Religious Studies 360

RELN 360: Religion in China and Japan

Prerequisite: RELN 112

Credit Hours: (3)

This course provides students with an opportunity for advanced study in the historical development of religious thought and practice in China and Japan. It includes the study of ancestor worship, folk religions, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Shinto, "New Religious Movements" and communism.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course is structured around the interplay between indigenous religions in China and Japan and foreign religions. This involves how the beliefs and practices of indigenous religions were impacted by foreign religions and how those of the imported religions were affected by different cultural environments.

Possible texts include:

  • Thompson, Laurence G. Chinese Religion: An Introduction, 4th ed.
  • Earhart, Byron. Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity, 3rd ed.
  • De Bary, Theodore. Sources of the Chinese Tradition, Vols. I & II.
  • De Bary, Theodore. Sources of the Japanese Tradition, Vols. I & II.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course format will involve a combination of lectures, videos, and discussion. Lectures will provide a framework for the discussion of primary source materials and interpretative articles. Students will be required to prepare either several brief written assignments or a 10-12 page term paper.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students will be prepared to:

1. Recognize the variety of religions in China and Japan.
2. Understand the impact of other cultures on the religions of China and Japan.
3. Explain the basic teachings of the many religions of China and Japan.
4. Enhance their ability to read and interpret religious texts and philosophical writings.


Assessment Measures

Generally speaking, essay examinations will be utilized. A portion of each examination or occasional quizzes may be objective. A 10-12 page term paper will be graded on both style and content.


Other Course Information

This course fulfills a core requirement for Philosophy and Religious Studies majors with a concentration in religious studies and may be used as a department elective for all Philosophy and Religious Studies majors.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

March 1993 Division of RELN 308 into two courses (407/408) Charles D. Taylor
May 1994 None Kim J. Kipling, Chr.
May 1995 Catalog entry revised. Kim J. Kipling, Chr.
January 27, 1997 Number change Prerequisite change Approved by VPAA
April 17, 1998 Reviewed Kim Kipling
September 25, 2001 Reviewed Kim Kipling