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 California State University, Fullerton

Course Catalog Descriptions & Selected Syllabi

The Department of Comparative Religion offers a wide variety of courses in the academic study of religion. Our curriculum spans religions East and West, ancient and modern, global and local, mega-sized and individual.

 

Courses are designated as CPRL in the class schedule.

105 Religion and the Quest for Meaning (3) syllabus Fall 2013

(usually offered every semester)

Nature of religious experience as the human pursuit of meaning and transcendence, exploring its central themes, phenomena, and questions; its principal types of figures and communities; and its major categories of sacred rituals, objects, seasons, and places.

110 Religions of the World (3) syllabus Spring 2014 WEB

(usually offered every semester: on-campus sections and WEB section)

Introduction to at least five religious world views from an his­torical and comparative perspective, with descriptive analysis of their belief system, moral code and symbolic rituals: Judaism, Christian­ity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. One or more sections offered online. (Same as PHIL 110)

200 Introduction to Christianity (3) syllabus Spring 2014 WEB

(usually offered every semester: WEB section)

Overview of the Christian tradition, including Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant expressions. Foundational councils, creeds, scriptures, ideas and worship styles. One or more sections offered online.

201 Introduction to the New Testament (3) syllabus Spring 2014 WEB

(usually offered every semester: WEB section)

Textual and historical study of the origins and content of the New Testament in the context of first-century Christianity.

210 Introduction to Judaism (3)

(usually offered every spring)

The Jewish tradition – its scriptures, laws, customs, holidays and world view in their historical setting.

246A Basic Hatha Yoga (2)

(usually offered every semester -- secheduled by KNES department)

Basic Yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques, and beginning meditation techniques from theoretical and experiential perspectives. Awareness, concentration and breathing patterns that accompany the movements of Hatha Yoga. (1 hour lecture, 2 hours activity) (Same as KNES 246A)

246B Intermediate Hatha Yoga (2)

(usually offered every semester -- secheduled by KNES department)

Prerequisite: KNES/CPRL 246A. Intermediate and advanced yoga sequences, including postures, breathing practices, meditation techniques and guided relaxation. Yoga philosophy and movement based on various Hatha yoga traditions. (1 hour lecture, 2 hours activity.) (Same as KNES 246B)

250 Introduction to Islam (3) syllabus Fall 2013 WEB

(usually offered every fall: WEB section)

Religion of Islam, its background and main teachings: the rise of Islam; the caliphate; Islamic theology, teachings, mysticism and philosophy.

270T Introduction to the Asian Religions (3) syllabus Fall 2013 WEB Topic: Hinduism & Sikhism

(usually offered every fall: WEB section)

Main teachings of a major South Asian, Far Eastern or “Oriental” religion per semester. Such religions as Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shintoism, and Zoroastrianism will be discussed. May be repeated for credit with different subject matter. One or more sections offered online.

280 Introduction to Buddhism (3) syllabus Spring 2014 WEB

(usually offered every spring: WEB section)

Introduction to the origins and development of Buddhism. Discussion of the major teachings found in all traditions of Buddhism, the three major traditions of Buddhism and the position of Buddhism in the U.S. One or more sections offered online.

300 Methods of Studying Religion (3) syllabus Fall 2013

(offered every fall -- not offered in spring)

Prerequisite: Completion of any lower division CPRL course or approval of instructor. Academic study of religion to include the definition, functions and varieties of religion; the methods used to study it; and key figures who have shaped the development of this discipline.

301 Sanskrit (3)

(random rotation)

Introduction to the Devanagari script, as well as the phonology, morphology and syntax of the Sanskrit language. A reading knowledge of Sanskrit will be the main goal of the course. (Same as LING 301)

306 Contemporary Practices of the World’s Religions (3)  syllabus Spring 2011

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: completion of General Education (G.E.) Category C.2. Comparative study of how the beliefs, practices and moral codes of the world’s major religions influence the way nations and individuals behave in the spheres of daily life, culture, ethics, business and politics.

311 Religion and Film (3)

(random rotation)

Prerequisites: CPRL 105, 110 or RTVF100. Religion and religious themes in film – a powerful medium through which we explore the meaning of life, relationships, moral quandaries and ontological issues.

312 The Bible as Literature (3)

(usually offered every spring -- scheduled by ENGL department)

Prerequisite: completion of General Education (G.E.) Category C.2. Literary qualities of biblical literature and the influence of major themes upon Western literary traditions. (Same as CPLT 312)

322 Asian Pacific Americans and Religion (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by ASAM department)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2. Historically, religion plays a significant role for immigrants. Explores religion as a cultural dynamic in the incorporation and persistence of Asian Pacific Americans into American society, especially in Orange County and the greater Los Angeles area. (Same as ASAM 322)

325 African-American Religions and Spirituality (3) syllabus Spring 2014

(usually offered every spring)

Prerequisite: completion of General Education Category D.1. African-American belief systems and denominations. Folk beliefs among Blacks, African-American religious groups, and the role of the Black Church in politics and social change in the Black community. (Same as AFRO 325)

330T Hebrew Scriptural Studies (3)

(random springs -- spring rotation with 331T and 401T)

Specific areas of Hebrew Scriptures, such as major and minor prophets, Psalms, values of wisdom writers, books of the Old Testament. May be repeated for credit with different subject content.

331T New Testament Studies (3)

(random springs -- spring rotation with 330T and 401T)

Specific areas of the New Testament, such as the Synoptic Gospels, Pauline Corpus, Johannine Corpus, etc. May be repeated for credit with different subject matter.

333 Religion and Sexuality (3)

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: Completion of GE Category D.1. Explores the connection between religion and sexuality. We analyze the religious ideas behind political and public debates related to sexuality and also consider the private realm such as sexual identity, family life, gender roles, and reproduction.

335 Judaism, Christianity and Islam Compared (3) syllabus Spring 2011

(random rotation)

Comparative study of the three great monotheistic traditions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam; their beliefs, practices, and structures.

337 American Indian Religions and Philosophy (3) syllabus Fall 2012

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: completion of the G.E. Category C.2. American Indian religious and philosophic perspectives. Religious interpretations and thought in various facets of belief, ranging from traditional Indian religion to Christianity. Highlights contemporary religious activities. (Same as AFRO 337)

341 Hindu Tradition to 400 B.C.E. (3) syllabus Fall 2013 WEB

(usually offered every fall: WEB section)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2. Hindu thought in its earliest period. Subjects will include an overview of Vedic literature, especially its religious content and the major rituals of the early Veda; philosophical developments in the Upanisads or later Veda; and related sacred writings. One or more sections offered online.

342 Hindu Tradition from 400 B.C.E. (3) syllabus Spring 2014 WEB

(usually offered every spring: WEB section)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2. Hindu thought after the Vedic period. Subjects will include the beginnings of Hindu philosophies, classical Hindu practice, devotionalism, modern or neo-Hindu groups appearing in the 19th century, and the contribu­tions of thinkers such as Ramakrishna and Gandhi.

348 Philosophy of Religion (3)

(random rotation -- scheduled by PHIL department)

Role of philosophy in shaping theological doctrine, in critically evaluating religious experience, in arguing for or against the existence of God and in considering the problem of evil. (Same as PHIL 348)

350T Major Christian Traditions (3) syllabus Fall 2012 Mormonism

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2. Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Christianity or Post-Reformation Communities; historical development and self-understanding, liturgy, creeds, moral norms, canon laws and outstanding figures. May be repeated for credit with different content.

This course studies an individual Christian tradition in a given semester. Traditions studied include Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and Mormonism.

Fall 2012 "Mormonism" course description: An investigation of the history, teachings, texts, and practices of Mormonism, with a primary emphasis on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

351 History and Development of Early Christian Thought (3) syllabus Spring 2014

(usually offered every semester)

Prerequisite: completion of the G.E. Category C.2. Historical study of the diversity of Christian beliefs, movements and key figures from New Testament times to the late Middle Ages, including such topics as important creeds and councils, spiritual movements, and central figures such as Augustine and Aquinas.

352 History and Development of Modern Christian Thought (3) syllabus Spring 2014

(usually offered every semester)

Prerequisite: completion of the G.E. Category C.2. Historical study of the diversity of Christian beliefs, movements and key figures from the late Middle Ages to the present, including such topics as the context and thinkers of the Reformation era, post-Reformation controversies, and recent debates and trends.

354T Topics in Buddhism (3)

(random rotation)

Prerequisites: CPRL 105, 110 or 280. Historical survey of Buddhist doctrines, schools and practices in a particular region or regions, which are: South Asia, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. May be repeated for credit with different content. (Same as PHIL 354T)

358 Comparative Mysticism (3)

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: CPRL 105, 110 or equivalent. Comparative survey of mysticism as a recurring phenomenon within major religious traditions. Included are selected writings and representative male and female figures, analyzed from philosophical and psychological viewpoints. Definitions, terms, metaphors, techniques, and stages of the mystical experience.

361 History and Development of Jewish Thought: Biblical and Rabbinical Eras (3)

(usually offered most falls)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2. Hebrew Scriptures in their historical context, of the development of rabbinical Judaism and the Talmud, and of Judaism in the Christian and Muslim worlds down to the close of the Spanish “Golden Age” (1150).

362 History and Development of Jewish Thought: Medieval and Modern Eras (3)

(usually offered most springs)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2. Maimonides’ legacy, the impact of mysticism, rise of anti-Semitism, emancipation of European Jews, the Holocaust, Israel’s founding and history, and contributions of Jews to American culture.

367 Religion in Latino/a Life (3)

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2. National and international expressions of Latino/a religiosity – from popular religion to Marian devotion to curanderismo – are explored through film, historical documents, poetry, theology, art, sociology and ethnic studies. (Same as CHIC 367)

370 New Religious Movements in the U.S.A. (3) syllabus Fall 2013

(random rotation)

Beliefs, history, ritual and organizational make-up of non-traditional modern religions in America, such as Scientology, the Unification Church, Hare Krishna (ISKCON) and Rajneeshism as presented by guest speakers. Discussion of “cult,” “sect” and the occult will comprise portion of course.

371 History and Development of Islamic Thought: The Beginning to 1258 (3) syllabus Fall 2013

(usually offered in fall)

Prerequisite: Completion of G.E. Category C.2. Islamic theology, law, culture and spirituality up to the close of the classical period in 1258. Interpretation of the Qur’an, formation of Hadith literature, development of Islamic law, divisions within Islam, rise of mysticism, contributions to science and art.

372 History and Development of Islamic Thought: 1259 to Modern Times (3) syllabus Spring 2013

(usually offered in spring)

Prerequisite: Completion of G.E. Category C.2. Islamic thought from the close of the classical period to the present, with emphasis on 20th century developments. Emergence of modern Middle East, reform movements, Islamic response to nationalism and modernity, recent Islamic resurgence.

373 Women in Islam (3) syllabus Fall 2013

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: Completion of G.E. Category C.2. Status and roles of Muslim women from the perspectives of the basic Islamic texts (The Qur'an and Prophetic Traditions). Topics include rights, marriage, and divorce, seclusion and dress codes, and religious, economic and socio-political participation.

374 Issues in Contemporary Islam (3)

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: Completion of G.E. Category C.2. Some of the contentious issues in Islam. Topics include the concepts of piety, peace, jihad, fundamentalism, terrorism, democracy, human rights, leadership of women and sexuality; the intellectual arguments surrounding these topics.

375 Conceptions of the Afterlife (3) syllabus Spring 2014 WEB

(usually offered every semester: WEB section)

Prerequisite: completion of the G.E. Category C.2; CPRL 110 recommended. How selected religious traditions have sought to answer the question “What happens when I die?” Resurrection, reincarnation, immortality of the soul, heaven and hell will be discussed.

380 Religion and Violence (3) syllabus Spring 2014

(usually offered every semester)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.2 and D.1. Interdisciplinary exploration of major theories, developments and documents connected to the relationship between religious practices and motivations for engaging in, preventing or rejecting violent behavior.

381 Religion and Politics in the United States (3) syllabus Fall 2012

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category D.1. Relationship of politics and religion, especially in the U.S. The colonial and consti­tutional experience, Supreme Court decisions on religious issues, the principal theorists of moral discourse in the public forum, contem­porary issues of concern. (Same as POSC 381)

397 Religion and Science (3) syllabus Fall 2012

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: completion of the G.E. Category B.1 and B.2; C.2. Historical and contemporary interaction of religion and science through a study of religious thought and scientific method. Topics will include the scientific revolution, evolutionary theory and Quantum physics as these relate to religious faith.

400 Religion, the Media, and Contemporary Culture (3) syllabus Fall 2013

(random rotation)

Prerequisite: AMST 201 or COMM 233 or HIST 180 or CPRL 105 or 110. Religion reporting in the secular media; the religious press in America; the influence of the media, both secular and religious, on the shaping of society’s values; ethical dilemmas faced by reporters.

401T Studies in Religious Texts (3)

Spring 2104 -- Topic: Qur'an and Hadith syllabus Spring 2014

(random springs -- spring rotation with 330T and 331T)

Prerequisite: CPRL 105 or 110. Study and interpretation of a selected portion of the scriptures of a particular religion, for example, the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the New Testament, the Qur’an, the Veda, the Pali Canon.

412A History of the Christian Church to the Reformation (1517) (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: HIST 110A or equivalent. Christian Church from its origins in the apostolic preaching through the late Middle Ages and the beginning (1517) of the Reformation in both the East and West. (Same as HIST 412A)

412B History of the Christian Church From the Reformation to the Present (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: HIST 110B or equivalent. Western church as an institution from the Reformation (1517) to the present. Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism in historical perspective. (Same as HIST 412B)

412C History of the Jews (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category C.4. Jewish people from the biblical period to the present. Literature of each period, as well as the relationships that exist between the Jewish communities and the societies in which they exist (Same as HIST 412C)

417B Roman Empire (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: HIST 110A or equivalent. Roman imperial institutions and culture with attention to the rise of Christiani ty. (Same as HIST 417B)

425B The Reformation (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: completion of G.E. Category D.2. Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries: impact of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations on European culture; the religious wars; the price revolution and; crises of the nobility; rise of absolutism; and the early modern family. (Same as HIST 425B)

435A The Holocaust (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: HIST 110B or any modern European upper-division course. Traces the history and examines the origins, implementation and results of the European-wide programs of persecution and genocide carried out by Nazi Germany and their collaborators against the Jews during the period 1933-1945. (Same as HIST 435A)

458 Sociology of Religious Behavior (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by SOCI department)

Prerequisite: SOCI 101. Religious behavior examined by social science theories. Religious rituals/beliefs to cope with anxiety and powerlessness before natural forces and social structures and processes. Religion’s contributions to individual identity, societal order and change. One or sections offered online. (Same as SOCI 458)

465A History of India (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: completion of G. E. Category D.2. History of India from ancient times through the arrival of Islam, to the decline of the Mughul Empire in 18th century. Political developments, social and religious institutions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, class, caste, early impact of Europeans. Not available for graduate degree credit. (Same as HIST 465A)

465B History of India (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: HIST 110B or equivalent. India from early activities of British in 18th century through Indian Independence in 1948. Political, economic, religious developments: crystallization of British supremacy in South Asia through the Indian Mutiny of 1857; India’s struggle for independence; emergence of Gandhi and Nehru. (Same as HIST 465B)

466A Islamic Civilization: Arab Era (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: HIST 110A or equivalent. Arab predominance in the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. (Same as HIST 466A)

466B Islamic Civilization: Imperial Age (3)

(random rotation -- secheduled by HIST department)

Prerequisite: completion of G. E. Category D.2. Mongol invasions of the Middle East and their effects. Ottoman Turkish, Safavid Persian and Moghul Empires to 1800. (Same as HIST 466B)

485T Major Religious Thinkers and Concepts (3)

(offered every spring -- not offered in fall)

Prerequisites: 15 units in CPRL, including CPRL 105 or 110 and 300, and junior standing or approval of undergraduate adviser. Religious thinkers and concepts dealing with Western, Eastern and non-traditional religious ideas from ancient to modern times. Fulfills university upper-division baccalaureate writing requirement. May be repeated with different content.

485T Spring 2014 Topic: Theosophy and Esotericism syllabus Spring 2014

An overview of the history, personalities, and principle teachings of the Theosophical Movement; the relationship of Theosophy to Western Esotericism, Hinduism, and Buddhism; Theosophy's influence on modern Europe, India, Oceania, and the U.S.; and its relation to other occult movements.

499 Independent Study (1-3)

Supervised research projects in Comparative Religion to be taken with consent of instructor and the department chair. May be repeated for credit.