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Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Summer semester A 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Prof. Graham Oppy


Previously coded PHL2040


This unit introduces students to the major 'world religions': Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The unit explores these religions by looking at their historical development, basic ideas, practices and sacred texts. In addition, students are introduced to the philosophical examination of these religions, where this involves the critical analysis and evaluation of the concepts and doctrines that have played a central role in each religion. Possible topics to be covered include revelation, conceptions of divinity, evil and suffering, afterlife and liberation, faith and reason, karma and moral responsibility, and inter-religious dialogue


The objectives of this unit are:

  1. to offer students the opportunity to improve their understanding of the history, beliefs, practices and sacred texts of the world's great religions
  2. to provide students with the skills necessary to identify the structure and distinguishing features of major religious traditions, and to compare diverse belief-systems for their similarities and differences with a critical focus
  3. to help students develop their hermeneutical and exegetical skills, so that they can interpret, contextualise and explain passages and texts from different religious traditions, as well as integrate their analysis of scriptural texts with contemporary scholarly and critical material
  4. to develop the capacities of students to engage in reflective and critical thinking, particularly the capacity to critically analyse and evaluate concepts, doctrines and arguments that have played a central role in the world's religions, as well as to put forward ideas and arguments of their own in a clear and cogent way.


Assignment 1 (2000 words essay): 40%
Assignment 2 (2000 words essay): 40%
Exam (2 hours): 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Graham Oppy

Contact hours

Two weeks each of three 2-hour lectures and three 2-hour tutorials

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: