Dr. Bryan S. Rennie
Vira I. Heinz Professor of Religion

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Resumé/Curriculum Vitae | Brief Biographical Details | Current Research | Courses Taught

Fall 2016:
Patterson Hall Room 336
Office hours: M, W, F 11:30 - 1:30 and by arrangement
Telephone: 724 946 7151.
My only e-mail address is brennie@westminster.edu

Division of Social Sciences and Humanities

2006 - 2009
Former Vice-President and Program Chair
North American Association for the Study
of Religion

Organizer of the North American Undergraduate Conference on Religion and Philosophy, 2015

Most recent publication:

“Beauty and Religion,” in Religion: Material Religion edited by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2016: 21-43. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. Gale Virtual Reference Library.


Why Study Religion?

"I am proud to be involved in a profession, religious studies, which has taken seriously the phenomenological method, banning the ideological or theological determination of descriptive or historical truth." (Ninian Smart, Dimensions of the Sacred, p. 177).

I teach "World Religions" through both philosophy and religious studies, having majored in philosophy as a method for the study of religion. My doctoral work concentrated on theory and method in the study of religion and convinced me that philosophy cannot be adequate as a method for the study of religion without a thorough grasp of the history of religion, just as the history of religion is incomplete without critical philosophical understanding. The History of Religion, like Art History, requires both criticism and content. My publications on the historian of religions, Mircea Eliade, have attracted an international audience and my book from the State University of New York Press, Reconstructing Eliade: Making Sense of Religion, was reviewed, generally favorably, in many of the leading journals in the field. (See reviews.)

Courses Taught:

This semester (Fall 2016):

All Courses:

  • Inquiry 101 - The First-Year Program, Fall Semester
  • Inquiry 102 - The First-Year Program, Spring Semester
  • Phi 101 - Problems of Philosophy
  • Phi 102 - Practical Logic
  • Phi 104 - Philosophy of Art and Beauty
  • Phi 202 - Foundations of Modern Philosophy
  • Phi 212 - Philosophy of Science
  • Phi 218 - Philosophy of Mind
  • Phi 297 - The Wisdoms of the World
  • Rel 100 - Understanding the Bible
  • Rel 142 - Prophetic Literature
  • Rel 170 - Understanding Religious Experience and Expression
  • Rel 171 - Religion in the Western World
  • Rel 172 - Religions from India
  • Rel 173 - Religion in China
  • Rel 176 - Religion and Art
  • Rel 178 - Philosophy of Religions
  • Rel 270 - Method and Theory in the Study of Religion