Our goals include helping students to recognize and examine the important role of religion in history and the contemporary world; to explore the wide variety of religious thought and practice, past and present; and to develop methods for the academic study of particular religions and religion in comparative perspective.
The diversity of areas of specialization and approaches to the study of religion among our faculty members ensures the representation of many viewpoints. We offer courses in Judaism, Christianity, religions of the Americas, Islam, Buddhism and South Asian and East Asian religions. Our courses investigate the place of religion in various cultures in light of social, political, philosophical and psychological questions.
In our courses we emphasize work with primary sources, both textual and non-textual. To this end, students are encouraged to study relevant languages, and to spend at least part of their junior year abroad in an area of the world relevant to their particular interests. Our courses require no commitment to a particular faith. However, students of any background, secular or religious, can benefit from the personal questions of meaning and purpose that arise in every area of the subject.