MaconCatalog : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences : ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS : RELIGION (REL)
 
RELIGION (REL)
Richard Francis Wilson, Chair/Professor of Theology
Margaret Dee Bratcher, Professor
Darlene K. Flaming, Associate Professor
Shehnaz Haqqani, Assistant Professor
Janell A. Johnson, Associate Professor
Paul A. Lewis, Professor
Craig T. McMahan, Assistant Professor
Robert Scott Nash, Professor
Bryan J. Whitfield, Professor
 
The curriculum of the Columbus Roberts Department of Religion is designed to enable students to: (1) interpret sacred texts; (2) develop a critical appreciation for religious traditions, with emphasis upon their origins, development, and diversity; and (3) integrate the intellectual, moral, and spiritual dimensions of life. Coursework also emphasizes the development of analytical thinking skills and effective writing.
 
Major in Religion
27 semester credit hours minimum
Sacred Texts—choose two courses from:
REL 110. Why Religion Matters
REL 130. Engaging the Old Testament
REL 150. Engaging the New Testament
REL 170. Beginning with Abraham
REL 250 Research and Writing in Religion
(The department strongly advises majors to take this course in the sophomore year.)
Traditions—choose one course from each below:
Christianity
REL 210. History of Christianity
REL 230. Approaches to Christian Ethics
REL 270. History of Christian Theology
REL 300. Introduction to Christian Theology
REL 302. Biblical Interpretation
REL 305. Old Testament Prophets
REL 310. Jesus
REL 315. Paul
REL 320. New Testament Theology
REL 325. Contemporary Christian Theology
REL 335. Christian Ethics in America
REL 363. Women and Religion
REL 365. Baptist Traditions
REL 380. Biblical Hebrew
REL 384. Seminar on Selected Topics in Religion (with departmental approval)
Conversations
REL 353. Religion in America
REL 354. Death and Dying
REL 361. Archaeology and Religion
REL 384. Seminar on Selected Topics in Religion (with departmental approval)
World Religions
REL 356. Eastern Religions
REL 357. Western Religions
REL 384. Seminar on Selected Topics in Religion (with dept. approval)
Integration—both courses are required:
REL 385. Junior Colloquium
REL 485. Senior Colloquium
Six additional REL semester credit hours
A minimum of 15 hours in the major must be taken in courses numbered 300 and above.
 
Majors may attain Departmental Honors by fulfilling the following requirements: (1) attain a grade point average of 3.75 or above in the major; (2) complete the research and writing of a thesis under the direction of a member of the Religion faculty and have the thesis judged by a committee of the Religion faculty (if the thesis merits recognition, 3 hours credit may be given for REL 420); and (3) pass an oral examination by a committee of at least three members of the Religion faculty.
 
Minor in Religion
15 semester credit hours minimum
Two courses, at least one of which must be at 100-level from:
REL 110. Why Religion Matters
REL 130. Engaging the Old Testament
REL 150. Engaging the New Testament
REL 170. Beginning with Abraham
REL 210. History of Christianity
REL 230. Approaches to Christian Ethics
REL 270. History of Christian Theology
Nine additional REL semester credit hours, six of which must be numbered 300 or above.
 
The Religion Department also contributes to the minor in Religion and Public Diplomacy and the Certificate in Faith-Based Diplomacy. See the RELIGION AND DIPLOMACY section of this catalog for further information.
REL 110. Why Religion Matters (3 hours)
A broad introduction to global religious traditions with a primary focus upon sacred texts from traditions in the East (Hinduism and/or Buddhism) and the West (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). (Every semester)
REL 130. Engaging the Old Testament (3 hours)
An introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the Old Testament. (Every semester)
REL 150. Engaging the New Testament (3 hours)
An introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the New Testament. (Every semester)
REL 170. Beginning with Abraham (3 hours)
A thematic exploration of the traditional scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with attention to the nature of sacred texts, the importance of communities of faith, and the influences of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in contemporary global culture. The course will address at least two and no more than three relevant themes: the figure of Abraham, the emergence of monotheism, the role of prophets, women in society, violence and war, poverty, and the importance of a worshiping community. (Every semester)
REL 198. Special Introductory Topics in Religion: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
Study of an introductory topic in Christianity not covered in any of the departmental offerings. This course may be applied to the Religion major or minor. (Occasionally)
REL 210. History of Christianity (3 hours)
An introduction to the developments in the history of Christianity from the first century to the present with particular attention to the context of the Western World. (Every two years)
REL 230. Approaches to Christian Ethics (3 hours)
An exploration of Christian ethics that focuses on classic texts drawn from a broad range of church history. Although the course will deal with specific moral issues, the focus will be on how thinkers have used insights from the Bible, theology, philosophy, the sciences, and human experience to address a range of questions that may include: What does it mean to be moral? Why be moral? How do we know what is moral? How do we become moral? How can we make responsible decisions? (Every two years)
REL 250. Research and Writing in Religion (3 hours)
An introduction to basic vocabulary, bibliography, library resources, and research methods with a rigorous emphasis on improving writing skills. (Every year)
REL 270. History of Christian Theology (3 hours)
A study of the ways Christian theology both shapes and is shaped by developments in Western culture from the rise of Christianity through the contemporary era. (Every two years)
REL 300. Introduction to Christian Theology (3 hours)
An introduction to the major topics in Christian theology. Issues explored include the nature of theological language and theological methods, the concept of revelation, the character of God, the character of humankind, the reality of sin, the significance of Jesus the Christ, the identity of the church, and the shape of Christian hope. (Every three years)
REL 302. Biblical Interpretation (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
A study of the principles and methods by which the Bible is interpreted. (Every three years)
REL 305. Old Testament Prophets (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
A study of the prophets of the Old Testament, including the nature and history of the prophetic movement in Israel and the messages of selected prophets. Emphasis will be given to Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Second Isaiah. (Every two years)
REL 310. Jesus (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
An investigation of the Gospels’ portraits of Jesus in the light of other ancient literature, the world of Jesus, and scholarship about the Jesus of history. (Every two years)
REL 315. Paul (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
A study of the life and thought of Paul based on Acts and the letters of Paul in their literary, historical, social, and religious contexts. (Every two years)
REL 320. New Testament Theology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
An introduction to the theology of the New Testament. (Every three years)
REL 325. Contemporary Christian Theology (3 hours)
An exploration of trends in Christian theology since 1960 with emphasis upon examples of liberation theologies, contextual theologies of Asia and Africa, the emergence of post-liberal and postmodern theologies, and the changing face of evangelicalism. Some attention also may be given to dominant mid-twentieth-century theological movements that formed a backdrop for theological developments in the 1960s and beyond. (Every three years)
REL 335. Christian Ethics in America (3 hours)
An exploration of Christian ethics that focuses on the implications of Christian faith for life in civil and political society in the United States. The course will engage readings in Christian ethics since the 1960s that address a variety of issues that may include character, race, economic justice, the environment, family/marriage, gender, sexuality, the professions, politics, and violence. The course may also require participation in service-learning opportunities. (Every two years)
REL 353. Religion in America (3 hours)
An examination of the history, practices, and influence of various religious groups in the United States, with attention to the development of denominations and the plurality of contemporary expressions of religion in America. (Every two years)
REL 354. Death and Dying (3 hours)
Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
An exploration of the human experience of death and dying; the interpretation of and responses to death and dying by society, communities, and individuals; and the significance of death and dying as heuristic motifs for interpreting life. This course may include a service-learning component. (Every year)
REL 356. Eastern Religions (3 hours)
An examination of the history, sacred texts, beliefs, and practices of the major religious traditions originating in India and East Asia. Religions studied will include Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and religions indigenous to China and Japan. Attention will be given to the development of these religions in their places of origin and to their growth beyond Asia, especially in North America. (Every two years)
REL 357. Western Religions (3 hours)
An examination of the history, sacred texts, beliefs, and practices of the major non-Christian religious traditions originating in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Special attention will be given to Islam and Judaism, but other religions studied may include Zoroastrianism, African indigenous traditions, ancient European traditions, and Native American traditions. (Every two years)
REL 361. Archaeology and Religion (3 hours)
(Same as ANT 361)
Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
This course is designed to introduce students to: (1) the study of archaeology, (2) the study of religion(s) in a particular region and period(s), and (3) the integration of the study of archaeology and religion. Students will study the theories, objectives, methods, records, and conclusions of modern archaeology. They will learn how to apply these elements of archeology to the study of a particular region. They will also study various aspects of a specific religion or groups of religions in the designated region, especially as that study is informed by the investigation of archaeological remains. This course may involve archaeological field work and may be offered on-site in another location (e.g., Greece). (Occasionally)
REL 363. Women and Religion (3 hours)
(Same as WGS 363)
Prerequisites: REL 110, 150, or 170 and WGS 180 or consent of instructor.
A biblical, historical, and theological examination of the role of women within the Christian tradition. (Every three years)
REL 365. Baptist Traditions (3 hours)
A study of Baptist identity and its free-church character in the light of Baptist history. Attention will be given to its various expressions from its origins in England and the United States to the development of Baptist life around the world. (Every two years)
REL 380. Biblical Hebrew (4 hours)
An extensive introduction to biblical Hebrew, covering grammar, vocabulary, and readings from the Old Testament. The schedule includes a one-hour per week laboratory session. This course does not count toward credit in foreign languages. (Every three years)
REL 384. Seminar on Selected Topics in Religion: (Subtitle) (1-3 hours)
An in-depth investigation of a significant topic in religion not available through other departmental offerings. Students must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. May be repeated with different topics. (As needed)
REL 385. Junior Colloquium (1 hour)
Prerequisites: junior status and declaration of a major in the department.
A course of readings and discussion based upon topics selected by members of the department and essays prepared by senior-level majors in the department. (Every year)
REL 397. Preceptorship (1-2 hours)
Prerequisite: permission of department chair.
Selected students will serve as learning facilitators in a class typically at the 100-200 level. Preceptors commonly attend all classes, read assigned texts, participate in class discussions, and take on other duties as assigned, but are not allowed to grade the work of students enrolled in the course. Each preceptor will reflect on the preceptorship experience in accordance with departmental practices, usually by keeping a journal during the semester. At least three hours of work per week are required for every hour of credit. Successful completion of the course meets the EXP requirement (EXP 408). Graded S/U. May not be counted toward the major or minor. May be repeated once for a maximum of four credit hours. (As needed)
REL 398. Internship in Religion (1-3 hours)
Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and permission of department chair.
An intensive practicum experience at an approved business, organization, or academic institution. Students, under the direction of a faculty member and an on-site supervisor, must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least three on- site hours per week for every hour of credit. Students will learn through observation, regular discussions with the on-site supervisor and Mercer faculty member, and written reflection. In addition, students may be required to attend training events, workshops or weekly seminars. This course may be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours and does not count toward a major or minor in Religion unless approved by the department. Graded S/U. (Every year)
REL 400. Supervised Independent Reading (1-3 hours)
An intensive study of a topic in religion, limited in scope, for the purpose of developing a bibliography, concentrated reading, and tutorial discussion with the instructor. Students must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. (As needed)
REL 420. Directed Independent Research (3 hours)
Prerequisites: junior or senior status and departmental approval.
Requirements include selection of a problem area or project, survey of relevant literature, research, and formal report of findings. (As needed)
REL 485. Senior Colloquium (2 hours)
Prerequisites: senior status and declaration of a major in the department.
A course of readings and discussion based upon topics selected by members of the department and essays prepared by senior-level majors in the department. Each senior enrolled will prepare an essay under the direction of a member of the department and present the essay to the class. (Every semester)