Theology



Abraham Heschel: Prophetic Witness in the Twentieth Century

Faculty: Dr. Jennifer Little (Profile)

Course Description: This course explores applications of ethical prophecy for ministry in the 20th Century. Our work here explores Heschel’s classic text The Prophets. Students will also reflect on the role and practice of prophetic ethical witness in their ministry settings with particular attention to preaching and theology.

Heschel’s work, although published in two volumes, is extremely engaging and readable. Students will likely find something in either of the week’s readings that sparks their soul and inspires their writing!
 
Required Text:
  • Heschel, Abraham J. The Prophets: 2Vols. New York: Harper and Row, 1962.

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Christian Implications of Globalization

Faculty: Dr. Joanne Neal (Profile)

Description:

  • What is the imperative for the worldwide Christian community to be aware of the processes of globalization in order to take action that is informed, intelligent, and intentional?
  • What ethical responsibilities do Christians - both clergy and laity - have to bring their faith values to bear as consumers in a globalized market economy?

Using a combination of readings and the viewing of licensed copies of two films (Flow and Food Inc.), participants reflect on globalization as a reality of our contemporary world and of our global culture. On one hand, it has created many opportunities for business in local, national, and international markets, effectively allowing them to operate in countries where laws and cultural norms may be less stringent and wages lower than in Western nations. It has also created opportunities for positive change in the area of social justice. On the other hand, globalization poses challenges to business in relation to the ethical and nonexploitive uses of the natural environment, the Earth’s resources, working conditions, and the distribution of wealth. Unfortunately, these challenges have not always been met and the results for the environment and for human beings have at times been very negative, even disastrous. Thus, from a Christian standpoint, we are left to question the ethical legitimacy of some of the processes of globalization and our individual and collective responsibilities as consumers in a globalized market economy.

Required Reading:

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Christology and Existentialism

Faculty: Dr. Jennifer Little (Profile)

Course Description: This course provides the opportunity to examine the intersection of existentialist thought and its implications for Christology. Beginning with Sartre’s work, Existentialism and Human Emotions, we seek the ground of re-presentative Christology as developed by Ogden in his work. Then we focus on The Point of Christology as the center of our exploration of what it might mean to assert “Jesus is the Christ of God” in the context of a Christology of Liberation and its existentialist foundations. 
 
Required Texts
  • Ogden, Schubert M. The Point of Christology. Dallas: SMU Press, 1982
  • Sartre, Jean Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions. Citadel, 2000
  • Tillich, Paul. The Courage to Be. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952 

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Christian Initiation of Adults in the Catholic Church

Faculty: Dr. Anthony O. Nwachukwu (Profile)

Description: The Rite of Initiation or Passage is fundamental in most religions of the world. It is an incorporation of religious beliefs and practice, born out of the former. Thus, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA] is central to the Liturgical Life of the Catholic Church. It is a process by which an adult fully gets initiated in the Catholic faith, based on theological principles.

Required Reading:

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Comparative World Religions

Faculty: C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., E. Franklin Frazier Professor of African American Studies (Profile)

Premise and Overview
Comparative World Religions provides an overview of the major religions of the world, the way they have come to be studied and understood today, and a comparison of rituals, sacred texts, beliefs and practices incumbent in the world’s religions. The course is designed to give the tools to embark on the continued study and comparison of world religions. Students will be challenged to look at both the ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ perspectives and why even the title ‘world religions’ might be controversial. It looks at the way religions adapt and change from their historical roots into the dynamic and fascinating forms we see today and how they interact with each other and the modern, secular world.

Required Textbooks
The books are available through amazon.com.
  •  Smith, Huston.  The World’s Religions. New York: Harper, 1991.
  •  Gwynne, Paul. World Religion: A Comparative Introduction, New York: Blackwell Publishing, 2008

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Ethical Systems in the Modern World

Faculty: Dr. John H. Morgan (Profile)

Description: This course will explore the three major ethical systems operative in the modern world today, namely, Ethical Theism, Ethical Humanism, and Ethical Naturalism. Ethical theism is built upon the foundation of a divinely revealed code of ethics. Ethical humanism assumes the primacy of the human community’s own needs in the development of an ethical system. Ethical Naturalism presumes the primacy of the cosmos and builds an ethic which places the importance of the universe over both divine revelation and human primacy. We will explore all three options. No faith position is required or expected as a prerequisite for the course but rather a ready willingness to engage a wide spectrum of ethical considerations with openness and understanding.

Required Reading:

Optional Readings: (Select ONE title. Available “used” from Amazon.com)
  • Muslim Ethics: Emerging Vistas  by Amyn B. Sajoo
  • Jewish Ethics for the 2lst Century: Living the Image of God by Rabbi Byron Sherwin
  • Basic Christian Ethics by Paul Ramsey
  • Evolutionary Biology by Sir Julian Huxley
  • On Human Nature by Edward O. Wilson

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Eucharistic Theology: Word and Sacrament

Faculty: Rev. Jorge R. Colón, S.T.D., Ph.D., D. Div., Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology (Profile)

Objectives: To guide the student in studying contemporary Eucharistic theology, especially as it deals with the relationship between Word and Sacrament.
 
Texts:
  • Bruce T. Morrill, SJ.  Encountering Christ in the Eucharist.  The Paschal Mystery, in People, Word, and Sacrament.  New York:  Paulist Press, 2012
  • Scott Hahn. Consuming the Word.  The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church. New York: Image, 2015 
Complementary texts:
  • Bieler, Andrea and Schottroff, Luise.  The Eucharist:  Bodies, Bread, and Resurrection.    Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007.
  • Chauvet, Louis-Marie. The Sacraments: The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body. Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2001.
  • Irwin, Kevin W. Models for the Eucharist. New York:  Paulist Press, 2005.
  • McMichael, Ralph N.  Eucharist: A Guide for the Perplexed.  London and New York: T & T        Clark International, 2011.
  • Pitre, Brant.  Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.  New York:  Doubleday, 2011.
 

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Existentialism and Personal Responsibility

Faculty: Dr. John H. Morgan (Profile)

Description: The father of modern existentialism, Sartre is heralded as the philosopher of responsibility. He denies the existence of a guiding ethical principle outside of human experience and, therefore, every individual “is condemned to freedom.” His highly acclaimed book on human emotion is complimented by Morgan’s chapter which carefully explains Sartre’s system of thought which has so profoundly influenced western culture.

Required Reading:

Recommended Reading: 

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Fundamental Christology

Faculty: Rev. Jorge R. Colón, S.T.D., Ph.D., D. Div., Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology (Profile)

Objectives: A study of the Christological doctrine of the Church, beginning with Scriptural data, the theological reflection of the Fathers of the Church, the teaching of the Christological councils and a reflection on the mystery of Christ down to our own day. We will follow the different stages of heresies and Christological errors of the past. The student will know how to express the official doctrine of the Church. 

Required textbook for the graduate and undergraduate level:  

Basically, you will read two books. The basic textbook is 
  • Gerald O’Collins. Christology: A Biblical, Historical and Systematic Study of Jesus. Second edition, fully revised.  Oxford University Press, N.Y. 2009. 
Besides this basic text, your will read one (1) more text from the list of completementary readings that appears below.
 
Complementary Texts for the graduate level: 
  • Bock, Darrell L. Who Is Jesus? Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith.   New York:  Howard Books, 2012.
  • Chestnust, G.  Images of Christ.  An Introduction to Christology.  Minneapolis: Seabury Press 1984.
  • Cook, Michael L.  Trinitarian Christology: The Power that Sets Us Free. New York: Paulist Press, 2010.
  • Dunn, James D. G. Jesus Remembered. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.
  • Fitzmyer, J.  A Christological Catechism.  New Testament Answers.  N.Y.:  Paulist Press    1991.
  • Haight, Roger. Jesus, Symbol of God. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books, 1999.
  • Keck, Leander E.  Why Christ Matters: Toward a New Testament Christology. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2015.
  • Koester, Helmut. From Jesus to the Gospels: Interpreting the New Testament in Its Context. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007.
  • Longenecker, Richard N., editor. Contours of Christology in the New Testament.   William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,   Grand Rapids, Michigan 2005.
  • McDermott, Brian O. Word Become Flesh.  Dimensions of Christology.  The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1993.
  • O'Collins, Gerald. Jesus Our Redeemer: A Christian Approach to Salvation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007
  • O'Collins, Gerald.Christology: Origins, Developments, Debates. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2015.
  • Macquarrie, John. Christology Revisited. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1998.
  • Meyer, Marvin W. Hughes, Charles. Jesus then & Now: Images of Jesus in History and Christology. Harrisburg, Pa: Trinity Press International, 2001.
  • Schönborn, Christoph von.God Sent his Son: A Contemporary Christology. Assistance of Michael Konrad and Hubert Philipp Weber; translated by Henry Taylor. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010.
  • Torrance, Thomas F. Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2009. 
  • Torrance, Thomas F., and Robert T. Walker. Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008.
  • Tuckett, C. M. Christology and the New Testament: Jesus and His Earliest Followers.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. 

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Fundamental Moral Theology

Faculty: The Rev. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., Th.D., S.T.D., D.Min. (Profile)

Description: This course will examine the Scriptural, philosophical, and theological bases of Catholic moral teaching. It will trace the historical development of the basic principles of Catholic moral teaching from the New Testament Church to the post-Vatican II era. Particular emphasis will be given to the Church’s use of Scripture and natural law as fundamental sources of Christian morality. The course will also include a detailed analysis of the structure of the human act and a treatment of some of the major moral controversies of the post-Vatican II era.

Required Reading: (Available on Amazon.com)

  • Odozor, Paulinus Ikechukwu. Moral Theology in an Age of Renewal. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003.
  • Pinckaers, Servais The Sources of Christian Ethics. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1995. 

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God, Nature, and Us: An Interdisciplinary Approach to a new Paradigm for the Human Place in Nature

Faculty: Dr. Paul J. Kirbas (Profile)

Description: This course explores the basic and important question of whether nature is sacred in and of its own right, and if so, what is a proper understanding of our human place within it. The study offers insightful perspectives from an interdisciplinary panel including leading scientists, theologians, and philosophers. The authors also represent diverse religious perspectives, including Evangelical Christian, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim. Beginning with a brief tour of the universe led by NASA astronomer Jennifer Wiseman, the course proceeds to lay important foundations of building bridges between science and religion. Once this bridge is provided, theologians step in to reflect on the meaning of the sanctity of nature, and of what it means to be human. The current model of seeing humans as the stewards of nature, with all its good intentions, is seriously questioned. New models are proposed, leading students to fresh considerations of our use of, and care for nature.

Required Reading:

  • This Sacred Earth. Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Nature and Humanity’s Place Within It. Paul J. Kirbas, editor. Lima, Ohio: Wyndham Hall Press, 2011. Available for purchase at the online store of The Kirbas Institute, www.kirbasinstitute.org

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Hermeneutics and the Other: A Post-Modern Protestant Perspective

Faculty: Dr. Jennifer Little (Profile)

This course of study is an introduction to and exploration of post-modern hermeneutics and its usefulness to the church. Paul Ricoeur’s work is difficult; let us be honest about that fact. However, we are at a moment in theology and ecclesiology when we must pay attention to the changing dynamics of our understanding of the self and the other. Particularly as we try to find authentic ways to express biblical insight into God’s love for the other, we must re-orient ourselves to the self—our own and others’. Thus, we study theology. This course is designed to immerse the student in language and hermeneutics that will temporarily disorient and then re-orient one to primary ideas of the self as subject, the other as subject, God as subject and the integration of faith and ministry in a post-modern world. In this sense, post-modern theology is much like modern and post-modern art. There is tension and challenge; fragmentation and wholeness. The application of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics to psychoanalysis and counseling is intriguing. Both the minister and the pastoral psychotherapist will appreciate the insight of Ricoeur.
 
For the first five response papers, students will choose one chapter from each of the sections of Ricoeur’s work Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. For the sixth response papers, students may revisit any of chapters and sections that are of interest to them. The final paper will “edit” and integrate the previous papers into a comment on the horizon of post-modern hermeneutics.
 
Required Reading: Ricoeur, Paul. Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative and Imagination. Tr. David Pellauer. Ed. Mark I.Wallace. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995).

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Human Behavior and Moral Development

Faculty: Dr. John H. Morgan (Profile)

Description: This E-Tutorial explores the relationship between human behavior and moral development as an evolving philosophical and historical question beginning with 19th and early 20th century thought and concluding with the late 20th and early 2lst century thinkers. The emphasis will be upon the natural history of moral behavior as explored through the work of leading thinkers over the past 150 years with special attention to theological implications.

Required Reading:

Recommended Reading: 

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The Jewish Background of the Christian Eucharist

Faculty: Rev. Jorge R. Colón, S.T.D., Ph.D., D. Div., Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology (Profile)

Objective:  Exploration of the Jewish context surrounding the Christian Eucharist.  Jesus lived in an ancient Jewish context.  One must remember this Jewish background when dealing with the meaning and message of the Christian Eucharist.  The Bread of the Presence in the Old Testament opens up a whole new perspective on the real presence in the Christian Eucharistic message.
 
Texts:
  • Pitre, Brant. Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.  Unlocking the Secrets of the Last            Supper.  New York:  Doubleday, 2011.
  • Pitre, Brant.  Jesus and the Last Supper.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans   Publishing Company, 2015.
Complementary texts:
  • Nash, Thomas J.  Worthy is the Lamb:  The Biblical Roots of the Mass. San Francisco, Ignatius,   2004
  • Levering, Matthew.  Sacrifice and Community:  Jewish Offering and Christian Eucharist.             Oxford, Blackwell, 2005.
  • Keretszty, Roch.  Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  Eucharistic Theology from a Biblical, Historical   and Systematic Perspective.  Chicago, Hillenbrand, 2004.
  • Ratzinger, Joseph.  Jesus of Nazareth. New York: Doubleday, 2007.
  • Pitre, Brant.  Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile.  Restoration Eschatology and the    Origin of Atonement.
  • Flusser, David and Notley, R. Steven.  The Sage from Galilee:  Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius.        Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007. 

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The Life and Writings of Howard Thurman

Faculty: C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., E. Franklin Frazier Professor of African American Studies (Profile)

Description:

Howard Thurman was one of the leading American theologians, philosophers and church leaders of the 20th century. This course offers an analysis of the life and writings of Howard Thurman, with particular focus on the implications of Thurman’s work on the contemporary church and society. The course will provide a foundation for the academic study of Howard Thurman, with particular focus on the historical and contemporary implications of his work and ministry within the context of spiritual theology, social justice, community-building and congregational leadership.    

Required Reading:

The books are available at www.amazon.com
  • Smith, Luther E. The Mystic as Prophet. Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1991.  
  • Thurman, Howard.   Jesus and the Disinherited. Boston: Beacon Press, 1976.        
  • Thurman, Howard.  For the Inward Journey: The Writings of Howard Thurman. Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1984.  

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The Life and Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faculty: C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., E. Franklin Frazier Professor of African American Studies (Profile)

Description: Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the leading theologians and church leaders of the 20th century. This course offers an historical, theological and socio-cultural analysis of the life and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., with particular focus on the implications of King’s work on the contemporary church and society The course will provide a foundation for the academic study of Martin Luther King, Jr. with particular focus on the historical and contemporary implications of his work and ministry within the context of congregational leadership, social justice and community building.

Required Textbooks

The books are available at www.amazon.com.
 
  • Baldwin, Lewis V. There is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991.
  • Baldwin, Lewis V. To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992. 
  • Smith, Kenneth L. and Ira Zepp, Jr. Search for the Beloved Community: The Thinking of Martin Luther King Jr. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1998.

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The Modern Search for Personal Meaning

Faculty: Dr. John H. Morgan (Profile)

Description: A medical psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust, Viktor Frankl is the creator of a counseling method called “logotherapy,” or “meaning therapy.” In contrast to Freud who concentrated on the deeply represented dark side of human personality, Frankl was extremely optimistic about healing the wounded person by concentrating on his “will to meaning” in a world in which the search for the purpose and direction of life was available to all who would seek it. His classic book is complimented by an introductory commentary on his system of thought in Morgan’s book.

Required Reading:

Recommended Reading: 

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Mohandas Gandhi and Nonviolence for the 21st Century

Faculty: C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., E. Franklin Frazier Professor of African American Studies (Profile)

Description: Mohandas K. Gandhi was one of the leading international political and religious leaders of the 20th century. He was one of the few persons in modern history to lead in the struggle for human progress simultaneously on moral, religious, political, and cultural fronts. His life and praxis of non-violence impacted many persons in India and across the world in the promotion of peace and love with justice, and continues to impact persons and institutions today. This course offers an analysis of the life and writings of Mohandas K. Gandhi, with particular focus on the implications of Gandhi’s work on the contemporary society. The course will provide a foundation for the academic study of Mohandas K. Gandhi, with particular focus on the historical and contemporary implications of how his philosophy and praxis could be helpful in the discovery of non-violent approaches to social justice, community-building, conflict resolution and political, social and religious transformation in the 21st century. 

Required Textbooks
The books are available through www.amazon.com
  • Bondurant, Joan A. Conquest of Violence: The Gadhian Philosophy of Conflict. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.    
  • Gandhi, Mohandas K. The Way to God.  Berkley, CA: Berkley Hill Books, 1999.   
  • Gandhi, Mohandas K. Autobiography –The Story of My Experiments with Truth. New York: Dover Publications, 1983.  

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Mystical Theology

Faculty: The Rev. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., Th.D., S.T.D., D.Min. (Profile)

Description: This course will look at Christian mystical experience as a way of knowing and unknowing. It will not only examine the historical background, philosophical underpinnings, theological presuppositions, major expressions, and overall relevance of Christian mysticism for the believer, but also emphasize the role it plays in a person’s journey of faith along the purgative, illuminative, and unitive ways. The course will also address the question of the extent to which mystical experience can be the basis for social action, cross-cultural understanding, and interreligious dialogue.  

Required Textbooks (Available on Amazon.com)
  • Teasdale, Wayne. The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in th World’s Religions. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2001.
  • Johnston, William. Mystical Theology: The Science of Love. London: HrperCollins,1995.

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Myth, Theology, and Pastoral Ministry

Faculty: Dr. Timothy Allen (Profile)

Description:The Church as seen today in its ministerial functions relies too much upon rational, scientific theologies for its explanations of pastoral phenomena. A specific example is the use of God-talk. Whereas many caregivers and theologians dismiss such language as theologically sound, when examined in the category of myth it can be seen to have a meaningful pastoral purpose.

Myth helps explain the unexplainable and provides support in times when the current “acceptable” theologies fail to adequately explain the event. This e-tutorial demonstrates the importance and use of myth as a meaningful interpretative tool for pastoral ministry and theological explanations of religious phenomena.

Required Reading:

  • Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality, transl. by Willard R. Trask (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1963)
  • J. Timothy Allen, A Theology of God-talk: The Language of the Heart, (New York: Haworth Pastoral Press, 2002)
    Both are available through Barnes & Noble.com 
Recommended but not required:
  • Rollo May, The Cry for Myth (New York; London: W.W. Norton, 1991). 

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The Writings of Henri Nouwen

Faculty: C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., E. Franklin Frazier Professor of African American Studies (Profile)

Course Description: Henri J. M. Nouwen was one of the leading spiritual theologians of the 20th century. This course offers an analysis of the writings of Nouwen, with particular focus on the implications of his work on the contemporary church and society. The course will provide a foundation for the academic study of Henri Nouwen, with particular focus on the historical and contemporary implications of his work and ministry within the context of spiritual theology, social justice, community-building and congregational leadership.   

Required Textbooks

The books are available at www.amazon.com
  • Nouwen, Henri J. M. In the Name of Jesus, Reflections on Christian Leadership. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1989.   
  • Nouwen, Henri J. M. The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life.  New York: Orbis, 2007.         
  • Nouwen, Henri J. M.  The Wounded Healer. New York: Image Books, 1979. 

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Philosophical Foundations

Faculty: C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., E. Franklin Frazier Professor of African American Studies (Profile)

Premise and Overview: Today, even as our knowledge continually expands, philosophical questions asked since the time of the Ancient Greek philosophers continue to perplex us. This course offers you the opportunity to explore four major areas of philosophy – epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of religion. Through a series of guided readings, students will not only learn how philosophers have tackled these topics, but learn how to tackle them for themselves. 

Required Textbooks
Both books are available through amazon.com.
  • Craig, Edward.  Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford, 2002.
  • Blackburn, Simon. Think. Oxford: Oxford, 1999.

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Process Theology: Perspectives for Ministry

Faculty: Dr. Jennifer Little (Profile)

 
Course Description: This course will explore the perspective of process theology for ministry. We begin with the systematic theological discussion of process theology in Cobb and Griffin’s work. We then survey a wide array of applications of process theology in ministry and pastoral practice.
 
Required Texts:
  • Handbook of Process Theology. Ed. McDaniel, Jay and Donna Bowman. St. Louis: Chalice Press,
  • Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition. Cobb, John B. and David Ray Griffin. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976. 

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Religious Humanism in Modern Thought

Faculty: Dr. John H. Morgan (Profile)

Description: Humanism is the strongest competitor of the Christian religion in the modern world and Sir Julian Huxley is the undisputed spokesperson for that system of thought. Just because a person is not religious, argues Huxley, does not mean they are not spiritual. Any religious person interested in coming to a deeper understanding of their own faith cannot do better than to confront the challenges offered by Huxley which are explained in careful detail in Morgan’s book which discusses religious humanism as a spiritual journey.

Required Reading:

Recommended Reading: 

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Reverence and the Universal Principle of Life

Faculty: Dr. John H. Morgan (Profile)

Description: Pastor, professor, and musician turned jungle doctor, Albert Schweitzer is one of the most important figures of modern times. His call for a universal acknowledgment of the centrality of the “reverence for life” as the guiding principle of the universe and human behavior has long been considered the most poignant statement about the human condition. Morgan’s chapter offers a summary of his system of thought.

Required Reading:

Recommended Reading: 

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“Right” Worship in the Post-Modern World

Faculty: Dr. D. Jonathan Watts (Profile)

Description: There is much tension in the Christian community over the definition of “right” worship. This tension has risen to the point where persons and congregations find themselves arguing and accusing the other of not doing worship correctly. How does one arrive at a definition of “right” worship? One way is to trace the history and formation of Christian worship from its earliest development and follow it through to this Post-Modern era. This course begins exploring worship before it was organized. Starting with the concepts of worship in Genesis, this course will follow the development of worship from its earliest roots as it progresses through the Tabernacle, Temple, Synagogue, and on through its change and diversity in the Christian Community.

Required Reading:

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The Sacrament of the Eucharist

Faculty: Rev. Jorge R. Colón, S.T.D., Ph.D., D. Div., Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology (Profile)

Description: To guide the student to the knowledge of the theological meaning of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. To examine the validity of theological reflection on the sacraments in the light of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

Required textbook for the graduate and undergraduate level:

Additional Graduate Level Texts and Recommendations (pick one additional text for this course)

  • Daly, Cahal B. The Breaking of Bread: Biblical Reflections on the Eucharist. Dublin: Veritas, 2008.
  • Hahn, Scott.  Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church. New York: Image 2013.
  • Mudd, Joseph C. Eucharist as Meaning: Critical Metaphysics and Contemporary Sacramental Theology. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press,  2014.
  • O’Carroll, Michael.  Corpus Christi.  A Theological Encyclopedia of the Eucharist.  Wilmington, Del. Michael Glazier 1988.
  • Pitre, Brant.  Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper. New York, Image 2016.
  • Sokolowski, Robert. Christian Faith & Human Understanding: Studies on the Eucharist, Trinity, and the Human Person. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2006.
  • Walsh, L.G.  The Sacraments of initiation.  Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist.  London: Geoffrey Chapman Theology Library 7, 1988.

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Secular Spirituality: Post-Biblical Religion In A Post-Modern World

Faculty: Dr. John H. Morgan (Profile)

Description:  This E-Tutorial is designed for the ministry professional interested in the rise of what is commonly called “secular spirituality,” that is, a spiritual sensibility devoid of religious overtones or attachments.   The rise of secularism has spawned an interest in spirituality separate from institutional religion and defines itself in terms of the experience of awe, wonder, and mystery in the absence of a belief in transcendent reality.  This course explores the increasing popularity of this experiential concept in the secular world and its implications for traditional religion.
 
Required Reading: 
  • Post-Biblical Religion: Essays in Secular Spirituality by John H. Morgan (Mishawaka, IN: GTF Books, 2017).  Available from the GTF.
  • Understanding Ourselves: Essays in the History & Philosophy of the Social Sciences by John H. Morgan (Mishawaka, IN: GTF Books, 2017).  Available from the GTF
 
Recommended but not Required Background Reading:
  • Naturally Good: A Behavioral History of Moral Development  by John H. Morgan (Mishawaka, IN: GTF Books, 2015).  Available from the GTF.
  • Beyond Divine Intervention: The Biology of Right and Wrong by John H. Morgan (Mishawaka, IN: GTF Books, 2009).  Available from the GTF.

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Systematic Theology: A Protestant Perspective

Faculty: Dr. Jennifer Little (Profile)

Course Description: This course examines a range of Protestant theological perspectives. Paul Tillich, one of the essential voices of Protestant theology provides us with a tour through Protestant theological thought. Dorothee Sölle’s work continues that tour with important modern theological voices and perspectives in Protestant Liberation Theology.
 
Required Texts:
  • Tillich, Paul. Perspectives on 19th and 20th Century Protestant Theology
  • Sölle, Dorothee. Thinking about God: An Introduction to Theology. Tr. John Bowden. London: SCM Press, 1990

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Theological Anthropology: Creation and Sin

Faculty: Rev. Jorge R. Colón, S.T.D., Ph.D., D. Div., Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology (Profile)

Description: Objectives: To guide the student to the knowledge of the theological meaning of fundamental Theological Anthropology regarding creation and sin. To research the biblical doctrines related to the doctrine of creation, sin in general, and original sin according to Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, such as the biblical notion of creation, the fall, sin in the Old and New Testament, the origin of the universality of sin. To present a brief history of the doctrine of creation and original sin before St. Augustine and after him. The Protestant Reformation and Trent. To qualify the meaning of originating original sin and of originated original sin.

Required textbook for the graduate and undergraduate level:

Additional Graduate Level Texts and Recommendations (pick one additional text for this course)

  • Childs, Brian H., Waanders, David W., and Lapsley, James N. The Treasure in Earthen Vessels:  Explorations in Theological Anthropology.  Westminster John Knox Press; 1994.
  • Cortez, Marc (Marc Allen).Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York and London: T&T Clark International, 2010.
  • Espín, Orlando O.Grace and Humanness: Theological Reflections because of Culture.  Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2007.
  • Kilner, John Frederic.Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.
  • Pannenberg, W.  Anthropology in Theological Perspective. T. and T. Clark Publishers 2004.
  • Patout, J. Burns, translator and editor.  Theological Anthropology (Sources of Early Christian Thought. Ausburg Fortress Publishers 1981.
  • Pope Francis.  Encyclical letter Laudato si. On Care of our Common Home.  May 24, 2015.
  • Smail, Thomas Allan. Like Father, Like Son: The Trinity Imaged in our Humanity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2006.
  • Von Balthasar, H.  A Theological Anthropology.  Sheed and Ward 1967.

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The Theology of Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Faculty: C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., E. Franklin Frazier Professor of African American Studies (Profile)

Description: Deitrich Bonhoeffer was one of the leading theologians and church leaders of the 20th century. This e-tutorial offers an historical, theological, and socio-cultural analysis of the life and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer with particular focus on the implications of Bonhoeffer’s work on the contemporary church and society. The course provides a foundation for the academic study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer with particular focus on the historical and contemporary implications of his work and ministry within the context of congregational leadership, social justice and community-building. On completion of this course, students will (1) have a foundational understanding of the major cultural and intellectual influences on Bonhoeffer’s life and ministry; (2) be able to identify the major historical events of Bonhoeffer’s life, and his impact upon the Christian church and theology; (3) be familiar with Bonhoeffer’s major writings and their historical significance within the context of the academy and the broader society; and (4) be able to assess Bonhoeffer’s significance in contemporary and global perspective.

Required Textbooks:

The books are available through www.amazon.com.

  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. New York: Collier Books, 1963. 
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich.  Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community. New York: Harper, 1954.
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Mediations on the Cross. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.

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Theology of Grace

Faculty: Rev. Jorge R. Colón, S.T.D., Ph.D., D. Div., Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology (Profile)

Description: To help the student to know the ontological reality of grace. To research the controversies and doctrinal errors that have occurred in the history of dogma. To appreciate the lived experience of grace and of the filial relationship with God that springs from it. To see the supernatural order of human and temporal realities. To examine the present ecumenical dialogue on justification.

Required textbook for the graduate and undergraduate level:

Additional Graduate Level Texts and Recommendations (pick one additional text for this course)

  • Anderson, David A. I Forgrace you: Doing Good to those who Have Hurt you.  Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2011.
  • Bonner, G.  Augustine and Modern Research on Pelagianism.  Villanova 1972.
  • De Lubac, H.  The Mystery of the Supernatural. Herder 1998.
  • Espin, Orlando O. Grace and Humanness: Theological Reflections because of Culture. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2007.
  • Haers, Jacques, SJ; Wilfred, Felix; Justaert, Kristen and Maeseneer, Yves; eds. Reconciliation: Empowering Grace.  London: SCM Press, 2013.
  • Journet, Charles. The Meaning of Grace.  Scepter Publishers, Princeton, New Jersey 1960.
  • Kenneth J. Collins. The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace.  Abingdon 2007
  • Liderbach, Dan. The Theology of Grace and the American Mind : A Representation of Catholic Doctrine.  Edwin Mellen 1984.
  • Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.  Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.  October 31, 1999.
  • Morley, Georgina. John Macquarries’ Natural Theology: The Grace of Being.  Ashgate Pub. Co. 2003.

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The Theology of Karl Rahner

Faculty: The Rev. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., Th.D., S.T.D., D.Min. (Profile)

Description: This tutorial examines the thought of Jesuit theologian, Karl Rahner (1904-1984), one of the great Catholic thinkers of the 20th century. It will explore Rahner's spiritual, philosophical and theological roots, his theological investigations, conversations with his thought, Rahner's experience as a theologian, and the prospects of his theology for the future. The goal is to give the student the opportunity to read and reflect on some of the key themes of Rahner's thought.

Required Reading: (Available on Amazon.com)

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Thinking about Peace: John Macquarrie

Faculty: Dr. Jennifer Little (Profile)

John Macquarrie’s exposition of the issues regarding peace is quite relevant to today’s world and church. Macquarrie’s book The Concept of Peace provides an intellectual and spiritual “springboard” for exposing and critiquing the issues of peace in a variety of ministry settings. How are we to think about and preach peace? How can we develop a “praxis of peace” for our ministry settings? What can critical theology contribute to the praxis of peace? 

Required Text: Macquarrie, John. The Concept of Peace. New York: Harper and Row, 1973
 
Recommended Reading: The student is encouraged to research the biography of John Macquarrie in order to supplement the material in The Concept of Peace. Sources might include: John Macquarrie: On Being a Theologian. Ed. John H. Morgan. SCM Press, 1999

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The Trinity: Education in Catholic Doctrine

Faculty: Rev. Jorge R. Colón, S.T.D., Ph.D., D. Div., Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology (Profile)

Objectives: To guide the student through the Catholic doctrine on the Trinity, especially as it should be presented in religious education courses.  The course examines the contents of Catholic doctrine on the mystery of the Triune God from an educational perspective, to serve as a model for catechists, teachers, preachers and adult education courses.
 
Classic textbook for Undergraduate level:
 
  • Gilles, Emery.  The Trinity.  An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God.  Translated by Matthew Levering.  The Catholic University of America Press, 2001.
 
Undergraduate
Undergraduate Level: The student reads the assigned textual materials and e-mails a 500-word response to GTF for each of six sessions outlined below. Each paper should reflect the assigned reading from the book mentioned above. A seventh final paper summarizes the previous six responses.
 
Graduate Level:
The Graduate Level requires work with two textbooks.  Apart from the basic textbook, the student chooses a second textbook from the complementary reading list that appears below.  The listing offers Catholic, Evangelical, Presbyterian, and interreligious perspectives.
 
Another Catholic Perspective:  
  • Emery, Gilles.  The Trinitarian Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas.  Translated by Francesca Aran Murphy.  N.Y., Oxford University Press, 2010. 

 

From an Evangelical Perspective:

  • Fairbairn, Donald.  Life in the Trinity:  An Introduction to Theology with the Help of the Church Fathers.  Inter Varsity Press, 2009 

 

From a Presbyterian Perspective: 

  • Letham, Robert.  The Holy Trinity in Scripture, History, Theology and Worship.  Philipsburg, N.J., P & R Publishing Company, 2004. 

 

Catholic, Ecumenical and Interreligous Perspective: 

  • Phan, Peter C., ed.  The Cambridge Companion to The Trinity.  N.Y., The Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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Women in American Church History

Faculty: Dr. Ore Lee Spragin, Jr (Profile)

Description: Women have played a vital role in the birth and development of Christianity since, and even before, the birth narratives of the Gospels. However, many church histories poorly or hardly acknowledge this fact. At least one aspect of feminist theology is its struggle to correct this oversight by attempting to prove and/or validate the essentiality of women in church history, particularly by pointing out the ways in which women have been oppressed by the church throughout its history. By contrast this course seeks primarily to examine the importance of women and the roles women have played in the development of the Church, particularly in the United States, from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.

Required Reading:

Additional Graduate level Texts:

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