Religious Studies courses
Director of undergraduate studies: Stephen Davis, Rm. 308, 451 College St., 432-6532, firstname.lastname@example.org
FACULTY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Professors Harold Attridge, Gerhard Böwering, Yochanan Breuer (Visiting), Adela Yarbro Collins, John J. Collins, Vasudha Dalmia, John Darnell, Stephen Davis, Carlos Eire, Steven Fraade, Bruce Gordon, Philip Gorski, Phyllis Granoff, Frank Griffel, John Hare, Christine Hayes (Chair), Jennifer Herdt, Richard Kalmin (Visiting), Bentley Layton, Ivan Marcus, Dale Martin, Sally Promey, Harry Stout, Kathryn Tanner, Emilie Townes, Denys Turner, Miroslav Volf, Robert Wilson
Associate Professors Christopher Beeley, Hindy Najman, Carolyn Sharp
Assistant Professors Zareena Grewal, Kathryn Lofton, Andrew Quintman, Eliyahu Stern
Senior Lecturers Koichi Shinohara, David Smith
Lecturers Hugh Flick, Jr., Margaret Olin, George Syrimis
The study of religion investigates religious traditions, institutions, cultural practices, texts, and ideas in many different ways. Courses in the Religious Studies department concentrate on the history of religious traditions (Western and Eastern, ancient and modern) and the role of religion in shaping past human cultures and current events; on textual traditions and religious literatures of various kinds; and on ethical and philosophical issues central to religious reflection, such as the nature of the divine or the problem of evil and suffering. Because religious studies is an interdisciplinary field, it makes use of a wide variety of methods and academic disciplines. Students who want a broad introduction to the study of religions can choose courses in Groups A or B (see below), though courses in Group C are also open without prerequisite. Religious Studies majors develop specialized concentrations as they plan a major program in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies and other members of the faculty.
Religious Studies course offerings, other than freshman seminars, are arranged in four categories. Group A (RLST 100–119) features general, comparative, and thematic courses that engage more than one religious tradition. Group B (RLST 120–174) includes survey courses that provide a broad introduction to a particular religious tradition or scripture in historical context. Group C (RLST 175–399) includes courses on specialized topics in religious studies, both introductory and intermediate. Group D (RLST 400–479) offers advanced courses on specialized topics. Normally, courses in Groups A to C have no prerequisites while courses in Group D have a specific prerequisite or require the permission of the instructor.
The department offers two programs for students majoring in Religious Studies: the standard major and a major in which religious studies is combined with another subject closely related to the senior essay. Both programs require a core of courses and a two-term senior essay.
Core requirement A core of six term courses in Religious Studies is required of all majors. One core course examines world religions; for qualifying courses in 2012–2013, consult the director of undergraduate studies. Three core courses are in the historical or textual study of a specific religion, most commonly from Group B; each of the three courses must be on a different religion, and at least one must be focused on Judaism, Christianity, or Islam and one on Buddhism or Hinduism. One core course, selected in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies, focuses on systematic thought (ethics, philosophy of religion, or theology). The final core course is RLST 490, the junior seminar on approaches to the study of religion. Before the end of the junior year, students must also complete a seminar (in addition to the junior seminar) that requires a major research paper. In Program I, this seminar must be an elective in Religious Studies. In Program II, it may be a course in Religious Studies, or it may constitute one of the four term courses outside the department.
PROGRAM I. THE STANDARD MAJOR
Program I consists of twelve term courses in Religious Studies, including the core of six required courses, the two-term senior essay, and four electives. The electives are usually selected from Groups C and D and form a coherent unit to help the student prepare for the senior essay. Certain cognate courses in other departments that investigate religious phenomena or literature and are integral to the student's area of concentration may count toward the major with permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Normally the maximum number of cognate courses that may be applied is two. Two terms of an ancient language related to the study of religion may, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies, be counted.
PROGRAM II. RELIGIOUS STUDIES WITH ANOTHER SUBJECT
Program II consists of eight term courses in Religious Studies (the core of six required courses and the two-term senior essay) and four term courses outside the department, one of which may fulfill the seminar requirement outlined above. The four courses outside the department need not directly concern religion, but they must form a coherent unit. Through them students can develop expertise in a single methodological approach, cultural area, historical period, or body of literature contributing to the senior essay. Examples of successful combinations might be: four courses in Chinese history, language, and literature with a senior essay topic on Chinese Buddhism; four courses in early American history and literature with a topic on colonial American religion; four courses in a specific area of biology and medical science with a topic on biomedical ethics. Each student's petition to take this program will be judged on its contribution to the student's senior essay. Normally introductory courses in other departments may not count among the outside courses; appropriate language courses at a higher level may. Students electing Program II must, at the end of the junior year and in no case later than the beginning of the senior year, obtain approval for their proposed program from the director of undergraduate studies. Students who think they may elect this program should consult the director of undergraduate studies as early as possible in their studies to begin suitable selection of courses.
Senior requirement Students in both programs must write a senior essay under the supervision of a faculty adviser in the student's area of concentration. In selecting a senior essay topic, students normally choose a topic on which they have completed course work before commencing the senior year. The essay counts as two term courses toward the major and is taken in both terms of the senior year. The student should begin choosing a senior essay topic during the second term of the junior year, and early in the first term of the senior year must submit a Statement of Intention approved by a faculty adviser and the director of undergraduate studies. The Senior Essay (RLST 491, 492) includes research and writing assignments as well as colloquia in which seniors present and discuss their research. The student must submit at least ten pages of the essay to the director of undergraduate studies by the last day of classes of the first term in order to receive a grade of "satisfactory" for that term.
Students in Yale College are eligible to take certain courses in the Divinity School; those interested should consult its bulletin. Some Divinity School courses may count toward the major, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies.
Students majoring in Religious Studies who plan to do graduate work in the subject are strongly encouraged to study languages of which a reading knowledge will be needed for their graduate program.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Number of courses Program I—12 term courses (incl two-term senior essay); Program II—8 term courses in Rel St (incl two-term senior essay), and 4 nonintro courses in another subject linked with senior essay, chosen in consultation with DUS
Specific course required Both programs—RLST 490
Distribution of courses Both programs—1 course in world religions; 3 courses in historical or textual study of a specific religion, as specified; 1 course in systematic thought, as specified; 1 sem other than junior sem, as specified
Substitution permitted Program I—related courses in other depts, incl 2 courses in a related ancient lang, with DUS permission; Both programs—Divinity School courses, with DUS permission
Senior requirement Both programs—senior essay (RLST 491, 492)