Religious Studies | Religions of the West
R152 | 3575 | Alexander


R152 Religions of the West (3 Cr.)  MW 9:05-9:55 BH 310 (Alexander)
*Carries Culture Studies Credit

Perhaps the most seminal story in the history of Western civilization is
the tale of an ancient Middle Eastern herdsman whose relationship with a
mysterious and powerful supernatural being is said to have changed the
course of human history.  The herdsman's name is Abraham and for centuries
people known as either "Jews," "Christians," or "Muslims" have understood
themselves to be his children.  But what does it mean to be Abraham's
children?  What possible relevance could such an ancient story have in
people's lives today?

This course will attempt to answer this question and others by examining
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from two important perspectives.  The
first perspective entails looking at these religions as rich historical
traditions which are genetically related, but which develop and grow in
different ways over many centuries, and which play a major role in shaping
civilization around the globe.  The second perspective involves looking at
these religions as personal commitmentsin the lives of individual members
of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities here in Bloomington.
Through the medium of a recent documentary video project funded by the
university and designed specifically for this course, students will have
the opportunity to listen to and watch people from a familiar social
context as they discuss the role religion plays in their own lives.  The
aim of employing these two perspectives is to encourage students to begin
to think critically about the many significant ways in which religion has
shaped and continues to shape the human experience.