This course introduces students to the study of Christian theology. The four major periods of Christian theology (the Patristic, Middle Ages, Reformation, and Modern periods) are surveyed and the sources and methods of theology are described. The core doctrines of the Christian Church are discussed in detail. These include the doctrines of God, the Trinity, the Person of Christ, Salvation, Sin and Grace, the Church, Sacraments, and Eschatology.
THEOLOGIES OF LIBERATION
Liberation theologies arise from the struggles of oppressed peoples for justice, liberation, salvation, and well-being. They are usually formed in resistance to theologies and ideologies that function to bless and sanctify dominant social orders founded upon class, race, gender, and ethnicity in a variety of historic combinations. This course focuses upon liberation theologies generated in African-American, Latin-American, and feminist contexts. It seeks to equip students with the theological and analytical tools they need to begin doing liberation theology in their own context.
This course offers students theological and philosophic foundations for practicing Christian ministry with integrity. To achieve this aim several major sources of contemporary theological ethics are studied and discussed. These sources include The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the philosophic foundations of modern ethics, the use of Scripture in moral reasoning, and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and Dr. Martin Luther King.
QUANTUM PHYSICS AND THEOLOGY
Quantum physics and relativity theory are the two pillars that undergird our contemporary world view and one third of our economy. Yet the implications of quantum physics for our understanding of reality remain controversial. Inter-pretations range from the many worlds theory associated with John Wheeler to the quantum theology of John Polkinghorne. Our aim is to acquire a basic understanding of how the world of fact emerges from a boundless realm of possibility according to contemporary physics and to begin using this new world view as a basis for theological reflection.
[Note: Class is limited to ten students. Upper division undergraduate standing and some science background is required.]
CHURCH HISTORY IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
This is an intensive reading course in Church History. The first part of the course traces the development of the early Christian movement to the establishment of the Church and its early history up to the seventh century as the official religion of the Roman Empire. In the second part, the history of the Church is studied in the major regions of the world. The regions examined include Africa, India, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Far East. The readings attend to the stories of ordinary Christians and the Church’s interactions with the people and cultures of the areas in which it has put down roots.
BENEDICTINE SPIRITUALITY FOR TODAY
In this course students learn and practice the teachings of the Rule of St. Benedict. Grounded in scripture, this Sixth Century monastic rule has become a well-known and important resource for contemporary Christian spirituality. Students explore the Benedictine approach to prayer and worship, work and study, hospitality and community, leadership and justice. The Benedictine tenets of stability, balance, moderation, and finding God in everyday life are integrated into the lives of students through the use of methods and practices presented in class and in the readings.
THE THEOLOGY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
This is an intensive reading course of essential writings, speeches and sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Selections from all five of his books are also read. The primary aim of the course is to read closely what Dr. King wrote in order to acquire knowledge of his thought. Class discussion provides opportunities to clarify the meaning of Dr. King’s writings, to understand Dr. King within the context of his time, and to begin the process of responding to his words and teachings within our own context.
THE UBUNTU THEOLOGY OF ARCHBISHOP TUTU
Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s book, God has a Dream (2004), expresses the vision for human rights, peace, and well-being that guided him and many others during the long struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. The text shows how God is seeking the transformation of suffering and oppression into joy and reconciliation. Class discussion is informed and guided by a close reading of the text. Class members are encouraged to share their personal reflections and responses to the text’s message of hope for the world.
JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF GOD
In this course, we read and discuss N.T. Wright’s book Jesus and the Victory of God. It explores the questions: Who was Jesus? What were his aims? Why did he die? And why did early Christianity begin in the way that it did?