Office of the Registrar
Faculty of Arts (2008/2009)
7.26 Religious Studies
  1. Courses in Religious Studies are designed for students who wish to study religion as an academic discipline. They are open to all students on the same basis as are other courses in the Faculty of Arts. They are recommended for

    1. students who wish to gain an understanding of the essential teachings and beliefs of one or more of the major religions;

    2. students who are interested in careers for which a knowledge of religious thought and practice is useful; and

    3. students who are interested in exploring this field as an area of scholarly interest and human concern.

  2. Those who plan to teach religion in the schools should complete a major or minor under the degree of Bachelor of Arts or a concentration in Religious Studies under the degree of Bachelor of Education (Primary/Elementary).

  3. Religious Studies 1000, 1010, 1020, 1021, 1022, 1032, and 1200 are basic courses which introduce students to the academic study of religion. Religious Studies 1040 and 1041 (Introduction to Chinese) and Religious Studies 1050 and 1051 (Introduction to Biblical Hebrew) are courses which fulfil the language requirement in the Faculty of Arts.

  4. Courses at the 2000 level represent a more focussed level of study. Courses are generally of two types: the first introduces specific religious traditions, and the second introduces religious topics or issues. All courses at the 2000 level are introductory and open to any student interested in the subject.

  5. Courses at the 3000 and 4000 level in Religious Studies deal with the subject matter in greater depth and assume some previous knowledge.

  6. Unless otherwise specified, Religious Studies courses do not have prerequisites. Students who register in a 3000- or 4000- level course are encouraged, however, to make sure that they have adequate preparation for that course, preferably by having completed a first- or second-year course in the field.

  7. Students majoring in Religious Studies should plan their program in consultation with a representative of the Department.

7.26.1 General Degree
7.26.1.1 Major in Religious Studies
  1. A minimum of 36 credit hours in courses in Religious Studies is required. Students must complete at least one course from each of the three following groups:

    1. 2013, 2050, 2051, 2130, 2140, 2330, 2340, 3000, 3031, 3060, 3091, 3150, 3200, 3210, 3251, 3265, 3272, 3276, 3305, 3310, 3315, 3320, 3510, 3535, 3560, 3591, 3900, 3901.

    2. 2400, 2410, 2415, 2420, 2425, 2430, 3401, 3411, 3412, 3431, 3432.

    3. 2610, 2810, 2811, 2812, 2820, 2830, 3640, 3650, 3680, 3810, 3811, 3812, 3820, 3830, 3831, 3850, 3860.

  2. At least 18 credit hours of course work must be at the 3000 level or above.

  3. With the exception of the language courses (1040, 1041, 1050, 1051), no more than two 1000-level courses can be counted as credit towards a major.

7.26.1.2 Minor in Religious Studies
  1. A minimum of 24 credit hours in courses in Religious Studies is required, including at least 9 credit hours in courses at the 3000 level or above.

  2. With the exception of the language courses (1040, 1041, 1050, 1051), no more than two 1000-level courses can be counted as credit towards a minor.

7.26.2 Honours Degree

Students planning to do further work in Religious Studies should bear in mind that an Honours degree is the normal requirement for admission to Graduate Schools. Students intending to do an Honours Degree of Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Religious Studies must comply with the General Regulations for Honours Degrees, and must complete at least 60 credit hours in Religious Studies courses including Religious Studies 4998 (a comprehensive examination in the area of their specialization) or 4999 (Honours Essay). Candidates for Honours may also be required to do courses in a further subject area.

Candidates for Honours should arrange their program at the earliest opportunity, normally before the beginning of their fifth semester at the University.

Candidates will normally be required to have a reading knowledge of a language basic to their area of specialization.

In each case the program of studies leading to an Honours degree will be determined in consultation with the Head of the Department of Religious Studies, or delegate, keeping in mind the needs and interests of the individual candidate.

Candidates whose area of specialization requires a knowledge of Greek must complete Classics 1130 and 1131. In such cases these courses may be substituted for 6 of the 60 credit hours required for an Honours degree in Religious Studies.

7.26.3 Joint Honours Degree in Religious Studies and Another Major Subject

The attention of students is drawn to the possibility of doing a Joint Honours program that includes Religious Studies as one of the Major subjects. Such a program may be arranged in consultation with the Head of the Department of Religious Studies and the Head of the other Department concerned.

7.26.4 Course Descriptions

In accordance with Senate's Policy Regarding Inactive Courses, the course descriptions for courses which have not been offered in the previous three academic years and which are not scheduled to be offered in the current academic year have been removed from the following listing. For information about any of these inactive courses, please contact the Head of the Department.

Religious Studies courses are designated by RELS.

1000

The Religions of the World

is an introduction to the basic beliefs and practices of the world's great religions.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 1000 and the former RELS 2010.

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.

1020

Christianity in Western Civilization

- inactive course.

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.

1022

Jesus in Film

is a study of how Jesus is represented in modern film. The course explores the continuing impact that the Jesus of history and faith has had on modern western culture. The course will examine such films as The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Robe, The Gospel According to St. Matthew (by Pasolini), Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus of Montreal, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Life of Brian, The Passion of the Christ, The Newfoundland Passion (video of the Squires' Paintings).

1032

Introduction to Asian Religions and Culture

is a broadly based survey course introducing students to the religions, culture, and societies of Asia. Traditions explored may include those of India (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism), China (Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism), Japan (Shinto, Zen Buddhism), and Korea.

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.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 1040 and the former RELS 4904.

1041

Introduction to Chinese (Mandarin) II

is a continuation of RELS 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.

Prerequisite: RELS 1040.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 1041 and the former RELS 4911.

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. The emphasis will be upon learning the basic grammar and syntax of Biblical Hebrew.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 1050 and either the former RELS 3700 or the former RELS 4900.

1051

Introduction to Biblical Hebrew II

is a continuation of RELS 1050. The emphasis will be upon the reading of selected Hebrew texts.

Prerequisite: RELS 1050.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 1051 and either the former RELS 3701 or the former RELS 4901.

1200

The Bible in Western Religion and Culture

is an introduction to the Bible and its impact on literature, art, film, and music in Western culture. This course explores both the basic story line, characters, and themes in the Bible and the Bible’s foundational role in the depiction and development of western culture.

2013

Introduction to Christianity

is a study of the Christian tradition, its development and variety. The course will include an examination of the beliefs and practices of both Eastern and Western Christianity and a study of the main differences among the major Western denominations.

2050

Introduction to the Old Testament

is an introduction to the historical background, literary structure, and content of the Old Testament. Emphasis will be placed on the authorship and dating of the various texts that comprise the Old Testament, as well as on major themes, figures, and events. This course may qualify as a Research/Writing course. Consult each semester's registration materials for the R/W designation.

2051

Introduction to the New Testament

is an introduction to the history and literary structure of the documents comprising the New Testament. Emphasis will be placed on the major themes found in these documents and on the distinctiveness of approach of the individual writers.

2130

Christianity from the First Century to the Middle Ages

explores the historical development of the principal doctrines of Christianity from the period of the Early Church to the Middle Ages. Topics will include the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the Person of Christ, the nature of the Church, the doctrine of the sacraments, and early and medieval speculation on the nature of Heaven and Hell.

2140

Christianity from the Reformation to the Present

explores the radical religious, ethical, and intellectual changes and challenges that brought about the modern world we live in: the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Romantic Period and Pietism, and Secularism. This course may qualify as a Research/Writing course. Consult each semester's registration materials for the R/W designation.

2302

Readings in New Testament Greek

- inactive course.

2330

Introduction to Judaism

is an exploration of Judaism from its beginnings to the modern era. This course introduces students to the basic beliefs and practices of the Jewish faith.

2340

Introduction to Islam

is a study of the religion of Islam in its historical and contemporary manifestations; Muhammad, the Qur'an, Islamic sects, relations with Judaism and Christianity; trends and developments in contemporary Islamic thought and practice.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 2340 and the former RELS 3340.

2350

Religious Institutions

(same as Sociology/Anthropology 2350) explores psychological, anthropological, and sociological approaches to the nature of religion. Comparative study of religious institutions and beliefs, calendrical feasts and solemnities, the nature of sacrifice and the sacred, religious roles and hierarchies, ritual innovation and revitalization.

2400

Introduction to Buddhism

is a study of the history of the Buddhist tradition in India and China, the development of the main lines of Buddhist thought, and the nature of the Chinese transformation of Buddhism.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 2400 and the former RELS 3400.

2410

Introduction to Hinduism

involves a study of the religious thought and history of India, the literature of Hinduism, the major thinkers in Hindu philosophy, and the role of Hinduism in the culture and society of India.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 2410 and the former RELS 3410.

2415

Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism

is focussed on myth, iconography and ritual of Hindu gods and goddesses from the ancient to the contemporary period. The course will explore fundamental assumptions of Hindu theistic traditions in popular practice and in formal religious institutions.

2420

Introduction to Chinese Philosophy and Religion

is an introduction to the principal forms of tradition to emerge in China. This course examines the origins and development of Confucianism, Daoism, Moism, and Legalism. After exploring the social and historical conditions that gave rise to them, the course will explore their continuing development and role in Chinese society.

2425

Contemporary Issues in Chinese Religion and Culture

is an examination of religion in modern China and the Chinese diaspora in Taiwan, Singapore, and North America. Special attention will be paid to religious beliefs, practices, and institutions and the way in which modern attitudes have been framed by the past.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 2425 and the former RELS 3425.

2430

Introduction to Japanese Religions

is an examination of the nature and development of Shinto, the history and characteristics of the major sects of Japanese Buddhism, and the origins and importance of the New Religions of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially Tenrikyo and Soka Gakkai.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 2430 and the former RELS 3430.

2610

Introduction to Religious Ethics

is an introduction to religious ethics through the systematic study of selected writers and issues in biomedicine, human sexuality, and social justice. Possible topics for discussion include euthanasia, abortion, poverty, and unemployment.

Note:

Students who have successfully completed both RELS 2600 and RELS 2601 may not receive credit for 2610.

2800

Women in Western Religions

is an examination of the attitudes toward, and roles of, women in the Western religions, including prehistoric traditions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Contemporary evaluations of these traditions from the point of view of women will also be considered.

2801

Women in Eastern Religions

is an examination of the history of women in the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and folk traditions in Asia. The modern status of women in Asia and its relationship to traditional religious ideas will also be studied.

2810

Religion and Modern Culture

is an historical examination of the impact of science on religion in Western culture. Particular emphasis will be placed on such developments as the scientific revolution, the rise of modern technology, and the emergence of modern scientific theories.

2811

Introduction to Contemporary Religious Movements

is an introduction to contemporary religious movements in the west, including modern witchcraft, Neo-pagan religions, Mother Earth Spirituality, UFO religion, and the New Age Movement.

2812

Religion and Popular Culture

will focus on the portrayal and treatment of religion in popular culture and will examine some of the ways in which religious and mythic themes are expressed in such pop culture forums as television shows, films, music, mass-market fiction, and material culture.

2820

Cults and New Religious Movements

- inactive course.

2830

Religion and Popular Music

is an introduction to the study of religious themes in popular music. The course will explore the influence of religious music on popular music and song and examine the role of music and song in the expression of religious themes.

3000

Medieval Books

(same as Medieval Studies 3000, English 3002, History 3000) is an examination of the development and role of the manuscript book during the Middle Ages. Topics covered will include book production and dissemination; authors, scribes and audiences; and various kinds of books (e.g. glossed Bibles, anthologies, books of hours, etc.) and their uses.

Prerequisite: Medieval Studies 2000, 2001 or 2002 or permission of the instructor.

3010

Greek Religion

(same as Classics 3010) is a study of the role of religion in the private and public life of the Greek world.

Note:

Students may not receive credit for RELS/Classics 3010 and the former RELS/Classics 3121.

3020

Roman Religion

(same as Classics 3020) is a study of the role of religion in the private and public life of the Roman world.

Note:

Students may not receive credit for RELS/Classics 3020 and the former RELS/Classics 3121.

3031

The Book of Genesis

introduces students to one of the founding texts of western culture, the book of Genesis. Special attention will be paid to the role of myth, human origins, values, and political institutions.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 3031 and the former RELS 3030.

3053

Anthropology of Religion

(same as Anthropology 3053) is a critical evaluation of anthropological research on religion, centering on seminal thinkers and major theoretical traditions. Special attention is given to the study of belief systems, and to relationships between belief and ritual.

3060

The Prophets of Israel

is a study of the prophets through the relevant books of the Old Testament. Problems of text and interpretation will be discussed in relation to selected passages, but the general approach will be to bring out the creative genius and radical implications of the prophetic movement as a whole.

3091

Visions of Human Suffering in the Hebrew Bible

- inactive course.

3150

Early Christian Thought: The First Five Centuries

(same as Classics 3150) is an advanced study of selected themes and personalities in Christian thought and literature from the second to the sixth centuries. Particular attention will be given to the controversies centering on the doctrines of the Trinity and the Person of Christ.

3200

Jesus: His Life and Teaching

is a study of the ministry and thought of Jesus of Nazareth as contained in the Gospels and other New Testament writings. Attention will be given to the methods and conclusions of recent scholarship as applied to his principal teachings and to the study of the historical Jesus.

3210

Paul and His Writings

is a study of the Pauline writings and an appraisal of the contribution to Christianity of his mission and theology on the basis of New Testament and other relevant material. Particular attention will be given to such related themes as salvation, reconciliation, grace, and justification.

3251

The Gospel of John

is an examination of the Gospel of John and the community which produced it. Special attention will be given to the place of the Gospel in the history of early Christianity.

3265

Ethics and the New Testament

- inactive course.

3270

Christianity and the Roman Empire

- inactive course.

3272

Bible, Culture and Interpretation

examines ways in which the Bible has been interpreted from the beginnings of Christianity to the present.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 3272 and either the former RELS 3271 or the former RELS 4200.

3276

Contemporary Issues and the Bible

examines the relevance of the Bible to such issues as the environmental crisis, emergent global capitalism, and technology and freedom.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 3276 and the former RELS 3275.

3305

The Religion of Ancient Israel

is an exploration of the religious thought and institutions of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah in their cultural and historical contexts from their beginnings to the sixth century B.C.E. The course introduces students to the religious beliefs, practices, and institutions of these two kingdoms prior to their destruction and prior to the development of Judaism in the post-exilic period.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 3305 and the former RELS 3050.

3310

Judaism at the Beginning of the Christian Era

- inactive course.

3315

The Development of Modern Judaism

- inactive course.

3320

Mysticism in Judaism and Islam

is a study of the origins, development, and importance of mysticism in the Jewish and Muslim traditions. In Judaism, the course will include a survey of Merkavah mysticism, the Qabbalah, and Hasidism. In Islam, it will include an examination of the two major streams of Muslim mysticism (Sufism) - the "drunken" and the "sober" - and the development of the Sufi Orders.

3401

Zen, Buddhist Meditation, and Buddhist Psychology

examines the relationship between meditation and theories of human psychology in Buddhism from its origins to its formulation in Zen.

3411

Hindu Mythology: The Ramayana

is a study of one of the most influential Epics of Hinduism, the story of Rama, the perfect king of a golden age. The course examines various versions of the narrative from Buddhist to sectarian Hindu, the Hindu and Indian values expressed through the story, and the Epic's place in Indian politics and in drama and visual art of India and the Hindu diaspora.

3412

The Teachings of the Upanishads

is an in-depth examination of some of the principal Upanishads, foundational texts for Hindu religious philosophy and techniques of meditation. The course also examines classical and modern interpretations of these texts.

3431

Readings in Daoism: The Laozi and the Zhuangzi

is a course in the critical reading of the two most important texts in Daoism, the Laozi and the Zhuangzi.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 3431 and either the former RELS 3420 or the former RELS 3422.

3432

Confucius and Confucianism,

- inactive course.

3500

Philosophy of Religion

(same as Philosophy 3500) explores the philosophical aspects of religious belief, religious language, and theology.

3510

Christianity in the Reformation Era

is a study of Christian thought and practice in the Reformation era. This course will examine both Protestant and Catholic efforts at reform from the late Middle Ages to the seventeenth century.

3535

Christianity in the Modern Era

- inactive course.

3560

Christian Thought in the Middle Ages

(same as Medieval Studies 3003) is a study of the development of Christianity in the West from the eleventh century to the eve of the Reformation, through an examination of its principal thinkers and the most significant societal forces and events: the crusades, the universities, monasticism, religious dissent, and mysticism.

3591

Christian Mysticism

is a study of the origins and development of the mystical tradition in Christianity from the fathers of the early Church to contemporary spirituality. The course will examine representative writers and writings from both the Western Christian tradition and Eastern Orthodoxy.

3640

Religion and Bioethics

is an examination of the religious ethics of health care in the light of foundational concepts of bioethics. Topics to be discussed will include the relation of religion and medicine, as well as specific issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and genetic engineering.

3650

Religion and Social Justice

is a study of social justice issues that arise from an investigation of economic and political systems from the perspective of religious ethics. Topics addressed may include environmental ethics, ecofeminism, gender equity, pacifism, civil disobedience, poverty, and social welfare questions.

3680

Religion and the Problem of Evil

is a study of religious approaches to the problem of evil. Attention will be paid to both traditional and contemporary efforts among the world’s religions to address the problem.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 3680 and the former RELS 4800.

3810

Modern Interpretations of Religion

is a study of modern attempts to analyse, interpret, and reassess the place and significance of religion in human life. Attention will be given to thinkers such as Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Sartre, Otto, Eliade, and Tillich.

Note:

Credit may not be obtained for both RELS 3810 and the former RELS 3531.

3811

Contemporary Alternative Spirituality

is an in-depth examination of one or more forms of contemporary alternative spirituality. Students will study the writings of practitioners of alternative spirituality, as well as social-scientific studies of alternative spiritual groups. Religious movements to be explored include African-American alternative spirituality, Mother Earth and Creation spirituality, Neo-paganism, the New Age Movement, UFO spirituality, and contemporary witchcraft.

3812

Religion and Disney: Not Just Another Mickey Mouse Course

provides an in-depth examination of religious themes and issues arising from and within the philosophies of Walt Disney, the Disney animated films, other Disney feature films, and the Disney theme parks. Theoretical models drawn from the field of Religion and Popular Culture will provide the lens through which the religious dimensions of Disney and Disney fandom will be explored.

Prerequisites/Co-requisites: None. Completion of RELS 2812, Religion and Popular Culture, is recommended but not required.

3820

Religion and the Arts

(same as Visual Arts 3820) is an examination of the role of art in the expression of religious ideas, together with a study of specific religious themes and concerns in one or more of the following: literature, film, music, painting, sculpture, and dance.

3830

Religion, Science and Technology

- inactive course.

3831

Religious Themes in Contemporary Songwriting

is a study of religious themes in contemporary songwriting through the in-depth examination of the work of a selection of contemporary songwriters. The course will explore how religious questions and themes are handled in contemporary song and explore how song as an artistic medium expresses religious meaning. Songwriters to be explored may include the following: Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Tori Amos, Nick Cave, Alanis Morissette, Julie Miller, the Louvin Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, Hank Williams, etc.

3850

Religion and Healing

- inactive course.

3860

Implicit Religion: The Sacred in Secular Places

is an in-depth examination of the concept of implicit religion. The course will explore the concept of "the sacred" through an examination of the ideas of such theorists as Eliade, Turner, and Bailey and will examine the claims of some Religious Studies scholars that the sacred can be found in secular contexts.

3900

Religion in Newfoundland and Labrador: Beginnings

is a study of religion and its role in Newfoundland society from the seventeenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century. Attention will be given to the origin, growth, and consolidation of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Moravian, and Congregational churches.

3901

Religion in Newfoundland and Labrador: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

is a study of religion and its role in Newfoundland society from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. The course will include the history of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, United (Methodist), Congregational, and Presbyterian churches in Newfoundland and the establishment and social significance of the Pentecostal movement and the Salvation Army.

4201-4230

Biblical Studies: Special Subjects

are courses which will be offered at the discretion of the Department. They are designed to provide an opportunity for students majoring in Religious Studies or doing a strong concentration of courses in the area to pursue advanced study under tutorial supervision.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission.

4300-4330

World Religions: Special Subjects

are courses which will be offered at the discretion of the Department. They are designed to provide an opportunity for students majoring in Religious Studies or doing a strong concentration of courses in the area to pursue advanced study under tutorial supervision.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission.

4460

Folk Religion

- inactive course.

4500 and 4510

Seminar in the Philosophy of Religion

- inactive course.

4700-4730

Christian Thought and History: Special Subjects

are courses which will be offered at the discretion of the Department. They are designed to provide an opportunity for students majoring in Religious Studies or doing a strong concentration of courses in the area to pursue advanced study under tutorial supervision.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission.

4801-4830

Religion, Ethics, and Modern Culture: Special Subjects

are courses which will be offered at the discretion of the Department. They are designed to provide an opportunity for students majoring in Religious Studies or doing a strong concentration of courses in the area to pursue advanced study under tutorial supervision.

Prerequisite: Departmental permission.

4902-4910 (Excluding 4904)

Language Studies: Special Subjects

are designed to provide students with some basic knowledge of the languages necessary for studying the original texts of the major world religions. The languages presently offered through the Department are Mishnaic Hebrew, Aramaic, Coptic, Pali, Tibetan, Japanese, Manchu, Arabic, and Chinese. These courses will be offered at the discretion of the Department. They are designed to provide an opportunity for students majoring in Religious Studies or doing a strong concentration of courses in the area to pursue advanced study under tutorial supervision.

Note:

In addition to those languages mentioned above, courses in Latin and New Testament Greek are available from the Department of Classics and courses in Sanskrit from the Department of Linguistics.

4998

Comprehensive Examination for Honours Students

will be based on a program of assigned reading related to the general subject area of the candidate's dissertation.

4999

Honours Essay for Honours Students

may be required as part of the honours program.