Current Courses

Course Offerings (Fall 2022)

View a full list of religious studies courses, including those not offered this semester.

General education courses are marked with an asterisk (*). 

*REL1000: Religions of the World

This course provides a general introduction to the world's religions, including major traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as smaller indigenous traditions. The approach of the course is objective and academic; it is not designed to advocate any particular religious perspective or ideology. This course fulfills a General Education Humanities requirement and one of the basic requirements for the Religious Studies major.


Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 MWF 9:30 - 10:20 Madhuri Yadlapati 132 Prescott
002 MWF 10:30 - 11:20 Madhuri Yadlapati 132 Prescott
004 MWF 1:30 - 2:20 Kenny Smith 145 Coates
005 MWF 2:30 - 3:20 Kenny Smith 145 Coates
006 MWF 3:30 - 4:20 Kenny Smith 145 Coates
007 TTh 1:30 -- 2:50 Lauren Horn Griffin 215 Williams

*REL 1005: New Testament

This course will introduce you to the history, literature, and religion of the earliest period of Christianity (from about 30 to 150 CE). We will see how Christianity arose out of the Jewish religion and how it spread in the Greco-Roman world. We will examine a variety of writings from this period, including the collection of early Christian literature known as the New Testament. You will learn the historical, critical methods by which scholars study these writings as sources for our knowledge of the origins of Christianity. This course fulfills a General Education Humanities requirement. 


Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 TTh 1:30 - 2:50 Bradley K. Storin 152 Coates
002 MWF 10:30 - 11:20 Delbert Burkett 1735 BEC NW


*REL 2027: Asian Religions

Asian civilizations have a long history with far-reaching impact and influence on our global community today. One does not need to travel to Asia to be affected by Asian people, economic and political activities, cuisine, arts and entertainment, health treatment options, and religious orientations. The religious landscape of Asia is crucial to understanding Asian civilizations. This course focuses on a variety of Asian religious traditions, including fundamental teachings of the Hindu, Confucian, Taoist, Shinto, and Buddhist traditions of India, Tibet, China, and Japan. We explore how religious values influence decision-making processes in personal and public spheres. This course fulfills a General Education Humanities requirement and one of the basic requirements for the Religious Studies major.


Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 M 4:30 - 7:20 Paula Arai 220 Coates


*REL 2029: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

This course introduces students to the histories, teachings, beliefs, and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to engage with guest speakers, take field trips to synagogues, churches, and mosques, and watch a number of videos pertaining to contemporary issues (e.g., women's roles, waging war) within these religions. This course fulfills a General Education Humanities requirement and one of the basic requirements for the Religious Studies major.

Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 TTh 10:30 - 11:50 Maria Rethelyi 209 Coates


*REL 2033: American Religions

This course is a chronological and thematic survey of American religious history, with special consideration for both religious diversity and the impact of religious ideologies on American culture. Each student will be obliged to think critically about definitions of religion and approaches to the academic study of religion. Beginning with the colonization of the Americas by the Spanish, French, and English peoples, we move to the Great Awakenings, slave religions, Mormonism, Native American religions, Fundamentalism, Roman Catholicism, and Judaism, as well as new immigrant religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. We'll be interested in asking how religious groups influenced, and were influenced by, American culture. This course fulfills a General Education Humanities requirement and one of the basic requirements for the Religious Studies major. 

Section  Date & Time Instructor Location
002 MWF 12:30 - 1:20 Smith 220 Coates

REL 2034: Indigenous Religious

This course explores an aspect of the history of religions that is often overlooked by scholars and students alike, that of indigenous religious cultures. Indigenous religions are found on every continent and tend to be those whose historical roots extend deep into pre-historical times, ages before the emergence of the "new" religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Over the past five centuries, these traditions have been subject to campaigns of colonialism, conversion, assimilation, cultural appropriation, and even genocide (intentional as well as accidental), by way of the larger societies which have come to surround them. This course pursues a thematic, comparative, and historical approach to such traditions. It begins by exploring the mythic, ritual, experiential, philosophical, social, and material dimensions of a wide range of indigenous religious worlds, including Native American, Siberian, African, Asian, and South American, religious cultures. It then turns to the North American context, and considers the ways in which the larger, contemporary American culture is coming to re-imagine the natural world in ways that resemble indigenous perspectives, that is, as sacred.

Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 MWF 11:30 - 12:20 Kenny Smith 209 Coates


REL 3010: Special Topics in Religious Studies - Religion in Pop Cultures

How is "pop culture" not just the things we consume, but the objects that define how we express our political sentiments and social identity? How have things we call religious developed in the midst of, and adapted to the demands of, digital, mass-mediated culture? This course examines the ways that the beliefs and behaviors we call religious are part of everyday culture - in particular, the ways that they are produced by and (in turn) influence culture. We will take a critical approach to the classification of "religion" and "pop culture," asking about those categories in dialogue with each other. We will also look at religion in pop culture, pop culture in religion, and pop culture as religion. Broadly, students will learn to analyze questions of values, ethics, or aesthetics as they are represented in religion, film, art, music, and online media. The course is broad in scope and takes a global perspective on religion and popular culture as well as the relationships between these subjects.

Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 TTh 10:30 - 11:50 Lauren Horn Griffin 137 Allen


REL 4014: Questions in Jewish Thought (Cross-listed with HIST/PHIL/GERM 4014) 

This course familiarizes the students with the different questions of Jewish philosophy in the modern and contemporary period in Europe mainly. Our study will particularly emphasize how new trends and ideas emerged in Judaism due to the influence of historical and sociological changes in the surrounding societies, and how these changes led to a variety of possible Jewish trends in philosophies, identities, and expressions.

Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 TTh 12:00 - 1:20 Maria Rethelyi  209 Coates

REL 4301: Theories of Religion

We will explore what theories, methods, approaches, and concepts have helped develop the scholarship on human religiosity. The range of lenses will include cultural anthropology, theology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, art, ritual, gender, race, class, and science. Each approach illuminates a dimension at the same time it obscures another dimension. No single tool enables a scholar to see and understand all dimensions of human religiosity. We will consider which approaches would be well suited to which types of research projects. Cultivating the commensurate level of communication skills is central to our endeavor. The objective of the course is to learn how to think as a religiously literate person with nuanced skills of analysis and critical reasoning. This course fulfills the capstone requirement for the Religious Studies major. It is also a certified Communication-Intensive course.

Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 T 4:30 - 7:20 Paula Arai 046 Allen



REL 4505: The Rise of Christianity (Cross-listed with HIST 4505)

This course covers the history, literature, and thought of Christianity from its beginnings in first-century Palestine to its establishment as the official religion of the Roman Empire in the sixth century (the period known as "late antiquity"). Through a close reading of ancient sources and scholar monographs, we examine the lives of several important Christians and topics central to nascent Christian traditions (e.g., martyrdom, monasticism, ritual diversity, Christian art and architecture, theological controversies, and ecclesiastical institutionalization).

Section Date & Time Instructor Location
001 TTh 9:00 - 10:20 Bradley K. Storin 211 Coates

HNRS 2030.064: Seminar in Biblical Studies - The Four Gospels

This course will introduce you to the four gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We will consider how each of these documents gives a unique portrait of Jesus of Nazareth. We will examine these documents from a literary perspective as works of literature with plots and characters. We will also examine them from a socio-historical perspective as windows revealing the concerns of the earliest Christian communities.

Section Date & Time Instructor Location
064 W 6:00 - 8:50 Delbert Burkett  111 Coates