Chair: Dr. David Fiordalis, dfiordal, x2569, Pioneer
Program Advisor: Dr. David Fiordalis
The academic study of religion is very rarely if ever taught in high schools, and yet an understanding of religion greatly enhances a person's overall education. Also, some basic literacy about world religions is necessary for informed, educated citizenship in our increasingly diverse world and region. The academic study of religion offers the student an opportunity to gain valuable and marketable knowledge of different people and cultures around the world, while exploring their history, ideas and practices. Students learn to think critically about humanity by exploring the complex nature of religion. In addition to gaining a general breadth of knowledge about religion, a student who majors in Religious Studies goes into more depth in either one religious tradition or the religions of one geographically, culturally or historically circumscribed area, such as South or East Asia. Often language training and interdisciplinary work in other departments (Political Science, History, Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology, Music) come to be important components of student's program of study. All students write a senior thesis. Within the department, we have expertise in the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and Asian traditions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, Shinto), as well as American religions.
GUIDELINES FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS:
RELS 110: Approaches to Religion: an introduction to the academic study of religion,or any open 100 or 200 level class in the Religious Studies department that sparks interest.
INQS 125: Meditation or another Inquiry Seminar taught by faculty in the religion department.
RELS 110: Approaches to Religion (if not taken in the Fall) or any open class in the department at the 100, 200, or 300 level.
MAJOR/MINOR SPECIFIC ADVISING INFORMATION:
CORE: 40 credits, including 110, 485 and 490. (Ideally students should take 110 sometime during their first two years, but this is not necessary. The courses 485 and 490 together constitute the Departmental capstone experience taken in Fall and Spring of the senior year. Other courses should be selected in consultation with a member of the Religious Studies faculty in order to fulfill all the goals of the major).
MINOR: 20 credits, including 110. (Other courses should be chosen in consultation with a member of the Religious Studies faculty in order to fulfill the goals of the minor.)
For those interested in focusing in Biblical studies, study in New Testament Greek and Biblical Hebrew is recommended early on in order to make use of the languages in their study. For those interested in Asian religions, study of primary languages (Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, etc.) is also highly recommended. Please talk to us about how to integrate language study early into your program. A year of study in Greek or Hebrew, for instance, will also satisfy the Linfield language requirement. We also encourage our majors to spend time abroad. Independent studies are also available for interested students.