What you will learn
- Interpret the roles world religions to play in today and throughout history.
- Appreciate the internal diversity and evolution of world religions and their scriptures.
- Understand the strengths and limitations of learning about world religions through their sacred texts.
- Explore how scriptures are interpreted to diverse ends in different historical and cultural contexts.
- Engage in nuanced readings of world scriptures.
The study of religion is rich and fascinating — and goes well beyond beliefs and ritual practices. In this series, learners explore the diversity and evolution of the religions around the world. Through scripture, learners will explore themes such as gender and sexuality, art and science, violence and peace, and power and authority.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are global religions with diversity in language, culture, history, and creed, but the sacred scriptures of the Tanakh, the Bible, and the Quran give followers a shared language. How do Jews draw inspiration and guidance from traditional texts? How have Christians lived out their stories and teachings? What is the relationship between the Quran and the prophet Mohammed? This series will answer these questions and introduce you to these scriptures.
Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism present a rich array of religious texts from across the Indian subcontinent. How do these texts influence the lives of adherents? What challenges do multiple collections of scriptures present for practitioners? Why is Sikhism, the fifth largest religion, relatively unknown in the Western world? Learners will explore the tenets, beliefs, and history of these followers by analyzing scripture, literature, and contemporary media relevant to these religions.
Both the faithful and the questioning are invited to join us as we traverse the globe to explore the power of the written word and its relevance to contemporary public life and the spiritual lives of all who encounter it.
Courses in this program
HarvardX's World Religions Through Their Scriptures XSeries
- 5–10 hours per week, for 4 weeksLearn about Christianity through a study of its sacred scriptures. We will explore how diverse Christians have interpreted these writings and practiced their teachings over a 2000 year, global history.
- 5–10 hours per week, for 4 weeksLearn about the rich and diverse beliefs and practices of Buddhists across time and place. Experience Buddhism through its scriptures, both relationally as well as academically.
- 5–10 hours per week, for 4 weeksThis course examines the Sikh scripture from a doctrinal and historical perspective by providing an overview of Sikh teachings as well as the historical context within which the scripture evolved and became canonized.
Meet your instructors
Experts from HarvardX committed to teaching online learning