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Religious Studies

Religion has been and remains a fundamental dimension of human existence and, for that reason alone, deserves to be studied. Through the Religious Studies Department, students examine the beliefs, practices, rituals, spirituality, and moral values of major world religions, developing an understanding of religious and cultural pluralism.

Because the field of religious studies is multidimensional, the program acquaints students with the diverse aspects of the phenomenon of religion. Students explore a wide range of religious traditions, theological perspectives, and ethical questions that are central in the formation of religious identity. At the same time they develop a habit of thinking that is interdisciplinary, critical and analytical. Since Holy Cross is a Jesuit and Catholic college and the majority of its students come from the Roman Catholic tradition, the Department offers a wide variety of courses that will enable them to know and understand their Catholic tradition more deeply and to situate that tradition in the larger context of the other world religions. Courses exploring religion in the broader cultural context of the 21st century can also be important for students from other religious traditions. They too must come to terms with pluralism and globaliztion in a multi-cultural world and think about the role that religion can play in the quest for coexistence and peace. Majors and minors can learn about a full range of world religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, East Asian religions, Native American religion, and modern religious movements. Religious Studies faculty follow a variety of methodologies appropriate to the study of religion and theology. Thus the Department offers a wide range of learning opportunties both to meet the interests of those who want to explore their own faith and for those who wish to broaden their knowledge of and perpsective on the religious experience of people around the globe.

Program Highlights

The robust offerings of the Religious Studies Department include courses on:
  • World religions
  • Sacred texts
  • Theology
  • Ethics
  • Spirituality

Religious Studies News

Religious Studies Professor Weighs in on Upcoming Pope/Trump Meeting

May 5, 2017

With a meeting between Pope Francis and President Trump confirmed for May 24, speculations have begun around the impending interaction between the “slum pope” and “billionaire.” Mathew Schmalz, associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, …