Religious Studies

“If we are to respect each other’s religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty.” -- Gandhi (1962)

In the Department of Religious Studies, we consider religion to be a complex, abiding and central feature of all human societies. We believe that if one is to understand a society, it is vital to study its religious writings, practices and beliefs.

Religious Studies courses at W&M do not assume any religious commitment on the part of students or faculty. Rather, the courses seek to enhance students' abilities to critically examine and understand religious traditions as important aspects of human cultures and civilizations. In-depth study of religious traditions as living cultural artifacts allow students to understand the variety of ways societies have historically organized human lives. Students learn how to read and think critically and engage productively with the complexities, ambiguities and challenges of human life in our increasingly cosmopolitan and globalized world. 

We offer a major and a minor in Religious Studies. We are also a major component of the interdisciplinary Judaic Studies minor.

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