RELS 201, Sacred Texts

A study of the many ways in which humans experience the phenomenon of the sacred through symbol, ritual, doctrine and experience within a variety of religious traditions and cultures. A number of primary texts will be selected to illustrate core thematic issues in a particular religious tradition’s understanding of human life and its relationship to the sacred. These themes include: the existence of God; the concept of God; the relationship of faith and reason; the problem of evil and suffering; the question of religion and morality; the problem of free will and determinism; the nature of the human person; ritual; beliefs about the afterlife; attitudes to nature; the problem of atheism.

   • Understand religious studies as an academic discipline with a variety of methodologies; understand and identify the different strands in each of the world’s major religions

   • Interpret religious texts in their socio-political and historical contexts; demonstrate an in-depth comparative understanding of key themes inherent to each religious tradition; identify commonalities and core differences between the world’s major religions

Course Details:  Interpreting sacred texts; the concepts of inspiration and revelation; the existence of God, theism and atheism; concepts of God; religious understandings of the self; religion and morality; the problem of evil and suffering; ritual; religious attitudes to the natural world; eschatology and the afterlife; life after God

Image: A pilgrim's view on the way up Mt. Sinai — in the footsteps of Moses.