Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify significant concepts, figures and religious thinkers (ex. Moses, Zoroaster, Jesus, Muhammad etc.) from the Western religious traditions.
  • Explain and evaluate historically important Western religious figures and theories.


Explores the origin, history and significant ideas of the world's Western religions. Compares the fundamental insights, ideals and contributions toward the human moral heritage and wisdom of the early religions, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Analyze and evaluate historic and contemporary development of religious ideas that develop in the Western world.
  2. Understand the problems and mysteries which religion attempts to solve.
  3. Understand the thought and culture of other peoples and the role of religion in human history.
  4. Identify important people, texts and events of early religion as well as those of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Course Content

  1. Religious thinking of primary cultures
    1. Animism
    2. Magic
    3. Totemism
    4. Purification rites
    5. Mythology
    6. Early views on death
  2. Early national religions
    1. Egypt
    2. Babylon
    3. Greece
    4. Rome
  3. Zoroastrianism and its early influences upon Judaism
    1. Monotheism and dualism
    2. Light and darkness
    3. Good and evil
  4. Judaism
    1. Judaism as an historical religion
    2. The function of revelation and covenant
      1. Noah
      2. Abraham
      3. Moses
    3. Holy Scripture
      1. Torah
      2. Tanakh
      3. Talmud
    4. Diaspora
      1. Establishment of synagogue system
      2. Rabbinical authority
  5. Christianity
    1. The life of Jesus
      1. The birth of Jesus
      2. Baptism
      3. His time in the desert
      4. The three temptations by the evil one
      5. Ministry
      6. Death and resurrection
      7. Ascension
    2. The teaching of Jesus in the synoptic gospels
    3. Paul and the early Church
    4. Catholicism
    5. Protestantism
    6. Contemporary denominations
  6. Islam
    1. The life of the Prophet Muhammad
      1. The night of power
      2. The revelation of the Qur'an
      3. Hijra
      4. The return to Mecca
    2. Pillars of Faith
      1. Belief in the absolute singularity of God
      2. Belief in angels
      3. Belief in God's revealed books
      4. Belief in the prophets as messengers of God
      5. Belief in the Day of Judgment
      6. Belief in Al-Qadar (divine predestination)
    3. Pillars of Practice
      1. Shahada: The testimony of faith
      2. Salat: Daily prayer
      3. Zakat: Charity
      4. Fasting for the month of Ramadan
      5. Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca
    4. Divisions
      1. Sunni
      2. Shi'ite
      3. Sufi

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Midterm examination
Final examination
Written reports

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Online postings
Readings of, and responses to, primary and secondary literature

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Noss, David S., and Blake R Grangaard. A History of the World's Religions, 14th ed.. 2018.

Smith, Huston. The World's Religions. 2009.

The Smith text remains a standard introduction to the world's religions for undergraduate students, despite being older than five years.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Reading and written reflections on the text
  2. Reading and written reflection on the written lectures
  3. Engaging with peers and exchanging comments on each others' assignments
  4. Web research on the Zoroastrian religion and written reflection on research
  5. Completing a final project which consists of a field visit to a religious service that would be a new experience from anything done in the past