This course is an introduction to the beliefs and practices of the world’s major religions. We will explore how these religions respond to “big questions” such as why we are here, how we ought to live our lives, and what happens when we die. Students will learn the discipline of comparative religion so that they can critically analyze the similarities as well as the differences between these traditions. We will also wrestle with the problem of defining what religion is.
Religions of Asia
Semester at Sea Spring Voyage 2013, RELB 1559-102
This course will examine religious traditions originating in India, China, and Japan with a focus on specific regional contexts. It is often imagined that religious traditions take the same form everywhere in the world. In reality, religions are practiced on a local level where they are shaped by the politics, history, and folkways of the region. Through this regional approach, we will examine the way the texts, practices, and values of these traditions both change and are changed by the cultures they inhabit.
Survey of the Old Testament
Piedmont Virginia Community College REL 200
Surveys books of the Old Testament, with emphasis on prophetic historical books. Examines the historical and geographical setting and place of the Israelites in the ancient Middle East as background to the writings.
Survey of the New Testament
Piedmont Virginia Community College REL 210
Surveys books of the New Testament with special attention upon placing the writings
New Testament and Early Christianity
Piedmont Virginia Community College REL 215
Surveys the history, literature, and theology of early Christianity in the light of the New Testament.
Religions of the World
Piedmont Virginia Community College REL 230
Introduces major religious traditions of the world with attention to origin, history, and doctrine.
Religions in America
Piedmont Virginia Community College REL 240
Surveys various manifestations of religion in the American experience. Emphasizes concepts, problems, and issues of religious pluralism and character of American religious life.
The media hailed 2009 as the "year of the vampire," but stories of vampires and vampiric creatures have existed since the dawn of civilization. How can the human obsession with vampires be explained? This course will examine the vampire from its earliest antecedents in the Bronze Age, to Gothic literature, to Victorian occultism, to contemporary pop culture and the modern phenomenon of self-identified "vampires." The undead will be explored using an interdisciplinary "tool kit" that includes the perspectives of anthropology, psychology, comparative literature, religious studies, and even criminology.
This class has been approved by the History Department to count toward the Humanities distribution requirement.
I thought I would take this opportunity to say thank you for a class well taught last semester. Experimental College courses are most often reviewed well by our students but a few courses/instructors stand out from the rest and you are in that special category.
Director of the Experimental College
Boston University RN 100
An introduction to the religious dimension of human experience and culture. We will investigate geographically diverse religions of the world, exploring the experiences, texts, and traditions that give a sacred quality to the lives of their adherents. The class will be interactive, involving close textual readings and interpretation.
Death and Immortality
Boston University RN 106
Examines death as religious traditions have attempted to accept, defeat, deny, or transcend it. Do we have souls? Do they reincarnate? Other topics include cremation, ancestor worship, apocalypse, alchemy, AIDS, near-death experiences, otherworld cosmologies.
Boston University RN 210
A historical introduction to the major themes of Indian Buddhist thought and practice with special attention to the development of Buddhism in Tibet.
Introduction to Religion
Boston University RN 100
Religion matters. It makes meaning and provides structure to life, addressing fundamental questions about body, spirit, community, and time. But what is it? How does it work in our world? This course explores religion in ritual, philosophical, experiential, and ethical dimensions.
Sacred Texts of World Religions
Boston University RN 206