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Religion - Fall 2014

Religion 121R 1W Art of Biblical Literature
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara
Pre-requisite:  Not open to students who have taken RELI 221R.

This course is intended to help readers appreciate the artistry of biblical prose and poetry.  We will examine texts from the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha, paying special attention to plot structure, word-plays, imagery, repetition, characterization, themes, parallelism and aetiology.  Throughout the term, we will consider reinterpretations of biblical literature in the music, literature, and film of our own culture.  Class sessions have a lecture/discussion format.  There will be three or four exams and regular written responses to readings.  This course counts toward the PAST minor. Writing Intensive.


Religion 177 R  Sec 1 and 2  â€“ Religious Perspectives on Contemporary Moral Issues
(4 semester hours)
Nelson, Paul

Pre-Requisite: NONE
This course is intended to provide an introduction to basic moral concepts in Judaism and Christianity (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) and their application to specific issues of current interest.  The course examines the relation of moral teachings to the broader theological context in which they occur, analyzes in detail positions taken by religious moralists on particular issues and compares these positions with those of secular thinkers. In some cases, Jewish and Christian perspectives may be compared with those of Islamic, Hindu or Buddhist thinkers.

Topics may include lying, sexuality and procreation, assisted reproduction, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, genetic engineering, human rights, war, terrorism and nuclear deterrence, equality and gender, justice in access to health care, and environmental ethics


Religion 200R  1W Luther and Lutheranism
(4 semester hours)
Tune, Anders

Pre-requisite:  None
This course first examines the life and thought of Martin Luther, in his historical context.  It then considers the development of Lutheran ideas and history down to our time, in the context of the broader Christian tradition and some of the challenges of modern culture.  Both Lutheran and non-Lutheran contemporary views will be considered.  Requirements include two exams, two short papers, and one longer paper.  Writing intensive.


Religion 221R  1W   Understanding the Old Testament
(4 semester hours)
Kaiser, Barbara

Pre-requisite:  NONE
This course is designed especially for religion majors, pre-theological students, and others with a serious interest in biblical studies. We will attempt to place the Old Testament literature in its historical context, understand the theological perspectives which shape the texts, develop methods of interpretation, and simply appreciate the artistry and inspiration of the Old Testament literature. Class sessions have lecture/discussion format. Students will take three exams and write a paper. Counts to PAST Minor. Writing intensive.

Religion 324R  1W Apocalyptic Vision in Ancient and Modern Literature 
(4 semester hours)

Prerequisite: one previous biblical course.
We will begin the semester with an analysis of ancient Jewish apocalyptic tests – Daniel, Enoch, and 2 Esdras.  Historical context and literary style of the Jewish texts will be the focus of our attention.  Second, we will consider apocalyptic literature of two sectarian groups, the Essenes and Christians.  During this part of the quarter we will read the War Rule from Qumran and Revelation and examine and respond to modern interpretations of the latter, such as views of the Branch Davidians of Waco.   Finally, we will consider apocalyptic aspects of English literature by examining such texts as poems of William Blake, Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust and selected novels chosen by participants.  Students will be responsible for a research paper and several short presentations (theodicy debate, imaging ultimate states of good and evil, reporting on newspaper and magazine articles, etc.).  The class is conducted as a seminar with discussion, frequent student presentations, occasional lectures.  Writing intensive.


Religion 378 R –  Bioethics            
(4 semester hours)
Nelson, Paul

This seminar introduces students to basic concepts, issues and arguments in bioethics.  The readings are taken from the disciplines of biology, ecology, medicine, philosophy, religious ethics, law and policy studies.  Goals for the seminar include (1) becoming familiar with a significant body of professional literature; (2) learning to identify moral issues, analyze moral arguments, and to make and defend moral judgments;  (3) reflecting on what it means to be a physician or patient; and (4) exploring the relations between ethics, law and public policy.  Topics include abortion, reproductive technologies, stem cell research, cloning, euthanasia, autonomy, paternalism, use of human subjects in research, access to health care, allocation of scarce resources, and environmental ethics. 

Writing intensive.


Religion 498 – 1W  Senior Capstone
(1 semester hours)

Majors may write their Senior Essay in connection with any upper-division Religion course taken in the junior or senior year.  Students should register for this course along with the upper-division course at the same time to do so.  Writing intensive. Every year.


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