Foundational Religious Texts
I. Course Prefix/Number: PHL 245
Course Name: Foundational Religious Texts
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
Course can be repeated once.
IV. Learning Objectives
A. Identify a critical distinction between foundational religious texts, or scripture, and other forms of literature.
B. Sketch an outline of the major aspects of the historical, economic, social, and cultural circumstances of the composition of the text being studied.
C. Identify and critically discuss literary motifs and styles through close readings of the texts.
D. Identify critically discuss philosophical themes emerging in the texts.
E. Explain and critically discuss the basic approach and position of at least two schools of interpretation for each text studied; for example, literalism, intentionalism, and constructivism.
F. Express respect for each religious tradition studied through familiarization with its scriptures.
G. Formulate implications of the texts in regards to contemporary questions concerning ethics, politics, science, and aesthetics.
H. Exhibit values related to teamwork and collaboration, fostered by the pedagogy of shared-inquiry and critical dialogue appropriate to the humanities and philosophy.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
Outline for each text covered:
I. The Context of Scriptural Origins
A. Historical and Religious Contexts
B. Issues of Authorship
C. Language and Communities Addressed
II. Scriptural Content and Interpretation
A. The Organization and Contents of the Scripture
B. Philosophical, Literary and Narrative Themes
C. Commentarial Traditions and Interpretive History
III. Tradition and the Modern World
A. Dissemination and Translation
B. Modern Interpretations and Social Relevance
VII. Methods of Instruction
B. Small group work
D. Student presentations and debates
E. Guest speakers
F. Field trips may be required
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
J. Standards for written work
N. Final Project
O. Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern
IX. Instructional Materials
Text: VARIES BY INSTRUCTOR
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
A. Quizzes/Exams……40 points
B. Essays……40 points
C. Final project with oral presentation……10 points
D. Attendance and participation………10 points
E. Grading scale: 90-100, A…….80-89, B………70-79, C……….60-69……..D
XI. Other Course Information
• Office and office hours:
• Email and website:
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.