RELS 2001 Introduction to World Religions
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the academic study of the world’s major religious traditions, including their beliefs, practices, sacred texts, and moral codes. Religions to be examined may include Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Native American traditions, and African religions.

RELS 3050 Introduction to Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the study of religion with reference to its historical, philosophical, and ethical significance. The meaning of religious institutions, texts, and world views will be explored through the study of selected traditions.

RELS 3060 Religion and Science
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Explores contemporary perspectives on the relation between religion and science as well as historical conflicts that arose over new forms of scientific knowledge. Topics may include the Galileo controversy, debates about Newtonian physics, conflicts between creationism and evolution, scientific studies of prayer and the afterlife, and recent advancements in biomedical research.

RELS 3200 Indigenous Religions of the Americas
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Explores indigenous American religions through a series of themes that link several geo-cultural groups that span and represent native North, Meso- and South America. Examines themes such as creation, land, language, ritual, performance and material culture in historical and contemporary cultures native to the Americas, including the Mexica-Aztec, Maya, Inca, Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, Navajo, Lakota (Sioux), Ojibwe (Anishinaabeg) and other.

RELS 3230 Philosophy of Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 3230.) Issues such as the nature of religion, arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, faith and reason, religious experience, immortality, myth and symbol, and alternative religious philosophies.

RELS 3250 Biblical Studies
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the interpretation, history, and theology of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Modern methods of biblical scholarship, such as hermeneutics and form/source criticism.

RELS 3255 Relition in American Life
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

This course will give you a basic understanding of the history of religion in the United States. The history of American religion, like the history of American culture in general, is enormously complex, a tale of fertile pluralism, disagreement, and conflict.

RELS 3260 Asian Religions in America
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the history and development of Asian religious traditions in the United States, focusing on Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism. Consideration given to immigrant practitioners and American-born converts. Also will consider how Asian religions have shaped American culture.

RELS 3270 Survey of World Religions
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Survey and comparison of the beliefs and practices of the major world religions including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

RELS 3290 Jesus Inside and Outside the Gospels
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Comparative study of portrayals of Jesus as they have evolved over the past two millenia. Topics may include the differences between the Synoptic and Johannine materials, non-canonical gospels, the way Jesus is depicted in texts from other religions (e.g., Quran, Gandhi’s “What Jesus Means to Me”), and visual depictions of Jesus, including in modern media such as film and the internet.

RELS 3300 Early Christianity
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Topics may include God, faith, the role of the Church, and the nature of human beings in the thought of figures such as Paul, Augustine and Aquinas; and alternatives to Orthodoxy such as Gnosticism, Arianism, and Pelagianism.

RELS 3305 Modern Christian Thought
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of the development of Christian thought from the 16th century to contemporary times. Topics may include the thought of figures such as Luther, Kierkegaard, and Schleiermacher; the rise of rationalism and science; and anti-Christian thinkers.

RELS 3310 Contemporary Religious Thought
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Topics such as religious existentialism, hermeneutics, liberation theology, fundamentalism, and feminist theology.

RELS 3350 New Religious Movements
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of new and emerging religious movements. Topics may include recent apocalyptic and messianic movements, Mormonism, Baha’i, Soka Gakkai, Christian Science, the Unification Church, and Santeria.

RELS 3400 Introduction to Judaism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as MES 3400.) Central practices and beliefs of the Jewish tradition; historical development of Judaism from its origins to the re-establishment of the state of Israel with thematic attention given to the concept of Jewish identity. Texts include primary sources (e.g., Hebrew Bible, Mishnah) in translation, as well as noted Jewish fiction.

RELS 3500 Introduction to Islam
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as MES 3500.) Central practices and beliefs of Islam; readings from the Qur’an, hadith, and other primary sources (in translation); and contemporary issues in Islam which might include the status of women, Nation of Islam, and Islamic fundamentalism/revivalism.

RELS 3520 Sufism and Islamic Mysticism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as MES 3520.)
This course offers an advanced survey of some of the most distinguishing characteristics of Sufism. Topics to be covered include: The rise of ascetic and mystical tendencies in Islam; the development of Sufism and the Sufi brotherhoods; the conflict between Sufism and Islamic law, and their eventual reconciliation; anti-Sufi polemics of reformers and fundamentalists in modern times; the continuing importance and vitality of Sufism today.

RELS 3530 Muslim Women: Issues and Practices
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examines the ways that Muslim women have been portrayed as victims of patriarchal norms, as well as the ways in which Islam has provided Muslim women with a platform to engage in action in public and private arenas. Explores the historical conditions within which gender norms and practices associated with Islam have become sites of contestation.

RELS 3600 Greek Mythology
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

The course is designed to provide a survey of Classic Greek mythology as embedded primarily in the Homeric poems, and then to explore the subsequent history of transformative adaptation, contestation, conscious appropriation, or outright rejection of that tradition in subsequent historical periods. Structuring the course in this way will permit surprising connections, such as viewing Socrates and Jesus as mythic figures; viewing the New Testament as a chapter in the history of Greek literature; viewing Roman adaptations as more creative and less crudely imitative than is normally allowed; and looking at the Classical rediscovery among several prominent African-American and Afro-Caribbean writers.

RELS 3750 Theories and Methods in Religious Studies-CTW
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

A writing-intensive introduction to methodological and theoretical issues in the academic study of religion. Psychological, anthropological, sociological, phenomenological, theological, dialogical, and feminist approaches may be covered. Serves as one of the two Critical Thinking Through Writing (CTW) courses required of all religious studies majors.

RELS 3900 Religion and Popular Culture
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Exploration of “popular religion” in American culture, utilizing both scholarly and mainstream materials. Topics may include holiday celebrations, tensions between sciences (or science-fiction) and religion, western appropriations of eastern traditions, and religion in the mass media.

RELS 3950 Religion, Morality and Film
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of the new religious possibilities, new religious visions, and moral consequences created by the emergence of modern film. Topics may include a survey of film in different cultures, the history of film codes and regulations in the United States, and debates about the proper use of images in religion.

RELS 3970 Tragedy and Comedy
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examines the categories “tragedy” and “comedy” and how the investigations of these categories developed from Aeschylus to Aristophanes. Includes examination of the compatibility of the Classical Greek vision, which was nominally “pagan,” with later Mediterranean religious sensibilities that were consciously monotheistic and scriptural in their orientation. Also looks at the Shakespearean canon and the relevance of tragedy in the modern age.

RELS 4030 Introduction to Human Rights
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduces students to historical and contemporary debates around human rights. Drawing on scholarship from disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, political philosophy, religious studies, and literature, students will review case studies in order to bring different scholarly perspectives to bare on human rights claims in a globalized world.

RELS 4040 Augustine and Aquinas
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4040.) Selected works of the major religious philosophers of the Middle Ages with emphasis on their views on topics such as God, sin, human nature, free will, faith, and politics.

RELS 4060 Evil and God
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

What is evil. Does the existence of evil in the world challenge belief in God. When we encounter famine, disease, hurricanes, torture, war, or poverty, who (or what) do we hold responsible. How can bad things happen to good people. The course will examine how these questions are approached in religious thought, and also in philosophy, literature, and film.

RELS 4080 Religious Dimensions in Human Experience
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examines religions as integral aspects of human cultures. Integrates theoretical and methodological approaches to religious studies that center on human experiences, expressions, practices and beliefs with examples from particular historical and geographical locations. Topics and source materials may include material culture, archaeology, visual culture, literature, aesthetics, film and ethnography.

RELS 4100 Religious Studies Study Abroad
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

No prerequisite. Provides students with opportunities to study religious life and practice outside of the United States. Includes travel to selected sites for visitation and study led by faculty familiar with the site’s history and religious significance. Also includes direct supervision of students’ on-the-ground experience of religious life around the globe. Open to majors and non-majors. No foreign language necessary; instruction will be in English. Enrollment must be approved by program director.

RELS 4140 Religion and American Law
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Explores the intersection of religion and American law, focusing on First Amendment jurisprudence. Topics include religion and public schools, government funding for religious institutions, public religious monuments, and the free exercise of religion. Also may consider the historical origins of religious freedom, the role of law in religion, religion’s position in American public life, and alternative legal frameworks.

RELS 4200 Religion in America
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the religious experiences of Americans from colonial times to the present. Topics may include Native American religion, Puritanism, Mormonism, spiritualism, Reform Judaism, Catholic modernism, Islam, fundamentalism, and African-American religion.

RELS 4225 Psychology and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

This course will survey the fields of psychology and religious studies. Addressing this tension, our course is designed to create a constructive, respectful dialogue between both perspective. Can we conceive ways in which religious behavior and the study of religion may inform, or even construct, psychological theory. Conversely, how do psychological perspectives and cognitive science tell a richer, deeper story of what is happening in religious experiences. We will consider postmodern and qualitative critiques to such investigations, as well as the emerging field in “explaining” religion through cognitive science and evolutionary theory. This course will also consider Eastern forms of religious expression and spirituality.

RELS 4240 Death and the Afterlife
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the general beliefs and practices associated with death and the afterlife in several world religious traditions. Topics may include religious perspectives on the process of dying, treatment of the body, methods of grieving, views of suicide and martyrdom, and contemporary issues surrounding death and the afterlife.

RELS 4245 Cognitive Foundations of Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

This course will explore the neural foundations and cognitive mechanisms of religious behavior and experiences. This course will also look at the evolutionary development of religion, the more recent findings in cognitive processing of particular religious beliefs, and the neural imaging of religious experiences.

RELS 4250 African-American Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as AAS 4250.) Survey of the development of African-American religion from colonial times to the present, including an examination of both theological arguments and spiritual experiences.

RELS 4255 Religion, Race, Nation
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

From colonialism to black nationalism to globalization, how do the three issues of religion, race, and nation affect each other. How has religious thought dealt with issues of race, and how has the concept of race been shape by religious thought. How do racial and religious communities differ. We will approach these questions using theory, world literature, and film.

RELS 4260 Religion and Literature
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examines how religious institutions, beliefs, and values have been presented in and challenged within novels. Readings include works by authors from various religious communities as well as theoretical work done by scholars working in the field of religion and literature.

RELS 4270 Women and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Multicultural exploration of the role of women and female divinities in diverse religious traditions; readings from ancient myths to contemporary feminist theology.

RELS 4290 Pilgrimage
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Exploration of the central role played by pilgrimage in world religious traditions, including study of its vital social and religious functions. Examples from Judaism, Chirstianity, Islam, Hinduim, Buddhism, as well as theoretical readings on the phenomenon of pilgrimage.

RELS 4295 Religion, Sport and Spirituality
Credit Hours 3.0
Prerequisites at least one course in Religious Studies, or consent of the instructor
Description

A comparative study of the ancient and modern Olympics with an emphasis on the religious character of these games. Questions explored may include: why were the games shut down by the newly Christianized Roman Empire for religious reasons, and why were they revived in the nineteenth century?.

RELS 4300 Metaphysics
Credit Hours 3.0
Prerequisites one upper-level course in philosophy or religious studies
Description

(Same as PHIL 4300.) Topics may include personal identity and human nature; space, time, matter, and causality; freedom and determinism; teleology; conceptions of divinity; and world views and paradigm shifts.

RELS 4400 Internship in Religious Studies
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Supervised worked coupled with academic instruction. Students may propose internships they have been able to arrange (although these must be approved by the department faculty member supervising the internship and the undergraduate or graduate director, as appropriate). Students may also choose from several internship opportunities established by the department, including internships in the media, non-profit administration, business, and government.

RELS 4430 American Jewish History
Credit Hours 4.0
Description

This course surveys the Jewish experience in the United States, examining the religious, cultural, political, and economic activities of American Jews from the colonial period to the present. Students will explore the ways Jewish tradition has been adapted in America, what the relationship of American Jews has been to other Americans, and how American Jewish identities have been created from modern Jews’ dual impulses for integration and distinctiveness. The course will include a significant examination of issues with regional identity, with particular focus on Southern Jewish experience. We will explore Jewish relationships with black and white gentile southerners, as well as southern Jews’ embrace of southern culture and southern identity. This course will also familiarize students with the excellent resources on Atlanta Jewish history available at local archives.

RELS 4450 Modern Judaism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as MES 4420.) Key issues and historical events shaping Judaism in the modern world, including Zionism, the development of Jewish denominations, the Holocaust, Middle East conflict, women’s roles in Jewish life, and the development of Judaism in the United States. No previous knowledge of Judaism is required; all readings are in English.

RELS 4460 Judaism in the South
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of the historical and cultural development of Judaism in the American south. Topics may include Jewish immigrants, issues of assimilation, Jews and the Civil War, Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, the Leo Frank case, the Temple bombing in Atlanta, and contemporary issues in Southern Jewish life.

RELS 4465 Religion in the American South
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examines the historical and cultural development of Religion in the American South. Students will explore the increasing religious diversity in the “New South” and discuss the ways in which southern religious values have shaped conversations on race, sex, gender, politics, nationalism, science, and social reform.

RELS 4470 Martin Buber: His Thought and Influence
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

An exploration of Buber’s writings on subjects such as Hasidic folklore, Asian thought, dialogical philosophy, and Middle Eastern politics, with consideration of how his work has been received both inside and outside of Jewish circles.

RELS 4480 Modern Islam: Traditions and Transformation
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

The purpose of this course is to understand the Islamic tradition in the contemporary world through a study of its history, society, institutions, as well as its various relationships to non-Muslim societies and cultures. The task is to try to gain familiarity with the multiple manifestations and transformations of Islam from the pre-modern to the modern periods, with an emphasis on the changes brought about by the rise of European hegemony and colonial modernity. As a survey, the course will review broad socio-historical patterns in order to give students the ability to better assess a range of contemporary issues related to Islam as well as provide a basis through which further investigations can be made.

RELS 4483 Contemporary Issues in Islamic Faith and Practice
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

What challenges has the modern period posed to Islamic faith and practice. This course treats a number of issues –such as gender and family, the formation of the modern nation state, and minority Muslim populations –as a way to explore changing constructions of authority and evolving beliefs and practices within contemporary Muslim populations.

RELS 4485 Ethics and Morality in the Islamic Tradition
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

How have morality and ethics been articulated in the Islamic tradition. What determines moral weight of any given action, whether something is “right” or “wrong” for Muslims. Many have argued that Islamic Law (Shariah) is the locus where ethics and morality are discussed in the Islamic tradition, but are there other modes of discourse that deal with these subjects (such as hadith studies and Sufism). This course will explore the above questions as an introduction to the study of ethics and morality of Islam.

RELS 4490 Topics in Judaism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as MES 4460.) Examination of selected topics in Judaism. May be repeated if topic varies.

RELS 4500 Ethics of Violence
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

In this course we will work our way through theoretical, ethnographic and fictional texts in order to explore the different ways in which violence has been examined as a dimension of human experience.

RELS 4570 Special Topics in Islam
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as MES 4440.) Investigation of a specific theme, figure(s), or text(s) within Islam, such as Islamic ethics, historical portrayals of Muhammad, or the Nation of Islam. May be repeated if topic varies.

RELS 4580 Life of Muhammad
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as MES 4450.) Study and contrast of various perspectives of the life of the Prophet Muhammad including medieval Muslim hagiographies, medieval European polemics, and modern reinterpretations of both Muslims and non-Muslims.

RELS 4610 Hinduism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4610.) Introduction to the Hindu gods and goddesses, Hindu temple and domestic worship, and key themes in modern Hinduism. Will include an overview of the development of Hindu thought and practice from ancient times to the present.

RELS 4612 Hindu Sacred Myths and Epics
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the classic religious texts in the Hindu tradition. Readings include selections from the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, the Satapatha Brahmana, the Yogasutras, the Mahabharata (including the Bhagavad Gita), devotional poetry, and writings from several modern Hindu religious leaders. All reading in English translation; no prior knowledge of Hinduism necessary.

RELS 4615 Buddhism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4615.) Historical introduction to the Buddhist tradition, tracing its development in India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Japan, and the West.

RELS 4620 Confucianism and Taoism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4620.) Historical introduction to Chinese religion and philosophy, tracing developments in Confucianism and Taoism. Some consideration given to Chinese Buddhism and popular religion.

RELS 4622 Classical Chinese Philosophy
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Focused exploration of the surviving works from the ‘Hundred Schools Period’ of ancient China, (roughly 550 – 200 BCE). Readings include the Analects of Confucius, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, and several works by lesser known thinkers from various philosophical schools.

RELS 4625 Zen and Shinto
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4625.) Historical introduction to Japanese religion and philosophy, tracing its developments in Shinto, folk religion, and various Buddhist schools. Special consideration given to Zen Buddhism.

RELS 4628 Topics in Asian Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Investigation of a selected topic within Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, and/or Japanese religion. Possible topics include classical Taoist philosophy, new religions in Japan, Tibetan Buddhist texts, and human rights in Asian religion. May be repeated if topics varies.

RELS 4630 Comparative Study of Mysticism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

In-depth study of mystical texts and traditions, with special attention given to theoretical and methodological inquiry. Readings drawn from a range of traditions and historical periods, as well as from works in contemporary critical theory in the study of religion.

RELS 4640 Religion and Sexuality: The Problem of the Erotic
Credit Hours 3.0
Prerequisites at least one course in Religious Studies, or consent of instructor
Description

Beginning with a reconstruction of ancient Greek and Roman sexual attitudes, the course examines how these attitudes and practices were inherited by, and changes by, later Jewish and Christian communities. After a study of the new medieval language of heresy and expulsion in Europe, the course turns to modern rehabilitations of Classical ideas in thinkers such as Freud and Foucault.

RELS 4645 Religion & Sex in Pop Culture
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Explores religion and sexuality in forms of American popular culture such as music, television, motion pictures, fashion, print/nonprint media, and the internet. Students will also examine how popular culture has shaped religious debates about sexuality and been shaped by religious values.

RELS 4650 Religion and Ethics
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4650.) Study of the relation between religion and morality, including both Eastern and Western religious perspectives. Topics may include such issues as warfare, social justice, sexual ethics, and issues in modern medicine.

RELS 4670 Church and State
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4670.) Philosophical and theological perspectives on the relationship between church and state. Issues such as conscientious objection, school prayer, the free exercise of religion, and Islamic attitudes toward the state.

RELS 4675 Christianity and Democracy
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

No prerequisites. Examination of the complex relationship between Christianity and democracy in theory and in practice. Exploration of such questions as: Is there a necessary link between Christianity and democracy. Do democratic values conflict with Christian commitments. Must religious commitments be set aside when citizens participate in democratic deliberation?.

RELS 4680 War, Peace, and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 4680.) Comparative study of attitudes towards war and peace in major religious traditions. Topics may include the Christian just-war tradition; Islamic notions of jihad; Buddhist renunciation and pacifism; the writings of Gandhi; nuclear arms and the status of noncombatants; civil disobedience and conscientious objection; and religiously motivated terrorism.

RELS 4690 Secularism, Liberalism and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Prerequisites at least one course in Religious Studies, or consent of instructor
Description

Exploration of the role of religion and religious values in the modern, secular state with an emphasis on the past thirty years. Topics may include the defense of the principles of modern Liberalism from within religious traditions and critiques made by communitarians, Marxists, and Neo-Traditionalists.

RELS 4700 Issues in Religious Studies
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of a selected topic in religion. May be repeated if topic varies, but only six credit hours may be applied toward the major.

RELS 4750 Seminar in Religious Studies-CTW
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

A writing-intensive seminar focusing on a specific topic or sub-field. Required for all Religious Studies majors. May be repeated if topic varies. Serves as one of the two Critical Thinking Through Writing (CTW) courses required of all religious studies majors.

RELS 4870 Honors Thesis: Research
Credit Hours 1.0 TO 6.0
Prerequisites consent of the instructor and Honors Program director
Description

Readings or research preparatory to honors thesis.

RELS 4880 Honors Thesis: Writing
Credit Hours 1.0 TO 6.0
Prerequisites RELS 4870, consent of the instructor and Honors Program director
Description

Writing or production of honors thesis or project.

RELS 4890 Religion On-site in Atlanta
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduces students to various local sites that express religious communities’ traditions and practices in Atlanta. Provides instruction to students at local sites integrated with lectures and readings that explore the history and diversity of Atlanta’s religious communities. Students will learn from on-site lectures presented by lead and guest instructors; from relevant historical documents; and from contemporary literature (secondary scholarship, relevant websites and blogs, community-published material). Students will be trained to integrate information from these sources and analyze them from an academic, critical perspective.

RELS 4950 Independent Research
Credit Hours 1.0 TO 3.0
Prerequisites consent of instructor and departmental director of undergraduate studies
Description

Designed to provide students with the opportunity to do more advanced work in an area in which they already have had regular course work. Not to be used as a substitute for regular upper-level courses. May be repeated once, with approval of the director of undergraduate studies.

RELS 4995 Directed Readings B.I.S.-CTW
Credit Hours 3.0 TO 4.0
Description

Directed Readings designed for Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies students. This course may satisfy the junior and/or senior-level Critical Thinking Through Writing requirements.