Department of Religious Studies
REL 2011 Religion:
Analysis and Interpretation
Mr. Daniel Alvarez
Class Hours: TR 9:30-11:00 a.m.
Class Room: Paul Cejas 135
This course is an introduction to the study of religion.
It will analyze various elements common to
world religions and their expressions.
In addition, it will examine the search for the transcendent
and its implications at both the personal and the social level.
, Harvard University Press, 1972. (9780674069251)
Thomas J. Hopkins,
The Hindu Religious Tradition
(Wadsworth, 1971) (9780822100225)
What the Buddha Taught
(Grove Press, 1974)(9780802130310)
Lavinia and Dan Cohn-Sherbok,
A Short History of Judaism
(One World, 1994) (9781851682065)
John Dominic Crossan,
A Revolutionary Biography
(Harper Collins, 1994)(9780060616625)
In this course the student will "immerse" him/herself in
(5) of the major world religions, as
introduced and interpreted by Hopkins, Rahula, Fishbane, Schimmel, and Alvarez, which will
provide the raw data for analysis, comparison, and the application of the conceptual tools and
categories of the study of religion (for this course, the categories proffered by Smart in the first
chapter of his book).
To further enhance the appreciation of the religious dimension of the human,
the student will select
(1) religious traditions outside his/her own for personal observation
through visits to places of worship (from the list provided by instructor).
The format of the field
reports will also be provided by the instructor (see end of syllabus)-.
Films/videos giving the
student a unique audio-visual perspective into the rituals, symbols, practices, sensibilities, "look and
feel" of religious traditions selected for study in this course will complement the lectures and
Last but not least, the reading of the
will afford the student the
opportunity to engage at a serious and sustained level one of the major non-Christian Scriptures.
To provide the student with the "raw materials" for the study of religion by immersing the
student in the beliefs, doctrines, rituals, symbols, (select) scriptures, and experiences (through site
visits) of five of the major world religions.
To facilitate the informed cross-cultural comparison and evaluation of ways of being religious by
focused study of select world religions.