Courses

This page provides descriptions of my various courses as well as the corresponding syllabi. For additional handouts and course-related materials please visit the Course Materials page.


THRS 110: EXPLORING RELIGIOUS MEANING

Semester: Spring 2014, Summer 2014, Fall 2014


This course examines major issues, important topics and themes, as well as representative concerns from various religious traditions. In contrast to THRS 112: Introduction to World Religions, which emphasizes a traditions-based approach, this course introduces students to the academic study of religion through a topical and thematic approach. In the process, students will gain not only basic literacy concerning religious traditions and phenomena deemed “religious,” but also understanding of interpretative issues in the study of religion. This class thus contextualizes religious activities within the larger contours of human history and relevant issues from comparative religious studies. It also serves as an introduction to Religious Studies as an interdisciplinary academic field and to the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego.

Syllabus 1

Syllabus 2

Blackboard/Olé


THRS 112: INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS

Semester: Fall 2013, Fall 2016 (tentative)


This course examines most of the major religious traditions of the world in terms of their history, worldviews, practices, goals and ideals. These include the religions of the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and Europe (Protestant Christianity), commonly identified as “Western,” and the religions of South Asia (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism) and East Asia (Confucianism and Daoism), commonly identified as “Eastern.” Primary emphasis is placed on historical and geographical origin, though we also discuss later adaptations and developments (e.g., Buddhism in East Asia and world religions in America). Tracing the contours of nine major “world religions,” students have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the diversity of religiosity in various cultures and contexts. In addition, this class contextualizes world religions within the larger contours of human history and relevant issues from comparative religious studies. The course thus serves as an introduction to Religious Studies as an interdisciplinary academic field and to the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego.

Syllabus (Section 03)

Syllabus (Section 04)


THRS 316: THE DAOIST TRADITION

Semester: Spring 2014, Spring 2017 (tentative)

Prerequisite: THRS 110, THRS 112, or consent of instructor


This course examines Daoism (Taoism) in terms of its history, worldviews, practices, goals, and ideals. Beginning with the earliest “Daoist” communities in the fourth century BCE, and ending with the landscape of Daoism in North America, students have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the diversity of the Daoist tradition. In addition, this class contextualizes Daoism within the larger contours of Chinese history and relevant issues from comparative religious studies.

Syllabus (Section 01)

Syllabus (Section 02)


THRS 317: RELIGIONS OF CHINA

Semester: Spring 2015 (tentative)

Prerequisite: THRS 110, THRS 112, or consent of instructor


This course examines Chinese religions in terms of their history, worldviews, practices, goals and ideals. Specific emphasis is placed on the indigenous Chinese religions of Confucianism and Daoism (Taoism) as well as on Sinified forms of Buddhism. The course begins with a survey of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism as historical traditions in China. This is followed by examination of the so-called Three Teachings in contemporary China and then in contemporary American society, including immigrant, ethnic and convert communities. Throughout the learning process, students will not only understand Chinese religions as an integral part of Chinese culture and society, but also consider the effects of modernization, globalization and transnationalism. In addition, this class will contextualize Chinese religions within the larger contours of Chinese history, society and culture and within relevant issues from comparative religious studies.

Syllabus (Section 03)

Syllabus (Section 01)

Blackboard/Olé


THRS 394: COMPARATIVE MYSTICISM

(Formerly THRS 494)

Semester: Fall 2013, Fall 2016 (tentative)

Prerequisite: THRS 110, THRS 112, or consent of instructor


Emphasizing peer-directed conversation, this course is a seminar on mystical literature and mystical experience from a historical contextualist, textual, comparative perspective. The course examines mystical experience (experience of the sacred) in various religious traditions through close textual analysis of important and representative texts.


Nota Bene: This course is only recommended for highly motivated and engaged students. It is a peer-taught seminar, meaning that many meetings will be facilitated by students. This course is reading intensive, so students are expected to read carefully and come prepared to discuss relevant texts each day.

Syllabus

Blackboard/Olé


THRS 394: CONTEMPLATIVE TRADITIONS

(Formerly THRS 494)

Semester: Fall 2014, Fall 2017 (tentative)

Prerequisite: THRS 110, THRS 112, or consent of instructor


Emphasizing peer-directed conversation, this course is a seminar on meditation and contemplative prayer from a historical contextualist, textual, comparative and experiential perspective. The course examines contemplative practice in various religious traditions through close textual analysis of important and representative texts.


Nota Bene: This course is only recommended for highly motivated and engaged students. It is a peer-taught seminar, meaning that many meetings will be facilitated by students. This course is reading intensive, so students are expected to read carefully and come prepared to discuss relevant texts each day. Students also are required to practice one self-selected form of meditation throughout the semester. While this is an excellent opportunity to explore meditation through a practical and experiential perspective, the course is, first and foremost, a critical investigation of contemplative practice in terms of the academic study of religion.

Syllabus