Religion and Culture

The following are TRS catalog courses in Religion and Culture.

Prerequisite Grade

Theology & Religious Studies 097 is a prerequisite for any upper division theology and religious studies course; however, only a passing grade in TRS 097 is required, not a minimum grade of C-.

Upper Division

160 Topics in Religion and Culture
An investigation of a topic of religion and culture not covered by the regular offerings of the department. Topics are announced prior to each semester. May be repeated for credit when content changes. PrerequisiteTRS 097.

162 Biblical Themes in Literature
Religious and biblical themes are woven into important works of modern American fiction. This course usually features a critical reading of biblical texts like Genesis, Exodus, and Maccabees, followed by a reading of plays and novels such as Inherit the WindA Different Drummer, and The Chosen. PrerequisiteTRS 097.

164 Dante and The Divine Comedy
This course offers an in-depth spiritual and literary exploration of one of the greatest works of world literature: Dante's Divine ComedyPrerequisiteTRS 097.

165 Spiritual, Not Religious: Emerson to the New Age
The American tradition of individual seeking in religion is as old as the Republic, but it may be said to have its serious origin in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The course seeks to situate the contemporary phrase "spiritual, not religious" in a larger historical context, and to compare contemporary American understandings of spirituality without institutional borders to more traditional understandings of spirituality. PrerequisiteTRS 097.

167 Seeing Salvation: Christian Art and Architecture
We will examine the buildings, paintings, and sculptures that Christian artists over the centuries have created in their attempts to give visible embodiment to their religious experiences. We will focus on what their creations reveal of how the artists understood the gospel, how well they gave expression to the deepest longings of the human heart, and the influence of the artwork on our understanding of the Christian faith. PrerequisiteTRS 097.

169 Theory and Method in the Study of Religion
This course is designed to give students a foundation in the theories and methods used to study religion. The course will examine classical and contemporary approaches to the study of religion and the development of religious studies as an academic discipline. The focus will be on seminal theories and methods, such as those formulated by Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, and Clifford Geertz. A key component of the course will be an exploration of the differences between theological and religious studies approaches to religion and the way these approaches have influenced each other. Students will also have the opportunity to become familiar with critical issues and debates within the contemporary field of religion and power, the role of the body in religion, and the place of theological perspective in the academic study of religion. (For majors and minors only.) PrerequisiteTRS 097.

171 Gender and Religion in American Culture
This course focuses on the relationship between gender and religion in North American history and culture. We will explore gender as a category of analysis for the study of religion, and the ways that religions construct and deconstruct gender norms. Religion is lived and practiced, and therefore it cannot be separated from the gendered bodies that people inhabit. We will use historical and contemporary case studies to examine the way that notions of feminity and masculinity have played a role in the religious lives of Americans. The course is cross-listed with Women's and Gender Studies. Prerequisite: TRS 97 or 189. This course satisfies the Theological Understanding (Theological Explorations) requirement and the American Diversity requirement of the Core Curriculum. 

173 The Virgin Mary
This course examines the roots and rise of Christian, especially Catholic, devotion to the Virgin Mary. Thought concerning Mary as expressed in the writings of the Church Fathers as well as the growth of traditional poupular Marian piety will be addressed. Both doctrine (official teaching) as well as devotional practices (rosary, scapular, etc.) and phenomena such as apparitions (Guadalupe, Lourdes) will all be examined. Contemporary fiction and autobiography are also included as evidence of the continuting relevance of the Virgin Mary to modern life and living. Prerequisite: TRS 97 or 189

196 Intensive Inquiry: Religion and Culture
An in-depth investigation of a topic in Religion and Culture, designed for TRS majors and minors. Topics are announced prior to registration each semester. May be repeated for credit when content changes. Prerequisite:
Two TRS course, or permission of instructor.


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