Religion and Philosophy

Department/Program: Religion and Philosophy

Majors, Minors & Degrees:

The department offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree with a major in Philosophy and Religion. If a student has a second major that requires a Bachelor of Science degree, the department may approve a B.S. degree.

Majors and minors have the option of blending courses between philosophy and religion. Study in philosophy and religion prepares students for a variety of professions in health, business, government, as well as graduate study. Graduating majors will complete a traditional thesis with opportunities for public presentation and publication, or a culminating project with real-world focus and opportunities for practicum.

Courses

An introduction to philosophical thinking by way of an examination of persistent philosophical questions raised by significant and representative voices in our (primarily Western) philosophical heritage. We will attempt to clarify the meanings of such concepts as good and evil, right and wrong, justice, virtue, the beautiful, and the ugly. We will attempt, further, to use this understanding to evaluate our own philosophical views and those of our society.

Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Chaos Thread
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: UC Reflected Self Thread

This course examines a variety of philosophies and practices types of philosophical writing. As part of the Archway Curriculum Chaos thread, this course asks about what is or was radical and transformative in the history of philosophy, and engages with what is - or could be - radical and transformative by today's standards.
(Normally offered each fall semester.)

Archway Curriculum: First-Year Curriculum: First-Year Writing
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Chaos Thread

This course studies and applies elements of critical thinking to improve your writing for academic and professional purposes. As part of the Archway Curriculum Power thread, we read and critically analyze writings about power in order to construct our own written arguments. This course also assists students preparing for standardized test for law or graduate school.
(Normally offered each spring semester.)

Archway Curriculum: First-Year Curriculum: First-Year Writing
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Power Thread

A course designed to treat subject matter not covered in other departmental courses or to provide study of subject matter introduced in other courses. The title, content, and credit hours will be determined by current mutual interests of faculty and students.

We are all raised to behave in accordance with some kind of ethical or moral code. It could be a Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist code or even a secular code based on personal freedom and respect. But, the fact remains that we adhere to some kind of moral code, whether reflectively or unreflectively, and bring these deeply inculcated moral beliefs and commitments to bear on any number of decisions we may make throughout our lives. However, these decisions are often the result of mere "knee-jerk" reactions based on our previously held beliefs rather than on a rational principle, criterion or measure. The main purpose of this course is to provide a forum wherein students can examine and scrutinize their own moral commitments, and perhaps make a rational choice as to which moral principles to accept or reject.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Writing Instructive
PHIL 2030 Logic (3 hours)

Logic offers the study and application of the four integrated systems of formal logic: categorical, propositional, symbolic, and predicate logic. Study of these systems provides in-depth analysis of deductive reasoning and arguments. You will learn how to quantify ordinary language statements, analyze their component logical functions, evaluate and construct deductive arguments, classify premises and conclusions, test for truth value, prove the validity of arguments, test and provide for missing premises, and apply the skills and methods of formal logic to complex arguments.

Archway Curriculum: Foundational Literacies: Mathematical Problem Solving

This course will examine the origin of western philosophy in ancient Greece and trace the development of philosophical thought from the received wisdom prior to Plato, through the works of Plato, Artistotle, representative Stoics, Skeptics, and the new Platonism that culminates classical thinking. Topics include but are not limited to: questions about the origin of democracy and community, the character of the divine, ancient concepts of nature, the concepts of the soul, the scope of human knowledge, the conditions for rationality, and the good life.
(Normally offered alternate years.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Discourse Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Democracy Thread

This course will examine the philosophical tradition as manifested in the works of the more prominent Christian, Jewish and/or Islamic philosophers from the 5th century into the 14th century. Selections from the works of the following major figures may be studied: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and/or William of Ockham in the Christian tradition; Alfarabi, Avicenna and/or Averroes in the Islamic tradition; and Saadia, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, and/or Maimonides in the Jewish tradition. Topics may include but are not limited to: the roles of faith and reason in belief formation, the nature and existence of God, the nature of human beings, the conflict between human freedom and Divine foreknowledge, and the nature of virtue and sin.
(Normally offered alternate years.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Speaking Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Science and Religion Thread

This course will examine the western philosophical tradition as manifested in the works of prominent European and/or American philosophers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Philosophers who may be included are Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Pierce among others. Topics may include but are not limited to: issues such as the existence and nature of God, responses to whether or not the mind (or soul) can exist separately from the body, skepticism and doubt, the nature of the self, and the relation of the individual to society.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Speaking Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Science and Religion Thread

Most Americans have some understanding of how the categories of race and gender influence our personal and social identities. Yet many Americans also assume that race and gender are "natural," i.e., that we are born into a certain race and naturally embody a certain sex. In this course, we will examine these assumptions by reading, discussing, and critically assessing the arguments for and against the "naturalness" of race and gender. We will consider how categories of race and gender position us, historically and philosophically, as a person of a certain "type" from whom certain behaviors are expected. We will look at socio-economic conditions and philosophic positions that support or challenge racism, sexism, classism, segregation, and violence.
Cross listed with GEND 2300P.
(Normally offered alternate years.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Diversity Instructive: U.S.
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Gender and Sexuality Thread

This course will begin with a close examination of some classic works of social and political philosophy, which may include but are not limited to Aristotle's Politics, Hobbes' Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise on Government, Rousseau's Social Contract, Marx's Grundrisse, and Mill's On Liberty. Once this historical foundation is put in place, students will move on to examine current trends in social and political philosophy that may include but are not limited to: what is the best form of government, the social contract, socialism, the nature of justice, democracy, nationalism, and environmentalism.
(Normally offered yearly.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Discourse Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Democracy Thread

A topical course designed to investigate relevant subject matter not included in any standard courses. The title and the content will be determined by current mutual interests of students and faculty. This course may be offered to meet a requirement for a major only by approval of the department chair.

This course allows students to participate in an internship for the purpose of supplementing their academic coursework, exploring vocational options, and professionalizing their approach to career choices. Students might intern as a volunteer in a non-profit organization, as a research or field case study assistant, or in formal or informal ministry or in other relevant areas. P/F only.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Experiential Learning: Exploratory

This is a survey of issues in the philosophy of religion.  The main focus will be on issues found in western religious traditions, especially Christianity, with brief excursions into non-western traditions. These issues may include: arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, understanding the divine attributes, miracles, mysticism, religious pluralism, and life after death.

Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Science and Religion Thread
Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Writing Instructive

The subfield of philosophy known as "metaphysics" can be described as a study of fundamental reality, whereas "epistemology" is just the study of knowledge - what it is, the possibility of having it, and how to get it if it is at all possible. In this course, students will learn analyze, and research some of the more popular problems and concepts within these subfields as they pertain to the nature of persons and their intellectual relationship with the world around them. This will be done largely through close readings of several historical and contemporary texts on these subjects.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Writing Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Identity Thread

An examination of selected topics in philosophy of science.  Topics may include theories of explanation, confirmation, reduction, laws, the status of theoretical entities, and the epistemological foundations of scientific theories.  This course may be taken more than once with department approval.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Writing Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Science and Religion Thread

Philosophers tend to ask the same types of questions about education that we all ask, questions like: What is education, and what are its values and purposes? How has education changed and what changes should we work toward? What types of power dynamics occur in U.S. classrooms, and what types of power are integral to education? How, after all, does a person become educated? What does it mean to teach others? Etc. Recent philosophers like John Dewey, Nel Noddings, bell hooks, and Paulo Friere, try to answer these questions by focusing on issues of equality, freedom, gender, race, ethnicity, class, and ability. Less recent philosophers, like Plato, Locke, and Rousseau, try to answer these questions by focusing upon the development of whole person, regardless of who that person might be. All of their ideas and insights encourage us to engage with our own assumptions about education and its professional practices in the 21st century.

Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Power Thread

An exploration of the varieties of contemporary feminist thought. We will examine ideas of convergence among feminist philosophers but also attend to the issues that divide them. Special consideration will be given to race, class, and gender both in terms of the sex/gender distinction and theorists who argue against this distinction. Having established that feminism is not a single, homogeneous system, we will also explore the local, national, and global implications of feminisms for the 21st century.
Cross listed with GEND 3270.

Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Gender and Sexuality Thread
Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Speaking Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Diversity Instructive: Global

Students will explore what is radical, revolutionary, experimental, avant-garde and learn to identify what places a person, idea, or movement outside the "norm." This includes addressing questions like: What influences or impacts a philosophically innovative idea? How do we distinguish what is radical or subversive in philosophy from what is merely repetitive or conservative? Importantly, what is the effect of a philosophy on its larger culture, and what role does experience play on the philosophers who live these ideas? The course may be taken more than once with departmental approval.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Speaking Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Chaos Thread

This is a research course. The student initially meets with the department chair to select a study topic and review research methods. At this time the student will be assigned a faculty resource person to guide his or her work and assist in an advisory capacity. A copy of the student's work is filed in the archives for the department. Independent Study may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

Supervised individual projects for students on topics selected by the student in consultation with the instructor. Special Projects may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

This course allows students to participate in an internship for the purpose of supplementing their academic coursework, exploring vocational options, and professionalizing their approach to career choices. Students might intern as a volunteer in a non-profit organization, as a research or field case study assistant, or in formal or informal ministry or in other relevant areas. P/F only.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Experiential Learning: Intensive

Required of graduating majors prior to or concurrent with their senior projects. The course consists of designing, preparing, and developing the proposal for the final project. Schedules and requirements to be determined in consultation with the student's primary reader or departmental supervisor.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

A topical course designed to investigate any relevant subject matter not included in the standard courses. The title, content, and credit will be determined by current mutual interests of students and faculty. This course may be offered to meet requirements for a major or minor only by approval of the department chair.

This is a research course. The student initially meets with the department chair to select a study topic and review research methods. At this time the student will be assigned a faculty resource person to guide his or her work and assist in an advisory capacity. A copy of the student's work is filed in the archives for the department. Independent Study may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.
Prerequisite(s): Senior standing and permission of the department chair.

Supervised individual projects for students on topics selected by the student in consultation with the instuctor. Special Projects may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

A research seminar in which students conducting their research to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement meet regularly to share insights, progress, and problems encountered along the way.

A semester-long project for majors that fulfills the requirements of PHIL 3990 Senior Proposal.
Prerequisite(s): PHIL 3990.

This course is a study of the cultural settings, lives of founders when appropriate, oral or written traditions and literature, worldviews, myths, rituals, ideals of conduct, and development of some of the world's religions. Religions studied will typically include tribal religions, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confuciansim, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and Bahai. Readings, videos, and websites will help introduce and illustrate not only the cultural settings in which these religions appear, but also the voices and faces of contemporary religious practitioners.
(Normally offered each fall semester.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Diversity Instructive: Global
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Power Thread
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: UC Reflected Self Thread

A survey of the contents of the Jewish Bible/Christian Old Testament. These texts will be studied as they developed within the unfolding history of the Hebrew people in relationship to other nations and cultures of the ancient Near East from about 1200 B.C.E. - 150 B.C.E. Emphasis will be placed upon the literary, historical, and theological issues presented by these ancient texts. The methods, tools, and technical language of scholarly research appropriate to the texts of the Bible will be introduced.
(Normally offered each fall semester.)

This course offers an introduction to the collections of materials documenting the origins of Christianity, commonly known as the New Testament. Focus lies in the texts and beyond, including the social, literary, ideological, and theological contexts in which they emerged and which they reflect, and to the various critical methodologies and terms employed in interpreting them.
(Normally offered each spring semester.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Speaking Instructive

This course considers historical, comparative, and methodological issues in the academic study of religion by focusing on the scriptures and history of two different religious traditions and how their theologies and ethical systems originated and developed. Designed as an inquiry into the meaning and function of religion, students will discuss how the different traditions understand the divine, worship, and scripture. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the students' own perspective on religion and the ability to express this perspective clearly and effectively.
(Normally offered each fall semester.)

Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Identity Thread
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: UC Reflected Self Thread

This course considers historical, comparative, and methodological issues in the academic study of religion by focusing on the two different religious traditions that originated in the Middle East. Designed as an inquiry into the meaning and function of religion, students will discuss how the different traditions understand the divine, worship, and scripture. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the students' own perspective on religion and the ability to express this perspective clearly and effectively.
(Normally offered each spring semester.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Writing Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Identity Thread
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: UC Reflected Self Thread

A course designed to treat subject matter not covered in other departmental courses or to provide study of subject matter introduced in other courses. The title, content, and credit hours will be determined by current mutual interests of faculty and students.

An introduction to the alphabet, the basic vocabulary, grammar, and elementary syntax of koine Greek, the Greek used by the writers of the New Testament. The course will focus on developing a reading knowledge of koine Greek and sufficient skills in pronunciation so that Greek texts may be cited orally and discussed.

A continuation of Religion 98. More elements of Greek syntax, the standard reference works, and the basic methods for the study of the Greek New Testament will be introduced. Representative texts from the entire Greek New Testament will be used for translation assignments.
Prerequisite(s): RELIG 1980 New Testament Greek I or permission of the instructor.

This course explores religious responses to social justice issues such as conflict, poverty, oppression, discrimination, and the environment.
(Normally offered alternate years.)

This course will examine the roles and views of women in religious traditions. Students will encounter scholarship on gender, religion, and feminist theology in different traditions. The primary focus of this course will be on the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, although other traditions and contemporary religious movements may be considered.
Cross listed with GEND 2300R.
(Normally offered every year.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Diversity Instructive: Global
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Gender and Sexuality Thread

Religion in the U.S. is vital and diverse and its study illuminates not only early American society, but also the current pluralism within our contemporary culture. This course will introduce religious traditions in the U.S. through thematic, historical, denominational, and cultural considerations. Though the Puritan roots of U.S. religious history will be considered, this course emphasizes the variety and diversity of religious experiences in the U.S., including Native American, Protestant, Catholic, African-American, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions.
(Normally offered every year.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Diversity Instructive: U.S.
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Democracy Thread

This course explores the formation, differences and conflicts among and between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam through comparative themes. Credit cannot be earned for RELIG 2350 and RELIG 1260 Christians and Muslims.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Writing Instructive
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Identity Thread

This course explores a religiously diverse range of end of time stories. Ancient and modern, oral and written, apocalyptic scenarios can function as ethical and political criticism of the status quo, a literature of, by, and for the marginalized, and offer alternative, cosmic justice or future renewal. All of the religions examined, which include tribal, world religions as well as movements that prioritize ethnicity, race, and anti-colonialism are international but will be examined in the context of their contemporary North American expressions.
(Normally offered every year.)

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Diversity Instructive: U.S.
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Chaos Thread

This course will investigate English translations of the great works of Greek literature. Students will become familiar with the uniquely rich and influential world of Classical Greece. Offered as part of the Classics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

This course will investigate literary works from ancient Mesopotamia, Canaan, and Egypt, seeking to understand their culture and values. It will end the literature from one of the founding documents of our own culture, the Hebrew Bible, to see how it was effected by the surrounding culture. Offered as part of the Classics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

A topical course designed to investigate relevant subject matter not included in any standard courses. The title and the content will be determined by current mutual interests of students and faculty. This course may be offered to meet a requirement for a major only by approval of the department chair.

This course allows students to participate in an internship for the purpose of supplementing their academic coursework, exploring vocational options, and professionalizing their approach to career choices. Students might intern as a volunteer in a non-profit organization, as a research or field case study assistant, or in formal or informal ministry or in other relevant areas. P/F only.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Experiential Learning: Exploratory

A study of Pauline literature, Paul's interpretation of Jesus, and his work as missionary to the Gentiles. The Pauline Epistles are primary sources. Some contemporary analyses of Pauline thought and its importance for the contemporary situation will be emphasized.

A discussion of the sources used in the attempt to write the life of Jesus.

The course explores the modern construction of religion and religions as a legal, international, historical, and cultural category. We will investigate what definitions and assumptions are at work and who religious tradition is invented, maintained, or changed and for what ends. Classifications interrogated include religious, spiritual and secular, academic and folk. Materials and movements examined include intentionally provocative juxtapositions of ancient, new, tribal, world, localized and international. It is common in contemporary discourse to privilege individual freedom to choose or create a religious identity, therefore, this course will pay special attention to the ways in which spirituality obscures the extent to which individualistic ideology legitimates the creation of self-identity through consumer and lifestyle choices.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Diversity Instructive: Global
Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Identity Thread

An examination of a particular topic selected by the instructor and the student. This course is primarily research oriented and serves to fill in gaps in the student's academic program or to pursue topics not covered by the regular course offerings. Depending on the topic and the material available, it will be decided whether one final paper, a series of papers, or a reading program is the format to be followed. The student may take this course no more than four times.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor and approval of the department chair.

Supervised individual projects for students on topics selected by the student in consultation with the instructor. Special Projects may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

This course allows students to participate in an internship for the purpose of supplementing their academic coursework, exploring vocational options, and professionalizing their approach to career choices. Students might intern as a volunteer in a non-profit organization, as a research or field case study assistant, or in formal or informal ministry or in other relevant areas. P/F only.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

Archway Curriculum: Essential Connections: Experiential Learning: Intensive

Required of graduating majors prior to or concurrent with their senior projects. The course consists of designing, preparing, and developing the proposal for the final project. Schedules and requirements to be determined in consultation with the student's primary reader or departmental supervisor.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

This course examines the beginnings of modern theological reflection, following the Reformation, and moves forward, following historical developments in Christian theology, into the first half of the twentieth century. The impact of the Enlightenment on theology characterizes the first third of the course. The rise of nineteenth century liberal theology and varied responses to it characterize the second, while the last third of the course takes up neo-orthodoxy, process, and secular theologies.

Archway Curriculum: Integrative Core: Science and Religion Thread

This course is an examination of movements in theology and religious studies from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant theologians and other contemporary scholars of religion will be considered. Topics to be covered will include theological responses to the holocaust, the modern state of Israel, the debate over the historical Jesus, liberation theologies, and the place of theological and religious scholarship in both the academy and society.

A topical course designed to investigate relevant subject matter not included in any standard courses. The title and the content will be determined by current mutual interests of students and faculty. This course may be offered to meet a requirement for a major only by approval of the department chair.

This is a research course. The student initially meets with the department chair to select a study topic and review research methods. At this time the student will be assigned a faculty resource person to guide his or her work and assist in an advisory capacity. A copy of the student's work is filed in the archives for the department. Independent Study may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.
Prerequisite(s): Senior standing and permission of the department chair.

Supervised individual projects for advanced students in religion on topics selected by the student in consultation with the instructor. Special Projects may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

A research seminar in which students conducting their research to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement meet regularly to share insights, progress, and problems encountered along the way.

A semester-long project for majors that fulfills the requirements of RELIG 3990 Senior Proposal.
Prerequisite(s): RELIG 3990.