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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. Rather, we ask how and why a religion is meaningful to the people who practice it.  



1. The Islamic State and the Middle East Events

April 26-27, 2015

With the Department of History, we welcome you to join us for a series of public lectures on "The Islamic State and the Middle East" at the Rocket Bakery on Sunday, April 26th from 3-5pm. For more details on the speakers, please see this link.  

2. Text and Context Symposium a Success

April 13-14, 2015 

The Department thanks Dr. Richard Mann of Carleton University, as well as MUN faculty and graduate students for participating in our third annual symposium. Please see the schedule of speakers here.

3. MA student off for PhD in the Fall

Liam Harvey-Crowell will be off to the University of Waterloo in September to begin doctoral studies with a full funding package. Good work!

4. 2014-15 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to Dakotah Noseworthy, Greg Noseworthy, Heather Stern and Ashley Bradley. Well done!

5. Proposed Summer School in Bordeaux, France

Dr. Jennifer Selby has begun promoting a summer field school in Bordeaux, France for July 2016. Please see this brochure for more information about the proposed courses, field visits and dates. 

6. Recent Books by Faculty

Dr. Barry Stephenson published Ritual: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press). 

Dr. Kim Parker published Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (Linus Publications). 

Dr. Lee Rainey published Decoding Dao: Reading the Dao De Jing and the Zhuangzi (Wiley-Blackwell).