debates about the roles of religion in contemporary life. Fulfills new general education requirement in Global Communities (GCM).

Introduction to World Religions
Professor Salyer

A general introduction to the basic religious concerns of humanity, and the ways in which religions have developed in Eastern and Western history, giving intellectual, moral, and institutional expression to the meaning of human existence. Fulfills new general education requirement in Global Communities (GCM).

Introduction to Religion & Contemporary Culture
Hybrid, T 9:35 am – 10:55 am 
Professor Banner

A study of the ways that religion may or may not have significance for our world today, examining issues such as the meaning of religious experience, evil and goodness, the purposes of ritual, roles of religion in society and culture, the impact of science and technology on religion, and issues in ethics. Fulfills new general education requirement in Ethics and Values (EAV). 

Introduction to the Bible
 M/W 2:05 pm – 3:25 pm
Professor Wall

Historical and literary exploration of portions of the Tanach (Old Testament) and New Testament that have had the most lasting influence on Western culture. Focus on the meaning of key terms like covenant and evil, biblical authorship, and different ways the text may be interpreted today. Fulfills new general education requirement in Heritages and Civilizations (HAC). 

Hybrid, M 9:35 am – 10:35 am  
Professor Karapanagiotis

This course is an in-depth examination of conceptions of God, broadly and cross-culturally understood. In particular, this course examines various definitions of the concept of God, the ways in which diverse religious groups have understood God, as well as the varieties of God concepts expressed around the world (e.g., theism, kathenotheism, polytheism, monotheism, nontheism, monism, and atheism). Importantly, as a class, we will examine the ways in which the concept of God not only differs across traditions, locations, and time periods but has been the subject of intense intra-religious debate. Finally, this course examines debates about the existence/non-existence of God (both historical and contemporary) including the cosmological and ontological arguments as well as the arguments from evil, naturalism, physicalism, and evolution.  

Course materials are drawn from a range of religious traditions including but not limited to Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Importantly, students should note that this course will not approach the study of God theologically. Instead, we will examine concepts of God in an academic manner: as philosophical arguments and concepts shaped by historical, cultural, social, and political circumstances and actors. This means that individual belief or lack thereof with respect to notions of God will remain outside the parameters of class discussions. Fulfills new general education requirement in Global Communities (GCM).

The Historical Jesus
T/TH 11:10 am – 12:30 pm
Professor Banner

Who was the Jewish teacher named Jesus? This course will explore how scholars use historical methods to reconstruct the life of an ancient figure as well as how ideas and beliefs about a religious leader develop over time. It will examine the original sources for the historical Jesus and the major issues under debate in current scholarship. Fulfills new general education requirement in Heritages and Civilizations (HAC). 

African-American Religion
M/W 12:30 pm – 1:50 pm 
Professor Johnson

The effects of American enslavement on the religious and social institutions of the African people and the development of religious beliefs and institutions within the African-American community. The relationship between black and white religious institutions and the role of religion in the development of black political consciousness. Fulfills new general education requirement in US in the World (USW) and Diversity (DIV). 

Religion and Health
Professor Walker

Religion & Health is a semester-long course offered jointly through the Department of Health Sciences and the Department of Philosophy and Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences. Overall, this course is organized into five units. In Unit I. Civic Competencies, you will cultivate three professional skills: religious literacy, legal literacy, and science literacy. Throughout the semester, you will apply these literacies as conceptual frameworks to examine case studies about religion and health—moral dilemmas experienced in communities, schools, and hospitals. In Unit II. Communities, you will apply social science research about diverse religious responses to COVID-19. You will analyze case studies about the helpful or harmful roles that community leaders, religious professionals, and houses of worship played in managing the pandemic. In Unit III. Schools, you will explore the legal parameters and political challenges to vaccine mandates in K-12 schools. You will study how legislatures, school boards, state health agencies, school administrators, and school nurses responded to requests for medical, philosophical, and religious exemptions. You will examine case studies that emulate best practices for how science communicators, school leaders, and religious leaders combated misinformation and disinformation about vaccines. In Unit IV. Hospitals, you will examine the complex ways patients and healthcare professionals understand the body, illness, healing, life, and death. You will study the religious, spiritual, or philosophical ideas that drive people during personal health crises. You will also explore case studies about hospital chaplains and their work with multidisciplinary healthcare teams. In Unit V. Professional Integration, you will offer an in-class presentation about how your three civic competencies—religious, legal, and science literacies—apply to a profession of your choice.

Death and Dying in World Religions
M/W 2:05 pm – 3:25 pm 
Professor Gilmore-Clough

An exploration of the way diverse world religions try to make sense of the inevitability of death. The course examines rituals around death, notions of spirit/body relationships, conceptions of an aftrlife, and the human struggle to find meaning in life in the face of death. Fulfills new general education requirement in Global Communities (GCM). 

Religion and Law
Professor Walker

Examines the origins and developments of religious liberty in the United States from the colonial and founding periods to present day.  Attention is given to the historical and legal foundations that currently govern the relationship of religion and the state.

Cults and New Religious Movements
W 9:35 am – 10:55 am 
Hybrid – some meetings online
Professor Karapanagiotis

This course examines religious groups in the United States that have been labeled in the public as “cults.”  We investigate their beliefs and practices, as well as their histories, social dynamics, recruitment strategies, and relationships with the public.  Focus will be on building a scholarly toolkit by which to understand these religious groups in an objective and critical manner.

Independent Studies in Religion

Advanced students pursue a research topic under the direction of a faculty member, culminating in a paper. 


Professor Karapanagiotis


Professor Wall