Academics
Academic Departments

Religion Department

The study of religion at VES, along with our tradition of corporate worship and prayer, challenges our students in the search for the ultimate meaning of human existence.

In recognition of our school’s foundation in the Episcopal Church and the significant role Christianity has played in the shaping of Western civilization, the Religion department offers the New Testament course each semester. And in recognition of our pluralistic and multi-religious world, the department offers two World Religions courses, asserting that an understanding of the faith and values of others is essential to global citizenship.
  • New Testament (F)

    Prerequisites: None. Open to students in grades 9 through 12.

    The New Testament class surveys the New Testament and the fundamental teachings of Christianity. Old Testament/Hebrew Bible history and themes will be introduced as a foundation for understanding the first-century world and the writings of the New Testament. Particular attention will be paid to the life and teachings of Jesus. Connections will be made to the life of the Early Church, the teachings of the Apostles and traditional Christian beliefs.

    Upon completion of the course, students are expected to:

    • Understand the basic history and culture of the Old Testament and the first century world as a foundation for interpreting the New Testament.
    • Think critically and discuss intelligently topics related to religious beliefs.
    • Be able to read, understand and interpret the authorial intent of New Testament texts.
  • World Religions (F)

    Prerequisites: None. Open to students in grades 9 through 12.

    This course functions as part of a non-sequential, two-part offering intended to address greater breadth of topics across more varied religious traditions. Students will be presented with a snapshot of the basic tenants, rituals, values and experiences that define a sampling of the major religious traditions of our world.

    This class focuses on the earliest religious traditions, followed by the religions that spring from India, followed by an introduction of the major monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) with particular interest in the significance of the rise of Islam the Near East. Students will explore religions from both an external and internal perspective. An “external” perspective reflects those elements of a particular religious tradition that can be interpreted from the outside (historical figures, social changes, and political affinities). An “internal” perspective seeks to explore the ways in which adherents derive meaning from their particular religious tradition, or how their religious tradition answers the big questions of life: Why I am here? What is the good life? What is expected of me? What does the afterlife look like?
  • World Religions II (S)

    Prerequisites: None. Open to students in grades 9 through 12.

    This course functions as part of a non-sequential, two-part offering intended address greater breadth of topics across more varied religious traditions. Students will be presented a snapshot of the basic tenants, rituals, values, and experiences which define a sampling of the major religious traditions of our world.

    This class begins with an introduction (or re-introduction) to major monotheisms with increased emphasis upon Judaism and Christianity while maintaining at least a sufficient introduction to Islam. Students will then dive into Asian religions (Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism, Confucianism, Folk Religion and Shintoism). The course continues with the study of religious traditions linked with the earth and localized spirits (Shamanism, Animism and indigenous American Religion). As the semester marches on, 19th-century adaptations of major monotheisms (e.g., Christianity and Islam) are explored (i.e., Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baha’i Faith), followed by an exploration of 20th-century movements (i.e., Hare Krishna, Unification Church, Scientology). The final unit will explore the misuse of social power and its relation to personality cults (Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate, etc.).

Department Staff

  • Photo of Adam White

    Adam White

    Chaplain/Department Chair/Teacher, Religion
    434-385-3693
    Eastern Mennonite University - B.S.
    Eastern Mennonite Seminary - M.A.R.
    Drew University - M.Div.
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg - S.T.M.
A College Preparatory, Independent Boarding and Day School for Students in Grades 9-12
400 VES Road, Lynchburg, VA 24503 • 434.385.3600