||The University of
RELIGION 103 Introduction to the Study of Religion
Summer Study at Home, 2004,
Sections ZP (regular summer
section) & ZS (for seniors finishing up)
Michael H. Barnes, Ph.D., instructor. email@example.com
Requirements: READINGS & ASSIGNMENTS (below)
|I. Required text: The primary text will
Michael Barnes, In the Presence of Mystery,
[Get the 2003 edition with the red and blue
(to the right here) so the online notes
II. Required readings and
Reports on the Textbook
There are ten reports due on the text. You can
"bundle" some reports together and send them in a batch if
that suits your schedule. Keep in mind that you need to add 9
different reports on readings. They can be attached to any of
the 10 reports about chapters in the text or sent separately.
Each chapter needs about 1000 words of summary and comment by
1. A single brief report on the introduction to the
book. Explain the major topics of this intro, giving examples
from your own experience. The purpose of this brief report to
give you a chance to get early feedback on the quality of your work.
2. A single report on chs. 1 &2, using the material of ch. 1
to explain and illustrate the materials in ch. 2. You may attach
a couple pages on one of the relevant readings also -- e.g., Werner,
and/or Freud and/or Eliade if you choose any of these to report on.
3. A report on chs. 3 & 4. addressing the question of how
belief in a single incomprehensible Ultimate in various religions
(describe the major examples of this in the text) may arise from the
human experience of limit and a capacity for the infinite. You
may attach a couple pages also on readings from the Hindu and Taoist
traditions, if you choose to read these
4. A longer report on the introduction to Part III and chs.
5, 6, & 7. This should be a fairly detailed look at the various
specific ways religion can offer salvation from the three kinds of
estrangement. You can add a couple pages on the "After
death" readings, if you choose, or from Lewis and Huxley.
5. A single report on ch. 8, a long chapter, adding a report on
Kohlberg if you like.
6. A single report on chs. 9 & 10 combined, describing the
various ways in which a tradition is formed, expressed, passed on, and
represented in ritual and symbol, thereby providing a worldview for a
community. A report on the reading from Islam on "Bida"
can be added.
7. A single report on ch. 11, the other major chapter, on the
various possible relations between faith and reason, and some of the
major attempts to rationally support certain beliefs. Reports on
either Aquinas or James or both can be attached to this.
8. A single major report on chs. 12 & 13, on the development
of the modern situation for religion, from early modern science
through strident atheism. You may attach a report on Darwin
and/or on Sartre.
9. A single major report on chs. 14 & 15, on religious
responses in the modern world. You may attach a report on
Fowler's "Stages of Faith."
10. A final report on The Epilogue, with your own critical
comments. (By "critical" I do not mean it has to be
negative. Film "critics" for example often like the
films they critically review.)
Reports on the
These reports should be about 500-600 words each.
In addition to the reports on the
textbook, reports are also due on due on 9
additional required brief readings out of 17 available. (The 17
include alternative readings for a chapter and the 4 "common
For students who will graduate from
the University of Dayton,
four of them must be the Humanities Base
"common readings." Rel 103 is a UD Humanities Base
course. You will find links to these "common readings"
through the Reading Links page for the course. There are reading
guides to be filled out by the UD student for each of these four
readings. (See the link at the left to Reading Guides and "Common
For students at other colleges and
universities, you may choose any 9 of the 17 readings available
(see the next paragraph on this). This includes any of the 4
Humanities Base readings, if you like. If you pick any of these,
use the Reading Guides to make your report. Otherwise, any 9 will do
(See the "Links to Readings" at the left.).
For UD students, in addition to the 4
Humanities Base readings, there will also be 10 other brief readings available through links on the main webpage for this
course, or at the left here through "Links to Readings.". By
email UD students will have to send me a brief commentary of 400 or
on any 5 of them that are of greater interest.
For all students this adds up to a set
of reports on the text, some with additional reports on readings
almost once a week over a ten week period (See the page with
recommendations on scheduling.)
III. Recommended texts (students
working for an A will select one other text from the 5
named here, or from the list of
texts at the end of each chapter through explicit
The report on any of these (or an
approved substitute) should both summarize the content in general
ways, adding specifics from the text to illustrate the general
statements you make, and it should note how the content relates to
some aspects or topics of the main text. The report should be
the equivalent of 10-12 double spaced page, or about 4,000 to 5,000
Ninian Smart, Worldviews,
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983 (Read any half).
James W. Shire, The Universe Next
Door, InterVarsity Press, 1997 (Read any 2/3).
Leslie Stevenson and David L. Habermas,
Ten Theories of Human Nature, 1998. (Read any half.)
Malise Ruthven, Islam in the World
2000. (Read any half)
Gary L. Comstock, Religious
Autobiographies. 1995. (Read any sections that add up to at
least 120 pages.)
(See the "Notes on Books"
link at the left above for more on these books.)
For substitutes for any of these, you
are also encouraged to explore the lists of books at the ends of the
chapters in the main text, In the Presence of Mystery. You will
find books on feminist approaches to the divine, or on myth, or on
ritual and symbol, or on religion and science, or on atheism, and so
forth. Check out the list of readings on the webpage also. You may be
interested in reading the whole book from which some of the selections
have been taken. But be sure to clear your choices explicitly with the
Basic Readings and Assignments.
The basic assignment for the course, to
earn a "C" for the course ( or a "Satisfactory" --
see next paragraph), is 1) to read
and analyze and report on the primary textbook by Barnes, 2) to
read and do the reading guide assignments for the four "common
reading" texts, and 3) respond to the five of the 13 additional
selected brief readings, available through the web pages for this
course. [You will need to get the password for the Readings Portal page
from the teacher, Barnes.] Each report must give adequate evidence that the student has read and
understood the whole chapter or reading, and must present that
understanding in a complete and intelligible way. Each response to the 9
brief readings must do the same. (Check the reading guides and
instruction sheets for more on how to do this.)
Special note for UD students:
because Rel 103 is part of the General Education program at UD you must
sign up for this course "Option 1" (for an A, B, C,
etc., grade). Non-UD students have the choice of Option 1 or
Option 2. The latter is for a grade of either
"Satisfactory" or "No Credit."
To earn a "B" for the course
the student must first of all fulfill the requirements for a "C."
Secondly, the reports (and reading guide responses) must be of at least
B+ quality. Within two days of the time you have sent a report you
will be give a grade for it. To get a B+ or better, the report
should have no major errors in reporting the position
of the texbook or the readings, clarity in identifying the main points of the authors
and the relationships (or lack of them) among the points, as well as the
completeness and intelligibility already mentioned above.
To earn an "A" for the course
the student must read an additional small book or 1/2 book of a larger
book, write a single report on this additional book;
report fairly thorough (8-10 double-spaced pages), and compare some ideas in this book to a few
segments of the main text. This report generally must be of at least "B+"