Jon Paul Sydnor
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Emmanuel College is ideally situated for the teaching of world religions. Within two miles of the college—usually closer—there is a mosque, synagogue, Hindu temple, Buddhist meditation center and a host of churches. In my world religions class we take five field trips, one to each religion that we study, and we can walk to each one. We observe each religion in practice, gaining practical and experiential knowledge which makes book knowledge come alive. My students describe these site visits as invaluable to their learning process. To read about Hindu worship is one thing; to see Hindus worship is another—and much better—thing.
In the same way, the rich religious diversity of Boston allows me to bring speakers from other religions into my classroom. Meeting practitioners of the religion you are studying allows you to ask all the autobiographical and existential questions that neither books nor professors can fully answer.
There is no better city to teach world religions in than Boston. I'm thankful that Emmanuel College is right here, in the heart of Boston's religious diversity. And my students are thankful too.