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Catalog

Religious Studies

REL1000 Introduction to the Old Testament (3)
Reviews the Sacred Scriptures, which Jews and Christians share, as interpreted by the latest Biblical scholarship. This course includes guided reading of the Old Testament. Special attention is given to the role of women in the Bible and to issues of justice and peace. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1005 Introduction to the New Testament (3)
Offers an overview of the New Testament in keeping with the document of Vatican II on Revelation. In this course, special attention is given to the way in which the teaching of the historical Jesus was transmitted in preaching before the final production of the canonical gospels. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1105 Jesus and the Gospels (3)
Introduces the messianic activity and person of Jesus proclaimed in the synoptic gospels. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1200 Christianity: Beginnings to 1500 (3)
Covers Christianity during its formative early period, growth, and reaction to the "Imperial Church,” the rise of monasticism, the development of scholastic theology, and the precursors to Protestantism. This course emphasizes richness and diversity of life-giving faith within the Christian communities from first to the 16th centuries. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1205 Modern Christianity (3)
Explores Christianity from the Reformation to the present. It emphasizes the richness and diversity of various Christian communities. We analyze how developments in Christianity reflect the needs of the times. Students explore the diversity of Christian faiths in their own communities and the interaction of Christianity with politics in the modern world. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1250 Religions of the World (CDiv) (3)
Focuses on a critical survey of world religions, exploring the beliefs, rituals, sacred texts, and ethical ideals of representative religious manifestations of the past and present. It covers characteristic traits and patterns in tribal, imperial, naturalistic, mystical, and national religions. It also examines the role assigned to women by world religions and the importance given to building a just and peaceful society. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1300 Church and Sacraments (3)
Explores the history and theology of the Christian sacramental life with special emphasis on contemporary understandings of Baptism and Eucharist. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1400 Challenged by Christian Ethics (3)
Focuses on Christian ethical responsibility, including introductory moral foundations and selected contemporary issues of individual and social morality. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1405 The Christian in Society (3)
Considers revolutionary forces in the fields of economics, politics, culture, and religion, which have been and are still shaping the modern world, and the responses formulated and being formulated by Christian theologians. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL1500 Meditation (1)
This seven-week course will introduce students to Buddhist and Christian thought on Meditation and specific Meditation practices from both traditions. This class is being offered with the intention of creating a space for students to come to better understand Meditation through both knowledge and practice. The course will explore how Meditation can create the conditions needed for transformation and healing and how it can help us to become more mindful and present in our daily lives. Students will have the opportunity to engage in Meditation practices during class times and are encouraged to have their own daily Meditation practice for the duration of the course. Students will document their experience with Meditation through journaling and will be asked to research one kind of Meditation that particularly interests them. The course includes a half-day field trip to Green Gulch Meditation Center in Marin.

REL1620 Way of the Earth (CDiv) (3)
Explores the profound links between ecology and spirituality and between "Mother Nature" (Gaia concept) and conceptions of human/divine nature(s). The course aims to integrate perspectives on such topics as science and religion, the spirituality of indigenous peoples, eco-feminism, Creation Spirituality, and reverence for nature in the teachings of the world religions. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2100 Jesus of History, Christ of Faith (3)
Examines Jesus Christ as a person in the light of the questions "Who do people say that I am?" and "Who do you say that I am?" (Mark 8:27, 29) and in the light of the answers given to these questions from the beginning of Christianity down to our own day. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2110 The Study of the Gospel of Mark (3)
Explores the earliest Gospel and attempts to discern the purposes of Mark in creating the Gospel genre. Interpretive approaches through modern critical and feminist scholarship are studied. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2120 Study of the Gospel of Luke and Acts (3)
An in-depth study of the two-volume work known as the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke is credited with being the first Christian historian and the only evangelist to carry the story of Jesus into the early Christian era. In addition to a verse-by-verse examination of Luke-Acts, a special effort will be made to discern Luke's purpose in writing this work, the sociological situation of the community for which he was writing, and his understanding of Salvation History. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2130 John, Gospel, and Letters (3)
Explores the composition and structure of the Gospel of John and analyzes the Book of Signs and the Book of Glory, the relationship between the Gospel and the first Letter of John, and an introduction to a reading of the Apocalypse. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2140 The Pauline Letters (3)
Studies the letters of the apostle Paul both to understand him better and to learn about the struggles and diversity of the earliest Christian communities. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2145 Mystical Experience in the Religions of the Book (3)
This course enables students to understand the similarities and originalities of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions through the lens of mysticism. We begin with mysticism in the Hebrew Bible and then read from the Christian mystics such as Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen as well as from Kabbalah and Sufi mystics. We study what occurs when mysticism encounters the scientific revolution and the postmodern world. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2210 Reel Religion: Christianity in Film (3)
Designed to be an introduction to the study of the portrayal of Christianity in films.  It introduces the vision and vocabulary helpful for film criticism and uses these tools in coordination with those of cultural studies and historical and theological criticism to critique films in terms of their composition, historical accuracy, and theological and ethical messages. The interplay of the arts, particularly cinema, and religion in American culture is examined from both a historical and cultural standpoint. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2250 Religions of the World (CDiv) (3)
Focuses on a critical survey of world religions, exploring the beliefs, rituals, sacred texts, and ethical ideals of representative religious manifestations of the past and present. It covers characteristic traits and patterns in tribal, imperial, naturalistic, mystical, and national religions. It also examines the role assigned to women by world religions and the importance given to building a just and peaceful society. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2255C Social Justice in the World Religions (CDiv) (CE) (3)
Prerequisite: One lower-division Religious Studies course
This course will explore the way the major world religions teach and advocate for social justice. Central to the study will be an investigation of the way theological thought as well as economic, political, and legal decisions impact our understanding of social justice, their implementation, and adjudication. We will consider the concept of social justice from the ethical teachings of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Confucianism in particular. The course will also focus on the application of social justice to particular cases, which will change each semester as the news of the world changes. After successfully completing the course, students will have acquired an understanding of the principal teachings of the world religions as they relate to social justice. Student must be able to pass a test on world religions at the beginning of the semester. Fulfills General Education Religious requirement.

REL2260 Islam: Faith and Practice (CDiv) (3)
This course seeks to introduce the major religious and cultural dimensions of the Islamic world, both those that express its diversity and those that express its continuity. No previous work is presupposed. The course has two major purposes: (1) to provide students with a better and deeper understanding of the importance of the Islamic past upon the Islamic world of today and (2) to introduce students to the spiritual, ritual, ethical, and cultural practices of Islam. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2265 Buddhist Traditions (CDiv) (3)
This course will survey the historical developments of the various Buddhist traditions of India, China, and Japan—paying special attention to philosophical positions and arguments, and the corresponding forms of Buddhist religiosity. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2310 Religion and Technology (3)
Prerequisite: One lower-division Religious Studies course
In examining the gray areas among nature, humanity, and technology, this course will consider issues of technology and religion from two perspectives: (1) The theological, environmental, political, and social justice issues surrounding technology. We begin with classes that detail, in stark contrast, the methodology of technology vs. the methodology of religious studies. To broaden our perspective, we will read essays discussing both religion and technology from religions, traditions, and faiths other than Christianity. (2) Technology and spirituality, that is, how technologies shape our very humanity, our meaning-making practices, our value systems, and our imaginations. The course will explore how technologies shape humans and the planetary future from spiritual, religious, and philosophical perspectives. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2425C Theologies of Liberation (CDiv) (CE) (3)
This course examines the origins of Liberation Theology in Latin America in the 1960s as well as Black U.S., Feminist/Womanist/Mujerista, queer, “Dalit,” postcolonial theologies that subsequently arose in the ongoing search for and exposing of the “intersection of oppressions” which burden us all.  We will look at these theological movements within their historical, social, political economic and theological contexts. Part of this course will involve community based learning.  We will spend the beginning of the semester getting to understand theology and the theories and approaches of the liberation theology movement; we will then move into examining and integrating our insights through our community based learning.

REL2430 Developments in Gender and Sexuality in Christianity (CDiv) (3)
Discusses and analyzes the evolution of images of masculinity and femininity, sexuality, and gender beginning with Greco-Roman and Jewish traditions. It then analyzes their influence upon Christianity from its origins to the present day. We study changing understandings of gender, celibacy, marriage, homosexuality, and power using the tools of queer theory, feminist studies, and men's studies. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2600 Voices in Christian Spirituality (3)
A course in spiritual autobiography. Reading Augustine's Confessions, medieval mystics, Teresa of Avila, and modern spiritual leaders, this course explores the evolution of a personal spirituality in the Christian life. How do these authors form their personal spirituality, their connection to God, and a better understanding of themselves? How do they then relate this inner spirituality to the world around them? This course also compares the spiritual autobiographies of Christians to those of other religions and allows students to write their own spiritual autobiography. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2605 Women's Spirituality (CDiv) (3)
Focuses on history and experience of women in Christian churches using women's writings to better understand how women view themselves and their spiritual development. This course explores the underlying questions: "How do women live within the Christian community and express their spirituality?" "What influences might Christian feminist views have on our world?” Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2620 Way of the Earth (CDiv) (3)
Explores the profound links between ecology and spirituality and between "Mother Nature" (Gaia concept) and conceptions of human/divine nature(s). The course aims to integrate perspectives on such topics as science and religion, the spirituality of indigenous peoples, eco-feminism, Creation Spirituality, and reverence for nature in the teachings of the world religions. Fulfills General Education Religious Studies requirement.

REL2997 Senior Thesis (3)
Taken by majors in their senior year. Students write a 15-25 page paper on a topic of their choice, written in conjunction with an upper-division Religious Studies course being offered in the same semester.

REL2999 Independent Study in Religious Studies (1-3)
Provides an opportunity for independent study or research in Religious Studies, which may be arranged under the direction of the instructor. See Undergraduate Policies and Procedures for more information on Independent Study.