Religious Studies | Christianity 1500 to Present
R531 | 3658 | Constance Furey

Course meets with REL R331

It is often said that we live in a secular age.  Among those who
believe this, some say that secularism began with the Protestant
Reformation while others point to the influence of the
Enlightenment.  In this course we will use these debates about the
causes of secularization as a framework for analyzing our assumptions
about religion in the modern western world. The course will focus
primarily on Christianity as we look at modern trends from
both "insider" and "outsider" perspectives--i.e., trends of religious
thought within Christian communities as they adjust to change, and
critical perspectives on religion that were taking shape between the
16th and the 18th centuries.  Thus, in the course of surveying
Christian history from the 16th century to the 20th century, we shall
try to understand what phenomena lead people to describe our age
as "secular" and what that description assumes about
being "religious." Readings will include such primary sources as
Luther, Calvin, Galileo, Spinoza, Voltaire, Marx, Dostoevsky, and
M.L. King, Jr.  Requirements:  Three exams (part essay), three short
papers, and class participation will provide basis for grade.