TH550: WORLD RELIGIONS IN CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE. Marque Steele Ireland.
DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this course is twofold. First, it will provide an overview of the worldŐs major religions—Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism—focusing on their emergence and history, core beliefs and practices, religious texts and interpretations, as well as contemporary influence and expressions. Second, this course introduces various approaches on how Christianity relates to other religions and religious pluralisms, technically known as the Ňtheology of religions.Ó We will critically discuss Catholic and Protestant proposals and responses and attempt an outline of Evangelical approaches.
SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: Our global society necessitates that we should be ready not only to witness, but learn from and dialogue with those who do not share similar worldviews.
LEARNING OUTCOMES: By completing this course, the student will (1) gain a workable knowledge of selected world religions focusing on origins, core beliefs, and practices; (2) develop skills in learning how to empathetically understand the religious and spiritual attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, decisions, and practices of the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Sikhs in their own contexts; (3) become sensitive and discerning concerning both similarities and differences among religious beliefs and identities as well as various interreligious approaches and proposals; (4) learn some basics about how to relate to other religions and representatives of religions as well as facilitate dialogue from a Christian perspective.
COURSE FORMAT: Meets from July 30 to Aug 7 in an intensive.
July 30, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM;
July 31, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM;
August 2, 3, 5, and 6, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM.;
August 7, 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM.
Ludwig, T. The Sacred Paths. 4th ed. Prentice Hall, 2005 (selected pp.).
Original texts: Reading of your choice (50 pp. min.), from, e.g., Hindu Vedas or Upanishads, Buddhist Dhammapada or Heart Sutra (Prajna Paramita) or the Muslim Quran (all available online).
Articles from Fuller Online Database
Braswell, G.W., Jr. Islam: Its Prophet, Peoples, Politics and Power. Broadman & Holman, 1996.
Maquire, J. Essential Buddhism. A Complete Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Pocket Books, 2001.
Klostermaier, Klaus K. Hinduism: A BeginnerŐs Guide. Oneworld Publications, 2007.
Theology of Religions and Interfaith Encounter:
Krkkinen, V.-M. An Introduction to the Theology of Religions. InterVarsity Press, 2003 (selected pp.)
Knitter, P. Introducing Theologies of Religions. Orbis, 2002.
Choose one (students may also suggest a title of their own choice to be approved by instructors):
Brockington, J.L. Hinduism and Christianity. St. MartinŐs Press, 1992 (selected pp.).
Buddhist-Christian Studies journal: find at least five articles of your choice.
Christian Witness to Hindus: Report of the Consultation on World Evangelization; Mini-Consultation on Reaching Hindus, Pattaya, Thailand, 16–27 June 1980 (http://www.lausanne.org); AND Sheth, Noel. ŇHindu Avatara and Christian Incarnation,Ó Philosophy of East & West 52/1 (2002): 98-125.
Gross, R.M. & Muck, T.C. Buddhists Talk about Jesus, Christians Talk about the Buddha. Continuum, 2003.
Leukel-Schmitdt, P. Buddhism and Christianity in Dialogue. SCM, 2005.
Leirvik, O. Images of Jesus Christ in Islam. Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research, 1999.
Nazir Ali, Michael. Frontiers in Muslim-Christian Encounter. 1st rpt. Regnum Books, 1991.
RECOMMENDED READING on specific topics provided in course syllabus.
ASSIGNMENTS AND ASSESSMENT: (1) Required reading of 1,200 pages and critical reading responses, 14-18 pp. (45%); (2) Reading from original sources (50 pp.) and 2-page reflective paper (10%); (3) Visit to a religious site and reflective report, 2-3 pp. (10%); (5) Final research paper of 7-9 pp. on a topic of your choice to be approved by instructor (35%).
RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Meets the requirement for World Religions (WREL) in cultural literacy or the requirement in Globalization (GLBL) in MA programs.