RST-331-20, Comparative Religious Ethics
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Brian Berry
SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: SEM/Saturday/8:30-11:15AM/September 8, 15, 29; October 6, 20, 27; November 10, 17; December 1, 8. Exam: December 15
This course is an introduction to the comparative study of the ethics of the world religions, with an emphasis on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the first part of the course, we will consider the ethics of Judaism, with attention to the sources and foundations of Jewish ethics as well as cases studies in sexual ethics, abortion and war. In the second part, we will examine the ethics of Christianity, focusing on the relation between Christian faith and ethics and approaches that emphasize goals, duties or virtues. In the third part, we will discuss the ethics of Islam, particularly the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an, and the ethics of violence and gender roles. Finally, in the last part, we will compare Jewish, Christian and Islamic ethics on such topics as friendship, sexuality, marriage and family, lying, forgiveness, love and justice; duty, law, and conscience; capital punishment, war, and the environment.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: This course is designed to enable students:
1. Recognize the similarities and differences between the ethics of the major Western world religions.
2. Express clearly and convincingly, both orally and in writing, their own positions on a range of contemporary ethical issues.
1. Guided readings.
2. Writing assignments.
3. Class discussions and lectures.
REQUIREMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS:
1. Attendance at all classes and active participation (10%).
2. Eight one-page papers (40%).
3. A mid-term exam (20%).
4. A final research essay and presentation (30%).
REQUIRED TEXT(S) OR MATERIALS:
1. Newman, Louis E. An Introduction to Jewish Ethics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2004. ISBN 0132388901.
2. Lovin, Robin W. An Introduction to Christian Ethics. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2011. ISBN 13: 9780687467365.
3. Hussain, Amir. Oil and Water: Two Faiths, One God. Kelowna, Canada: CopperHouse, 2006. ISBN 10: 1896836828 and 13: 9781896836829.
4. Mathewes, Charles. Understanding Religious Ethics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. ISBN 9781405133524.
READINGS AND/OR ASSIGNMENTS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS:
-Newman, An Introduction to Jewish Ethics, 1-9.
-Lovin, An Introduction to Christian Ethics, v-x.
-Hussain, Oil and Water, 10-15.
-Mathewes, Understanding Religious Ethics, 1-17.