New religion courses explore depth

Chasity Pugh

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As students bring in the spring semester with new classes, the Religious Studies Department has added new courses to give students different alternatives to learning about religions.

Eco-Feminist Theologies and Encountering the Gospel & Letters of John are two of the courses offered this semester to students looking to take a common curriculum religion course.

These two classes give students who have taken introductory religion courses the opportunity to learn about religion through feminist and ecological movements or the theological themes and historical context of the Gospel of John.

Gilberto Ruiz, assistant professor of religious studies, said that he was invited by Terri Bednarz, chairwoman of the department of religious studies, to teach the Encountering the Gospel & Letters of John course this semester and highly recommends that students take this course.

“A lot can be learned from interpreting the Gospel and Letters of John. One of the main things is how the early Christian communities made sense of their belief in Jesus,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said that while the Gospel of John is a classic and influential piece of literature, it can be difficult to interpret and appreciate if you have only taken one or two classes about it.

“In order to fully understand it over longer periods of time, one must learn it in depth,” Ruiz said.

James Dugan, who teaches a World Religion course this semester, said that while the class teaches students the basics of religions, like where and who started it, it does expose students to different beliefs.

“This course is obviously a requirement that all students must take, so we try to make it as painless as possible and expose students to different ideas,” Dugan said.

Trent DarDar, gender and sexuality studies sophomore, said that keeping an open mind throughout his introductory religion course was crucial in understanding the world’s religions and the world that we live in today.

“I took Intro to World Religions in my second semester, and it was one of the most interesting courses I’ve taken. Since I was raised in Catholicism, my knowledge of other religions was limited,” DarDar said.

DarDar is enrolled in Buddhism Across Asia and Eco-Feminist Theologies this semester and said that the subject matter was a driving force in taking the courses.

“As a gender and sexuality studies major, I think having a broad spectrum of religious knowledge will aid in my understanding of some world issues that persist today,” DarDar said.