Religious Literacy Project

The Brown Religious Literacy Project is a non credit-bearing semester long undertaking meant to deepen participants’ understanding of what it means to be religiously literate. The class is not meant to make students knowledgeable about every detail of the major religions we examine—this is impossible. Instead, the class will present resources related to the academic study of religion and the practice of faith. Students will explore how theology, doctrine, scripture, rituals, social values, community, and personal religious experiences inform the complex process of religious identity formation and perception. In addition to the weekly meetings, students will complete mandatory journal assignments, readings, and lived religion field trips, as well as a capstone project.

In order to provide the best possible and broadest approach to the study and practice of religious literacy, the program will draw on the knowledge both of the Department of Religious Studies and the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. The core of the course lasts for ten weeks during which professors and chaplains will present on five major religious traditions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—two weeks on each tradition. A member of the Department will team up with a member of the OCRL, and they dialogue about the distinction between their approaches to thinking about religion as well as the topics that they believe are key to approaching and/or understanding their tradition. In the penultimate week, students can present on traditions that have not been covered.