Religious Studies
Mount Saint Mary's College
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Religious Studies

Course Descriptions

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RST 11 - Introduction to Hebrew Scriptures (3)
A consideration of selected themes of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), viewed from the perspective of revelation and analyzed with the methods of modern biblical scholarship. GS-VA1

RST 15 - Introduction to the New Testament (3)
An introduction to methods of modern biblical scholarship and an examination of the four canonical gospels, selected Pauline letters, and Acts of the Apostles. GS-VA1

RST 21 - Contemporary Catholicism (3)
Study of how early Christianity and contemporary Catholicism perceived representative beliefs, rites, ethics, and community structures in the Catholic tradition of Christianity. Includes discussion of some contemporary concerns and issues in light of Vatican Council II. GS-VA2

RST 23 - Spiritual Journeys of Women (3)
An exploration of the spiritual experiences of women primarily from the Judeo-Christian tradition. These experiences will be probed for elements which might be transferable beyond their particular historical and personal contexts to current spiritual experiences. GS-VA2

RST 25/125 - Theology of Marriage and Family (3)
Overview of Catholic theology of marriage and family from biblical, historical, cultural and ethical perspectives. (See statement on prerequisite.) GS-VA2

RST 41 - Introduction to Christian Ethics (3)
An introduction to the study of moral decision-making from the perspective of Christian faith. The sources and nature of moral obligation, personal and social responsibility, freedom and sinfulness are among the topics to be covered. GS-VA3

RST 45/145 - Contemporary Issues in Christian Ethics (3)
A consideration of the positions and views of Christian ethicists on selected contemporary issues. Topics may vary. Prerequisite for RST 145: A lower division course in this area. GS-VA3

RST 49/149 - Biomedical Issues in Christian Ethics (3)
A study of issues and questions concerning the phenomenon of human life, the process of dying, and current developments in medicine and technology. Topics include reproductive technologies, genetic engineering, euthanasia, healthcare reform and clinical ethics. Prerequisite for RST 149: RST 41 or RST 21. GS-VA3

RST 61/161 - World Religions (3)
A survey of the largest religious traditions: includes Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Other religions may be added (e.g., Confucian/Taoism at the discretion of professor). This course focuses on the following: the religion’s historical development, its sacred texts, essentials in its way of life, its spiritual life and arts, and distinctive truths about ultimate realities and the unique purpose of human life and afterlife hopes. Prerequisite for RST 161: A lower division course in the same area. GS-VA4, VI

RST 70 - Faith and Human Development (3)
A study of the phenomenon of religious belief and the importance of faith for one's further development as a person in relation to others and to God. GS-VA2

RST 78/178 - Death and Afterlife (3)
A study of world religions with focus on each religion’s distinctive understanding of the unique dimensions of human death and mortality, spiritual religious preparations for one’s death and life, ideals for religious ways to go through bodily death and a detailed understanding of life after death and the ultimate hopes it embodies. Prerequisite for RST 178: A lower division course in the same area. GS-VA4, VI

RST 131 - Jesus of Nazareth, Christ of Faith (3)
A brief survey of the historical development of the Christian understandings of Jesus as the Christ from biblical traditions to the present. Discussion of key aspects of current interpretations of Jesus. Prerequisite: RST 15 or RST 21, or permission of the instructor. GS-VA2

RST 135 Women and Christianity
(3)
An introduction to a variety of the major themes and issues which are engaging Christian and Catholic feminist liberation theologians including the roles of women in scripture, Christian history, and church life. (See statement on prerequisite.) GS-VA2

RST 137 - Challenges in Contemporary Theology (3)
Presentation of how major changes in theology during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries not only challenged traditional Catholic thought and practice, but also influenced contemporary theology and praxis. (See statement on prerequisite.) GS-VA2

RST 146 - The Catholic Justice and Peace Tradition (3)
An examination of Catholic Social Teaching, an ethical tradition which has developed in the past century as the church faced contemporary social problems such as structural poverty, discrimination, immigration, racism, violence and war. The course will also focus on particular groups which have been inspired by this body of teachings. (See statement on prerequisite.) GS-VA3

RST 155ABCD - Upper Division Scripture Study (3,3,3,3)
A. Synoptic Gospels: Advanced study of the three synoptics with special attention given to literary style, historical context, interpretation skills and the Christology contained in each.
B. Pauline Literature: Advanced study of the various Pauline themes as well as the historical context of the first Christian communities that affected the future of the early Church.
C. Johannine Literature: Study of the Gospel of John in relation to other New Testament tests, with emphasis on the historical context of the Johannine community and its understanding of revelation.
D. Hebrew Scriptures: Advanced study of selected texts in the Hebrew Scriptures, with attention to literary style, historical context, interpretation skills and the understanding of God's revelation to Israel. GS-VA1

RST 170 - Theology and Human Experience (3)
A survey of human psychological development and human faith development which explores how personal, social and cultural experiences influence a person’s faith development. (See statement on prerequisite.)

RST 172 - Jesus and the Buddha (3)
An advanced comparison of the life and teachings of Jesus and Gautama, the Buddha. Comparisons will use the sacred texts of these two religions to represent the life story and religious teachings of these founders. It will also include dialogues on the important similarities and differences which Christian and Buddhist traditions have developed, including how Buddhists understand Jesus and Christians understand the Buddha. Prerequisite: RST 61 or equivalent background in Buddhism and Christianity. GS-VA4, VI

RST 175 - Myth, Religion and Culture (3)
A study of representative religious myths on a variety of sacred themes: myths of creation, myths of salvation, myths of the cycles of history, myths of the origin of human death, myths of the gods’ and goddesses’ lives, myths of the afterlife, myths of the ends of the world. The focus of these studies is to understand the special nature of myth as a religious way of understanding these sacred realities. Where possible, the presence of these myths in cultural literature, cinema, and arts will also be illustrated. GS-VA4, VI

RST 190E - Advanced Studies in Christian Ethics (1-3)
Advanced study of special figures or topics such as war and peace, liberation theology, and racism. Selected themes may vary with each offering. May be repeated for credit. IV. Religion and the Religions Upper Division Prerequisites: Ordinarily all upper division courses in Religion and the Religions require one (1) course in the same area of study. A waiver of a prerequisite may be granted on approval of the instructor.

RST 190R Advanced Studies in Religion(s) (1-3)
Advanced study of special topics, figures, or texts. Selected themes may vary with each offering. May be repeated for credit.

RST 190T - Advanced Studies in Christian Thought (1-3)
Advanced study of special texts, figures or topics such as Church history, sacraments, liturgy, for credit.

RST 191 Seminar (3)
Advanced study and research in any of the four major areas of study. Selected themes, figures, issues or texts. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: A minimum of one (1) lower division course from any area of religious studies. Permission of instructor is required.

RST 193 - Directed Studies (1-3)
Offered with approval of instructor and chairperson, following the published procedures for Directed Studies courses.

RST 196 - Independent Studies (1-3)
Offered only with approval of instructor and chairperson, following the published procedures for Independent Studies courses.

RST 199 - Senior Thesis/Project – for RST majors only (3)
Written thesis or service ministry project (including written component) completed in senior year under the direction of a Religious Studies faculty member. The thesis focuses on an area of interest and results in a well-developed research paper which demonstrates the student’s understanding and critical assessment of a topic in religion. The project engages the student in a theological reflection process at a predetermined service ministry site, and demonstrates the student’s ability to appropriate and apply religious theories and resources to practical ministry and to correlate practical learnings from the workplace with theory.

RST 199H - Senior Honors Thesis (3)
Open only to students admitted to the Honors Program.

The following courses also are eligible for Religious Studies credit:

PHI 160/RST 160 - Philosophy of Religion (3)
See PHI 160 for course description. When taken under RST designation, GS-VA4, and VI.

SOC 195/RST 180 - Sociology of Religion (3)
See SOC 195 for course description. When taken under RST designation, GS-VA4.

ENG 130/RST 120 - Faith and Fiction (3)
See ENG 130 for course description. When taken for RST designation, prerequisite applies: either a Scripture course or RST 21, Catholicism.

HIS 131/RST 130 - History of Religion in North America (3)
See HIS 131 for course description.

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