Scroll down to read descriptions of the interfaith studies courses offered at Carthage, or click on these links for additional resources:

Understandings of Religion

REL 1000 / 4 credits 
A study of the religious dimension in the lives of individuals, communities, and cultures. Students will explore understandings of religion and roles of religion, along with commonalities and differences in expression of religion. This will be accomplished by examining topics such as God, scripture, ritual, values, ethical issues, and cosmology, as expressed within several specific religious traditions, including Judaism and Christianity.

History of Christian Thought

REL 2000 / 4 credits 
Students will concentrate on major Christian issues, such as dogma, canon, creed, Christology, justification, salvation, word and sacraments, and church unity, from a historical and ecumenical point of view. Special attention will be given to the ways history and cultures have influenced and shaped Christian thought.

Jesus Beyond Christianity

REL 2220 / 4 credits 
This course explores the figure of Jesus on the frontier between Christianity and other world religions. It pursues this topic comparatively examining the images of Jesus (Christologies) of both Christians and non-Christians, particularly the views of Jesus in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.
Prerequisite: REL 1000

Practicum in Religion

REL 3080 / 0 credits 

The student is assigned to a congregational or other religiously affiliated service agency in order to practice leadership in several self-chosen areas of religious ministry. Students will meet regularly with their placement supervisor and will participate in classroom conferences with the professor and other students. Each student will submit complete reports of plans, activities, and complete supplemental readings.
Prerequisite: REL 1000


REL 3100 / 4 credits 
This course is an introduction to the self-definition of Judaism. It will analyze Judaism by examining such central concepts as God, Torah, and Israel. This central self-definition will then be tested by means of close readings of representative texts and by investigating the range of Jewish history. The course will also examine significant events that shaped 20th century Judaism, including the creation of the State of Israel, the Holocaust, and modern American Jewish movements.


REL 3110 / 4 credits 
This course will provide an in-depth introduction to those social, philosophical, and religious phenomena that western observers have called Hinduism. The first part of the course will focus on religious texts, as we explore the roots of the tradition and the flowering of the devotional movement. The latter part of the course will focus more on modern Hindu life in an attempt to give some appreciation of its religious quality. This process will provide some opportunity to reflect on the nature and meaning of religious life, and to consider the ways in which the faith of these men and women can inform our own lives.


REL 3120 / 4 credits 
This course will provide an in-depth introduction to the world of Islam, the most recent of the great faiths tracing its descent from the prophet Abraham. The beginning of the course will examine the roots and development of Islam, and the gradual growth of Islamic institutions. The latter part of the course will focus on modern Muslim life, partly on its individual dimensions, in an effort to convey some appreciation for its religious quality, and to consider the ways in which the faith of these men and women can inform our own lives; but more pointedly on the political influence of Islam, and the ways in which growth of Islamic revivalism has shaped and continues to shape the world in which we live.


REL 3130 / 4 credits 
An intensive look at the world’s oldest missionary religion, from its origin in the Ganges basin in 500 BCE to its contemporary manifestations. The course’s primary emphasis will be on the historical development of the tradition, and the ways that its message has been transformed through the influence of different cultures, including the United States. An important part of this will be closely examining the Buddhist way of life throughout the centuries, and the ways in which this ancient message is still relevant in the modern world.

The Sikhs

REL 3150 / 4 credits 
This course will trace the history and development of the Sikh religious community. The early part of the course will focus on its origins in the Punjab; the social, political, and religious forces shaping its development in the milieu; and the community’s evolution over time. The course will then examine 19th and 20th century Sikh efforts to stress their identity as a distinct religious community, both inside and outside of India. Finally, the course will look at contemporary Sikh piety and practice in an effort to convey some appreciation for its religious message, and to consider the ways in which Sikh faith and concerns can illuminate and inform our own

Shared Sages in Sacred Scriptures: An Interreligious Exploration

REL 3500 / 4 credits 
The traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share accounts about prominent figures and have significantly different interpretations of what they share. This course will examine the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sacred scriptures through a comparative reading of shared key personalities. Similarities and differences of interpretation will be analyzed with reference to historical and modern forms of analysis of texts, special emphasis being on developing mutual understanding and cooperation between the religious traditions. The shared key persons include but will not necessarily be limited to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Solomon, Mary, and Jesus.
Prerequisite: REL 1000

Christians and Muslims: Conflict vs. Dialogue

REL 3510 / 4 credits 
Christians and Muslims have been living together, and actively engaged with each other, for over 1400 years. Despite sharing common beliefs such as faith in one Creator, Jesus as the Messiah, and the Day of Judgment, relations between these two communities have often (though not always) been marked by conflict and confrontation. The course examines this often-troubled history of Christian-Muslim dialogue to illuminate the two communities’ current relationship.
Prerequisite: REL 1000

Senior Seminar in Religion

REL 4000 / 4 credits 
The Senior Seminar is taught and directed by one member of the department with the assistance and participation of other members. The seminar will lead the student toward the completion of the Senior Project, which will be determined by the student and the directing professor.