Fall 2022

Introduction to Religion

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-111


Maria R. Heim (Section 01)
Rebecca Stephens Falcasantos (Section 01)


This year's theme for comparative religion is “Jesus and the Buddha,” focusing on how the founders of Christianity and Buddhism have been remembered and understood by their followers. With this theme, the course examines the ways that scholars draw on contextual information to understand religious practices, ideas or beliefs, artifacts, institutions, and symbols. Both these figures have been central to questions about the natures of humans and gods, ethics, ritual practice, gender, sex, and social hierarchy. In this way, Christian and Buddhist ideas about the lives of their founding figures offer rich ground for comparative work as we consider the role of sacred writings, historical context, and interpretations across time. Our study will include a trajectory from ancient to contemporary sources and draw from a variety of relevant media, historical moments, and popular cultural movements.

Fall semester. Professors Heim and Falcasantos.

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Class will involve discussion in the group as a whole and in smaller work groups. Assignments will include a series of brief essays and the preparation of a final independent research essay that deals with a particular modern or contemporary group whose beliefs  include expectations about an end-time. Skills required for this cap-stone project will be provided throughout the semester.

RELI 111 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM CHAP 101
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM CHAP 101

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
The Living Buddha: An Interpretive Biography Middleway Press, 2008 Daisaku Ikeda (trans. Burton Watson) Required Amherst Books TBD
The Good Heart Wisdom Publications, 2016 Dalai Lama Required Amherst Books TBD
Christianity: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edition Oxford, 2014 Linda Woodhead Required Amherst Books TBD
Historical Jesus: What we can know and how can we know it? Eerdmans, 2011 Anthony LeDonne Required Amherst Books TBD
Saint Young Men Omnibus 1 (Vol. 1-2) Kodansha Comics, 2019 Hikaru Nakamura Required Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024