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.

Summer B 2015 Upper Division 

REL 3930 Concepts of God

CRN: 51131
MW 1240-1620 
Instructor: M. Treyz


 If God is immutable, ideas about God are not.  Over the course of millennia, humans have struggled to articulate their understanding of the divine in response to changing understandings of themselves and the world.  This course investigates the idea of the divine in the Judeo–Christian tradition as it has evolved through history. Beginning with a review of the historical and theological development of monotheism, we then consider the ideas about the divine and proofs for the existence of God explored by philosophers. Finally, we will look at what anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists tell us about why people and cultures believe in supernatural beings and how they speak of gods.  



REL 3930 Islam: Thought & Practice

CRN: 51133
MTWR 1240-1420 
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?   



Fall 2015 Upper Division 

REL 3040 Religion: Theory & Methods

CRN: 83014
F 1200-1445 
Instructor: B. Denison 


Do you know what religion is when you see it? This class will challenge your ideas about what counts as religion and how we think about religion. We'll read some of the most influential thinkers in religious studies in order to dissect and understand how religious people and scholars approach the idea of religion. Along the way, we'll consider Tupperware, Oprah, and rock n' roll as religions in order to test a variety of theories about religion. By the end of the semester, you will be well-versed in how academics think about religion and will be able to hold your own in any conversation about religion. This is a requirement for the religious studies major.

REL 3102 CD_Religion As Culture

CRN: 81012
MW 1330-1445 
Instructor: J. Ingersoll 


This course will introduce students to one of the primary approaches to Religious Studies: the Social Scientific Study of religion as culture. We will begin with a unit examining classical theorists (Durkheim and Weber) and current theoretical developments and exploring some key methodological issues.  In Units Two and Three we will draw on case studies illustrating religious diversity in the United States to refine/apply our understandings of theory and method and practice that application in the context of a field based research project. This course fulfills the University’s “Cultural Diversity” requirement and is a requirement for both the major and the minor.


REL 3127 Religion And the Courts

CRN: 82998
MW 1200-1330 
Instructor: J. Ingersoll


When the First Amendment to the Constitution was written, it addressed only the federal government (Congress), yet when people now debate the meanings of the Free Exercise and no Establishment clauses, they often try to ground their views in the "intentions of the founders."  This course will explore the evolution of interpretation of the First Amendment religion clauses from the bill of Rights, through the Fourteenth Amendment, to the important cases currently before the courts.


REL 3930 Religion Literature & Arts

CRN: 83016
TR 1340-1455 
Instructor: B. Denison 


Can religion produce art? Can art be religious? How have religious people thought about the relationship between art and religion? By exploring the borderlands of art and religion, we will think critically about the creation and maintenance of social borderlands of identity, propriety, and the sacred and the profane. We will examine the transformation of religious practices as religious people migrate, transformation of nature and the self in nature, change in Native American religions, and visions of the future.  We will conceive of art broadly to include novels, movies, television, short stories, poems, music, material artifacts, and visual art. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements  of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.


REL 3932 Jewish Philosophy

CRN: 83004
TR 1630-1745 
Instructor: P. Carelli 


The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the long, dynamic history of Jewish thought and how this history establishes for itself a distinctive voice in contemporary philosophical discourse. The course begins by tracing the founding of Jewish philosophy at the beginning of the Common Era, and then moves to Jewish medieval philosophy, looking at how Moses Maimonides used the philosophical concepts and arguments of his time to understand and defend the fundamental tenets of Judaism. This historical survey serves as the contextual backdrop against which modern Jewish thought can be appreciated: the non-theistic, critical exegesis of Spinoza and the call for tolerance and religious freedom of Mendelssohn are exemplars of modernity and enlightenment thinking; while Martin Buber’s development of the philosophy of dialogue and Emmanuel Levinas’ privileging the position of the other show how the challenges of secularism and the post-modern age shaped and were shaped by Jewish philosophy. This course will demonstrate how Jewish thought, far from being a philosophy at the margins, was and remains a central force in the western philosophical tradition and an important contributor to global thought and culture.  


REL 3935 Introduction To Buddhism

CRN: 83008
R 1800-2045 
Instructor: S. Mattice



In this course we will critically engage Buddhist philosophy and religion, from its origins in ancient India to its spread across Asia and its impact on the contemporary world. After a focused survey of key ideas, practices, and texts, we will delve into the Heart Sutra, an important Mahayana text, and examine in detail several commentaries from different traditions.