Catalog

Foundational Course

All students at Valparaiso University except Christ College students begin their study of theology in the foundational course, THEO 200, The Christian Tradition. Students may take this course after completing one semester of the Valparaiso Core Program, but this course is ordinarily not taken before the sophomore year. General education courses numbered 300 to 399 may not be taken before the sophomore year, although they are ordinarily taken in the student’s junior or senior year.

  • THEO 200.  The Christian Tradition. Cr. 3. A study of the origins and development of Christian thought as it forms communities and engages the world.  Prerequisite: CORE 110 or CORE 115 or CC 110 or CC 115.

Upper Level Courses

General Education courses numbered 300-399 may not be taken before the sophomore year, although they are ordinarily taken in the student's junior or senior year.

Bible Collection

BIBLICAL STUDIES

  • THEO 311-Understanding the Old Testament. Cr. 3. A study of the history and theology of the Old Testament with attention to its role in Christian faith.
  • THEO 312-Understanding the New Testament. Cr. 3. A study of the history and theology of the New Testament with attention to its rootage in the Old Testament.
  • THEO 314-The Pentateuch. Cr. 3. A study of the Pentateuch with emphasis on Israel's understanding of the beginning, the history of the patriarchs, the exodus, the wilderness wanderings, and the preparation for entering the promised land.
  • THEO 315-The Prophets. Cr. 3. A study of the role of the prophets in Israelite religion. Special attention is given to the historical origins of the prophetic movement, its impact on Israel's political, social and religious life, and the continuing significance of the prophetic message in Jewish and Christian thought.
  • THEO 317-The World of the New Testament. Cr. 3. A study of the societies and culture in which Christian communities arose with a view to understanding the New Testament better and determining its contemporary significance more accurately.  May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course component of the General Education Requirements.
  • THEO 318-Jesus and the Gospels. Cr. 3. A comparative study of the New Testament gospels with a focus on the uniqueness of each in its presentation of the story of Jesus.
  • THEO 319-Topics in Biblical Studies. Cr. 3. A study of a specific topic such as archaeology and the religions of the ancient near East, psalms and prayers of ancient Israel, and issues in biblical interpretation. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.

Cross in sky

FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY

  • THEO 320-Early Christianity. Cr. 3. A study of the beliefs, practices and experiences of the early Christians from the second to the sixth century. Particular attention will be given to early Christian theological methods and the relationship between belief and behavior.
  • THEO 321-Medieval Christianity: East and West. Cr. 3. A comparative study of eastern and western Christianity from the fifth to the fifteenth century. The course will examine the distinctive characteristics of both Christian traditions including missions, ecclesiastical organization, Christological developments, reform movements, and devotional practices.
  • THEO 322-Early Christian Social Thought.  Cr. 3.  A study of Christian concepts about the human person in community and the shape of Christian social action from the first to the sixth century.  Particular attention will be given to the spheres of economics, education, family and health.
  • THEO 323-Reformation Theology. Cr. 3. A study of major theological developments of the sixteenth-century reform movements, both Protestant and Catholic.
  • THEO 324-Christianity in America. Cr. 3. An investigation of the history of Christianity in America, with special emphasis on the interaction between religion and cultural developments.
  • THEO 326-History of Women in the Church. Cr. 3. An investigation from biblical times to the present of theological understandings of women's roles in Christian religious communities and of the cultural contexts that shape such attitudes and practices.
  • THEO 328-Topics in Lutheran History and Theology.  Cr. 3.  An examination of selected issues, movements, thinkers, or institutions within the Lutheran tradition. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
  • THEO 329-Topics in Christian History.  Cr. 3.  An examination of a selected topic or thinker in the history of Christian thought and institutions.  May be repeated for credit if topics are different.

THEOLOGY AND ETHICS

  • THEO 330-Christian Theology in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Cr. 3. A study of themes and problems (e.g., the relation of faith and history, the relation of faith to emerging modern science, the nature of religious authority) in the period from Kant and Reimarus to Ritschl.
  • THEO 331-Christian Theology in the Twentieth Century. Cr. 3.  A study of themes and problems (e.g., the nature of God and revelation, divisions within the church, the church's relation to Judaism, the nature of secularization) in the period from Barth to John Paul II.
  • THEO 332-Christian Theology and the Moral Life. Cr. 3. An examination of basic concepts of Christian ethics such as the sources of moral knowledge, the structure of Christian life, and the virtues central to it.
  • THEO 333-Black Theology and Black Church. Cr. 3. A study of Black theological discourse in the United States and Africa. The course focuses on the composite causes of racial oppression and explores the relationship between black theology and "third world" peoples, women's struggles, black families, and, most importantly, the praxis of black church ministry. May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course component of the General Education Requirements.
  • THEO 334-Holocaust Theology. Cr. 3. A systematic study of the many issues stemming from the events of the Nazi Holocaust and how those events have affected both Jews and Christians. The course constructs a possible religious and moral response to the evil of the Holocaust.
  • THEO 341-Bioethics. Cr. 3. (Also offered as PHIL 341.) A study of a range of moral issues encountered in both clinical medicine and human experimentation.
  • THEO 343-Theology of Marriage and Sexuality. Cr. 3. A systematic study of the many issues stemming from contemporary views of marriage and sexuality, the course will be an opportunity to judge a variety of possible theological views, test views with concrete experiences and real issues, and begin the process of forming a personal viewpoint.
  • THEO 344-Theology and the Scientific World. Cr. 3. A study of the relationship between religion and science, looking not only at controversial issues but also at the positive dialogue between theologians and scientists. The course will focus on topics like creation and evolution, cosmology and theology, genetics and human uniqueness.
  • THEO 345- The Church in the World. Cr. 3.  A study of the life and mission of the church with emphasis on movements for renewal, reform, and reunion. Special attention is given to developments in Latin America and/or Africa.  May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course component of the General Education Requirements.
  • THEO 346-Studies in Theology, Health, and Healing.  Cr. 3. An examination of a selected topic such as death and dying, or spiritual needs and health care. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
  • THEO 348-Topics in Modern Christian Theology. Cr. 3. An examination of a selected thinker or theme in Christian thought of the last three centuries.  May be repeated for credit if topics are different
  • THEO 349-Topics in Religious Ethics.  Cr. 3.  An examination of a selected thinker or theme in religious ethics.  May be repeated for credit if topics are different. 

Senso ji       RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD       Pushkar Photo


  • THEO 360- Themes in the History of Religions. Cr. 3. A study of the history and themes of various religious traditions, with special attention to methods for studying those traditions. May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course component of the General Education Requirements.
  • THEO 361-Indian Religions and Culture.  Cr. 3. A study of religious traditions of India, viewed through both popular devotional practices and religious texts and rituals.  
  • THEO 362-Islamic Religion and Culture. Cr. 3. A study of the life of Muhammad, the teachings of the Quran, traditional practices and institutions in Islamic society, and contemporary developments in the Muslim world. May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course componenet of the General Education Requirements.
  • THEO 363-Religions of China and Japan. Cr. 3.  A study of the religious traditions (Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Shinto) of China and Japan.  May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course component of the General Education Requirements.
  • THEO 364-Native American Religions. Cr. 3.  A study of religious worldviews present in Native American societies north of Mexico.  May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course component of the General Education Requirements.   
  • THEO 367-Topics in South Asian Religions. Cr. 3. A study of a selected topic in the religions of South Asia.  May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
  • THEO 368-Topics in Abrahamic Religions. Cr. 3. A study of a selected topic in those religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) that trace their history from Abraham.  May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
  • THEO 369-Topics in Religions in the Americas. Cr. 3. A study of selected topics (such as recent religious movements, diaspora communities) in religion in the Americas.  May be repeated for credit if topics are different.

PRE-PROFESSIONAL STUDY

  • THEO 353-Studies in Theology and Practice.  Cr. 3.  An examination of selected topics such as Christian response to social victims, Christian faith and politics, ethics of cultural encounter, and Christian education.  May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
  • THEO 399-Church Vocations Symposium. Cr. 0. Presentations and discussions of topics of special interest to students in pre-seminary studies or who are preparing for other church vocations. All students in these curricula are expected to register for this course each semester and to attend each session. S/U grade.
  • THEO 451-Theology of Diaconal Ministry.  Cr. 3.  A study of the historical and theological foundations of diaconal ministry.  Attention is given to the role of the diaconate in the church, the development of diaconal community, and the nurture of a spirituality of service.  Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.
  • THEO 453-Clinical Education for Ministry.  Cr. 3.  A carefully supervised practicum in ministry to the physically ill and the elderly.  Designed principally for senior Deaconess and Pre-Seminary students; this course in practical theology engages student in disciplined reflection on their ministry.  Usually S/U basis.  Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.
  • THEO 456-Church Music and Liturgical Theology.  Cr. 3.  (Also offered as MUS 473) An intensive academic study of the history and practices of music and liturgy in Christian churches Theology 192 193 with an emphasis on the Lutheran heritage.  Study includes both primary liturgical theology (participation in a variety of liturgical expressions), and secondary liturgical theology (reflection on liturgical forms and structure).  Topics include theologies and practices of music, history of hymnody, and music in worship.  Open to upper division music majors, as well as upper division and graduate theology majors and minors; other non-majors may be admitted by permission of the instructor.  May be used to fulfill the Humanities: Fine and Performing Arts component of the General Education Requirements.  May not be used to fulfill the upper-level Theology component of the General Education Requirements.
  • THEO 480-Practicum in Ministry. Cr. 1-3.  Field experience in various local agencies, together with reflection on the work being done. This course may not be used to fulfill the Theology component of the General Education Requirement. A maximum of three credit hours may be applied to the theology major. It may be repeated for a maximum of six credits, and is offered only on an S/U basis.  Arranged with the Chair of the Department. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.
  • THEO 481-Basic Homily Preparation. Cr. 1. A basic introduction to methods of preparing and delivering biblical, liturgical homilies in a variety of worship settings. This course may not be counted toward the theology major or minor. It may be repeated for a maximum of two credits, and is offered only on an S/U basis. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.

ADVANCED STUDY

  • THEO 490-Topics in Theology. Cr. 1-3. A study of a selected topic in theology, intended primarily for majors, minors, and advanced students. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
  • THEO 493-Theology Seminar. Cr. 3.  Advanced study of selected areas or issues in the discipline of theology. Varied listings are announced. Prerequisites: senior standing and consent of the Chair of the Department.
  • THEO 495-Supervised Reading and Research. Cr. 1 - 3.  An opportunity for students to read a number of significant works on a given topic in theology, or to do research on a topic which is not covered in any scheduled course offerings of the Department and to write a major paper. Prerequisites: junior standing, 9 credit hours in theology, and consent of the Chair of the Department.
  • THEO 497-Honors Work in Theology. Cr. 3.  See Honors Work in the University Catalog on page 56.
  • THEO 498-Honors Candidacy in Theology. Cr. 3.  See Honors Work in the University Catalog on page 56.