Catalog 2013-2014

Religion

253.535.7215
www.plu.edu/religion
reli@plu.edu

Religion is an attempt to understand the meaning of human existence. Different religious and cultural communities express that meaning in many ways. Located within an ELCA-related university, the Department of Religion stands within a Lutheran Christian and global context.

In a university setting this means the serious academic study of the Bible, of the history of the Christian tradition, of Christian theology, and of world religious traditions. Critical study calls for open and authentic dialogue with other religious traditions and seeks to understand a common humanity as each tradition adds its unique contribution. It calls for a critical yet constructive interchange with contemporary society. Finally, it calls for a sharing of insights with other disciplines in the university as each sheds light on the human condition.

To these ends the Department of Religion offers a wide range of courses and opportunities. Furthermore it calls students, majors and non-majors alike, to consider questions of meaning, purpose, and value in a society that all too often neglects these questions.

BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE
Major in Religion

32 semester hours
  • RELI 301: Research in Religion (offered only in Fall semester; must be taken prior to RELI 499)
  • RELI 499: Capstone Research Seminar (offered only in Spring semester)
  • 8 semester hours RELI coursework from Line One: Christian Traditions (RC)
  • 8 semester hours RELI coursework from Line Two: Global Religious Traditions (RG)
  • In addition:
    • 8 semester hours RELI coursework from either Line RC or RG
    • At least 12 semester hours must be upper-division, not including RELI 301 and 499
    • Option I or II of the College of Arts and Sciences Language requirement

Majors should plan their program early in consultation with departmental faculty. Closely related courses taught in other departments may be considered to apply toward the religion major in consultation with the chair of the department.

The B.A. in Religion requires completion of Option I or Option II of the College of Arts and Language Sciences requirement.

Transfer majors will normally take 20 semester hours in residence.

A minimum grade of C- in all courses in the major or minor department and a cumulative 2.00 GPA in those courses is required.

MINOR
16 semester hours
  • 8 semester hours RELI coursework from Line One: Christian Traditions (RC)
  • 8 semester hours RELI coursework from Line Two: Global Religious Traditions (RG)
  • Minimum of 4 semester hours must be taken at the upper-division level (either RC or RG)

Transfer minors under this option must take at least 8 semester hours in residence. 

MINOR (Teacher Education Option)
24 semester hours, at least 4 hours in each of the two lines.

Transfer minors under this option normally take 16 semester hours in residence. Intended primarily for parochial school teachers enrolled in the Department of Education.

Religion (RELI) Undergraduate-Level Courses

RELI 121: The Christian Tradition - RC

The study of selected theological questions and formulations examined in their social and historical contexts. (4)

RELI 131: The Religions of South Asia - C, RG

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism - their origins and development, expansion, and contemporary issues. (4)

RELI 132: The Religions of East Asia - C, RG

Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, Shinto, and the "new religions" of Japan -- their origins, development, and contemporary issues. (4)

RELI 190: FYEP190: Inquiry Seminar

A four-credit seminar to introduce students to the methods and topics of study within a particular academic discipline or field. Students practice the academic skills that are at the center of the General Education Program. (4)

RELI 211: Religion and Literature of the Hebrew Bible - RG

The literary, historical, and theological dimensions of the Hebrew Bible, including perspectives on contemporary issues. These writings later formed the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament. (4)

RELI 212: Religion and Literature of the New Testament - RC

The literary, historical, and theological dimensions of the New Testament, including perspectives on contemporary issues. (4)

RELI 213: Topics in Biblical Studies - RG

The study of selected biblical questions or themes examined in their social and historical contexts. Fulfills Global Religious Traditions. (4)

RELI 214: Topics in Biblical Studies - RC

The study of selected biblical quesitons or themes examined in their social and historical contexts. Fulfills Christians Traditions. (4)

RELI 220: Early Christianity - RC

The origins, thought and expansion of the Christian Church; the growth of Christian involvement in culture to the end of the papacy of Gregory I (604 CE). (4)

RELI 221: Medieval Christianity - RC

A study of the ideas, practices, forms of community among Christians from 600-1350, with an emphasis on how they understood their relationship to God, each other, and the natural world. (4)

RELI 222: Modern Church History - RC

Beginning with the Peace of Westphalia (1648), interaction of the Christian faith with modern politics, science, and philosophy; expansion in the world, modern movements. (4)

RELI 223: American Church History - RC

Interaction of religious and social forces in American history, especially their impact on religious communities. (4)

RELI 224: The Lutheran Heritage - RC

Lutheranism as a movement within the church catholic: its history, doctrine, and worship in the context of today's pluralistic and secular world. (4)

RELI 225: Faith and Spirituality - RC

Reflection on Christian lifestyles, beliefs, and commitments. (4)

RELI 226: Christian Ethics - RC

Introduction to the personal and social ethical dimensions of Christian life and thought with attention to primary theological positions and specific problem areas. (4)

RELI 227: Christian Theology - RC

Survey of selected topics or movements in Christian theology designed to introduce the themes and methodologies of the discipline. RELI 247 for cross-cultural GenEd and RELI 257 for alternative perspective GenEd. (4)

RELI 230: Religion and Culture - A, RG

Explores the interrelation and interaction of religion and culture in a variety of world religious traditions. Incorporates recognized methodologies in academic religious studies. (4)

RELI 231: Myth, Ritual, and Symbol - RG

The nature of myth and its expression through symbol and ritual. (4)

RELI 232: The Buddhist Tradition - C, RG

Introduction to the history and practice of Buddhist tradition in its South Asian, East Asian, and Western cultural contexts. (4)

RELI 233: The Religions of China - C, RG

Introduction to the major religious movements of China. (4)

RELI 235: Islamic Traditions - C, RG

An introduction to the history, teachings, and practices of Islam. (4)

RELI 236: Native American Religious Traditions - A, RG

Introduction to a variety of Native American religious traditions, emphasizing the way in which religion works to construct identity, promote individual collective well being, and acts as a means of responding to colonialism. Approaches the topic using academic religious studies' methodologies. (4)

RELI 237: Judaism - C, RG

Historical development of Judaism's faith and commitment from early Biblical times to the present. (4)

RELI 238: The Religions of Korea and Japan - C, RG

Introduction to the major religious traditions of Korea and Japan. (4)

RELI 239: Environment and Culture - RG

Study of the ways in which environmental issues are shaped by human culture and values. Major conceptions of nature, including non-western perspectives and issues in eco-justice. Critical evaluations of literature, arts, ethics, conceptual frameworks, history, and spirituality. Cross-listed with ENGL 239. (4)

RELI 246: Religion and Diversity - C, RG

Course offers comparative introduction to multiple religious traditions and investigates the commonalities and distinctions between their views of the world and teachings about how human beings are to act within the world. Students will gain a basic familiarity with diverse religions and will develop their own constructive response to variety of religious and cultural traditions. (4)

RELI 301: Research in Religion

Introduces majors to the scholarly questions, literature, bibliographical assessment, forms of scholarly criticism in the field, and the necessary elements in the creation of a research paper in the field. Topic and content to be determined by the instructor. Required for majors. (4)

RELI 330: Old Testament Studies - RG

Major areas of inquiry: the prophets, psalms, wisdom literature, mythology, theology, or biblical archeology. (4)

RELI 331: New Testament Studies - RC

Major areas of inquiry: intertestamental, synoptic, Johannine, or Pauline literature, or New Testament theology. (4)

RELI 332: Jesus and His Early Interpreters - RC

Historical survey of "Life of Jesus" research; form and redaction criticism of the gospel tradition; the religious dimensions of Jesus' life and thought. Prerequisite: One lower-division RELI course or consent of instructor. (4)

RELI 347: Major Religious Thinkers, Texts and Genres - C, RC or RG

In-depth study of major figures, texts, or genres in Christian and non-Christian religious traditions, focusing especially on the theology and religious thought of these traditions. Fulfills either line 2 or 3 as appropriate. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (4)

RELI 357: Major Religious Thinkers, Texts and Genres - A, RC or RG

In-depth study of major figures, texts, or genres in Christian and non-Christian religious traditions, focusing especially on the theology and religious thought of these traditions. Fulfills either line 2 or 3 as appropriate. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (4)

RELI 361: Church History Studies - RC

Selected area of inquiry, such as Orthodox church history, religious experience among American minority communities, and the ecumenical movement. RELI 341 for cross cultural GenEd and RELI 351 for alternative perspective GenEd. (4)

RELI 362: Luther - RC

The man and his times, with major emphasis on his writing and creative theology. (4)

RELI 364: Theological Studies - RC

Selected topic or movement within Christian theology. RELI 344 for cross cultural GenEd and RELI 354 for alternative perspective GenEd. (4)

RELI 365: Christian Moral Issues - RC

In-depth exploration from the perspective of Christian ethics of selected moral issues such as peace and violence, the environment, sexuality, political and economic systems, hunger, and poverty. (4)

RELI 367: Major Religious Thinkers, Texts and Genres - RC or RG

In-depth study of major figures, texts, or genres in Christian and non-Christian religious traditions, focusing especially on the theology and religious thought of these traditions. Fulfills either line 1 or 2 as appropriate. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (4)

RELI 368: Feminist and Womanist Theologies - A, RC

A study of major theological themes and issues through global women's perspectives on gender. (4)

RELI 390: Topics in Comparative Religions - C, RG

Historical study of specific non-Christian religions such as the traditions of India and China, Judaism, and Islam. RELI 393 is for alternative perspective general education element. (4)

RELI 391: Sociology of Religion - RG

Multi-cultural investigation of religious experience, belief, and ritual in relation to their social settings with particular attention to new forms of religion in America. Cross-listed with SOCI 391. (4)

RELI 392: God, Magic, and Morals - C, RG

Anthropology of religion. Cross-listed with ANTH 392. (4)

RELI 393: Topics in Comparative Religions - A, RG

Historical study of specific non-Christian religions such as the traditions of India and China, Judaism, and Islam. RELI 390 is for cross-cultural general education element. (4)

RELI 491: Independent Study

For religion majors only and consent of the department is required. (1 to 4)

RELI 499: Capstone: Research Seminar - SR

Discussion of common readings and a major research and writing project with public presentation around the student's area of interest. (4)