Course Information

for Unmatriculated Department


DMin Ministry Project (DM-796)

Credits:3

DMin Ministry Project (DM-797)

Credits:3

Global Ethics (ET-630)

Credits:3

Learning to live together is the challenge of our age. This course looks at Jewish, Christian and Muslim ideas of community and universality in light of our global situation. It considers what universalist ethics look like when not based on religious assumptions, and examines what such ethics have to offer religious moral discourse. The course will also consider a moral argument towards a way of being in the world that both maintains and moves beyond our own particularities. Questions of environmental responsibilities and economic justice as they relate to these perspectives will also be explored.

Independent Study (GC-592)

Credits:3

Independent Study (GC-593)

Credits:3

Life of the Prophet Muhammad (HI-536)

Credits:3

The Prophet Muhammad is believed by Muslims to be the final prophet of God and the model for their lives as individuals and communities. Through translated selections of original historical sources, the course will survey interpretations of the personality and achievement of the Prophet made by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars. Muslim emulation of the Prophet will be examined with reference to the Hadith literature and devotional prayers.

History of Christian Spirituality I: Beginning to 1500 (HI-585)

Credits:3

In response to widely documented illiteracy about religious history, this course invites students to delve into the lives, contexts, beliefs, texts, and spiritual practices of dedicated Christian men and women during the first 1500 years of Christianity.  We will read and discuss in an open yet critical way a selection of "classic" Christian spiritual texts from the Bible to Julian of Norwich.  Goals of the course include knowledge and appreciation of the general and particular contours of Christian spirituality during this period; the relationship of theology to spirituality; an understanding of how social, ecclesial, political, and economic contexts affected spirituality in each era; the ability to discern the strengths and weaknesses of this tradition and identify those elements that can be creatively and critically appropriated for our time.

Jews & Judaism in the Christ. Imagination (HI-692)

Credits:3

Jews and Judaism have haunted Christians and Christian culture since the two religions parted ways in the first century CE. Christians have imagined Jews to be killers of Christ, perpetrators of blood libels, and leaders of world conspiracies. At the same time, Jews survived through the long medieval centuries largely protected by church authorities and became integrated members of European societies. This course will explore this history and related questions: How did modern anti-Semitism grow out of medieval anti-Judaism? What kinds of thinking about Jews have survived into contemporary society? Do Jews still haunt Christians?

Intro to New Test. Greek Pt I (LG-561)

Credits:3

The focus of this introductory course, which assumes no prior knowledge of the Greek language, is on the basic grammar and vocabulary of New Testament Greek. Students will begin reading selected passages of the New Testament.

Introduction to New Testament Greek II (LG-562)

Credits:3

A continuation of LG-561, Introduction to New Testament Greek, Part I. Pre-requisite: LG-561 or permission of the instructor.

Intermediate Arabic, Part II (LG-651)

Credits:3

This course is designed for participants to consolidate their knowledge of Arabic. Prerequisite: LG-650 or permission of the instructor.

Readings in New Testament Greek I (LG-661)

Credits:3

This intermediate level course is designed to enable students to read the New Testament in Greek, concentrating on grammar and vocabulary building. Students will be introduced to the wide variety of Greek styles present in the New Testament writings. Prerequisite: LG-562 Introduction to New Testament Greek, Part II or permission of the instructor.

Readings in New Testament Greek II (LG-662)

Credits:3

This intermediate level course is designed to enable students to read the New Testament in Greek, concentrating on grammar and vocabulary building. Students will be introduced to the wide variety of Greek styles present in the New Testament writings. Prerequisite: LG-562 Introduction to New Testament Greek, Part II or permission of the instructor.

M.A. Final Paper (MA-596)

Credits:3

M.A. Final Project (MA-597)

Credits:3

M.A. Thesis I (MA-598)

Credits:3

M.A.Thesis II (MA-599)

Credits:3

Trans Yr - Ind Study (PHD-692)

Credits:3

Understanding Congregations (RS-541)

Credits:3

Your congregation is a spiritual entity, but it is also a social organization, made up of human beings, with conflicts and habits, and grounded in a particular context. The more you know about the many dimensions of the congregation, the better you can make decisions, plan ministry and envision its future. The course is designed for clergy and lay leaders who wish to better understand the dynamics of their congregations. We will use a combination of lectures, readings, and field trips to study one congregation during the class meetings and then each student will explore his or her own congregation as the final assignment. We will look at the congregation’s identity and culture, its context, the material and human resources, the structures of power, the implicit theology and the leadership dynamics in an effort to understand this complex spiritual entity that is the congregation.

Muslim Life Through Fatwas (RS-630)

Credits:3

Legal opinions issued by Muslim scholars relate to all individual and collective aspects of the material and spiritual life of the believers who ask for them. When used with an appropriate methodology, they offer great avenues, sometimes even amazing ones, to explore the everyday realities and interrogations of Muslim societies, past and present. Coffee, tobacco, cannabis, opium and other drugs, music, dance, trance and sex, marginality, extremism and violence, pious practices and social conventions, relations with non-Muslims and jihâd are among the topics considered in this course. Mamlûk, Ottoman and modern sources (both from books and the internet) will be read and commented on. No knowledge of Arabic is required for this course. A basic knowledge of Islam and the history of Muslim societies would be useful.

Women, Religion and the Future of Faith Communities (RS-661)

Credits:3

Setting the context for on-line discussion of women in the future of USA congregations and denominations, the course will begin with a brief overview of women in world religions. Attention will be focused on the history of women’s participation and leadership in American Christian churches over the last two centuries, to stimulate a discussion of what themes and trends might be predicted for the 21st century. The differences among and between women and men in the membership and leadership of Catholic, mainline liberal Protestant, and evangelical conservative Protestant denominations will be explored to better understand the present reality and possible future of churches in the USA. At the same time, students are welcomed to make comparisons in their on-line writing and papers between women’s experiences in USA churches and those of women in other religions in the USA or in other countries.

Contemporary American Religion (RS-667)

Credits:3

There are over 350 religious denominations in the United States, and yet few of us know who they are or how they all fit together in the fabric of contemporary American religious life. Where did all these groups come from, what do they believe and how do they influence society? This course introduces students to the religious diversity that has arisen in the U.S. over the past 50 years. It also explores the prominent place of religion in our seemingly secular nation. Topics will include among others, the reemergence of evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity, new varieties of African-American religion, immigrant and ethnic religion, "cult" controversies, and a deinstitutionalized "spirituality" of many modern Americans.

Tackling the Issue: Retaining Young People in Faith Communities (RS-672)

Credits:3

"Why are there so few youth and young adults now in this congregation? What can we do?” This is a familiar plaint in many congregations and echoed in their denominations’ national offices. Recently there have been many articles and books on the spiritual culture(s) of young people, what they seek, where they look, and what might keep them within their church’s folds. Denominational offices are continually trying various programs and ways of reaching and keeping their young people. Students will be asked to discuss course reading on line, and write a final paper applicable to their individual experiences or their congregational programs for those under thirty.

Hebrew Bible II (SC-520)

Credits:3

An introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, this course will apply historical-critical methods of study to develop a framework for understanding the origins of the texts and the relationship of the texts to one another. Attention will be given to contemporary theories of biblical interpretation. Survey II will examine the prophetic corpus, poetry wisdom and the rest of “the writings” in the Hebrew Bible.

The Foundations of Qur’anic Studies: the History, Form, and Content of Islam’s Holy Book (SC-580)

Credits:3

This course explores tafsir literature from the classical period to modernity. Students will investigate the evolution of Qur’an commentary, the sub-genres of tafsir literature, the biographies of some great scholars of Qur’an commentary and their methodologies. Selected verses of the Qur’an will be read with commentaries about the following topics: God’s existence and attributes, determinism, sin and divine mercy, prophethood and Muhammad, Jesus and Mary, heaven and hell, war and peace, Shari’a and politics, pluralism, men and women, etc. Knowledge of Arabic is not required but several texts unavailable in English will be translated orally during this course and students knowing Arabic will be invited to read them in the original language. A basic knowledge about Islamic theology and the history of Muslim societies would be useful.

Jesus & Paul: Poverty and Soc. Justice (SC-649)

Credits:3

Christ Theology: Reformat. to Present (TH-502)

Credits:3

History of Christian Spirituality I (TH-585)

Credits:3

The Triune God in Christian Life (TH-654)

Credits:3

This course explores what contemporary Christians mean when they say that God is triune. After reading classical Trinitarian theologies from Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine, students will read and critically discuss modern descriptions of divine triunity (e.g. Schleiermacher, Barth, Rahner) and contemporary lines of thinking (e.g. process, liberation, feminist and womanist). Class discussions will focus on three questions: Why do Christians say that God is triune? How may teachings about God’s triunity shape Christian reflection and action in everyday life? How may everyday experiences inform Christian conversations about God the trinity?

Christian-Muslim Encounter: The Theological Dimension (TH-663)

Credits:3

What has been the nature of Christian and Muslim perceptions and theological interpretations of each other, and their own self-understanding in light of the other, in various times and contexts? Drawing upon literature from the 7th century CE to the present, and making use of the methods and insights of the discipline of comparative theology, students will explore this two-sided question by examining the themes, genres, and strategies of Christian-Muslim theological engagement, with particular attention to the 21st-century dialogue of Christian and Muslim scholars.

Muslim Political Theology in the 20th and 21st Centuries (TH-692)

Credits:3

This course offers an in-depth exploration of geographically and thematically organized case studies that address Muslim theological approaches to politics in the 20th and 21st centuries. Our case studies will include political discourses from Egypt, Iran, Turkey, India, Pakistan, and the United States. Our thematic exploration will range from theories of withdrawal from and the shaping of modern political systems. Particular attention will be paid to the analysis of discourses on modernity, gender, memory and uses of tradition, and Muslim minorities’ participation in in public life. A background in modern world history, particularly of Islamic countries, would be very helpful. Please note that this course is a seminar, which means that all students must contribute to each class discussion, both orally and in writing. The format of analyzing case studies has the specific aim of refining each student’s written and oral interpretative skills.

Reading Ibn Taymiyya (TH-693)

Credits:3

This high level course offers an in-depth exploration of the theological and spiritual writings of one of the most fascinating—and controversial—thinkers of classical lslam: the Mamlûk mufti and theologian Taqî al-Dîn Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328). Key texts will be read in the original Arabic, translated orally, explained grammatically, commented on ideologically, and discussed, by the students as well as by the professor. A good knowledge of Classical Arabic is highly recommended to maximize the learning in this course. Bibliographical references will be provided.

Cultivating Spiritual Growth (WS-621)

Credits:3

Practical Kabbalah (WS-624)

Credits:3

This course will explore various aspects of Jewish spirituality and their interconnection: how mystical interpretations of the Hebrew Bible (in the Zohar) influence our understanding of Scripture; how the observance of commandments relates to the interior life of the heart and soul; theoretical and practical aspects of Kabbalah, including meditative exercises; and the implications of Jewish mysticism for tikkun olam, the mending of our broken world. How these insights might impact on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations will also be addressed—are there affinities on the mystical level that can be tapped for interreligious peacemaking? (Note: To get the most out of this course, WS-623 Holiness in Time and Space: An Introduction to Jewish Tradition and Spirituality or a similar introduction to Jewish spirituality is highly recommended.)

Essential Writings of Howard Thurman (WS-627)

Credits:3

This course is a study of the major writings of Howard Thurman, the mystic, prophet, poet, philosopher and theologian, who promotes the idea that out of religious faith emerges social responsibility. Thurman’s understanding of the role of meditation and the contemplative life informed his every action. As a man of quiet spirit he found the unity in all living things, which created for him a harmony with nature, self, people and, more importantly, with God. Through his writings we will explore that harmony and center ourselves for a deeper spiritual journey.

Spirituality and the Arts (WS-651)

Credits:3