College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Philosophy and Religion

Religion Catalog

SW260-RL. Sects in the City

A basic introduction to the religions and religious communities of Indianapolis, and an exploration of prominent issues and themes related to our city's (and our country's) increasing religious diversity. (U) (3)

TI250-RL. Religions of the World (previously RL101)

An introduction to the major historical religions, including: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and modern alternatives to religion. (U) (3)

TI251-RL. The Bible (previously RL202)

Introduction to the content, historical context, methods of study, religious ideas and cultural influence of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. (U) (3)

RL 304. The Book of Psalms

Study of the book of Psalms, the most frequently read and recited book of the Bible. Topics include the origin and composition of the Psalms in ancient Israel, the ethical and religious significance of the Psalms, and the impact of the Psalms on world literature and music. (U-G) (3)

RL 307. The Historical Jesus

A close look at Jesus of Nazareth focused on sources and methods of knowledge about Jesus as a historical figure. Attention will also be paid to historical and cultural context, and to beliefs about and depictions of Jesus in early Christian literature. Prerequisite: One religion course or sophomore standing.(U-G) (3)

RL 308. Paul and the Early Church: The New Testament Epistles

Focus on the New Testament letters, especially of Paul, with attention to the emergence and growth of the Christian movement in the Graeco-Roman world from the death of Jesus to the middle of the second century. Prerequisite: One religion course or sophomore standing.(U-G) (3)

RL 312. Topics in Biblical Studies

An in-depth examination of: one or two designated books of the Bible; a body of biblical literature; or a general topic (e.g., Israelite religion; biblical theology). (U-G) (3)

RL 347. History of Christianity

The historical development of Christianity from the first century to the present. Special attention to selected topics, such as Eastern Orthodox worship and icons, Benedictine monasticism, the Roman Papacy, Luther and the Protestant Reformation, African Christianity and challenges to Christian belief in modern times. (U-G) (3)

RL 350. Topics in Judaism

Study of some central area of Jewish studies such as introduction to Judaism, American Judaism, Jewish religious thought and philosophy and Jewish-Christian relations. May be repeated with a different topic. (U-G) (3)

RL 353. Buddhism: Past and Present

Introduction to the basic concepts, philosophies and practices of Buddhism in South Asia and East Asia from antiquity to the present. (U-G) (3)

RL 354. Islam: Religion, Culture, Society

An introduction to Islam: origins, sacred texts, world view, culture and society, history and expansion and Islam in the modern world. Origins and sacred texts are emphasized; relative emphasis on other topics varies. (U-G) (3)

RL 356. African and Afro-Caribbean Religion

The course explores religious world-views and spiritual practices indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on this religious activity in its original African settings and in the "new world" Caribbean settings into which it was carried. (U-G) (3)

RL 357. Native American Religions

An introduction to Native American religious beliefs, traditions and practices of the past and present, including the interaction with European based culture and religion. In addition to selected writings by Native Americans and outside observers, the course will utilize audiovisual and museum resources. (U) (3)

RL 358. Hinduism: Past and Present

This course will examine Hinduism's practices and beliefs as depicted in its foundational scriptures as well as in the lives of modern Hindus. Topics may include the following: Meditation practices, Indian medicine, male and female saints, Hinduism as portrayed in literature/ film, Hinduism and modern South Asian politics. (U/G)(3)

RL 362. War, Peace, and Religion

Study of Jewish, Christian and Muslim attitudes toward war and peace, past and present. Topics include holy war, just war, pacifism and religious concepts of international order. (U-G) (3)

RL 363. Religion, Politics, and Conflict in South Asia

Investigation of the interaction of South Asia's many religious communities, especially Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism, paying particular attention to how religious ideas, practices, and demographics have affected communal relations at various points in the Subcontinent's history. The course will focus on moments of conflict and movements of peace. (U/G)(3)

RL 370. Modern Religious Thought

A survey of important religious thinkers and theological issues of the 19th and 20th centuries (e.g., Buber, Tillich, Weil, liberation theology, feminism). Emphasis is on the Christian and Jewish traditions as they relate to earlier theological developments and to contemporary philosophical and cultural movements. (U-G) (3)

RL 371. Religion and Science

This course seeks to survey the main issues in the interaction between science and religion. Topics covered include a comparison of the tasks of scientific and theological research and discourse; models of interaction between science and religion; the Big Bang, evolution, and creation; and contemporary ideas of God. (U-G) (3)

RL 372. Mysticism

Study of the varieties of mysticism in world religion, with emphasis on Christian and Jewish Mysticism. Readings drawn from the Bible, spiritual writings, autobiographies of mystics, letters, poems and philosophical sources. (U-G) (3)

RL 374. Faith and Doubt: The Brothers Karamazov

Course examines the grounds for faith and doubt about the existence and goodness of God, using Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov, as the primary text. The novel is a story of love and hate, atheism and religious belief, sensuality and saintliness, suffering and the search for redemption. (U-G) (3)

RL 375. Topics in Religion

Treats a specific subject area of religion that is not the major subject of a regularly scheduled course. (U-G) (3)

RL 377. Religion, Gender and the Goddess in Asia

A study of the role of gender in religious beliefs, institutions, and practices. Topic areas: gods and goddesses; the role of women in selected religious traditions; gender relationships; identity and sexuality; gender based religious symbolism; feminist perspectives on religion; gender perspectives on men and religion. (U-G) (3)

RL 381. Topics in Theory and Method

Introduction to theories and methods used in the academic study of religion with some attention to the history of the discipline. Readings in James, Weber, Durkheim, Otto, Eliade, Turner, Daly, Wilfred Cantwell Smith and Others. (U) (3)

RL 391. Seminar on Religion and World

Course is based on attendance at four public evening seminars and four Saturday morning workshops during the academic year.  Theme varies annually.  Students enrolled in RL391 are expected to take RL392 the following semester. (U) (1) Fall

RL 392. Seminar on Religion and World

Continuation of RL391.  Course is based on attendance at four public evening seminars and four Saturday morning workshops during the academic year.  Theme varies annually.  Prerequisite: RL391 or instructor permission. (U) (2) Spring

RL 401, 402, 403. Independent Study

Individual study of a specific topic in religion under supervision of a member of the department. Assigned readings, papers, and tutorials. Obtain permission from department head before enrolling. (U-G) (1, 2, 3)

RL 405, 406. Internship

Offers the qualified student the opportunity for supervised work experience in a setting pertinent to their area of study and their career goals. Contact department head if interested. Open to junior and senior religion majors. (U) (3, 6)

RL 499. Honors Thesis

Undergraduate honors thesis in religion. (U) (3)

RP 401, 402, 403. Independent Study

Individual study of a specific topic in philosophy and religion under supervision of a member of the department. Assigned readings, papers and tutorials. obtain permission from department head before enrolling. (U) (1, 2, 3)

RP 499. Honors Thesis

Undergraduate honors thesis in philosophy and religion. (U) (3)