Ohio University recently renamed the Department of Classics and World Religions to the Department of Classics and Religious Studies.

The classics and religion departments first merged back in 2003. The name change isn’t a new merger, but just a change in title, Brian Collins, chair of the Department of Classics and Religious Studies, said. This means there is no cost impact to the university, Collins said.

The prefixes for classes within the program will also change, Collins said in a press release.

“Soon the prefixes CLWR (Classics-World Religions), CLAS (Classics), and CLAR (Classical Archaeology) will all be replaced by the single prefix CARS,” Collins said in the release. 

Ashley Safran, a senior studying classics and religion, said she hopes the new name will lead to more engagement between the departments.

“I hope to see more connections built between the two departments and, as a result, more engagement across the two fields of study,” Safran said. “With this union, the Department of Classics and Religious Studies will encourage students to broaden their perspectives on religions both present and past.”

The changing of the name from world religion to religious studies was prompted by some confusion around the name, Collins said in the release.

“The name ‘World Religions’ was chosen to distinguish the work done in the department from the old style of studying religion in seminaries and divinity schools,” Collins said in the release. “Emphasizing that the focus would be on the side-by-side study of religions from around the world, rather than Christian theology. But over time, this phrasing became confusing.”

Safran said this change will allow students to gain a broader knowledge of religion.

“Being able to compare knowledge between religions of new and old, and as a result, cultures of the past and present, will allow students to gain a better understanding of how antiquity has influenced us as well as a greater comprehension of modern religions and how they’re important,” Safran said.

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