Western Religious Traditions

Western civilization has been shaped decisively by three monotheistic religious traditions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Despite their distinctiveness, these traditions share a common background and numerous historical convergences. Using a comparative approach, this course examines such topics as scripture and tradition; monotheism; authority; worship and ritual; ethics; material culture (e.g., architecture, art, food, musical instruments, and ritual objects); religion and the political order; and the presence of radical (fundamentalist) forms of expression within these traditions that is increasingly shaping the course of world history.