Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus Residence Halls

Religious Studies


Prerequisite/Corequisite Key

P = Course must be taken previously C = Course must be taken concurrently E = Course can be taken previously or concurrently
(RQ) = Required (RM) = Recommended  

RELST 175

First Year Seminars

3 credit hours

A seminar designed to introduce first-year students to university level academic study while fulfilling a General Education requirement in Religious Studies. Course topics vary.

RELST 210

Roman Catholic Tradition

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of the foundational elements of the Catholic faith, namely the Catholic understanding of God, Jesus as the Christ and human personhood, and how these elements interrelate in the contemporary Catholic theology. Special attention will be given to the changes introduced in the Second Vatican Council and some of the more contentious issues in the American Catholic church.

RELST 220

Bible I: Old Testament Religion

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of the religion, history and culture of ancient Israel based upon a critical examination of the Hebrew scriptures within the context of ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Attention is given to the contemporary relevance of Israel's faith to the Christian church.

RELST 221

Bible II: New Testament Religion

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of the basic religious and cultural characteristics of early Christianity based upon a critical analysis of the New Testament as understood within the context of Jewish and Greco-Roman religious and literary traditions.

RELST 240

The Religious Other

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an introduction to the comparative religious enterprise in ancient literature and modern scholarship. Focusing on the problems of contact, coexistence and conflict between religious communities, this course will explore the perennial struggle to make sense of other religions. Special attention will be given to the strategies of inclusion, exclusion and dialogue that have characterized the history of religions from the earliest times to present day.

RELST 241

Hindu Tradition

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an introduction to the Hindu religious tradition. The course will focus on the most important periods, movements and aspects of the development of this multi-layered belief system in South Asia. Attention will be given to mythology, ritual practice, the arts and society from the earliest archaeological evidence to the modern period.

RELST 242

Buddhist Tradition

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an introduction to the Buddhist religious tradition. Attention will be given to its mythology, ritual practice, sacred texts and society. The course will begin with the origins of the Buddhist tradition in India and examine its development in various regions and periods up to the present day.

RELST 244

East Asian Religions

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an introduction to the major ideas and movements that have shaped the religious landscape of East Asia. Focusing on the religious history and experience of a particular region (China, Vietnam, Korea or Japan), the course investigates the complex interactions and intersections of Confucian, Daoist and local spirit-worship traditions, as well as the influence of religious movements originating outside the East Asian cultural area, especially Buddhism and Christianity.

RELST 247

The Jewish Tradition

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a survey of the history and characteristic religious beliefs and practices of Judaism from its beginning to modern times. Emphasis on major themes (God, Torah, Chosen People, Messianism) and movements.

RELST 249

The Islamic Tradition

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an introduction to the religion of Islam. Attention will be given to its mythology, ritual practice, sacred texts and society. The course will focus on the origins of the Islamic tradition in Arabia, examine its spread through various regions, and culminate in an examination of more recent developments.

RELST 252

Third World Religious Views

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course meets both religious studies requirements and state certification requirements for education majors in a non-Western, Third-World humanities course. It examines contemporary Catholic theology by looking at perspectives generated by Asian, African, indigenous and Central American persons. After examining several of these "voices" and hearing their stories both in print and through film, we will then explore what they have to say about such areas in Catholic theology as church, God, Jesus, sin, liberation and redemption.

RELST 253

Christian Sacraments

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of sacramentality and how this fundamental stance towards the world is the basis for understanding Jesus, the community of disciples called church, and the individual sacraments of the Catholic faith. Special attention will be given to the post-Vatican II emphasis on active participation, the Ecclesial nature of the sacraments, and elements of effective liturgy.

RELST 254

Catholic Social Teaching

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an examination and evaluation of 20th-century Roman Catholic moral teaching on the social order. Includes a close reading of major documents issued by the hierarchy and the theological commentary on these documents. Focus on the themes of the freedom and dignity of human life, war and peace, and economic and political justice.

RELST 257

Religion and Film

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a cultural studies approach to religion that examines the perspectives and concerns of contemporary Americans through the medium of film. The course concentrates on theological themes, symbols and beliefs that are central to the Christian faith and the frequent subject of American films, such as perceptions of God, Jesus Christ, the story of redemption, the belief in and encounter with the dead and perceptions of judgment and the afterlife.

RELST 259

Theologians and Movements

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is designed to offer sustained and detailed study of individual theologians in the Judeo-Christian tradition and important theological movements from the late twentieth century. The focus of the course varies but topics include the Christian Realism of Reinhold Niebuhr, the Civil Rights Movement, the Holocaust, the Second Vatican Council, and the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

RELST 260

Christian Theology: Church

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a survey of the development of the Christian church, beginning in the life of the historical Jesus and culminating in the rich diversity and complexity of the church today. Special attention will be given to post-Vatican II developments, especially the role of church as servant, the ecumenical character of the church and the challenges confronting the church today.

RELST 262

Christian Theology: God

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course will survey the development of the Christian doctrine of God, beginning with the scriptures and concluding with the present. Special attention will be given to post-Vatican II developments.

RELST 263

Christian Theology: Christ

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of the person and significance of Jesus of Nazareth, understood by Christians as the Christ. The course will move from a detailed examination of the historical Jesus, through the development of Christological claims, and conclude with an exploration of contemporary issues in Christology. Particular attention will be given to the understanding of Jesus as liberator and contemporary perspectives on soteriology.

RELST 264

Christian Theology: The Human Person

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an examination of the various Christian understandings of what it means to be a human person and how personal fulfillment is achieved. Although some attention is given to the positions expressed in the New Testament and in the history of theology, the main emphasis is on the contemporary Christian attempts to articulate a coherent theology of the human person.

RELST 265

Christian Ethics

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an introduction to ethics in the context of the Christian tradition. This course devotes attention to ethical theory and its application to contemporary issues.

RELST 266

Suffering and Death

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of central themes, resources and methods employed in Christian theological reflection upon human suffering and death.

RELST 267

Spirituality

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a critical analysis of texts and traditions of spirituality in the West. Focus of study varies, e.g., classic texts, major figures or movements, contemporary approaches, etc.

RELST 271

Jesus and the Gospels

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of the life and teachings of Jesus based upon a critical analysis of both canonical and non-canonical Gospels together with an investigation of the ways in which the image of the historical Jesus was transmitted and transformed within the Christian communities that produced and utilized these gospels.

RELST 273

Women in the Bible

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a study of the Bible (both Hebrew and Christian scriptures) with the specific aim of recovering the place and role of women in this tradition of thought. Such study will draw upon a multidisciplinary approach to critically selected texts in which women are explicitly remembered in a culture and tradition dominated by patriarchal values and systems.

RELST 278

Encountering the Bible through the Centuries

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course introduces students to the history of biblical interpretation and how biblical interpretation relates to theology. It will examine methods of biblical interpretation in the Early Church, Middle Ages, Reformation and the Enlightenment, including the rise of the historical-critical method and theological responses to it. The course will emphasize readings from primary sources.

RELST 284

Religious Experience in The Early Church

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course introduces students to the theology and liturgical practices of the Early Church. Beginning with texts from the late first century, the course will examine what early Christians believed about God, Jesus Christ, and the Church and how they expressed their faith in liturgical worship and spiritual writings. The course will emphasize readings from primary sources.

RELST 286

Medieval Spirituality

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course introduces students to the spiritual theology of the Middle Ages. Beginning with Benedict of Nursia and the rise of Western monasticism, this course will examine how spiritual writers from this period understood God and the world and the roles played by prayer, contemplation, Scripture and the liturgy in the ascent to ineffable union with the divine. The course will examine such themes as Byzantine spirituality, spirituality in medieval universities, women mystics and the lay spirituality of the Late Middle Ages. The course will emphasize readings from primary sources.

RELST 287

Christianity and Modernity

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course introduces students to how Christianity and modernity have developed historically and theologically. Beginning with early modern humanism and a renewed interest in the natural world and ancient texts which developed in the Renaissance, the course examines how religion, philosophy and politics shaped both Christianity and Western culture. Of particular interest will be the role of the Reformation and the Enlightenment in shaping current notions of modernity. The course will emphasize readings from primary sources.

RELST 290

Religion and Literature

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is an examination of selected themes that relate religion and theology to literature. Focus of the course varies, e.g., religious autobiography, religious epic, the Bible as literature, women writers, etc.

RELST 291

Feminist/Womanist Perspectives on Religion

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course is a critical study of various texts and traditions that critique Western patriarchal culture from a feminist/womanist perspective. The course studies the influence of patriarchy on the Christian church and examines alternative models.

RELST 292

Religion and Society

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

This course examines the often-complex relationships between Christianity and American culture in the face of 21st-century challenges posed by religious pluralism, secularization, fundamentalism, alternative spiritualities and the media.

RELST 299

Issues in Religion

3 credit hours

This course includes religious issues that will vary from semester to semester.

RELST 348

Topics in Religious Studies

3 to 4 credit hours

RELST 352

Seminar in Biblical Studies

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

RELST 355

Seminar in Comparative Religions

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

RELST 360

Seminar in Theology

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

RELST 362

Seminar in the History of Theology

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

RELST 389

Independent Study

1 to 3 credit hours

Individual readings and research for upper-level students in Religious Studies. Topic to be determined by instructor and student. Approval of department chair and dean required.

RELST 390

Senior Study

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

For this course, along with collaboration with a faculty consultant, students will design and develop an academically mature synthesis project. Outcome of the project includes a formal presentation with a written component either as a paper prepared for publication or some other project and report approved by the department.