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The academic study of religion at Colby focuses upon the origins and historical development of several of the world's major religious traditions with the goal of enabling students to understand and appreciate religious diversity in the modern world. Although Religious Studies is a small department at Colby, we are able to include within our curriculum courses that explore Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Buddhism, and Islam, and thus represent a considerable exposure to complex and varied religious traditions. Often we are able to expand the scope of our inquiry further.
A study of Judaism and Christianity provides students with a deep knowledge of the development of Western culture and its heritage. Similarly, learning about Asian religions is crucial for understanding the culture of India, China, Japan and other Asian countries. We also intend to expose students to a variety of methods in Religious Studies. Thus in our courses students learn to study religions by scrutinizing their literary traditions, archaeological remains, rituals, texts, and their societal influence. The study of religion teaches people to think clearly, critically, and cross-culturally about ways in which human beings continue to understand the world and their role in it.
You can learn more about our faculty, our students, and our courses by accessing course materials and resources for your exploration of the world's religions. The menu at the left will help you navigate our site.
FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR STUDENT RESEARCH AND TRAVEL -- JANUARY 2014!
All Colby students, regardless of major, are invited to apply for research grants on topics related to the study of religion. The Religious Studies department will fund original projects, including collaborative research
Funding: Grants are available to continuing, full-time Colby students. Grants will range from $1,000 - $2,500, with maximum funding allocated to those grants that are either collaborative or for those that require international travel. The number of Grants awarded vary from year to year. Funds may be allocated to cover any legitimate research expenses including, but not limited to: purchase of research materials, travel, food, and lodging expenses associated with datagathering. Students may not qualify for stipends under this program, except for unusual circumstances, which should be specifically documented at the time of the application. The Department hopes to fund two projects from this round of applications for Jan Plan Fellowships; a second round for Summer Fellowships will take place during the spring semester.
The deadline to apply is October 25 and all applications must be submitted to the Religious Studies Department attention to Professor Carleen Mandolfo.
Marc Zvi Brettler will deliver the annual Campagna-Sennett Lecture in Religious Studies.
"Who is God?" Throughout history people around the world have been willing to sacrifice their lives, and end the lives of others, in the name of the divine. But what does the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) actually say about what God is like and how the divine operates in the world? Come explore the many faces and facets of God presented in the Hebrew Bible, and how the multiple renderings of God might impact how we view the Bible as a whole.
Marc Zvi Brettler is the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.
Wendy Doniger will deliver the 2012 annual Compagna-Sennett lecture in Religious Studies. She is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago. Doniger is a world famous scholar of comparative religion and Hinduism. One of the most eclectic scholars in the humanities today, Doniger brings into her works Greek myths, the Hebrew Bible, medieval romance, Shakespeare, and Hollywood. She holds two doctorates – from Harvard and Oxford. Doniger has written more than twenty books including Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva; Other People's Myths; The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade; The Rig Veda: An Anthology; and, most recently, The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was. She is a brilliant speaker.
Comic Folktales about Clever Women and Magic Rings
Compagna-Sennett Religious Studies Inaugural Lecture
"Wine, Women, and Death: Love and Piety in Medieval Judeo-Arabic Culture"
"Food and Identity in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam"
Compagna-Sennett Religious Studies Lecture
Compagna-Sennett Jan-Plan Fellowships
Joint project by Desiree Shayer (Government & Middle East Studies) and Jena Hershkowitz (History & Religious Studies)
Simran Jaisingh (Global Studies)
Compagna-Sennett Trip to Yale and Harvard: "Colby students visit ancient Israel"