Philosophy and Religious Studies Courses


For an official and updated listing of courses, please refer to the current academic catalog.


PHI 101-Introduction to Philosophy (3)

This course provides the student with a systematic intro­duction to the discipline of philosophy. It begins by examining some fundamental concepts and problems in the areas of metaphysics and epis­temology, and then proceeds to consider other areas of philosophical inquiry including: social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of history, and aesthetics.

PHI 202-Logic (3)

This course begins with the fundamental concepts of logic, including truth, validity, induction, and deduction. The course progresses through the inferences of everyday language and problem-solving, and into formal deduction, including symbolic logic and quantification theory. Inductive inferences and probability will also be examined.

PHI 320- Western Political Thought (3) (same as POL 320, see for course description)

PHI 321-The Dialogues of Plato (3)

This course surveys the writings of Plato.  We begin with the early dialogues that surround the life and death of Socrates such as Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Meno.  We then examine some of the great middle dialogues, including the Parmenides and sections of the Republic.  We conclude with the late dialogues such as the Sophist, Statesman, and Philebus.

PHI 322-Aristotle and the Medievals (3)

The first half of this course focuses on Aristotle, examining the Aristotelian system from the perspective of his metaphysics, logic, physics, and concept of the soul.  In the second half of the course, attention is turned to the medievals, considering as the central theme the way they tried to Christianize the Aristotelian system.

PHI 323-The Empiricists: Locke, Berkeley, and Hume (3)

This course examines the three great British empiricists of the modern era and focuses on their respective treatment of questions concerning innate ideas, perception, universals, and the scope of human knowledge.

PHI 324-Modern Continental Philosophy: From Descartes to Hegel (3)

This course begins with 17th-century rationalism and traces that tradition from Descartes through Spinoza and Leibniz.  In the 18th century, the tradition culminates in the German idealism of Kant.  The course then traces German idealism from Kant to Hegel in the 19th century.

PHI 326- Aesthetics (3)

This course examines some of the most important philosophical issues and theories associated with art and beauty.  Topics may include determining definitive criteria of art and beauty, the nature of artistic activity, the role of emotion in art, the challenges involved in interpretation, continuities and discontinuities of modalities of expression, and the nature of truth in art.  (same as ARH 344)

PHI 327- Mysticism: The Other Logic (3)

This course offers students contemporary insights that left-brained analysis is not the only logic but that there is a logic to right-brained synthetic thinking as well.  This synthetic thinking runs from Heraclitus to Hegel but is also at the base of the 2,000 year history of a Christian mysticism. 

PHI 329- Ancient Philosophy (3)

An examination of works from the Ancient period of Western philosophy, from the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus. Among the major philosophers to be studied, Plato and Aristotle will be given significant attention.

PHI 330- Modern Philosophy (3)

An examination of works from the Modern period of Western philosophy, from the breakup of scholasticism to the early nineteenth century. The course will focus on the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) and Empiricists (Locke, Berkeley, Hume), while also introducing students to the philosophies of Kant and Hegel.

PHI 331-Pragmatism (3)

This course will examine the work of leading philosophical pragmatists (e.g. Dewey, James, Rorty), exploring the appropriateness of a pragmatic justification of Christian truth claims and the relevance of the interrelationship of faith and reason.

PHI 341-Philosophies of Love (3)

This course examines a variety of philosophers, both classic and contemporary, on the topic of love. The readings address questions concerning love’s relationship to reason, the emotions, romance, and duty. Readings include Plato, Aristotle, Stendhal, Gasset, Kierkegaard, Nygren, Brentlinger, and Vlastos. Prerequisite: PHI 101 or instructor’s permission.

PHI 342-Feminist Philosophy (3)

This course examines some of the major feminist philosophers and thinkers writing today including:  Julie Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Carol Gilligan, just to mention a few.  The readings will focus on how a woman’s sexuality, psychological development, and social experience create a perspective uniquely different from that of a man.

PHI 345-Epistemology (3)

A systematic examination of such subjects as perception, knowledge, belief, truth, universals, necessary truth, and meaning. Prerequisite: PHI 101.

PHI 346-Ethics (3)

This course examines contemporary moral problems in the context of classical ethical theories. The classical theories of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Bentham, and Mill are considered. Students will have opportunity to exercise their own moral thinking by applying those theories to a variety of contemporary moral issues. Prerequisite: PHI 101.

PHI 348-Philosophical Hermeneutics (3)

The historicism of the 19th century, along with the linguistic turn and cultural relativism of the 20th century has brought hermeneutics to the center stage of 21st century thought.  We can no longer take interpretation for granted and must now face the philosophical questions which are at the base of the meaning that we attribute to texts or the world.  The course begins with traditional notions of hermeneutics and then examines the factors which have brought hermeneutics to the center stage and the ways that Schleiermacher, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Derrida have attempted to deal with contemporary hermeneutic problems.  (Same as PMN 348)

PHI 367-Christian Existentialism: The Philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard (3)

This course surveys the work of Kierkegaard, relying upon both primary and secondary texts. Students are encouraged to consider the implications of Kierkegaard’s ideas regarding faith and the subjectivity of experience for our role as Christians in a postmodern world.  (Same as THE 367)

PHI 432-Contemporary Continental Philosophy (3)

This course examines the major figures of the 20th century continental philosophy including Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida, Gadamer, Habermas, Levi-Strauss, saussure, and Foucault.

PHI 441-Philosophy of Religion (3)

The course centers on questions concerning the relationship between faith and reason, the attributes of God, and the nature of things like: miracles, evil, and religious experience.  (Same as REL 441)

PHI 470-Philosophy Senior Capstone (3)

This senior seminar examines key texts and articles concerning advanced areas of philosophy. Specific topics rotate, though all are also placed in context with a comprehensive conclusion to students’ philosophical studies. Among other assignments, a major thesis/article will be developed along with a professional resume and portfolio.   


REL 310-The Psychology and Sociology of Religion (3)

This course introduces the student to various sociological and psychological approaches to the study of religion, as well as the effects that religion has upon these aspects of human existence.  Such topics as the phenomenon of civil religion, attraction to cults, and the psychological aspects of the process of religious conversion will be examined in detail. (Same as SOC 310, social science elective)

REL 314-World Religions (3)

An introduction to the cultural background, historical development, main tenets, and philosophical system of the leading living non-Christian religions as compared and contrasted with the Christian world view.

REL 342-History of Christianity (3) (For course description see HIS 342)

REL 344-Catholicism and Orthodoxy (3)

A study of the current state of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, with a view to understanding contemporary doctrinal issues as well as the political and social issues which concern these divisions of the Christian Church. (Same as ICS 344)

REL 347-New Age and the Occult (3)

A course designed to introduce students to the various facets of the New Age Movement and occult religious practices as contemporary phenomena in the Western world. 

REL 351-The Black Church in America (3)

The creation and development of the Black Church as a social institution in the United States. The influence of the church on the political, economic, social, and spiritual life of the Black community.

REL 352-Religion in Latin America (3)

A history of the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America and the role it has played in shaping social and political institutions. Special attention will be given to the influences of indigenous religious movements, liberation theology, and Protestant missions.

REL 355 - Contemporary Issues in Religion (3)

This course introduces students to the most important issues currently being discussed within the field of Comparative Religious Studies. The most recent books that have significance in the discipline will be studied and analyzed with a view to being able to respond Biblically to these issues.

REL 432 -Christianity’s Encounter with World Religions (3)

This course introduces students to some of the most significant religious questions they will encounter in life—particularly life in the midst of a highly secular and pluralistic society.  Authority, Revelation, the Supernatural, and the development of moral and ethical systems are a sampling of the topics included.  The questions will be dealt with in dialogical fashion: interacting and interfacing with the beliefs and practices of the various non-Christian belief systems. 

REL 433-History of Religion in America (3) (For course description see HIS 433)

REL 441-Philosophy of Religion (3) (For course description see PHI 441)

REL 442-South Asian Religions (3)

A detailed examination of the history, doctrines, and practices of the adherents of Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism with a view to being able to contextualize and communicate the Gospel to these adherents effectively.

REL 443-Alternative Religious Movements in America (3)

An introduction to the doctrines and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventism, Scientology, The Unification Church, and others. (Same as ICS 443)

REL 445-Islam (3)

A detailed examination of the history, doctrines, and practices of the adherents of Islam with a view to being able to contextualize and communicate the Gospel to these adherents effectively. (Same as ICS 445)

REL 446-Judaism (3)

A detailed examination of the history, doctrines, and practices of the adherents of Judaism from the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to the present day. (Same as ICS 446)

REL 448-East Asian Religions (3)

A detailed examination of the history, doctrines, and practices of the adherents of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shintoism with a view to being able to contextualize and communicate the Gospel to these adherents effectively. (Same as ICS 448, PHI 448)

REL 470-Religious Studies Senior Capstone( 3)

The Religious Studies Senior Capstone is a course designed both as a review of all previous work as well as providing  a means of “sealing” one’s religious studies.  The course consists of a major book analysis, several article reviews, the development of a professional resume and portfolio, a major thesis/essay, and a comprehensive examination.

REL 490-Internship (1-3)

The practical application of religious knowledge in an applied setting will be studied.  The location and nature of the internship for the Learning Contract must be approved by the Department Head and the Dean.