The study of religion is rich and fascinating — and goes well beyond beliefs and ritual practices. In this series, learners explore the diversity and evolution of the religions around the world. Through scripture, learners will explore themes such as gender and sexuality, art and science, violence and peace, and power and authority.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are global religions with diversity in language, culture, history, and creed, but the sacred scriptures of the Tanakh, the Bible, and the Quran give followers a shared language. How do Jews draw inspiration and guidance from traditional texts? How have Christians lived out their stories and teachings? What is the relationship between the Quran and the prophet Mohammed? This series will answer these questions and introduce you to these scriptures.
Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism present a rich array of religious texts from across the Indian subcontinent. How do these texts influence the lives of adherents? What challenges do multiple collections of scriptures present for practitioners? Why is Sikhism, the fifth largest religion, relatively unknown in the Western world? Learners will explore the tenets, beliefs, and history of these followers by analyzing scripture, literature, and contemporary media relevant to these religions.
Both the faithful and the questioning are invited to join us as we traverse the globe to explore the power of the written word and its relevance to contemporary public life and the spiritual lives of all who encounter it.
Courses under this program: Course 1: Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures
Learn how to better understand the rich and complex ways that religions function in historic and contemporary contexts.
Course 2: Christianity Through Its Scriptures
Learn about Christianity through a study of its sacred scriptures. We will explore how diverse Christians have interpreted these writings and practiced their teachings over a 2000 year, global history.
Course 3: Buddhism Through Its Scriptures
Learn about the rich and diverse beliefs and practices of Buddhists across time and place. Experience Buddhism through its scriptures, both relationally as well as academically.
Course 4: Islam Through Its Scriptures
Learn about the Quran, the central sacred text of Islam, through an exploration of the rich diversity of roles and interpretations in Muslim societies.
Course 5: Hinduism Through Its Scriptures
Learn about the rich diversity of Hindu sacred texts – hymns, narratives, philosophical thought – and their interpretations.
Course 6: Judaism Through Its Scriptures
Learn about the key beliefs and practices of Judaism through an examination of its sacred texts and their interpretation.
Course 7: Sikhism Through Its Scriptures
This course examines the Sikh scripture from a doctrinal and historical perspective by providing an overview of Sikh teachings as well as the historical context within which the scripture evolved and became canonized.
How can you improve your understanding of Islam and its most important holy text, the Quran? How can you make sense of a tradition and a text that have been interpreted in different ways across vast geographical spaces for nearly a millennium and a half?
Using a multimedia and student-centered approach, this religion course provides tools and perspectives for understanding the role of the Quran in the Islamic tradition. Learners will develop the skills and context to read the text themselves, while also being introduced to some of the issues classical and contemporary interpreters have addressed. This approach enables learners to explore the influence of the Quran on diverse Muslim understandings of Islam.
Ever wondered about the sacred scriptures that have sustained for millennia one of the oldest and most diverse religions of the world - Hinduism? Want to discover the lessons this history may offer mankind in the 21st century?
This religion course introduces the rich and diverse textual sources from which millions of Hindus have drawn religious inspiration for millennia. The Bhagavad Gita has offered philosophical insights to a number of modern thinkers. This course will introduce important passages from important Hindu sacred texts, their interpretations by moderns and will give you an opportunity to engage with them.
For over two millennia, Jews throughout the entire world have been committed to reading, interpreting, and living their scriptures. But what are the Jewish scriptures? When were they written? And why are they relevant in the 21st century?
This religion course introduces students to the diversity of the ever-expanding Jewish canon and the equally diverse ways of reading it. It will examine how Jews, ancient and modern, drew inspiration and guidance from the traditional texts while simultaneously reinterpreting their contents in light of new circumstances. The religion we call “Judaism” emerges at the nexus of text, interpretation, and lived tradition.
Whether you are a long-time student of the Jewish scriptures or a complete newcomer, this course will give you a new understanding of the fascinating roles that sacred texts have played in the rich history of Judaism.
The study of religion is the study of a rich and fascinating dimension of human experience that includes but goes well beyond beliefs and ritual practices. In this religion course, learners explore case studies about how religions are internally diverse, how they evolve and change through time, and how religions are embedded in all dimensions of human experience. We’ll explore these tenets through the lens of scripture and through themes such as gender and sexuality, art, violence and peace, science, and power and authority.
Join peers from around the world to embark on this journey to better understand religion in human affairs.
Whether you are new to the study of Buddhism or have been studying it or practicing it for years, this course will provide you with the opportunity to become acquainted with a variety of Buddhist teachings while guiding you to think about them, and yourself, in new ways.
Through a combination of carefully selected readings, both scriptural and informational, as well as exposure to various forms of Buddhist practice such as art, devotional acts, and literary works, you will learn how to interpret, reflect upon, and apply the teachings of the Buddha to your own life and deepen your understanding of Buddhism.
Christianity is a global religion. From modest beginnings 2,000 years ago, it has grown to encompass nearly a third of the human population. Diverse in languages, cultures, histories and creeds, Christians nonetheless share a common collection of sacred scripture called the Bible.
This religion course introduces you to the Bible and its scripture and asks the questions:
What are the contents, languages, and forms of Bibles in various times and places?
How have Christians lived out their stories and teachings?
How does Christian history reflect the contested and varied uses of scripture—in the ancient Roman world where Christianity began, in its spread through European and American colonialism, in the diverse forms it takes in varied locations around the globe?
You will begin to explore these questions and others while learning about the content and interpretations of these sacred texts.
Sikhi, commonly known as Sikhism, is a monotheistic religious tradition that was founded byGuru Nanak in late fifteenth-century Panjab in South Asia. Today, Sikhi’s approximately twenty-five to thirty million adherents can be found all over the globe, making it one of the six major religions of the world. Sikhi encompasses a number of religious, social, economic and politicalinstitutions, most of which were established and nurtured by Guru Nanak and his ninesuccessors, known as Sikh Gurus.
For over five hundred years, Sikhs in the Panjab and all over the world have engaged with their scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, through the devotional practices of exegesis, singing,recitation, memorization and calligraphy.
This course examines the Sikh scripture from a doctrinal and historical perspective by providingan overview of Sikh teachings as well as the historical context within which the scripture evolvedand became canonized. It also examines the musical and aesthetic dimensions of the Sikhscripture, as well as ways in which the voluminous text has provided Sikhs with a social, ethical,spiritual and political message to help them respond to and shape the world around them.
Diane L. Moore, Anna Mudd, Karen L. King, Sarah Griffis, Ali Asani, Charles Hallisey, Alexis Bader Brown, Neelima Shukla-Bhatt, Jason Smith, Shaye Cohen, Matthew Hass, Harpreet Singh, Ravinder Singh and Damanpreet Singh