Our undergraduate program in religion invites students to inquire more deeply into the Christian faith, to gain an enhanced appreciation of the contributions of Christianity to the development of twenty-first century culture, and to prepare for life-long lay or career ministry.
We offer courses of study in Biblical Studies, Historical Studies, Theological Studies, Practical Studies, and World Religions. These courses are designed to be a part of a liberal arts curriculum. A major or minor in religion is recommended for students who are considering careers in pastoral ministry, missions, other church-related vocations, and the teaching of religion. The major or minor is also recommended for those pursuing other careers but who are interested in undergraduate studies in religion.
The student who majors or minors in religion should be aware of the opportunities provided by seminaries and divinity schools to reduce the time for a Master of Divinity degree. This may be done by accelerated programs or by receiving credit for courses taken at the baccalaureate level. Information on some of these opportunities is available in the office of Ministry Guidance.
Recommendations Regarding Languages
Students interested in pursuing a post-baccalaureate seminary degree are encouraged to take courses in biblical languages. Courses in biblical languages may apply to University requirements for foreign languages or for electives but not toward a major in religion. Please refer to the index for information concerning the course offerings in Arabic, Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew.
Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in religion at the doctoral level are encouraged to take German.
An introduction to the Old and New Testaments (their contents, historical backgrounds, and major themes), and to appropriate strategies for interpretation of the Bible.
An introduction to Christian life and thought, from the early church to the present, through an examination of great texts with an emphasis on Christian doctrine, ethics, witness and institutions.
The church and its ministry, including leadership, and functions of ministry, with a special attention to the history, heritage, distinctive characteristics, and cooperative efforts of Baptists. Includes an internship under the supervision of an area minister.
A study of the worship and wisdom literature of the Old Testament: the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes.
An introduction to Biblical archaeology with emphasis on the archaeological discoveries which relate significantly to the understanding and interpretation of the Bible.
A study of Old Testament prophecy emphasizing the prophetic books-their origins, times, and messages.
Analysis of the literature of the Old Testament, examining various methods used in Old Testament study. Attention will be given to relevant bibliography, leading scholars, and major issues in current Old Testament study.
The Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings) as narrative, with attention to relevant historical, theological and literary issues.
The first five books of the Old Testament with attention to the Pentateuch’s distinct literary forms, their historical and cultural contexts, and the intersecting visions of reality these texts offer.
Selected readings in narrative prose of the Hebrew Bible with attention to advanced grammar and syntax.
Selected readings in poetic texts of the Hebrew Bible with attention to advanced grammar and syntax.
A study of the portrayal of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels and an introduction to the question of "the historical Jesus.
A study of the Johannine Literature with special attention to the historical setting, literary design, theological themes, and interpretations of the Gospel and Epistles of John.
A study of the life and letters of the apostle Paul.
A study of Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, and 1, 2, and 3 John.
Analysis of literature of the New Testament, examining various methodologies, both historical and contemporary, in New Testament study. Attention will be given to relevant bibliography, leading scholars, and major issues in current New Testament study.
Selected readings from Plato and the Gospels with attention to advanced syntax and to the interpretive relationship between Classical and New Testament texts.
Readings in Homer's Odyssey with continued emphasis on Greek syntax and the interpretive relationship between Classical and New Testament texts.
Examines the characterization and roles of women and gender construction in the Old Testament and the various ways these text are interpreted.
A survey of church history from New Testament times to the present.
Major themes or movements in church history. The course may be repeated once with a different topic.
Historical and theological developments of Roman Catholicism from the patristic period to the present. Special attention will be directed toward individuals, movements, and councils.
A survey of the role of women in Christian history from the early church to the present.
See PHI 3339 for course information.
The origin, development, and teachings of various New Religious Movements from a sociological, theological, phenomenological, and historical perspective.
Historical, aesthetic, philosophical, anthropological, sociological, and psychological approaches to the major faith traditions of our world.
Central doctrines of the Christian faith: revelation, the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit election, man, sin, Holy Scripture, and reconciliation. Classical and contemporary theological formulations will be used as illustrative material.
Examines the historical entanglements of Christianity and arts and explores frameworks for theologically interpreting artworks today.
A study and practice of effective communication in ministry.
Issues related to cross-cultural ministry and contemporary approaches for Christian missions.
Introduction to Christian Ethics through texts from Christian thinkers. By examining primary sources and varied approaches to Christian ethical reflection, students develop critical assessments of contemporary moral issues including family life, economic systems, and violence and war.
The major theoretical and applied debates in the field of global ethics (ethics in global context, approached using a variety of methodologies, including but not limited to traditional Christian ethical approaches).
An examination of relevant Biblical materials and their interpretation and application throughout Christian history. An analysis of three major historical positions; pacifism, just war, and crusade, and an examination of contemporary expressions in scholarship, public policy, and popular thought.
Film viewing and critiquing of films from an ethical-theological perspective. This course will not be accepted for credit toward the six hour religion requirement by the university.
Christian theology through the lenses of gender and feminism, including questions, critiques, and arguments of feminist theologians.
A tour and intensive study of the Holy Land, focusing on the geological, historical, archaeological, cultural, and theological contexts of the land of the Bible.
Supervised undergraduate research or experiential learning in the field of religion. The course may be repeated for up to three semester hours of credit.
Undergraduate research undertaken with the supervision of a faculty member. May be taken for a maximum of 6 hours.
Special topics of study in the discipline of religion, especially in areas not covered in the regular curriculum. The course may be repeated once when content differs.
Ancient Near East, its history, culture, and religion as evidenced through archaeological excavation and the interpretation of archaeological data. The focus of the course will be upon the Biblical period.
Introduction to ancient Syriac with selected readings from Syriac manuscripts of biblical books as well as early Christian literature.
A designated book, group of books, or major theme from the Old Testament. The course may be taken up to three times when content differs.
A designated book, group of books, or major theme from the New Testament. The course may be taken up to three times when content differs.
Language and literature of the New Testament and other early Christian writings including sample texts from a variety of early Christian genres (epistles, narratives, apocalyptic, etc.).
The study of the rise of early Christianity and the complexity of Christian identity in the Roman world.
History of Protestant Christianity from the precursors of Martin Luther to the present with emphasis upon the sixteenth-century Reformation, the various confessional traditions and major theological issues, the major developments affecting modern Protestantism, and the present state and future of Protestantism. The study will focus on Europe and North America.
Baptist history and thought to the present, including the outreach of Baptist missions. The development of basic doctrine and polity within their historical settings, with special attention to biographies of important Baptist men and women.
American religious heritage with emphasis on its organization, expansion, thought, worship, and impact on American society.
The theology and historical context of the Magisterial, Radical, and Catholic sixteenth-century European Reformation.
The role of women in religion in America from colonial times to the present.
Biblical basis for missions, the expansion of Christianity, the encounter with non-Christian traditions, and contemporary rationales for Christian missions.
Theologies and practices of Christian communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and among immigrant Christian communities in the US and Europe, including cross-cultural encounters, inter-religious dialogue, global south Christian spirituality, and health and environmental issues.
The exchange and encounter between Christianity and the major world religions. Focus on religious worldviews, major events, religious and political trends, the history of missions, and a post-colonial critique of religious pluralism.
The tenets, doctrines, and sects of Islam, including the religious underpinnings of Islamic society. Field trip required. The course may be repeated once with a different topic.
The basic history, beliefs and practices of religions in Asia. Course may highlight a specific religious tradition. The course may be repeated once with different topic.
History of religious expression in Africa plus contemporary changes as African religious traditions interact. With content changed, this course may be repeated once for a maximum of 6 semester hours.
Trends in 20th Century in Jewish thought, including Zionism, post-Holocaust thought, movements of Jewish renewal, and ecumenical relations.
Modern violence (particularly war, atrocity, and genocide) and how the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Sikhism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism understand, challenge, and participate in it.
Selected writings of Augustine that focus on such themes as the problem of evil, scriptural hermeneutics, his theological anthropology, and his Trinitarian theology.
Development of the doctrine of Salvation through the centuries, including theories of atonement, models of salvation, and how they function in the contemporary church.
See CLA 4356 for course information.
See CLA 4357 for course information.
The principles and models of effective leadership in ministry.
A study of the various ways in which theological and imaginative excellence is displayed in such classic Christian authors as Augustine, Dante, Herbert, Bunyan, and Hopkins.
Disability ethics, a unique field within in Christian ethics/theology, focuses on helping students understand various aspects of disability, what it has to teach Christians about God and one another, and how to include people with disabilities in worshipping communities.
Designated theme, issue, or person in contemporary Christian ethical theory. The course may be taken up to three times when content differs.
Moral perspectives which inform and support environmental activity in our society. The primary focus will be on the various interpretations of how humanity is properly related to its environment and the consequences of these interpretations for the environmental action of individuals and social institutions.
Ethical issues in the fields of health care and other life sciences. Some of the issues studied include behavior modification, abortion, euthanasia, health care delivery, human experimentation, and genetic modification. A major research project on a selected issue approved by the professor will be required of each student.
This course explores the relationship between religion and sport, focusing on the issues of the sacred (persons, objects, time, space, communities), myth, theology, ritual, and experience. This course will not be accepted for credit toward a major or minor in religion or toward the six hour religion requirement by the University.
Survey of dominant theological perspectives on race and histories of racism in American Christianity, as well as religious resources for racial reconciliation.
A senior level course required of all students majoring in religion. The seminar provides opportunity for reflection on the various disciplines and their interconnectedness in religious studies through assigned reading and directed research.
Archaeology of Palestine through readings, lectures, travel to excavated sites in Palestine, and participation in excavation at a selected site of major importance in Palestine. May be repeated once for credit.
Undergraduate research undertaken with the supervision of a faculty member. May be taken for a maximum of 6 hours.