Department Website: http://www.sewanee.edu/Religion/00index.html
Professor G. Smith
Associate Professor Carden
Associate Professor Parker, Chair
Assistant Professor Thurman
Visiting Assistant Professor Mote
Visiting Assistant Professor Cochran
The study of religion is central to a liberal arts education and thus to the mission of the University of the South: to be liberally educated, Sewanee students ought to have a direct, critical encounter with religion and the most basic questions of meaning and purpose that religion addresses. Religion courses are designed to raise and reflect upon the central and abiding questions that challenge us all: What is the nature of religion? How does religion live in so many different and interesting ways in human culture? How do human beings throughout history express their deepest beliefs, concerns and faiths? Where do we find and how do we make sense of the Holy? What are our moral commitments and obligations? As citizens of the new millennium, how then shall we live in light of computers and in the shadow of concentration camps? From antiquity to postmodernity, China to Chattanooga, religion is to be encountered shaping human experience. At Sewanee the religion department, students and faculty together, through formal classes, independent study, and co-curricular activities investigate the role of religion and the many faces it presents.
Religion is not one field of study but many; by nature the study of religion is a multi-disciplinary effort that requires investigation of history, culture, values, sacred texts, theology, and philosophical thought. Such study requires familiarity with methods of historical analysis, literary criticism, phenomenological description, and cross-cultural, comparative study. For this reason the study of religion complements well other majors, the women's studies minor, and curricular interests.
The religion department faculty teach introductory and upper-level courses in several sub-fields: Asian religions, philosophical theology, ethics and culture, American/Southern religion, and biblical studies. All department faculty teach Introduction to Religion (Relg 111), a course that serves as a gateway into the academic study of religion for majors, minors and for students seeking to meet their general distribution requirement.
Religion 111 or a course in philosophy or humanities is considered foundational for all other courses, except as indicated below. A few courses with specific prerequisites are indicated below. Any religion course satisfies the religion/philosophy core requirement.
Major in religion: The major in religion is satisfied by the completion of at least 10 religion courses. The following courses are required for the major: Religion 111, 121, 141 (or 143 or 144), 151, 161 (or 162), Politics 357, and five additional upper-level courses in religion. Students may focus their upper-level course work in a particular sub-field (ethics, Asian religions, philosophical theology, scripture or religion and culture). Each student must pass a two-part written comprehensive examination in their senior year.
Departmental honors may be conferred on students considered worthy of distinction. Most of the following accomplishments are generally expected: 1) an average of at least B+ with no grade below a B- in religion courses; 2) a superior performance on the comprehensive examination; 3) a substantial essay or original project, usually as part of a 444 course, and oral defense or presentation of the work; 4) additional course work in religion beyond the minimum requirement, and carefully chosen elective courses in other fields complementing the student’s work in religion; 5) ability to use a language other than English in the study of religion.
Minor in religion: For a minor in religion a student must take at least six religion courses, maintaining in these courses a grade average of C (2.00) or higher.