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Past Course Descriptions

Course Listings - Spring 2010

DEPARTMENT OF RELIGION

Religion Department
Course Description
Spring 2010

 Religion 100 R/C Topic:  Hinduism
(4 semester hours)
Glowski, Janice

This course explores Hinduism as a socio-religious tradition in South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan) by examining the relationship between Hindu thought, artistic traditions, ritual and social structures from about 2,5000 BCE to the present.  The course also analyzes historical and modern interpretations of Hinduism, from the “Orientalists,” to Mark Twain, to post-colonial scholars, as a way of reflecting on contextual perspective and how “knowing” changes over time. Student assessment is based on group work and presentations, quizzes, mid-semester and final exams, and short writing assignments.  No prerequisites.

RELI 134 R/C:  Japanese and Chinese Religious Traditions
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer

Pre-requisite:  None
This course examines several religious traditions which have shaped East Asian civilizations.  We will study the formal traditions of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto; we will also consider the popular religious traditions of China and Japan.  Classes include both lecture and discussion; students will be evaluated through essay exams, short papers and analysis of scripture and other texts.

Religion 137 R 01: Jewish Tradition
(4 semester hours)
Millen, Rochelle
 
Pre-requisite:  None
This course introduces the student to the Jewish tradition, beginning with its development in the biblical and early rabbinic periods.  It focuses upon the general history of Judaism as well as its basic concepts, including readings in primary and secondary texts and discussions of the Jewish calendar and life-cycle events.  Required:  three exams and two book reviews.  Not writing intensive.

Religion 171 S: Urban Life and Social Ethics
(4 semester hours)
Copeland, Warren
 
This course is rooted in two facts that some people might see as problems -- Springfield is very typical of U.S. cities and a Wittenberg professor is mayor.  This course attempts to turn these facts into opportunities -- an opportunity to use Springfield as a laboratory of urban life and a chance to see these issues from the inside.  The purpose of this course is to introduce students to ethical dimensions of contemporary urban life in the United States.  The first half of the course will involve some analyses of issues facing cities.  The second half of the course will examine some issues facing Springfield as examples of these analyses.  Assignments will include two papers and a class presentation during the first half of the course and two papers and a class presentation during the second half of the course and midterm and final examinations.

Religion 177 R: Religious Perspectives on Contemporary Moral Issues
(4 semester hours)
Nelson, Paul

Pre-Requisite: NONE
This course is intended to provide an introduction to basic moral concepts in Judaism and Christianity (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) and their application to specific issues of current interest.  The course examines the relation of moral teachings to the broader theological context in which they occur, analyzes in detail positions taken by religious moralists on particular issues and compares these positions with those of secular thinkers. In some cases, Jewish and Christian perspectives may be compared with those of Islamic, Hindu or Buddhist thinkers.   Topics may include lying, sexuality and procreation, assisted reproduction, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, genetic engineering, human rights, war, terrorism and nuclear deterrence, equality and gender, justice in access to health care, and environmental ethics.

Religion 200 R/C: Sacred Architecture/Sacred Space
(4 semester hours)
Glowski, Janice

Pre-requisities:  None
What do Native American sweat lodges, Gothic cathedrals, Islamic mosques, Buddhist mandalas, Tibetan stupas, Hindu temples, Japanese gardens and the Kathmandu Valley have in common?  They have all been referred to as "sacred space."  This course discusses theoretical frameworks and categorical interpretations of sacred space by examining and comparing selected architectural forms, landscapes, and other places that have been historically important to the cultures and religious traditions that have indentified, created, recreated and appropriated them.  In addition to theory and form, this course will also consider the role of experience and interpretation in the defining of sacred space.  Student assessment is based on group work, oral presentations, mid-semester and final exams, and writing assignments.  This course is writing intensive.

Religion 241 R: Christian Tradition
(4 semester hours)
Nelson, Paul

Historical survey of the development of Christian thought and doctrine in the West. Students will be introduced to the work of major theologians (classical and modern) and to issues of perennial debate such as the tensions between reason and revelation, the humanity and divinity of Christ, nature and grace, justification and sanctification, spirit and structure, church and state, and differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrine. Lecture/discussion format. Midterm and final examinations. No prerequisite though students should be aware that the course requires careful reading of primary texts, many of which are quite challenging.

Religion 275H – 1W Topic:  Germans & Jews
(4 semester hours)
Millen, Rochelle

This course analyzes issues that have characterized the history of German Jewry in its relationship to German Christendom, focusing on the period of the Enlightenment to the aftermath of the Holocaust.  Problems of cultural difference, assimilation, European identity, and discrimination as reflected in the literature and historical documents of the times are considered.  German and religion sections meet together regularly.  Writing intensive.

RELI 335 C/R -- 1W: Confucianism and Its Critics
(4 semester hours)
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer
 
Seminar on the history, central teachings, and institutions of the East Asian Confucian and Neo-Confucian traditions and Confucianism as manifest in the modern world.  We will read pivotal works of Chinese, Japanese and Korean Confucians including the Analects, Mencius, the writings of Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming, Korean Neo-Confucians, Kaibera Ekken, and Tu Wei-ming.  These will be assessed in part in contrast to critics of Confucianism ranging from classical philosophers to Shinto revivalists to twentieth century Marxists.  Assessment includes short papers, essay exams, and a term paper.  Writing intensive.

Religion 381R – 1W:  Women & Religion
(4 semester hours)
Millen, Rochelle

The aim of this course is to understand the status of women within classical and modern Judaism and Christianity and to assess feminism’s influence upon and critique of them. Religious institutions and laws are examined from a feminist principle of interpretation. Writing intensive.

 

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