Theology & Religious Studies Courses

TH 1000. Christianity I: Foundations (3) 

Fall and Spring semester
This course provides the introduction to the Theological Mode of Inquiry in the process of exploring essential Christian concepts: Faith, Symbol, Revelation, Resurrection, Creation, Incarnation, Trinity, Sacrament, Salvation, Grace, Church, and the significance of the Bible. The course places special emphasis on early Christian thinking and practice. (THI)

TH 1050. Honors Christianity I: Foundations (3) 

Spring semester
The content and the purpose are the same as in TH 1000 though the perspective is broadened and deepened. Prerequisite: honors status or instructor approval. (THI)

TH 3000. Christianity II: Development (3) 

Fall and Spring semester
“Christianity II: Development” assumes what is meant by Theological Mode of Inquiry. Primarily this course ponders foundational Christian theological thought and practice as these have been refined through the centuries into what are now mainstream Western Christian theologies. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 3050. Honors Christianity II: Development (3)

Fall semester
The content and the purpose are the same as in TH 3000 though the perspective is broadened and deepened. Prerequisite: TH 1000 or TH 1050, honors status or instructor approval. (THII)

TH 3100. Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) (3) 

The principal concern of this course is to study the religious ideas contained in the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. To this end it also investigates the variety of literary forms (myth, history, prophecy, apocalyptic, etc.) in which those ideas are expressed. A serious effort is made to show the continuity between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament which, together, form a large part of the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Establishment of this course was sponsored in part by the Jewish Chautauqua Society.) Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII) 

TH 3130. Introduction to New Testament Greek (3) 

This course introduces the student to the Greek language of the New Testament, known as Koine Greek.  The objective is to promote understanding and appreciation for the Greek language as well as the writing of the New Testament.  Students will demonstrate their acquired linguistic skills by translating simple NT passages.  The course also covers issues regarding textual and literary criticism, challenges in translating, and the formation of the New Testament canon.  Consequently, the theological meaning of select New Testament texts will be studied.
Prerequisite: TH 1000 or TH1050. (THII)

TH 3150. God of Faith (3) 

An examination of the Christian understanding of God. The course focus is on both classical theism and modern interpretations of such issues as knowledge of God, language about God, models of providence, the problem of evil and suffering, and God’s continuous creation. Attention is also given to the contemporary dialogue between belief in God and science, philosophy and culture. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 3200. A Modern Search for God (3) 

An exploration of 1) whether the present age is “modern” or “post modern,” 2) the impact of technology and contemporary lifestyle on understanding death, individual vs. societal rights and duties, the experience of transcendence, 3) the place of myth and symbol in human experience, 4) fate, chance, luck, and god as expressions of ignorance, 5) possibilities for religious faith in contemporary Western society. Prerequisites: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 3300. Roman Catholicism (3) 

The principal purpose of this course is to provide an academic summary, suitable for adult minds, of specifically Roman Catholic doctrine and history. Secondarily, points of agreement as well as disagreement with other major Christian denominations are noted. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 3400. Special Topics in Jewish Studies (3) 

Topics can include such subjects as contemporary Jewish theology, theological reflections on the Holocaust, the Talmud, etc. Specific course topics are announced by the department. (Establishment of this course was sponsored in part by the Jewish Chautauqua Society.) Prerequisite: TH 1000.

TH 3450. The Jewish Faith (3) 

This course is an introduction to the academic study of Judaism, with a special emphasis on the beliefs and practices of contemporary Judaism. (Establishment of this course was sponsored in part by the Jewish Chautauqua Society.) Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 3666. The Book of Revelation (3)

This course explores the historical context in which the book of Revelation was composed and its meaning. Attention will be given to Jewish apocalyptic literature that impacted the thoughts of emergent Christianity. The Book of Revelation will be critically examined regarding authorship, audience, meaning, and reception within the historical and social context of primitive Christianity. The course utilizes contemporary methods of interpretation and examines various historical understandings. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 3700.  Theories of Religion (3) 

This course will examine the history of scholarship dedicated to developing theories of religion. Course material will engage students in critical reflection on the origins of the field of religious studies and those scholars who attempted to create a “science” of religion. The course will illustrate the trajectory of theorizing as this field emerged over time, and explore various scholarly answers to the question, “What is religion?”

TH 4000. The Gospels (3)

An introduction to the literary, historical, and social worlds of the canonical Gospels, making use of both traditional and contemporary methods of interpretation. Special attention is given to important theological aspects of the Gospels. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4010. Studies of the Historical Jesus (3)

This course will explore the major trends in historical Jesus research today and will examine the implications of this research for understanding the history of earliest Christianity and for theology, especially doctrines concerning Christ. The course will include an evaluation of the treatment of questions about the historical Jesus in the media, including reports of the Jesus Seminar. Prerequisites: TH 1000 or TH 1050. (THII)

TH 4020. The Gospel of John and the Epistles of John (3)

This course serves as a general introduction to the Johannine Literature—that is, the Gospel of John and the three Epistles of John. The first and major part of the course is devoted to an analysis of the Gospel itself. This analysis includes such topics as the relationship of the Fourth Gospel to the Synoptic Gospels; the traditional source-critical view of the present Gospel in terms of an early, middle, and late stage of composition; and the Gospel as a document of the Church—its theological themes and interpretations. The latter part of the course deals with the three letters of 1, 2, and 3 John. Topics addressed include the main theological thrust and themes of the Epistles; the socio-historical situation, and the relationship of the Epistles to the Gospel. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4030. Pauline Letters and Theology (3)

This course serves as a general introduction to the Pauline Letters, focusing on both Paul’s theology and the social and historical context out of which that theology emerged. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4040. Topics in Interpreting Paul's Epistles (3)

 This course investigates the theology of Paul’s epistles and explores the differing interpretations of Paul that underlie many of the great disputes in Christian history.  Possible topics include salvation, ecclesiology, Jewish-Christian relations, and the role of women, only to name a few.

TH 4050. Sacraments (3) 

Humanity has always attempted to reach God through private prayers and the rites of religion. Beneath ritual and its symbolism is a rich theological stratum which, when understood, can help one to appreciate the experience of God found in and through the rites. This course studies the history and development of the rites of Christianity and the experience of them, in an attempt to understand their theological stratum. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4080. Christianity in Film (3)

Christianity in Film uses video/film as a stimulus to student discussion about and research into fundamental Western Christian values and theological hypotheses. Depiction in film of dilemmas, crises, insights occasioned by characters’ Christian convictions and by community history provide visual imagery and give a sense of “lived experience” of the issues investigated—issues which recapitulate and expand on the core concepts encountered in TH 1000 and TH 3000. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4100. Catholic and Protestant Theology (3) 

An examination of the major theological emphases of Catholics and Protestants. Attention is given to the origins of the Protestant Reformation and the development of the various Protestant traditions arising from it. Areas of agreement and disagreement, both then and now, are examined with focus on examples of contemporary Catholic-Protestant dialogue. Students are introduced to literature, guest lecturers, and worship experiences from both Catholic and Protestant traditions. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4180. Religion in America (3)

This course surveys the history of religious life in America. It is designed to give students an introduction to a variety of themes, issues, events, and religious perspectives which have shaped the consciousness of the American people. This course introduces students to topics including Native American religious traditions, Puritanism, the “Great Awakenings,” Mormonism, Protestant/ Catholic relations, Judaism, charismatic and holiness traditions, women in religion, slave religion, Christian fundamentalism, and the Nation of Islam. It also deals with themes such as the separation of Church and State, the role of revivalism in the construction of religious identity, pluralism, and questions relating to competing narratives of “The American Religious Tradition.”
Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4181. Religion in Latin America and the Caribbean (3)

The course will explore religious life in Latin American and the Caribbean from the colonial period to the present. Special attention will be given to the interaction between Christianity and the indigenous religious systems of the native people and the African diaspora. Topics may include the role of missionaries, religious syncretism, liberation theologies, church-state relations, religious role in the formation of ethnic and gender identity and the contemporary rise of evangelical and charismatic Christianities. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4190. New Religious Movements (3)

This course explores new religious movements with a focus on their origins, their theological tenets, and their impact on modern culture. Movements examined include those more established movements such as the Mormons and Christian Scientists as well as more recent religious groups such as the Unification Church, WICCA, the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, Scientology, and the New Age Movement. Students are asked to consider questions such as: What issues are at stake in categorizing these movements? How are these movements perceived and discussed in the media and popular culture? What makes these movements appealing to some individuals? What factors allow some movements to be sustained while rendering other movements fleeting?
Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4200. Christian Marriage (3) 

This course critically explores the contemporary meaning of Christian marriage as covenant, symbol, and sacrament. As part of this exploration the development of marital theology from the past to the present is examined by investigating how marriage was theologically understood in the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, as well as by probing the theology of Christian marriage which emerged during the Patristic, Medieval, and Reformation eras. Theological/moral issues (past and present) significantly connected with Christian marriage such as divorce, remarriage, artificial contraception, artificial insemination, marriage without children, etc. are also studied. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII) 

TH 4250. Contemporary Christian Theology (3) 

A study of issues, movements, and theologians who have impacted contemporary theology. The writings of significant Catholic and Protestant theologians are examined in the context of movements such as classical liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, existentialism, fundamentalist-modernist controversies, process theology, liberation theology, feminism, and post-modernism.
Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4280. Religion, Ethnicity and Race (3)

Complex constructions of “racial” and “ethnic” identity have often played a profound role in developing the religious worldviews of institutions and individuals. This course surveys examples of this interaction throughout history and seeks to give students a better understanding of the ways in which theological expression both shapes and has been shaped by race and ethnicity. The course examines how the interaction between religion and ethnicities/races has produced both ideological bridges and barriers between individuals and groups. The course focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on the U.S. American scene, and may explore the topic in relation to American Catholicism, the Euro-Christian encounter with Native Americans, Mormonism, African-American Christianity, the Nation of Islam, Judaism, and religions on the White-supremacist wing of the “Radical Right,” among other subjects.
Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4300. Contemporary Theological Controversies (3) 

A study of selected theological disputes of recent decades, with special emphasis on those confronting American Christianity. Special attention is given to those debates which concern fundamental Christian beliefs. Students are encouraged to research disputes of special interest to them. 
Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4320. Endtime Prophets: Apocalyptic and Millennial Movements in America (3)

A study of the nature, history, and role of apocalyptic and millennial movements in America. Millennial movements, drawing from the last book of the Bible, interpret history through the grid of an expected thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. This course introduces students to the roots of apocalypticism in Jewish and early Christian thought, the triumph of history over apocalypticism in the Church of the Middle Ages (with significant exceptions such as Joachim of Fiore), and examples of apocalypticism in America from the Millerites of the 19th century to the Branch Davidians of today. Special attention is given to understanding the social and psychological functions performed by millennial movements and apocalyptic speech, the hermeneutics used to interpret the Bible in these movements, and the central ideas in their endtime prophecies. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4330. Christianity and Women (3)

A study of the history of women in Christianity with special attention to Christian views of the nature of women and of the “appropriate” roles of women in churches and in society. The course also explores the response of recent feminist theology to these traditional views of women and their roles as well as recent feminist interpretations of basic Christian doctrines. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4340. Eastern Christianity: Orthodoxy and Catholicism (3)

This course explores the form of Christianity which is neither Roman (Western) Catholic nor Protestant, commonly known as Eastern Orthodoxy along with Eastern Catholicism, i.e., Christianity rooted in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Situated in historical and cultural context, “Eastern” theology, spirituality, and church organization is studied for its distinctive expression of the Christian faith. This enables one to appreciate Eastern Christianity’s various contributions to theology and world history. The Orthodox experience in America and in the ecumenical arena is likewise examined. Particular attention is given to the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with Rome and their relationship to the Orthodox Churches (not in communion with Rome). 
Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4350. Theology, Morality and Health Care (3) 

This course explores the interrelationships between theology, morality, and contemporary health care. In addition to methodically examining moral issues in health care, this course emphasizes the foundational roles which theology plays in engendering moral vision, the development of character, behavior, and formal arguments related to contemporary debates within and about health care. Prerequisites: TH 1000, junior standing in four-year nursing program, candidacy accelerated nursing program, or instructor approval. (THII)

TH 4450. World Religions (3) 

An introduction to the beliefs and practices of four major world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam—through a study of their scriptures and history. The class concentrates on each religion’s views of the Transcendent and of the nature and destiny of the human person. Students read selections from the scriptures and writings of major thinkers in each tradition. A study of the major events in the history of each religion serves as background for a consideration of its contemporary beliefs and practices. 
Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4500. Religion as Human Phenomenon (3) 

A study of the basic dynamisms of several world religions; an examination of historical criticisms of religion in general and of Christianity in particular; an exploration of some human experiences as foundational for appreciation of humanity’s searches for meaning. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4777.  Religious Utopian Communes in America (3)

A study of the nature, history, beliefs, and practices of religious utopian communes in America from the nineteenth century to the present. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)

TH 4888. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (3)

 Paul’s Letter to the Romans is central to understanding Paul and the early communities of believers in Jesus Christ in their first-century historical context, as well as to interpreting Paul’s theology. This course will focus on a close historical-critical reading of the text, including investigation of Roman, Greek, Jewish, and Christian historical and cultural factors, why Paul wrote this letter and intended to travel to Rome, the historical, rhetorical, and theological messages that arise in Paul’s arguments, and the interpretive traditions, and implications of the various choices maintained by them. Students will also be introduced to the newer perspectives on Paul that are challenging long-held views and advancing respectful inter-faith dialogue and interaction. Prerequisite: TH 1000. (THII)