RELIGIOUS STUDIES

  • Mission Statement

The Religious Studies major at Westmont College offers the coursework, conversations, and experiences students need to gain competence in the study, understanding, and articulation of the Christian tradition in lively conversation with other traditions.

To that end, the Religious Studies major guides students:

  • toward biblical literacy and growing skill in biblical interpretation enriched by interdisciplinary approaches and appropriately critical engagement with the history of interpretation;

  • toward theological literacy and sound theological judgment marked by the ability to articulate clear and relevant theological convictions;

  • toward familiarity with forms of Christianity worldwide with attention to historical and local identities of the Church in their social and cultural contexts; and

  • toward strong faith in Jesus Christ and orthodox theology marked by a thoughtful and sustained commitment to the life of the Christian community
  • Department Learning Outcomes

Hermeneutical competence:

Our graduates will be able to apply a range of skills in the interpretation of biblical and other religious literature.

    • They will employ close reading skills with regard to primary sources: observation; inquiry; attention to genre, context, intertextuality, and literary influence; awareness of their own assumptions and cultural biases; awareness of audience(s) and effect on readers.
    • They will display judicious use of scholarly resources (e.g., language tools, commentaries, monographs, journals, dictionaries, encyclopedias, electronic databases, library holdings, inter-library loan, web-based tools). They will acknowledge dependence and influence through appropriate notes and bibliography.
    • They will appropriate a range of critical methodologies (e.g., historical, literary, textual, rhetorical, socio-cultural), draw on insights across the range of relevant disciplines (e.g., linguistics; anthropology; sociology; philosophy; archaeology), and recognize the insights and pitfalls of various ideological approaches (e.g., post-colonial, feminist, Marxist).

Theological judgment:

Our graduates will understand the fundamental claims and logic of the Christian faith, appreciate the development of Christian theological traditions over time, and be able to think theologically.

    • They will faithfully interpret texts including the Bible and other primary sources in the worldwide Christian tradition.
    • They will fairly evaluate the theological claims of secondary sources and current voices within and outside the Christian tradition.
    • They will thoughtfully address intellectual and practical issues involving both narrowly theological matters and concerns in other disciplines.
    • They will be acquainted with, and increasingly formed in, the practices that Christian theology serves including worship, fellowship, mission, study (especially of the Bible), and ethical conduct.

Ecclesial engagement:

Our graduates will be marked by a passionate commitment to the Christian church and its mission.

    • They will increasingly recognize connections between personal faith, scholarly inquiry, and the shared life of God’s people in the world past and present.
    • They will sense no conflict between rigorous intellectual inquiry, faithful service, and passionate worship.
    • They will establish lifelong disciplines marked by theological reflection, Christ-like compassion, and robust engagement in the public square.

    Report Archives

    Sept.2007 Annual Report

    For more information about the Religious Studies Department go to their website at

    http://www.westmont.edu/_academics/departments/religious_studies/