All RLST undergraduate classes satisfy the Arts & Sciences General Education: DistributionArts & Humanities.

Religious Dimensions of Human Experience

RLST 1620-001 | 3.0
Aun Ali, MW 1:50–2:40, MCOL W100  (*Note you must also sign up for a recitation section.)   

Surveys different approaches to the study of religion. Students will grow familiar with key thinkers, texts, and movements that shape how we understand religious phenomena. Students will also examine critiques of how religion is studied. In the end, students will have gained insight into significant aspects of religious life, belief, and practice that will empower them to navigate a world in which religion is increasingly relevant.

A&S Core: Ideals and Values

Jewish History to 1492

RLST/HIST/JWST 1818-001 | 3.0
Gregg Drinkwater, TTH 2:20–3:35, HUMN 250   

Focus on Jewish history from the Biblical period to the Spanish Expulsion in 1492. Study the origins of a group of people who call themselves, and whom others call, Jews. Focus on place, movement, power/powerlessness, gender, and the question of how to define Jews over time and place. Introduces Jews as a group of people bound together by a particular set of laws; looks at their dispersion and diversity; explores Jews' interactions with surrounding cultures and societies; introduces the basic library of Jews; sees how Jews relate to political power. 

Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityGlobal Perspective

Holocaust and Global Genocide

RLST/HIST/JWST 1830-001 | 3.0
Gregg Drinkwater, TTH 9:35–10:50, KTCH 1B71

Examines the interplay of politics, culture, psychology and sociology to try to understand why the great philosopher Isaiah Berlin called the 20th century, "The most terrible century in Western history." Our focus will be on the Holocaust as the event that defined the concept of genocide, but we will locate this event that has come to define the 20th century within ideas such as racism, imperialism, violence, and most important, the dehumanization of individuals in the modern world.

A&S Core: Historical Context
Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityGlobal Perspective

Introduction to the Old Testament

RLST/JWST 1900-001 | 3.0
Samuel Boyd, MWF 10:20–11:10, RAMY N1B31

Examine the content of the Hebrew Bible and critical theories regarding its development. Explore the development of these texts, as well as their foundational role for rabbinic literature and the New Testament. Assess the enduring influence of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in world literature and culture (such as in art and music). 

Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityGlobal Perspective


RLST 2202-001 | 3.0 
Aun Ali, TTH 12:45–2:00, CASE E240

Introduces students to foundational Islamic concepts, texts, core practices, historical narratives and intellectual, spiritual and literary traditions. Topics covered include: the figure of Muhammad; the Quran; the emergence of distinct Muslim identities; Hadith; Sharia; Islamic theology; Islamic philosophy; science in Islamic civilization; Islamic mysticism; the impact of colonialism and modernity on the Muslim world; gender and sexuality; political Islam.

A&S Core: Ideals and Values
Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityGlobal Perspective
Arts & Sciences General Education: Diversity
U.S. Perspective

The Muslim World, 600–1250

RLST/ARAB 2320-001 | 3.0 
Brian Catlos, TTH 9:35–10:50, HUMN 1B90

Focusing on the history of the Muslim World in the age of the caliphates (650-ca1200 CE), this course takes an interdisciplinary, comparative approach to the development, tracing the evolution of Islamic religion, society and culture from the era of pre-Islamic Arabia through the “Golden Age of Islam.”

A&S Core: Human Diversity
Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityGlobal Perspective

Religions in the United States

RLST 2500-001 | 3.0
Jason Purvis, MW 11:30–12:20, HLMS 199  (*Note you must also sign up for a recitation section.)   

Explores the development of various religions within the shaping influences of American culture, including separation of church and state, the frontier experience, civil religion, and the interaction of religions of indigenous peoples, immigrants, and African Americans.

A&S Core: United States Context
A&S Core: Ideals and Values

Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityU.S. Perspective
Arts and Hum: Lit & Humanities

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

RLST/JWST 2600-001 | 3.0
Samuel Boyd, MWF 12:40–1:30, HLMS 141

In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Abraham is described as a founding figure. In recent times, the label “Abrahamic Religions” has become increasingly important both as a way to describe the origins and beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and as a means for finding common ground in political and religious discourse. Yet in each religion Abraham is also used in strikingly different ways and for distinct purposes. In this course, we will look at these three religious traditions and how each one imagines Abraham. In particular, the focus will be on how each religion uses Abraham to construct foundational stories of a special relationship to God, stories that ultimately serve to promote religious identity over time.  

A&S Core: Ideals and Values
Arts and Hum: Ways of Thinking

Paganism to Christianity

RLST 2614-001  CLAS 2610-001 | 3.0 
Celene Lillie, MWF 9:10–10:00, HLMS 237

Offers a cultural history of Greek and Roman religion. Students read ancient texts in translation and use evidence from archaeology to reconstruct the shift from paganism to Christianity in antiquity. No Greek or Latin required. 

A&S Core: Ideals and Values

Women and Religion

RLST/WGST 2800-001
Celene Lillie, MWF 10:20–11:10, HUMN 1B80

What is a woman?  What is religion?  How does the answer to one inform the answer to the other?  In this course, we will explore a range of literature from ancient Greek and Roman mythology to first and second century Jewish and Christian writings alongside contemporary readings from Buddhist, Muslim, Indigenous, and Christian traditions.  To frame these explorations, we will engage theories of gender and religion, particularly the ways in which they intersect with race, class, and violence.

A&S Core: Human Diversity
Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityU.S. Perspective
Arts & Hum: Lit & Humanities

Christian Traditions

RLST 3000-001 | 3.0
Brian Catlos, TTH 11:10–12:25, HLMS 267

What are Christian Traditions?
Many would say that Christianity defines western culture and society. Media figures constantly reference “Christian values” and “Christian traditions.” But what are the origins of Christianity? Have Christian values and traditions been constant over time? And what are the forces that shaped Christian beliefs today. Over the course of the semester RLST 3000 traces Christianity from its remotest origins in ancient Mesopotamia, through the time of Jesus and the Church Fathers and on through the age of Crusade to the Reformation and the Wars of Religion -- the dawn of modern Christianity. 

A&S Core: Historical Context

Religion and Literature in America

RLST 3050-001
Jason Purvis, MWF 10:20–11:10, Meets remotely

Studies religious dimensions of American culture through representative literature, beginning with the Puritans and focusing on diversity in the 19th and 20th centuries.

A&S Core: United States Context

Yoga, Castes, and Magic: Hindu Society and Spirituality

RLST 3200-001
TTH 2:20–3:35, HLMS 241

Addresses yoga, religious asceticism and practices of magic in Hinduism from ancient India up to the modern period. Gives an overview of the variety of traditions in Hinduism, focusing on how spiritual practices affect social roles. Looks at how spritual practices approach happiness and social change, from ancient India’s secret Upanisads through medieval mystic poets like Mirabai, through Gandhi in the 20th century, focusing on figures using mystical experience to overturn social and political powers.

Tibetan Buddhism

RLST 3550-001 | 3.0
Holly Gayley, TTH 3:55–5:10, Hellems 141

Explores Tibetan Buddhism through literature and film, including sacred biographies, treatises on the Buddhist path and films providing a visual window into Tibetan life worlds. We examine different kinds of Tibetan journeys: moving through the life cycle, treading the path of self-cultivation, embarking on solitary retreat, traversing from death to rebirth and traveling on pilgrimage and into exile.

Asia Content

Religions in America

RLST 4030/5030-001 | 3.0
Deborah Whitehead, T 3:55–6:25, HUMN 270

Studies various religious movements in the U.S. and other parts of the Americas. Includes American religion and religions, religion and nationalism, revitalization and religion and Asian religions in America. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours within a term as topics change. 

Is God Dead?

RLST 4180/5180-001 | 3.0
Elias Sacks, TH 3:55–6:25, HUMN 270

Explores debates about the following questions: does it make sense to believe in God? Should believing or not believing in God make a difference for how individuals behave? Examining ancient and modern views on the existence and nature of a higher power, this course considers topics including evil and suffering, religion and science and religion's role in politics.

Introduction to the Academic Study of Religion

RLST 6830-001 | 3.0
Holly Gayley, W 4:10–6:40, HUMN 270

Introduction to the graduate academic study of religion through the exploration of contemporary models and issues that demonstrate the nature and future of the field. Students prepares a profile of intended area of research.