Hiroshima University Syllabus

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Academic Year 2024Year School/Graduate School Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Master's Course) Division of Humanities and Social Sciences Integrated Arts and Human Sciences Program
Lecture Code WMJ60001 Subject Classification Specialized Education
Subject Name 宗教学
Subject Name
Subject Name in
Religious Studies
スギキ ツネヒコ
Campus Higashi-Hiroshima Semester/Term 1st-Year,  First Semester,  1Term
Days, Periods, and Classrooms (1T) Thur1-4:IAS J201
Lesson Style Lecture Lesson Style
(More Details)
Lecture, question and answer, and discussion 
Credits 2.0 Class Hours/Week   Language of Instruction J : Japanese
Course Level 5 : Graduate Basic
Course Area(Area) 23 : Arts and Humanities
Course Area(Discipline) 03 : Religion
Eligible Students Students from all departments
Keywords Theories of Religious studies, world religions, comparative religions 
Special Subject for Teacher Education   Special Subject  
Class Status
within Educational
(Applicable only to targeted subjects for undergraduate students)
As the world is globalizing, religions are more and more important topics of discussion. We are required to have more knowledge and understanding of religions in the world. This course is provided as an introduction to world religions and Religious Studies. 
Criterion referenced
(Applicable only to targeted subjects for undergraduate students)
Class Objectives
/Class Outline
This course provides learning the basics of religions in the world (such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese tradisional religions, Shinto, and some recent religious movements in developed countries) and the major classic and modern theories regarding religions developed in Religious Studies (particularly in the sociology of religion and anthropology of religion). These theories are abstracts of forms, structures, and functions that many religions have in common. They are indispensable in analyzing religions from the perspective of comparative religion. The comparative perspective is important because it enables us to view different religions as fairly and impartially as possible. The main objectives of this course are to get knowledge of the basics of major religions and to learn how to investigate religions theoretically from the perspective of comparative religion. 
Class Schedule Lesson 1: Guidance
Explains the policy and outline of this course, clarifying what “Religious Studies” is.

Lesson 2: Magic and Religion
(1) Theories on forms and functions of magic. (2) How we should understand magic.

Lesson 3: Typologies of Religion
Typologies developed from the differing viewpoints of (1) modes of existence of god(s) or goddess(es), (2) elementary forms of religion, (3) how religions were founded, and (4) natures of ethical teachings in religions.

Lesson 4: Charisma and Religion
(1) Types of charisma, agents of religion, and their tendencies. (2) Patterns of appearance and formation of “founded religions.”

Lesson 5: Religion and Salvation (1)
(1) “Salvation religion.” (2) Examples of soteriology: Early Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Lesson 6: Religion and Salvation (2)
(1) Examples of soteriology: Early Hinduism and Taoism. (2) Confucianism and the ancestor worship.

Lesson 7: Religious Ordering of Space
(1) The religious cosmicization theory. (2) Religious cosmicization of space. (3) Holy sites of religions in the world.

Lesson 8: Religious Ordering of Time
(1) Religious cosmicization of time. (2) Annual rituals (festivals) in religions in the world.

Lesson 9: Religious Ordering of Life
(1) Religious cosmicization of life. (2) Life cycle rituals (or rites of passage) in religions in the world.

Lesson 10: Religious Experiences
Religious experiences of (1) an individual person and (2) individual persons in an intimate community.

Lesson 11: Religion as an Overarching Meaning System
(1) The sacred canopy theory. (2) Religious legitimization. (3)Forms of sacred canopy in religions in the world.

Lesson 12: Functional Differentiation (Secularization) and Religion
(1) What is “secularization”? (2) Secularization of society and change of religion in the Western societies. (3) Cases in other areas.

Lesson 13: Individualization of Religion in Modern Societies
(1) The religious individualization theory. (2) Cases of privatization of religion in the Western societies.

Lesson 14: Public Religions in Modern Societies
(1) The religious de-privatization theory. (2) Forms of public religions in the Western and Islam societies.

Lesson 15: Cultural Religion in Modern Societies
(1) Trends of cultures and religions in the world. (2) The cultural religion theory. (3) The natural (or spontaneous) religion in Japan.

Students are required to submit a paper at the end of this course.
I provide handouts in every class. I give a list of reference materials in class. 
PC or AV used in
(More Details) Handouts, PC, DVD player, projector, and screen. 
Learning techniques to be incorporated  
Suggestions on
Preparation and
Lesson 1: Understand the outline, purpose, and structure of this course.
Lesson 2: Understand what are implied in the concept “magic.”
Lesson 3: Learn various typologies (classifications) of religion developed from various viewpoints.
Lesson 4: Study patterns of origination and development of “founded relgions” and understand “charisma”in religious contexts.
Lessons 5-6: Study forms of soteriology in religions in the world and understand what the “salvation religion” is.
Lessons 7-9: Study holy sites, annual festivals, and life cycle rituals of religions in the world and understand how religions make people’s lives and worlds.
Lesson 10: Understand some aspects of religious experiences.  
Lesson 11: Understand the aspect of religion as an ideological system that provides meanings.
Lesson 12: Understand what the “secularization” is.
Lessons 13-15: Understand new forms and functions of religions in modern societies that undergo “secularization.” 
Requirements You must be interested in religions. 
Grading Method ① Class performance (: a short paper you write during the class) 60% and ② the final paper 40%. 
Practical Experience  
Summary of Practical Experience and Class Contents based on it  
Message I expect your active performances in class. 
Please fill in the class improvement questionnaire which is carried out on all classes.
Instructors will reflect on your feedback and utilize the information for improving their teaching. 
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