Religious Studies | Introduction to Religion
R133 | 11785 | N. Levene


What is religion? A ritual system ordered by God? A form of social and political power? A
theory of ultimate truth (or illusion)? A way of coping with evil or suffering? This course is an
introduction to religion through a consideration of the most basic question one can ask: what
is it? To respond to this question, we will work through a variety of literary and philosophical
texts, including texts one could call scriptural, texts attempting to define and, perhaps,
criticize religion, and texts which follow the logic of religion without necessarily naming it as
such. The aim is to develop a vocabulary to identify not just existing religions but what makes
something religious or a religion, and to consider the social and intellectual value of these
ideas.