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Religious Studies Department Chair

Daniel McFee, Ph.D. FACULTY Professors: Thomas Forsthoefel, Ph.D.; Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D. Associate Professor: Daniel McFee, Ph.D.; Robert von Thaden, Ph.D.

II and one other from the other Core Categories, not including Category X) and that all students are required to take the Ethics Capstone Course (Category X), which includes RLST 405 Social Ethics. Thus, with careful planning, students in Religious Studies can meet several core requirements while fulfilling their major and minor requirements. Additionally, specific courses in the Catholic Studies program (CST), listed below, may contribute to major and minor course requirements as well.

Take at least two of the following courses: RLST 110 Understanding Scripture RLST 205 Western Christian Heritage RLST 210 New Testament & Instructor: Mr. Caesar Montevecchio, Ph.D. candidate Christian Origins RLST 245 Christian Spiritual Traditions Adjunct Faculty: Gregory Baker, M.A.; Jeffrey Cagle, MTS; RLST 270 Women and Scripture Edward Curtin, M.A.; RLST 280 Prophetic Traditions Anne Osborn, Ph.D., cand.; Rev. James Piszker, M.Div.; RLST 290 Wisdom Literature Richard Shewman, Ph.D. RLST 320 American Religious Thought RLST 390 Apocalyptic Literature: Apocalypse to Zombie CST 200 Exploring Catholicism CST 250 Theology of the Church Mercyhurst University understands the academic study of religion as an important discipline within the overall humanities curriculum. Religious experience and inquiry are taken seriously in the Mercy educational tradition because they are integral to the human quest for meaning and value. The Religious Studies Department respects the religious freedom of its students who are encouraged to think creatively and critically about religious and theological questions. The spirit of ecumenical and interfaith openness is a characteristic of both Mercyhurst University and the religious studies department. The College affirms its Roman Catholic heritage and identity while also honoring and studying other religious traditions. The department also fosters awareness of justice issues that emerge within religious traditions and our global society. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, consisting of ten courses, and a Religious Studies minor, consisting of six. A 2.5 GPA is required of all seeking a major, minor or associate degree from this department. The study of a foreign language is highly encouraged for all students in this major.

A formal request for delay of this review into the third year requires special permission from the department director.


Courses in Religious Studies feature writing and the development of writing skills as a constitutive part of the program. All courses require essays, papers, critiques and give the opportunity for revisions and for consultation with faculty for improving critical writing skills.


Assistant Professors: Verna Ehret, Ph.D.; Richard McCarty, Ph.D.



3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits


Take at least two of the following courses: RLST 200 Contemporary Moral Issues RLST 255 Religious Perspectives on Human Relationships RLST 260 Catholic Symbols and Sacraments RLST 275 Liberation, Religion, and Society RLST 300 Science and Religion RLST 310 Religion, Modernity, and Post-Modernity RLST 345 Philosophy of Religion RLST 375 Religion and the Environment RLST 380 Christology RLST 405 Social Ethics RLST 440 Peace and Justice



3 credits 3 credits

3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits 3 credits

Take at least two of the following courses: RLST 100 Introduction to Religious Studies 3 credits RLST 250 Eastern Philosophy 3 credits RLST 285 World Religions 3 credits RLST 325 Religion, Enculturation and Pluralism in America 3 credits RELIGIOUS STUDIES MAJOR AND MINOR RLST 330 Hinduism 3 credits The Religious Studies program is organized into these RLST 360 Buddhism 3 credits principal areas: biblical-historical, systematic-ethical, and RLST 370 Islam 3 credits comparative-cultural. The Religious Studies major RLST 385 Poetry of the Sacred 3 credits requires at least two courses from each of the three RLST 420 Mysticism 3 credits areas and four electives. The Religious Studies minor requires one course from each of the three areas and any SECOND YEAR EVALUATION other three electives from those areas. Among the ten or At the end of two years, each major/minor student’s six courses for majors or minors, students in their junior progress is reviewed to determine continuation in the or senior years are required to take RLST 480 Seminar in program. Special attention is paid to an ongoing Religious Studies, the capstone course of the program. commitment to intellectual growth and to the Note that two Religious Studies courses are required of maintenance of the 2.5 GPA minimum requirement. all students as part of the Core Curriculum (Category

RLST 100. Introduction to Religious Studies The purpose of this introductory course is to provide students with the foundational skills of the academic study of religion in order to apply them to an increased understanding of the role of religion in contemporary society. The course presents a broad overview that will provide students with a foundation for topical courses in the Religious Studies Department as well as the ability to engage religion thoughtfully and knowledgably in other disciplines. ~A HELM Course~ 3 credits. RLST 110. Understanding Scripture A survey is made of Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Special attention is paid to the multiplicity of voices in the biblical texts and the continuation of biblical storylines outside of the biblical canon may be explored. The latest findings of biblical scholarship will be used to illuminate the texts under investigation. This course presumes very little knowledge of scripture. 3 credits. RLST 200. Contemporary Moral Issues Course explores moral issues both personal and social, in light of Christian Scriptures, tradition, and human experience. A Roman Catholic perspective on these issues is emphasized. 3 credits. RLST 205. Western Christian Heritage This course examines the impact of significant Christian thinkers on Western culture. As we will see, the development of a Western Christian heritage was neither monolithic nor predetermined. It is rather the historical result of argument and debate among a plurality of voices throughout the centuries. We will explore the influence these voices have on the way various contemporary Christians groups conceptualize theology and authority. 3 credits. RLST 210. New Testament and Christian Origins This course engages the foundational documents of Christianity and examines how these texts emerged over time as an authoritative collection that came to be regarded as Scripture. In addition to contexualizing these documents in their indigenous religious/philosophical/cultural environments, special attention will be paid to the formation of diverse early Christian communities based on differences in their use of a multiplicity of Jesus traditions. Examining how different Christian groups thought about and used authoritative texts in the ancient world will help

2013-2014 Mercyhurst University Course Catalog •