Critical Theory of Religion

Course Syllabi

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  • REL 2050 - The Christian Tradition  Catalog Course Description:   This course draws its materials primarily from the great religious traditions within Christianity - i.e. Catholicism, Protestantism, and the Orthodox tradition. It offers a careful look at the early Christian myths which give rise to these traditions. It is concerned primarily with definitions of the human in these traditions: the problems that are perceived to be central to human life and the resources assumed to be available for such problems' solution. To clarify problems, it examines social and political contexts in which various traditions have arisen. To exemplify solutions, it offers samples from religious literature, art, architecture, music, ritual and spiritual discipline.

  • REL 2070 - The Jewish Tradition  Catalog Course Description:   This course traces the history and development of Judaism from its roots in the Ancient Near East to the present, and its role in the shaping of Western consciousness. Particular attention is given to the periods of radical social, political and cultural change in Jewish history and hence to the critical problem of Jewish identity. An analysis of Jewish writings, customs, and institutions taken from different periods of Jewish history reveals that Jewish people have discovered and expressed their identity within a religious framework that includes myths and rituals, festivals, and holy days, celebration of the past and anticipation of the future, as well as social movements and political revolutions.

  • REL 3230 - Religion and Revolution  Catalog Course Description:   This course will explore, investigate and compare different religions in different cultures as driving forces of social and cultural change. The course will examine the conservative and progressive roles the religions of the world play in familial, social, economic, and political stability and change. Different approaches to analyzing these forces and roles will be examined, but particular emphasis will be placed upon the contribution of critical theory and its dialectical method of thinking. The course will stress communicative ethics and discourse theory of rights and of the democratic constitutional state.

  • REL 3240 - Psychological Elements in Religion  Catalog Course Description:   This course is concerned with the correlation between religion and the human subject-the religious or a religious individual. The central interest of the course is with religious propensities, feelings, impulses, passions, attitudes, motivations, values, ideas, prejudices. Critical questions such as the following will be asked:
    • What is the function of religious faith for the nervous stability, mental health and wholesomeness of the subject?
    • Does religion reinforce or hinder the maturation process of the individual?
    • Is the need for religion just a derivation from the child's feeling of helplessness and of the longing it evokes for a sublime father figure?

  • REL 3320 - Religion and Social Ethics  Catalog Course Description:  This course will compare different forms of religious and secular ethics from ancient moral codes to contemporary ethical systems. It will deal with the creative ideas, problems, and attitudes toward the social world intrinsic to these different ethical norms. While the course will emphasize the variety of ethical responses to social problems provided by the religions of the world as well as to secular approaches, it will pay particular attention to problems raised and solutions proposed by critical theorists about issues such as abortion, euthanasia, artificial insemination, race, gender, class, war and peace, poverty and ecological catastrophes. The course will stress communicative ethics, the discourse theory of rights, and of the democratic constitutional state.

  • REL 3340 - Religion in Modern Society  Catalog Course Description:  Whereas a major focus of the systematic study of religion is upon religious traditions, or aspects of them, it is important that attention also be paid to the questions raised by the various contexts in which religion occurs as well as to questions raised by the methods developed in studying religion in such contexts. The specific context of religion to be studied in this course is that of industrial society. For religion to be understood in more than historic terms it is important that attention be paid to this kind of context. As a consequence of such a focus questions also are raised about the methods developed to specify and delineate such contexts and the role that religion plays in them. This provides an occasion for raising questions about the assumptions underlying such methods and about their relationship to the systematic study of religion.

  • REL 5000 - The Critical Theory of Religion  Course Description:  To be announced.

  • REL 5300 -   Course Description:  To be announced.

  • REL 6200 - Advanced Seminar in Comparative Religion  Course Description:  To be announced.

  • SOC 6050 - Newest developments in the frankfurt school  Course Description:   To be announced.

Last Updated on 01/11/2017


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