Religion

Program Description

The Religion and Theology Department recognizes that religion is a dimension of the human experience that grows out of the fundamental human desire for meaning and is one of the most significant geopolitical and cultural forces in the 21st century. Accordingly, we prepare students for life in the multicultural and religiously plural world by equipping them with practical, transferable, and professional skills along with self-reflective and socially conscious insight into the human condition. This includes appreciating diversity within and among traditions; engaging ideas and others through dialogue and action; and collaborating with others in identifying and responding to social problems. 

Members of the Religion & Theology Department seek to embody the four commitments of a Lasallian education through the following values:

  • We practice curiosity by asking questions in order to better understand, focusing on what is in front of us when it comes to our students, maintaining active research agendas, and making creative contributions to our respective fields of study.
  • We practice empathy through listening and active presence with groups within and beyond our campus who do not yet feel at home in our University community.
  • We practice pluralism by creating spaces and events that cultivate religious diversity and multiculturalism, by using diverse methodological practices in our research and teaching, and by going out into the community to encounter and reflect on difference.
  • We use our imagination by thinking with our senses, going beyond the boundaries of the department to dream with others about what might be possible, fostering creativity on a shoestring budget, and designing aesthetic expressions of who we are and what we do.
  • We build community by providing a place of welcome and inclusion in classroom and departmental spaces, and cultivating relationships within and beyond the boundaries of the University.

Why take this major?

When asked what he wished he had studied at university, former Secretary of State John Kerry responded that studying religion would have been the major that would have prepared him for the diverse world of the 21st century. Religion and Theology majors and minors at La Salle University learn critical knowledge and skills for engaging with and understanding difference today, as well as for tapping faith-based resources for responding effectively to social injustice. Religion and Theology majors and minors have gone on to graduate school in religion and theology, as well as law school. Our graduates are employed in the non-profit sector as social workers and community organizers. They are ministers, teachers, and even project managers in the business world.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • REL 100: Religion Matters (required for all La Salle students)
    • Identify a dimension of religion that is significant in their lived experience
    • Compare "the matter" of two religious traditions on something that "matters
    • Articulate the challenges of religious identity in a multicultural world.
  • REL 200: Theories & Methods in Religion & Theology (required for majors and minors)
    • Evaluate issues, ideas, and events by analyzing relevant contexts, assumptions, and evidence within religion and theology
    • Identify and explain at least four central theories/methods in the disciplines of religion and/or theology through engagement with primary and secondary sources
    • Apply a theory and method to an issue of the student's choosing in the discipline or our contemporary reality 
  • REL 300: Rhetoric and Dialogue in Religion & Theology (required for majors)
    • Use written and oral communication effectively according to the expectations and conventions of the discipline of religion and theology
    • Identify and evaluate rhetorical approaches used by scholars in the discipline
    • Collaborate with peers on developing and practicing their own rhetorical approaches in written and oral rhetorical styles
  • REL 400: La Salle and Beyond ((required for majors)
    • Examine and articulate how the student's personal, professional, religious or spiritual values inform their disciplinary worldviews
    • Name and explain the student's persistent preoccupation, appraise how they pursued it during their undergraduate coursework, and predict potential applications in their future plans
    • Articulate the knowledge and skills students have acquired and consider ongoing applications to their own flourishing and to the common good framed in the Lasallian vision
  • Constellation #1 - Texts, Practices, and Cultures (one course with this designation is required for majors)
    • Explain different meanings and modes of interpretation of religious and/or theological expression in order to identify and assess how they shape and are shaped by cultures.
  • Constellation #2- Difference and Pluralism (one course with this designation is required for majors)
    • Examine and critique dominant religious or theological frameworks and narratives in order to articulate the significance of diverse ways of being and knowing within and across traditions.
  • Constellation #3 - Active Responsibility (one course with this designation is required for majors)
    • Collaborate with others in engaging ethical frameworks of religion and/or theology, as well as religious and or theological imagination in order to respond to contemporary social issues and problems.

Program Contact Information

Anthony Smith

Academic Coordinator

College Hall 419

smithanthony@lasalle.edu

(215) 951-1335

Degree Earned

B.A.

Number of Courses Required for Graduation

Major: 12

Total: 38-40

Number of Credits Required for Graduation

Major: 36

Total: 120

GPA Required for Graduation

Major: 2.0

Cumulative: 2.0

Progress Chart

Level One - Core Courses

12 courses and 2 modules required

Universal Required Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete the following 4 courses.

ILO 8.1: Written Communication

ENG 110 - College Writing I: Persuasion

ILO 5.1: Information Literacy

ENG 210 - College Writing II: Research

ILO 1.1: Understanding Diverse Perspectives

FYS 130 - First-Year Academic Seminar **

NOTE. The following students use Level 2 Capstone Experience in Major instead of FYS 130: Honors, BUSCA, Core-to-Core, Transfer, and Non-Traditional/Evening.

ILO 2.1: Reflective Thinking and Valuing

REL 100 - Religion Matters

Elective Core Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course in each of the following 4 ILOs.

ILO 3.1a: Scientific Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 3.1b: Quantitative Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 6.1: Technological Competency

Choose course within ILO

ILO 8.1a/12.1: Oral Communication/ Collaborative Engagement

Choose course within ILO

Distinct Discipline Core Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course in each of the following 4 ILOs. Each course must be from a different discipline. (A "discipline" is represented by the 3- or 4-letter prefix attached to each course.)

ILO 4.1: Critical Analysis and Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 9.1: Creative and Artistic Expression

Choose course within ILO

ILO 10.1: Ethical Understanding and Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 11.1: Cultural and Global Awareness and Sensitivity

Choose course within ILO

Universal Required Modules (2 Courses)

Students must complete the following 2 non-credit modules.
The Modules are not required for Transfer Students, Core-to-Core Students, or BUSCA Students. BUSCA students are required to take modules if/when they pursue a bachelor’s degree.

ILO 7.1a

Health Literacy Module

ILO 7.1b

Financial Literacy Module

Major Requirements

Major requirements include 4 Level Two ILO requirements, fulfilled through the major.

Students in this major must complete 38-40 courses in total in order to graduate. 12 courses will be from this major program.

Level Two (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course/learning experience in each of the 4 commitments.

ILO 2.2: Broader Identity (Capstone Course/Experience)

REL 400: La Salle and Beyond

Choose one ILO from 3.2a, 3.2b, 4.2, 5.2, 6.2, 7.2a, or 7.2b: Expanded Literacies

REL 200: Theories and Methods in Religion and Theology

ILO 8.2b: Effective Expression (Writing-Intensive Course)

REL 300: Rhetorical and Dialogue in Religion and Theology

Choose on ILO from 10.2, 11.2, or 12.2: Active Responsibility

One course with 12.2 designation from Constellation #3 - Active Responsibility

All Other Required Courses

REL 100-Religion Matters

REL 200-Theories and Methods in Religion and Theology

REL 300-Rhetoric and Dialogue in Religion and Theology

REL 400-La Salle and Beyond

 

Students will take one course from each of the following Constellations:

Texts, Practices, and Cultures (one course)
REL 210 - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
REL 211 - The New Testament
REL 212 - The Prophets of Ancient Israel
REL 214 - The Gospels

REL 220 - Catholicism in the Modern World

REL 221-Christian Origins

REL 223 - Jesus and His Mission

REL 224 - Christian Spirituality: Visionaries, Mystics, and Saints

REL 242 - Sports and Spirituality 

REL 243 - Religion and Contemporary Literature

REL 246 - Exploring Evil
REL 247 - Theologies of Suffering

REL 247 - Theologies of Suffering
REL 315 - St. Paul
REL 316 - Women in the Bible

REL 324 - La Salle and His Legacy

REL 355 - Meditation and Mindfulness

Difference and Pluralism

REL 231 - Buddhism in Asia and Beyond
REL 232 - Judaism, Islam, and Other Religions of the Near East
REL 233 - Islam in America

REL 235 - Women and Gender in Islam

REL 236- Christian Muslim Relations

REL 237 - Hinduism: Yoga, Dharma, and Devotion

REL 244 - Religion in the United States

REL 245 - Catholicism in the United States

REL 248 - Religion and the Civil Rights Movement

REL 280- Religion in Prison

REL 345 - Religion in Philadelphia
REL 270 - Special Topics

Active Responsibility (one course)

REL 140 - Moral Decisions in Health Care

REL 250 - Religion and Ethics in Contemporary Culture
REL 251 - Peace and Justice in the Christian Tradition

REL350 - Building the Beloved Community?: Theology and Racism
REL 352 - Playing God: Religion, Ethics, and the Life Sciences
REL 353 - Social Justice and Community Organizing
REL 354 - Love, Sex, and Friendship: Religious Perspectives on Human Relationships
REL 370 - Special Topics

Students will take 5 REL elective courses, one of which may come from the approved list of courses below (or by permission of the chair): 

    • ARTH 205: Medieval Art
    • ARTH 213: Italian Renaissance Art
    • ENG 243: Religion and Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 303: Language and Prejudice
    • ENG 351: Gender and Ethnicity
    • ENG 353: Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 437: World Literature, The Western Tradition
    • ENG 438: World Literature, The Non-Western Tradition
    • HIS 307: Latin America: The Colonial Experience
    • HIS 308: Latin America in Revolution
    • HIS 338: The American Immigrant
    • HIS 367: Early Middle Ages
    • HIS 369: The Holocaust
    • HIS 385: Modern Ireland
    • LGU 200: Introduction to Leadership and Global Understanding
    • PHL 267: Philosophical Approaches to God;
    • PHL 309: God, Reality, Heaven and Hell: Thomas Aquinas;
    • PHL 327: Angels and Demons: The Romance of Medieval Philosophy
    • POL 348: 21st Century Terrorism
    • POL 385: Ethics in Government
    • SWK 280: Dynamics of Human Development & Diversity
    • SWK 281: Dynamics of People in Diverse Environments
    • SWK 350: Loss and Grief

Free Electives

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must take enough courses to the fulfill graduation credit requirements for their School and major.

Dual Major Requirements

REQUIRED FOR DUAL MAJORS:

  • REL 100 - Religion Matters
  • REL 200 - Theories and Methods in Religion and Theology
  • REL 400 - La Salle and Beyond
  • 7 REL electives (one of which may come from the following list of approved courses outside of the department or those approved by the chair:
    • ARTH 205: Medieval Art
    • ARTH 213: Italian Renaissance Art
    • ENG 243: Religion and Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 303: Language and Prejudice
    • ENG 351: Gender and Ethnicity
    • ENG 353: Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 437: World Literature, The Western Tradition
    • ENG 438: World Literature, The Non-Western Tradition
    • HIS 307: Latin America: The Colonial Experience
    • HIS 308: Latin America in Revolution
    • HIS 338: The American Immigrant
    • HIS 367: Early Middle Ages
    • HIS 369: The Holocaust
    • HIS 385: Modern Ireland
    • LGU 200: Introduction to Leadership and Global Understanding
    • PHL 267: Philosophical Approaches to God;
    • PHL 309: God, Reality, Heaven and Hell: Thomas Aquinas;
    • PHL 327: Angels and Demons: The Romance of Medieval Philosophy
    • POL 348: 21st Century Terrorism
    • POL 385: Ethics in Government
    • SWK 280: Dynamics of Human Development & Diversity
    • SWK 281: Dynamics of People in Diverse Environments
    • SWK 350: Loss and Grief
  • REQUIRED FOR DUAL MAJOR IN RELIGION-EDUCATION:

  • REL 100 - Religion Matters
  • REL 200 - Theories and Methods in Religion and Theology
  • REL 400 - La Salle and Beyond
  • 7 REL electives (one of which may come from the following list of approved courses outside of the department or those approved by the chair: 
    • ARTH 205: Medieval Art
    • ARTH 213: Italian Renaissance Art
    • ENG 243: Religion and Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 303: Language and Prejudice
    • ENG 351: Gender and Ethnicity
    • ENG 353: Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 437: World Literature, The Western Tradition
    • ENG 438: World Literature, The Non-Western Tradition
    • HIS 307: Latin America: The Colonial Experience
    • HIS 308: Latin America in Revolution
    • HIS 338: The American Immigrant
    • HIS 367: Early Middle Ages
    • HIS 369: The Holocaust
    • HIS 385: Modern Ireland
    • LGU 200: Introduction to Leadership and Global Understanding 
    • PHL 267: Philosophical Approaches to God;
    • PHL 309: God, Reality, Heaven and Hell: Thomas Aquinas;
    • PHL 327: Angels and Demons: The Romance of Medieval Philosophy
    • POL 348: 21st Century Terrorism
    • POL 385: Ethics in Government
    • SWK 280: Dynamics of Human Development & Diversity
    • SWK 281: Dynamics of People in Diverse Environments
    • SWK 350: Loss and Grief
  • EDC 103, 104, 224, 225, 304, 306, 401, 470

Minor Requirements

REQUIRED FOR MINOR IN RELIGION:

  • REL 100 - Religion Matters
  • REL 200 - Theories and Methods in Religion and Theology
  • Four REL electives (one of which may come from the following list of approved courses outside of the department or those approved by the chair: 
    • ARTH 205: Medieval Art
    • ARTH 213: Italian Renaissance Art
    • ENG 243: Religion and Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 303: Language and Prejudice
    • ENG 351: Gender and Ethnicity
    • ENG 353: Contemporary Literature
    • ENG 437: World Literature, The Western Tradition
    • ENG 438: World Literature, The Non-Western Tradition
    • HIS 307: Latin America: The Colonial Experience
    • HIS 308: Latin America in Revolution
    • HIS 338: The American Immigrant
    • HIS 367: Early Middle Ages
    • HIS 369: The Holocaust
    • HIS 385: Modern Ireland
    • LGU 200: Introduction to Leadership and Global Understanding
    • PHL 267: Philosophical Approaches to God;
    • PHL 309: God, Reality, Heaven and Hell: Thomas Aquinas;
    • PHL 327: Angels and Demons: The Romance of Medieval Philosophy
    • POL 348: 21st Century Terrorism
    • POL 385: Ethics in Government
    • SWK 280: Dynamics of Human Development & Diversity
    • SWK 281: Dynamics of People in Diverse Environments
    • SWK 350: Loss and Grief

Course Descriptions

REL 100 - Religion Matters

This course serves as an introductory exploration to the interdisciplinary study of religion and theology. While few would argue with the statement that religion exerts enormous power in the world today, it is not an easy topic to discuss in our increasingly diverse society. Students investigate both the personal dimensions of religion that matter in their lives and the substance and cultural impact of religion in society through reflection and analysis of texts, teachings, and practices. Throughout the semester, students identify dimensions of religion and theology that are significant to their lived experience, compare "the matter" of religious traditions on something that "matters," and articulate the challenges of religious identity in a multicultural world.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

How Offered: Face-to-Face, Online

ILO Met: ILO 2.1 - REL 100

REL 210 - The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

This course examines the Jewish canonical writings in their historical and cultural contexts, introduces the scholarly tools employed to discover the meaning(s) of the documents, and investigates the rich and complex development of the religion of ancient Israel and biblical Judaism(s). The deutero-canonical writings, those not included in the Jewish canon, will also be discussed.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 211 - The New Testament

This course examines the Christian canonical writings in their historical and cultural contexts, introduces the scholarly tools employed to discover the meaning(s) of the documents, and investigates the continuities and the transformations of Christianity from a Jewish movement to an independent religion.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 212 - The Prophets of Ancient Israel

This an emphasis on the study of prophecy and prophetical literature in the Bible; this course explores prophecy as an institution in the Near East and its unique development in Israel in connection with the theological message of the biblical prophets.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 214 - The Gospels

This course is an introduction to the four New Testament gospels. While these texts agree on major events in the life of Jesus, they individually offer unique perspectives on who Jesus was. The synoptic gospels: Mark, Matthew, and Luke will be studied first, with special attention given to the question of literary relationships between these three texts, what scholars identify as the "Synoptic Problem." Next, we will study the Gospel of John, the most unique of the four gospels. Finally, we will briefly explore apocryphal (extra-biblical) gospel traditions about the life and teachings of Jesus.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 220 - Catholicism In the Modern World

This course is a historical and theological introduction to the study of Catholicism as it shapes and is shaped by the social, economic, political, and religious contexts of the 21st century. Catholicism will be studied in light of the history of the issues and current theological thought.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 221 - Christian Origins

This course is an introduction to the development of Christianity from a fringe, Jewish apocalyptic movement to the state religion of the Roman Empire. The course objectives are as follows: (1) to familiarize students with the history and literature of formative Christianity in its GrecoRoman context; (2) to explore Jesus traditions in the New Testament and later Christian writings; (3) to discuss the diversities of "heretical" and "orthodox" Christianity in the first four centuries; and (4) to explore the roles of women in the earliest Christian communities.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 223 - Jesus And His Mission

This course includes a careful study of the images of Jesus presented in the Christian Scriptures and reflected in the lived practices of communities of faith from the earliest Christians to today. The course examines how Jesus' challenge to the social and religious structures of his day stands as a challenge to Christians in the contemporary world and may consider how women, people of color, and those of diverse cultures, religious beliefs, and economic status continue to engage him and his message. The course may also include an examination of beliefs of incarnation, salvation, and Trinity.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 224 - Christian Spirituality: Visionaries, Mystics, And Saints

This course explores the ways in which Christians, both Eastern and Western, have striven to express and deepen love of God and others. The course will analyze the origins and development of their various movements in spirituality and the means used to embody Christian discipleship.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 225 - The Sacraments

This course inquires into the origins and developments of, as well as the current theological issues concerning, Christian rites and symbols. This course also studies some of the problems of contemporary sacramental theology.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 226 - Christian Worship

This course is a study of the shape and practice of worship, especially in Western Christian Sunday liturgy. The course understands worship as lying between art and life, and examines both symbol and ritual, and surveys the development of Sunday worship and contemporary issues.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 231 - Buddhism In Asia And Beyond

This course examines how the Buddha's question of how to end suffering developed out of the historical, religious, and cultural context of his time as well as how his insights spread and were adapted throughout Asia and into the modern world. It investigates the source of such practices as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, which have become influential in the West, and considers ways of thinking about the self, death and dying, and the mind--all of which have challenged and expanded approaches to psychology, the hospice movement, and neuroscience in the world today.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

ILO Met: ILO 11.1 - Cultural and Global Awareness and Sensitivity

REL 232 - Judaism, Islam, And Other Religions from the Near East

This course examines Judaism and Islam within the framework of comparative study of religions. It investigates the historical origins, roots, and developments of Judaism and Islam, their sacred texts as the bases of their laws, rituals, values and material culture. It explores interactions among the traditions, as well as with other religions and considers how such interactions influence the ways Jews and Muslims live in contemporary times. Secondary attention will be paid to Middle Eastern Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Ba'hai, or other aspects of the religious life of Israel, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 233 - Islam In America

How do American Muslims live and interpret Islam in a Western, secular society? Students will learn about the teachings of Islam, its historical development in the United States from the antebellum period to the emergence of local and diasporic Muslim communities in contemporary times. Various dimensions of Islam are examined, along with the social-political-economic contexts and issues that helped shape these communities. Topics may include Qur'an as interpreted in the American environment, women and gender, religion and race, American Muslim politics and civic engagement after 9/11, visual expressions of Islam, as well as expressions of Islam in American popular culture. Site visits to local Mosques and Islamic centers are usually integrated into the course.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

ILO Met: ILO 11.1 - Cultural and Global Awareness and Sensitivity

REL 240 - Contemporary Religious Thought

This course offers a critical study of contemporary writers and thinkers who continue to shape and challenge our understanding of the relationship between religion and culture. Drawing upon the works of these figures, each section of the course is structured around a significant theme or questions. Themes may include the relationship between religion and politics, the challenges of secularism, the place of the individual in society, diaspora communities, amongst others.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring, Summer

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 241 - Women in Religion

Are religions necessarily patriarchal? This course introduces students to the diversity of women's experiences of and contributions to religious belief and practice in at least one of the world's religious traditions. Topics may include feminist understandings of the divine, the role of women in the origins and development of religious traditions, feminist interpretations of sacred texts, feminist spiritualities, historical and contemporary efforts by women to reform religious traditions.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 242 - Sports and Spirituality

This course explores contemporary spirituality in relation to the phenomena of sports. Students study how human beings encounter the Holy in the midst of everyday life with emphasis on how experiences associated with sports, either as an athlete participant or as identifying with athletes and teams, impact on developing a critical assessment of one's personal values system. This assessment, in turn, becomes a focus on the ways in which one relates to the Holy or the Transcendent in the course of one's life.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 243 - Religion and Contemporary Literature

The course explores the intersection between themes from the world's religions and contemporary literature. Works studied cross religious and geographic boundaries, as well as literary genres, and provide the opportunity for both literary critical and religious analyses highlighting themes such as identity, suffering, mystery, doubt, evil, the supernatural and reconciliation. Students do independent reading and research in this class. This course is cross-listed as ENG 243.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 244 - Religion in The United States

This course will examine the formation and development of the US national identity— the religious and secular roots that have nourished it, the myths that have informed its sense of self, especially concepts of being a chosen people, of progress and unlimited freedom. Areas of focus will include dominant expressions of Protestantism, along with conventional "outsiders," such as Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, Native traditions, the Black Church, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Underlying this approach is a tension between narratives of the United States as a messianic "Christian" nation, while also being a haven for pluralism and Church-State separation.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

How Offered: Online

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 245 - Catholicism In the United States

Is it possible to be a good Catholic and American at the same time? The answer often depends on who is asking the question. This course examines the history and place of the Roman Catholic community in the United States from the colonial period until the present. Some topics and central figures may include ethnicity, devotional life, John F. Kennedy, and the sexual abuse crisis.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 246 - Encountering Evil

This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to offer a wide range of perspectives on the topic of evil. Students will explore the following themes: religious accounts of and explanations for evil; the philosophical problem of evil; the use of evil as a moral category for evaluating human behaviors and history; the science of evil; and representations of evil in contemporary popular culture (e.g. art, literature, and film).

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 247 - Theologies of Suffering

This course examines one of the most profound experiences in all of creation, as well as one of the most vexing theological problems. Sources include sacred texts and ongoing to responses to them from Christian, Jewish and Muslim thinkers.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 250 - Religion and Ethics in Contemporary Culture

This course introduces students to foundational approaches to ethical reasoning informed by religious traditions, and examines a variety of moral and religious perspectives on selected contemporary issues. Examples may include world hunger and poverty; the causes and symptoms of social inequality; sexism and sexual violence; the death penalty and incarceration; and the degradation of the environment.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 251 - Peace and Justice in the Christian Tradition

This course explores fundamental principles that have influenced religious considerations the social imperative to work for peace and justice. Although the principal focus is on Western Christian thought and action other traditions, both religious and secular, may also be included. Particular subtopics that may be investigated include militarism, socioeconomic inequality, race, gender, class, sexuality, environmentalism, liberation theologies, and nonviolent struggle.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 271 - Islam in the Contemporary World

Special topics are offered in accord with student and faculty interest on an ad hoc basis.

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 273 - Jesus In Film

Special topics are offered in accord with student and faculty interest on an ad hoc basis.

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 276 - Economic Justice for All

Special topics are offered in accord with student and faculty interest on an ad hoc basis.

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 315 - St. Paul

This course is a study of the 13 New Testament letters associated with Paul. These letters bear witness to a diversity of belief and practice in the earliest Christian communities. This course will examine the following: the first century historical and political context, Paul's Jewish background, authorship of the letters, Jesus according to Paul, Paul and women, and primitive Christianity as described in his letters.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 316 - Women in The Bible

This course is a select survey of "women" in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and New Testament, this course examines biblical stories about women; biblical attitudes about femaleness; women's religious and social roles in their respective historical settings; and recent feminist biblical interpretation.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 324 - La Salle And His Legacy

John Baptist de La Salle (1651-1719), saint, scholar, priest, founder, educational innovator, spiritual guide, and universal patron of teachers, initiated a spiritual and educational legacy that drew upon the religious currents of his times and has endured into the present. This course will explore the life experiences, spiritual insights, educational innovations, and lasting influences of St. La Salle, with particular attention to how his legacy continues to inspire and guide Lasallians worldwide today. As participants in an upper division course, students will engage in theological discourse, read and analyze foundational texts, and research and write about course topics with an appropriate level of skill.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 345 - Religion in Philadelphia

This course explores the changing religious lanscape of Philadelphia from William Penn's "Holy Experiment", ensuring freedom of religious expression, to contemporary diversity brought about by transitional migration, new religious movements, and conversion. It examines the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity and religion through the prism of significant moments in this historic city, including the abolitionist movement and establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the adoption of Islam by African American Philadelphians, the increasing influence of Hinduism and Buddhism in both immigrant and convert communities, and the social activism that has resulted in the first ordinations of women and support of gay marriage in some religious communities. Sources include primary and secondary readings and films, as well as active dialogue with communities on the ground, today, through visits to historic and contemporary religious sites.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 352 - Playing God: Religion, Ethics, and the Life Sciences

This course will examine the dilemmas and debates related to many of today's most controversial issues in the life sciences, as well as the role of religion as a frame for understanding and evaluating the ethical dimensions of these controversies. Topics will include: the American healthcare system, stem cell research, genetic engineering, cloning, drug development, pollution, global warming, euthanasia, plastic surgery, and reproductive technology.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 353 - Social Justice and Community Service

This course is designed for students who would like to become involved in community outreach activities or who have already demonstrated an ongoing commitment to such activities. This course will integrate community service with issues of justice from the perspective of theology. Its purpose is to provide not only analysis, but also a deeper appreciation and respect for the disadvantaged, and a more long-lasting commitment to enter into solidarity with them in their struggle for justice. Through readings, reflection, a community service project, and discussion, this course will allow students to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the social, political, spiritual, and economic causes of injustice and how their service influences the cause of social justice.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 354 - Love, Sex, And Friendship: Religious Perspectives on Human Relationships

What is the nature of love and desire? What role does friendship play in our happiness? Can sex be a religious experience? This course will explore how different religious and secular traditions have shaped our ideas of love, sexuality, gender and relationships, and how our changing understanding of these dimensions of the human experience inform and/or challenge religious traditions today.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 370 - Religion & Racism in America

Special topics are offered in accord with student and faculty interest on an ad hoc basis.

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 400 - Capstone Writing Colloquium for Majors

As the capstone or culminating course in the Religion major, this course oversees the process of researching, writing and presenting a paper that integrates students' areas of focus in the undergraduate curriculum. As both a workshop and a forum for ongoing discussion, the colloquium provides both training in the skills needed to undertake such a project and a community of learning for critical engagement and mutual encouragement. The colloquium begins with honing a research question and concludes with a defense/discussion with other majors and Religion faculty.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Restrictions: Senior Religion Majors and Dual-Majors only.

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153

REL 410 - Internship

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge to relevant positions in religious, charitable, or other nonprofit organizations.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring

Restrictions: Permission of the Chair, GPA of 2.67.

Prerequisites: REL 100, 150, or 153