REL 101: Introduction to Biblical Studies
An introduction to the academic study of biblical literature with an emphasis on selected writings, themes, and methods of interpretation. Students will also become familiar with extra-biblical sources (textual and archaeological) which contribute to understanding the Bible in its historical, socio-economic, theological, and literary contexts.
REL 112: Introduction to the New Testament Studies
An introduction to the academic study of the literature of the New Testament with an emphasis on selected, writings, themes, and methods of interpretation. Students will also become familiar with extra-biblical sources (textual and archaeological) which contribute to understanding the New Testament in its historical, socio-economic, theological, and literary contexts.
REL 217: Bible & Christian Faith
The Bible, commonly called the "Word of God," has always been more than "a book" for Christians. Contemporary forms of biblical criticism, however, have posed challenges for many Christians who look to the Bible as a resource for Christian faith and practice. In general, this course will wrestle with two fundamental questions: 1.) What is the Bible? and 2.) What is faith? In particular, it will examine possible relationships between the Bible and Christian faith. Attention will be given to the "battle for the Bible" between so-called "conservatives" and "liberals." The issues considered in this course will be analyzed within the context of examining the ways in which the relationship between the Bible and one's faith influences how one thinks about and lives in the world and with others.
REL 234: Clamoring for Change: Christianity and Social Change
A demand for change is inherent in Christian scriptures. This course will be an exploration into the concept of "change." What exactly is change? When demanding change, who are the ones who need to change and why? How is change best accomplished? Since change implies power, what is the relationship between change and power? In exploring these and other questions, the course will consider what (if any) role and/or contribution Christianity might have in effecting change, both individual and social. The course will engage in a critique of the "world-changing" political theologies of both the Christian Right and the Christian Left. In examining these modern theologies, the course will (re)examine the New Testament concept of metanoia, "repentance," considering it as a way of thinking about change, juxtaposing the traditional Christian understanding of repentance as individual remorse and personal transformation against an understanding of repentance as a radical and fundamental change in thinking and living that results in both individual and societal change.
REL 239: Bible Blogging
The Internet is a medium that is unparalleled in its reach. Never before have average people been able to reach a global audience with such ease. Blogging has profoundly influenced not only the nature of the internet today, but also the nature of modern communication. While many may rightly point to the democratic nature of blogging whereby anyone anywhere with internet access can provide perspectives that challenge dominant and possibly oppressive views, blogging has also spawned much misinformation that is presented as "truth" and "facts" especially misinformation associated with religion in general and the Bible in particular. This course will have two primary objectives: (1) to analyze a wide variety of religious blogs in an attempt to determine their objective and to assess whether they promote informed biblical scholarship or promote misinformation and uncritically examined beliefs, and (2) to teach students how to take what they are learning as a result of their own academic research and inquiry in religion to create a blog. Students will learn steps for setting up blogs and ways to use blogs, as well as design and content strategies.
REL 302: R.A.C.E. (Racism and Christianity Explored)
Exploring a theological account of race and racism, this course will seek to examine how the discourse of theology aided and abetted the process by which humans came to be viewed as modern, racial beings. The course will reflect critically and historically on contemporary forms of white supremacy and racism in order to understand Christianity's relation to the problems of white supremacist and racist phenomena, such that Christianity is seen complexly as both reinforcing the problems and resisting them. Finally, the course will reflect critically on different theological works that enable Christian faith to be antiracist in practice and to facilitate course member's creation of their own anti-racist strategies in belief and practice.