Complete Religious Studies Course Listing

AR = Attendance requirement; CH = Credit hours are 3 unless otherwise noted; CO = Co-requisite(s); CR = Credit can be retained for only one course from the set(s) consisting of the course being described and the course(s) listed; LC = Lecture hours per week are 3 unless otherwise noted; LH = Laboratory hours per week; OR = Other requirements of the course such as tutorials, practical sessions, or seminars; PR = Prerequisite(s); UL = Usage limitation(s).


1000 The Religions of the World is an introduction to the basic beliefs and practices of the world's great religions. CR: 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

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).

1040 Introduction to Chinese (Mandarin) I introduces 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. All sections of this course follow the Language Study Course Guidelines available at CR: 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. All sections of this course follow the Language Study Course Guidelines available at CR: the former RELS 4911. PR: RELS 1040

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. All sections of this course follow the Language Study Course Guidelines available at CR: the former RELS 3700, 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. All sections of this course follow the Language Study Course Guidelines available at CR: the former RELS 3701, the former RELS 4901. PR: RELS 1050

2050 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.

2051 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 history of Christian thought and culture from the period of the Early Church to the Middle Ages. Topics will include the development of key theological ideas, changes to art, architecture, and ritual, the relations between church and state, tensions between Christian and pagan culture, and the growth and spread of Christianity in Western Europe.

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.

2330 Judaism is an introduction to central beliefs and practices of the Jewish faith, from its beginnings to the modern era.

2340 Islam examines the tradition 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.
CR: the former RELS 3340

2350 Religious Institutions (same as Anthropology 2350) is a contextual study of religious institutions and beliefs, calendrical feasts and solemnities, religious roles and hierarchies, ritual innovation and revitalization. CR: Anthropology 2350, the former Sociology/Anthropology 2350, the former Sociology 2350

2400 Buddhism examines the history of Buddhist traditions in Asia, with considerations of the major developments in Buddhist philosophy, institutions, and practices.
CR: the former RELS 3400

2410 Hinduism examines the history of Hindu religious traditions, their major religious texts, institutions, and practices, and their role in social, political, and cultural movements in India and Hindu diaspora communities.
CR: 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 Chinese Philosophy and Religion examines philosophical and religious responses toto social and political crises in ancient China.  Finding ways to answer the crises of prolonged warfare, high unemployment, a vast divide between rich and poor gave rise to the schools of Confucianism, Daoism, legalism, and others. This introductory course examines the various schools' answers to these crises and how they connect to today.

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. CR: the former RELS 3425

2430 Japanese Religions is an introduction to the origin, teachings, and development of Shinto, along with the development of Buddhism in Japan. The course also examines the emergence of the "new religions" that bring together Shinto and Buddhism and their phenomenal growth in the 20th and 21st centuries. CR: 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. CR: students who have successfully completed both the former RELS 2600 and the former RELS 2601 may not receive credit for RELS 2610

2800 Gender and Sexualities in Western Religions examines attitudes toward, and treatment and construction of gender and sexualities in Western religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and New Religious Movements. Contemporary evaluations of these traditions from gender studies perspectives will be considered.

2801 Gender and Sexualities in Asian Religions examines gender and sexuality in the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and folk traditions in Asia. Contemporary evaluations of these traditions from gender studies perspectives will be considered.

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 Contemporary Religious Movements explores the development and forms of modern, western spiritualities, such as modern witchcraft, Neo-pagan religions, Mother Earth Spirituality, UFO religion, and the New Age Movement.

2812 Religion and Popular Culture focuses on the portrayal and treatment of religion in popular culture and 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 explores the religious themes found in popular music and song, considering  the role of music as a vehicle for religious expression.

2850 Religion and the Law: The Secular in Contemporary Canada examines contemporary legal debates on secularism in Canada. Taking a historical and sociological perspective, it considers how shifts in immigration policy have encouraged a diversity of contemporary religious practice. The course pays particular attention to religion and public policy (related to the Multiculturalism Act) and to changing definitions of accommodation and the secular.

3000 Medieval Books (same as English 3002, History 3000, and Medieval Studies 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. CR: English 3002, History 3000, and Medieval Studies 3000

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. CR: Classics 3010, the former RELS 3121, the former 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. CR: Classics 3020, the former RELS 3121, the former 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. CR: 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. CR: Anthropology 3053

3058 Topics in Religion and Politics is a seminar-based course which offers socio-political and philosophical analyses of the impacts of religion in specific political contexts taking a variety of theoretical approaches. The geographical and historical foci of the course will vary by instructor.

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 The Problem of Justice in the Old Testament introduces students to the universal problem of divine justice as it is depicted in various biblical books. Special attention will be placed on the book of Job, but notions of suffering in the Psalms, Jeremiah, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and some apocryphal literature will also be considered. CR: the former RELS 3090

3200 Jesus of Nazareth is a study of the historical Jesus. Beginning with an assessment of the relevant source material, this course explores what can be known about the life of Jesus of Nazareth in its historical and cultural contexts.

3210 Paul and His Writings is a study of the writings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, and his contribution to Christianity in the cultural and historical millieu in which he lived and was active.

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.

3270 Christianity and the Roman Empire - inactive course.

3272 Bible, Culture and Interpretation - inactive course.

3276 Contemporary Issues and the Bible examines the relevance of the Bible to such issues as climate change, capitalism, and technology and freedom. CR: the former RELS 3275

3305 Ancient Israel is an exploration of the religious thoughts and practices of Israel and Judah in their cultural and historical contexts in the Old Testament period, from their beginnings to the babylonian Exile of the sixth century B.C.E. CR: the former RELS 3050

3310 Judaism at the Time of Jesus will explore the developments in Jewish thought, institutions, beliefs, and practices from the babylonian Exile of the sixth century B.C.E. to  the time of Jesus, King Herod and the Roman Empire of the first century C.E. CR: the former RELS 3220

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 The Ramayana: A Hindu Epic and Performance Tradition 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, the social and religious values expressed through the story, and the Epic’s place in Indian politics, in dramatic performances, and in visual arts.

3415 Warrior, Wife, Witch: Ideal Females and Female Ideals in Hinduism is a study of Hindu constructions of ideal or iconic females (e.g., Durga, the warrior goddess; Sita, the perfect wife; the Yoginis, the "witches" of Tantra) and their power in the lives of Hindu women. The course includes critical examination of the history of Hindu goddess traditions, the ideals for females in Hindu law, and Hindu women's interpretations of "ideal females".

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. CR: the former RELS 3420, the former RELS 3422

3432 Confucius and Confucianism begins with Confucius and China, and explores the growth and impact of Confucianism on East Asian society through an examination of its major writings. CR: the former Religious Studies 3420, the former Religious Studies 3421

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

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 is a study of Western Christianity from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century through an examination of institutional and intellectual developments as well as changes in popular religious consciousness and practice. CR: the former RELS 3530, the former RELS 3595

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. CR: Medieval Studies 3003

3600 Ancient Myth and Cult (same as Classics 3600) develops the students’ knowledge of myth and material culture by examining specific religious sites in the Greek and Roman world as foci of ritual practice. Students will learn to integrate knowledge of the physical remains with the literary and ritual evidence in order to obtain a more integrated understanding of religious life in ancient Greece and Rome. CR: Classics 3600

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. CR: the former RELS 4800

3800 Re/Presentations of Muslim Women: Gender, Colonialism and Islam is presented in three parts. Firstly, there will be a grounding theoretically in Islam, Orientalism, feminism and contemporary political implications related to the study of Muslim women. Secondly, there will be a consideration of topics which have served as explanations for the "difference" of Muslim women in various contexts, both in contemporary Muslim majority and minority political situations. Lastly, the course concludes by considering a variety of contemporary ethnographic representations of Muslim women in Egypt, Palestine, France, Turkey, Cyprus and Malaysia.

3810 Religion, Society, and Culture is a study of modern attempts to analyze, interpret, and reassess the place and significance of religion in human life. Attention will be given to thinkers such as Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, and Durkheim. CR: 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. PR: completion of RELS 2812 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. CR: Visual Arts 3820

3830 Religion, Science and Technology - inactive course.

3840 Rites of Passage is an introduction to the scholarly study of ritual, focusing on lifecycle transitions: birth and initiation rites, weddings, and funerals. In addition to studying practices from a range of religious traditions, consideration is given to contemporary images, perceptions, and stories of passage, as well as to classical rites of passage theory.

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.

3880 Religion, Worldviews, and the Environment examines the human connection to the natural world as expressed in traditional religions, indigenous worldviews and contemporary approaches to environmental crises.

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.

4001 Religious Texts and Traditions is an advanced seminar course which examines religious texts from a variety of religious traditions. Study may involve an exploration of sacred texts, traditions, and their interpreters. Content will vary with instructor.

4002 Religion, Culture, and Society is an advanced seminar course which concerns religious themes and issues as they affect culture. Study may involve the exploration of institutions, rituals, built environments, and spaces. Content will vary with instructor.

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. PR: permission of the Department

4460 Vernacular Religion (same as Folklore 4460) examines religion as it is "lived" on a daily basis, focusing primarily on forms of belief and spirituality that are informally expressed. Drawing upon various cultural contexts, the course addresses such notions as space and time; metaphysical powers; religious material culture, and verbal art; and the role and power of the holy person. CR: Religious Studies 4460, the former FOLK 4240.

4500 and 4510 Seminar in the Philosophy of Religion - inactive course.

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. PR: permission of the Department

4902-4910 (Excluding 4904, 4905, and 4906) Language Studies: Special Subjects provide students with advanced training in languages necessary for studying ancient religious texts. The languages presently offered through the Department are Biblical Hebrew, Sanskrit and Mandarin Chinese. In addition, courses in Latin and Greek are available from the Department of Classics. All sections of these courses follow the Language Study Courses Guidelines available at

4998 Comprehensive Examination for Honours Students will be based on a program of assigned reading related to the general subject area of the student's dissertation.

4999 Honours Essay for Honours Students may be required as part of the honours program.