Religious Studies

 

What is religious studies?

Wondering about the beliefs and practices of the world’s many religions? How do religions shape and respond to human history, culture, society and politics? What human needs do religious symbols and rituals fulfil? What do different styles of religious dress and behaviour mean to the people who adopt them? If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, religious studies should be on your list of courses and programs to consider.

Religious Studies is the scientific exploration of religion. It neither upholds a particular set of religious beliefs, nor seeks to debunk any of them. Rather it strives to understand religion and religious claims. How do different religions understand human existence or the nature and purpose of this world? What ideals for human behaviour do different religions teach? What are the highest goals for the individual and society? We explore the answers given by western religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism and eastern religions like Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism and some of the world’s newer religious movements too.

 

Why study religious studies?

One of the most asked questions about religious studies is, “What can I do with this degree?” Two obvious answers are working with the church and the school system. But there are many careers where knowledge of religion is valuable, especially those that deal with other peoples and other cultures. Careers in diplomatic services, international trade and commerce, health care, legal and social work and the media all benefit from knowing the religious sensitivities of other peoples and cultures. Memorial University is one of the best places in Canada to study religion. With 10 full-time professors, the Department of Religious Studies is one of the largest in the country. Indeed, it’s the largest English-speaking program east of Montreal. Our facilities are superb as well. In addition to one of the nation’s largest libraries, we have the archives of The Religion in Newfoundland and Labrador Collection. Simply put, if you have any questions about anything religious, we have the resources to explore them.

Courses available in first year

Religious Studies 1000
The Religions of the World is an introduction to the beliefs and practices of the world's religions.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Religious Studies 1001
Religion and Violence examines the relationship between religion(s) and violence from religious studies perspectives. Students learn the principles of scholarly analysis appropriate to the study of religious phenomena, the elements of academic assessment, and the mechanics of academic writing. Emphasis is placed on critical reading and writing, analyzing texts, evaluating sources, framing questions, organizing paragraphs, developing effective arguments, and refining presentation of written work.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None
Note: All sections of this course follow CRW guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.

Religious Studies 1010
Religion in the Modern World is an introduction to some of the major issues confronting religion in the modern world. The focus will be on such topics as globalization and religion, religious faith and violence, freedom and authority.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Religious Studies 1021
Apocalypse: The End Times in Thought, Action and Imagination will explore the many ways in which Judaism and Christianity have anticipated and imagined the end times. Attention will be given to Jewish and early Christian notions of the Messiah and his reign, the end of the world and the impending judgment, as well as how Christianity has coped repeatedly with the delay of the end and how millennial thought and action have affected people during periods of social and natural crises. The role of millennial expectations in our modern era and why the apocalypse is once again a powerful image in religion, film and literature will also be covered.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Religious Studies 1022
Jesus at the Movies examines how Jesus has been dramatized in film, investigating the reception of select Jesus films and cinematic Christ figures in academic, religious, and popular cultures, and reflecting on the sources and intentions informing the filmmaker’s work.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Religious Studies 1040
Introduction to Chinese (Mandarin) I will introduce students to the basics of Chinese vocabulary, characters and grammar. Mandarin Chinese, the official dialect of China, Taiwan and Singapore, will be taught. This course is not intended for native speakers.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None
Note: All sections of this course follow LS guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts available at www.mun.ca/hss/ls.

Religious Studies 1041
Introduction to Chinese (Mandarin) II is a continuation of Religious Studies 1040. At the end of this course students should know over a hundred Chinese characters, which should enable them to read basic texts and carry on a simple conversation. This course is not intended for native speakers.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: Religious Studies 1040
Note: All sections of this course follow LS guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts available at www.mun.ca/hss/ls.

Religious Studies 1050
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I is designed to introduce students to the elements of Biblical Hebrew in order to prepare them for reading the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in the original language. The emphasis will be upon learning the basic grammar and syntax of Biblical Hebrew.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None
Note: All sections of this course follow LS guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts available at www.mun.ca/hss/ls.

Religious Studies 1051
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew II is a continuation of Religious Studies 1050. The emphasis will be upon the reading of selected Hebrew texts.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: Religious Studies 1050
Note: All sections of this course follow LS guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts available at www.mun.ca/hss/ls.

Religious Studies 1060
Sanskrit Language Study I is an introduction to the Sanskrit language, to the (Devanagari) alphabet, basic grammar and foundational vocabulary with a focus on developing skills needed to read and translate Sanskrit texts.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None
Note: All sections of this course follow LS guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts available at www.mun.ca/hss/ls.

Religious Studies 1061
Sanskrit Language Study II is a continuation of Sanskrit Language Study I. On completion of this course, students will have the ability to consult Sanskrit texts for research purposes.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None
Note: All sections of this course follow LS guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts available at www.mun.ca/hss/ls.

Sample program for first year

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a major in religious studies will normally take the following courses in their first year:

Sample program

Fall SemesterWinter Semester
English 1090critical reading & writing (CRW) course
Religious StudiesReligious Studies
quantitative reasoning (QR) coursequantitative reasoning (QR) course
language study (LS) courselanguage study (LS) course
minor program courseminor program course

 

 


For assistance with course selection, students should contact:
Academic Advising Centre, advice@mun.ca

 

Contact information
For additional information please contact
Dr. Kim Ian Parker
kparker@mun.ca
www.mun.ca/relstudies

Contact

Guide to First Year

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552

becomestudent@mun.ca