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Religion Committee Meets to Consider New Concentration

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The Committee on Higher Degrees in the Study of Religion--a joint Faculty and Divinity School committee--may seek to establish an undergraduate concentration in comparative religion in the near future.

Roderick Firth, Alfred Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy and Civil Policy, said yesterday that the Committee met yesterday to discuss the "very tentative plans" for an undergraduate honors program. Harvard currently grants doctorates in the study of religion, but not Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Feel Strongly

Krister Stendahl, dean of the Divinity School and former chairman of the Committee, told The Crimson that he feels strongly that Harvard should establish the undergraduate concentration.

"Harvard is the only private university in the country, with the possible exception of Cornell, that has not recognized religion as a field for undergraduate concentration," Stendahl said.

Stendahl said that without an undergraduate concentration in religion, the only people available to teach courses on religion usually do not have religious studies as their primary field of competence.

He said he felt that the lack of courses in religion was due to the historical tradition of separating church and state.

"Even the state universities have learned to cope with the problem. There is no reason Harvard cannot," Stendahl said.

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