Course Descriptions

Below is a list of all courses offered by the department

REL 103 - Introduction to Christian Thinking

(Credits: 3.00)

An introduction to the foundational ideas of Christianity as taught by Catholic and other Christian traditions, understood by contemporary theologians, and expressed in the lives of believers. The course provides opportunities for investigation of human/religious experiences at the core of the Christian heritage and some of the diverse ways these have been expressed and passed down through generations, and for critical exploration of the relationships that exist among Christian beliefs, practices and theological expressions.

REL 104 - World Religions

(Credits: 3.00)

This course introduces six major religious traditions: The Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Indigenous traditions. Study includes the major founders (where applicable), beliefs, scriptures, practices and ethics of the traditions as well as contemporary internal issues, the impact of globalization on the traditions, an introduction to the concept of contextualization in the study of religion as well as interfaith dialogue around common issues of concern to the traditions.

REL 105 - Religion Today: Is it of Any Use?

(Credits: 3.00)

Although the vast majority of the people in the world believe in and practice some religion, religion is often seen as a problem and is frequently described as hopelessly out of touch with contemporary society. Using some of the world religions, this course proposes to examine the components that make up religion and to see if and how they are able to respond to contemporary life.

REL 106 - Introduction to the Bible

(Credits: 3.00)

This course introduces students to the writings of the Bible as products of their original historical and religious setting, as well as foundational documents for Judaism and Christianity. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions are studied as interpretive responses to the life situations of Jews and Christians in the ancient world and normative forming texts of respective religions thereafter. While many faith communities understand these writings as a source of divine guidance, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience. Prerequisite: Not open to students who have taken REL 101 or REL 201..

REL 202 - Modern Science, Living Faith

(Credits: 3.00)

This course will introduce students to some of the central themes and issues that mark the contemporary interaction between Modern Science and Religious Faith (primarily, Christian Faith) by helping them to reflect critically and appreciatively on that interaction. It will include: 1) examining select historical engagements between Science and Faith; 2) investigating the way Modern Science and Contemporary Theology establish and relate their respective claims; 3) probing the questions that the contemporary study of biology, physics and astronomy present for theology; and 4) surveying the thought of select, influential scientists and theologians on the interaction of Science and Faith. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 209 - Judaism: The 4000-Year Journey

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an investigation of contemporary Jewish life and practice dealing with foundations and developments within Judaism. Current challenges and responses are examined. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 212 - Islam: Faith, Practice and Contemporary Issues

(Credits: 3.00)

The course will cover the foundational elements of the religion, along with an overview of the life of Prophet Muhammad. Relationships with other faith communities, the role of women, and contemporary issues and controversies will be analyzed in detail. The role of the Quran and the Mosque in the lives of the faithful will also be discussed. This course includes a trip to a Mosque to watch a Friday congregational prayer. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 220 - The Greening of Religion

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an introduction to the role of religious traditions in addressing key issues created by the ecological impact of humans on their environment and the need for an integrated ethic of stewardship. Topics addressed include: how the Bible has been used to justify both stewardship and exploitation of the environment; the Franciscan view of nature; the spirituality of radical environmentalists; concepts of eco-justice and deep ecology; practical examples of how world religions are addressing environmental concerns. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 225 - Philosophy for Theology

(Credits: 3.00)

An historical and methodological overview of philosophical themes and concepts important in the study of religion and Christian theology, with emphasis on the modern and contemporary periods. The main objectives of the course are to become familiar with important philosophical figures, issues, and methods, and to gain an appreciation of the relation of these to a variety of contemporary approaches in theological study. Cross-listed with PL 225. Prerequisite: One course in religious studies or philosophy.

REL 226 - Introduction to the Pentateuch

(Credits: 3.00)

Beyond an introduction to the Bible or the Old Testament, the intention of this course is to delve more deeply into the five books of the Pentateuch. The goal of the course is to help students to discover the original historical and religious settings which helped produce these texts in order to better understand the biblical stories. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions will be studied as interpretive responses to the life situations in the ancient world. Meeting this goal will better enable the reader of the Pentateuch to interpret and appreciate these books as foundational religious literature for both Jews and Christians. However, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience.

REL 230 - Religious Dimensions of Sexuality

(Credits: 3.00)

The experience of sexuality directly or indirectly touches every aspect of people's lives. From ancient times to the present, human sexuality has carried religious connotations. At times religion has enriched the meaning of sexuality; at times it has limited the appreciation of sexuality. In short, sexuality is so basic to human experience that it profoundly influences spiritual and religious experience, and vice versa. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 235 - Religious/Ethical Principles for Health Science

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is a study of the religious and ethical dimensions of health care, specifically of the nursing profession. Students consider bioethical principles insofar as they apply to practical, concrete cases. They have an opportunity to reflect upon the dignity of human life and the human person as foundational for decision-making in both clinical and research settings. Philosophical treatments of bioethical principles and issues will be supplemented with a Christian understanding of humanity, community, freedom, the body, suffering, and healing. Prerequisite: Nursing students or consent of department.

REL 243 - Peace and Justice in the World's Religions

(Credits: 3.00)

Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace requires that society is built upon justice for all members. Most of the world’s religious traditions include teachings on how the truly religious person should care for the poor and the needy in society. A society that strives for just relationships and equality is one in which peace is possible. This course will explore and note convergences in social justice themes between diverse religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Native American traditions and Far Eastern traditions. By exploring the common language of justice, the class will aim to find ground for respectful inter-religious dialogue and teachings that will inspire students to work for justice and equality in a diverse society. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 303 - Contemporary Judaism

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an investigation of contemporary Jewish life and practice dealing with foundations and developments within Judaism. Current challenges and responses are examined. Prerequisite: First core course.

REL 308 - Contemporary Catholicism

(Credits: 3.00)

This course examines the evolution of the life and teachings of the Roman Catholic tradition from the modern period to the present. In particular the course focuses on the documents of Vatican Council II (1962-1965) and the subsequent developments in the life of the Church. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 310 - Franciscan Tradition: Yesterday/Today

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an introductory course which examines the life and values of Francis and Clare of Assisi, the expression of those values in history and the significance of the Franciscan lifestyle in current times. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 312 - Myth and Ritual

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an exploration of myth and ritual as key elements within a religious heritage. Students will investigate how sacred stories and rites of various traditions function narratively and symbolically as expressions of and frameworks for human beings, thinking and acting in relation to communities’ understandings of the divine. The course highlights the role of story, symbol and rite in addressing interfaith conflict and social division and in providing a compassionate and reconciling worldview. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or department consent or common core course in Religious Studies, Philosophy or Sociology.

REL 313 - Baptism and Eucharist

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an historical, anthropological and theological investigation of the constitutive elements of Christian worship and sacrament (time, space, word, and ritual/symbolic act), with special attention to the sacraments of baptism and eucharist. The course includes an overview of liturgical practices, texts, and theology from Jewish and scriptural origins to the 20th-century Vatican II reforms; basic principles of liturgical and sacramental theology; and groundwork for interpreting liturgical documents and ritual texts with a view to pastoral practice, multi-/inter-cultural concerns, and ecumenical considerations. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 316 - Sacred Scrolls: The Bible and the Qur'an

(Credits: 3.00)

This course introduces students to the writings of the Bible and the Qur’an as products of their original historical and religious setting, as well as foundational documents for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions will be studied as interpretive responses to the life situations of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the ancient world and normative forming texts of respective religions thereafter. While many faith communities understand these writings as a source of divine guidance, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience. In the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, this course will seek areas of common ground between these text traditions and the religious worldviews that they represent. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 320 - Women and Religion

(Credits: 3.00)

This course examines the historical beliefs about the nature, place and role of women as understood in Christianity and the major world religions as well as an overview of the goddess and wiccan traditions. Topics include a study of contemporary women theologians, women's spirituality and women in ministry. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 322 - Ecumenism in Historical Perspective

(Credits: 3.00)

This course will present a historical view of the Christian Church from an ecumenical perspective. It includes an examination of the resources Christian ecclesial communities possess to pursue the goal of Christian unity and the possibilities for the understanding of and collaboration with other world religions.
Prerequisite: REL 103, 104, 105 or 106 or junior standing.

REL 336 - Pastoral Dimensions of Ministry

(Credits: 3.00)

This is an interactive course which utilizes the principles of adult learning. This course examines ministry as a vocation, the theological roots of ministry and what it means to have a pastoral perspective in specific situations in the faith community. Students will focus on resources and choose assignments pertinent to their ministry area while becoming aware of common ministry issues.

REL 343 - Catholic Social Teaching

(Credits: 3.00)

This course will examine the historical settings and the biblical and theological foundations for Catholic Social Teaching. By applying a process of social analysis, students will probe the underlying causes of issues of social justice and peace. The course will explore how the principles of Catholic Social Teaching address these issues and how students might apply these principles to their future service experiences. This course may be used toward an advanced core certificate. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 345 - Christian Spirituality:Personal Growth and Development

(Credits: 3.00)

The spiritual journey moves people toward wholeness as integral human persons. The goals of this course are to explore the dynamics of Christian spirituality, to examine several psychological-theological views of the integration process, and to pursue the implications of the process for pastoral ministry. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 350 - Christian Moral Theology

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an introduction to the Biblical/theological foundations of morality in the Christian tradition. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 360 - Discovering One's Path in Life

(Credits: 3.00)

This course explores the factors, especially the places and people in one's life, that shape a person's identity and higher calling in life. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105, REL 106 or junior standing.

REL 400 - Independent Study

(Credits: 1.00)

This is an independent study course, with topics and materials to be decided in consultation with the instructor.

REL 401 - Research Seminar

(Credits: 2.00 - 3.00)

This research seminar includes the senior culminating experiences, i.e., a research study designed to demonstrate the student's grasp of research techniques, methodology and resources. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

REL 402 - Synthesis Seminar

(Credits: 2.00 - 3.00)

This seminar provides an integration of findings from the history and sociology of religion. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

REL 403 - Religious Studies Practicum

(Credits: 1.00 - 3.00)

Utilizing the resources of theology, psychology, sociology and experience, the course is designed to assist the student toward competency in a religious leadership role.

REL 405 - Christology

(Credits: 3.00)

This is a study of the person and mission of Jesus as presented in the Scriptures, in ecclesiastical tradition and in religious classics. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 410 - Selected Topics

(Credits: 3.00)

This is a study of particular topics in theology and/or Christian ministry formation. Prerequisite: Will be determined for each course.

REL 411 - Scripture Selected Topics

(Credits: 3.00)

This is a study of a particular upper-level scripture topic. This class provides students with advanced scripture study and will be run in conjunction with graduate scripture courses. Scripture topics include: John's Gospel, Pauline letters, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke, Gospel of Matthew, Wisdom Literature and Psalms, The Prophets and others. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 445 - Christian Spirituality: Personal Growth and Development

(Credits: 3.00)

The spiritual journey moves people toward wholeness as integral human persons. The goals of this course are to explore the dynamics of Christian spirituality, to examine several psychological-theological views of the integration process, and to pursue the implications of the process for pastoral ministry. Prerequisite: REL 103, REL 104, REL 105 or REL 106 or department consent.

REL 465 - Introduction to Urban Ministry

(Credits: 1.00)

This course introduces students to the theology and practice of urban ministry. Students will examine the biblical foundations and analytical skills necessary to plan effective strategies in urban ministry. Students will assess the needs of their own professional and spiritual formation for this ministry. The course is the initial learning experience for students seeking certification in urban ministry.

REL 468 - The Bible and the City

(Credits: 2.00)

The course explores the biblical authors' viewpoints about the city as a social and theological reality. Students also will review contemporary approaches to biblical interpretation, applying these skills to the uses of the Bible in an urban pastoral setting.

RS 500 - Professional Development Seminar

(Credits: 1.00)

This one-credit class is designed to introduce new MA students to graduate-level research and writing in religious studies, and to reflection on their personal and professional goals in ministry or religious studies in light of the program/degree goals.

RS 501 - Pastoral Project

(Credits: 2.00 - 3.00)

This is the final course to be taken as part of the requirement for the MAM/MALM degree (for ministry degree students admitted prior to Fall 2013)and for students in the MARS with Ministry Concentration program. The pastoral project has four parts: 1). Present a pastoral problem or concern, identifying it within its social/pastoral/theological context; 2). Offer a means of addressing the pastoral problem or concern, explaining how it does so; 3). Implement the suggested course of action; 4). Assess the effectiveness of the course of action, suggesting what next steps or further stages of implementation might be warranted.

RS 502 - Synthesis Paper

(Credits: 2.00 - 3.00)

This is the final course to be taken as part of the requirement for the MARS degree (for MARS students admitted prior to Fall 2013). The synthesis paper provides the opportunity for students, under the direction and with the approval of a faculty member, to write a final integrating paper on a topic in their chosen area of interest or area of concentration.

RS 503 - Religious Studies Practicum

(Credits: 1.00 - 3.00)

This is a seminar and practicum in areas related to religious studies. Utilizing the resources of theology, psychology, sociology and experience, the class is designed to assist the student in gaining competency in a religious leadership role and to test this competency under supervision.

RS 508 - Contemporary Catholicism

(Credits: 3.00)

This course examines the evolution of the life and teachings of the Roman Catholic tradition from the modern period to the present. In particular the course focuses on the documents of Vatican Council II (1962-1965) and the subsequent developments in the life of the Church.

RS 510 - Special Topics

(Credits: 1.00 - 3.00)

This is a study of a particular topic in theology and/or Christian ministry formation.

RS 514 - Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations

(Credits: 3.00)

In this course, the class will focus on the Roman Catholic church's approach to and practice in ecumenical dialogue by studying the Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism and subsequent encyclicals, and by examining recent agreements between the Roman Catholic communion and the Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed communities.

RS 516 - Relational Ministry

(Credits: 1.00)

This course enables participants to realize the importance of building relationships with volunteers through the use of human resource skills, volunteer management techniques and an understanding of peer ministry. It distinguishes between developing relational goals and managing programs.

RS 520 - Women and Theology

(Credits: 3.00)

This course examines the historical beliefs about the nature, place and role of women as understood in Christianity and the major world religions as well as an overview of the goddess and wiccan traditions. Topics include a study of contemporary women theologians, women's spirituality and women in ministry.

RS 521 - Canon Law: Marriage/Parish Structure

(Credits: 2.00)

This course serves as an introduction to the legal system of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. It is a study of the universal law of the Church as well as local archdiocesan practice and regulations. Special emphasis is given to the law surrounding the preparation for and the celebration of marriage. The focus is directed toward those pastoral issues of particular importance to contemporary church ministers, especially those in parishes.

RS 526 - Foundations in Music and Liturgy

(Credits: 2.00)

This course studies music as an art form in worship and its role in ritual, particularly within the Roman Rite. The Order of Mass, sacramental liturgies (i.e., baptism, confirmation, marriage, etc.) and other rituals are studied for their musical requirements and components.

RS 527 - Christian Anthropology

(Credits: 3.00)

This course focuses on the understanding of the human person in the Christian tradition. The course explores the theological understanding of topics such as human nature, grace, sin, freedom, justification, and salvation.

RS 528 - Franciscan Intellectual Tradition

(Credits: 3.00)

The course introduces students to the richness of the Franciscan intellectual tradition. Beginning with Francis and Clare of Assisi, students will examine how men and women passed on the tradition to the present day. Through reading, discussion, and theological reflection, students will identify the Franciscan views of God, Jesus Christ, the world, and the human person throughout the centuries. Finally, students will discover how the tradition interfaces with religious experience, economics, politics, the natural sciences, philosophy and theology in the 21st century.

RS 533 - Catholic Education in America

(Credits: 2.00)

Students will examine the history and mission of Catholic education in America. The course unpacks the unique culture and the successful outcomes of Catholic schools and the role they have played in American society and in the Catholic Church in America. The course also examines the unique challenges of maintaining this culture and success given modern social change, globalization and the realities of the changing Church in America. Special attention is given to Church documents on Catholic education and Catholic Social Teaching and also to best practices for creating community among teaching colleagues, students and parents.

RS 541 - Biblical Greek I

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an introduction to the language of biblical Greek. It provides students an opportunity to become familiar with the original language of the New Testament texts know as Koine Greek (the 'common' Greek used by people of the New Testament period). The course will focus specifically on the noun and verb systems, with the goal of acquiring basic skills in exegesis for translation and interpretation.

RS 542 - Biblical Greek II

(Credits: 3.00)

This course is an introduction to the language of biblical Greek. It provides students an opportunity to become familiar with the original language of the New Testament texts known as Koine Greek (the 'common' Greek used by people of the New Testament period). The course will focus specifically on the verb systems and build upon Biblical Greek I (noun system), with a goal of acquiring basic skills in exegesis for transflation and interpretation. Prerequisite: RS 541.

RS 543 - Theology of Justice and Peace

(Credits: 3.00)

This course examines the historical settings and the biblical and theological foundations for the Christian commitment to a just and peaceful world. Employing a process of social analysis, the latter part of the course explores the ethical challenges facing the Christian community, especially the urban church.

RS 545 - Spirituality and Human Growth

(Credits: 3.00)

The spiritual journey moves people toward wholeness as integral human persons. The goals of this class are to explore the dynamic of Christian spirituality; to examine several psychological-theological views of the integration process; and to pursue the implications of the process for pastoral ministry.

RS 552 - The Study of the Scriptures

(Credits: 4.00)

This course acquaints the beginning graduate student with the types of literature found in the Old and New Testaments, the characteristics of the different books and sections in the biblical corpus, and the cultural, historical, religious and theological environments in which this literature was formed. The course provides a basic orientation to Sacred Scripture that will guide subsequent biblical studies. Students should recognize that this course engages in the academic study of the Bible. While many faith communities understand these writings as a source of divine guidance and a tool for personal reflection, these are not the primary foci of this class.

RS 553 - The Study of Systematic Theology

(Credits: 4.00)

This course orients students to the various aspects of theological studies and the way theology functions in the Christian community. Key topics such as God, human being, Christ, Spirit, church, faith and revelation, scripture and tradition, sin and evil, and worship are explored with an eye to how they are integrated into the entire discipline of theology. Contextual models for doing theology are explored. The course aims at helping the student develop a framework in which to understand how one engages in critical theological reflection in light of human experience and ecclesial/ministerial life.

RS 554 - The Study of Church History

(Credits: 4.00)

This course provides an overview of 2000 years of church history, focusing on select, significant persons, events, movements, and ideas (theological, cultural, social and intellectual) that have shaped the Christian Tradition. The course will highlight the dynamic character of that history (the conflicts, challenges, and creative developments) using the tools of historical critical analysis to help students better understand both the “what” and the “why” things happened as they did.

RS 555 - Independent Study

(Credits: 1.00 - 3.00)

This is a guided study of a topic in religious studies chosen by the student with the approval and under the direction of a faculty member with competence in the selected area.

RS 556 - Pastoral Theology

(Credits: 2.00)

This course examines the theological roots of ministry, both lay and ordained. It outlines ministry as a leadership function, explores significant issues which influence and impact ministry and reflects upon what it means to have a pastoral perspective in specific situations in the faith community and society. Students will focus on resources and choose assignments pertinent to their ministry areas.

RS 557 - Philosophy of God

(Credits: 3.00)

This course investigates various ways in which philosophers have spoken about God. The following topics are examined: the relation between faith and reason, the existence of God, the “nature” of God, as well as various challenges to God’s existence which arise from considerations of the problem of evil and of scientific knowledge.

RS 558 - Ecclesiology

(Credits: 2.00)

This course will view the Christian Church in its historical manifestations from the apostolic period to the present. The goal will be to explore the authentic identity, values and practices that the People of God, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have assumed through the centuries. Questions to be posed: how does the Church meet the challenges of cultural and social diversity? To what extent can one arrive at an ecumenical understanding of the Church amid various Christian traditions that have arisen through the centuries? What are the implications of any conclusions about the Church for the pastoral life of the community?

RS 559 - Worship and Sacrament

(Credits: 2.00)

This course is an historical, theological, and pastoral overview of the constitutive elements of Christian worship and sacrament (time, space, word, and ritual/symbolic act), with special attention to the basic principles of liturgical theology and practice. Emphasis will be placed on interpreting liturgical documents and ritual texts with a view to theological interpretation and pastoral practice. Prerequisite: A foundational course in systematic theology or department approval.

RS 562 - Morality and Justice

(Credits: 2.00)

This course is an introduction to the biblical/theological foundations of morality in the Christian tradition. The first part of this course will introduce the students to fundamental moral theology by highlighting various methods and debates within the discipline. This will provide the foundation for the second part of the course which focuses on special moral theology, or how moral decisions are made when dealing with concrete issues. The second part of the course also will highlight areas of social justice and ethics in relation to the moral life.

RS 565 - Introduction to Urban Ministry

(Credits: 1.00)

This course introduces students to the theology and practice of urban ministry. Students will examine the biblical foundations and analytical skills necessary to plan effective strategies in urban ministry. Students will assess the needs of their own professional and spiritual formation for this ministry. The course is the initial learning experience for students seeking certification in urban ministry.

RS 568 - The Bible and the City

(Credits: 2.00)

The course explores the biblical authors' viewpoints about the city as a social and theological reality. Students also will review contemporary approaches to biblical interpretation, applying these skills to the use of the Bible in an urban pastoral setting.

RS 580 - Wisdom Literature and the Psalms

(Credits: 2.00)

This course introduces students to the Wisdom Literature and Psalms of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible as products of their original historical and religious setting, as well as foundational documents for Judaism and Christianity. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions are studied as interpretive responses to the life situations of Jews in the ancient world and normative forming texts of respective religions thereafter (Judaism and Christianity). While many faith communities understand these writings as a source of divine guidance, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience by the original author.

RS 581 - Religion in American

(Credits: 2.00)

An introduction to the development of religion in America, the basic beliefs of its major religious traditions, their relationship to and impact upon, the social, economic and political life of the nation, and their relationship to American civil religion.

RS 582 - The Synoptics:Mark, Matthew and Luke

(Credits: 2.00)

This course will examine the three Gospels called Synoptic (Mark, Matthew and Luke). Through the use of contemporary biblical methods of interpretation, each Gospel will be analyzed for its unique contributions to the story of Jesus, the early Christian community and subsequent theological reflection.

RS 584 - The Franciscan Heritage and Intellectual Tradition

(Credits: 2.00)

This course addresses the Franciscan heritage (concepts and practices of poverty, simplicity, prayer, conversion, community) and the theological development of a distinctly Franciscan intellectual tradition covering the topics of God, trinity, incarnation, creation, sin, redemption and the nature of the human person. The relevance of these understandings and practices for the modern world also will be explored.

RS 585 - Christian Spirituality: Personal Growth and Development

(Credits: 2.00)

Our spirituality encompasses every aspect of our lives as individuals and as a human community. It is so woven into the fabric of our lives that spirituality is in fact inseparable from the life force within us. This course will explore definitions and understandings of spirituality through the Christian era in various Christian denominations. By analyzing the lives of certain believers of past ages, the course will also address the integrating potential that a balanced spirituality provides in the life of a believer.

RS 586 - 'Listen Carefully,But Do Not Understand!' The Message of the Old Testament Prophets

(Credits: 2.00)

This course introduces students to the message of the prophets of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible as products of their original historical and religious setting, as well as foundational documents for Judaism and Christianity. Using historical-critical and comparative methodologies, the various texts and their representative traditions are studied as interpretive responses to the life situations of Israelites in the ancient world and normative forming texts of respective religions thereafter (Judaism and Christianity). While many faith communities understand these writings as a source of divine guidance, the primary focus of this course is the academic study of the text as it was intended for its original audience by the original author.

RS 587 - Mystery of God

(Credits: 2.00)

This course is an exploration of the mystery of the triune God, the central teaching about the nature of the divine in Christian understanding. It will trace the historical development of the doctrine of the Trinity from its biblical roots to its contemporary resurgence, and investigate the implications of Trinitarian belief for liturgy, spirituality and lives of justice.

RS 588 - Paul: Windows on His Thoughts and His World

(Credits: 2.00)

This course examines the person, the writings, and the thought of Paul of Tarsus who, after Jesus of Nazareth, is perhaps the most influential figure in the formation of the early Christian community. Beginning with Paul's story and his world, the course will employ contemporary biblical methods of interpretation as it examines his letters and studies his thought as it is expressed in those letters. These insights will then be brought to bear on the role of Paul's thinking in contemporary Christian theological thought.