Rel 2303 01 World Religions Syllabus Fall 2009 Greaux


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Rel 2303 01 World Religions Syllabus Fall 2009 Greaux

  1. 1. Winston-Salem State University<br />REL 2303-01: Introduction to World Religions<br />Instructor: Eric James Gréaux, Sr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religion<br />Fall Semester 2009<br />3 Credit Hours<br />Tuesday, Thursday<br />9:30 A.M. – 10:45 A.M.<br />Classroom: Coltrane 214<br />Course Description<br />This course aims to introduce students to the five major religious traditions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.<br />Course Objectives<br />In this course, students will learn the history, beliefs, and practices of the five most popular religious traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. In a sense, religious traditions are a lot like languages: we can learn them from birth, we can acquire them as teenagers or adults, or we can spend our lives in ignorance and isolation, only able to understand one. If ignorance of the world’s diverse religious heritage was ever an option, it is no longer. Religion has been, is, and will continue to be a powerful and perennial force in human cultures. Whether we distance ourselves from religious traditions or embrace them, we cannot avoid the influence of religious ideas, practices, images, languages, and values in our everyday life, work, and play. This is especially true in the United States, which has become the most religiously diverse nation in the world.<br />Accordingly, this course presents the students with the following specific goals and corresponding objectives:<br />IDENTIFY the history, beliefs, rituals, and ways of thinking in each tradition:<br />Students will read primary documents and secondary scholarly monographs on each religion under study<br />Students will read novels that illustrate the history, beliefs, and rituals of the religions under study<br />THINK CRITICALLY and COMPARATIVELY about the differences between each tradition:<br />Students will visit three (3) religious sites and write reports on their experiences<br />APPLY a critical lens and reflect an articulate voice on the religious events in contemporary religious culture:<br /><ul><li>Students will make periodic presentations on “Religion in the News”</li></ul>PREPARE students to take on the role of scholar in the study of religion<br />After an overview of the academic study of religion, students will engage in library research and share their insights in a variety of written and oral ways, including participation in large and small group discussion<br />Student Responsibility<br />Students are expected to complete the assigned readings, attend class regularly unless previously excused by the professor, actively participate in class discussions, and take quizzes and the final exam.<br />Required Textbooks<br />Norman Solomon, Judaism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.<br />Linda Woodhead, Christianity: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.<br />Malise Ruthven, Islam: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.<br />Kim Knott, Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.<br />Damien Keown, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.<br />Peter Kreeft, Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialogue Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1982.<br />Student Behavior<br />In addition to the “Policies Governing Student Life” and the “General Guidelines for Student Behavior” outlined in the catalog (page 27), students are expected to abide by the following:<br />Students will turn off all pagers, cell phones and other electronic devices BEFORE entering the classroom.<br />Students will not read materials unrelated to the class (newspapers, magazines, text messages, or online social networks) during class.<br />All class participants will exhibit respectful behavior to other students and the instructor.<br />All students have the right and privilege to learn in the class, free from harassment and disruption.<br />Inappropriate language or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated (see “WSSU Class Disruption Policy” on page 36 of the catalog).<br />Attendance<br />Winston-Salem State University expects prompt and alert student presence at every class meeting. Hence, in keeping with university policy, students who absent themselves more than three (3) times during the semester will have their total grade docked five (5) points, and then an additional five (5) points for each subsequent absence. If you are ill, a medical excuse is necessary to receive an excused absence. If you have an unavoidable conflict that will prevent you from meeting class, please present your documentation of this conflict before the class absence.<br />Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in class during the entire session. Three (3) late arrivals or early departures will equal one (1) absence.<br />Class Format<br />A variety of methods are used to engage students in the content of this course, including lectures, discussions, careful reading of the assigned texts, DVDs, PowerPoint slides, Internet resources, written and oral presentations, and examinations.<br />Course Requirements and Grading<br />Reading. The most important part of the course is the careful, thorough reading of the assigned materials. Some of the reading is quite difficult, so we will engage in close interpretation of the texts. Again, a learning community, especially a religion class, must be a safe community. I will see to it – and you must see to it – that we create a climate of respect for the opinions of others.<br />Class Participation. There will be a lecture in this class, but there will always be discussion. So, I expect everyone to be prepared for class each day. Being prepared implies that a student has read the assigned reading and is willing and able to participate in classroom discussion by asking questions, responding to questions proffered by the professor, and making comments and/or observations on the reading, the remarks of the professor, and the remarks of other students. Class Participation is worth 10% of the total course grade.<br />Reflective Essay. Students will read one (1) of the following books (The Chosen or Night [Judaism], Mere Christianity or Simply Christian [Christianity], The Autobiography of Malcolm X or Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery [Islam], or Siddhartha [Buddhism]), write a reflective essay that highlights the religious aspects reflected in the monograph, and orally present their work during the appropriate time in the semester. See Appendix 1 for guidelines. The essay is worth 15% of the total course grade.<br />Site Visits. We will visit places most students will not likely have been exposed before – a Roman Catholic church, a Reform Jewish synagogue, and a Muslim mosque – and will hear speakers from each tradition who will answer questions. At the conclusion of the field trips, students will complete a Site Visit Report. See Appendix 2 for guidelines. Each report is worth 5% of the total course grade (3 reports at 5% each = 15%).<br />Writing Assignments. The following are guidelines for writing assignments throughout the semester. Please refer to them when you prepare a paper for this class.<br />All papers are to be computer-generated and double-spaced with 1” margins. You are to use a type face no larger than 12 point.<br />Use a cover page for every assignment. On the cover page, create a title for the assignment. Do not put your name on the pages following the cover page. Use a staple in the top left-hand corner to keep the pages of the assignment together. Do not use paper clips.<br />You are to maintain a writeable CD or mass storage device for this course. On it you will keep a copy of all your work, including any rough drafts.<br />On the date assigned, you will hand in a hard copy of your writing assignment. Extensions will be given only if a student speaks with the professor at least one class before the due date.<br />Papers should be free of grammatical and spelling errors.<br />All written assignments must be submitted at the scheduled time, except in case of personal emergency. In such cases, appropriate documentation will be required. There will be no make-ups, except by permission, in which case it must be completed within one (1) week. Late papers will be discounted by five (5) points per calendar day.<br />Quizzes. There will be five (5) quizzes over the assigned readings in the textbook. The quizzes are scheduled for September 10th (on Judaism), October 8th (on Christianity), October 22nd (on Islam), November 3rd (on Hinduism), and November 19th (on Buddhism). These quizzes may not be made up or taken in advance. Each quiz is worth 8% of the total course grade (5 quizzes at 8% each = 40%).<br />Final Exam. Each student will be responsible to take a comprehensive final exam covering the primary materials, secondary reading assignments and class lectures. The Final Exam is scheduled for Friday, December 14th (10:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.). This exam may not be made up or taken in advance. The Final Exam is worth 20% of the total course grade.<br />Course Evaluation<br />The course grade will be calculated as follows:<br />Class Participation 10%<br />Site Visit Reports (3 @ 5% each) 15%<br />Reflective Essay 15%<br />Quizzes (5 @ 8% each) 40%<br />Final Exam 20%<br />100%<br />Grading Scale<br />A: 90-100%, B: 80%-89%, C: 70%-79%, D: 60%-69%, F: (Hopefully not necessary!)<br />No Incompletes will be given for this course. An extension may be granted only in the case of significant disruption in your personal life. Late work will be subject to at least one letter grade deduction in mark.<br />Academic Honesty<br />Academic honesty is expected and required from every student. The quizzes, exams and written assignments must represent the student’s own work. Discussion of the written assignments outside of class is encouraged, but each student is responsible for writing her or his own material. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, plagiarizing or representing another’s ideas as one’s own. Academic misconduct will result in failure of the assignment, and may result in failure of the course.<br />Disability Services<br />Students with a documented disability must register with the WSSU Disability Services Office each semester in order to receive consideration for any accommodations in this course. Accommodations are not retroactive. You may reach the Disability Services Office by emailing<br />Office Hours & Email<br />I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your academic and research interests during my office hours, or at other times by appointment. I also welcome your feedback at any time, especially any suggestions about how to make the class a more fruitful experience for you.<br />Monday, Wednesday, FridayTuesday, Thursday<br />10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.11:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.<br />2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.<br />Office Location: Modular East 136<br />Office Telephone: (336) 750-8824<br />Cellular Telephone: (919) 599-8202<br />My email address is<br />Course Schedule<br />An Introduction to the Study of Religion<br />Tuesday, August 25: An Introduction to the Course<br />Thursday, August 27: The Academic Study of Religion<br /><ul><li>“Religion in Today’s World,” in Introduction to World Religions, 435-55.
  2. 2. U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant (June 2008). The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
  3. 3. American Religious Identification Survey 2008. Principal Investigators: Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar.</li></ul>Judaism<br />Tuesday, September 1: Jewish History & Beliefs<br />Solomon, Judaism, 6-53, 136.<br />Thursday, September 3: Jewish Practices<br />Solomon, Judaism, 54-97.<br />In addition to discussing the readings, we will watch scenes from Fiddler on the Roof and Yentl.<br />Tuesday, September 8: The Holocaust<br />Solomon, Judaism, 109-135.<br />In addition to discussing the readings, we will watch scenes from Schindler’s List.<br />Student Presentations on Night by Eli Wiesel.<br />Thursday, September 10: Site Visit to Temple Emmanuel (Rabbi Josh Brown)<br />Solomon, Judaism, 98-108<br />Quiz #1 (on Judaism)<br />Tuesday, September 15: Conducting Research in Religion (O’Kelly Library)<br />Thursday, September 17: Writing Papers on Religion (O’Kelly Library)<br />Christianity<br />Tuesday, September 22: Jesus – The Founder of Christianity<br />Thursday, September 24: Christian History (Part II: Early Church to the Reformation)<br />Woodhead, Christianity, 6-23, 46-127.<br />“Branches of the Church,” by Michael Sadgrove, in Introduction to World Religions, 324-25.<br />Tuesday, September 29: Christian Beliefs<br />Student presentations on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis or Simply Christian by N.T. Wright<br />Thursday, October 1: The James A. Gray Lecture Series on Religion & Ethics<br />Speaker: Deborah K. Banks (Dillard Auditorium, Albert H. Anderson Center)<br />Tuesday October 6: Christian Practices<br />Woodhead, Christianity, 24-45.<br />Thursday, October 8: Site Visit to St. Benedict’s Catholic Church<br />Tour Guide and Presenter: Father Larry Heiney<br />Woodhead, Christianity, 128-50.<br />Quiz #2 (on Christianity)<br />October13: Fall Break<br />Islam<br />Tuesday, October 13: Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran<br />Ruthven, Islam, 1-48.<br /><ul><li>Student Presentations on The Autobiography of Malcolm X</li></ul>Thursday, October 15: Muslim Beliefs<br />Ruthven, Islam, 49-72.<br />Tuesday, October 20: Muslim Practices<br />Ruthven, Islam, 73-148.<br />Student Presentations on Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery<br />Thursday, October 22: Site Visit to Community Mosque of Winston-Salem<br />Tour Guide and Presenter: Imam Khalid Griggs<br />Quiz #3 (on Islam)<br />Hinduism<br />Tuesday, October 27: Defining Hinduism<br />Knott, Hinduism, 1-25, 109-17.<br />Thursday, October 29: The Gods and Practices of Hinduism<br />Knott, Hinduism, 26-66.<br />Tuesday, November 3: Hinduism and Modernity<br />Knott, Hinduism, 67-108.<br /><ul><li>In addition to discussing the readings, we will watch scenes from Gandhi</li></ul>Quiz #4 (on Hinduism)<br />Buddhism<br />Thursday, November 5: The Buddha and the Beginning of Buddhism<br />Keown, Buddhism, 1-28, 57-83.<br />Student Presentations on Siddhartha by Herman Hesse<br />Tuesday, November 10: Karma, Rebirth, and the Four Noble Truths<br />Keown, Buddhism, 29-56.<br />Thursday, November 12: The James A. Gray Lecture Series on Religion & Ethics<br />Speaker: William C. Turner, Jr. (Dillard Auditorium, Albert H. Anderson Center)<br />Tuesday, November 17: University Day. No Class.<br />Thursday, November 19: Buddhist Practices<br />Keown, Buddhism, 84-125.<br />Quiz #4 (on Buddhism)<br />Tuesday, November 24: Retrospect & Prospectus<br />Final Exam: Friday, December 14th (10:00 A.M.-11:30 A.M.)<br />Disclaimer: The Course Schedule is subject to modifications that may be announced during the course of the semester.<br />Appendix 1: Reflective Essay<br />A Critical Examination of a Religion Novel<br />Students will read one (1) of the following books and write a reflective essay.<br />Judaism<br /><ul><li>Chaim Potok, The Chosen (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967).
  4. 4. Eli Wiesel, Night (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006).</li></ul>Christianity<br /><ul><li>C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1952).
  5. 5. N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Matters (New York: Harper One, 2006).</li></ul>Islam<br /><ul><li>Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999).
  6. 6. Baha Tahir, Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery: A Novel (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1996).</li></ul>Buddhism<br /><ul><li>Herman Hesse, Siddhartha (New York: New Directions, 1951).</li></ul>Guidelines for the Reflective Essay<br />Summary. A good book summary is an accurate, succinct description of the contents of a book. Your major goal should be to try to describe what the author of the book is up to in such a way that the author would recognize his or her work by reading your report. However, not everything in a book is of equal interest or significance, so you will need to be critical (that is, discerning and discriminating). The chief objective is to represent the contents of the book as faithfully as possible and yet as discriminating a fashion as possible.<br />Contribution. The most important step for our purposes is to evaluate the contribution of this work for knowledge of the religion under discussion. In other words, how does the book help to understand the religion? What rituals are reflected? Are religious symbols described? What religious beliefs are reflected by the characters? What role does scripture play in the book? Are there any descriptions of sacred places, times, or people? If so, what is the significance of these to the work?<br />Evaluation. How does the book compare to your expectations? How does the book compare to your religious affiliation (if any)?<br />This essay need not be long; ordinarily three or four pages will suffice. The quality of your writing is far more important than the quantity of your writing.<br />Reflective Essay: Grading Protocol<br />Part One: Summary (Maximum 20 points)_______An accurate, succinct description of the contents of the bookNotes: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Part Two: Contribution (Maximum 50 points)_______Summarizes the contents of the book to the religion for study_______Identifies and discusses the significance of rituals in the book_______Identifies and discusses the significance of symbols in the book_______Identifies and discusses the significance of beliefs in the book_______Identifies and discusses the significance of scripture in the book_______Identifies and discusses the significance of sacred places in the book_______Identifies and discusses the significance of sacred times in the book_______Identifies and discusses the significance of sacred people in the bookPart Three: Evaluation (Maximum 20 points)_______Comparison/contrast to expectations_______Comparison/contrast to religious affiliationPart Four: Essay Mechanics (Maximum 10 points)10Perfect work8-9One or two punctuation mistakes OR one spelling or grammatical or syntactical error5-7Three or more punctuation mistakes OR two spelling or grammatical or syntactical errors2-4Several punctuation mistakes OR three or four spelling or grammatical errors0Several punctuation mistakes OR more than four spelling or grammatical errors_______Total Points_______Less points for late submission_______Net Points<br />Appendix 2: Site Visit Reports<br />Guidelines for the Form and Content of Reports on Religious Site Visits<br />This semester we will visit Temple Emmanuel (a Reform Jewish synagogue), St. Benedict’s (a Roman Catholic Church), and the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem. Observe the physical location, building, rituals, practices and the people present during your visit and complete the following Site Visit Report on your reaction and comparisons with your religious affiliation (if you have one).<br />I. Content<br />A. Name of religious organization, religion, sect, denomination, other affiliations<br />B. Name of building, time, and location of visit<br />C. Organization details – history, how long at site<br />D. Common perception of religion/organization<br />II. Inside Reception<br />A. Physical description – layout, size, contents of room<br />B. Art, symbols, and other decoration<br />III. Service (for St. Benedict’s only)<br />A. Indicate what rituals took place; present each program item<br />B. Describe what occurred<br /><ul><li>Who was involved?
  7. 7. What did they say?
  8. 8. What did they do?</li></ul>C. Discuss how the program reflects beliefs<br />IV. Reflection<br />A. What did you learn? What surprised you?<br />B. How does your experience compare with your expectations?<br />C. Comparisons/contrasts with your religious affiliation<br />D. Anything else<br />Site Visit Report: Grading Protocol<br />Part One: Content (Maximum 25 points)_______Name of religious organization_______Type of building, location, and time_______Organizational structure_______Common perception of religion/organizationPart Two: Inside Reception (Maximum 25 points)_______Physical description of the building_______Art, symbols, and other decorationPart Three: Service (For St. Benedict’s only – maximum 50 points)_______Description of rituals observed_______Identified persons involved_______Summary of what worship participants said_______Summary of what worship participants did_______Discussion of how the program reflects beliefsPart Four: Experiential Learning (Maximum 40 points)_______Description of learning_______Comparison of experience with expectations_______Comparison/contrast with writer’s religious affiliationPart Five: Report Mechanics (Maximum 10 points)10Perfect work8-9One or two punctuation mistakes OR one spelling or grammatical or syntactical error5-7Three or more punctuation mistakes OR two spelling or grammatical or syntactical errors2-4Several punctuation mistakes OR three or four spelling or grammatical errors0Several punctuation mistakes OR more than four spelling or grammatical errors_______Total Points_______Less points for late submission_______Net Points<br />Class Participation: Assessment and Evaluation<br />POSITIVE ATTRIBUTESParticipates in class discussionsAlmost AlwaysOccasionallySeldomAlmost NeverOffers questions or comments during classAlmost AlwaysOccasionallySeldomAlmost NeverVisits at podium after classAlmost AlwaysOccasionallySeldomAlmost NeverNEGATIVE ATTRIBUTESSkips classAlmost AlwaysOccasionallySeldomAlmost NeverShows up lateAlmost AlwaysOccasionallySeldomAlmost NeverSleeps in classAlmost AlwaysOccasionallySeldomAlmost NeverExhibits disruptive behaviorAlmost AlwaysOccasionallySeldomAlmost Never<br />Additional Comments:<br />Suggested Readings<br />In addition to the resources listed in the textbook, students wishing to pursue studies in World Religions are encouraged to consult the following works:<br />Coogan, Michael D. World Religions: The Illustrated Guide. London: Duncan Baird Publishers, 2003.<br />Herling, Bradley L. A Beginner’s Guide to the Study of Religion. New York: Continuum, 2007.<br />Hinnells, John, editor. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. New York: Routledge, 2005.<br />Jones, Lindsay, editor. Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd edition. Detroit: Macmillan, 2005.<br />Partridge, Christopher, General editor, Introduction to World Religions. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.<br />Robinson, Thomas A. and Hillary Rodrigues, editors. World Religions: A Guide to the Essentials. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.<br />Young, William. The World’s Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues, 3rd edition. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2009.<br />Websites<br /><br />An internet guide to the study of religion maintained by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion<br /><br />An internet archive of sacred texts from the world’s religions<br /><br />The Yahoo directory for sites on numerous religions<br /><br />A commercial site with information and links related to the world’s religions<br /><br />A gateway site for the study of the world’s religions<br />