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Religious Studies

Program Overview

The B.A. in Religious Studies prepares students to enter theological seminaries or graduate schools of religion in preparation for careers in pastoral ministry, teaching, mission, or chaplaincy. Many graduates also enter the fields of law, business, nursing, psychology, social work, and education.

The Religious Studies major focuses on the study of Christian Scriptures, practical ministry, theory and method of religion, philosophy, and religions of the world. The purpose of the major is not only to educate students in the Christian religion, but also to explore the nature and function of the religious impulse.

The major consists of a common core of six courses and an additional concentration of five courses for a total of 44 s.h. Concentrations include Biblical Studies, Philosophy, Theory and Method in Religious Studies, Religion and History, and Youth Ministry.

The minors in Biblical StudiesReligious Studies, Philosophy, and Youth Ministry are excellent supplemental programs, enhancing many other majors. These minors enable students to pursue advanced biblical and theological study, philosophy, and youth ministry and thereby integrate faith into their chosen field of interest.

Affiliations

  • Tel Azekah Archaeological Expedition, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv
  • Al Quds University Exchange Program, East Jerusalem, Palestine
  • Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, American Society of Oriental Religion, Al Quds University, East Jerusalem, and American Philosophical Association

Comprehensive Assessment

A comprehensive assessment covering a major in Religious Studies or concentrations in Biblical Studies, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Youth Ministry will be given the semester prior to graduation.

The assessment is 240 questions and will be administered online via Canvas one month prior to the graduation date.

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Major Common Requirements

A survey of the content, message, and literary forms of the books of the Old Testament with attention given to the principles of biblical interpretation. – 4 s.h

A survey of the content, message, and literary forms of the books of the New Testament with attention given to the principles of biblical interpretation. – 4 s.h.

This course is a survey dealing with the ideas and practices of the world’s major religions. This introduction provides opportunity for Christian interface with world religions, cults, and sects. – 4 s.h.

Examines the basic contents of Christian theology. It investigates theological methodology, the philosophical presuppositions of various theological systems, and provides a basic acquaintance with theological vocabulary through readings and by survey of various creeds and confessions. – 4 s.h.

This course offers a survey and examination of significant thought from within the history of philosophy. The course content will cover pivotal metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical movements from the ancient Greek era to 21st Century. It will provide understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of current ways of thought, a stream of thought against which to compare Christian beliefs, along with some measure of insight into the fundamental questions of human life. – 4 s.h.

This survey of Church History is an introductory course to the study of Christian Ecclesiastical History. It seeks to survey the important persons, ideas, and movements in the spread of the Christian faith, along with its impact upon the world. The course seeks to heighten awareness of the historical dimension of life and the Christian community, and to increase understanding of the historical method and some of its problems as it applies to matters of church history. In addition, the course will explore ways in which the study of history is beneficial for the contemporary church, especially as they relate to matters of evangelism, spirituality and piety, and cultural interaction. – 4 s.h.

Comprehensive assessment in religious students demonstrates competency in the graduating student’s major field in these areas: Biblical content, theology, philosophy, and critical thinking and analysis. – 0 s.h.

*Track will indicate appropriate assessment

Concentration Requirements

Students must choose one of the following concentrations:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Theory and Method in Religious Studies
  • Religion and History
  • Youth Ministry
Biblical Studies Concentration

Study of selected Israelite prophets and the prophetic tradition with a consideration of the use of the prophetic literature in history and modern times. – 4 s.h.

A study focusing on the “quest” of the historical Jesus, the historicity of the gospel records, the life of Jesus, and the form and content of His teaching. – 4 s.h.

This course will aim to give the student a thorough overview of the land of the Bible from the Patriarchs to the Islamic conquests. Matters of topography, geology, history, and archaeology will be addressed in a manner that enhances the meaning of the Bible and enriches the student’s grasp of Biblical history. – 4 s.h.

An exploration of the questions and literature of Israel’s wisdom tradition, especially Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Includes comparisons with modern authors and culture. – 4 s.h.

An introduction to the life and thought of Paul with primary emphasis on the chief theological themes found in the apostle’s writings as they relate to distinctive settings in Acts. – 4 s.h.

Off-campus experiential education offers students opportunities to explore potential career fields, apply and test the theories and insights gained in the classroom, integrate their knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, and explore the relation of biblical faith to all of these. In addition, students develop an understanding of the post-college world and learn how one must function to live responsibly in contemporary society. – 2 s.h.

Philosophy Concentration

This course covers the principles of logic and critical thinking. It provides insight into the structure of arguments and the nature of inference, and introduction to basic forms of symbolic logic, and awareness of predominant kinds of informal fallacies. It promotes an appreciation for virtues of sound reasoning and a healthy respect for the gravity of truth. – 4 s.h.

A course designed to acquaint the student with some of the basic questions of philosophy of religion, the answers philosophers have given, and to help the student develop answers of his/her own. – 4 s.h.

A study of philosophical and religious theories of ethics and of their application to selected problems. – 4 s.h.

Survey and examination of philosophical thought relating to the nature of the human being, freewill, value, human rights, happiness, love, purpose, development, and survival. – 4 s.h.

Survey of principal writings within the Asian philosophical tradition, from the Upanisads to the Buddhist scriptures, and examination of their metaphysical, epistemological, psychological, and ethical standpoints. – 4 s.h.

This course offers an in-depth study of significant thinking within the field of aesthetics. Students will examine influential theories relating to the nature of art, beauty, aesthetic appreciation, and art criticism; conduct a detailed study of a selected work of art or topic in the field of aesthetics; and reflect on the state of the arts today and the role that they play within contemporary culture. – 4 s.h.

Theory and Method in Religious Studies Concentration

A course designed to acquaint the student with some of the basic questions of philosophy of religion, the answers philosophers have given, and to help the student develop answers of his/her own. – 4 s.h.

This seminar focuses on the methodology of historical research and writing through the medium of research projects based on primary and secondary source materials. An introduction to historiography and exploration of careers in history also serve as fundamental elements of the course. – 4 s.h.

This course is an introduction to theories and methods that scholars employ in the critical examination of religious beliefs, behaviors, and experiences. The class will look into the ideas of public and private religious ideas, critical review by religious peers, as well as the subjectivity of religious debate in the scholarly realm. – 4 s.h.

This course examines the prominent place of religion in this religiously plural geopolitical environment. It explores Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Native American traditions, white Protestantism, and African and Asian religions, and their expression in global communities. It examines the relationship between politics and religion and its impact on contemporary events – 4 s.h.

Political thought and its development from the Greek city-state to the political philosophers of the 20th century is examined in this two-course sequence. While students should preferably take the courses in sequence, there is no absolute rule that they do so. Plato, Aristotle, and subsequent thinkers through the Middle Ages are considered in this course. – 4 s.h.

Prerequisite: PSCI 2010, PSCI 2020

Religion and History Concentration

This seminar focuses on the methodology of historical research and writing through the medium of research projects based on primary and secondary source materials. An introduction to historiography and exploration of careers in history also serve as fundamental elements of the course. – 4 s.h.

The foundations of modern European society from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance, with stress upon the religious, aesthetic, and intellectual forces of medieval Europe. – 4 s.h.

The cultural and intellectual movements of the Renaissance, the rise and influence of Protestantism, the expansion of Europe, the Old Regime, and French revolutionary period through Napoleon. – 4 s.h.

Study of the interaction between ideas and society, concentrating on such cultural movements as romanticism and realism; the relationship of nationalism and imperialism to cultural patterns in the late nineteenth century; and the breakup of the nineteenth century synthesis, including the effects of totalitarianism, the welfare state and existentialism. – 4 s.h.

From the Atlantic slave trade to the current crisis in Africa, this course takes a look at sweeping historical change African peoples have experienced and shaped. Topics covered include colonialism, African countries’ struggle for independence, the introduction and spread of Islam and Christianity on the continent, and challenges to the modern African state. – 4 s.h.

Youth Ministry Concentration

A survey course of various aspects of youth culture and experience covering some of the key principles of youth work. The course will assist the student in defining youth ministry and will incorporate discussion of common adolescent issues. Students will be required to observe and critique various youth ministries. – 2 s.h.

This block course held in the May term will explore the rationale for active learning experiences and provide practical training in the use of recreation as a ministry tool. Students will learn ways to incorporate recreation and Adventure Based Learning into their youth ministry program for group building, leadership training and spiritual challenge. The course will include several ABL/Wilderness experiences. (There will be an activity fee associated with this course in addition to the cost for summer term credit hours) – 4 s.h.

This course will cover both theory and practical application of Biblical principles of ministry, particularly as they apply to youth. Students will investigate youth culture and stages of faith development, critiquing various methods of reaching young people in ministry and their effectiveness in the era of Post Modernity. Students will be challenged to establish their own theology of youth ministry. – 4 s.h.

Pulls together the academic and the practical preparation. Many youth workers struggle with certain aspects of youth ministry such as budgeting, building staff relationships, planning, reporting to a board or session, working with parents and other adults, and training volunteers. Offers the student the opportunity to gain valuable experience in areas that are often problematic to the youth professional. – 4 s.h.

Students will discuss specific ministry issues including: boundary issues, longevity, burnout, marriage and family, personal growth and development, discipline, confidentiality, apologetics and theological differences. This course is designed to prepare students for necessary self-care and encourage long term ministry involvement. – 2 s.h.

Prerequisite: YTMN 1620, 3800/3830

Off-campus experiential education offers students opportunities to explore potential career fields, apply and test the theories and insights gained in the classroom, integrate their knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, and explore the relation of biblical faith to all of these. In addition, students develop an understanding of the post-college world and learn how one must function to live responsibly in contemporary society. – 4 s.h.

Questions? Contact our faculty.
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Brian Alderman
College of Arts & Sciences
Office of the President
Corey Feagins
College of Arts & Sciences