What is Religious Studies?
Very few things have the impact on human culture that religion does. Our values, our understanding of ourselves as individuals, our understanding of society, our view of nature, even our definition of truth, stem from concepts originally fostered in a religious environment.
Religious Studies is the exploration of the expression of religion in human culture. It explores human ideas about the divine, as well as the way religious concepts are expressed in texts, rituals, and belief systems. It studies the history of religion as well as important religious figures. It analyses the influence of religion on other aspects of culture, as well as the influence of culture on religion. As an academic discipline Religious Studies is not limited to a single tradition or religion; it encompasses all religions from all cultures and all times: it is global in scope and multicultural in tenor.
The Department of Religious Studies at MUN explores these questions in a non-confessional setting. This means that the "truth-value" of any religious outlook is not at issue. We do not ask whether a religion is right or wrong. Rather, we ask how and why a religion is meaningful to the people who practice it.
- See our Winter 2014 course list.
- WELCOME to Dr. Barry Stephenson, new department member.
- CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. David N. Bell, who was awarded Professor Emeritus status at the Fall 2013 convocation ceremonies.
- THANK YOU to Ms. Mary Walsh for more than 40 years of service in our department. We wish you well in your retirement, Mary!
- WELCOME to Ms. Colleen Banfield, our new administrative assistant.
- CONGRATULATIONS from all members of the Department to DR. MORLEY F. HODDER, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, who was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by Queen's College at their Convocation on Friday, May 3. Dr. Hodder was the founding Head of the Religious Department in 1967. He continued to teach with the Department until his retirement in 1994, serving as Head from 1967-1976 and again from 1981-1986. Congratulations, Morley!
- CONGRATULATIONS are in order for REBECCA RALPH, who has received an ISER Research grant to go to Oxford this summer for archival work, investigating the Anglican missionary activity in Labrador. Well done, Rebecca! CONGRATULATIONS are in order (again!) for REBECCA RALPH on being awarded a prestigious SSHRC J.A. Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship--Master's Scholarship--in the amount of $17,500 for one year. To our knowledge, Rebecca is only the second person to receive such an award in the history of our graduate program. We all wish Rebecca Ralph the very best of success in her future studies.
UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: The Department would like to congratulate its undergraduate scholarship winners for the 2012-13 scholarship year: Eric Fowler and Elizabeth Mysyk (John M. & Elsa S. Morgan Scholarships); Renee Roche (St. Aiden's Presbyterian Church Memorial Scholarship); Adam Critchley (The Rev. G. Lloyd Morgan Memorial Scholarship); Greg Noseworthy (Rev. Prof. A.C. Cheyne Scholarship); and Rebekah Hayley (John & Lucy Lee & Family Memorial Bursary). Well done!
FACULTY OF ARTS DEPARTMENTAL BOOK PRIZE: Congratulations also to Adam Critchley on receiving the Faculty of Arts Departmental Book Prize for Religious Studies. This prize is awarded annually by the Faculty of Arts upon the recommendation of the Department to a student who is on the Dean's List. Congratulations, Adam!
- RELIGIOUS STUDIES STUDENTS ON THE DEAN'S LIST: The following Religious Studies students are on the Dean's List for 2011-12: Adam Critchley, Jacob Edson, Eric Fowler, Elizabeth Mysyk, Victoria Pilon, Renee Roche, Jared Thompson, Michael Westcott. Congratulations to all on your accomplishment!
- CONVOCATION AWARDS (SPRING 2012): Congratulations to Victoria Pilon on being awarded the University Medal for Academic Excellence in Religious Studies. And congratulations to Michael Westcott on being awarded the Harvey and Doris Murcell Scholarship in Religious Studies. Congratulations and best wishes to both!
- Congratulations are in order for Dr. Jennifer Selby, who was a successful applicant for the 2012 SSHRC Insight Development Grant Competition. Jennifer was awarded $64,919 over a two-year period for her project.
- Congratulations are also in order for Dr. Michelle Rebidoux for the publication of her recent book, The Philosophy of Michel Henry (1922-2002): A French Christian Phenomenology of Life. Quoting the abstract, "This study looks at the phenomenological work of 20th-century French thinker Michel Henry, exploring Henry's work in its various dimensions: in its situatedness within the Western philosophical tradition, especially in its relation to Heidegger's critique of onto-theology; in its dialogue with classic philosophies of the subject and the interior life; in its relation to the question of language and the problem of representation; with regards to ethics, the problem of inter-subjectivity and contemporary philosophies of 'the other'; and finally, in terms of its possible contribution to Christian theological thinking today." Link to the book, including review excerpts and table of contents) on the Edwin Mellen website: http://www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=8605&pc=9.
- Congratulations to Dr. David N. Bell on his appointment as Honorary Research Professor, following his retirement in January 2012.
- Jessica Ford, who convocated with her Master of Arts in Religious Studies in May 2012, has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Ottawa. Jessica did her Master's thesis under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Dold; her thesis is entitled "Fire: The Elemental Nature of Draupadi." All the best to Jessica!
- Take a look at the Religious Studies Handbook.
- GRADUATE PROGRAM: If you have a BA degree with a strong major or honours in Religious Studies, why not consider doing an MA? Financial support is available. For more information click on the link to the "Graduate Program" in the left hand column of this page.