About the Department
Religion represents the human response to the profound experience of God throughout the centuries.
The religious studies department of the School of Arts and Sciences offers a major and a minor in religious studies to students in the Women's College and College of Adult Undergraduate Studies. The religious studies major explores various dimensions of the Christian message and its impact on human activity, especially in the development of human values. The program is firmly based on biblical studies, systematic theology, practical theology, religion and culture, and religious ethics. Women's contributions to spirituality, religious thought and history, as well as the ecumenical and interfaith aspects of the discipline, are woven into the program and are treated at greater depth in courses devoted exclusively to these topics. The program stresses critical thinking and respect for the religious commitments of all persons, and also is seen as a step towards transforming society.
Religious Studies in the News
The Rev. Henrietta L. Wiley, associate professor of religious studies, provides some theological context on a story on the Star of Bethlehem in the Baltimore Sun.
From a theological point of view, it isn't necessary or important to prove the Star of Bethlehem, said the Episcopal priest, associate professor of sacred scriptures at Notre Dame of Maryland University and president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars. Books have been written about the Star story and the Gospel of Matthew. To Wiley, the star is important because of its message.
"It tells us about God's relationship with the whole world," she said. "It's the first revelation to the gentiles [non-Israelites] about the coming of this king, the messiah, who will bring justice and salvation from suffering."
Unity in Diversity: An Interfaith Dialogue
The Religious Studies Department sponsored a Nov. 11 interfaith panel of students from different religious traditions that discussed their faiths and their experiences at NDMU in "Unity in Diversity: An Interfaith Dialogue and Open House." The event was held at the newly refurbished Interfaith Space on the first floor of Meletia Hall and featured an interfaith panel who talked about their respective faiths and their experiences at NDMU.
The panel included, from left to right, Anna Manalad (Catholic), Danya Shah (Muslim), Katie Ketter (Jewish) and Wakoh Shannon Hickey, Ph.D. of the Religious Studies Department (moderator). The space is open for anyone to use for prayer and meditation.
For the third year in a row Hartford Seminary has offered an innovative one-week summer intensive, the “Religious Diversity Leadership Workshop” (RDLW), with a new emphasis on Asian religion. Thirty-six participants included interfaith advocates, clergy, youth leaders, program administrators, educators, and professionals from diverse religious backgrounds and practices.
As a way to deepen the Asian connection at RDLW this year, Mosher brought in Rev. Wakoh Shannon Hickey, PhD, a Soto Zen priest and professor of Religious Studies at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. Mosher invited Hickey to help her re-design the program and to co-facilitate, and she consented. Hickey has practiced Zen Buddhism for 30 years and holds an MA in Buddhist and Christian studies and an MDiv from Pacific School of Religion. She had been a participant in the 2013 workshop and had given a presentation on American Buddhist diversity.