Course Descriptions

TH: Courses in Theology

Department of Theology

TH 101  Theological Foundations  3 Cr
An introduction to the study of theology in the Roman Catholic tradition. Core aspects of theological inquiry—the Bible, the Creed, moral theology—enable students and faculty to jointly explore the nature of Christian faith and the embodiment of Christian faith in concrete historical contexts. This course is a prerequisite for all theology courses. Each semester.

TH 201  Church and Worship  3 Cr
An analysis of the Church as a community of believers and a social in-stitution; a study of church liturgy and sacraments. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

TH 202   Gospel According to Harry Potter  3 Cr
Is the wizarding world of Harry Potter incompatible with Christianity as some have suggested? This class will explore how the Harry Potter novels are useful guides to examine and reflect on Christian themes like love, grace, sacrifice, power, evil, sin, community, sacraments, and faith. Summer semester.

TH 205  Theology and Film  3 Cr
In this course students will study the various ways that theology and film interact with one another; the manner with which film has been studied for theological themes as well as the influence of the religious imagination in the cinema. Students will view and analyze a variety of films from a cross-section of world cinema. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 206   American Cinema and the Catholic Imagination*  3 Cr
In this course students will study four American filmmakers (Frank Capra, John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese) and how their films express a Catholic imagination formed in their childhood. Not all of these
filmmakers retained an active Catholic faith into adulthood. However, students will explore how Catholicism as a culture continues to resonate in their films through ideas such as sacramentality, mediation, and com-munion. Students will alsostudy how these concepts are shaped by the distinguishing cultural expressions of Catholicism brought to America by the Italian and Irish forebears of these filmmakers. By viewing such classic movies as The Searchers, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Godfather, and Taxi Driver students will study how these directors present a distinctly Catholic vision of America. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 210  Catholicism: An Exploration of Catholic Identity from Vatican I to the Present  3 Cr
This course explores, through ecclesial texts and some Catholic fiction and film, distinctive themes and issues that mark Catholic identity in the 20th century, including sacramentality, tradition, the faith and reason relationship, and Catholic understandings of authority and community. Offered at the discretion of the department. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 211  Comparative Religion  3 Cr
A study of the origins and beliefs of major world religions in historical contexts. Fulfills global diversity requirement. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 212  Medieval Women Mystics  3 Cr
The course explores the development of a theology of mysticism that emerged in the context of neo-platonism and its chief proponent within the Christian context, Pseudo-Dionysius. Following that, the course explores several texts by women mystical writers of the High Middle Ages as one access point to the interconnections that exist between mystical experience and lay piety. Fall semester; even-numbered years.

TH 220   Moral Theology  3 Cr
An introduction to moral decision making and moral action in light of biblical principles and changing contexts. Each year.

TH 222  Heath Care Ethics  3 Cr
In this course, we will examine fundamental ethical theories, the basis of these theories in the Judeo-Christian understanding of the nature of the human person, and the application of these theories to practical matters within medicine and health care. The approach to ethics we pursue in this course will be grounded primarily in a Western philosophical and theologi-cal context, and will focus especially on the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

TH 231  Introduction to the Old Testament  3 Cr
An overview of the origins, themes, and continuing relevance of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures. Fall semester. Fulfills writing intensive requirement.

TH 236  Introduction to the New Testament  3 Cr
An overview of the origins, themes, and continuing relevance of the books of the Christian Scriptures, with an emphasis on the four Gospels. Spring semester. Fulfills writing intensive requirement.

TH 245   Eastern Christian Traditions   3 Cr
The course traces the development of Christian churches of the East, including especially those that were beyond the borders of the Roman and, later, Byzantine empires. In large part, these churches developed in response to the Christological controversies of the fourth through seventh centuries, so the course traces the development of the eastern churches as one means of understanding the broader implications of Christology. Finally, this course introduces students to the existence of other rites that fall within the purview of the Catholic Church and are in communion with those under the Latin rite. Fulfills Global Diversity requirement. Fall semes-ter, even-numbered years.

TH 246   Research Topics in History and Religion   3 Cr
An in-depth study of one problem at the intersection of the fields of history and religion, with particular attention paid to an issue where further aca-demic work needs to be done. The research topics change, though special concern is given towards topics that either span an era or cross geographic and ethnic boundaries. Students will work together with the professor to produce one, publication-quality article addressing the research problem. Fall semester.

TH 252  Theology of the Land  3 Cr
A study of the relationship of people and the earth, with a focus on issues of land stewardship as understood in the Bible, in the religious traditions of native peoples, and in the U.S. sociopolitical tradition. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 254  Theology and Science  3 Cr
This course examines how and why the relation of Theology and Science has taken shape in the history of Christianity, particularly in its becoming problematic since the rise of modernity. This requires a critical reflection upon philosophical positioning of these disciplines, drawing out important differences in “truth and method” while seeking a non-reductive dialogue. Based on these philosophical underpinnings, a theological re-thinking of God (“after Darwin”) and of creation will be explored, both in its oppor-tunities and challenges for contemporary Christian faith. Fall semester, even-numbered years

TH 261   Wealth & Poverty in the Bible & Early Church  3 Cr
This is an exploration of the biblical theme of justice as it relates to wealth and poverty with an attention to the importance of this theme for modern Christian social ideas. Based upon readings of primary texts from the Bible
and early Christianity, the course explores the potential contributions and limitations of early Christian social thought to contemporary socio-ethical discourse. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 263   Modern Catholic Social Teaching*   3 Cr.
A study of the cultural, political, and economic spheres of social life in the light of Catholic moral teachings, theologies, and action. Magisterial and scholarly writings from 1891 to the present receive primary emphasis. The course also includes a service learning component. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 264   Theologies of Liberation   3 Cr.
This course first examines the beginnings of Liberation Theology in Latin America and critically considers how this has both challenged and nour-ished the Christian tradition and the fundaments of theology therein. The course will then examine how this has begun to blossom into a rich variety of ‘theologies of liberation’ in diverse contexts throughout the world. In this context, the course explores new ways of (re)thinking Christianity as fruitfully engaging the world by ‘building of the Kingdom of God’ in and through the ‘option for the poor’. Fulfills Global Diversity requirement. Spring semester; even-numbered years.

TH 327  Sin and Grace in Theology and Literature  3 Cr
An exploration of the theological questions of sin and grace as raised in
the works of important 20th century novelists. Offered at the discretion of
the department.

TH 341   History of Christian Thought: Early Church & Patristics   3 Cr
A study of major Christian doctrinal developments in their historical con-texts, from the New Testament era through the Patristics. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

TH 342  History of Christian Thought: Middle Ages through the Reformation  3 Cr
A study of major Christian doctrinal developments in their historical con-texts, from the Middle Ages through the Reformation. Spring semester, even-numbered years.

TH 352  Christology  3 Cr
An analysis of interpretations of Jesus Christ’s humanity and divinity, from biblical statements to contemporary explorations. Prerequisite: TH 208. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

TH 389   History of Christian Thought: Modernity through Postmodernity  3 Cr
A study of major developments in Christian thinking in their historical con-texts, from Modernity through the challenges of Postmodernity. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

TH 495  Theology Seminar  3 Cr
A discussion of selected theological themes and important theologians,
with a focus in systematical/philosophical theology. While required of all
theology majors and minors in their junior or senior year, it will also be open
to other upper-level students who are non-majors upon the consent of the
instructor. Offered at the discretion of the department.

TH 496  Theology Research Paper or Theology Research Project  1 Cr
Theology majors must develop and present for the Department of Theology a theology honor’s thesis or a departmental research paper /project. The student will work with a professor in developing and fulfilling this require-ment. The paper or project should provide evidence of scholarship in biblical studies, moral theology, church history, doctrine/systematics, or in another field of study as appropriate and approved by the department chair.