This course introduces students to the academic study of religion. Various theories and methodologies are studied to understand the role of religion in society. This class focuses on theology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, liberationist theory, feminist/womanist theological ethics, and queer theory as a way to study religion critically.
This course introduces students to various methodologies to analyze the meaning and relevance of some of the world's major religions such as Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It invites students to study how social situations
and cultural values influence our views on divinities, cosmology, humanity, the human person, belief, ritual, and morality.
A study of the Old Testament against the background of the ancient Near East emphasizing the history and religion of the Hebrew people.
The writings of the New Testament will be studied in terms of their historical context, literary style, purpose, authorship, and religious teachings. A variety of approaches to the reading and understanding of this literature will be considered.
The history of religion in the United States from the colonial period to the present day. Topics will include: the religious situation in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries; immigration patterns of the colonists; frontier expansion and the industrial revolution; the growth of denominationalism; religion and science; liberal and conservative ends; civil religion; "cults'' and other contemporary issues.
This course seeks to develop in the student an awareness of sociological approaches to the study and understanding of religion. It will consider the various ways of defining and articulating the sociological dimensions of religion. Included will be an exploration of how American and other societies have been influenced by religious factors as well as an investigation of how society itself can shape religion. The relationship of religion to politics, economics, class structures, sexual roles and other vital areas of human life will be examined.
Religion is an integral part of human culture and society; as such, it has exerted an enormous influence upon the course of history, the formation of civilization, and the development of literature, art, music, and philosophy. The aim of this course is to acquaint the student with the diversity and complexity of religious phenomena in Western and selected non-Western cultures. The student will be introduced to the “language” of religion (mythology, symbolism, ritual) and will examine the influence of religion upon a range of humanistic concerns. These may include: art and architecture, music and dance, drama and literature, and philosophy.
Selected poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction that explore such topics as faith, the nature and presence of God, death and immortality, spirituality, sin, and salvation. The course invites student to examine and reflect on the interrelationship of literary expression and a theological understanding of the world.
This course will deal with the so-called "primitive’’ religious traditions of the Americas (e.g. Navaho), Polynesia, Australia, and Africa. The course will examine the basic beliefs, practices, world views, and mythologies of these disappearing societies. It will also reconsider the usage of terms such as "primitive,’’ "advanced,’’ etc.
(Aso AFS 232) This course will introduce the student to the basic beliefs and practices of Islam. It will also survey major historical, cultural, theological, and social developments. Special attention will be given to the Arabian origins of Islam and to its subsequent growth into a dynamic global tradition. The role of Islam in the modern world and its impact on American society will also be considered.
This course provides for the study of various religious traditions and topics not covered in the regular course offerings. Possible topics may include: contemporary issues in religion; “new” religious movements; religion and art; religion in ancient Egypt, etc.
Please contact your instructor for specific topic.
An in-depth exploration of the beliefs, practices, and social institutions of Buddhism. Students will explore the history of Buddhism from its origin in India through its developments in China, Japan, and more recently in Europe and North America. We will also consider increasing importance of Buddhism in modern America culture society
An in-depth exploration of the beliefs, practices, and social institutions of Hinduism. Students will explore the history of Hinduism from its origin in India through its developments in recent centuries as Hindus have migrated around the globe. We will also consider the increasing importance Hinduism in modern American culture and society.
(Also WMS 380)This course investigates the intersections of religion, gender, and sexuality. It looks into the role that societal norms and cultural values play in how social and religious institutions view sex, sexuality, and gender in relation to religious convictions and practices. It emphasizes that both religion and sexuality are shaped by social privileges, historical particularities and experiences.
(Also AFS 300) This course introduces students to a critical approach to the interpretation of the AfricanAmerican socio-religious experience in North America. It examines the historical journey of African Americans as well as their attempt to
create meaning and sense of dignity in the face of harsh and inhumane circumstances.
This courses defines both religion and spirituality as a factor that contributes to the development and well-being of the human person. It examines the ways in which the psychology of religion can be used to explain various spiritual phenomena both in the past as well as the present.
This course provides for an in-depth study of major issues in the history of religions, especially the academic study of religion. Possible topics may include: mythology; cosmology; theology; religion and science, etc.
Please contact your instructor for specific topic.
(Also AFS 360) This course examines various expressions and forms of African spirituality, ethic, and culture. It challenges the long-standing myth that African religions are based on a monolithic cultural system. Religious traditions from West and Central Africa are central to the objectives of this course.
In modern scholarship, the term “myth” refers to a range of sacred stories told by cultures through the ages to describe the origins of the universe and the human place in that cosmic structure. These stories are not just about gods and goddesses. This course will survey different ways of studying mythology, consider myths from different culture, and explore the ongoing roles of myth in modern literature, games, and religion.
Politics and Religion explores theories focused on the relationship between religion and politics. It focuses on the impact of religion on socio-political issues. This course looks into how religion has been used as an ideology to shape policies dealing with issues such as abortion, gender, marriage equality, and voting rights.
This course relies on a scientific methodologies and examines the relevance of religion in society as well as the idea of religion is a pervasive socio-cultural phenomenon that influences social processes. It delves into the symbolic representations of religion and how they shape practitioners' and non-believers' perceptions on the divine and society.
Field experience in the Humanities allowing majors to gain hands-on experience in such professional settings as the publishing industry, museums, and the ministry. Open to juniors and seniors majoring in Religion.
This course provides students with the opportunity to work on a project that shows not only their talents but also what they have learned about religion and society during their tenure at Bloomfield College. Students may decide to write a major research paper or create an artistic project.
A selected topic such as mysticism, scriptures of a world religion or of particular religious movements, leaders and thinkers.