The University of Dayton.  
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.

 Requirements:  READINGS & ASSIGNMENTS (below)

I.  Required text: The primary text will be
    Michael Barnes, In the Presence of Mystery,     
1third Publications, 2003.
    [Get the 2003 edition with the red and blue cover
     (to the right here) so the online notes match]

II.  Required readings and reports

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 you.
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 Readings 
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 readings").  

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 Readings.")

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 more words 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
     arrangement with the teacher

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 words.

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 teacher.

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; make this 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+" quality.