Religious Studies 201.03

Winter 1997

World Religions--Western

Class time: MWF 9:00-9:50


E. Segal


Social Sciences 1330

Office hours:

M 9:50-10:40 or by request





World-Wide Web:

Material related to this course, including class notes, will be posted at:


It is also recommended that students have a copy of the Bible (containing Old and New Testaments)

Pedagogic Objectives:

This course is primarily descriptive in its orientation, designed to familiarize students with the main features of the three major Western religions. Emphasis will be placed on the retention and understanding of basic facts and ideas presented in the lectures and textbook. The course will not include a research component. However, short essays will be included in each of the three tests.

Although students will be introduced to a number of different methodological perspective, the main approach taken in this course will be historical, tracing the evolutions of the religions, their ideas and communities from their beginnings until recent times, and noting both common and distinctive features of the respective religions.

Course Description:

"An Introductory study of Judaism, Christianity and Islam."

This course will examine the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, tracing their development from their foundational scriptures-the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and Qur'an-and subsequent developments in their observances, communal structures and ideas.


Historical outline: The Hebrew Bible, its structure and historical scope (Text: 193-206). Second Temple and Talmudic Judaism (206-11). The Medieval and modern eras (211-24).
Main institutions: Torah, monotheism, religious law, ritual and ethics (225-37). Contemporary movements (237-9).


Historical outline: The New Testament, its structure and contents. The life and teachings of Jesus (241-52). The evolution of the Church and Christian theology (253-9). Medieval branches of Christianity: Roman Catholicism and Byzantine Orthodoxy (259-68). The Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation (268- 73).
Main institutions: Worship, sacraments, festivals (275- 89). Contemporary trends (289-92).


Historical outline: The life of the prophet Muhammad (297-305). Medieval and modern developments (325-37).
Main institutions: The Qur'an (305-8) and its central beliefs (308-12). Sunnis and Shi'ites (313-5). Sufism (315-9). The "Five Pillars of Islam" (319-24).

Course Requirements:

The weights of the three tests will be computed as 40%, 30% and 30%, with the 40% grade assigned to the test in which the student received the highest score.


A numerical mark will be given for each course requirement. Following the final examination, a letter grade will be assigned on the following number and letter grade scheme:

(If your Browser cannot read tables, press here)

Letter Grade Equivalents
A 100 - 90 A- 89 - 85
B+ 84 - 80 B 79 - 75 B- 74 - 70
C+ 69 - 65 C 64 - 60 C- 59 - 55
D+ 54 - 50 D 49 - 45 B- 44 or less


Plagiarism is a serious offense, the penalty for which is an F on the assignment and possibly also an F on the course, academic probation, or requirement to withdraw. The University Calendar states that "plagiarism exists when:
While it is recognized that scholarly work often involves references to the ideas, data and conclusions of other scholars, intellectual honesty requires that such references be explicitly and clearly noted.
Plagiarism occurs not only when direct quotations are taken from a source without specific acknowledgment, but also when original ideas or data from the source are not acknowledged. A bibliography is insufficient to establish which portions of the student's work are taken from external sources; footnotes or other recognized forms of citation must be used for this purpose.

Safewalk Programme

"You don't have to walk alone..." Call 220-5333 and a member of the Safewalk Team will walk you to your car, the LRT, or any destination on campus. Safewalk is available to all students, staff and faculty any time of the day or night. Look for the Campus Security Help Phones located throughout the University. Please don't hesitate to call!

** Please note new regulations for withdrawing from courses 1997

January 21, 1997 is the last day to "drop" a course and receive a full fee refund, there will be no record of the course on the transcript. Students may withdraw from courses from January 22 until April 17, but WILL GET NO REFUND. The course will show up on the transcript with designation of "W."

This is specified on pages 52 (Fee Refund) and 79 (fee Refunds) of the 1996-97 Calendar.

Online copies of the class notes (the transparency overheads that were shown in class) can be obtained by clicking here

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