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 2017 Upper Division 

REL 3101 Religion and Popular Culture

CRN: 12838
TR 1050-1205
Instructor: J. Ingersoll 




As the cultural clout of religious institutions declines, the "religiousness" of individuals persists. This course will explore the presence of themes and functions, traditionally associated with religion, as they are found in less clearly "religious" aspects of culture such as country music, wine tasting and popular films.  This focus will raise questions about the definition of religion and the power dynamics implicit in defining "religious" and "nonreligious." This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.




REL 3930 History of Christianity

CRN: 12795
Distance Learning 
Instructor: D. Watkins 




This course investigates the long history of Christianity from its inception in first-century Palestine to its global spread in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Although we will spend time learning about the major theological developments in Christian history, the main focus of the class will be on the social and political history of Christianity and how people who identified themselves as “Christians” lived out that identity in a variety of historical contexts. In addition to gaining a basic religious literacy of Christianity, students will wrestle with complex historiographical questions including the following: how did Christianity as a movement spread so rapidly in the first few centuries of the Common Era, why did “Christendom” experience fracturing in the medieval and early modern eras, and how did Christianity change as it became popular outside Europe and the Mediterranean basin in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries? This section will be offered as a Distance Learning course and will comprise of readings, video lectures, online discussions, quizzes, and critical essays. 



REL 3932 Sex and the Hebrew Bible

CRN: 12839
MW 1330-1445
Instructor: M. Treyz



Religion concerns itself with all aspects of human life: birth, death, food, power, wealth, and, of course, sex.  Sexual taboos and practices are used to structure and maintain social power.  This is true today and it is true of the past.  In this course we will examine the ways in which religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, have used sex to determine who has power, how gender is enacted and how genders interact, reproductive rights, family structures, who can marry and who must be celibate.  Moreover, religions have insisted that God has ordained these laws and norms.  Much of what religion has to say about sex has been written in sacred texts; determining the context out of which those texts emerged is vital to understanding what they really proscribe and prescribe about sex. We will also explore feminists’ critiques of patriarchal power structures and how they have ordered sexual practices to secure control over women and thereby their reproductive capacity. And finally, we will examine how religious teachings on sex have affected how individuals feel about sex, especially shame, guilt and obligation.




REL 3933 Islamic Philosophy & Practice

CRN: 13821
MW 1500-1615 
Instructor: A. Creller 




This course provides an introduction to the historical birth of Islam and some of the philosophical issues it addresses, both in its history and in contemporary times.  This course covers the revealing of the Qur’an and the development of sources of authority within the tradition as well as the way those resources are used to answer questions in Islamic law, theology, philosophy, and mysticism.  Through thinkers such as Ibn al-Arabi, al-Ghazali, and Ibn Rushd (Averroes), we will cover problems that remain pertinent into the medieval period and beyond: How does determinism influence ethical blame? How do universal laws and particular cases relate?  What is the proper relationship between reason, knowledge, and revelation?




REL 3935 The Philosophy of Zen Buddhism

CRN: 12819
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 that 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. Participation in meditation exercises is required. 



REL 3936 Faith and Reason

CRN: 12825
M 1800-2045
Instructor: J. Matheson 



This course will be an examination of cutting edge work in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion.  It will be organized around fundamental questions about the nature, rationality, and value of faith (religious faith in particular).  We will discuss questions such as: What exactly is faith? Can it be rational to have faith?  How is faith related to evidence, belief, doubt, hope, and love?  Is faith voluntary?  Is faith a virtue?