Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus Residence Halls

Religious Studies


Prerequisite/Corequisite Key

P = Course must be taken previously C = Course must be taken concurrently E = Course can be taken previously or concurrently
(RQ) = Required (RM) = Recommended  

RELST 210

Roman Catholic Tradition

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course is a study of the foundational elements of the Catholic faith, namely the Catholic understanding of God, Jesus as the Christ and human personhood, and how these elements interrelate in the contemporary Catholic theology. Special attention will be given to the changes introduced in the Second Vatican Council and some of the more contentious issues in the American Catholic church.

RELST 211

Introducing Mercy Critical Concerns

3 credit hours

Course Types: GDVST,GRELS

This course introduces the five Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: 1) the Special Needs of Women and Children, especially regarding healthcare; 2) the Struggle of Immigrants and Refugees and U.S. Immigration Policy; 3) Race and Class in America; 4) Violence, Peace, and Social Change; 5) Environmental Justice. The course will place the work of the Sisters of Mercy in an historical and cultural context, particularly by considering the role of women religious in social change, and the role of religious communities in advocating for peace and justice

RELST 220

Old Testament Religion

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS,MES

This course is a study of the religion, history, and culture of ancient Israel based upon a critical examination of the Hebrew scriptures within the context of ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Attention is given to the contemporary relevance of Israel's faith to the Christian church.

RELST 221

New Testament Christianity

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course is a study of the basic religious and cultural characteristics of early Christianity based upon a critical analysis of the New Testament as understood within the context of Jewish and Greco-Roman religious and literary traditions.

RELST 240

The Religious Other

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS,MES

This course is an introduction to the comparative religious enterprise in ancient literature and modern scholarship. Focusing on the problems of contact, coexistence and conflict between religious communities, this course will explore the perennial struggle to make sense of other religions. Special attention will be given to the strategies of inclusion, exclusion and dialogue that have characterized the history of religions from the earliest times to present day.

RELST 242

The Buddhist Tradition

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course is an introduction to the Buddhist religious tradition. Attention will be given to its mythology, ritual practice, sacred texts and society. The course will begin with the origins of the Buddhist tradition in India and examine its development in various regions and periods up to the present day.

RELST 247

The Jewish Tradition

3 credit hours

Course Types: MES,GRELS

This course is a survey of the ethnic and religious traditions and practices of Judaism from biblical to modern times. Students will examine major themes�such as God, Torah, Chosen People, Messianism and the Diaspora.�

RELST 249

The Islamic Tradition

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS,MES

This course is an introduction to the religion of Islam. Attention will be given to its mythology, ritual practice, sacred texts and society. The course will focus on the origins of the Islamic tradition in Arabia, examine its spread through various regions, and culminate in an examination of more recent developments.

RELST 254

Catholic Social Teaching

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course is an examination and evaluation of 20th-century Roman Catholic moral teaching on the social order. Includes a close reading of major documents issued by the hierarchy and the theological commentary on these documents. Focus on the themes of the freedom and dignity of human life, war and peace, and economic and political justice.

RELST 255

Religion in the Media

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course examines the religious, theological and ethical issues and perspectives examined in all media formats, but particularly those that have had a significant impact on cultural attitudes towards religion (e.g., the portrayal of religion and faith in fiction and film).

RELST 260

Christian Theology: Church

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course is a survey of the development of the Christian church, beginning in the life of the historical Jesus and culminating in the rich diversity and complexity of the church today. Special attention will be given to post-Vatican II developments, especially the role of church as servant, the ecumenical character of the church and the challenges confronting the church today.

RELST 262

Christian Theology: God

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course will survey the development of the Christian doctrine of God, beginning with the scriptures and concluding with the present. Special attention will be given to post-Vatican II developments.

RELST 263

Christian Theology: Christ

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course is a study of the person and significance of Jesus of Nazareth, understood by Christians as the Christ. The course will move from a detailed examination of the historical Jesus, through the development of Christological claims, and conclude with an exploration of contemporary issues in Christology. Particular attention will be given to the understanding of Jesus as liberator and contemporary perspectives on soteriology.

RELST 264

Christian Theology: The Human Person

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course is an examination of the various Christian understandings of what it means to be a human person and how personal fulfillment is achieved. Although some attention is given to the positions expressed in the New Testament and in the history of theology, the main emphasis is on the contemporary Christian attempts to articulate a coherent theology of the human person.

RELST 265

Christian Ethics

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course is an introduction to ethics in the context of the Christian tradition. This course devotes attention to ethical theory and its application to contemporary issues.

RELST 266

Suffering and Death

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS,GERON

This course is a study of central themes, resources and methods employed in Christian theological reflection upon human suffering and death.

RELST 267

Spirituality

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course is a critical analysis of texts and traditions of spirituality in the West. Focus of study varies, e.g., classic texts, major figures or movements, contemporary approaches, etc.

RELST 268

Church and Sacraments

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course will explore various Catholic ways of understanding the Church and the sacred symbolic rituals known as sacraments. In addition to drawing from the ecclesiology of Vatican II and the concept of the Church as sacrament, the course will look at how the sacraments, as signs and instruments, fall into the categories of Sacraments of Initiation, Sacraments of Healing, and Sacraments at the Service of Communion.

RELST 269

Theologies of Oppression and Empowerment

3 credit hours

Course Types: GDVST,GRELS

This course examines what traditionally marginalized communities have to contribute to the understanding, organization and practice of religion. Particular attention will be given to communities traditionally isolated because of geography, race, class, gender, gender identity and standards of orthodoxy.

RELST 271

Jesus and the Gospels

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course is a study of the life and teachings of Jesus based upon a critical analysis of both canonical and non-canonical Gospels together with an investigation of the ways in which the image of the historical Jesus was transmitted and transformed within the Christian communities that produced and utilized these gospels.

RELST 273

Women in the Bible

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS,GDVST

This course is a study of the Bible (both Hebrew and Christian scriptures) with the specific aim of recovering the place and role of women in this tradition of thought. Such study will draw upon a multidisciplinary approach to critically selected texts in which women are explicitly remembered in a culture and tradition dominated by patriarchal values and systems.

RELST 278

Encountering the Bible through the Centuries

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course introduces students to the history of biblical interpretation and how biblical interpretation relates to theology. It will examine methods of biblical interpretation in the Early Church, Middle Ages, Reformation and the Enlightenment, including the rise of the historical-critical method and theological responses to it. The course will emphasize readings from primary sources.

RELST 284

Religious Experience in The Early Church

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course introduces students to the theology and liturgical practices of the Early Church. Beginning with texts from the late first century, the course will examine what early Christians believed about God, Jesus Christ, and the Church and how they expressed their faith in liturgical worship and spiritual writings. The course will emphasize readings from primary sources.

RELST 286

Medieval Spirituality

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: P (RQ) ENGL-120

Course Types: GRELS

This course introduces students to the spiritual theology of the Middle Ages. Beginning with Benedict of Nursia and the rise of Western monasticism, this course will examine how spiritual writers from this period understood God and the world and the roles played by prayer, contemplation, Scripture and the liturgy in the ascent to ineffable union with the divine. The course will examine such themes as Byzantine spirituality, spirituality in medieval universities, women mystics and the lay spirituality of the Late Middle Ages. The course will emphasize readings from primary sources.

RELST 292

Religion and Society

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course examines the often-complex relationships between Christianity and American culture in the face of 21st-century challenges posed by religious pluralism, secularization, fundamentalism, alternative spiritualities and the media.

RELST 299

Issues in Religion

3 credit hours

This course includes religious issues that will vary from semester to semester.

RELST 300

Religious Studies/Theology Internship

3 credit hours

The Religious Studies/Theology Internship will require students to complete 100 hours of supervised work or service experience at an approved internship site. Depending on the number of students enrolled, students will meet either individually or in small groups to reflect on the internship experience in the context of effective leadership, collaboration and relations with those involved in the internship (either supervisors or those being served by the internship experience), social responsibility, diversity and issues related to theology, religion, spirituality and faith. Offered by special arrangement.

RELST 360

Seminar in Theology

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

The Seminar in Theology provides a challenging introduction to specific issues in Christian theology. The particular theological topic varies and has included the study of God's justice, Catholic social teaching, Christian mysticism, as well as contemporary approaches to the image of God. Whatever the topic, the common goal is to introduce students to theologically important primary texts, to engage them in an ongoing conversation about the ideas elaborated in these texts, and to encourage them to interrogate their own theological commitments.

RELST 361

Religion and Society Seminar

3 credit hours

This course examines the often-complex relationship between religious traditions and cultures in the face of 21st century challenges posed by pluralism, secularization, fundamentalism, alternative spiritualities and the media.

RELST 363

Theologians and Movements

3 credit hours

Course Types: GRELS

This course is designed to offer sustained and detailed study of particular thinkers and movements that have shaped our understanding and experience of religious life. In the course of their exploration, students will identify issues of importance to them and engage in research to address (if not resolve) their concerns.

RELST 389

Independent Study

1 to 3 credit hours

Individual readings and research for upper-level students in Religious Studies. Topic to be determined by instructor and student. Approval of department chair and dean required.

RELST 390

Senior Seminar

1 credit hour

This course is a scholarly treatment of a religious our theological question in the form of a paper, based on one or more primary texts and with reference to selected secondary sources. The Senior Seminar will be taken under the supervision of a faculty member, normally in the spring semester of the student's senior year. (Only students majoring in Religious Studies may enroll). Offered spring.