The phenomenon of religion is a universal dimension of human life and culture. Religious
beliefs have inspired drama, dance, painting, poetry, and the rituals
involved in birth, marriage, and death. Humankind's history, culture, hopes, and
fears would be incomprehensible without an understanding of the religious systems
and symbols underlying them.
Through the academic discipline of religious studies, the student confronts religion
in all its complexity and diversity. As a result, the student develops incisive
critical and analytical skills. However, the study of religion also nourishes the
uniquely human resources of creativity and imagination, enabling students to synthesize
what they learn with who they are. The study of religion is, therefore, an integral
part of the liberal arts curriculum.
Courses in the department of religious studies seek to inquire into the many forms
of religious tradition throughout the world and to understand their crucial role
in shaping human experience. A major in religious studies is not limited to those
students who are planning church-related careers. Many students elect a major in
religious studies because it offers them a unique opportunity to examine, both personally
and critically, the crucial questions of human experience. Moreover, it enables
them to explain the ways in which the individual is related to (and responsible
to) the larger human community and to the natural environment.
See the department's Faculty
webpage for contact information, scheduled office hours, and office locations.
For more information please contact:
E. Harold Breitenberg, Jr.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Religious Studies
P.O. Box 5005
Ashland, VA 23005-5505