Harvard Divinity School senior lecturer Diane Moore has modest goals for her upcoming online course, “World Religions Through Their Scripture.” She merely wants to increase religious understanding, open up crucial dialogues, and change the world ”” or at least to create a MOOC that will examine religion in a uniquely enlightening way.
The course, which launches this spring, will bring together Harvard’s leading scholars in the world’s major religions: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. As a HarvardX MOOC (massive open online course), it was designed to attract an international, multicultural audience.
Moore, a senior lecturer on religious studies and education, a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, and director of the Religious Literacy Project, has long been an advocate of “religious literacy,” meaning an understanding of how religion works in its cultural and political contexts. Thus her goal is not to champion one religion over another, but to heighten the study of religion itself. And it’s not often that scholars of each leading religion interact in the real world, much less online.