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Religious Studies 101

World Religions
Time: TTh 1400-1515 Classroom: AH 2108

Fall Semester 2004

Dr. Khaleel Mohammed Telephone: 619-594-3108 Email: khaleel.mohammed@sdsu.edu (this is my preferred form of communication) Offices: Living and Learning Center (Dormitory Section) & Adams Humanities #4224 Office Hours: M,W, F: Living and Learning Center (LLC: University Residence): 12-4 p.m. and by appointment office in Adams Humanities. Special Arrangements can be made for working students to meet in LLC after 6 p.m. on M, W). Course Description Religious Studies 101 is an introduction to the world's major religious traditions. We will explore diverse religious philosophies and practices in an effort to understand how they shed light on the nature, meaning, and struggles of human existence. We will approach the different religions from two main perspectives: we will examine the historical development and worldview as reported by the author of our course text, and then we will examine another text that contains the traditions and worldviews of the various religious as related by their adherents. Learning Objectives To understand the role religion plays in culture and to improve multicultural literacy To become more reflective about ones own beliefs and more tolerant about the beliefs of others To place images of the divine and religious values in space and time To be able to discuss the basic history, philosophy, and practices of major religious traditions and begin to engage in comparative studies To interpret religious values, images, symbols, and texts critically To improve reading, oral, and written communication skills Texts Warren Matthews, World Religions (fourth edition) Interreligious Council of San Diego, Bridging Our Faiths John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks Elie Wiesel, Night

Course Requirements Regular Attendance, completion of homework assignments and classroom participation (25 points). Internet access; unless specifically directed otherwise, you must submit all answers electronically. Required reports and quizzes (40 points) A mid-term examination (15 points). A final examination (20 points) Computer access. Please ensure within the first two days that you have updated

BlackBoard

regarding

your

2 correct address.

3 General Policies This course is structured to promote scholarly discourse through the Socratic method rather than be a one-way channel of information. This is why, on the first day of class, I will request that you answer a questionnaire that tells me about you and your research interests. (You must fill this out by hand and produce it on the second day of class). With this information in hand, I will hopefully be able to further fine-tune the syllabus to meet the specific needs of the class. To fully harness the electronic facilities provided by SDSU I will try as much as possible to have reserve readings, class assignments and other required information placed on BlackBoard. Please note that BlackBoard allows you to have chat rooms, mail in assignments, and track your performance. The required readings for the class are not voluminous.. This is based on my observation from previous years that, at the undergraduate level, rather than discuss several different readings in a cursory manner, it is better to focus on fewer and discuss them in detail, with enough time allowed for input from the professor and students. I do NOT feel that the class discussion of a particular topic must end of a stipulated datethe dates you see on the syllabus are simply tentative dates to be used as a guide. In the same manner, important topics may arise that, at the time of my designing this syllabus, were not a matter of consideration. Please understand therefore, that there may be some slight changes in the subject material. Since we only have fifteen weeks to cover our material, I have had to tailor the course to suit what I perceive to be the specific needs of American students. We will therefore focus on the religions that are known to the American public, and if we manage to finish these, we will then cover some of the lesser-known religions. These religions may not be covered by the class texts, and we will then have to resort to guest lecturers. You are required to attend each class fully prepared to participate in that days lecture. This means that you will have completed the assigned readings, and be able to demonstrate this during the discussion of scheduled material. You will be able to do so either by contributing to the illustration of a point I am making, or in response to a question that I may ask. To ensure that everyone is dutiful about this task, you must be ready for a quiz on the weeks work every Thursday. Although I do NOT take attendance, do note that I structure my lectures so that much material can only be gained by actually being in the classthe text book readings are merely guides. You will be required to prepare a report on each religion that is covered in Bridging Our Faiths, focusing on how that books reports compare with our class text study. These reports will be due on the first day of the week of the next religion to be studied, unless I instruct otherwise. Answers to examination questions and any other assigned writing tasks must be handed in by the specified date. These must be carefully proofreadyou will be penalized for grammatical and spelling mistakes. If your assignment is handwritten, do note that the same requirements apply. For each day that an assignment is late, the grade that is actually earned will be reduced by one full letter grade. Plagiarism and any other forms of cheating will be seriously penalized. See the Student Handbook for the Universitys policies on infractions of academic integrity. To discourage plagiarism, as well as to conserve our natural resources, I require you, unless directed otherwise, to submit all written assignments via electronic mail. Do note that this allows me to access the software to check for plagiarism. Do also note that anything taken off the web and not cited may expose you to charges of plagiarism. For instructions on how to cite sources, see Kate Turabians Manual for Writers. Please note that syllabus usage of certain URLs does not indicate course endorsement of such sites either by myself, support teaching staff or SDSU. You will therefore be required to peruse URLs with a critical eye.

4 Examinations While I do not like to structure examinations on the multiple-choice format, I am aware that many of you are coming from schools that use this system. Your first quiz will be multiple-choice. All subsequent quizzes/exams will be in the form of questions requiring short/long essay-type answers. In order to assist you in your study, I will clearly list the main outlines of the discussion on the board at the beginning of each lesson. You will use these to be your guides. At the university level, I assume that you are mature enough to structure your study habits so that you maintain a constant review schedule as well as keeping up with current material. One way to do this is as follows: If Chapter 1, with all your notes etc, is 30 pp. long, then once you have moved on to preparations for Chapter 2, on night one prior to doing your readings for Chapter 2, you read 10-15 pp. of chapter one. The second night, you read the remaining pages. And when you go to Ch. 3, you do the same with Chs. 1&2this way, you will find that by the end of the semester you will have reread your notes several times, and only need (if at all) a brief review of your notes. At the end of every chapter in the main text (Matthews) you will see a glossary as well as some questionsuse these as preparation aids. Please note that due to the class size and volume of material to be covered, there are no opportunities for rewriting and resubmission. At the beginning of Week 2, you will be given a question and another assignment that will require constant attention throughout the semester. In the final week of studies, you will submit your answers. For all purposes, you may consider the question as a term project, and the other assignment as your exercise in objective reading of material. The mark for the term project is 15, and will be granted as long as you show seriousness and industry in completing the assignment. There is no right nor wrong answer, although there are certain logical positions that must be considered. You will have to summarize the report on Bahai Faith from Bridges, as well as the Chapters on Religions of Africa, China and Japan. GRADING POLICY The following will be STRICTLY observed: Grades will be issued on a letter-ranking basis in assessing the following: Participation in class, demonstrated awareness of class reading, recommended reading, material obtained on own initiative, writing skills, cogency of arguments, creativity. A=Extraordinarily high quality work B=Praiseworthy performance, definitely above average C=Average, Satisfactory performance, but treatment of material lacks depth. D=Minimally passing. Treatment of material below expected level F=Does not meet minimum acceptable requirements. Usually indicates that work done without due regard to requirements. Do note too that if you are required to achieve a certain Grade Point Average (GPA) in order to qualify for special programs, the onus is on you alone to achieve that GPA. This means that you must carefully monitor your performance during the course of the semester and do what is necessary to maintain/achieve the requisite grade(s). If you have any concerns about your performance, then you should come arrange for an interview with me and/or a counselor. Students who, on receiving unsatisfactory grade, plead with the professor for an upgrade, insult the professors integrity, and are

5 unfair to their peers in requesting preferential treatment. CLASS CONDUCT Turn off all cell phones before entering the class Note that the professor serves as the moderator (you may interpret this to mean dictator) in class discussions, and decides when a discourse is to be terminated.

If you are a student with a documented disability on record at SDSU and wish to have a reasonable accommodation made for you in this class, please see me immediately Introduction: Religion and Religious Experience I. Orientation: What is Religion? Week 1 (8/31, 9/2) Reading: Matthews, Introduction, pp. 2-11. Definitions of Religion/ Key Characteristics of Religion/Why study the major Religions? Black Elk Speaks (You must complete Neihardt's text by 9/7! You can omit chapters VI, VIII, IX, XV, and XVI. You must submit a two-page report on 9/9. This report must be an analysis of the book according to what you have studied so far about religion, and your typology of Black Elks worldview). II. Religions of the Americas Week 2 (9/7. 9/9) Native Religions. Reading: Matthews 15-47. Dont forget that your submission of the Black Elk report is due on Thursday. III. Hinduism: Enlightenment Through Renunciation Week 3 (9/14, 9/16 ) Reading: Matthews, pp. 80-100 Harappas, the Vedic Era and the Vedas/The Upanishads; Jnana and Raja Yoga, Laws of Manu, 4 wants, castes, stages of life. You must start reading on Hinduism as presented in Bridging our Faiths and taking notes for your two-page report at the end of next week. SEPTEMBER 20: Last day to add/classes, change grading basis. Last day for payment of fees for late registration

Week 4 (9/21. 9/23) Continuation of Hinduism., Reading: Matthews: 80-121 Report on Hinduism due on 9/23. Please see introduction to syllabus for late submissions.

IV. Buddhism: Freedom from Suffering & Desire Week 5 (9/28, 9/30) Reading: Matthews 123-169. Relationship to Hinduism/Life of the Buddha/Core Teachings YOU ARE EXEMPT FROM PREPARING A TWO-PAGE REPORT FOR THE END OF NEXT WEEK FROM THE READING IN BRIDGING. YOU CAN, HOWEVER, EXPECT QUESTIONS FROM THE READING IN NEXT WEEKS MIDTERM EXAMINATION ON 10/5. Week 6 (10/5, 10/7) 10/5: MIDTERM EXAM on all material covered so far. Formatfor this exam only--will be multiple-choice. 10/7: Teachings and Divisions within Buddhism---Theravada, Mahayana, and Zen. V. Jainism and Sikhism Week 7 (10/12, 10/14) Reading: Matthews, pp.171-120 Possible viewing of related documentary. October 15-16: Family Weekend Week 8 (10/19,10/21) Preparatory study for the entry to the study of Abrahamic Religions Reading: Matthews, Ancient Religions of Iraq (Mesopotamia) and Iran (Fars/Persia) pp. 251-272, VI. Judaism: Religion of the Covenant Week 9 (10/26, 10/28) History of the Covenant--Patriarchs, Exodus, Sinai Reading: Matthews, Chapter Eight, pp. 276-300 and Night (You need to complete Wiesel's text, and have your report ready by 11/ 4) Week 10 (11/2, 11/4) Reading: Matthews, pp.300-323. History of the Covenant--Monarchy, Babylonia, Rome Rabbinic Judaism: Tradition and Piety READ: Molloy, Chapter Eight, pp. 286-292 and 298-305. Discussion of the Shoah/post-Holocaust Judaism Israel. Report on NIGHT due. You are exempt from submitting a report from BRIDGING. But you will do an inclass discussion on this next week, and marks will be issued according to the level of your participation.

7 Week 11 (11/9/ 11/11) Discussion of JUDAISM as presented in BRIDGING. Discussion of any outstanding issues/clarification of how final exams will be structured etc. . VII. Christianity: Incarnation and Redemption Week 12 (11/16, 11/18) The Jesus of History and Christ of Faith/Gospels/Life of Jesus Teachings of Jesus/The Christ-Event/The Jesus Movement Reading: Matthews, pp. 325-350. Week 13 (11/23), The Early Church/Christian Theology/Church Divisions/Christianity in the US Reading: Matthews, 350-375. You are exempt from report on Christianity from BRIDGES, but you must read this chapter in preparation for your final examination. November 25-28: Thanksgiving Holiday VIII. Islam: The Gentile Connection to the Patriarchs and the Biblical Prophets Week 14 (11/30, 12/2) Definitions/Life of Muhammad/Seal of the Prophets/Quran. Read: Matthews 377-420, Bridges: 61-77. You are exempt from summary. Week 15 (12/7, 12/9) Guest Lecture from Church of Latter Day Saints Representative. Submission of: (1) Your summaries from Bahai Faith, Religions of Africa, China and Japan. (2) Submission of your answer to the term question. Review of any outstanding matters. Do note that between now and your final examination date, you can visit me at my offices in the residences, or at Adams Humanities. Please arrange meetings via email.

Final Examination Date: Tuesday December 14 Time: 1300-1500 hrs; Place: Classroom

Questionnaire for Religion 101 Professor Mohammed (All information will be treated as confidential) Name Email: Phone: Address: What year are you scheduled to graduate?

What is your major? If you do have a minor, what is it? Have you spoken to Dr. Rebecca Moore about the minor in Religious Studies? (Her telephone number is 594-6252) If not, please strongly consider doing so.

Why are you taking this course?

What computer system are you using, IBM/PC or MAC?

On a scale of 1-10, with10 denoting maximum importance, to what extent do you think inclass discussion, by group format, helps in learning?

What are your present extracurricular interests?

Are there any particular topics that you expect, or would like this course to cover?

What would you absolutely NOT want the

9 professor to do in this course?

How do you wish to be addressed? (By your first name, or as Ms./Mr.)

Is there anything else that you would like to tell me?