TS 111 Introduction to World Religions

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Module Level


Time Allowance

3 hours on campus lectures during the weekend residentials (divided between 2 weekends) 3 hours live on-line lectures on Wednesday evening, 3 hours of self-directed learning, Assignment – 10 hours, Private Study – 20 hours.



Module Aims

  • To offer a general introduction to the main religious traditions of the world
  • To examine the relationship between these other religions and the Catholic Church
  • To look at avenues for inter-religious dialogue
  • To equip students with a framework for analyzing other religions To provide students with an entry point to further study of world religions

Indicative Syllabus:

  • Defining religion
  • World Religions – a useful paradigm or not?
  • Brief introduction to the various main World Religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam Hinduism and Buddhism
  • Human Dignity as the Source of Religious Freedom

Learning Outcomes

  • • Have encountered a broad range of world religions
  • • Understand the basic outlines of the relationship between Divine Revelation, Catholicism and the various world religions
  • • Be familiar with the main beliefs and practices of the major religious traditions
  • • Be able to see connections between various religions and denominations
  • • Know where to look for further authoritative information


  • Barnes, Philip. World Religions. Into the Classroom: Religious Education and the Leaving Certificate. Dublin: Veritas, 2003.
  • Bevans, Stephen B. and Jeffrey Gros, Evangelization and Religious Freedom: Ad Gentes, Dignitatis Humanae. Rediscovering Vatican II. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2009.
  • Cassidy, Edward Idris. Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue: Unitatis Redintegratio, Nostra Aetate. Rediscovering Vatican II. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2005.
  • Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration, “Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church.” Available at: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html
  • Council for Catechetics of the Irish Episcopal Conference, A Reflection on Mindfulness: Rediscovering the Christian Tradition of Meditation and Contemplation (Dublin: Veritas, 2018).
  • D’Costa, Gavin. Vatican II: Catholic Doctrines on Jews and Muslims. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. • “Nostra Aetate” in Matthew L. Lamb and Matthew Levering, eds. The Reception of Vatican II. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017, 425-458.
  • Dulles, Avery. “Who Can be Saved?” First Things 180 (February 2008): 17-22.
  • Dunn, Matthew W. I. “The CDF’s Declaration Dominus lesus and Pope John Paul II.” Louvain Studies 36 (2012): 46-73.
  • Hardon, John A. Religions of the World. An Image Book. New York: Doubleday, 1963. N.B. this book is out of print, but the full text is available on-line at: http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Protestantism/Protestantism_019.htm
  • Healy, Jr., Nicholas J. “Digntatis Humanae,” in Matthew L. Lamb and Matthew Levering, eds. The Reception of Vatican II. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017, 367-392.
  • Heft, James L. ed. Catholicism and Interreligious Dialogue. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Miles, Jack, et al, eds. The Norton Anthology of World Religions. Volume I: Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014. • The Norton Anthology of World Religions. Volume II: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
  • O’Donovan, Jo. Understanding Differently: Christianity and the World Religions. Dublin: Veritas, 2012.
  • Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae on the Right of the Person and of Communities to Social and Civil Freedom in Matters December 7, 1965. Available at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html
  • Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions Nostra Aetate. October 28, 1965. Available at: https://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html
  • Steinkerchner, Scott. Beyond Agreement: Interreligious Dialogue Amid Persistent Differences. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010,
  • Whitehead, Kenneth D., Affirming Religious Freedom: How Vatican Council II Developed the Church’s Teaching to Meet Today’s Needs. Staten Island, NY: Alba House, 2010,
  • Wilken, Robert Louis. Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2019.