Philosophy and Religion

Course Requirements

PHI 120: World Philosophy

An introduction to philosophy, focusing on figures and texts of global origin and significance. Drawing from both western and nonwestern sources, we will explore enduring contributions to thinking about the human condition. NWC, HWC


PHI 121: Ethics

Classical and contemporary theories of ethics and values, with applications to practical problems. Brief introduction to metaethics. ETH

PHI 222: Logic

Introductory course stressing "informal" methods of validating arguments and the formal proof procedures of symbolic logic. FT

PHI 224: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

Major philosophical issues that have left a lasting imprint on western cultural heritage. Detailed examination of the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. FWC, WI

PHI 225: Modern Philosophy

Major philosophical issues that have left a lasting impression on the western cultural heritage. Detailed examination of the thought of Descartes, Hume, Kant and Hegel. HWC, WI

PHI 240: Feminist Philosophy

A survey of recent feminist philosophy, focusing especially on feminist contributions to the areas of epistemology, ethics and philosophy of science. Special attention will be given to the ways in which feminist philosophy has challenged traditional philosophical methodology. Authors may include Annette Baier, Lorraine Code, Mary Daly, Allison Jaggar, Evelyn Fox Keller, Joyce Trebilcot and Nancy Tuana. WS

Four additional 200- or 300-level courses in philosophy, at least two at the 300 level.

One of the following capstone experiences: thesis, portfolio or advanced internship.

Major in Religious Studies

RLS 108: Religions of the World

Introduction to major beliefs that have shaped the world in which we live. Seeks to understand differences of viewpoint that fuel misunderstanding and tensions today. Highlights symbols of major religions and their origins, especially those affecting Middle Eastern hot spots (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) in comparison with Asian traditions (Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Shinto). Possibilities for interfaith understanding. NWC, WI

Introduction to a Religious Tradition (one of the following)

RLS 115: Christianity

An introduction to the academic study of religion in general and the Christian religion in particular. The course is largely a historical study that traces the emergence of Christianity from its beginnings as a minority sect within 1st-century Judaism to its contemporary form as a global faith. Crucial moments to be examined include the Early Church, Medieval Church and the Protestant Reformation, and modern challenges to Christianity. The course is also a contemporary cultural study. Students will read primary and secondary materials from each of the three largest branches of Christianity: Eastern Orthodox, Catholicism and Protestantism. They will also conduct field research in which they observe communities from each branch. FWC, HWC

RLS 218: Islam

This course introduces students to the religion of Islam from its origins on the Arabian Peninsula to its emergence as a global religion. In attempting to understand Muslim identity, students will explore the diversity of Islamic practices and beliefs. NWC

RLS 260: Buddhism

Explores the many spiritual and philosophical faces of Buddhism. Students will read Buddhist scripture, study Buddhist ethics and examine Buddhist spirituality. The course will examine Buddhism in its Indian context, and also in the Buddhist Diaspora. Traditions studied will include Theravada and Vipassana as well as Zen, Pure Land, Nichiren, Tibetan and the blossoming of the tradition in the United States. The course will also draw comparisons between Buddhism and theistic traditions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam. NWC

Introduction to Sacred Texts (one of the following)

RLS 243/343: New Testament

Introduction to the writings of the New Testament as they originated in their Greco-Roman milieu. Emphasis is on the distinctive purposes and main content of each writing. Use of source, form and redaction criticism as tools for the academic study of the New Testament is demonstrated. Prerequisites: Foundations in English or permission, 240, 243 and 245/345 or permission of instructor. FWC, LIT

RLS 245/345: Hebrew Bible

This course is a reading seminar in which students become immersed in the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. In conversation with a history of interpretation, students will discover multiple layers of social and literary contexts, as well as evidence of textual developments that challenge conventional readings and engage students in the practice of interpretation. Prerequisites: RLS 245 requires Foundations in English; RLS 345 requires RLS 240. LIT

RLS 263/363: The Quran

The course introduces students to the academic study of the Qur’an. Students will read and interpret the Qur’an in conversation with classical and contemporary commentaries, as well as popular interpretations. Students will also examine the status and function of the Qur’an in Muslim history and contemporary life, examples of which will include Muslim communities in the United States. Prerequisites: Foundations in English for the 200 level, any 200-level course in Religion or Philosophy for the 300 level. LIT, NWC

RLS 270/370: Buddhist Literature

Courses on current topics in religious studies are offered on an occasional rather than regular basis. Recent courses have included: "Religion and Democracy," "Christian Mysticism," "New Religious Movements" and "Women and the Bible."

Six additional 200- or 300-level courses in religion, at least two at the 300 level.

One of the following capstone experiences: thesis, portfolio or advanced internship.

Contact Information

David True
Department Chair
Associate Professor of Religion
717-264-4141 ext. 3396

John Elia
Associate Professor of Philosophy
717-264-4141  ext. 3114

Philosophy and Religious Studies