Current Course Information

The following list represents the detailed course descriptions of our current offerings; for the full range of courses offered in the Religious Studies program, please consult the Undergraduate Course Descriptions in the UNF Catalog.


REL 2300 Comparative Religion

The specific content of this course varies by instructor but in general it introduces students to one of the two primary approaches to Religious Studies: Comparative Religion (sometimes called the History of Religions).  It includes an introduction to the academic study of religion, a survey of the world's major religious traditions and a discussion such categories as myth, ritual, religious experience, and religious institutions.  This course fulfills the University’s “Cultural Diversity” requirement and is a requirement for both the major and the minor.

Spring 2015 Upper Division 

REL 3120 Religion In America

CRN: 12994
TR 1050-1205 
Instructor: J. Ingersoll



This course gives students an overview of the variety of religious expressions found in the United States. We will begin with a unit designed to provide historical and sociological context; both showing that despite popular conceptions that America is less religious than it was in the past, religion remains a vibrant and vital social force in America and explaining why this is so. The second part of the course will be focus on current legal controversies in the US exploring especially religion cases currently in the courts. The course will include sessions designed specifically around topics of interest to the students in the course. For graduating Religious Studies majors, this course will function as the Capstone and those students will work in a smaller group on a senior research project. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.  



REL 3213 Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

CRN: 12995
R 1800-2045 
Instructor: T. Simpson



The Old Testament/Hebrew Bible is the foundational text of three of the great religions that grew out of western antiquity--Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  In this course, we will place the text both in its historical context, highlighting the socio-cultural situation in which the text was produced, as well as its canonical context, focusing on the ways in which the text came to function as scripture, particularly for Christians and Jews.  We will also emphasize the ways in which the text continues to function in a normative fashion for those faith communities and how the hermeneutical methods of these communities make the text work in a contemporary context. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.  



REL 3935 Understanding Religious Texts

CRN: 12986
TR 1215-1330 
Instructor: A. Creller



Many religious debates, both across and within traditions, arise out of differences in interpretation of textual sources. This course is an introduction to hermeneutics, the field of study concerned with interpretation and understanding, and how it relates to the texts of religious traditions. Beginning with the growth of philosophical hermeneutics out of biblical hermeneutics, students will examine both the concepts and problems associated with reading and understanding a text through the frame of its author and the historical and cultural contexts in which it was written. After studying these concepts, students will approach the issues that arise from interpreting sacred texts in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism.  By the end of the course students will be versed in debates and differences surrounding the nature of a text and the requirements to be a valid interpreter within these religious traditions. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.  




REL 3936 The Philosophy of Zen Buddism

CRN: 12976

TR 1505-1620
Instructor: S. Mattice 


Zen is the name of both a meditation practice which guides a way of life, and a school of traditional Buddhism which arose in China, developed in Japan and Korea, and is now being transplanted in the West. This course is an examination of the literary, philosophical and historical roots and teachings of Zen. How did it arise, how does it differ from other religious traditions, and how has it been represented and manipulated over the centuries? What challenges to philosophical thinking does it pose, and what have critical scholars today discovered about its teachings and practices? We will explore these questions beginning with a general introduction to Buddhism, then reading and discussing classical Zen texts along with some of the best current scholarship on Zen. This course will provide an opportunity for students to engage in critical and creative analysis and reflection. Previous background in philosophy or Buddhism is desirable but not necessary; what is expected is a willingness to engage in philosophical discussion. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.     


REL 3936 Science and Religion

CRN: 12990
F 1200-1445
Instructor: M. Treyz


This course explores the relationship between science and religion. We will ask if there is any common ground between these two fields, how that mutual ground might be uncovered, and why it is necessary for us to plow this earth. We will begin our investigation with an historical introduction moving from Aristotle through Galileo and Darwin to the Scopes trials. We will then investigate a variety of positions from the perspective of scientists and theologians. Topics will include subjects as varied as the Big Bang theory and Intelligent Design, bio-ethics and chaos theory. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.