The Religious Studies minor consists of 21 credit hours. Four of the seven courses required must be taken at Bethel.
The following are descriptions of courses in the Religious Studies Program:
REL200E Western Religious Traditions (spring). Focuses on the major Western religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, African and Native American indigenous religions), using both primary and secondary sources. Emphasis will be on their affirmations regarding ultimate reality as it relates to the meaning and purpose of human existence within their respective religious and cultural contexts.
REL205E Eastern Religious Traditions (fall) . Focuses on the major Eastern religious traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Chinese religions), using both primary and secondary sources. Emphasis will be on their affirmations regarding ultimate reality as it relates to the meaning and purpose of human existence within their respective religious and cultural contexts.
REL225F New Religious Movements (interim). History, beliefs and practices of the major alternative religions active in America today, including Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, offshoots of Eastern religious traditions, and the New Age movement. Relationship of these movements to their parent traditions will be discussed, and comparative analyses drawn.
REL400 Seminar in the Study of Religion (spring, odd # yrs). Methodological studies of the origins and development of the academic study of religion, including cultural-anthropological and socio-psychological approaches, historical, philosophical, hermeneutical, phenomenological and theological perspectives to religious traditions. Includes an orientation to research tools and facilities for the study of religion as well as an examination of the integration of Christian faith with learning in religious studies.
REL354G Islam (spring, odd # yrs).
An historical survey of the Islamic tradition from its inception under Muhammad, through its seventh century C.E. expansion under the Rightly Guided Kaliphs to the establishment of Islamic civilizations of the premodern period and their subsequent engagement with colonialism and modernity.
REL356G Judaism (spring, even # yrs)
This course explores the diverse political, religious, and social expressions of Judaism through study of the significance of the Jewish liturgical year in
original contexts, medieval and modern European contexts, and American contexts.
REL201 Religion and Art in Asia (spring, even # yrs)
This course examines select artistic expressions of the major religious traditions of India, China, Japan and, Southeast Asia. Definitions of "religion" and "art" provide a useful guide as one proceeds to identify and understand Asian architecture, statuary, paintings, etc. Doctrinal and ritual elements of the major traditions will be explained and examples of art that symbolize and express these elements will be analyzed together in class.