Course Descriptions

 

Spring 2016 Term

 

THEO 200-A: The Christian Tradition: Conflict and Consensus MWF 8:00-8:50 AM (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 midterm exam, a research project/debate, and a final exam
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THEO 200-B: The Christian Tradition: Belief and Practices MWF 9:00-9:50 AM (Prof. David Weber)

This course is a Biblical, philosophical and imaginative consideration of how Beauty, Truth and Goodness are lived out in the Christian's life. 

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THEO 200-C: The Christian Tradition: Belief and Practices MWF 10:30-11:20 AM (Prof. David Weber)

This course is a Biblical, philosophical and imaginative consideration of how Beauty, Truth and Goodness are lived out in the Christian's life. 

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THEO 200-D: The Christian Tradition:Beliefs and Practices MWF 11:30-12:20 PM (Prof. Lisa Driver)

This course begins with establishing a general narrative theology of the Bible.  Students will then engage two debates in the Christian tradition.  First Catholic and Lutheran discussions of faith and works; Second, the question of what constitutes denying the faith drawing on the novel Silence which treats the persecution of Christians in Japan.  Evaluation will consist of short writings, tests and an essay taking a side in one of the two debate topics.

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THEO 200-E: The Christian Tradition MWF 12:30-1:20 PM (Prof. Mark W. Bartusch)

A study of the origin and development of Christian thought as it forms communities and engages the world. In this section of THEO 200, students will become aware of the historical, social, religious, and cultural contexts out of which Christian theology arose and developed; appreciate the major developments in the Christian tradition; have knowledge of central expressions of the Christian faith; and consider its role in the world today.

Students can expect to write several “reading responses” on chapters in Faith Seeking Understanding (and lead small group discussions of those reading); a critical review of Rossing’s The Rapture Exposed; and two exams, including a final exam given during the final exam period. Students will also keep a reading journal, noting their new learning and questions that arise. (Nota Bene: these course requirements are subject to change)

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THEO 200-F: The Christian Tradition MWF 1:30-2:20 PM (Prof. Mark W. Bartusch)

A study of the origin and development of Christian thought as it forms communities and engages the world. In this section of THEO 200, students will become aware of the historical, social, religious, and cultural contexts out of which Christian theology arose and developed; appreciate the major developments in the Christian tradition; have knowledge of central expressions of the Christian faith; and consider its role in the world today.

Students can expect to write several “reading responses” on chapters in Faith Seeking Understanding (and lead small group discussions of those reading); a critical review of Rossing’s The Rapture Exposed; and two exams, including a final exam given during the final exam period. Students will also keep a reading journal, noting their new learning and questions that arise. (Nota Bene: these course requirements are subject to change)

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THEO 200–G: The Christian Tradition: Global Christianity MWF 2:30–3:20 PM (Prof. SimonMary Aihiokhai)

This course will introduce students to the broader markers of Christianity as found in its different strands. Attention will be given to the early theological debates on the nature of the content of the Christian faith, the divisions that occurred as a result of these debates, and the eventual spread of the strands globally. Particular attention will be given to the spread of Christianity to the global south: Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This will also entail the study of the role of Christianity in shaping the cultures in these geographical locations, the roles these cultures have played in shaping the strands of Christianity present there. The course will expose students to contemporary issues facing societies and what roles Christianity can play in resolving them; for example, global poverty; religious terrorism; ecological crisis; and racial/ethnic discrimination. Finally, Students will be introduced to the current conversations on the role Christianity is playing in the discourse on religious pluralism as experienced in the global south. The interreligious influence of Islam and Indigenous Religions on Christianity and the distinct markers of Christianity in the global south will be central parts of the course content.

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THEO 200-H: The Christian Tradition: 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-I: The Christian Tradition: Sacred Scriptural Squabbles TR 10:30-11:45 AM (Prof. Melanie Howard)

This course will explore role of the Bible in shaping the Christian tradition historically and in modern times. Students will have the opportunity to identify contradictory voices in biblical texts, to compare a variety of Christian interpretations of the Bible, to become familiar with Christian positions on contemporary moral and ethical issues (e.g. same-sex marriage, abortion, ordination of women, euthanasia, interreligious dialogue, etc.), and to practice applying biblical passages to their own areas of interest.

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THEO 200-J: The Christian Tradition: Sacred Scriptural Squabbles TR 12:00-1:15 PM (Prof. Melanie Howard)

This course will explore role of the Bible in shaping the Christian tradition historically and in modern times. Students will have the opportunity to identify contradictory voices in biblical texts, to compare a variety of Christian interpretations of the Bible, to become familiar with Christian positions on contemporary moral and ethical issues (e.g. same-sex marriage, abortion, ordination of women, euthanasia, interreligious dialogue, etc.), and to practice applying biblical passages to their own areas of interest.

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THEO 200-K: The Christian Traditions: Belief and Thought 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-L: The Christian Traditions: Belief and Thought 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 200-EV: The Christian Tradition: Sacred Scriptural Squabbles TR 6:30-7:45 PM (Prof. Melanie Howard)

This course will explore role of the Bible in shaping the Christian tradition historically and in modern times. Students will have the opportunity to identify contradictory voices in biblical texts, to compare a variety of Christian interpretations of the Bible, to become familiar with Christian positions on contemporary moral and ethical issues (e.g. same-sex marriage, abortion, ordination of women, euthanasia, interreligious dialogue, etc.), and to practice applying biblical passages to their own areas of interest.

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THEO 311-A: Understanding the Old Testament TR 10:30-11:45 AM (Prof. George Heider)

Already in the second century of our era, the Christian Church rejected Marcionism, the view that the God of the Old Testament was a god of wrath (by contrast with the New Testament god of love) and that therefore the Old Testament was not legitimate Christian Scripture.  Yet all too many Christians (and others) assume a version of Marcionism in their views of the Old Testament and the nature of God therein.  This course provides an overview of the contents of the Old Testament from literary, historical, and theological vantage points, with an emphasis on how the OT functions as authoritative in both Judaism and Christianity (and, to an extent, in Islam).  Requirements include a paper and group presentation on a modern methodology for studying the Old Testament and a paper on the interpretation of a selected OT text, along with midterm and final exams.

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THEO 312-A: Understanding the New Testament TR 8:30-9:45 AM (Prof. Melanie Howard)

This course provides an introduction to the content of the New Testament, a collection of texts that shapes the beliefs of Christians today. The course will equip students to interpret New Testament texts in their historical and literary contexts as students explore various genres of New Testament literature and consider the canonization of New Testament texts through an interactive, semester-long role playing game. Students will learn to understand and apply biblical texts responsibly through careful exegesis and analysis.

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THEO 320-A: Early Christianity MWF 8:00-8:50 AM (Prof. Lisa Driver)

Follow after the apostles into the ordinary and extraordinary world of early Christians.  We will look at the multicultural engagement of Christians from modern-day Iraq to Ireland.  How did early Christians live?  What were their struggles?  What did they believe and why?  How did they pray and worship?  How did they express their faith through art and music?  Explore these and other questions about Christians and their world (second to fifth centuries.) 

Students will engage texts written by early Christians through lecture and discussion.  Assessment will be based upon a combination of test, short writings and one research exercise in an area chosen by each student.
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THEO 328-A: Christians in Nazi Germany MWF 9:00-9:50 AM (Prof. Matthew Becker)

 More than sixty years after its destruction, Nazi Germany continues to be a topic of interest to both historians and the public at large. Of particular concern are the actions of Christians in Germany during the so-called Third Reich. This course examines those actions. Participants will explore pre-1914 Germany, the role of anti-Semitism in German society, World War I and the experience of defeat, church/state controversies during the Weimar Republic, the German Christian movement, the Confessing Church movement, congregations and state churches in the Nazi state, and the Holocaust. Significant attention will be given to several representative German Lutheran theologians and their actions and writings before, during, and shortly after the Nazi period. We will also examine the actions of Roman Catholic priests and popes during this period, as well as the actions of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose movement. We will watch and discuss several films and read two books. Course requirements include two exams and one ten-page essay on a topic related to the course.

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THEO 333: Black Theology and The Black Church: MWF 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM (Lecturer Dr. Gregory A 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 334–A: Holocaust Theology TR 12:00-1:15 PM (Prof. James Moore)

This course is a systematic study of the many issues stemming from the events of the Nazi Holocaust and how those events emerged and continue to influence our current situation.  The course is challenging, course materials will, at times, shock our sensibilities because they confront us with the horrors of the Holocaust and other genocides; yet the process of growth and understanding is worth the struggle. The objective of the course is not only to acquaint students with the facts but also to engage students in a process of shaping a possible view of the meaning and the centrality of human rights in a new context of a sense of global justice.

This course intends to expand the horizons of students so that students will be more adequately equipped to identify the importance of the Holocaust as an event of radical proportions; be more fully sensitive to the feelings, outlook and questions of many (if not most) contemporary Jews; and be more completely understanding of the necessity for adequate human response to genocide by all.   In so far as those objectives are met, students will see in the study of human rights in the context of reflection on genocidal violence a valuable case example of the interaction between culture, religion and the shaping of values.  Thus, the course provides a fascinating model for understanding how culture and religion are closely intertwined, particularly in the area of moral values.

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THEO 345: The Church in the World: MWF 2:30–3:20 PM (Lecturer Dr. Gregory A. Jones)

The church in the world is a theological study of the life and mission of the church, with special emphasis on the movements for renewal, reform and reunion within the Christian global community. Topics will include violence, poverty, environment and reform movements within institutions of the  global community. 

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THEO 348-EVX/CC 300-EVAX: The Beauty of Food M 6:30–9:15 PM (Prof. David Weber)

This class is cooking! Literally. It is a course –actually some days have several courses –which aims to reflect on the mystery of beauty as it is revealed in the preparation, ingestion, contemplation and clean-up of food.

Christian theology teaches that God’s eternal reality enters human existence in our experiences of beauty, truth and goodness. Moreover, because the world is a creation, we experience these eternal realities in the ordinary things and events of our daily lives.  So, the psalmist writes, “taste and see that the Lord is good” recognizing that the un-mysterious goodness of food reveals the mysterious goodness of God.  At the Last Supper Jesus said “take and eat” and “take and drink”, thereby indicating that the mysterious ways of salvation are always partially present in created things. As St. Augustine worked out in his Confessions that our mundane desires to have our appetites filled is part of the same path that comes to see that we have eternal desires for a lasting ful/fill/ment that is only filled by God’s grace. To loosely paraphrase C S Lewis, we take the first steps to loving God by first loving ice cream.

This class is for you if you, like almost every created creature, enjoy eating. And if you recognize that part of eating’s enjoyment is cooking and contemplating the nature of food while eating and conversing with others about such fascinating topics as why forks were forbidden at some tables, what caramelizing onions tells us about moral transformation and how bread baked in an outdoor stone oven might tempt even the strongest of believers to wonder if one might live by bread alone (and an occasional side of humus).

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THEO 363/563-A: Religions of China and Japan TR 12:00-1:15PM (Prof. George Pati)

This survey course introduces students to the philosophical and religious traditions of China and Japan (Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and Japanese Buddhism) through lecture, discussion, visit to a place of worship, and readings of some key texts of the traditions. It seeks to engage students in a critical understanding of the history, philosophy, and practices of the different traditions and trace both conceptual and historical continuities and examine the development of the various religious traditions exploring issues of divinity, ritual practices, festivals, and concepts of salvation through different time periods. This course fulfills the cultural diversity requirement, Chinese and Japanese Studies Major requirement, as well as upper level theology requirement.

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THEO 367/567-A Top: Hinduism TR 10:30-11:45 AM (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 368-BX/CC 300-BX: Muslims in America MWF 12:30-1:20 PM (Prof. Melanie Trexler)

This course examines the history of Muslims in America over the last four centuries. We will examine two major questions: (1) To what extent has American society shaped the identities of American Muslims and the creation of uniquely American Muslim communities? (2) What impact have American Muslims had on the religious, cultural, and political life of the United States? We will address these questions by focusing on the experiences of individuals and communities, including those of Arab, South Asian, and African heritage. We will explore their lives and stories to illustrate wider trends in the American Muslim population, specifically highlighting issues of race, gender, discrimination, and political involvement. 

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THEO 368-SAX/568-SA/CC 300-SAX:  Topics in Abrahamic Religions:  Encounters in the Holy Land Spring Break 2016 (Prof. George Heider)

The course provides personal exposure to a land with special significance on at least two levels:  first, as "the Holy Land" of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam); and second, as a long-contested space that is currently at the heart of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.  Students will "see the sites" and thereby get a sense of the physical context of biblical events, but more importantly they will meet the people of the Land on all sides of the conflict there.  There will be four preparatory meetings of the class in January and February at which background readings will be discussed, but the core of the course will be the experience itself during Spring Break, 1-12 March 2016.  A follow-up reflection on the experience will be a major factor in the course grade.  DEADLINE for registration for the trip portion of the course is the end of September, 2015.

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THEO 369: Religions of Latin America MWF 1:30–2:20 PM (Prof. SimonMary Aihiokhai)

This course will explore the religious trends in Latin America. This will involve a critical analysis of the influence of indigenous religions, Christianity, and non-religious ideologies on the cultures and peoples. Particular attention will be given to the role and influence of religion on the colonial realities, the economic, social, political, and cultural crisis during the colonial, era, the struggles for independence, the revolutionary wars of the late nineteenth through the twentieth centuries. The course will also evaluate non-religious agents, geopolitical influence of the global powers on this region and how religion has been used to respond to these influences. We will engage the theological response known as Liberation Theology. In doing this, we will focus attention on the role and ministry of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Finally, we will look at current trends in the religiosity of the region. Particular attention will be given to the role of Pentecostalism, Islam, and Judaism in shaping the religious landscape of the region.

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THEO 453: Clinical Education for Ministry R 5:45–9:00 PM (James Stoel and Kristin Lewis)

This 3 credit course provides students with experience in diaconal/pastoral care. In order to include practical experience this course meets at St. Mary’s Hospital in Hobart, IN.  The emphasis is on personal growth, disciplined reflection, and integration of theological understandings into practical experience.  Students will engage in pastoral care visits with patients in the hospital. 

Students can expect to right reflections each week on their experience, write an autobiographical essay, goals, 2 verbatims, 1 story theology paper, and a final course reflection.  There will also be two individual meetings during the semester with the professor.  The course will use the text “Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart: How to Relate to Those Who Are Suffering.” By  Kenneth C. Haugk and various class handouts.  

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THEO 480: Practicum in Ministry T 1:30-2:20 PM (Kristin Lewis)

This is a 1-2 credit course that includes supervised field work experience in various local agencies or churches. The field work site will be agreed upon by professor and student.  Readings, speakers, reflections, and reports help students to reflect on the ministry experience.  The spring semester will focus on resources for ministry, and looking at causes and potential ministry responses to social injustice. 

Students can expect to write several reflections on articles, site visits, ministry interviews, and their filed work experience. Students will also present to the rest of the class.  Student will do a minimum of 20 hours of field work for 1 credit or a minimum of 40 hours of field work for 2 credits. This course will meet at the Center for Diaconal Ministry (the LDA).

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THEO 492-A: Research and Writing in Theology M 2:30-4:20 PM (Prof. Melanie Trexler)

This course is an introduction to the resources and methods for research and writing in theology, and is to be taken in conjunction with a 3-credit, 300-level theology course. During the first seven weeks of the course, students will receive advanced instruction and practice in reading essays within the discipline of theology. Students will learn how different disciplinary and rhetorical fields address specific audiences and call for different choices in language, structure, format, tone, and evidence. In the second part of the course, students will conduct investigations into writing and reading conventions in relationship to another 300-level course. Students will receive advanced instruction in planning, drafting, arranging, revising, and editing discipline-specific essays.

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THEO 640–EVX: Ethics and Professional Responsibility II T 6:30-9:15 PM (Prof. James Moore)

This course is a second semester in a sequence that aims to help students to consider ethical issues from a variety of professional arenas in a way that is reasonable and defensible.  During this semester students will consider basic ethical principles and models and how they apply to areas of political authority, business professionals and the arts.