Los Angeles Valley College, Spring 2005       K.L. Ross, DrKelley at AOL.com
Philosophy 35, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam   Office:  Campus Center 224
W 6:45-9:55 AM, CC 205 (3324)                       Phone:  (818) 947-2467


TEXTS:      A History of the Jews, by Paul Johnson
            A History of Christianity, by Paul Johnson
            Islam by Karen Armstrong
            Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels
            The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis
CONTENTS:  A survey of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with emphasis on
           questions in the philosophy of religion, history of religion,
           and contemporary political issues.

    Unit 1:  Philosophy of Religion after Rudolf Otto.  Judaism, ancient,
             mediaeval, and modern -- the Exodus, anti-Semitism, Israel,
             etc.  Tentative midterm:  March 2.

    Unit 2:  Christianity, controversies over Jesus, Gnosticism, the Roman
             Church, Schisms and Heresies, Crusades, Reformation, etc.
             Tentative midterm:  April 13.

    Unit 3:  Islam, the Prophet, Caliphates, Jihad, Shi'ism, Discontents
             with Modernity, etc.   Final:  6:45 PM, Wednesday,
             June 1, CC 205.

ATTENDANCE:  This is primarily a lecture class:  tardiness and
    absences thus will result in missing material that cannot be found in
    the texts or in other sources.  The texts are primary sources which
    are not self-explanatory; and you will not find what I say in
    encyclopaedia articles or in most other books.  Believe me, you will
    not do well in the class unless you are present for the lectures
    or arrange to obtain lecture notes, and it is your responsibility
    to arrange with others to obtain the materials for classes that you
    miss.  You may tape record lectures.

    Attendance is no longer taken for each class meeting.  No student
    will be excluded for non-attendance after the first three weeks.  Do
    not report absences to me.  It is your own responsibility to drop the
    class if you wish to do so (final drop date:  May 6th).  Anyone on
    the roster at the end of the semester who has not been present for the
    tests will receive an F.  It is your responsibility to obtain from other
    students any material or assignments you miss when absent.  If you miss
    any examinations, including the due date for take home exams, and you
    return within the period when a makeup is allowed, you must be prepared
    to take the test, or hand in any materials, promptly at the beginning
    of the class on the day you return.

    Holidays this semester are Lincoln's Birthday & Presidents' Day,
    February 18 & 21; Spring Break, March 21-25; Cesar Chavez Day, March 31;
    and Memorial Day, May 30.  The last day of classes is Friday, May 27th.

    Note well:  Anyone who persistently disrupts my class by talking,
    arriving late, repeatedly leaving & returning, or through any other
    distracting or inconsiderate behavior may be instructed to leave the
    class.  If you do not want to be here, don't come in the first place.

OFFICE HOURS: My office hours are MWF 7:30-8:00 & 11:10-11:45 AM,
    TuWTh 6:30-6:45 PM, and by appointment in CC 224.  The phone number is
    (818) 947-2467.  This is a direct line, and no one else will answer
    the phone.  You should call during office hours.  If you call at
    other times, you can leave messages on voicemail.  You do not
    need to report absences, or your reasons for them, by voicemail.
    Do not leave messages for me to call you, without the times you can
    be reached at your number.  I will not return calls if all you want
    is to be brought up to date for classes you have missed.  Just return
    to class.  Any inquiries by e-mail can be answered within a
    couple of days:  DrKelley at AOL.com

TESTS:  There will be two midterm exams and a final.  Make-up tests for
    the midterms will only be given before the original tests are handed
    back (usually after a week).  If you miss the final and cannot take it
    at another time I have scheduled, you cannot make it up during the
    current semester and will be credited with an F unless you request an
    Incomplete--which you may do simply by leaving a message for me before
    I turn in the grades.

    The exams will include multiple choice, short answer identifications,
    and essay questions.  The final will count half of your grade and will
    be comprehensive (Midterm I + Midterm II = Final).  Point values are
    assigned to grades as follows:  F=0, D=3, C=6, B=9, & A=12.  Minuses
    subtract one point, and pluses add one.  A C+ is thus worth 7.  The
    midterm grades will be added together the grade of the final exam
    multiplied by two for the course grade = [Midterm I + Midterm II +
    2x(Final)]/4.  Missed tests will count as F's unless made up.  The
    lowest midterm grade will be dropped if the grade is improved by the
    substitution of the grade of the other midterm or of the final with the
    penalty of one letter grade.  For instance, an A+ (13) on the final
    means that a Midterm grade lower than a B+ (10) is replaced with a B+.
    If the course grade is as much as 10 (B+), without rounding, an A will
    be awarded.  If a 7 (C+), a B; a 4 (D+), a C; and a 1 (F+), a D.

    In all tests in my classes, you are not expected to agree with me on
    any issue; but you are expected to know what has been presented in the
    course, both in the lectures and in the books, and to present reasons or
    arguments for any views you wish to advocate.  Outside materials or
    opinions are welcome so long as they are not a substitute for awareness
    or discussion of the materials of the course.

    In this respect we may have a particular problem in this class, for it
    is not difficult to find much of the material we will be dealing with
    presented elsewhere in devotional, uncritical, and ahistorical
    fashion.  This is a philosophy class and thus does not endorse the
    truth of any religion under study, or of various claims that they
    may make.

    You are expected to do your own work, so do not prepare communal essays
    with your study partners.  I reserve the right to exclude or fail anyone
    who turns in work that they have not done themselves, who plagiarizes,
    or who cheats in any other way.  I apologize in advance for the measures
    it has become necessary to take to guard against cheating on
    examinations.  This is irritating and insulting for us all.

Return to Index