Religion and Philosophy Major (BA)
Religion and Philosophy Minor
Philosophical problems, methods, and values as they have developed in various world cultures, with a comparison between Western and non-Western world views, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Emphasis is given to the ways different world views affect international relations today.
Survey of several major living religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, and Islam. Students will study each religion in terms of its social, cultural, historical, ritual, and symbolic experiences.
The course examines the place of ethics within philosophy and religion, major ethical theories, and how ethical theories can be applied to contemporary issues, such as abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, the environment, and euthanasia.
The class examines how all aspects of Ancient Greek civilization fit together into a unified worldview. Among other aspects of the culture, we will discuss the mythology (religion); the religious rituals; the cultural context of the Olympics; the cultural context of the performance of tragedies; and the political- legal system, including trial by jury and political decisions determined by an assembly of citizens. We will read literary and philosophical texts including some Pre-Socratic philosophers, Hesiod’s creation story, Homer, Greek tragedy, Plato, and excerpts from Aristotle in order to better understand the worldview underlying the texts. All along the way, we will be looking for analogies with our own experiences in culture. We will reflect upon the lessons the Ancient Greeks were trying to pass on to posterity and the ways those lessons are or are not relevant for us today.
One RPH class, HIS 201, or permission of the instructor.
Readings from Western and non-Western texts on the nature of art with emphasis on issues of race, gender, multiculturalism, and the natural environment. Central questions include the following: What is art? What is beauty? What is creativity? What is the relationship between a work of art and the artist? The audience? The critic? What is the relationship between art and politics? Ethics? Education? Psychology? Religion? Reason? Faith? What makes an experience an aesthetic experience?
Permission of instructor.
Study of the basic approaches and principles of Christian ethics with special attention to the ethics of character and the use of the Bible and theology in ethics. Application will be made to several contemporary ethical issues, including character formation; marriage, family, and sexuality; the sanctity of life; and environmental issues.
RPH 110, 120, or 130
An examination of the four canonical gospels, along with some non-canonical documents (e.g., Gospel of Thomas), in terms of their literary and historical meanings to better understand the nature of Jesus Christ as a focus of religious faith and as a focus of historical research.
RPH 110, RPH 120, or RPH 130 or permission of instructor.
Survey of the history of Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the 15th century. Topics include the Christianization of Europe, the evolution of feudalism, the rise of the papacy, the Crusades and the Hundred Years’ War. (Same as HIS 331)
HIS 201 or permission of the instructor.
An examination of the history of beliefs regarding the treatment of women, the Women’s Movement in the West, and international women’s issues today. Beginning in Ancient Crete, the course will discuss how ideas surrounding human nature and the human condition have led to social institutions and expectations which affect women’s experiences in relation to sexuality, gender, marriage, child rearing, education, religion, the legal system, economics, politics, and the relation between culture and nature. The last half of the class will focus on issues women face today, in particular the impact of race, class, ethnicity, post-colonialism, and economic globalization.
one RPH class or permission of the instructor.
“Know thyself,” “an unexamined life is not worth living,” “nothing in excess.” Most Westerners have heard these expressions and know something about the Gold Age of Athens. Plato was born when Athens was thought to be the greatest democratic society in human history. He watched as ignorance, lust, pride, greed, delusions, arrogance, and self-absorption led to the collapse of the great “free and open society.” The “liberals” destroyed Athens with their self-indulgence, the conservatives destroyed Athens with their religious and intellectual intolerance, those who sought military or economic empire building drove the city to overextended itself and fall apart. The dialogues read in this class take place before Athens destroyed itself. Plato’s readers must have natural intelligence and educational opportunity and be living in a society that allows citizens free intellectual inquiry. He is showing his readers what the Athenians made.
at least one RPH class and junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.
An examination of the political thinkers who started the Western political tradition. Concentrating on original sources, students will consider the origin of political philosophy in selected works by such authors as Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle. (Same as POL 351)
The rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire from 330 to 1453 with emphasis on the political, social, and economic structures of Byzantium and the religion and culture of its peoples. In addition, students will study the influence of Byzantium on the Slavs, Arabs, Turks, and Western European kingdoms. (Same as HIS 354)
HIS 201 or permission of instructor.
An exploration of the causes and consequences of the Reformation with emphasis on understanding he role of the major reformers such as Luther, Calvin, and Loyola. In addition, students will explore the Reformation’s sociopolitical and cultural dimensions. (Same as HIS 355)
HIS 201 or permission of instructor.
An introduction to the theory and practice of several vital critical approaches to literature, including cultural-historical, psychoanalytic, deconstructive, and feminist methodologies. Readings will include selections from primary theoretical texts by such figures as Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, Irigaray, Barthes, Derrida, Saussure, and Foucault, as well as selected literary texts to be interpreted through the various critical methods. This course is highly recommended for students interested in attending graduate school in literature, arts, and humanities. (Same as ENG 365)
ENG 290 or 291 OR any 300-level foreign-language literature course. Students in other disciplines who are interested in critical theory may enroll with permission of instructor.
Readings in environmental ethics that address the ways Western and non-Western philosophies have shaped understanding of the environment and responses to environmental problems. Discussions will revolve around utilitarianism, libertarianism, Christianity, Hinduism, and deep ecology. Among the problems discussed will be overpopulation, global warming, and various plans for addressing environmental needs.
100-level RPH course
Students will do in-depth research and complete a project or paper on a topic either in Religion or Philosophy, or connecting Religious and Philosophical insights to other academic disciplines. With the approval of RPH faculty, students majoring in disciplines other than Religion and Philosophy are also invited to take this course.