Religion

Kenneth Brashier

Chinese religions.

Michael Foat

Christianity.

Edwin Gerow, Emeritus

Religions of India.

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri

Islam. On leave 2006-07.

Kyriell Noon

Islam.

Christopher Roberts

Modern Western religious thought.

Emma Wasserman

Early Christianity.

Steven M. Wasserstrom

Judaism.

The academic study of religion is an integral part of the liberal arts. The aims of the curriculum are two: to introduce students to the various religious traditions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, for example—and to acquaint students with a variety of recognized methodologies employed in the study of religion—philosophical, social scientific, and historical. The department’s courses serve both to develop in students the capacity for critical assessment of religious thought and action, and to provide an adequate grounding for independent, analytic inquiry into the history of religious traditions.

The curriculum of the department reflects the staff’s commitment to a diversity of approaches in religious studies. Majors in religion are expected to be familiar with this methodological and theoretical spectrum, and to concentrate upon particular approaches in their research.

While the study of religion is an independent academic field, the department encourages the pursuit of interdisciplinary work in philosophy, classics, literature, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and other fields.

Besides providing the foundation for a liberal education, a major in religion can prepare students for advanced study in the field, for the ministry, or for other vocations.

Requirements for the Major

  1. One of Religion 152, 153, 155, 157, 159 or 160.
  2. Religion 201 (theories and methods).
  3. Religion 301 (history of religions).
  4. At least 4 additional units in religion, two of which must be at the 300 level or above.
  5. Religion 399 (junior seminar).
  6. Religion 470 (senior thesis).
  7. Completion of two units in a foreign language of at least the second-year level or demonstration, by means acceptable to the department, of equivalent proficiency. To satisfy this requirement a student must do one of the following: pass a second-year language course at Reed, pass a second-year language course that has been approved by the department at another accredited college or university, or pass a language placement examination at the second year or higher level. A number of placement examinations are offered at Reed every year during orientation. Students desiring to meet the language requirement by any means other than second-year coursework at Reed should consult with their adviser in advance. The department recommends students study the sacred language of a religion in which they are especially interested.

Recommended but not required: Humanities 210, 220, or 230.

Requirements for the Interdisciplinary Major


  1. One of Religion 152, 153, 155, 157, 159 or160.
  2. Religion 201 (theories and methods).
  3. Religion 301 (history of religions).
  4. Three other units in religion.
  5. Course requirements as specified by the related discipline.
  6. Completion of two units in a foreign language of at least the second-year level or demonstration, by means acceptable to the department, of equivalent proficiency. To satisfy this requirement a student must do one of the following: pass a second-year language course at Reed, pass a second-year language course that has been approved by the department at another accredited college or university, or pass a language placement examination at the second year or higher level. A number of placement examinations are offered at Reed every year during orientation. Students desiring to meet the language requirement by any means other than second-year coursework at Reed should consult with their adviser in advance.
  7. Religion 399 (junior seminar).
  8. Religion 470 (senior thesis).

Religion Course Descriptions



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