Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, many scholars and intellectuals speculated that traditional religious beliefs were in decline and that people would gradually become less religious in an increasingly modern and secular world. Yet over a century later, major religious traditions have not only survived, they have thrived in many places around the world. How can we account for the enduring character of different religious traditions, and for their diversification and adaptability? In this course we will examine the various ways in which some of world’s religions have transformed over time and responded to new environments, new circumstances, and new challenges. In an effort to better understand these “living religious traditions,” we will look at their origins and histories, and discuss the figures, beliefs, sacred texts, rituals, stories and historical events which helped to shape their development. Students who have taken PHIL 013 Religions of the World cannot take this course.