WREL 1014: Introduction to World Religions (3 cr.)
Introduction to the basic teachings and practices of classical religions (Hinduism, Judaism, and Confucian/Taoist tradition) and reform religions (Buddhism, Christianity and Islam), with some reference to indigenous religions of Africa, Japan and the Americas. (Summer) (Fall)
WREL 1012: Roman Catholicism (3 cr.)
A survey of the history, theology, worship and government of the Roman Catholic Church. Topics include Catholic doctrines on God, the church, ecumenism and the moral life; the role of the church in politics and in revolutions; and the cultural influence of Catholics. (Fall)
WREL 1015: Quranic Arabic (3 cr.)
Arabic language instruction at the beginner level. There are more Arabic speakers in the Africa continent than anywhere else in the world. More than half of Africans are Muslims, and therefore use Arabic in their daily devotions.
WREL 1016: Intermediate Quranic Arabic (3 cr.)
Arabic language instruction at the intermediate level. Prerequisite: AFS 1015: Introductory Quranic Arabic (Spring)
WREL 1017: Advanced Arabic (3cr.)
Arabic language instruction at the advanced level. This course explores the experiences of Arabic in the original texts while teaching advanced oral and written skills. Prerequisite: AFS 1015: Introductory Quranic Arabic
WREL 1018: The Bible (3 cr.)
An introduction to the most influential book in world history, from the Law and the Prophets (Old Testament) to the Gospels and other writings of early Christians (New Testament). Class discussions revisit biblical debates on such topics as whether Israel should have a king, whether Christians should keep the laws of Moses and whether women should lead worship. Questions of authorship, historical accuracy, and literary forms of the Bible are considered as students learn to do exegesis.
WREL 1019: Biblical Hebrew (3 cr.)
This course is designed for those with little or no knowledge of Hebrew. Its goal is to enable students to develop a working knowledge of vocabulary and grammar sufficient to understand central texts from the Hebrew Bible, including the Genesis story, the Ten Commandments, and selections from the Psalms, in their original cultural and historical contexts. (Fall)
WREL: 1020 Biblical Hebrew II (3 cr.)
The goals of the course are to teach students to improve their reading of the Hebrew language, to master a working knowledge of a basic Hebrew vocabulary and Hebrew grammar, and to be able to understand excerpts from the original Hebrew Bible text The course emphasizes the roots of verbs and nouns so that the student is be able to understand readings from the Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, and other Biblical texts. A reading knowledge of Hebrew is required. (Spring)
WREL 1045: Asian Religions (3 cr.)
An introduction to the major religions of India, China and Japan: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto. Readings from the primary religious literature of each tradition and visual evidence on video are presented. (Spring)
WREL 2009: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Religion and Social Change (3 cr.)
The purpose of the course is to provide students with the opportunity to understand how the dynamics of race, ethnicity, religion and gender impact programs or movements designed to insure a more just and equitable U.S. society. The course has two components: A seminar that explores the sociology of group conflict and change as they relate to race, ethnicity, religion and gender and an experiential human relations group that provides students with the opportunity to explore the impact of race, ethnicity religion and gender issues in the "here and now". The course may also be taken with a 4th credit option in cooperation with the Duchesne Center.
WREL 2010: Native American Religions (3 cr.)
Uses myth and ritual from the Iroquois, Sioux, and Hopi to introduce the varieties of religious experience among the native nations of North America and to explore how religion functions within the ways of life of these nations. Students explore the religions of other nations in their projects. (Fall '07)
WREL 2012: Religions of China (3 cr.)
A survey of the two major indigenous religious traditions of China: Confucianism and Taoism, and the missionary religion from India, Buddhism. The course will focus on readings from the religious literature of each tradition as well as study of their particular ritual practices. The important influence of Buddhism on Confucianism and Taoism will be examined, as well as the role of popular religions in China's history. (Fall '07)
WREL 2021: African-American Religion (3 cr.)
Beginning with Africa, this course examines the development of African-American religion as a distinct cultural and political phenomenon. The relationship between African religion, slave religion and the religions of contemporary African-Americans is reviewed. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between religion and the African-American human rights struggle.
WREL 2026: The World's Religions in New York (3 cr.)
This course considers Hinduism, Judaism, Chinese religions, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam as practiced in the temples, churches, meditation centers, and mosques of New York City and as represented in its museums. Readings include accounts of the history and sociology of each religion in the city and a reference book on the world's religions; writing includes journals that criticize the reading in light of what the class encounters in its fieldwork. Willingness to participate in various religious practices is required.
WREL 2031: Psychology of Mystical Experience (3 cr.)
This course explores how encounters with God and other heightened states of awareness affect human personality, how personality affects such experiences, and how dreams, stories, prayers, meditation techniques and intuitions function in religious life. Readings begin with psychology, continue with spiritual methods of many traditions, and conclude with imaginative literature and personal accounts.
WREL 2034: Religions of India (3 cr.)
This course provides an overview of Indian religions, from earliest times to the present, including early Brahmanism, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Islam. Special attention is given to the art, architecture, and story literature of devotional Hinduism as well as the tales and hymns of Sufism. (Spring)
WREL 2037: Monks and Merchants: Religions and Cultures of the Silk Road (3 cr.)
A study of the religions and cultures of the vast territory between China and Iran which has been termed the Silk Road, from the early days of its role in the silk trade from China to Rome all the way to the modern era of Western exploration and imperialism. Attention will be given to the rich intermixing of these religions and cultures, the archaeological legacy of Buddhist art, and the Mongols and Marco Polo. (Fall)
WREL 2038: The Problem of God (3 cr.)
This course focuses on four major themes: the existence of God; the nature and variety of religious experience; God and religion in contemporary society; and, the problem of evil. These themes are placed within the historical development of questions about the existence of God found in the world's major religions. Emphasis is placed on how God functions in the personal, social and political life of individuals and society as a whole. (Spring)
WREL 2050: Religions of Japan (3 cr.)
Survey of Japanese religious traditions, beginning with Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, and including Japan's particular adaptation of the Chinese traditions of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. In addition, the New Religions of the 20th century are considered.
WREL 3003: Pagans (3 cr.)
The first part of this course surveys some religions not founded by prophets, particularly traditions of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, northern Europe, West Africa and North America. The second half considers how such traditions, especially in the forms of witchcraft, voodoo, and movements in Native American religions, now influence the general culture of the United States.
WREL 3008: Christianity (3 cr.)
Beginning with Jesus and Paul, the Jews and the Romans, this course traces the changing forms of Christian faith and practice as Christians encountered European pagans, the rise of Islam, the breakdown of Christian unity into Roman, Greek, and Protestant forms, the challenges of modernity, and the new Pentecostal explosion in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
WREL 3009: Scholars, Sages, and Samurai: the Role of Confucianism in East Asia (3 cr.)
As a philosophy, a system of social ethics, and a religion, Confucianism and its later form, Neo-Confucianism, profoundly affects the cultures of China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam to this day. This course examines the rise and development of this tradition, starting with Confucius himself, and proceeding to its influence on the social, political and religious life of China and East Asia.
ASN 3010: Women in Chinese and Japanese Religions (3 cr.)
This course examines the position of women in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Shinto, both in terms of the ideals set forth for women by these traditions and the particular adaptations women made of those ideals. Readings include didactic works for women, autobiographies, poetry, and novels. (Spring)
WREL 3013: Buddhism (3 cr.)
The first part of the course deals with the life and teachings of the historical Buddha and the early forms of Buddhism in India. The second part traces the spread of Buddhism to Tibet, China and Japan, while the last part focuses on Buddhism in America today. (Fall)
WREL 3014: New Testament Themes
This course examines various central themes of the New Testament writing through a study of historical, linguistic, theological and sociological formation and findings. (Spring)
WREL 3015: Sexuality and Religion (3 cr.)
This course examines the influence of religion on sexual ethics, gender roles, and expectations of sexual pleasure. Readings include the Bible, the Kama Sutra, Roman Catholic moral theology (translated from the Latin by the instructor), Taoist marriage manuals, Japanese love poetry, feminist perspectives and the advice literature of Protestant evangelicals. Projects evaluate what the West might learn from the traditions of Asia and Africa and from its own heretics, cultists and critics.
WREL 3021: Religion and Politics of East Asia (3 cr.)
An examination of the religious dimensions of Chinese and Japanese politics in the 19th- and 20th-centuries. For China, attention will be given to the 19th-century Taiping Rebellion and Mao's 20th-century Communist Revolution. For Japan, the focus will be on the role of Shinto in Japan's rise as an imperialist power in East Asia between 1880 and 1945 and its controversial legacy in Japan today. (Fall '08)
WREL 3024: The Bible in Western Culture (3 cr.)
This course traces several important themes from their roots in the Bible to results in the later history of the West. Topics include creation, sexual laws and gender roles, national destinies and holy war, work and prosperity, relations between the human and the divine, and the end of the world.
WREL 3025: Religion in America (3 cr.)
The story of the native nations and the Pilgrims, revolutionaries and missionaries, presidents and cult leaders who have made the United States what George Santayana called "a nation with the soul of a church." After exploring the religious sources of such basic American values as democracy, capitalism and toleration, the course examines how the concept of national destiny has developed in crises from the French and Indian Wars through Vietnam to the Persian Gulf and contemporary culture wars.
WREL 3027: Islam (3 cr.)
Through the use of the Qur'an, traditions of Prophet Muhammad, and other sources, this course examines the Islamic belief system and its impact on the 7th-century Arabian peninsula and the modern world.
WREL 3028: The United States and Islam (3 cr.)
Al-Islam, a traditional monotheistic religion, has had a difficult interface with the modern, pluralistic culture of the United States. This course explores how this situation came to be. Particular emphasis will be placed on: early western ideas about Islam; immigration; African American Islam; Middle East politics; the media and the impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. United States social and foreign policies toward Muslims and Islamic countries are also examined.
WREL 3032: The Religious and Political Philosophy of Malcolm X (3 cr.)
This course focuses on the ideological journey of the man who was born as Malcolm Little and died as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. The course also explores the political and religious context which Malcolm X developed as a way of understanding political and religious life in the United States during the 40s, 50s and 60s.
WREL 3033: The Religious and Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr.
The ideological journey of a man who was a central figure in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s is the focus of this course. In particular, this course will center on the socio-cultural context and the theological underpinning of King's particular form of non-violent direct action.
WREL 3035: Judaism (3 cr.)
A description and investigation of the major forms of Jewish tradition in the modern world, with attention to their historical development and cultural dimensions.
WREL 3037: The Holocaust and Culture (3 cr.)
This course provides a background of narrative and theory regarding the annihilation of Jews in Europe between 1933 and 1945, then examines works of literature, film and visual art connected with the Holocaust. Discussion centers on three questions: first, what elements in Western culture made the Holocaust possible? Second, what can the arts offer those attempting to live in awareness of that event? And third, to what extent are the cultural factors that contributed to the Holocaust still active today?
WREL 3042: Literature of the Holocaust (3 cr.)
A study of selected fiction, poetry and drama depicting the human experience of the Holocaust, 1933 - 1945, and its continuing significance. The central question to be examined in the course is this: How can genocide, the ultimate atrocity, be transformed into art?
WREL 3044: Religion and Ethics in Film (3 cr.)
While establishing a framework for understanding world religions, ethical theories, and the medium of film, the first part of the course will examine how the stories and myths of the world's religious traditions have been expressed in documentary and feature-length films. The second half investigates how film influences our view of the world and our understanding of ethical behavior in the public and private spheres.
WREL 3054: Religion, Advocacy and Peace: The Middle East Crisis (3 cr.)
This seminar examines the dynamics of the Middle East conflict with a specific emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian component. Included are analytical assessments of the impact of religion and the role of various US-based advocacies on the Peace Process. In addition, discussions will include historical, regional, economic, social and security analyses of the issues involved. Students will have the opportunity to reflect upon and develop concrete strategies for effective peacemaking
WREL 3065: Power, Authority, Leadership & Ethics (3 cr.)
This course provides an opportunity for students to understand the impact of covert dynamics on the exercise of ethical authority in-group and organizational settings. Through the use of both an ongoing human relations group and discussion seminar format, students focus on how leadership can help or hinder the development of positive stable, communities and organizations. This course includes an analytical reflection on the college's mission to educate "ethically and socially responsible leaders."
WREL3076: Religious and Cultural Imperialism: American Missionaries in China
This course will examine the clash of cultures resulting from the coming of American missionaries to China in the 19th and 20th centuries. Attention will be given to the differences between Christianity and Chinese religions, the role played by western imperialism in giving missionaries access to China, and the particular relationship between Chinese women and American women missionaries. (Spring)
WREL 3078: Changing the World--One Step at a Time (3 cr.)
After an introduction to change strategy around diverse social justice and religious 'causes,' students select a project around a cause and develop a grant proposal for funding of the project. Students also explore the theoretical and ethical dimensions of leadership, social entrepreneurship, and venture philanthropy. A research paper on the history and social background of the cause selected is included in the grant proposal. Students present their final project proposals to a funding board and implement their projects the following semester, if funded.
WREL 3090: Women in Western Religions (3 cr.)
This course examines the position of women in Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions, with attention to the challenges of those traditions posed by extraordinary women of the past and by modern feminists
WREL 3095: Race, Religion and Culture (3 cr.)
This course examines the complex interplay between race, religion and culture in a variety of contexts in the Western hemisphere. It includes an examination of the impact of racism and sexism on religious practice.
WREL 4495: Independent Study in World Religions
Majors should enroll for a one-credit seminar under this title in the second semester of junior year, when they will meet with an advisor in the department and develop a bibliography and proposal for a senior evaluation paper. Others may enroll, with permission of an instructor, for one or three credits under this title to pursue a particular interest or research project.