RS 100. Introduction to Religious Studies (3)
Study of the elements of religion and selected contemporary religious issues. Examines such subjects as myth and ritual, the sacred and profane, dreams and theophanies, priests and prophets, science and religion, history and religion, and the expansion of religion today. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.)
RS 101. The Bible (3)
Survey of the basic content and major themes of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), New Testament and Apocryphal writings. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.)
RS 150. World Religions (3)
Study of selected major world religions, with emphasis on tribal religions and the historic international faiths of Asia and the Near East. Investigates rituals, ethics, institutional structures and the cultural ethos of religions, as well as their myths, doctrines and sacred texts. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)
RS 204. Religion, Logic and the Media (3)
This course introduces and guides students in the practical use of the basic concepts of deductive logic as a dimension of critical reasoning. Using these concepts, students will discuss, analyze and critique statements that appear in the media (in the U.S. and elsewhere) that have been expressed by religious people and by the media itself. (Available for General Education, Basic Skills Critical Thinking.)
RS 240. Approaches to the History of Religions (3)
An investigation of major and selected religions around the world using social-scientific methods from history, sociology, political science and anthropology. Students learn why various religions change over time and how they interact with their particular social and cultural environments. Examples are taken from ancient and modern religions, and from major and tribal religions, including new religious cults. (Available for General Education, Social Sciences.)
RS 255. American Political Institutions and Religion (3)
Examination of the development of U.S. and California political ideals, institutions and processes. The course focuses on the religious elements within political ideals, religious freedom, the relation between religion and state, and the role of religion in the public forum, including both politics and public education. (Meets Title 5 U.S. Constitution and State and Local Governments.)
RS 256. American Religious History and Ideals (3)
Introduction to the historical development of the United States through a focus on ways that both religious and nonreligious agendas have shaped American institutions and ideals. (Meets Title 5 requirement in American History, Institutions and Ideals.)
RS 296A-Z. Experimental Topics Courses in Religious Studies (3)
Selected topics in religious studies, with course content to be determined.
RS 304. Women and Religion (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Examination of religious views of women in oral and literary cultures, focusing on the roles, symbols and concepts of women within an international and historical framework. Also addresses women’s own perspectives on religion, as reflected in historical sources and in contemporary theology and religious life. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.) (IC)
RS 305. New Religious Movements in America (3)
Survey of some marginal religious groups in America. Presentation, analysis and critique of the classic church/sect/cult typology, including how these theories apply to actual groups and how groups maintain beliefs when rejected by dominant cultures.
RS 306. American Religious Diversity (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Survey of the religion of groups in America who are marginal to or outside of the historically dominant mainstream Protestant and civil religion ethos. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.) (IC)
RS 307. Religion in America (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. The study of the influence of religious traditions on the formation of American culture and the modification of religious traditions by the American context. Also addresses major American religious thinkers and movements, and religion’s role in shaping American thought, literature and ethos. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.)
RS 308. Native American Religions (3)
Seeks to understand the religions of Native Americans in their respective tribal contexts. Inquires to what extent a common religious outlook existed among the cultures occupying what is presently the U.S.
RS 310. Religion and Literature (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Study of literature to discover to what extent a religious tradition or the lack of one influences an author’s understanding of human existence. Writers who reflect religious traditions, as well as those who are informed by humanism or atheism, are read and interpreted. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.)
RS 311. Religion and Film (3)
Examines how film artists address the major religious issues of our time, including the nature of reality, sources of transcendence, the nature of good and evil in the self and society, and the possibilities of renewal and hope.
RS 313. Religion and Art (3)
Study of religion as portrayed in the fine and folk arts, emphasizing the role of the artist as interpreter of the great events and personalities of religious traditions.
RS 320. Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) (3)
Study of the literature and religion of ancient Israel through the Hellenistic period.
RS 325. New Testament (3)
Study of the New Testament and its religious thought in context.
RS 327. Teachings of Jesus (3)
Literary and social analysis of the teachings of Jesus.
RS 345. Christianity (3)
Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant and non-traditional forms of Christianity compared and contrasted with one another in their historical and social contexts.
RS 346. Sufism (3)
A historical and critical study of emergence and development of the mystical tradition of Islam, Sufism, with particular attention to literary and artistic works that are informed by Sufism as well as the relevance of Sufism to the modern world.
RS 355. Mysticism (3)
Study of mysticism as a distinct religious phenomenon and a major category of religious experience. To understand its character, it may be studied either within the great Western religious traditions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) or cross-culturally.
RS 356. Contemporary Religious Thought (3)
Study of selected major writings in religious thought, with the aim of analyzing representative modern approaches to such questions as God and the world, faith and self-understanding, and belief and social consciousness. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.)
RS 361. Contemporary Ethical Issues (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Emphasizes the development of skills in critical thinking through analysis of such contemporary ethical issues as abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, sexual behavior, racism, gender bias, punishment, animal rights, the environment and the relationships between religion and morality. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.)
RS 365. Islam (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Study of the varieties of Islamic civilization in their social contexts. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)
RS 367. The Cognitive Science of Religion (3)
Recommended Preparatory: RS 100. This course examines how the human mind, in conjunction with the socio-cultural environment, constrains and facilitates the emergence, spread and persistence of religious ideas and practices across the world.
RS 370. Religion and Ecology (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. This course examines how religious beliefs and practices contribute to humans’ protection, utilization and/or damage of the natural world. Students explore the resources for environmental sustainability within at least two world religious and in new “green” theologies, nature mysticism and radical environmentalism. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities.)
RS 375. Classical Judaic Texts (3)
Examination of the great ideas and issues of ancient and medieval Judaism as reflected in its cultural tradition.
RS 377. The Holocaust: Religious Responses (3)
Examines several classic religious explanations for the tragic destruction of the Jews. Also studies contemporary responses to the Holocaust on the part of Jewish and Christian theologians, churches and individual artists.
RS 378. American Jewish Experience (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Seeks to describe the experience of the Jewish religion-ethnic community in America with reference to its own historic background and development, and the relationship of the community to the general American culture and to other particular subcultures or ethnic groups. Emphasizes distinctive Jewish values and customs, and evaluates their contribution to American culture. Studies contrasts between religious and secular understandings of Jewishness, between different strands of Jewish immigration, and between Jewish experience in different regions of the U.S. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.) (IC)
RS 380. Asian Religions: Communal Traditions and Transitions (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Explores Asian religions by comparing human and divine religious figures cross-culturally. Comparison of the figures from the various cultures provides a method to understand the nature of humanity and divinity in Asia. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)
RS 383. Asian Religious Texts (3)
Explores Asian religions by comparing the primary sacred texts of Asian cultures. Sacred texts upon which Asian religious expressions are based are examined in the specific cultural contexts of Japan, China and India by a reading of primary texts. Comparison of the texts from the various cultures allows the generation of a model of Asian religious order and answers problems concerning the nature of sacrality in Asia.
RS 384. Approaching the Qur’an (3)
A historical, thematic and analytical study of the Qur’an both in its content and form, with substantial focus on the Qur’an as a source of information in various disciplines in the light of traditional and contemporary methods of interpretation.
RS 385. Hinduism (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Study of the religious life of India from the Indus Valley civilizations to the modern period. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)
RS 390. Buddhism (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Study of the fundamental concepts in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism (e.g., nirvana, enlightenment, karma, dharma). Examines the historic development of these concepts in their various Asian cultural and geographic settings. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.) (IC)
RS 395. Theory and Method in Religious Studies (3)
Examines modern attempts to study religion objectively from the Western Enlightenment to the present, exploring and criticizing theories and methods from anthropology, sociology, feminist hermeneutics, evolutionary psychology and the history of religions.
RS 396A-Z. Experimental Topics Courses in Religious Studies (3)
Selected topics in religious studies, with course content to be determined.
RS 437. Pauline Letters (3)
Literary and social scientific analysis of the Pauline Letters.
RS 450. Life, Death and the Afterlife in the World’s Religions (3)
This course examines beliefs and practices regarding life, death and the afterlife in several different religious traditions. The first half of the course examines issues and themes of (1) life and living and (2) death and dying in these traditions. The second half of the course examines beliefs and practices regarding (1) the afterlife in different religious traditions and (2) processes of grief and rituals across the world.
RS 497. Proseminar in Religious Studies (3-3)
Reading and discussion in a specific field or on a specific topic in a small group. May be repeated for credit.
RS 499. Independent Study (1-3)
No course description.
RS 699. Independent Study (1-3)
Investigation of a significant problem in religious studies. Project selected in conference with faculty sponsor and with approval of the department chair.