Day and Boarding; Grades 6-12

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Religion

Graduation requirement: 1 credit, including Religion in America and one elective

The Religion Department equips Pennington students with skills to engage their academic journey, the world, and themselves with intellectual empathy and cross-cultural competencies. Building on their introduction to the study of global religion during their ninth-grade year in World History, students take Religion in America, a multidisciplinary study of the history and religious diversity of the United States, during their sophomore year. Students choose from a range of departmental and interdisciplinary course offerings during their junior year to further build on this foundation. Throughout the curriculum, emphasis is placed on the daily discipline of reading, note-taking, and reflection, and the rigorous practice of seminar discussion. Critical thinking, writing, research and oral presentation skills are cultivated alongside collaborative, technology-based exploration. Experiential opportunities both within the classroom (guest speakers, Skype interviews, and live streaming of religious festivals) and beyond (visits to communities of worship, lectures, and historical sites) provide multiple texts for analysis, exploration, and reflection.

Religion in America; Grade 10

Religion in America*
Grade 10
.5 credit
The United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world. In this course students will explore the histories, cultures, traditions, and practices that shape the faith communities of twenty-first-century America. Texts, as well as primary sources, articles, media resources, and experiential opportunities, will introduce cross-cultural skills of religious literacy and intellectual empathy for diverse worldviews and ways of life.
*Required course for sophomores
Offered fall and spring semesters

Rhythm of the Sacred; Grades 11–12

Rhythm of the Sacred*
Grades 11–12
.5 credit
This semester course allows the student the opportunity to explore the basic elements of music to then analyze the ways in which sacred music remains an integral part of both individual spirituality and practical worship. Material is synthesized through multimedia mechanisms of audio/visual recordings, live performances, and student “hands-on” playing of rhythm instruments and piano keyboards. The principles and values of major world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Sikhism) are examined as reflected through the inspiration of composers and congregants.
*Prerequisite: Religion in America
*Successful completion of this course also garners Arts credit.
Offered fall and spring semesters

Introduction to Philosophy; Grades 11–12

Introduction to Philosophy
Grades 11–12
.5 credit
Philosophy is a love of wisdom and an appreciation for the complexities of life. Students are introduced to the thought, writings, and influence of major philosophical thinkers. The class begins with Descartes and Kant and includes other philosophers such as Locke, Pascal, Marx, and Nietzsche. Students explore the basic questions of philosophy, including topics in elementary logic and reasoning, ethics and morality, and issues in political and social philosophy. They learn to frame contemporary issues and problems within a philosophical and logical system in order to shed new light on what is at stake for them and for society.
Offered spring semester

Introduction to the New Testament; Grades 11–12

Introduction to the New Testament
Grades 11‒12
.5 credit
This is an academic, nonsectarian course aimed at providing a basic but sufficient introduction to the writings of the New Testament. However, although the class does not study the Bible as a revelatory text, students will develop intellectual empathy as a critical skill over the course of the semester. They will explore questions such as “What is it like to read the New Testament as God’s Word to humankind?” “What did it mean for the earliest Christians?” and “How has the New Testament influenced the world since its inception and transmission?” These questions will be starting points as the class delves into the social, political, and religious lives of the authors, hearers, and believers of the New Testament.
Offered fall semester

East Asian Religions; Grades 11‒12

East Asian Religions
Grades 11‒12
.5 credit
This course is designed to introduce students to the major concepts, themes, and doctrines of the religions of East Asia. The class carefully examines the history and development of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto from their origins to the variety of distinct forms and cultural expressions that these religions have taken on in China, Korea, and Japan. Students explore the religious beliefs and philosophical ideas of the great sages Confucius, Laozi, and the Buddha, and they look at the ways in which these religious doctrines have influenced the formation of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cultures. This class also draws upon the core texts of Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist literature and looks at contemporary teachings within these religious traditions.
Offered fall semester

Women in the Bible; Grades 11‒12

Women in the Bible
Grades 11‒12
.5 credit
What role do women play in the Bible? Beginning with the biblical matriarchs Eve and Sarah, this course traces the unique history and stories of women, named and unnamed, within the Bible. Students examine biblical narratives, laws, and poems in order to paint a picture of what life was once like for women in ancient Israel and the ancient Mediterranean world. The class explores the study of gender in the Bible and examines contemporary feminist interpretations of the biblical narratives.
Offered spring semester