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RELS101 Introduction to Judaism, Christianity and Islam

An introduction to the three major religions which originated in the Middle East.

An introduction to the religions which originated in the Middle East. These three religious traditions today claim the allegiance of half the world's population. The traditions are closely related, but their adherents have often entered into vigorous and at times bloody conflicts; between them, they have made and remade the world as we know it today. Just as importantly, they have provided millions of people all over the globe with enduring ways of understanding this world and their own way of existing in it. The contemporary world, with all its complexity, is almost incomprehensible if we do not have a firm grip on the influence of these religions. Their close study has perhaps never been as important.

Paper title Introduction to Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Paper code RELS101
Subject Religious Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Second Semester, Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $886.35
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,766.35

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RELX 101
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Dr John Shaver,
Teaching staff
Course co-ordinator: Dr John Shaver
Lecturer: Dr Deane Galbraith
Paper Structure
After a brief methodological introduction, the paper divides into four principal parts; sections devoted to Judaism, Christianity and Islam are capped by five lectures devoted to the Western religious traditions' struggles with modernity.

  • Tutorial attendance/online discussions 10%
  • Essay outline 5%
  • Essay (1,500-2,000 words) 20%
  • Final exam 65%
Teaching Arrangements
Campus: Lectures are held twice weekly (50 minutes each). In addition, there are five 1-hour tutorial sessions, which are conducted in small groups.

Distance: Students will conduct self-study with the course book's Study Guide providing guidance to approaching the assigned readings. In addition, five fortnightly online discussions will be set up so that distance students can converse about the materials and to allow monitoring and feedback of progress.
A coursebook containing lecture notes and readings is available for this paper. Printed copies will be provided for distance students and are also available through the printshop. The coursebook is also available as a PDF through Blackboard.
Course outline
View sample course outline for RELS 101
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to
  • Identify and discuss the principal beliefs characteristic of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Identify and discuss the most common practices associated with each religion
  • Identify and discuss key moments in the historical development of all three traditions
  • Discuss some of the ways in which the adherents of each religion have responded to the challenges of modernity

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Thursday 13:00-13:50 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40
A2 Thursday 14:00-14:50 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40