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Philosophy and Religion | College Catalog

Majors

Philosophy and Religion

Minors

Peace Studies
Philosophy and Religion

Concentration

Gender Studies
Interfaith Studies

Pre-Professional Programs

Christian Ministry

The Department of Philosophy and Religion focuses on living the questions and engaging the world. The “big questions” of philosophy have shaped people’s understanding of themselves, reality and meaning in life. Religion explores how these same questions relate to individual and communal beliefs, practices, and spiritual commitments in past and present cultures. Study of philosophy and religion develops skills of clear, logical thinking and writing, critical analysis of complex problems, ethical reasoning and understanding different worldviews. These skills are highly valued by employers, particularly in law, policy and humanitarian professions.

Majoring in philosophy and religion also prepares students for graduate programs in philosophy or religion, as well as professional graduate degrees in Christian ministry, mediation or counseling.

Students may choose to focus their studies on philosophies of being and knowing, world religions, ethics, interfaith studies or Christian studies.

Philosophy of Being and Knowing focuses on the nature of reality and of knowledge, including the possibilities and limits of knowing.

World Religions focuses on a variety of religious traditions, including their beliefs, practices, texts, ethics, and historical and social contexts.

Study in philosophies of being and knowing or in world religions prepare students for careers in legislative and policy, humanitarian, law or academic fields.

Ethics focuses on theories and history of ideas of the right and the good, and applications of those concepts to different contemporary issues. Study in ethics prepares students for careers in law, humanitarian, policy, academic or ethics fields.

Interfaith Studies focuses on theories and practices that promote peace between the religions of the world. Interfaith Studies prepares students for humanitarian or counseling/mediation careers.

Christian Studies focuses on history of the ideas and practices of Christianity, especially in relation to topics in history, culture and ethics. Christian Studies prepares students for service, careers and graduate study in the history, texts, theology and practices of Christianity.

Pre-Professional Programs

The philosophy and religion major with a focus on Christian Studies (see previous) qualifies one as an applicant to a seminary or university divinity school to pursue a master of arts or a master of divinity degree, a prerequisite for ordination to the ministry in most Christian denominations.

Philosophy and Religion Major

Requires the bachelor of arts degree. Consists of 33 credits including the following courses:

Examines fundamental themes of philosophy suchas the possibility and nature of knowledgewhether or not human beings are free argumentsfor and against the existence of God the natureof good and evil what makes a good life andmortality.Corequisites PDP-150 or PDP-350 and ENG-110General Education philosophy or religion

Unit(s): 3

The objective of this course is to introduce to1) the variety of intellectual disciplines bymeans of which religions may be studied and 2)the basic concepts that make up a religiousworldview including concepts of the sacredreligious symbolism myth doctrine ritualsoteriology and ethics. A central question ofthe course is how and to what degree theseconcepts and practices cross over between worldreligions including Judaism ChristianityIslam Hinduism Buddhism Chinese traditionsJapanese traditions and secular humanism. Theprofessor will acquaint students with a varietyof methodologies within the field of ReligiousStudies from theological literary andhistorical to anthropological sociological andphenomenological approaches. A handful of filmswill be screened that illustrate particularconcepts practices and struggles within severalreligious traditions.Prerequisite ENG 110General Education Philosophy or ReligionExperiential Learning

Unit(s): 3

Traces the history of Western thought from itsfoundations with the Presocratic thinkers Platoand Aristotle to its offspring in Hellenisticthought and down to Medieval thought.Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110General Education philosophy or religionEthical Reasoning & Writing Intensive Alternate years offered 2017-2018

Unit(s): 3

PHIL/
Intensive study research and discussion in afield of current interest in philosophy andreligion. This is the required senior seminar forPhilosophy and Religions majors.Prerequisites Minimum of 18 credit hours ofcourse work in the Department of Philosophy andReligion

Unit(s): 3

Choose one course from the following:

Christian beginnings with emphasis upon theliterature and thought of the early Christiancommunity. Introduces information and skillsnecessary for examining the New Testamentdocuments and their relevance in the history ofWestern culture.Prerequisite ENG 110General education philosophy or religion

Unit(s): 3

History literature and faith of the Hebrewpeopleas revealed in the study of specific topics inHebrew Scriptures. Designated material in theHebrew Bible will be examined through theinsightsof literary analysis archaeology anthropologyand historical criticism with special emphasis oninterpretive methods.Prerequisites ENG 110General Education philosophy or religion

Unit(s): 3

Choose one course from the following:

Examines significant ethical theories such asthose based upon duty the results of actionsvirtue the benefit of actions to self and thebenefit of actions to others. We will examineprimary texts from thinkers such as AristotleMill Kant and Nietzsche.Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP-350 ENG-110General education philosophy and religion andethical reasoning

Unit(s): 3

A critical survey of ethical perspectives adissues in the thought and practices of severalreligious traditions.Prerequisites PDP-150 or PDP-350 and ENG 110General education philosophy and religion andethical reasoning

Unit(s): 3

Choose one course from the following:

Major living religions of the Near East stressinga sympathetic understanding of the illuminationwhich is provided the adherents of each for dailyliving as well as some of the culturalexpressions of each in those societies where theyflourish. Religions studied include JudaismChristianity and Islam.Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110General Education world culturesAlternate years offered 2017-2018

Unit(s): 3

Major living religions of the Far East stressinga sympathetic understanding of the illuminationwhich is provided the adherents of each for dailyliving as well as some of the culturalexpressions of each in those societies where theyflourish. Religions studied include HinduismBuddhism and native Chinese religion.Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110General Education world culturesAlternate years offered 2016-2017

Unit(s): 3

And nine additional credits approved by the department and in consultation with the academic advisor.

Philosophy and Religion Minor

Consists of 18 credit hours selected from philosophy and religion courses in consultation with the advisor in the minor and based on the student’s interests, graduate school plans or professional plans.

Peace Studies Minor

Addresses the continuing need for effective alternatives to structures of conflict and violence. Prepares students for careers in conflict transformation, mediation or humanitarian work. Consists of 18 credit hours including the following courses:

Biblical historical and social attitudes toward violence and peace including a study of political social and scientific factors that affect violence at the interpersonal and through war at the international levels of human experience. A seminar approach is used. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110 General Education philosophy or religion and Ethical Reasoning

Unit(s): 3

Personal and social ethical issues from the perspective of contemporary writings of Christian ethicists. Normative and contextual approaches. An examination of the relationship between religion and culture. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110 General Education philosophy or religion Ethical Reasoning & Writing Intensive Offered on demand

Unit(s): 3

-or-
A critical survey of ethical perspectives ad issues in the thought and practices of several religious traditions. Prerequisites
Taught in the style of a seminar a small group of students learn thinking skills through discussion debate peer review and brainstorming. Context varies from section to section. Incoming students rank topic preferences and then are assigned to a section. Focuses specifically on two key areas of personal development (1) intellectual growth is stimulated through systematic critical questioning and (2) a sense of community involvement and responsibility is developed through classroom group work collaborative learning and a class community engagement project. The course also contains success skill exercises and college orientation information including an introduction to the portfolio program. General education 2014 master core skills

Unit(s): 3
or
An introduction to the academic community of Bridgewater College to the liberal arts and to the skills of critical thinking and reflective writing specifically designed for transfer students. Transfer students will explore the unique challenges of integrating into a liberal arts educational environment and will begin the process of documenting their experiences and growth in the four dimensions of personal development intellectual growth and discovery citizenship and community responsibility ethical and spiritual growth and emotional maturation and physical health. general education 2014 master core skills

Unit(s): 3
and ENG 110 General education philosophy and religion and ethical reasoning

Unit(s): 3

SOC/
A broad introduction to the field familiarizes students with conflict and practical approaches to its transformation. Personal communication and conflict styles negotiation skills interpersonal mediation and facilitation of group decision-making and problem-solving strategies are examined. Participation in discussions exercises analyses role-plays and simulations frame the course. In addition to the regularly scheduled meeting times one Saturday session is included. Prerequisites SOC 101

Unit(s): 3

And three of the following courses:

Examines pressing moral and philosophical questions that have become major political issues of our day. Problems considered include abortion sexism racism drugs privacy and censorship civil disobedience and others of interest to the group. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110 General Education philosophy or religion and ethical reasoning Alternate years offered 2016-2017

Unit(s): 3

Upon approval of the Department and the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs a student with a cumulative grade point average of 2.20 or better may engage in an independent study or research project. One desiring to pursue independent study or research must submit a written description of the proposed work to the chair of the appropriate department and to the Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs by the first day of the semester in which the study is to be conducted. At the end of the semester the supervising professor files with the Registrar a grade for the student and a description of the work accomplished. Credit may be received for not more than three independent studies or research projects.

Unit(s): 3

REL/
Social and political structures of the Church issues in theology and ethics. A survey of the history of the Church from the Apostolic Age to the present time. Prerequisite ENG 110 General Education philosophy or religion Offered on demand

Unit(s): 3

From its beginning to the present day. Emphasis upon understanding the church today in light of its historical development with a special focus on Brethren doctrines and practices. Prerequisite ENG 110 Offered on demand

Unit(s): 3

Major living religions of the Near East stressing a sympathetic understanding of the illumination which is provided the adherents of each for daily living as well as some of the cultural expressions of each in those societies where they flourish. Religions studied include Judaism Christianity and Islam. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110 General Education world cultures Alternate years offered 2017-2018

Unit(s): 3

A brief history of peace studies in the United States current issues in peace studies studies in the philosophy of civilization the roles of violence and nonviolence in protest and revolution and the roles of church and state in peacemaking. Prerequisites ENG 110 Offered on demand

Unit(s): 3

Upon approval of the Department and the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs a student with a cumulative grade point average of 2.20 or better may engage in an independent study or research project. One desiring to pursue independent study or research must submit a written description of the proposed work to the chair of the appropriate department and to the Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs by the first day of the semester in which the study is to be conducted. At the end of the semester the supervising professor files with the Registrar a grade for the student and a description of the work accomplished. Credit may be received for not more than three independent studies or research projects.

Unit(s): 3

Examines human understanding of the institution of warfare and alternative means of managing large-scale conflict. Also studies the concept of peace including the personal and policy implications of the various definitions of the term. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110 General Education Global Dynamics & Writing Intensive Alternate years offered 2017-2018

Unit(s): 3

Examines the continuity and changes in the contexts structures processes actors and issues of U.S. foreign policy in the 20th and 21st centuries. Alternate years offered 2016-2017

Unit(s): 3

Explores the nature of international law and its similarities and differences with domestic law. Examines the institutions rules and organizations that provide the context for global interactions in an increasingly globalizing world. Case studies include issues such as human rights the International Criminal Court the World Trade Organization and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110 Writing Intensive Course Alternate years offered 2015-2016

Unit(s): 3

Dilemmas tensions and theoretical and policy issues related to the position of Third World countries in the modern world. Questions of urbanization industrialization modernization westernization and distribution of economic resources are discussed. Various theories of development and underdevelopment are critically examined. Prerequisite PDP-150 or PDP-350 and SOC 101 General education global dynamics

Unit(s): 3

Courses listed on a student's plan of the major in philosophy and religion are excluded.

Gender Studies Concentration

An interdisciplinary program, consisting of 12 credit hours, designed for students in any major to understand more clearly the role that social constructions of gender shape histories, cultures, institutions and identities. Courses allow students to develop critical analytic skills in examining gender through the lenses of communication studies, history, politics, philosophy, psychology and sociology. Excellent preparation for careers in law, policy, humanitarian or ethics fields.

Students must complete any four of the following courses:

Students will develop theoretical and practical understandings of the role of sex and gender in verbal and nonverbal communication friendships families romantic relationships and professional relationships. This course also examines the issues of technology health power and violence as they related to sex and gender.

Unit(s): 3

Examines the medias role in creating and re-creating our understanding of gender race and class. Includes a historical perspective and traces how these representations have changed over time the forces that have affected representations of gender race and class and the current state of their representation in the media. A field trip to at least one museum in Washington D.C. is planned depending upon exhibits available at the time (e.g. National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonians American History Museum). 2017 Interterm Estimated Extra Cost 100

Unit(s): 3

FCS/
Examination of the human family historically and comparatively in various cultures with major emphasis placed upon the modern American family. Included are such topics as the diversity of family structures the social construction of emotions gender expectations and roles parenting the life cycle and family tensions. Prerequisite SOC 101 and ENG 110 Writing Intensive

Unit(s): 3

Explores womens histories within various global contexts. It stresses the construction of gender norms and their evolution over time and encourages comparison of womens lives and experiences across various cultural contexts. Topics include womens political rights and participation womens education and literacy womens sexuality and reproduction andor womens work. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 General education global dynamics

Unit(s): 3

Explores the role of women in American and global politics in order to understand the role of identity institutions and social movements in democracy. Topics include womens influence on the development of the modern American welfare state feminism public policy issues of special importance to women and social movement strategies. Alternate years offered 2017-2018

Unit(s): 3

Introduces ethical issues related to gender race and class. Surveys the development of identity-related critiques of traditional ethical theories and examines how the concept of the good life is related to identity. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110 General Education philosophy or religion Ethical Reasoning & Writing Intensive Alternate years offered 2016-2017

Unit(s): 3

PHIL/
A supervised practicum experience in a public or private organization that addresses womens and gender-related issues. The practicum requires 120 hours of field participation over the semester weekly journals and a final substantive scholarly paper. Prerequisites
Taught in the style of a seminar a small group of students learn thinking skills through discussion debate peer review and brainstorming. Context varies from section to section. Incoming students rank topic preferences and then are assigned to a section. Focuses specifically on two key areas of personal development (1) intellectual growth is stimulated through systematic critical questioning and (2) a sense of community involvement and responsibility is developed through classroom group work collaborative learning and a class community engagement project. The course also contains success skill exercises and college orientation information including an introduction to the portfolio program. General education 2014 master core skills

Unit(s): 3
or
An introduction to the academic community of Bridgewater College to the liberal arts and to the skills of critical thinking and reflective writing specifically designed for transfer students. Transfer students will explore the unique challenges of integrating into a liberal arts educational environment and will begin the process of documenting their experiences and growth in the four dimensions of personal development intellectual growth and discovery citizenship and community responsibility ethical and spiritual growth and emotional maturation and physical health. general education 2014 master core skills

Unit(s): 3
at least one course from the (proposed) gender studies concentration sophomore standing and permission of instructor

Unit(s): 3

Overview of the psychological social and biological aspects of sexuality that will be of use for communicating with romantic partners doctors and family members. Topics include sexual anatomy and physiology sexually transmitted diseases methods of contraception prenatal sexual differentiation sex research attraction and love sexual orientation and sexual dysfunction and sexual ethics. Prerequisite PSY 101 or SOC 101 and junior or senior standing.

Unit(s): 3

Investigation of the interaction between gender and social control in the United States and cross-culturally. The gendered nature of criminal activity is examined empirically and theoretically. The justice system including the correctional treatment of women is examined for its relationship to historical shifts in the status and treatment of women. Prerequisite SOC 101 Alternate years offered 2018-2019

Unit(s): 3

Introduction to a variety of conceptual frameworks and theoretical lenses relating to human gender and sexualities including social constructionism political economy and cultural studies. A critical global historical and sociological approach will be emphasized to unpack gendered ad sexualized social structures like patriarchy heterosexism and hegemonic masculinity. Special attention will be paid to social movements and challenges to powerresource inequalities made by gender and sexuality-based minority groups. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and SOC 101 Offered alternate years 2016-2017 General Education global dynamics

Unit(s): 3

Interfaith Studies Concentration

The concentration in Interfaith Studies is an interdisciplinary program, consisting of 10 credit hours. The concentration allows students in any major and/or pre-professional program to acquire the knowledge base and skills needed to work within and across religious diversity to promote peace, stability, and enduring cooperation and problem-solving across religious difference.

Students must complete the following courses:

This course introduces theoretical and practicalparadigms within the emerging field of InterfaithStudies. It explores how college students canbecome interfaith advocates and leaders who shiftpublic discourse and practices from conflict tocooperation. It teaches foundational tenetswithin multiple religious traditions thatadvocate for and promote peace skills inherentto interfaith advocacy current interreligiousissues in the news and successful models ofinterfaith understanding and cooperation. It willprovide foundational concepts and skills forstudents interested in Global Studies InterfaithStudies and Peace Studies. Prerequisite PDP-150 or PDP-350

Unit(s): 3

This course is the one-credit capstone seminar ofthe Interfaith Studies concentration. It willbring students in the concentration together fromtheir different disciplinary and pre-professionalprograms to reflect together upon their learningwhile in concentration courses and to explore howthe core competencies of Interfaith Studiestranslate into their academic and professionalareas of interest. Much of the course willinvolve interfaith case studies relevant to eachof the range of academic and professional domainsof the concentration (health seriespre-medpolitical sciencepre-law interfaithstudiespre-ministry sociologypre-social workand communicationstheatre. Emphasis will be onreflection upon cases and experiences and publicdeliberation skills. An interview with a localreligious leader will also be assigned.Prerequisites REL-215 and 2 additionalconcentration courses

Unit(s): 1


And two courses from the following:

Examination of the development of US SupremeCourt decisions in the areas of civil rights andcivil liberties. Topics include first amendmentrights to freedom of speech press and assemblydue process rights and rights to equalprotection. This course also considers the FirstAmendment as a site for interfaith dialogue. Alternate years offered 2016-2017

Unit(s): 3

Delineates a new field of Neuroethics concernedwith the social legal and ethical implicationsof modern research on the brain. Brings togethercontemporary writings from neuroscientistsbioethicists public policy makers and scholarsin the humanities for discussion and debate onthese issues. The relationship between differentfaith and philosophical positions on decisionmaking from an applied (clinical) perspectivewill also be investigated.PDP-150 or PDP-350 ENG-110 and PSY-101 andPSY-210 or BIOL-110 or permission ofinstructorGeneral education ethical reasoningAlternate years offered 2017-2018

Unit(s): 3

A critical survey of ethical perspectives adissues in the thought and practices of severalreligious traditions.Prerequisites PDP-150 or PDP-350 and ENG 110General education philosophy and religion andethical reasoning

Unit(s): 3

Biblical historical and social attitudes towardviolence and peace including a study ofpolitical social and scientific factors thataffect violence at the interpersonal and throughwar at the international levels of human andinterfaith experience. A seminar approach isused.Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 and ENG 110General Education philosophy or religion andEthical Reasoning

Unit(s): 3

Examination of how society supports controls andconstrains our arrival into and departure fromthe world revealing the ways that events oftenassumed to be natural are in fact conditionedby social and cultural forces. Special emphasison the communication of cultural norms regardingbirth and death the impact of advances inmedicine and technology and how birth and deathbecome cultural metaphors for other socialphenomena. The course includes an interfaithstudies component focused on Jewish MuslimBuddhist and Native American death rituals.Prerequisite SOC 101

Unit(s): 3

Examination of religion as a powerful force ofsocial cohesion order meaning and change inhuman societies. Special attention will be givento why people are religious or not religious thegrowth and decline of religious organizationsreligious conversion and loss of faith theimpact of modernity on religion and religiousbelief especially among young and emergingadults. The social context in which variousreligious communities exist and how they shapeand are being shaped by their social context willalso be investigated.Prerequisites PDP-150 or PDP-350 ENG-110 andSOC-101FILA Ethical Reasoning

Unit(s): 3

This course will introduce the student to thephysical vocal and mental worlds of variousstyles and techniques of non-realisticperformance traditions. Students will experimentwith a variety of acting styles and techniquesincluding physical masked post-modernnon-western and devised performance. Thiscourse includes interfaith components of easternmeditative movement and centering practices asthey are linked to acting methods and techniques. This course is a practical expression of thetheoretical and historical. Textual analysisscene work monologues and various trainingexercises will be used. Corequisite PDP-150 or PDP-350

Unit(s): 3