Discover the Religion Department
The Religion Department is a community of students and faculty engaged in the exploration of religion: the different ways faith is expressed and practiced, the historical and cultural contexts of religions and their texts, as well as the interconnections between religion and other areas of human life — philosophical thought, the psychological, social, political, and economic dimensions, and the presence of religion and religious symbols in literature and fine arts, etc. To encourage creative and independent thinking, we emphasize the study of primary texts, rather than simply reading what other people have written about those texts.
Our approach is not faith-based. We are not in the business of either promoting or demoting faith; appreciation and critical understanding are our common goals. As an integral part of the larger Bishop’s community, students from all disciplines are welcomed in Religion courses, and students in Religion are encouraged to take courses in other related fields such as Philosophy, Classical Studies, History, Liberal Arts, etc. These may be counted as cognate courses to the Religion Major or Honours program. In addition, students may pursue their particular interests through independent study courses.
A Student Testimonial
Studying religion at Bishop’s, I have taken classes on the evolution of human psychology, magic, lost gospels, film, death rituals, Middle Eastern politics and religious views of sex. You can take classes on specific religions or you can debate Aquinas’s philosophy. You can get on a bus and visit a synagogue in Montreal, or you can get on a plane and participate in an archaeological dig in Jordan.
The possibilities of your Religion degree are endless. Whether you’re interested in WWII or Roman art, the study of religion encompasses it all. I’ve even heard chemistry and physics incorporated into Philosophy of Religion lectures.
Being part of Religion at Bishop’s also means receiving top-notch instruction. The department is small enough that the professors get to know you, and whether you’re there for one class or four years you’ll receive the same level of attention. You can also expect to show up to class to find that your lecture is dotted with clips from The Simpsons and The Daily Show, or that the professor has brought in traditional Jewish food for everyone to try.
The Religion Department at Bishop’s has perfectly matched intriguing material with engaging instruction. In studying religion at Bishop’s, I have learned about cave paintings, about ancient civilizations, and Aristotle’s worldview, but I have also learned to think for myself and to look beyond initial understandings of texts to uncover the bigger picture buried beneath. A degree in Religion means moving forward with invaluable skills, skills learned while studying some of the most fascinating facets of our world.
It’s really the greatest thing ever.
Rachael Heffernan, 4th Year, Religion Honours
Did you know?
- Department of Religion parties (for Religion faculty and students) take place each semester at a professor's home.
- Dr. Harvey White has won the university-wide Turner award for outstanding teaching.
- Dr. Daniel Miller has excavated in Israel and Jordan, has studied Ugaritic tablets in the Louvre Museum, and is an expert on The Simpsons.
- Dr. Michele Murray is fluent in modern Hebrew, has excavated in Israel and Jordan, and earned her commercial pilot's licence.
- You can participate in an archaeological excavation in Jordan — and get Bishop's University credits for it!