Course Descriptions

 

Summer I 2016 Term

THEO 200-OLA: The Christian Tradition: Conflict and Consensus Online (Prof. Matthew Becker)

This six-week online course provides an introduction to some of the central developments and issues in the history of Christianity. Special attention is given to the most significant theological conflicts in the history of Christian thought. Does God exist? Who was/is Jesus? How have Christians disagreed about the nature of salvation? What is the church? What are the most controversial issues facing Christians today? All coursework is completed online (six quizzes, six threaded discussions, and an eight-page essay)

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THEO 333-OL: Black Theology and the Black Church (Prof. Gregory Jones)

This course is an exploration and examination of the African American religious experience. The student is expected to evolve a basic understanding of the contextual nature of the Black Theological experience as it relates to the development of Religious organizations within the African American community. Specific emphasis is placed on the origins and nature of the historic Black church and the diverse religious communities connected to that experience.

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THEO 363/563-OL: Religions of China and Japan (Prof. George Pati)

This survey course aims to introduce students to religions and cultures of China and Japan.  Special attention is given to a critical understanding of Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and Japanese Buddhism. In particular, this course will trace both conceptual and historical continuities through an examination of sacred texts and religious and cultural practices. Through weekly readings, discussions, and written assignments including reflection paper, comprehensive exam, and final term paper, students will demonstrate skill in various methods of acquiring knowledge, analyzing information, and evaluating it for a critical understanding of the major world religions under consideration. 

 

Summer II 2016 Term

THEO 200-OLB: The Christian Tradition: Conflict and Consensus Online (Prof. Matthew Becker)

This six-week online course provides an introduction to some of the central developments and issues in the history of Christianity. Special attention is given to the most significant theological conflicts in the history of Christian thought. Does God exist? Who was/is Jesus? How have Christians disagreed about the nature of salvation? What is the church? What are the most controversial issues facing Christians today? All coursework is completed online (six quizzes, six threaded discussions, and an eight-page essay).
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THEO 345-OL: The Church in the World (Prof. Gregory Jones)

The church in the world is a theological study of the life and mission of the domestic and global church community, with special emphasis on the movements for renewal, reform and reunion theologically within the Christian community. Application of this topic will be reflected within classical and contemporary theological discourse.

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THEO 348-OL: Topic: Creation (Prof. Matthew Becker)
This six-week online course examines issues relating to the Christian teaching that God is the Creator and that the universe is God’s creation. The course explores the biblical materials that relate to this teaching, compares and contrasts them with other stories of origin and cosmologies from the ancient world, and surveys key understandings of creation within the history of Christianity. A significant portion of the course investigates contemporary attempts to relate Christian understandings of reality to scientific knowledge (e.g., big-bang cosmology, evolution) and to contemporary social-political issues (e.g., poverty, environmental crisis, care of the earth, etc.).  All coursework will be completed online (six quizzes, threaded discussions, and an eight-page essay).

 

Fall 2016 Term 

THEO 200-A: The Christian Tradition MWF 8:00-8:50 AM (Prof. Mark W. Bartusch)

A study of the origin and development of Christian thought as it forms communities and engages the world. This section of THEO 200: The Christian Tradition introduces students to the academic study of the Christian theological tradition, with two distinct foci: 1) the Bible: its content, interpretation, use in the development of Christian doctrine, and continuing significance for the church and the world; and 2) the “theology of the cross” as an alternative approach to the interpretation of the Church’s message and mission in the world. In addition to 3 exams, including the final examination given according to the schedule set by the Office of the Registrar, students can expect to write several short reflection or analytical essays, a critical book review, and a “theology and Christian worship observation report.” 

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THEO 200-A(WIC): Asian Christianity TR 8:30-9:45 AM (Prof. George Pati)

This course introduces students to the Christian traditions as practiced in various regions of Asia, including India, China, and Japan. It seeks to engage in understanding historical and ethnographical accounts of Christianity in the Asian context by extension understand Christianity as a world religion. Particular emphasis will be given to how Christianity assimilates and acculturates in different regions of Asia and how it is different from Western Christianity. Also how Christianity is practiced in Diaspora community in the United States. 

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THEO 200-B: The Christian Tradition MWF 9:00-9:50 AM (Prof. Mark W. Bartusch)

A study of the origin and development of Christian thought as it forms communities and engages the world. This section of THEO 200: The Christian Tradition introduces students to the academic study of the Christian theological tradition, with two distinct foci: 1) the Bible: its content, interpretation, use in the development of Christian doctrine, and continuing significance for the church and the world; and 2) the “theology of the cross” as an alternative approach to the interpretation of the Church’s message and mission in the world. In addition to 3 exams, including the final examination given according to the schedule set by the Office of the Registrar, students can expect to write several short reflection or analytical essays, a critical book review, and a “theology and Christian worship observation report.” 

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THEO 200-B(WIC): Asian Christianity TR 10:30-11:45 AM (Prof. George Pati)

This course introduces students to the Christian traditions as practiced in various regions of Asia, including India, China, and Japan. It seeks to engage in understanding historical and ethnographical accounts of Christianity in the Asian context by extension understand Christianity as a world religion. Particular emphasis will be given to how Christianity assimilates and acculturates in different regions of Asia and how it is different from Western Christianity. Also how Christianity is practiced in Diaspora community in the United States.

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THEO 200-D: The Christian Tradition: Conflict and Consensus MWF 11:30 AM-12:20 PM (Prof. Matthew Becker)

This course leads students to study the origins and development of Christian thought as it forms communities and engages the world. Special attention will be given to the nature, purpose, and content of Christian theology and to key areas of conflict and consensus in the history of Christian thought. There will be ten quizzes, a research project/debate, a midterm exam, and a final exam.

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THEO 200-I: The Christian Tradition TR 1:30-2:45 PM (Prof. James Moore)

A study of the historical foundations of Christian thought and its development in the life of the church.  This course will explore the basic ideas of Christianity through the lens of a vision central to the teaching of Jesus: that God intends to bring peace and justice to the nations.  We will think about the key notions of Christianity and how they can be seen differently if this central theme is taken seriously.

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THEO 200-J: The Christian Tradition TR 3:00-4:15 PM (Prof. James Moore)

A study of the historical foundations of Christian thought and its development in the life of the church.  This course will explore the basic ideas of Christianity through the lens of a vision central to the teaching of Jesus: that God intends to bring peace and justice to the nations.  We will think about the key notions of Christianity and how they can be seen differently if this central theme is taken seriously.

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THEO 315-A: The Prophets MWF 11:30 AM-12:20 PM (Prof. Mark W. Bartusch)

“Thus says the Lord…” Isaiah. Jeremiah. Ezekiel. The Twelve. This course is a study of the prophets of ancient Israel and Judah and the literature that bears their names. We will focus on the cultural context and historical origins of the prophetic movement, its impact on Israel’s political, social and religious life, and consider the continuing significance of the prophetic message in Jewish and Christian thought, faith, and practice. Participants will learn certain strategies that are part of “the art of reading prophetic literature” as preparation for interpreting specific texts.  

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THEO 330-A: Issues on Modern Christian Theology MWF 12:30-1:20 PM (Prof. Matthew Becker)

This course will examine several key issues in modern Christian theology and ethics, all of which will be chosen by the students in the class. Students will write two exams (midterm and final) and a term paper (10-12 pages) on a topic of their choice.

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THEO 333-A: Black Theology Black Church MWF 3:30-4:20 PM (Prof. Gregory Jones)

This course seeks to integrate the basic underlining principles of Black theology and its impact on the development of the African American Religious experience. The focus of study will be the institutions created by that experience and the people who are a part of those communities. This course will also provide a basic understanding of the origin, history and development of African American religious and ethical thought. The student is expected to develop a working knowledge of these influences of social, cultural, religious, economic and political contextual environments to enhance their understanding of the impact persons of color have on post- modern Christian faith and culture.

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THEO 343-A: Theology of Marriage and Sexuality TR 12:00-1:15 PM (Prof. James Moore)

This course is an open discussion of the many issues stemming from contemporary views of sexuality, gender and marriage.  There is, perhaps, no area of human living that has undergone more significant change or creates more controversy than does human sexual behavior.  Surely religion has played a central role in shaping attitudes about sexuality in our culture and in so doing has set patterns of living and standards for judgment that even those who are not religious must pay attention to.  This course aims to take a hard look at both the religious standards, particularly those shaped by Christianity, and the current state of flux in sexual attitudes, behavior and gender roles and patterns.  This study will then help us understand as well the changing shape of marriage and family in our culture.  Our aim, though, is to begin the process of shaping a reconstructed Christian sexual ethic that will be adequate for those living into the twenty-first century. This task will be a challenge since there is hardly any consensus even among Christians about what kind of ethic is adequate so our efforts will need to account for and yet challenge the wide ranging plurality of views represented by various Christian groups in our culture.  Finally, the course will challenge the student to shape her/his own view of sexuality and standards for thinking and acting.

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THEO 349-CX: What is a Good Life?: Moral Inquiry before the Modern Age TR 10:30-11:45 AM (Prof. Tal Howard)

What is a good life?  What is a good society? What is the nature of moral obligation? What is virtue?  What is vice?  What is the relationship between the pursuit of salvation and the pursuit of virtue?  These questions and many others will be pursued in this seminar, which has as its goal the exploration of moral inquiry in Western civilization prior to the advent of the Enlightenment and the era modern democratic revolutions.  A particular aim of the course is to examine how Christian authors in the medieval and early-modern eras sought to appropriate—or distance themselves—from classical traditions of moral philosophy.  Put differently, how did “Jerusalem” (Christian piety) seek to come to grips with “Athens” (classical thought)?  Readings will be drawn from multiple disciplinary fields, including but not limited to literature, history, philosophy, theology, and political theory.  The moral significance of art and architecture will also be considered. 

Selected authors will vary from year to year, but will likely include figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, St. Benedict, Athanasius, Augustine, Ambrose, Boethius, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Dante, Nicholas of Cusa, Thomas a Kempis, Erasmus, Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, John Calvin, Thomas More, Menno Simmons, among others.

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THEO 353-A: Christian Response to Social Victims MWF 2:30-3:20 PM (Prof. Gregory Jones)

Students will be expected to read materials and respond to the dialogue questions presented with regards to classism racism and gender issues. We will discuss the global issues of poverty and hunger as they relate to our call to be “Christians " in  the global community. Students will also be encouraged to focus on issues that impact Gender equality in both domestic and global faith communities. We will look closely at the response our culture invites into the conversations surrounding Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered populations in western society. Students will be offered a brief view of the issues surrounding Racism and White Supremacy as well as the ongoing struggles of persons of color to find and maintain justice and equality in the environment of postmodern American faith community. We will attempt to dialogue about how we treat those who are different.

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THEO 362-A: Islamic Religion & Culture MWF 12:30-1:20 PM (Prof. Melanie Trexler)

This course is an introduction to the academic study of Islam. It will introduce students to the historical origins, foundational sources, beliefs, and practices of Islam. We will concentrate on four major themes: prophethood, the Qur’an, ritual, and dissent. In the first part of the semester, we will trace the development of Islam from the time of the Prophet Muhammad through the early caliphate. Drawing on primary and secondary sources, we will examine the foundational texts and institutions within Islam, including the Qur’an, ahadith, andshariah. The second part of the semester focuses on challenges to Muslim communities during the medieval, modern, and contemporary periods, as well as Muslim responses to these challenges. Throughout the course, special attention is given to the variety of experiences of Islam and the diversity within the Islamic tradition. 

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THEO 367/567-A Top: Hinduism TR 12:00-1:15 PM (Prof. George Pati)

This course examines the principal themes of Hinduism, the dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent. It gives special attention to the historical development of the tradition and its relation to social and cultural life in India. Students will learn different forms of Hindu religious expressions created within India and how those expressions are present outside India. These include written texts significant in the Hindu tradition, rituals and performances central to religious life, and images and architecture that display various beliefs and practices of the tradition. This course fulfills the cultural diversity requirement or upper level theology requirement.

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THEO 640-EVX: Violence and Human Rights T 6:30-9:15 PM (Prof. James Moore)

A recent conference was entitled The Century of Genocide marking one of the most obvious features of the Twentieth century.  In truth, however, the last century was characterized by both a series of horrendous wars and genocidal activities as well as a development of unprecedented recognition of the rights of all humans and the guarantee of those rights for more and more people.  Thus, our recent experience has been this parallel experience of opposites that show the human potential for both great evil and great good.  This course will explore the reasons and effects of both the violence and the progress toward human cooperation and the greater respect for human rights by focusing attention on the Holocaust, its causes and aftermath, as a case study and as a way to see how the future can point toward either more instability and violence or greater prospects for peace and justice.  The course will involve weekly discussions around readings and a student developed research project that can be shaped in whatever way the student determines is most beneficial for her/his academic program or personal intellectual interests.