Courses

The Roberts Department of Religion offers the following courses. Not all courses are offered each term or every year. Class schedules, which include the names of the professors of record for each section, are published by the Office of the Registrar twice a year. 
REL 110 (3 hours)/REL 110R (4 hours). Why Religion Matters
Prerequisite for REL 110R: C or better in INT 101 or GBK 101.
A broad introduction to global religious traditions with a primary focus upon sacred texts from traditions in the East (Hinduism and/or Buddhism) and the West (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). The four-hour,  R-designated  course  satisfies the writing  instruction (WRT) requirement. (Every semester)
REL 130 (3 hours)/REL 130R (4 hours). Engaging the Old Testament
Prerequisite for REL 130R:  C or better in INT 101 or GBK 101.
An introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the Old Testament. The four-hour, R-designated course  satisfies the writing instruction (WRT) requirement. (Every semester)
 
REL 150 (3 hours)/REL 150R (4 hours). Engaging the New Testament
Prerequisite for REL 150R:  C or better in INT 101 or GBK 101.

An introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the New Testament. The four-hour, R-designated course satisfies the writing instruction (WRT) requirement. (Every semester)

REL 170 (3 hours)/REL 170R (4 hours). Beginning with Abraham

Prerequisite for REL 170R:  C or better in INT 101 or GBK 101.

A thematic exploration of the traditional scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with attention given to the nature of sacred texts, the importance of communities of faith, and the influences  of  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in contemporary global culture. The course will address at least two and no more than three relevant themes: the figure of Abraham, the emergence of monotheism, the role of prophets, women in society, violence and war, poverty, and the importance of a worshiping community. The four-hour, R-designated course satisfies the writing instruction (WRT) requirement.  (Every year)

REL 198. Special Introductory Topics in Christianity: (Subtitle) (3 hours)

Study of an introductory topic in Christianity not covered in any of the departmental offerings. This course may be applied to the Religion major or minor. (Occasionally)

REL 210. History of Christianity (3 hours)
An introduction to developments in Christian history from the first century to the present. (Every two years)

REL 230. Approaches to Christian Ethics (3 hours)

An exploration of Christian ethics that focuses on classic texts drawn from a broad range of church history. Although the course will deal with some specific moral issues, the focus will be on how thinkers have used insights from the Bible, theology, philosophy, the sciences, and human experience to address a range of questions that may include: What does it mean to be moral? Why be moral? How do we know what is moral? How do we become moral? How can we make responsible decisions? (Every two years)

REL 250. Research and Writing in Religion (3 hours)
An introduction to basic theological vocabulary, bibliography, library resources, and research methodologies with a rigorous emphasis on improving writing skills. (Every year)

REL 270. History of Christian Theology (3 hours)
A study of the ways Christian theology both shapes and is shaped by developments in Western culture from the rise of Christianity through the contemporary era. (Every two years)
REL 300. Introduction to Christian Theology (3 hours)
An introduction to the major topics in Christian theology. Issues explored include the nature of theological language and theological methods, the concept of revelation, the character of God, the character of humankind, the reality of sin, the significance of Jesus the Christ, the identity of the church, and the shape of Christian hope. (Every three years)
REL 302. Biblical Interpretation (3 hours)
A study of the principles and methods by which the Bible is interpreted. (Every three years)

REL 305. Old Testament Prophets (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
A study of the prophets of the Old Testament, including the nature and history of the prophetic movement in Israel and the messages of selected prophets. Emphasis will be given to Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Second Isaiah. (Every two years)

REL 310. Jesus (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
An investigation of the Gospels’ portraits of Jesus in the light of other ancient literature, the world of Jesus, and scholarship about the Jesus of history. (Every two years)

REL 315. Paul (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
A study of the life and thought of Paul based on Acts and the letters of Paul in their literary, historical, social, and religious contexts. (Every two years)

REL 320. New Testament Theology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170.
An introduction to the theology of the New Testament. (Every three years)

REL 325. Contemporary Christian Theology (3 hours)
An exploration of trends in Christian theology since 1960 with emphasis upon examples of liberation theologies, contextual theologies of Asia and Africa, the emergence of postliberal and postmodern theologies, and the changing face of evangelicalism. Some attention also may be given to dominant mid-twentieth-century theological movements that formed a backdrop for theological developments in the 1960s and beyond. (Every three years)

REL 335. Christian Ethics In America (3 hours)
An exploration of Christian ethics that focuses on the implications of Christian faith for life in civil and political society in the United States. The course will engage readings in Christian ethics since the 1960s that address a variety of issues that may include character, race, economic justice, the environment, family/marriage, gender, sexuality, the professions, politics, and violence. The course may also require participation in service-learning opportunities.(Every two years)

REL 353. Christianity in America (3 hours)
An examination of the history, practices, and influence of various Christian groups in the United States. Attention will be given to the development of denominations, the rise of nondenominational sectarian groups, and the plurality of contemporary expressions of Christianity in America. (Every two years)

REL 354. Death and Dying (3 hours)
Prerequisite: consent of the instructor.

An exploration of the human experience of death and dying; the interpretation of and responses to death and dying by society, communities, and individuals; and the significance of death and dying as heuristic motifs for interpreting life. This course may include a service-learning component. (Every year)

REL 356. Eastern Religions (3 hours)
An examination of the history, sacred texts, beliefs, and practices of the major religious traditions originating in India and East Asia. Religions studied will include Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and religions indigenous to China and Japan. Attention will be given to the development of these religions in their places of origin and to their growth beyond Asia, especially in North America. (Every two years)

REL 357. Western Religions (3 hours)
An examination of the history, sacred texts, beliefs, and practices of the major non- Christian religious traditions originating in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Special attention will be given to Islam and Judaism, but other religions studied may include Zoroastrianism, African indigenous traditions, ancient European traditions, and Native American traditions. (Every two years)

REL 361. Archaeology and Religion (3 hours)
(Same as ANT 361)
Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
This course is designed to introduce students to: (1) the study of archaeology, (2) the study of religion(s) in a particular region and period(s), and (3) the integration of the study of archaeology and religion. Students will study the theories, objectives, methods, records, and conclusions of modern archaeology. They will also learn how to apply these elements of archeology to the study of a particular region. They will also study various aspects of a specific religion or groups of religions in the designated region, especially as that study is informed by the investigation of archaeological remains. This course may involve archaeological field work and may be offered on-site in another location (e.g., Greece). (Occasionally)

REL 363. Women and Christianity (3 hours)
(Same as WGS 363)
Prerequisite: REL 110, 130, 150 or 170 and WGS 180 or permission of the instructor.
A biblical, historical, and theological examination of the role of women within the Christian tradition. (Every three years)

REL 365. Baptist Traditions (3 hours)
A study of Baptist identity and its free-church character in the light of Baptist history. Attention will be given to its various expressions from its origins in England and the United States to the development of Baptist life around the world. (Every two years)

REL 380. Biblical Hebrew (4 hours)
An extensive introduction to biblical Hebrew, covering grammar, vocabulary, and readings from the Old Testament. The schedule includes a one-hour per week laboratory session.This course does not count toward credit in foreign languages. (Every three years)

REL 384. Seminar on Selected Topics in Religion (1-3 hours)

An in-depth investigation of a significant topic in religion not available through other departmental offerings. Students are required to engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. (As needed)

REL 385. Junior Colloquium (1 hour)
Prerequisites: junior status and declaration of a major in the department.
A course of readings and discussion based upon topics selected by members of the department and essays prepared by senior-level majors in the department. (Every fall)

REL 398. Internship in Religion (1-3 hours)

Prerequisites: junior or senior status and departmental approval.

An intensive practicum experience at an approved business, organization, or academic institution. Senior-level students, under the direction of a faculty member and an on-site supervisor, are required to engage in projects or assignments requiring at least three onsite hours per week for every hour of credit. Students will learn through observation, regular discussions with the on-site supervisor and Mercer faculty member, and written reflection. In addition, students may be required to attend training events, workshops, or weekly seminars. This course may be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours and does not count towards a major or minor in Religion unless approved by the department. Graded S/U. (Every year)

REL 400. Supervised Independent Reading (1-3 hours)

An intensive study of a topic in religion, limited in scope, for the purpose of developing a bibliography, concentrated reading, and tutorial discussion with the instructor. (As needed)

REL 420. Directed Independent Research (3 hours)
Prerequisites: junior or senior status and departmental approval.
Requirements include selection of a problem area or project, survey of relevant literature, research, and formal report of findings. (As needed)

REL 485. Senior Colloquium (2 hours)
Prerequisites: senior status and declaration of a major in the department.
A course of readings and discussion based upon topics selected by members of the department and essays prepared by senior-level majors in the department. Each senior enrolled will prepare an essay under the direction of a member of the department and present the essay to the class. (Every fall)