Undergraduate Programs

Comparative Religion – Major and Minor

The program in Comparative Religion is known for its unusually large range of course offerings in the religious traditions of both the East and West. The faculty has particular strength in history, anthropology, and sociology. Participants in the program have an opportunity to enroll in small classes and interact with a faculty that puts emphasis on maintaining close contact with students.

The comparative religion major introduces students to broad theoretical issues in the academic study of religion, and encourages them to explore these issues through mastering details of the textual canons, historical traditions, social contexts, and cultural forms of religion. The program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Religion.

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Major in Comparative Religion

Course # Title Credits Quarter
JSIS 201 The Making of the Twenty-first Century 5 Winter or Spring
RELIG 201 Intro to World Religions: Western Traditions 5 Winter 2017
RELIG 202 Intro to World Religions: Eastern Traditions 5 Autumn 2016
RELIG 380 Theories In the Study of Religion 5 Spring 2017
Textual Canons Minimum 5 credits in Textual Canons 5 Varies
Historical Traditions Minimum 5 credits in Historical Traditions 5 Varies
Social Contexts & Cultural Forms Minimum 5 credits in Social Contexts & Cultural Forms 5 Varies
Additional Rubric Electives No more than 20 total credits in one rubric applied to major. Full Rubric List 20 Varies
3- 400 level coursework Minimum 15 credits in Rubrics must be 3-400 level
Total Credits: 55

Comparative Religion Minor

30 credits, to include the following:

  1. RELIG 201 (5) and RELIG 202 (5)
  2. 15 additional credits in RELIG Comparative religion courses or joint-listed equivalents
  3. 5 additional credits chosen from RELIG comparative religion courses or from an approved list of electives

Comparative Religion Courses

Quarterly Course Lists

Textual Canons

Course # Title
JSIS A 461 /ASIAN 494 Ramayana in Comparative Perspective
RELIG 155 Heretics, Heroes, and Radicals: Early Judaism and Christianity
RELIG 212/NEAR E 231 Introduction to the Quran
RELIG 220 Introduction to the New Testament
RELIG 240/NEAR E 202 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: Old Testament
JEW ST 258 Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
RELIG 306 /NEAR E 306 The History of Biblical Interpretation
JEW ST 312 /ENGL 312 Jewish Literature: Biblical to Modern
RELIG 315  /NEAR E 305 The Biblical Prophets
RELIG 322 The Gospels and Jesus of Nazareth
JEW ST 367 /HSTAM 367 Medieval Jewish History
JEW ST 368 /HSTEU 368 Modern European Jewish History
RELIG 430/NEAR E 430 Muslim Scripture, Historiography, and Exegesis
RELIG 456 Perceptions of the Feminine Divine in Hinduism
JSIS C 458 The Babylonian Talmud- no longer offered
JEW ST 490  Special Topics Jewish Studies ( when topic is Rabbinic Oral Traditional Texts)
RELIG 490  Special topics Comparative Religion (when topic is textual or literature focus)
ARAB 408 Historical Texts
ARAB 409 Quran and Its Interpretation
ARAB 410 Islamic Theological & Mystical Literature
ARAB 462 Sirah and Maghazi Texts – no longer offered
ARAB 470/HEBR 470 Stories of the Prophets – no longer offered
ARAB 472/HEBR 472 Quran and Bible Masorah – no longer offered
ARAMIC 201 Biblical Aramaic
ARAMIC 423 Readings in Syriac
ASIAN 203 Literature & Culture of Ancient & Classical India
ASIAN 206 Literature & Culture of South Asia from Tradition to Modernity
ASIAN 223 Buddhist Literature
ASIAN 263 Great Works of Asian Literature
ASIAN 411 Buddhist Literature
BIBHEB 101 Elementary Biblical Hebrew I
BIBHEB 102 Elementary Biblical Hebrew II
BIBHEB 103 Biblical Hebrew Prose
BIBHEB 105 Intensive Elementary Biblical Hebrew
BIBHEB 201 Biblical Hebrew Poetry
BIBHEB 202 Inscriptions from Biblical Times
COPTIC 101 Introduction to Sahidic Coptic
COPTIC 102 Reading in Coptic
COPTIC 103 Reading in Coptic Texts
EGYPT 101 Hieroglyphic Egyptian I
EGYPT 102 Hieroglyphic Egyptian II
EGYPT 103 Hieroglyphic Egyptian III
ENGL 310 The Bible as Literature
HEBR 431 Book of Job – no longer offered
HEBR 432 Book of Proverbs – no longer offered
HEBR 433 Book of Ecclesiastes – no longer offered
PRSAN 456 Sufism: Thought and Expression
SNKRT 491, 492, 493 Vedic Studies
UGARIT 201 Ugaritic I
UGARIT 202 Ugaritic II
UGARIT 203 Ugaritic III

Historical Traditions

Course # Title
JSIS A 210 /NEAR E 229 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
JSIS A 404 Religion in China
RELIG 145 Introduction to Judaism
RELIG 211 /NEAR E 230 Introduction to Muslim Beliefs & Practices
RELIG 264/MUSIC 264 Sacred Music in the European Tradition
RELIG 305 Religious Thought Since the Middle Ages
RELIG 306 /NEAR E 306 The History of Biblical Interpretation
JEW ST 317 /NEAR E 307 From Israelites to Jews: The first six centuries BCE
JSIS C 327 Eastern Christian Traditions – no longer offered
JSIS C 328 The Emergence of Christianity – no longer offered
RELIG 352 Hinduism
RELIG 354 Buddhism
JEW ST 358 Modern Jewish Thought
JEW ST 367/HSTAM 367 Medieval Jewish History
JEW ST 368/HSTEU 368 Modern European Jewish History
JSIS C 400 Jewish Mystical Tradition – no longer offered
JSIS C 405 Scripture in Judaism
RELIG 408 Emerging Christian Religion
RELIG 409 The Age of St. Augustine
JSIS C 410 Law in Judaic Experience – no longer offered
RELIG 412 Creation Myths and Early Christianity
RELIG 413 Modern Christian Theology
JSIS C 435 Life of the Prophet Mohammad – no longer offered
RELIG 445 /CLAS 445 Greek and Roman Religion
RELIG 452 /ART H 452 Art, Religion, & Politics in the Early Christian Per. 300-700 AD
JSIS C 455 The Kings of Monarchic Israel – no longer offered
RELIG 456 Perceptions of the Feminine Divine in Hinduism
RELIG 459 Topics in the Buddhism of Tibet
RELIG 472 Seminar: Topics in Early Christianity
JEW ST 495 Seminar in Jewish Studies
RELIG 590 Comparative Religion Special Topics: Graduate Seminar
ANTH 315 Southeast Asian Civilization: Buddhist and Vietnamese
ANTH 317 Anthropology of Tibetan Civilization
CHID 498A Shadowing Nietzsche: Of Gods, Suffering and Redemption
CLAS 320 Greek and Roman Private and Public Life
CLAS 322 Intellectual History of Classical Greece
CLAS 430 Greek and Roman Mythology
C LIT 518 Colloquium in Medieval Studies (when topic has religion focus)
ENGL 311 Modern Jewish Literature in Translation
HEBR 428 Inscriptions from Biblical Times
HSTCMP 209 History of Christianity
HSTAFM 370 History of the Expansion of Islam
HSTEU 368 Modern European Jewish History
HSTAA 336 American Jewish History Since 1885
HSTAM 276 Celtic Civilization
HSTAM 360 Medieval Christianity
HSTAM 367/JSIS C 367 Medieval Jewish History
HSTAM 370 The Vikings
HSTAM 472 Intellectual & Religious History of the Later Middle Ages
HSTAS 201 Ancient Indian Civilization
HSTEU 402 The Reformation
HSTEU 464 / JSIS C 468 The Jews in Spanish History
HSTEU 465 Jews of Eastern Europe
HSTCMP 466 The Sephardic Diaspora: 1492-Present
NEAR E 429 Islamic Mystical Literature
NEAR E 305/RELIG 315 The Biblical Prophets
NEAR E/JSIS C 451 The Biblical Song of Songs
NEAR E/JEW ST 454 Israel: the First Six Centuries BCE
NEAR E/JSIS C 455 Kings of Monarchic Israel (no longer offered)
SNKRT 495 Studies in Indian Thought

Social Contexts & Cultural Forms

Course # Title
JSIS 484 Special Topics in East Asian Studies (when topic is on religion & culture e.g. Lay Buddhism)
JSIS 485 Special Topics in South Asian Studies (when topic is on religion & culture)
JSIS 486 Special Topics in Southeast Asian Studies (when topic is religion & culture)
JSIS A 314/NEAR E 315 Israel: Dynamic Society and Global Flashpoint
JSIS A 241/HSTAS 241 Japanese Civilization
JSIS A 315/
ANTH 315
Southeast Asian Civilization
JSIS A 461/
ASIAN 494
Ramayana in Comparative Perspective
JSIS A 462 /
HSTAS 466
Islam, Mysticism, Politics & Performance in Indonesian Culture
JSIS B 320  Yoga: History, Health and Practice
JSIS B 404  Political Economy of Religious Institutions
JSIS B 406 /
POL S 432
Political Islam and Islamic Fundamentalism
JSIS B 407  Political Islam and Contemporary Islamist Movements
RELIG 155 Heretics, Heroes, and Radicals: Early Judaism and Christianity
RELIG 205/
NEAR E 285
Religion, Violence and Peace: Patterns Across Time & Tradition
JSIS C / HSTCMP 250 Introduction to Jewish Cultural History
RELIG 254 American Religions
RELIG 264 /
MUSIC 264
Sacred Music in the European Tradition
JEW ST / HSTCMP 269 The Holocaust: History and Memory
RELIG / POL S 307 Religion and World Politics
JEW ST / ENGL 312 Jewish Literature: Biblical to Modern
RELIG 315 /
NEAR E 305
The Biblical Prophets
RELIG 320 /
ANTH 322
Comparative Study of Death
RELIG 321/
ANTH 321
Anthropology of Religion
RELIG 329/
ANTH 330
Religion, Identity, and Cultural Pluralism
RELIG 334/
GWSS 334
Gender, Sex, and Religion
RELIG 356/
ANTH 352
Buddhism and Society
JSIS C 360 / CLAS 360 Jews, Greeks & Romans in the Ancient World
JSIS C / GEOG 403 Modern European-Islamic Migration, Integration, and Citizenship
RELIG 409 The Age of St. Augustine
JSIS C 435 Life of the Prophet Muhammad
RELIG/ ART H 452 Art, Religion & Politics in Early Christianity
JSIS D / ART H 453 Art, Religion & Politics in Byzantium
JSIS C 462 Antisemitism as a Cultural System
RELIG 490 Special Topics in Comparative Religion
RELIG/ASIAN 580 Seminar in Hinduism Studies
JSIS D 443 / ANTH 446 Class and Culture in East Asia
JSIS D 477 The Catholic Church in World Politics
AIS 475 Special Topics in Indian Studies (when topic is on religion)
AIS 435 Spiritual Encounters: Native Spirituality in the Contact Era
ANTH 310 Native North American Society
ANTH 313 Peoples of Africa
ANTH 314 Island Civilization of SE Asia
ANTH/JSIS C 321 Anthropology of Religion
ANTH 322 / RELIG 320 Comparative Study of Death
ANTH 330 / RELIG 329 Religion, Identity and Cultural Pluralism
ANTH 352 Buddhism and Society
ANTH 375 Comparative Systems of Healing
ANTH 402 Societies of Eastern and Southern Africa
ANTH 412 South Asian Social Structure
ANTH 418 Indian Heritage of Mexico and C. America
ANTH 421 Belief, Ritual and the Structure of Religion
ANTH 424 Hunter-Gatherer Societies
ANTH 447 Religion in China
ANTH 527 Anthropological Perspectives on Ethnicity (when religion focus)
ARAB 456 Islamic Political Theorists
ART H 202 Survey of Western Art, Medieval/Renaissance
ART H 204 Survey of Asian Art
ART H 309 Special Topics: Art History (when topic is religious art & culture)
ART H 311 Chinese Art
ART H 315 Buddhist Art of East Asia
ART H 306 Indian Art of South Asia
ART H 316 Japanese painting
ART H 317 Chado: Japanese Esthetics
ART H 321 Arts of Japan
ART H 330 Tribal Art and Philosophy
ART H 337 African Art and Society
ART H 351 Early Medieval & Byzantine Art
ART H 352 High and Late Medieval Art
ART H 400 Art History and Criticism (when topic is religious art & culture)
ART H 413 Selected Topics in Chinese Art: “Arts of the Song (960-1279)”
ART H 419 Chinese and Japanese Architecture
ART H 438 Sub-Saharan Art
ART H 451 Topics: Early Christian & Byzantine Art/Arch.
ART H 452 Art, Religion and Politics in Christ. 300-700
ART H 453 Art, Religion and Politics in Byzantium 700-1453
ART H 454 Romanesque Art
ART H 455 Special Studies in Gothic Art and Architecture
ART H 509 Seminar in Art History (when topic is religious art & culture)
ART H 511 Seminar in Chinese Art (when topic is religious art & culture)
ART H 515 Japanese Esoteric Buddhist art and ritual contexts
ART H 551 Early Christian/Medieval Art
ASIAN 206 Literature & Culture of South Asia from Tradition to Modernity
CHID 498 Special Topics in Comparative History of Ideas (if on religion)
CLAS 324 Greek And Roman Athletics
C LIT 280, 281 The Medieval World
ENGL 210 Literature of the Ancient World
ENGL 211 Medieval and Renaissance Literature
ENGL 326 Milton
HSTAFM 161 Survey of the Muslim Near East
HSTAFM 162 History of the Islamic Middle East, 600-1800
HSTAFM 261 The Crusades: Middle Eastern Perspectives
HSTCMP 310 Science and Religion in Historical Perspective
HSTAFM 461 History of the Middle East: 622-1300
HSTAFM 462 History of the Middle East: 1258-1798
HSTAFM 463 History of the Middle East: Since 1789
HSTAM 314 The World of Late Antiquity
HSTAM 331 Early Middle Ages
HSTAM 332 Central Middle Ages
HSTAM 333 Late Middle Ages
HSTAM 403 Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age
HSTAM 315 The Byzantine Empire
HSTAS 211 History of Chinese Civilization
HSTAS 212 History of Korean Civilization
HSTAS 401 History of Ancient India
HSTAS 402 History of Medieval and Mughal India
HSTAS 431 Tibetan History
HSTAS 451 Chinese History: Earliest Times to 221 B.C.
HSTAS 452 Chinese History: 221 B.C. to A.D. 907
HSTAS 453 Chinese History: A.D. 905 to 1840
HSTAS 462 Southeast Asian History to 1800
GWSS 435 Gender and Spirituality
HSTEU 305 European Witch Trials
HSTEU 401 The Italian Renaissance
HSTEU 409 The Catholic Church in Europe, 1914-Present
MUSAP 389 Non-Western Music Performance (when genre is religious music)
MUSIC 445 Special Topics in Ethnomusicology (when topic is religion & culture, e.g. Spirit Possession, Shamanism, Tibetan music, African Religion)
MUSIC 512 Seminar in Ethnomusicology(when topic is religion focus, e.g. Spirit Possession)
NEAR E 285/RELIG 205 Religion, Violence and Peace: Patterns Across Time and Tradition
NEAR E 229/JSIS A 210 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
NEAR E 230/JSIS C 211 Introduction to Muslim Beliefs and Practices
NEAR E 317 Jewish Life in Literature and Film
NEAR E 306 /RELIG 306 History of Biblical Interpretation
NEAR E 309 Death and Afterlife in the Ancient World
NEAR E 320 Prayer and Poetry in the Jewish and Islamic Traditions
NEAR E 330 Prophesy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
NEAR E 336 Islam in Jewish Contexts, and Judaism in Muslim Contexts
NEAR E 358 Islam and Muslims in China
PHIL 240 Introduction to Ethics
PHIL 267 Introduction to Philosophy Religion
PHIL 345 Moral Issues of Life and Death
PHIL 346 Personal Values and Human Good
PHIL 356 Introduction to Metaphysics
PHIL 440 Ethics
PHIL 467 Philosophy of Religion
PRSAN 401 Introduction to Persian Literature
PRSAN 402 Classical Persian Literature: A Survey
PRSAN 455 The Persian Ghazal
RUSS 321 Russian Literature and Culture to 1800
SCAND 330 Scandinavian Mythology
SCAND 332 Folk Belief and World View
SCAND/HSTAM 370 The Vikings
SOC 357 Sociology of Religion
SOC 445 Religious Movements
SOC 554 Seminar in the Sociology of Religion

Comparative Religion Course List (Jackson School)

Course # Title
RELIG 120 Yoga: Past and Present (VLPA/I&S, DIV)
RELIG 145 Introduction to Judaism
RELIG 155 Heroes, Heretics, and Radicals: The Origins of Judaism and Christianity
RELIG 199 Study Abroad – Comparative Religion
RELIG 201 Introduction to World Religion: Western
RELIG 202 Introduction to World Religion: Eastern
RELIG 205/NEAR E 285 Religion, Violence and Peace: Patterns Across Time & Tradition
RELIG 211/NEAR E 230 Introduction to Muslim Beliefs and Practices
RELIG 212/NEAR E 231 Introduction to the Quran
RELIG 220 Bible: New Testament (Intro to New Testament)
RELIG 240/NEAR E 202 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: Old Testament
RELIG 254 American Religions
RELIG 264/MUSIC 264 Sacred Music in the European Tradition
RELIG 305 Religious Thought Since the Middle Ages
RELIG 306/NEAR E 306 The History of Biblical Interpretation
RELIG 307/POL S 307 Religion and World Politics
JEW ST 312/ENGL312 Jewish Literature: Biblical to Modern
RELIG 315/NEAR E 305 The Biblical Prophets
JEW ST 317 /NEAR E 307 From Israelites to Jews: the First Six Centuries BCE
RELIG 320/ANTH 322 Comparative Study of Death
RELIG 321/ANTH 321 Comparative Religion
RELIG 322 Gospels and Jesus of Nazareth
JEW ST 325 Contemporary Judaism in a Global Context
RELIG 327 Eastern Christian Traditions
JSIS D 328 The Emergence of Christianity
RELIG 329/ANTH 330 Religion, Identity, and Cultural Pluralism
RELIG 356/ANTH 352 Buddhism/Society: Theravada Buddhism South Asia
RELIG 352 Hinduism
RELIG 354 Buddhism
RELIG 356 /ANTH 352 Buddhism and Society: The Theravada Buddhist Tradition in South and Southeast Asia
JEW ST 358 Modern Jewish Thought (RELIG 415)
JEW ST 360/CLAS 360 Jews, Greeks, & Romans in the Ancient World
JEW ST 367/HSTAM 367 Medieval Jewish History
RELIG 380/CHID 380 Theories In the Study of Religion
RELIG 399 Study Abroad – Comparative Religion
RELIG 400 The Jewish Mystical Tradition (no longer offered)
RELIG 403 /GEOG 403 Modern European-Islamic Migration, Integration, and Citizenship
JSIS D 405 Scripture in Judaism (no longer offered)
RELIG 408 Emerging Christian Religion (The World of the Early Church)
RELIG 409 The Age of St. Augustine
RELIG 410 Law in Judaic Experience (no longer offered)
RELIG 412 Creation Myths and Early Christianity (Gnosticism and Early Christianity)
RELIG 413 Modern Christian Theology
RELIG 430 /NEAR E 430 Muslim Scripture, Historiography, and Exegesis
RELIG 432 Ritual and Territory in Islam (no longer offered)
RELIG 433 Life of Prophet Muhammad (no longer offered)
RELIG 445 Greek and Roman Religion
JSIS C 449 Religious Movements: Sociology of Cults and Sects (no longer offered)
RELIG 452 Art, Religion and Politics in the Early Christian Period, 300-700
RELIG 456 Perceptions of the Feminine Divine in Hinduism
RELIG 457 The History of Biblical Interpretation (no longer offered)
RELIG 459 Topics in the Buddhism of Tibet
JSIS C 462 Anti-Semitism As a Cultural System
RELIG 472 Topics in Early Christianity
RELIG 490 Special Topics in Comparative Religion
RELIG 493 Honors Thesis
RELIG 495 Seminar: Topics and Issues in Judaism
RELIG 497 Field Archaeology
RELIG 501 Approaches to the Study of Religion
RELIG 502 Religion in Comparative Perspective
RELIG 504 Religion and Culture
RELIG 520 Seminar On Early Christianity
RELIG 528 Christian Theology
RELIG 530 Religion and Literature (no longer offered)
RELIG 580 Seminar in Hinduism Studies
RELIG 590 Special Topics
RELIG 598 Colloquium in Comparative Religion
JSIS  499 Undergraduate Research
JSIS 600 Independent Study or Research
JSIS 700 Master’s Thesis
Revised 12/9/2015

Comparative Religion Minor Other Approved Electives (non-Jackson School)

HSTAS 201 Ancient Indian Civilization (5) I&S
HSTAS 211 History of Chinese Civilization (5)
HSTAS/JSIS A 212 History of Korean Civilization (5) I&S
ANTH/JSIS A 315 Southeast Asian Civilization: Buddhist and Vietnamese (5)
ANTH 421 Belief, Ritual, and the Structure of Religion (5)
ANTH 447 Anthropology of Chinese Religion (5)
ASIAN 203 Literature & Culture of Ancient & Classical India (5)
HSTCMP 209 History of Christianity (5)
HSTCMP/JSIS C 250 Introduction to Jewish Cultural History (5)
HSTCMP 310 Science and Religion in Historical Perspective (5)
JSIS A/HSTAS 241 Japanese Civilization (5)
NEAR E/JSIS A 210 Introduction to Islamic Civilization (5)
PHIL 267 Introduction to Philosophy of Religion (5)
JSIS A 404 Religion in China (5)
SOC 357 Sociology of Religion (5) [replaced SOC 457]