Religious Studies Minor Requirements

Department Chairperson:Mary Joan Leith Office: Old Student Union 202 Phone: 508-565-1494mleith@stonehill.edu

The minor in Religious studies requires the completion of six courses beyond the Religious Studies Cornerstone course.

Complete One Biblical and Ancient Religions Course

Code Course Credits

LC 308

Learning Community: Power & Propaganda in the Ancient World

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

This course investigates power and propaganda in the ancient world: Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Israel, Rome. Texts and images will be juxtaposed to explore power and propaganda exercised by kings, princes, emperors and popes. Ancient "democracies" with unique methods of propagating power will also be compared to other Mediterranean cultures.

May count as a Biblical and Ancient Religions course for Religious Studies majors and minors.

4

REL 251

Introduction to the Old Testament

Offered: Alternate Years: Fall 2017, 2019

Literature of the Hebrew Bible. Survey of the religious, literary, and political history of ancient Israel. Students may not receive credit for both this course and REL 260.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course .
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry and Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirements.

3

REL 252

Introduction to the New Testament

Offered: Spring Semester

Literature of the New Testament in its religious and historical context. Life and ministry of Jesus, origins of earliest Christianity, the role of Paul, and the development of the Church.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course .
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry and Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirements.

3

REL 255

Religions in the Roman Empire

Offered: Fall Semester

A study of ancient world views, mystery religions, gnosticism, and the rise of Christianity.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 263

Women's Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

This class will explore the critical roles played by women in the religious traditions of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as Judaism and earliest Christianity. It will introduce factors that led to the decline of women's influence as Christianity developed a more institutionalized religious system.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course, or Permission of Instructor.
Course may be applied to the Gender & Sexuality Studies program.

3

REL 301

Islam and the Bible: Jewish and Muslim Morality and Ethics

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

As brother religions vying for the same sacred history, Islam and Judaism trace the genesis of their spiritual and biological communities back to the very same founding parents. Yet Islam is not Judaism, Muslims are not Jews, and vice versa. Rather, the two traditions are, and understand themselves to be, distinct entities with distinct value systems. By comparing the Jewish and Muslim accounts of the shared Biblical ancestors, as well the often colorful exegesis on these narratives, this course will investigate various matters of moral and ethical concern to these communities and the lessons thereby imparted by each tradition.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement.Course may be applied to the Middle Eastern Studies minor.

3

REL 302

Violence and Sex in the Bible

Offered: Spring Semester

Examines the dynamics of sex and violence in ancient Israel as they are presented in the biblical text. Topics include the construction of gender, the status of women and men in society and law, holy war, the characterization of physical violence as positive or negative, the gender of God and its implications.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry and Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirements.Course may be applied to the Gender & Sexuality Studies program.

3

REL 312

Archaeology and the Bible

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

Introduction to the archaeology of Palestine, with special focus on the interrelationship of excavated and textual data.

Course may be applied to the Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology minors.

3

REL 315

Dreams and the Sacred

Offered: Spring Semester

A study of the role of dreams and other rites of divination in ancient and modern religious experience. Biblical and classical sources are examined, and contemporary attempts to recover the sacred dimension of dreams also are considered.

3

REL 317

Gods, Kings and Justice in the Ancient World

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

Who speaks for Justice? Where does Justice come from? This course examines these and related questions by analyzing and comparing ancient texts such as the Babylonian law code of Hammurabi, Egyptian hymns, Homer's Odyssey, and the biblical prophets. Ancient works of art treating issues of justice are also examined.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement.Course may be applied to the Gender & Sexuality Studies and Middle Eastern Studies programs.

3

Complete One Christian History, Theology, and Practice Course

Code Course Credits

REL 226

Women, Slaves & Sin: Paul and the Creation of Christianity

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An investigation into the life, writings, and legacy of the Apostle Paul. The course will uncover the historical, philosophical, social, and religious forces that shaped the beliefs, practices, and experiences of the earliest Christians.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course .
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions and Moral Inquiry requirements.

3

REL 233

American Catholic Social History

Offered: Fall Semester

An historical presentation of the numerous social issues, conflicts, and varied solutions in American Catholicism from the late 19th century forward with emphasis on how the many issues of society impacted Catholicism. The course demonstrates how the application of faith and various theological and philosophical theories were used in resolution of social conflict.

Fulfills the Moral Inquiry and Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirements.Course may be applied to the American Studies program.

3

REL 236

Faith in Christ and Religious Pluralism

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

Students will grapple with the issues involved in Christianity's engagement with other religious traditions through the lens of its understanding of Jesus. Students will look at the development of the classical doctrines about Christ and their connections to Christians' understanding of their relationship to non-Christians in past eras. Students will also consider recent Christian attempts to address the question of pluralism.

3

REL 238

Migrants, Immigrants, Refugees: Justice Issues and Catholic Responses

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An examination of the "immigrant" dimension of the American Catholic Church, past and present, exposing the injustices experienced by the marginalized outsider/newcomer, exploring the Catholic Church's responses to these injustices utilizing Catholic social thought, and focusing on Hispanic culture and presence in the Catholic Church and American society.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.Course may be applied to the American Studies program.

3

REL 241

Spiritual Autobiography

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

A close reading of a variety of spiritual autobiographies from the second half of the twentieth century to discern what personal spiritual, religious, and ethical values may be coming to the fore at a time when traditional expressions of communal religion are in decline. It will center on the question: what does it mean to be "spiritual" or "religious" in the twenty-first century?

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
This course was formerly offered as REL 341 Spiritual Autobiography

3

REL 249

Sacraments, Justice, and the Moral Life

Offered: Spring Semester

The course is an introduction to the fundamentals of sacraments, including ritual, symbol, and participation, all examined in the context of right relationship with God, others, and the material world. The seven official sacraments of the Catholic Church will be explored historically and critically according to the ways in which they may build or may destroy God's Kingdom of justice.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-level Religious studies course.
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions and Moral Inquiry requirements.This course was formerly offered as REL 348 Sacraments, Justice, and the Moral Life.

3

REL 248

Christian Prayer, Liturgy and Sacrament

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An introduction to the fundamentals of Christian liturgy, including the meaning of the assembly, ritual symbol and gesture, proclamation of sacred scripture, and blessing prayers in the context of relating liturgy to life.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course .
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 252

Introduction to the New Testament

Offered: Spring Semester

Literature of the New Testament in its religious and historical context. Life and ministry of Jesus, origins of earliest Christianity, the role of Paul, and the development of the Church.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course .
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry and Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirements.

3

REL 253

Models of the Church: Historical Developments

Offered: Spring Semester

A study of various forms of the Church from its Apostolic beginnings, through the institutionalization process and Vatican II reforms, up to the present development of Base Christian Communities.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 254

Global Catholicism

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

Examination of the Catholic Church as it is understood in the historical, cultural, political, economic and religious context in various regions of the world. The course will utilize the documents of the five Special Synods of Bishops from Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas and Oceania Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortations in reaction to the Synods' deliberations.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 256

Church and Social Justice

Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

An examination of the Catholic Church's relationship to society and its responses to a variety of social, political, and economic issues.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions and Moral Inquiry requirements.

3

REL 262

Religion in America

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An examination of a variety of religious ideas, institutions, and traditions in the United States from the colonial period to the present. Special emphasis is placed upon questions of religious pluralism, religion and cultural identity, and religion in public life.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.Course may be applied to the American Studies program.

3

REL 267

Liberation Theology: Latin American Perspectives

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An examination of the development of liberation theology in the historical, political, economic, and cultural contexts of Latin America's struggle to move from colonialism to freedom. The course also explores feminist theology, ecological theology, and indigenous people's theology that are rooted in liberation theology.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement. Course may be applied to the Latin American Studies program.

3

REL 288

Religion and Sports

Offered: Alternate Years: Spring 2018, 2020

Most sports originated in ancient religious ceremonies and rituals. This course will examine both the religious and historical beginnings of sports, while also exploring the many phenomenal similarities between religion and sports. The course will investigate the ways that both religion and sports influence, alter, and even fulfill the spiritual, social, and psychological needs of their respective adherents.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies course
Course may be applied to the Sports, Science & Society program.

3

REL 300

The Catholic Tradition: Past and Present

Offered: Fall Semester

A study of Catholicism from historical and theological perspectives to aid students in attaining an appreciation for the richness of the Catholic Tradition in the past and present. Scripture, sacramental life, doctrinal teachings and development, moral issues, and the future Church direction are explored.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 303

The Virgin Mary and Visions of the Feminine in Christianity

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

The development of the Church's understanding of the Virgin Mary and of other feminine aspects of the transcendent in Christian spirituality. The course begins with Mary's ideological antecedents and the issue of the "historical Mary." It explores the relationship between images of the Virgin and theologies, controversies, and heresies, as well as contemporary feminist understandings of Mary and of the divine as feminine.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.Course may be applied to the Latin American Studies program with permission of the Program Director.

3

REL 316

Neoplatonism

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

A study of the seminal writings of the Neoplatonists, their sources, and their influence on the development of later religious traditions.

3

REL 325

Theology and Community Service

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An exploration of questions about the relationship of theology and community service in contemporary society, in the context of a search for insight and understanding into personal experiences while volunteering service in a local social service agency. Offered jointly by Religious Studies and Campus Ministry.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

4

REL 327

Vatican II: Revolution or Reform

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An in-depth reading and analysis of the principal Vatican II documents to demonstrate how Catholicism today is transformed from earlier history. Contemporary issues, as understood in the light of the Vatican II Church, are explored.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 329

Justice, Peace, Ecology

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

The local and global environmental crisis is examined from the perspective of contemporary theological developments, recent biblical scholarship, ecumenical statements, and Roman Catholic social teaching communicated in various papal and episcopal statements on the current crisis.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 333

The American Catholic Experience

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

A critical examination and analysis of the peoples, events, and ideas that shaped American Catholicism from the era of discovery to the 21st century. Catholicism's minority status and the perennial tension of being American and Catholic are used as guiding principles in this study.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 334

The Mystery of Evil

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

In a world of violence and vengeance, enmity and injustice, disease and natural disaster, the problem of evil is an ever present reality prompting the deepest and most urgent questions for humanity. This course introduces important philosophical and theological perspectives on evil, considers the persistent challenge of theodicy, as well as the inherent limitations of theodical projects, and examines questions on the origin of evil, the possibility of human evil, the ability to name evil in the context of cultural pluralism, and the possibility of hope for overcoming evil.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore Standing
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 337

The God Question: Modern Challenges to Faith and Christian Responses

Offered: Fall Semester

This course traces the historical development of the character of both modern theism and atheism in response to certain views about human knowing that arose in the age of modern science and in confrontation with particular strains of Western Enlightenment thought. It also considers some of the changing perspectives on the divine mystery that have arisen from certain significant theological projects of recent time, among them liberation, feminist, ecological, political, and various contextual theologies.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing.
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

REL 340

Jesus and Moral Decisions

Offered: Spring Semester

Jesus and Moral Decisions challenges students to ask, "What would Jesus do?" when faced with contemporary moral decisions. Through the use of Gospels, and secondary sources, students will lead discussions and write essays that address Jesus' answer(s) to moral decisions today.

Fulfills the Moral Inquiry and Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirements.

3

REL 346

Feast or Famine? The Mass in the Modern Age

Offered: Fall Semester

An exploration of the theological study of the celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass, with a focus on the historical development of the Eucharist, various models of eucharistic celebration, and, the writings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI as a window on critical ecclesial and social issues that surface with regard to the Mass in the modern world.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions requirement.

3

Complete One World Religions Course

Code Course Credits

LC 342

Learning Community: Yoga, Mindfulness and Indian Philosophy

Offered: Fall Semesters

This Learning community has two parts:

A theoretical component where we study Indian philosophy and its Western adoption. We will study classical Indian philosophy (including but not limited to the Bhagavad Gita and Buddhist scriptures), investigate our Western fascination with 'the mystical East', including the hatha yoga tradition, and examine some of the current research on the benefits of contemplation and on the mindfulness movement. A practicum, where we practice hatha yoga (first hour) and discuss the experience of doing yoga on and off our yoga mats, exploring how you might use mindfulness and yoga as tools to slow down and to center, becoming more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and better balancing your priorities (second hour).

Fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement. This LC may fulfill an elective in Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Asian Studies.

4

PHL 253

Asian Philosophies

Offered: Fall Semester

What is the nature of the self? What is the divine like? How should we live? What happens when we die? In this course, we discuss answers to these and many other questions from some of the rich philosophical traditions outside the Western world.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Philosophy course.
Course may be applied to the Asian Studies minor.

3

REL 206

Islamic Traditions

Offered: Alternate Years: Spring 2017, 2019

Studies the Arabian environment, Muhammed (founder), Qur'an (sacred writings), and mysticism, sects, and legal and social institutions of Islam.

Course may be applied to the Middle Eastern Studies minor.

3

REL 209

Religion and Culture of the Jewish People

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

A survey of key texts, beliefs, and practices of Jewish culture and religious practice, including the Bible, classic texts, holidays and holy days, Zionism, modern American Jews, and Israel.

Course may be applied to the Middle Eastern Studies minor.

3

REL 247

Topics in Religious Approaches to Moral Issues

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

Explores how religious traditions address moral issues, paying particular attention to assumptions about human nature and the good, the bases on which the moral system or religion(s) being studied generates arguments about specific issues, that system's modes of moral argumentation, and its applicability to contemporary issues. The course also includes comparative analysis of the moral system relative to at least one other religious tradition.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement.This course was formerly offered as REL 347 Topics in Religious Approaches to Moral Inquiries.

3

REL 275

Hard Rockin' Jews: Judaism and Pop Culture in Israel

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

For 2000 years Judaism has been a minority religion in majority "other" cultures. With the establishment of Israel, Judaism became the majority culture of a nation-state. This course examine how the religion of Judaism both influences and is influenced by the secular culture of the modern State of Israel.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Course may be applied to the Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies minors.

3

REL 301

Islam and the Bible: Jewish and Muslim Morality and Ethics

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

As brother religions vying for the same sacred history, Islam and Judaism trace the genesis of their spiritual and biological communities back to the very same founding parents. Yet Islam is not Judaism, Muslims are not Jews, and vice versa. Rather, the two traditions are, and understand themselves to be, distinct entities with distinct value systems. By comparing the Jewish and Muslim accounts of the shared Biblical ancestors, as well the often colorful exegesis on these narratives, this course will investigate various matters of moral and ethical concern to these communities and the lessons thereby imparted by each tradition.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement.Course may be applied to the Middle Eastern Studies minor.

3

REL 307

Buddhist Ethics

Offered: Spring Semester

An exploration of traditional Buddhist ethics, moral arguments Buddhists have advanced about contemporary issues, and points of comparison with philosophical and Christian ethics.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement.Course may be applied to the Asian Studies minor.

3

REL 314

Mysticism: The Experience of Transcendence

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

A study of mysticism from its origins in the Greek world to its expression in Christian and non-Christian forms. A "hands-on'' approach to mystical practices is encouraged, and the reading of mystical texts is supplemented by field trips to contemplative communities.

3

REL 315

Dreams and the Sacred

Offered: Spring Semester

A study of the role of dreams and other rites of divination in ancient and modern religious experience. Biblical and classical sources are examined, and contemporary attempts to recover the sacred dimension of dreams also are considered.

3

REL 316

Neoplatonism

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

A study of the seminal writings of the Neoplatonists, their sources, and their influence on the development of later religious traditions.

3

REL 323

Gods and War: Religion, Ideology, and Nationalism in Japan and the United States

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An exploration of how religions in Japan and the United States have helped formulate national identities and mobilize citizens for war.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Course fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement and may be applied to the Asian Studies minor.

3

REL 336

Women in the Islamic Tradition

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

The treatment of women and women's issues in the Islamic tradition through both primary sources (in translation) and secondary sources: women in Muhammad's life and the role they played in Islamic society; the treatment of women and women-related issues in the Islamic tradition, including both legal and non-legal matters; and the writings of modern Muslim women scholars on Islam as they look at these same issues with a new perspective and present new interpretations.

Course may be applied to the Gender & Sexuality Studies and Middle Eastern Studies programs.

3

REL 338

Sex and God: Love Songs in Medieval Spain

Offered: Not Offered 2016-2017

An examination of the secular love poetry penned by religious scholars of the 10th-13th centuries in medieval Spain. We will explore the ways in which these pious standard-bearers of religion used sacred images and accounts from the Bible/Qur'an and exegetical traditions in their secular love poems, to both male and female beloveds, and what messages were thus embedded.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Course may be applied to the Gender & Sexuality Studies and Middle Eastern Studies programs.

3

REL 373

Buddhism, Nature & Environmental Ethics

Offered: Fall Semester

An exploration of traditional Buddhist views of nature, especially in the Zen tradition, in relation to popular images of Buddhism and recent statements by Buddhist thinkers about environmental issues. Drawing from the field of Environmental Ethics, this course will also consider what a rigorous Buddhist environmental ethic might entail.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-Level Religious Studies Cornerstone Course.
Fulfills the Moral Inquiry requirement.Course may be applied to the Asian Studies minor.

3

Complete Three Elective Courses

The three elective courses may come any of the lists above or other courses as approved by a Religious Studies faculty member.