Course Description

Religious Studies

REL 305
World Religions [Lecture] (3.0)
(Liberal Arts)
This study will focus on Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, giving attention to the origins, development, literature, and belief systems of these religions. Issues of inter-religious dialogue will be examined. Also listed as THE 305. Prerequisites: BIB 101 and 102, HST 102 or 103, PHL 202-Religion, and THE 275, or permission of the instructor.

REL 325
Islam [Lecture] (3.0)
(Liberal Arts)
This course provides the student with a beginning survey course in one of the great global religions, Islam. We will probe the historical origins of Islam, examine its growth and diversity, and inquire into the modern day manifestations in countries around the globe. The course will be historical, textual, and phenomenological. As one of the basic courses in the Religious Studies major at Roberts Wesleyan College, it will be taught both within the context of the college and at the same time current world events. As an academic subject, this course is not faith-based, nor is it the intention to convert anyone, but rather, to examine in a higher-educational setting in the context of the study of world religions, to think academically and critically about the origins, manifestation and influence of Islam. Guest speakers and trips to mosques will make the learning experiential. Prerequisites: BIB 101, 102, and PHL 202-Religion. (Offered on demand)

REL 330
Buddhism [Lecture] (3.0)
(Liberal Arts)
This course examines the variegated and diverse manifestations of Buddhism in the world today, and in historical development. The various phenomena of this world religion, in practice and community, ritual and interaction, will be examined within the context of the Religion and Humanities Division of Roberts Wesleyan College. As one of the core courses in Religious Studies, we will examine our subject as an academic subject in a college classroom, thinking critically and analyzing for the purpose of learning by experience, contact, and conversation. The course will contain experiential aspects, including experience with local Buddhists, and will involve research and writing components. A particular part of the class will be examining Buddhist inter-faith dialogue, especially Buddhist-Jewish and Buddhist-Christian dialogue. Prerequisites: BIB 101, 102, and PHL 202-Religion. (Offered on demand)

REL 335
Hinduism [Lecture] (3.0)
(Liberal Arts)
This is a course in one of the most diverse and fascinating of the religions which have spread throughout the world. We will examine various manifestations of Hinduism, the geographical and ritual diversity of Hinduism, issues of tradition and practice, and challenges for the future facing Hinduism. As such, this class will be an exercise in enlarging our world of thought and experience. It can be noted at the outset that Hinduism is a term which covers a huge diversity of religious beliefs. There is no single founder, unlike Christianity or Islam. There is no unifying authority, no single authoritative text, no common confession or creed. It is not a "western" religion in its origins, though its spread is deep into western societies today. Since Hinduism is inseparable from its roots in India some 2000 to 1500 years before the birth of Christ, we will examine the Indian context of Hinduism, past and present. Likewise, since a sea change has occurred in the west with Indian immigration to America, especially since the 1960's, we will examine manifestations of Hinduism in the United States specifically, and in the west generally. This course will be taught in the context of the Religion and Humanities Division of Roberts Wesleyan College, with common values of the liberal arts and historic Christianity. As such, the course will be an academic exercise in the study of religion, and the teaching and learning of Hinduism will be fitting to the context of higher education. Prerequisites: BIB 101, 102, and PHL 202-Religion. (Offered on demand)

REL 375
New Religious Movements [Lecture] (3.0)
(Liberal Arts)
This course is part of the Religious Studies major at Roberts Wesleyan College, and as such is an academic, rather than faith-based, course in religion. Our topic is New Religious Movements, which will examine, from a sociological perspective, the reasons for the rise and development of religious movements. Then, we will concentrate on a movement with global reach, yet with origins within a few miles of our college campus: Mormonism. We will examine apocalyptic expectations in early 19th century America, the spawning of "religions made in America." Then we will examine the life and times of Joseph Smith, the moves westward to Illinois and then Utah, the Mormon "Wars," and splits within the community. We will examine practices and beliefs, the way Mormonism has influenced and been influenced by American culture, and then the global reach of Mormonism. We will visit Palmyra, a temple, and hear speakers describe Mormonism from both insider and outsider perspectives. Prerequisites: BIB 101, 102, and PHL 202-Religion. (Offered on demand)

REL 390
History & Polity of the Free Methodist Church [Lecture] (3.0)
(Liberal Arts)
The course provides an overview of the origin, development, government, beliefs and practices of the Free Methodist Church. For those pursuing ordination in the Free Methodist Church, this class fulfills the denominational requirement for a course in Free Methodist History and Polity. (Offered on demand)

REL 495
Independent Study in Religious Studies [Independent Study] (1.0-3.0)
(Liberal Arts)
Independent study provides opportunity to pursue advanced or special-interest topics not covered in the curriculum. Prerequisites: 1. Junior standing. 2. A minimum of 9 semester hours in the discipline of the Independent Study. 3. A minimum grade point average of 2.50 in the discipline. 4. Proof of motivation and ability to work independently. 5. Approval of the department in which the study is to be taken. 6. Permission from the student's advisor, the course instructor, the Department Chair, the Academic Dean, and the Registrar.


The number in parentheses following the course title indicates the semester hours of credit assigned to the course.
An H following the course number indicates an honors level course.