Course Information

for To Be Determined Department


Nitty Gritty Stewardship in the 21st Century: The App for Raising Money & Energy in Congs. (AM-607)

Credits:3

The course is a spiritual app, a metaphoric wireless connection to how to stay in nearly constant fund raising and energy raising mode, using a multiplicity of sources including your energy and that of your boards and allies. This course will address the regular routes of pledge cards and Sundays and campaigns, will imitate the successful strategies of National Public Radio, teach crowd sourcing and crowd funding and show how to raise twice the money in half the time. Yes: effort matters. You will learn the importance of branding, elevator speeches and how to say a lot about yourself in a few good words. You may learn how to rent space with acumen and vigor.You will learn to never say again, "I hate to raise money." You will learn to say, "I love to raise money." The course will link the spiritual and the psychological and the theological to the practical, going deep out of the shame we feel about asking for money.

Strategic, Whole Systems Planning (AM-618)

Credits:3

Transformational Leadership and Faith-based Community Development (AM-621)

Credits:3

Faith Communities are often the last institution left in some of the nation’s most destitute neighborhoods. This course will help participants experience what Paulo Freire refers to as, “conscientiation" or critical consciousness. As transformational leaders they will see with fresh eyes the problems that exist in their community context through reflection which leads to strategic action. This course will explore elements of the “change agent” tool kit to include: leadership framework; community organizing; asset mapping; public policy change; fund-raising and social entrepreneurship.

Turn-Around Congregations and Sustainable Institutions (AM-624)

Credits:3

This course addresses the unraveling that we see on many fronts, particularly in congregations but also in law, medicine, not for profits, clothing and food businesses. It looks at the wide use of the word "sustainable" and asks what that word means to American intermediate institutions in the 21st century. Students will learn not only the how of turn around but also its why. Why bother with congregations that seem ready to die? Why bother with end of life alternatives to the equally undesirable nursing home or living at home alone? What is changing and how can we flow with the change as well as challenge it? The course will show the eco-system of a congregation and small institution and will engage students in taking another path -- turning off the path we are now on and trail blazing sustainable futures. Sustainable futures are experimental, not realized. In this course we will learn to experiment.

Worship and Preaching that Renews Vintage (traditional) Churches (AM-627)

Credits:3

This course will take a look at what has been traditionally taught about preaching and worship for mainline churches and examine what is working in churches that are bucking trends of decline. How do “vintage churches” retain their practices and traditions, while at the same time find ways to connect with the “Nones” the “Dones” “and the “Reruns”? Millennials often shop in vintage clothing stores, so what kind of preaching and worship might make them take a second look at our churches? What might we learn from the culture, from other traditions, or even our own history that has been forgotten? How might we more effectively communicate our message and craft the transformational experience the “spiritual but not religious” are really seeking?

The Vital Vintage Church – How Traditional Congregations Thrive! Vital Vintage Churches (AM-628)

Credits:3

Each week we will survey how we might adapt our ministry to the twenty-first century in ways that revitalize traditional congregations. We will examine how vital vintage congregations worship, how they are structured, how they practice stewardship, how they market their ministry, how they preach, and how they do spiritual formation. This course is designed to introduce leaders to skills that will revitalize mainline churches by helping them adapt to contemporary settings and attract a younger constituency.

The Vital Vintage Church – How Traditional Congregations Thrive (AM-628-3)

Credits:3

Each week we will survey how we might adapt our ministry to the twenty-first century in ways that revitalize traditional congregations. We will examine how vital vintage congregations worship, how they are structured, how they practice stewardship, how they market their ministry, how they preach, and how they do spiritual formation. This course is designed to introduce leaders to skills that will revitalize mainline churches by helping them adapt to contemporary settings and attract a younger constituency.

Bi-Vocational Ministry (AM-631)

Credits:3

Are bi-vocational ministries a cruel hoax, a bad joke or the wave of the future? When biblical people did “ministry,” didn’t they also have other jobs, like making tents? Don’t our lay people do ministry and have day jobs as well? This five day course will evaluate the trend towards part time positions (and STOP the whining over) the way things used to be, when some clergy worked full time and had benefits and parsonages. It will START teaching clergy who are vocationally called to ministry how to find a compatible second job, how to negotiate a package that can grow if the setting grows, and how to manage time within a parish or ministry setting. (Members of the parish) or setting (may need help in KNOWING how) to have a part-time pastor. This course is good for lay leaders, for bi-vocational ministers and for those considering “part-time” for their congregations.

Fishing in a Shallow Sea: Church Leadership Strategies in a Secular Age (AM-648)

Credits:3

Significant research indicates that much, if not most, of the decline of the Mainline church, has been the result of the decreasing frequency of attendance. For example, many 400 member churches haven't lost members, but attendance has still declined by 50% because people simply do not attend as often. The church has failed to recognize these trends, panicked about the wrong things, and hence failed to developed appropriate leadership responses. We are offering the wrong answers because we have asked the wrong questions. We have assumed that people who are "spiritual but not religious" don't like the church and our responses have missed the mark because we have misunderstood what they are really saying. This course will explore: ways to utilize technology, social networking, a reframed understanding of ecclesiology, revitalized vintage worship, and a new understanding of missiology as ways of develop the skills to become “fishers of souls” in the shallow seas of and increasing secular culture.

Psychology of Trauma (AM-649-2)

Credits:3

This course is focused on the study of psychological trauma. It will provide students with a comprehensive review of psychological trauma and its types (sexual abuse, combat, life tragedies), using readings, lectures and clinical case discussions. The course begins with a discussion of a range of traumatic events and definitions of trauma symptoms and responses. The course will then explore etiology, assessment, identification, process exposure approaches in working with trauma, vicarious and secondary trauma, ‘spiritual’ manifestations of trauma, the physiological impact of trauma on the brain and some common comorbid conditions that accompany trauma. Other various expressions and associated symptoms of psychological trauma are discussed as it pertains to the work contexts of chaplains. Research on the relevant risk and protective factors associated with traumatic stress is also presented.

Introduction to Islam for Non-Muslims (DI-501-2)

Credits:3

Come explore the Muslim faith, practices and local religious communities. This course is an introduction for Non-Muslims to Islam and Muslim communities, beliefs, practices, scriptures, and Muslim organizations in the Greater Hartford area. It is designed to address the significant need for basic information about Islam in this present context. Through a combination of lectures, readings, experiences and activities, the instructors will cover Muslim beliefs and practices, issues faced by Muslims living in the United States, the vital roles that women play in Muslim communities, and current interfaith efforts.

Theology of Religious Manyness (DI-612)

Credits:3

What is the nature of the divine-human relationship? What happens when we die? (And, what will happen to my other-faith neighbor?) That is, what is the status, according to “my” religion, of other religions’ adherents? For millennia, worldview questions such as these have been the topic of much debate and written discourse. Making use of the emerging discipline of comparative theology and working from the premise that “theology of religious manyness” is a better formulation than “theology of religions,” this course will explore a range of theologies of interreligious engagement from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian points of view.

Forced Migration and Refugee Issues: Christian-Muslim Dialogue for Public Engagement (DI-632)

Credits:3

Religious leaders provide guidance on public issues through their spiritual authority. This course will provide students with opportunities to develop models for engaging in moral discourse and leadership on the social, ethical, or environmental concerns faced by Christian and Muslim communities as presented in the Luce-Hartford Conference on Christian-Muslim Relations, students will engage in deeper conversation and exploration of how the larger global or regional concerns impact and are lived out within a student’s own religious community, bringing the global into the local context. A seminar format will allow students to examine the topics presented early in the week. Additional material that will provide the opportunity to explore models and develop programs for practical inter-faith public engagement facing Christian and Muslim communities. Attendance and participation in the Luce-Hartford Conference on Christian-Muslim Relations is required. There will be no extra registration fee for the conference for registered students.

Skills and Sensitivities for Interfaith Leadership (DI-635)

Credits:3

Images of Jesus in Christian and Muslim Sacred Writings (DI-636)

Credits:3

Drawing on the canonical scriptures of the two traditions (the Bible and the Qur’an) in conversation with other sources such as apocryphal gospels, Patristic writings, Hadith, and hagiographic literature, we will study the birth, mission, death, resurrection and eschatological role of Jesus in Christianity and Islam—and the closely related matter of the life and status of his mother Mary. While this is a course in comparative theology, attention will be given to the role of Jesus and Mary in personal and communal piety.

Understanding & Engaging Religious Diversity (DI-641)

Credits:3

Through reading, discussions, multi-media presentations, and site-visits, students will be guided toward gaining (or improving) an understanding of America’s current religious landscape, a conceptual grounding in the beliefs and practices of a number of America’s religions, some awareness of the internal diversity of these religions, and strategies for engaging this diversity—including an opportunity to clarify and articulate one’s own theological/philosophical position on the fact of religious manyness.  Students will also explore a variety of forms and methods of leadership in religiously plural contexts. (This course is required for all students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate Program in Chaplaincy in Multifaith Contexts.)

Independent Study (DM-793)

Credits:3

Ethics Transfer (ET-100)

Credits:3

Islamic Business Ethics: Principles and Contemporary Applications (ET-521-2)

Credits:3

In the wake of the recent global financial crisis, we are witnessing expanding socially and ethically conscious business initiatives. The rise of Islamic banking and finance, a rapidly growing subset of these initiatives, raises interesting questions regarding the ethical dimensions of financial market activities. This course will consider Islamic ethics, spirituality, and jurisprudence and their application to business. In particular, we will study stakeholder theory, concepts of sustainability, environmental consciousness and animal welfare, food and labor. Further, we will examine contemporary Islamic finance, particularly home finance in the U.S., the landmark Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes Fatwa, and the waqf. Finally, we will explore debates of form and substance and maslahah (welfare), among other jurisprudential issues, within the context of contemporary Islamic finance.

Jewish Ethics (ET-530)

Credits:3

This course will examine the sources and development of Jewish ethics from Biblical times up to the present. Jewish ethics will be considered in light of other ethical constructs to determine what is particularly “Jewish” about them. How are they conveyed? Is there any systematic approach to this field? The connection between ethics and law and between ethics and ritual in Judaism will be studied in relation to the Jewish life cycle, the holidays and the Sabbath. The process of making ethical decisions will be looked at specifically as it relates to such modern issues such as artificial insemination, stem cell research, cloning, organ transplants, abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, business, war and peace, as well as post-holocaust considerations, social and political issues and the State of Israel.

Theological Ethics and the Personal Life (ET-545-3)

Credits:3

This course will examine issues of personal morality and faith. The course begins with a brief introduction to theological ethics, and then moves to practical issues in personal morality, which will be discussed in relation to family and society. The course will address issues such as marriage and commitment, homosexuality, friendship, abortion, lying, and the development of faith and virtue. Attention will be given to how one’s theological commitments transform secular moral problems and their solutions.

Enduring Question: How Do We End Violence? (ET-615)

Credits:3

The challenge of violence has been a human question since the beginning of our existence. The story of Cain and Abel is seminal in three of the major religious traditions of the west, and the Hindu story of the Bhagavad Gita has been one of the most influential texts of the eastern world. The current world presents us daily with terrorism, murders, often massacres or kidnappings of children, the innocents of our world. The current world also continues in its racism, oppressive regimes, and genocidal actions. Despite ongoing attempts to heal humanity, the question persists: How do we end violence? Responses to this question have come from many different disciplines including criminal justice, human rights, peace studies, religious studies, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and medicine. In this course we will examine how pioneers from these various fields have helped clarify the nature of violence, and what kinds of solutions they can propose to help us rid the world of this disease.

Peace Capacities Colloquium (GC-100)

Credits:0

This free course is a collection of skill-building workshops, designed to sharpen your capacity to promote peace and apply what you learn in your Hartford Seminary classes. See below for descriptions of topics covered. This is a full-year sequence of workshops, structured as an ungraded course for no credit. It will appear on the transcript for those registered participants who attend four out of the five trainings listed below. Scheduling of workshops is ongoing, and will take enrolled students’ schedules into account. Two workshops will be offered during intercession week, Jan 9-12, 2017.

World Christianity I: Reformations and Transformations (HI-520)

Credits:3

This course explores the history of Christianity in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas from 1450 to 1800. During these centuries, Christianity was transformed as Christians encountered alien cultures, debated with other faiths, colonized new continents, were driven from ancient heartlands, and experienced Reformations, Enlightenments, revolutions, and wars. During this course, we will engage with important Western figures, but we will also meet a host of other Christians who have been excluded from conventional, Eurocentric histories. Designed to be accessible to those without prior background in the History of Christianity, this course will provide historical grounding for further study of Christianity and of the relations between Christians and those of other faiths. This course is designed as the first of a two-course sequence, but either course can be taken independently.

An Introduction to Christianity: Defining Moments that Shaped a Faith (HI-523)

Credits:3

Across the centuries, Christianity has been shaped and reshaped by critical moments of tension, conflict, and creativity. In this course, we will explore some of these critical moments, observing the emergence of Christian beliefs, practices and identities. Some of these moments of crisis produced shared understandings that have endured for centuries; other crises fractured Christianity and created opposing forms of the faith. To experience both the unity and diversity of Christianity, we will search out Christians of many times and places, looking in ancient Roman catacombs and North African caves, medieval cathedrals and modern megachurches. The course serves as a first introduction to Christianity, but it can also serve as a helpful overview of the History of Christianity for those familiar with the tradition.

Encountering World Christianity (HI-532)

Credits:3

Neither the most ardent advocates of Christianity nor its bitterest critics predicted the transformation of the faith that has occurred over the last century. At the same time that Christian practice plummeted in Europe and was decimated in the Middle East, it grew explosively in Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the massive scale, kaleidoscopic diversity, and stunning speed of these changes, they were largely ignored by Western scholars, who expected everyone to follow them into Enlightened secularity. To gain a “big picture” perspective on what actually happened after the collapse of Colonialism, we will read some of the best work done in World Christianity, including work by scholars who were writing about it “before it was cool.” At a smaller scale, we will try to encounter World Christianity for ourselves by attending to specific leaders, moments, and movements. We will listen to music, watch engaging films, and attempt, as much as we can, to dialogue with Christians from the emerging centers of World Christianity.

Children of Abraham: Explorations in Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations (HI-539)

Credits:3

Abraham has often been called the Patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. To what extent to these three faiths claim him and share him? This course will use a social-historical approach to uncover primary models of interaction between Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities from scriptural origins and communal appropriations until today. Special attention will be given to the sacred Scriptures of each community and how those texts are utilized to provide identity, guidance and parameters for inter-faith relations.

At the Edge of Empire: The Christians of the Middle East (HI-613)

Credits:3

An investigation of the history, theology and identity of those Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christian communities outside of, or on the borders of, the Roman and Byzantine Empires; including the Arabic, Armenian, Coptic (Ethiopian), and Syrian churches. Attention will be given to how living at the edge of, or outside of, Western Empires provided unique contexts for the origin and later development of the Church under Islamic rule, the role of colonialism, nationalism, current geo-political issues of Empire in the Middle East, and immigration of these communities to the United States.

The Emergence of Evangelicalism (HI-614)

Credits:3

Evangelical Protestantism originated in the 1730s and 1740s as a trans-Atlantic network of religious revivals. John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards were its stars, but there were countless others – men and women, black and white, clergy and laity – whose efforts reshaped the practice of Christianity for centuries to come. Though often linked today with social conservatism, early Evangelicalism inspired countless social reform movements, including attempts to end slavery, raise the status of women, promote literacy, and improve the welfare of the poor. Early Evangelicals also took part in the titanic intellectual battles of the 18th century – clashes between faith and reason, human freedom and divine sovereignty, institutional authority and the individual conscience. In this course we will ponder the complex legacy of the early Evangelicals as we retrace their steps, retell their stories, and rehash their bitter debates.

Holy Power, Holy Presence: The Holy Spirit in Christian Tradition (HI-615)

Credits:3

History of Christian-Muslim Relations (HI-619)

Credits:3

The interpretation of Islam and Muslim encounters with Christianity has become highly politicized, ideological and controversial. Islam and Christianity are religious traditions often described as either sibling children of Abraham sharing much in common, or as part of a monolithic clash of civilizations. This course will survey the history of Christian-Muslim interactions from the 7th through the 21st centuries, giving attention to the historical and scriptural sources that speak on or about each other and their usage by Christian and Muslim interlocutors. The focus of the course will be to introduce students to the origins of the encounter, the diversity of historical contexts of the Middle East, Europe and North America, and how those encounters have been interpreted. Students will engage in historical research on specific topics to develop their own critical perspectives on Christian-Muslim Relations for public engagement.

Muslims in American Religious History: Comparative Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Politics (HI-628-2)

Credits:3

What makes Muslims an American religious minority? How have they shaped American religious history together with other groups? How have religious minorities participated in the American republic? And what can they learn from each other’s experiences? This course is an exploration into the history and contemporary life of a particular religious minority in conversation with parallel stories of other groups. Spanning the period from the late 18th to the early 21st century, we will examine Muslim engagements with quintessential themes of American life, such as race, freedom, gender and politics. We will approach each of these themes from a comparative standpoint, reflecting specifically on African-American, Jewish, Catholic and Buddhist experiences.

The Bible in History (HI-638)

Credits:3

Luther, the Jews and the Turks: The Reformation in its Interreligious Contexts (HI-653-1)

Credits:3

In Progress (INPROG)

Credits:0

Classical Arabic (LG-530)

Credits:3

Classical Arabic I (LG-710)

Credits:3

Teaches intermediate and advanced syntactical, morphological and/or rhetorical concepts that are needed for understanding the Quran, and builds students' Quranic vocabulary. The aim is to develop the ability to accurately and fruitfully read and analyze the Quran and other classical Arabic texts. This course is for students who have already reached intermediate level proficiency (2 years study) or higher in Modern Standard Arabic.

Quranic Analysis I (LG-720)

Credits:3

Close reading of selected Quranic passages, with detailed exploration of grammatical, lexicological and rhetorical dimensions of the text. Students are also exposed to extracts from the classical works of Quranic exegesis and lexicons. This course is for students who already have intermediate or advanced knowledge of Arabic.

Project in Transformative Leadership/Spirituality (MA-590)

Credits:3

Field Application: Transformative Theoretical Bases (MA-610)

Credits:3

Required course for students enrolled in the MA in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality. Schedule to be determined by participants and the instructor.

Independent Study (MA-692)

Credits:3

Independent Study (MA-693)

Credits:3

Religion as a Social Phenomenon: The Sociological Study of Religion (RS-536-2)

Credits:3

All religion is a social phenomenon. Although faith has a private dimension, human beings experience religion in groups or through forms created by social organizations. Every religion creates and is maintained by institutionalized rituals or concrete organizational forms. Professed beliefs are passed down by religious traditions, and ideally, these beliefs have consequences for one’s social behavior. Religious life has spawned times of war and times of peace; changed human beings and human history. Each of these social dimensions of religion can be investigated with the research methods of the social scientist. Much can be learned about religion from a sociological perspective, from reading classical sociological theories of religious organization and practice including those of Weber, Durkheim, and Marx.

Contemporary Islamic Thought (RS-572)

Credits:3

This course introduces students to major concepts, trends, and issues in contemporary Islamic thought. It historicizes and analyzes the Muslim encounter with modernity and the various intellectual trends this encounter has spawned, since mid-19th century until present times. Major concepts include: taw?id (oneness of God), tajdid (renewal), i?la? (reform), ijtihad (intellectual effort; reasoning), khilafah (vicegerency), shura (consultation), and Ummah (global Muslim community). Special attention will be given to contemporary Islamic revival and reform, rise of Islamic movements, and their impact on Islamic thought. Finally, the course will introduce and assess major intellectual, political, and religious trends in contemporary Islamic thought: traditionalism, Salafism, Islamism, and intellectual reformism.

Understanding Muslim Congregations (RS-583)

Credits:3

Hebrew Bible Survey (SC-522)

Credits:3

This course will examine the content and theology expressed in the Hebrew Bible. We analyze scripture using historical-critical methodologies that consider the biblical material in light of its ancient Near Eastern context. We also investigate how the Hebrew Bible has been interpreted by different faith communities.

Introduction to the Sciences of Shi'i Hadith (SC-528)

Credits:3

The Sciences of Hadith (pl. Ahadith) in the traditional realm of Islamic Scholarship are many diverse sciences which can be classified into one, these sciences are all pertaining to one thing and one thing alone namely the safeguarding and authenticity of religious scripture; whilst the hadith are not part of the Qur’an according to all classical schools of Islamic theology- they carry the same weight. The sciences of Hadith serve as unique because they highlight that whilst others attempt to gather as much information about and from their Prophetic figures as possible, the Muslims were concerned with minute details such as compiling as much information about people who merely transmitted the statements of and about their Prophetic figures to ensure a degree of rigour in authenticating religion.

Intro to Shi'i Islam (SC-533)

Credits:3

This course provides a historical study of the development of Shi?i Islam against the backdrop of key events such the succession crisis and Occultation (Ghayba), and the formation of Shi?i states such as the Buwayhids, Safavids, Qajars and Modern Iran. It will introduce students to various theories and debates regarding the origins of Shi?i Islam through examining primary (in translation) and secondary sources. There will be a specific focus on Shi?i jurisprudence, theology, hadith and Quranic studies, including the Shi?i approach to the textual history of the Qur’an and its alleged distortion (tahrif). The course will also examine contemporary Shi?i communities around the world. By enabling students to develop a systematic understanding of the evolution of Shi?i Islam, the course will serve as a basis for more advanced courses. No previous knowledge of Islam or Arabic is required.

Into to Shi'i Islam (SC-533-2)

Credits:3

This course provides a historical study of the development of Shi?i Islam against the backdrop of key events such the succession crisis and Occultation (Ghayba), and the formation of Shi?i states such as the Buwayhids, Safavids, Qajars and Modern Iran. It will introduce students to various theories and debates regarding the origins of Shi?i Islam through examining primary (in translation) and secondary sources. There will be a specific focus on Shi?i jurisprudence, theology, hadith and Quranic studies, including the Shi?i approach to the textual history of the Qur’an and its alleged distortion (tahrif). The course will also examine contemporary Shi?i communities around the world. By enabling students to develop a systematic understanding of the evolution of Shi?i Islam, the course will serve as a basis for more advanced courses. No previous knowledge of Islam or Arabic is required.

She Did That: Women’s Agency in New Testament Texts (SC-553)

Credits:3

The depiction of women in New Testament texts…well, for many, it just ain’t right! And with its ongoing influence on the lives of women today it’s time we set the record straight. One may perceive that there are but two types of women presented – good or evil, pure or impure, wife or whore, and so on. There doesn’t seem to be any ambiguity…but is there? Beauty – feminine beauty – is in the eye of the interpreter. Is a woman with initiative a bad thing? Is a woman who “stays in her place” a good thing? Let’s talk about it! We will do a critical examination of select biblical texts that capture the dynamic function of women and gender. We will consider the ancient socio-cultural context, and also engage contemporary malestream, feminist, and womanist interpretation. But don’t think you’re off the hook! You will be amazed at how much of yourself you will uncover in this class. Reading for women in texts written by men is sure to challenge some of our learned traditions and cultural assumptions about women. So who’s in?!

She Did That: Women’s Agency in New Testament Texts (SC-553-2)

Credits:3

The depiction of women in New Testament texts…well, for many, it just ain’t right! And with its ongoing influence on the lives of women today it’s time we set the record straight. One may perceive that there are but two types of women presented – good or evil, pure or impure, wife or whore, and so on. There doesn’t seem to be any ambiguity…but is there? Beauty – feminine beauty – is in the eye of the interpreter. Is a woman with initiative a bad thing? Is a woman who “stays in her place” a good thing? Let’s talk about it! We will do a critical examination of select biblical texts that capture the dynamic function of women and gender. We will consider the ancient socio-cultural context, and also engage contemporary malestream, feminist, and womanist interpretation. But don’t think you’re off the hook! You will be amazed at how much of yourself you will uncover in this class. Reading for women in texts written by men is sure to challenge some of our learned traditions and cultural assumptions about women. So who’s in?!

Images of Jesus in Christian and Muslim Sacred Writings (SC-636-2)

Credits:3

Drawing on the canonical scriptures of the two traditions (the Bible and the Qur’an) in conversation with other sources such as apocryphal gospels, Patristic writings, Hadith, and hagiographic literature, we will study the birth, mission, death, resurrection and eschatological role of Jesus in Christianity and Islam—and the closely related matter of the life and status of his mother Mary. While this is a course in comparative theology, attention will be given to the role of Jesus and Mary in personal and communal piety.

Understanding Shi’i Islam (TH-515)

Credits:3

This course will take a systematic approach to Shi’i Islam in exploring its main distinctive features, including creed, ethics, politics, and jurisprudence. We will also examine three major characteristics of Shi’i Islam: rationality, the search for justice, and spirituality. The meaning and significance of these three characteristics will be discussed as well as the role they play in defining the Shi’i approach to theoretical and practical issues. We will also discuss how each of these characteristics is manifested in Shi’i thought and practice, for example, how spirituality has led to interest in supplications and mysticism.

Philosophy of Religion (TH-613)

Credits:3

Is God-Talk Still Possible Today? The Problem of the Quest(ion) of God After Kant (TH-626)

Credits:3

Shi`ite Islam: Thought and History (TH-651)

Credits:3

Major Islamic Thinkers-Rumi (TH-683)

Credits:3

Islamic Spirituality and Virtue Ethics in Today’s World (WS-536)

Credits:3

The Islamic faith has often been characterized by Muslims as consisting of outward practice, theology, and inward virtue known as ihsan. Considering the emphasis that the Islamic scriptures and Muslim figures of piety placed on the “soundness” of what is known in the Islamic tradition as the spiritual heart, Islamic spirituality and virtue ethics developed as an independent field of study under various names such as Sufism (tasawwuf), tazkiya, ihsan,and 'irfan. This science was taught as part of the core curriculum of classical institutions of Islamic learning alongside Islamic law (fiqh) and theology (kalam) as an essential complement and integral element of Islamic practice. This course will introduce students to this third dimension of the Islamic faith through examining the core elements of how many Muslim specialists understood Islamic spirituality and virtue ethics, while also exploring how it can be applied today to many contemporary issues such as social justice, environmental stewardship, and personal development. Both classical and modern texts related to Islamic spirituality will be studied and discussed in this course.

The Spirituality and Practices of Asian Religions (WS-540)

Credits:3

This course is intended for students to be introduced to religious life and spirituality throughout Asia, with a focus on daily practices. One way to approach religion is through doctrinal, theological, or philosophical studies, but there should also be other paths toward understanding living religions through other ways of interpretation. For example, there are rituals, exercises, and asceticism, on the one hand, and symbolism, iconography and iconology, on the other, especially those experienced in people’s physical performances and practices. This course will emphasize in particular these latter approaches to understand the spirituality and practices of Asian religions. Each instructor is a specialist in one tradition of Indian, Chinese, or Japanese religions, and will introduce the class to not only scholarly reading materials, but also some material objects, images, or videos, and in some cases lead the students into an example of performance or practice to reach some understanding.

Longing for God? Christian Spirituality in Theological Perspective (WS-611)

Credits:3

This course endeavors to introduce the broad traditions of spirituality from different historical eras in Christian history; from Antiquity, to Medieval time, through to Renaissance/Reformation and then to Modern time. It aims to achieve this by exposing the students to primary spiritual texts and then trying to highlight and extract the theological foundations and dimensions of the spiritual orientations in these texts, so that students will be introduced to theological hermeneutics in the study of spirituality. The primary goals of the course are for the students to learn what are some of the basic spiritual trends in Christianity, and to be able to assess every trend from a theological perspective and in light of the Christian theological tradition as a whole.

Spiritual Foundations for Social Change (WS-613)

Credits:3

Justice and compassion (kindness or mercy) are cornerstones of the spiritual life and the foundations of social transformation. As spiritual values, these are understood in the context of covenants of mutuality, inclusion and egalitarianism that foster right ordering of relationships. As transformative practices, they encompass a dialectical relationship between individuals and society, within which is an awareness of ways in which the dominant culture could be reordered to reflect life-enhancing values and just social systems. Underlying these is the virtue of humility and its practice in contemplation. Thomas Merton described it as gratitude for life, awareness of being, and a recognition of their Source who calls us into its very own Life and life in the world. In this course, we will contemplate our explore how these values and virtues cooperate in an engaged spirituality – i.e. grounded in the Holy One and attentive to the needs of a suffering world – in both personal and political contexts: 1) contemplating how they are embodied and operative in our own spiritual lives, and 2) analyzing a situation of oppression and injustice with a critical and compassionate eye, and proposing solutions which are transformative, life-giving and just.

Spiritual Foundations for Social Change (WS-613-2)

Credits:3

Justice and compassion are cornerstones of the spiritual life and the foundations of social transformation. As spiritual values, these are understood in the context of covenants of mutuality, inclusion and egalitarianism that foster right ordering of relationships. As transformative practices, they encompass a dialectical relationship between individuals and society, within which is an awareness of ways in which the dominant culture could be reordered to reflect life-enhancing values and just social systems. In this course, we will explore how these values and virtues cooperate in an engaged spirituality – i.e. grounded in the Holy One and attentive to the needs of a suffering world –by contemplating how they are embodied and operative in our own spiritual lives, and analyzing a situation of oppression and injustice with a critical and compassionate eye, and proposing solutions which are transformative, life-giving and just.

Leading with Spirit: Transforming Leadership for Social Change (WS-619)

Credits:3

Worship Renewal in a Changing World (WS-632)

Credits:3

In congregational worship, our joys, sorrows, and hopes as a community – as the Church – are given their true and proper place, which is at the feet of Christ. We do not come to congregational worship merely to “feel good” or anesthetize ourselves against the stormy billows of life, but to enter more deeply and honestly into the mystery of God-with-us. Yet, worship is always situated in different times, places and cultural contexts. This class explores how the content, form, and styles of worship are enlivened through intentional and theologically-grounded worship design. We will explore a variety of perspectives on issues such as music, the use of visual arts, the use of technology in worship, the church year, worship and evangelism, sacraments and ordinances, worship and conflict, worship and social justice, and liturgical spirituality. Worship renewal is not about just “performing it better” but about walking with our congregations into transformative encounters with God and with one another. We’ll learn from the past and from each other as we all work towards this goal.

Cosmic Spirit, Planetary Spirituality (WS-643)

Credits:3

This course will wrestle with contemporary issues and perennial themes from the perspective of an emerging cosmology that is affecting life on planet Earth far more than we realize. Together we will explore how transformative energies are redefining our approach to the Sacred, challenging us to see in the wisdom of the ancients how we might develop new paths of our own in these tumultuous times. The 20th century theologian Pierre Charles offers this encouragement: “Like the root which runs towards the center of the earth, hiding itself that it may be more useful and be able to nourish better, drawn by the mysterious power which is its law, and becoming more strongly attached the longer it advances – thus it is that I should be; winning each day nearer to the deep of God, sinking more into Truth and Justice, attaching myself more and more, through all my actions and all my desires, without weakness and without wavering, to the Eternal which feeds us.”