Religious Studies | Religions of the West
R152 | 3616-3622 | Kevin Jaques


This course will examine the three major religious traditions of the
Western world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—which are known
collectively as the Abrahamic faiths. The course will begin by
asking “what is the West?”, “what is western about these so-called
Western religions?”, and “how are they used to define what ‘non-
Western’ means?” We will then turn to the ancient historical
background of Western civilization and the significance of Jerusalem
for all three traditions. The remainder of the semester will be
devoted to an examination of the history, world view, practices, and
current development of each of the traditions. There will also be
special “breakout” sections were students, in small groups, will
examine and discuss issues such as gender, the Crusades, the Arab-
Israeli conflict, the Holocaust, and inter-religious
conflict/cooperation in the United States. The purpose of the course
is to introduce students to ways of interpreting religion in an
academic setting and to the problems and complexities associated with
the concept “Western religions.”

Required Texts: Theodore M. Ludwig, The Sacred Paths of the West;
Course Packet of selected readings.

General Requirements: Attendance is required. There will also be two
short exams, a comprehensive final exam, and a number of short (3
page) response papers for each of the “breakout” sections. There will
also be a longer (5-7 page) response to Marshal Hodgson’s “Impact of
the Great Western Transmutation.”