2013-14 CATALOG

PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION

Chair: David H. Nikkel

Faculty: Jeffery L. Geller, Mordechai Inbari, Sharon Lea Mattila, Melinda Rosenberg, Ray K. Sutherland

 

Philosophy and religion have long been considered integral parts of the Liberal Arts Programs. The courses presented here are planned to give the inquiring student an introduction to these broadening disciplines, the means whereby the significance of various disciplines can be interpreted, and a way of viewing, understanding and resolving some of the conflicts and issues in modern culture. These courses prepare the student to take an active part in community activities or in planning for graduate study.

A combined major in philosophy and religion of thirty hours is offered. A minor of eighteen hours is also offered.

Students interested in majoring in philosophy and religion should discuss their interests with a faculty member in the Department. In order to help fulfill the aims of the individual student, courses are to be selected in conference with the student’s departmental advisor.

 

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION

Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Religion

Sem. Hrs.

Freshman Seminar

1

General Education Requirement*

44

Courses for the Major:

Required Courses (9 hours): PHI 1000; REL 1300; PHI 1010

Courses from the Core Philosophy and Religion Curriculum (21 hours)

At least 15 of these 21 hours must be at the 3000 or 4000 level

At least four of these areas must be represented:

General: PHI 1200, PHI/REL 1020, REL 1050, 1060, 1080, 1220, 1430

History of Philosophy: PHI 2110, 3080, 3090, 3110, 4000

Philosophy and Culture: PHI 2040, 2050, 2070, 3010, 3160, 3200, 3210, 3300, 3760, 4030, 4230, 4430

Biblical:  REL 2030, 3160, 3180, 3210, 3290, 3360, 3370, 4010

Religious Thought: REL 2050, 2090, 2140, 2340, 3025, 3190, PHI/REL 3220, REL 3270, 3280, PHI/REL 3550, REL 4070, 4170, 4230

World Religions: REL 2130, 2160, 2180, 3028, 3029, 3030, 3150, 3420, 3430, 4150, 4350, PHI/REL 4500

Students taking 18 or more hours with a REL prefix must take REL 4410

30

Electives

45

 

Total:  120

 

ACADEMIC CONCENTRATION

For students seeking a baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education, Special Education, or Physical Education, the Department of Philosophy offers an academic concentration in the form of a Philosophy and Religion major of 30 hours. Six hours of this 30 may also be used to meet General Education requirements.

 

MINORS IN PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION (18 Semester Hours)

The Department of Philosophy and Religion offers minors for students in other majors. Students majoring in Philosophy and Religion may also pursue a minor in the department under certain circumstances. There are a number of courses in the department which may be used in developing a minor. Students are encouraged to consult with a member of the department in planning a minor. Some of the possibilities would be in Biblical Studies, Non‑Western Religions, Ethics, Church History, Religious Thought, and Philosophy.

 

Minor Areas and Required Courses in the Minor

The minor requires 18 semester hours; at least six hours must be at the 3000 or 4000 level. A large number of elective hours are possible in each minor. Minors must be approved by the Department.

Philosophy Minor PHI 1000 plus 15 elective hours.

Religion Minor REL 1300 plus 15 elective hours.

Philosophy and Religion PHI 1000 and REL 1300 plus 12 elective hours.

 

Minor in Asian Studies, British Studies, Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies, or Terrorism Studies

Students should consult the Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors section of the catalog for a description of the interdisciplinary minors in Asian Studies, British Studies, Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies, or Terrorism Studies.

 

COURSES

 

PHILOSOPHY (PHI)

GENERAL

PHI 1000.  Introduction to Philosophy

A survey of the major issues and philosophers in the history of western philosophy. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 1010.  Logic

The methods and principles of correct thinking. Emphasis on informal logic, the syllogism, and fallacies. Computer modeling activities are required.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 1020.  Perspectives on Humanity (REL 1020)

A study of the dominant understandings of humanity. Philosophical, religious, scientific, and literary sources are read and discussed. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 1200.  Introduction to Asian Studies (PSPA 1200/HST 1200)

An introduction to the field of Asian Studies through an interdisciplinary perspective combining history, politics, economics, philosophy, and culture using a variety of theories, methodologies, and sources (textbook, book chapters, articles, literature).  The course focuses on East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) but will also include India, Southeast Asia, and other countries.  Credit, 3 semester hours.  PREREQ: C or better in ENG 1050

HISTORY

PHI 2110.  American Philosophy

A study of the major figures in American philosophy, including Pierce, Royce, James, and Dewey. Credit, 3 semester hours. PREREQ: PHI 1000 or consent of instructor.

PHI 3080.  The Great Philosophers: Ancient and Medieval

Studies in Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and others. Credit, 3 semester hours. PREREQ: PHI 1000 or consent of instructor.

PHI 3090.  Modern Philosophy

Studies in Descartes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. Credit, 3 semester hours. PREREQ: PHI 1000 or consent of instructor.

PHI 3110.  Theories of Knowledge and Reality

A study of the major attempts to answer the fundamental questions about the self, the nature of reality, God, perception, and belief. Credit, 3 semester hours. PREREQ: PHI 1000 or consent of instructor.

PHI 4000.  Contemporary Philosophy

A study of phenomenology, existentialism, post‑modernism, logical positivism, ordinary language philosophy, and conceptual analysis. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURE

PHI 2040.  Introduction to Ethics

A study of the criteria by which moral decisions are made and their applications to selected contemporary ethical issues. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 2050.  Social and Political Philosophy

Studies of opposing philosophical views about humankind and the foundation of political and social life. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 2070.  Contemporary Moral Issues

This is a survey course in applied ethics. Issues such as abortion, capital punishment, cloning, and affirmative action will be discussed. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 3010.  Moral Theory

This course will take an in-depth focus on the major theoretical approaches to ethics. The course will begin with a review of the historical origins of moral theory (Aristotle, Kant, and Mill). During the second part of the class, we will examine several attempts to rearticulate virtue ethics, Kantian ethics, and utilitarianism to address contemporary concerns. This course is intended as an advanced course in moral theory and is not a replacement for PHI 2040. Credit, 3 semester hours.  PREREQ: PHI 1000 or 2040.

PHI 3160. Sports Ethics

This course will examine ethical issues that arise in sports. Issues such as sportsmanship, the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and fair play will be discussed.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 3200.  Ethics, Politics, and Law

A study of the issues that lie at the intersection of moral theory, political philosophy, and legal philosophy, the course will address several issues of particular interest to all three fields, among them punishment, freedom of speech, and the nature of political obligation. Analysis will be filtered through a careful reading of several important contemporary works in moral, political, and legal philosophy. The course assumes some background in at least one of the three areas being studied. Credit, 3 semester hours.  PREREQ: PHI 2040.

PHI 3210.  Philosophy of Science

A study of the problems and implications of the mathematical, physical, biological, and social sciences leading to philosophical synthesis of the relation between the sciences and humans. Credit, 3 semester hours. PREREQ: PHI 1000 or instructor consent.

PHI 3220.  Religion and Science (REL 3220)

An examination of issues between science and religion and a consideration of a tradition in natural theology used to validate religious claims. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 3300. Environmental Ethics

Ethical issues related to such topics as climate change, overpopulation, animal rights, future generations, and pollution will be explored.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 3550.  Philosophy of Religion (REL 3550)

An inquiry into the philosophical foundations of religion, the problems connected with belief and knowledge, faith and reason, the character and meanings of religious commitment. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 3760.  Medical Ethics

An examination of the major ethical issues raised by recent medical developments, such as: abortion, psychosurgery, organ transplants, euthanasia, human experimentation and health care. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 4030.  War and Morality

When is a nation justified in going to war, or are we morally obliged to refrain from killing others?  Ought decisions to wage war be constrained by morality at all?  And, in the event that war is sometimes justified, are there restrictions upon what soldiers are permitted to do in war?  This course will explore a range of possible answers to these questions.  After a brief overview of contemporary moral theory, students will discuss arguments for and against pacifism and realism and then turn their attention to a middle-ground answer, just war theory, which attempts to place moral limits on the practice of war. Credit, 3 semester hours.  PREREQ: PHI 1000.

PHI 4230.  Philosophy of Art and Beauty

A study of aesthetic values in nature, art, literature, music, and drama. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 4430.  Business Ethics

An analysis and evaluation of ethical theories and their application to business. Possible topics include economic justice, social responsibility of business, corporate responsibility, self‑regulation and government regulation, duties to the environment, ethics of advertising, the rights and duties of employees, manufacturers and consumers. Credit, 3 semester hours.

PHI 4500.  Advanced Studies in Eastern Philosophies and Religions (REL 4500)

In-depth analysis of Eastern (Asian) philosophies/religions/ways of life, based on the reading of primary Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist texts.  Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, and Shinto also receive coverage.  Comparison of Eastern and Western understandings of the nature of religion, philosophy, ultimate reality, and the human condition and destiny is included.   Credit, 3 semester hours.

SPECIAL STUDIES IN PHILOSOPHY

PHI 4990.  Independent Study in Philosophy

A student who wishes to enroll in 4990, Independent Study, must: 1. be classified as a senior, 2. have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in the major area of study, 3. request independent study in the major area, and 4. submit a Request for Approval of Independent Study in triplicate to the Office of Academic Affairs. The form can be obtained from the Department Chair. It must be approved by: 1. the professor supervising the student in independent study, 2. the Department Chair, 3. the Registrar, and 4. the Office for Academic Affairs. The student may elect to work for one, two, or three semester hours of credit. Upon completion of the independent study, the student must prepare a written report of the study in triplicate. If the supervising professor feels it is appropriate, the report will be catalogued and permanently housed in the Library. Credit, 1‑3 semester hours.

PHIS 4xxx.  Seminar in Philosophy

An examination of selected philosophers, movements, problems, or major ideas to be presented each term the course is presented. The objectives of the course may be met by directed research. The course may be repeated for credit up to and including 9 semester hours as long as there is no duplication of subject matter. Credit, 1‑3 semester hours. PREREQ: Consent of instructor.

 

RELIGION (REL)

GENERAL

REL 1020.  Perspectives on Humanity (PHI 1020)

A study of the dominant understandings of humanity. Philosophical, religious, scientific, and literary sources are read and discussed. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 1050.  Introduction to the Old Testament

A study of the Covenants in Israel, of the rise and fall of the Hebrew nations under the judges and kings, of the religious development of the people as written in the literature of these periods.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 1060.  Introduction to the New Testament

The study of the origins and development of Christianity from Jesus Christ through the first century with emphasis on the writings of that age in correlation with the history of the Roman Empire.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 1080.  Introduction to Religious Thought

This course will serve as an introduction to key common issues in religious thought, such as the nature of ultimate reality, human nature and ultimate destiny, and how religious people claim to know divine matters through reason and revelation.  The course will focus on Judeo-Christian theology, though other perspectives will be treated.  Some attention will be paid to the cultural contexts that influence religious thinkers as they formulate questions and offer answers on these inescapable issues.  Credit, 3 sem. hours.

REL 1220.  Understanding Religious Practices

Rituals are a basic component of religions and all of human existence.  This course provides an introduction to the study of these routinized practices, considering the ways they develop and change across time and context, the impact that participating has on individual participants, and the similarity of religious practices to non-religious rituals.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 1300.  Introduction to Religion

This course seeks to define what religion is and to outline different approaches to the study of religion. The following questions are discussed: What are the roots of religious faith? What might a mature religious faith look like? Readings relating religion to the new generation are part of this study.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 1430.  Society and Religion

This course provides an introduction to the various ways that religion interacts with society, including issues such as gender, social status, family relations, individual and group identity, economics, social issues, and politics.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

BIBLICAL

REL 2030.  The Pentateuch

A study of the composition and structure of the Pentateuchal literature (the first five books of the Bible) and how these narratives and laws were perceived and applied throughout Israel’s history. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3160.  Biblical Wisdom Literature

A study of Proverbs, Job, Qoheleth, intertestamental Wisdom literature, and the aphorisms and parables of Jesus.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3180.  Apocalyptic Literature

A study of apocalyptic literature of the Old and New Testaments with emphasis on the historical, religious and psychological backgrounds. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3210.  The History of Biblical Worship

This course is a study of the theory, theology, and practice of worship as it is presented in the various texts of the Bible.  The course will key on the development of worship from the time of the patriarchs, through the wide variety of worship in monarchic era Israel and the synagogues and churches of the first century.   The origins and meaning of sacrifice, prayer, priesthood, temple, and the concept of the holy will be examined from historical, sociological, and anthropological perspectives. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3290.  Life and Letters of Paul

A study of the life and world of Paul with special consideration of his preparation and mission, his style and subject matter. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3360.  Life of Jesus

A study of the life and teachings of Jesus as they are presented in the four gospels with emphasis upon world conditions in his day and the significance of teachings on Jesus+ death and understanding of the resurrection. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3370.  Prophetic Literature of the Bible

A review of the call, purpose, and work of the prophet. A study of the writings of Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4010.  Biblical Narrative

A study of the poetics, genres, and messages of narrative literature in the Old Testament and the New Testament: the Pentateuch, the former Prophets, the Apocrypha, and the Gospels.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

RELIGIOUS THOUGHT AND CULTURAL EXPRESSION

REL 2050.  Religion, Art, and Culture

A study of the interaction between religion and culture, involving intellectual, aesthetic, and theological dimensions of meaning.  A primary focus will be visual art, including painting through Western history and contemporary films. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 2090.  Religion in America

A study of distinctive themes and characteristics of religion in America. Topics such as Civil Religion, Religious Liberty and the Free Church, Revivalism, American Religious Movement, Missions, Black Religion, American Indian traditions, and American religion in ferment will be considered. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 2140.  Introduction to Religious Ethics

An introduction to and survey of religious ethics, particularly in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The course will examine resources and methods for doing religious ethics from scripture, tradition, and contemporary philosophy, experience, and culture, as well as analyze specific personal and social moral issues.  Credit, 3 sem. hours.

REL 2340. Classical Mythology

Myth is a central category of religious studies.  This course will survey the mythology of ancient Greece and Rome.  It will also address (in a more limited way) the mythologies of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.  Though the course will focus primarily on a survey of the actual mythic traditions themselves, some attention will also be paid to the function of myth, theories of myth, and the impact of classical mythology on subsequent centuries of art and literature.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3025.  Fundamentalisms (PLS 3025)

Starting in the 1970s, there has been a substantial growth in the strength of religious radical movements sometimes known as “fundamentalist,” which seek to manifest their religious faith in the political arena. The course will examine these phenomena in comparative perspective primarily in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We will focus on the religious players in the Middle East conflict. Special attention will be given to the place of Jerusalem as a focal center for religious extremist activity. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3190.  Modern Religious Thought

A study of selected trends and figures in modern religious thought. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3220.  Religion and Science (PHI 3220)

An examination of issues between science and religion and a consideration of a tradition in natural theology used to validate religious claims. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3270.  History of Western Religious Thought

An overview of Western religious thought from antiquity through the eighteenth century.  The religious dimensions of ancient Greek philosophy, developments in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic theology, as well as reformulations and skeptical responses of the Enlightenment, are covered.   Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3280.  Violence and Religion

This course examines the positive and negative interactions between adherents of differing religions, considering the larger pattern of inter-religious relations and the complex sources of conflicts.   The course will focus on specific conflicts as case studies.  Specific cases will vary.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3550.  Philosophy of Religion (PHI 3550)

An inquiry into the philosophical foundations of religion, the problems connected with belief and knowledge, faith and reason, and the character and meanings of religious commitment. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4070.  Origins of Judaism and Christianity

This seminar examines the work of scholars engaged in re-describing the beginnings of ancient Israel, of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  It focuses on the critical difference between “beginnings” as a historical category and “origins” as a mythic category, and the implications of this difference for understanding the foundation narratives of Western religious traditions.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4170.  Sociology of Religion (SOC 4170)

Religious institutions and relationships in modern society.  Credit, 3 semester hours. PREREQ: Consent of instructor.

REL 4230.  Jerusalem In Time, Space, and Imagination

Following a chronological order, this course explores the origins, character and ongoing shifts in symbolic meaning of one of the most ancient and continuously settled cities on earth, Jerusalem. Students will acquire basic knowledge of the major periods in this long history as well as of the communities and traditions that have called it their home. Credit, 3 semester hours.

RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD

REL 2130.  American Indian Religious Traditions (AIS 2130)

This course is designed as an introduction to the contributions that American Indian religious traditions make to the general study of religion. As such, it is a survey of the religious traditions and practices of American Indians. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 2160. Asian Religions

A study of the historical development and teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and Confucianism. Credit, 3 sem. hrs.

REL 2180.  Middle Eastern Religions

A study of the historical development and teachings of the religions of the Near East with emphasis on Islam, Zoroastrianism, and Baha’ism and including current Near Eastern Christians. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3028.  Cultural and Religious History of China (HST 3028)

The course introduces students to the diverse religious traditions of China within the context of Chinese culture, in particular the interaction between religion, culture, and society throughout the nation’s history. It reviews (1) the major concepts and ideas of each religion; (2) the historical background of the emergence or transmission of each religion; and (3) some facets that religions played out in the cultural and political life of China.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3029.  Cultural and Religious History of Korea and Japan (HST 3029)

The course introduces students to the diverse religious traditions of Korea and Japan: Confucianism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Christianity, Shintoism, and various new religions. The course considers these traditions within the context of their culture, in particular the interaction between religion, culture, and society throughout the history of the two countries. The course reviews (1) the major concepts and ideas of each religion; (2) the historical background of the emergence or transmission of each religion; and (3) some facets that religions played out in the cultural and political life of Korea and Japan.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3030.  Islam

Providing an introduction to the study of Islamic traditions, the course begins with an overview of early Islamic developments, including topics such as Muhammad, the Quran, and the spread of Islam.  The course continues with a study of Islamic thought and practices, contextualizing these topics by focusing on the experiences of Muslims in particular locations around the globe.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3150.  Judaism

An examination of the history, literature, and faith of Post‑Exilic Judaism. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3420.  Hindu Traditions

This course focuses on the diverse basic elements associated with Hindu traditions, including sacred texts, philosophical conceptions, gods and goddesses, social relations, and ritualized practices.  This course will also consider the ways that Hindus throughout the world practice their Hindu traditions and relate to other religious traditions.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 3430.  Buddhist Traditions

Following an overview of the historical Buddha, the basic concepts in Buddhism, and the spread of Buddhist traditions throughout Asia, the course examines the major branches of Buddhism, contextualizing this study with a focus on Buddhism in specific locations.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4150.  Amerindian Oral Traditions (AIS 4150)

An examination of selected American Indian oral narrative traditions emphasizing a religio-literary assessment of mythical, anecdotal, and historical stories. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4350. Greek and Roman Religion

An introduction to the religious thought and practices of the ancient Greeks and Romans.  Topics include ritual, worship, and sacrifice; beliefs about the underworld and afterlife; the ancient mystery cults; philosophical challenges to religion; the religious context of the origins of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism; Religion and state politics/ethnicity.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4500.  Advanced Studies in Eastern Philosophies and Religions (PHI 4500)

In-depth analysis of Eastern (Asian) philosophies/religions/ways of life, based on the reading of primary Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist texts.  Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, and Shinto also receive coverage.  Comparison of Eastern and Western understandings of the nature of religion, philosophy, ultimate reality, and the human condition and destiny is included.   Credit, 3 semester hours.

SPECIAL STUDIES IN RELIGION

REL 3400.  Writing in Philosophy and Religious Studies (PHI 3400)

A Writing-in-the-Disciplines course providing instruction and active learning with respect to writing in philosophy and in religious studies. It addresses discipline-appropriate style, audience, organization, research methods, citation, and editing. Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4410.  Theories and Methods in Religion

This course examines various methods of studying religions and the historical development of the academic study of religions.  Both the critical evaluation and application of various theories and methods are central in this course.  Students are expected to apply particular methods to develop a significant research paper.  Credit, 3 semester hours.

REL 4990.  Independent Study

A student who wishes to enroll in REL 4990, Independent Study, must: (1.) be classified as a senior, (2.) have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in the major area of study, (3). request independent study in the major area, and (4.) submit a Request for Approval of Independent Study in triplicate to the Office for Academic Affairs. The form can be obtained from the Department Chair responsible for the student’s major area of study. It must be approved by the professor supervising the student in independent study; the Department Chair; the Registrar; and the Office for Academic Affairs. The student may elect to work for one, two, or three semester hours of credit. Upon completion of the independent study, the student must prepare a written report of the study in triplicate. If the supervising professor feels it is appropriate, the report will be catalogued and permanently housed in the Library.  Credit, 1‑3 semester hours.

RELS 4xxx.  Special Studies in Religion

A study of selected religious problems, themes, issues or topics to be selected each term the course is presented. The objectives of the course can be satisfied by means of Directed Research. Possible topics are: Religion and Human Life, Myth, Symbol and Metaphor, Religion and Art, Hermeneutics, Contemporary Issues in Religion, Religious Dimensions in Education, and Counseling. Credit, 3 semester hours. This course may be repeated for credit up to and including 9 hours as long as there is no duplication of subject matter. PREREQ: Consent of instructor.

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