Historical and Theological Studies: Elective Courses
 

Historical / Theological Studies Electives
This is a representative list of electives in this area of study. Exact course offerings for each semester will vary. Please see class schedules for specific semester offerings.

 
HT200 A Philosophy for Understanding Theology
This course traces out the interplay between the Greek philosophical traditions of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and the Christian Biblical tradition (Hebrew prophets, Jesus, and Paul) from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas, and their reformation by Luther and Calvin in the 16th century.

HT201 Ethics of Reinhold Niebuhr
(no description)

HT202 Literature from Around the World
Behind this course are four major assumptions: 1) that Christians, confessing God to be active in the world and the Creator of all cultures, should be concerned with the way people live-the problems they face, the convictions they hold-around the world; 2) that Christian faith and ministry are generally strengthened and enriched when our inevitably-contextualized world views are brought into dialogue with alternative ways of experiencing reality; 3) that your ministries, given the era in which we live, will have to take account of religious and cultural pluralism and global interconnectedness; and 4) that the reading of serious literature (always a worthy endeavor) can be an exceptionally fruitful and appropriate means of imagining genuine “otherness,” including the otherness of foreign cultures and non-Christian religions.

With these assumptions in mind, the central purpose of the course becomes clear: to expand our spiritual and intellectual horizons by studying novels and short stories written by outstanding modern (for the most part, contemporary) authors from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. We will examine these works in order to understand both what they say (i.e., their perspectives on reality) and how they say it (i.e., their use of character, plot, language and other elements of literary form).

HT203 Impact of Judaism on Christianity
The origins of Christian faith are deeply grounded in Jewish tradition, texts, and practices. In this course Rabbi Howard Kaplansky addresses Jewish-Christian relationships, paying attention to such matters as interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures, the diversity of Judaism, Jewish rituals and customs, the State of Israel, the Middle East and Holocaust studies. (Sponsored by the Jewish Chautauqua Society)

HT204 Race, Ethnicity and Religion
A critical re-examination of the foundations of Christian ethics, in light of the contemporary problems of racism, cultural diversity, power and vulnerability and global awareness of the freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Attention will also be given to the role of the Church in shaping a new vision for social praxis and faithfulness in the world - primarily through individual acts of self-transformation and communal resolve.

HT205 Pastoral Ethics and Congregational Life
(no description)

HT207: Ministries of Peace and Justice
This course will explore ecumenical and interfaith work for peace and justice and the theological foundations of such efforts. In addition the intersection of peace and justice work and local congregational life and mission will be explored. The course will offer opportunity to dialogue with local leaders in peace and justice ministries.

HT208 Jesus Around the World
Since the end of the 1960’s and beginning of the 1970’s a large number of Christological sketches have been coming to light in the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America through individual theologians and theological movements. This class will look at some of them and how the shape the discussion of Christology and theological construction.

HT209 Theology of Reinhold Niebuhr
This course will explore the theology and ethics of Reinhold Niebuhr, one of America’s most influential ethicists in the 20th century. In particular, the foundations of his thought will be theologically examined for their enduring value in America (and the world) today. Through this course, the learner will engage in critical conversation with the principal/classic works of Reinhold Niebuhr; learn to articulate the central understandings in Niebuhr’s theology and ethics, including the nuances from his early and later works; and gain awareness for Niebuhr’s enduring value for theology and ethics.

HT210 Fundamentalism and American Culture
Protestant fundamentalism has had a voice in American culture for over one hundred years.  This course explores the history of fundamentalism, its rhetoric, and its presence in public life today.  Topics will include the creationism vs. evolution debate.

HT211 Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Students in this course will carefully examine the critical issues in the social, ethical, and religious throught of Martin Luther King, Jr. A major focus of attention will be upon his primary writings, and their ethical implications for the human rights movement in the modern world. The course will also include practical concerns for identity, ministry, social responsibility and problem-solving in the new century.

HT212 Liberation Themes in Theology
Understandings of liberation articulated differently in different contexts. The course will look at what liberation means in theologies in different contexts and how they could and do inform each other.

HT213 Theology of John Wesley
This course will take an historical theological approach to the writings of John Wesley, asking both the more historical question about what Wesley said and the more theologically interpretive questions about what Wesley meant, given his context, our context and those features common to both.

HT214 Soteriology
What does it mean to be saved? That is a question that has shaped the theological debate particularly in America. This class will explore understanding of salvation and how they shape our theological conversation.

HT215 Introduction to Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation arose during a period of change, reform, and growth within the Western Latin Church. This course will begin with a review of the late medieval period, and then look at the writings of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer, and Anabaptist writers such as Conrad Grebel and Michael Sattler.

HT216 Cuban Christians in the time of the Revolution: 1959-1999

HT217 Ethics and Current Political Issues
This course offers students the opportunity to critically engage current political, social and moral issues in our contemporary society from the perspective of social ethics. In this course, special attention will also be given to contemporary political debates, the problems of AIDS among at-risk populations, spirituality and power, and how the church can engage the hard lessons of faith and responsibility in the modern world.

HT218 Philosophy for Theologians
From Plato to postmodernism, philosophers and philosophical currents have had an important impact on both the direction and language of Christian theology. This course explores major topics in the Western philosophical tradition including issues of epistemology, meaning and value, ethics, free will and metaphysics. Readings in primary source materials and class discussions familiarize student theologians with the interplay between philosophy and theology.

HT219 One God – Many Religions: Theology and Mission
This course will explore various approaches to People of other faiths in the context of Mission, different theologies of religious pluralism from mission perspective, issues of interfaith dialog as experienced in the ecumenical movement and a rereading of the Bible in a Multi-faith context. The course will be taught in the spring term, 2008, by Israel Selvanayagam, the Principal of United Theological College in Bangalore, India. He will be here for seven weeks as a Scholar in Residence. Israel has more than 25 years of faculty experience in theological education in India and the UK and is an expert in interfaith religious dialog.

HT220 One God - Many Religions: Theology and Mission

HT221 Mission in a Pluralistic World
There is an urgent need for a fresh understanding of mission dei which takes seriously such subjects as the revival of religious fundamentalism; the crisis of ecumenical missiology; the challenge of interfaith dialogue and interreligious conflicts; and contesting the powers of globalization.  This course will explore different approaches to a Christian theology of religious pluralism and the practice which follows from such understanding.

HT222 Christian Social Ethics: An Historical Introduction

HT223 American Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968
This course examines the role of America's Religious traditions in the Civil Rights Movement. Using a short historical purview of the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968), the course exposes the changing and contested understandings of/between religion and the Civil Rights Movement.

HT224 Ethics, Politics, and the American Dream

HT225 Ecclesiologies in Context

HT226 History of African American Religious Experience
This course is a historical survey and is intended to introduce students to important themes in African American religious history through a rich engagement with primary sources, religious practices, and traditions of black communities. Primary attention is given to Afro-Protestantism in North America. By the end of the semester students will be expected to possess a working knowledge of the major historic themes/figures/traditions in African American religious life, as well as key questions that have shaped the study thereof.

HT227 Christian Spiritual Traditions
This course will explore a variety of Christian spiritual traditions, both ancient and modern. Examples would include Benedictine and feminist, Ignatian and black, as well as those arising out of the various Reformation traditions. The weekly classes will include readings about the history and theology of those traditions, as well as experiencing the spiritual practices associated with each tradition. Examples would be Benedictine Lectio Divina, Ignatian examination of consciousness, Anglican Daily Office, Wesleyan covenant groups, African-American gospel songs, feminist exploration of alternative metaphors.

HT228 From Heaven to Wholeness: A Study of Salvation

HT229 Histories, Religions & Cultures of Modern Middle East

HT230 Mystical Theologies and Traditions of Unknowing
This course surveys the Western Christian traditions that are typically known as mystical or apophatic, that is, theologies that describe participation in God beyond the capacities of human knowledge. We will examine the classical foundations and medieval varieties of mysticism. There will be a special focus on women mystics and the dynamics of power, gender, and heresy in the Middle Ages.

HT231 Religion and Politics
The United States has a long and interesting history of church-state separation.  Yet, the nation also boasts an equally long and rich tradition of mixing religion and politics.  Specifically, religion, religious practices, religious claims, and histories of the same have been used to ground, authenticate, and/or oppose political stances, policies, and movements throughout the nation’s history.

To this end, this course will examine the myriad ways that religion, religious claims, practices, and religious histories intersect, corroborate, and/or conflict with political debates in American history and vice versa.  With an eye on the current political landscape, particularly the 2012 Presidential election, the course will utilize primary and secondary course materials to investigate several key concepts and movements in American political, social, and religious history such as: religious liberty, abolition, women’s suffrage, Prohibition, the New Deal, civil rights, abortion, contraception, the end times, and, most recently, gay marriage. The course, then, will offer a forum to study the complex relationship of religion and politics in American history, as well as the opportunity to analyze how religious claims and religious histories are utilized in the public square.

HT232 Fire Walking? Sure, Why Not - Making Hope Tangible
This is a course about teaching and doing ministry between two contexts, born out of insights from the work between the Midwest of the United States and the War torn area of Jaffna Sri Lanka.  This is the story of congregations from opposite sides of the globe partnering in a ministry of justice and peace in one of the most intractable and brutal conflicts of the last 40 years.  It takes us from small country churches in Kentucky and Indiana to congregations worshiping in bombed out shells of churches in Northern Sri Lanka; from the halls of Congress and New York offices of the World Bank to war ravaged towns and villages of Jaffna.  Using the technique of narrative theology and epistemology this class will glean these stories for how the hope of the Gospel can be made tangible amidst the chaff of war.

This is a course about teaching and doing ministry between two contexts, born out of insights from the work between the Midwest of the United States and the War torn area of Jaffna Sri Lanka.  This is the story of congregations from opposite sides of the globe partnering in a ministry of justice and peace in one of the most intractable and brutal conflicts of the last 40 years.  It takes us from small country churches in Kentucky and Indiana to congregations worshiping in bombed out shells of churches in Northern Sri Lanka; from the halls of Congress and New York offices of the World Bank to war ravaged towns and villages of Jaffna.  Using the technique of narrative theology and epistemology this class will glean these stories for how the hope of the Gospel can be made tangible amidst the chaff of war.

HT233 Islam: History, Philosophy and Religion
An introductory course examining the religion of Islam: its core beliefs, rituals, practices, spirituality, devotion, and concept of afterlife. This course will examine the historical, cultural and socio-political manifestation of Islam, with emphasis on the Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet, and its central role in the development of ethical concepts and moral life of over one billion Muslims worldwide.

HT234 Revive Us Again!: Revivalism in America
Revivalism is a hallmark characteristic of American Religion.  However, there is little consensus on what exactly a revival is or what the purpose of a revival is.  This course will expose students to an introductory analysis of revivalism in America.  The course will examine the various contours of revivalism such as:  What is a revival?  How does one define revivalism?  What are the major characteristics of a revival?  What is the purpose/goal of a revival?  Moreover, the course will examine some of the country’s most notable revivalists including: Billy Sunday, James M. Gates, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Graham, Charles Finney, TD Jakes, and others.

HT235 Global Misssion Theology in the 21st Century
The goal of this course is to prepare students to engage in ministry in the 21st century multi-cultural global context with theologically grounded relationships of mutuality.

HT236 Western Spiritual Classics
This course consists of reading excerpts from a wide range of western spiritual classics from all periods of Christian history.  They are grouped into six major topics.  There will also be an additional reading from an eastern non-Christian tradition for each topic to show interfaith spiritual connections.  Each session will contain reflection questions and exercises to be written about in a weekly journal entry, as well as discussed in class.  A final paper will involve reading and analyzing an entire western spiritual classic.

HT237 Christians and the Common Good
The course will give students opportunities to reflect on major contemporary ethical issues, as well as to consider a Christian framework for thinking about “the common good.”

HT300/501 Reinterpretation of Neo-Orthodoxy
This course will examine the neo-orthodox tradition by focusing on how neo-orthodox thought considers the issues of God’s transcendence and immanence and how this in turn affects the way neo-orthodox theologians understood the issues of religion and context.  The course will utilize a historical framework to examine the context out of which neo-orthodox views of transcendence and immanence, religion, culture and context arose   and will look at the work of major European neo-orthodox theologians. In the second half of the course, historical methods will continue as neo-orthodox though arising from the early part of the 20th century moves from Europe into Asia. Comparative methods will be used to explore how neo-orthodox thought expresses itself in a different context, in this case in India, to understand the strengths and weaknesses of its theological construction which were not readily apparent in the context in which they were first created.  Through this method of study it is hoped the student will become better acquainted with the neo-orthodox tradition itself.

HT301 Mission in a Pluralistic World
There is an urgent need for a fresh understanding of mission dei which takes seriously such subjects as the revival of religious fundamentalism; the crisis of ecumenical missiology; the challenge of interfaith dialogue and interreligious conflicts; and contesting the powers of globalization. This course will explore different approaches to a Christian theology of religious pluralism and the practice which follows from such understanding.

HT302 An Introduction to Liberation Theology
The most prolific expounder of Latin American Liberation Theology, Juan Luis Segundo, S.J., was committed to the cause of freedom for those suffering from poverty and oppression.

HT303 Anglican History and Theology
The historical contexts and key themes of the works of major Anglican theologians.

HT304 Seminar: Readings in Selected Theologians
This upper-level seminar will allow students to read and discuss in depth the work of selected nineteenth and twentieth-century theologians.  The reading list will be determined in consultation with class participants. 

HT305 American Church History
This course surveys the history of Christianity in North America from colonial settlement to the present. The material is grouped into two sections: (1) the colonial and national eras and (2) the progressive and modern (20th c.) eras.

HT306 Black and Dalit Theology
The purpose of this course is: (1) to interrogate critically the origin of black theology from the 1960s to the present and to identify major theological themes; (2) to examine the coherence of key intellectual ideas of the first generation scholars; and (3) to analyze the outstanding theological issues and methodological approaches among this group of intellectuals.

HT307 History of Christology
Moving chronologically from the New Testament period forward, this course examines the christologies of various Christian theologians. The material diversity of christologies, as well as their formal similarities, will be noted. The particular theologians are chosen for the importance of their views both historically and constructively. Although the theologians are primarily Western in their origin, they represent some diversity in era, gender, faith tradition, and ethnicity.

HT308 Lutheran Confessions
An introduction to the classical confessions of the Lutheran Reformation: their origins and relation to Scripture and creeds; their theological and practical content; their implications for Lutheran identity, pastoral practice, and ecumenical relations

HT309 Theology, Ministry and Science
(no description)

HT310/HT510 Theology of Douglas John Hall
This course will look at the doctrine of theologian Douglas John Hall and how it is a seminal theology for the North American context.

HT311 Process Theology
This course will introduce the basics of neoclassical (or, process) theology. We will study fundamentals for neoclassical metaphysics and then move to such doctrines as God, Christ, church, sin/salvation, ethics and prayer.

HT312 Baptism and Supper
This course is designed to provide students with the historical and theological background which is needed to adequately understand and celebrate the sacraments in a local church setting. As an upper level seminar, this course will encourage students to evaluate the material at hand and theologically integrate it for use in the local congregation.

HT314 Theological Anthropology
This class will look at the doctrine of theological anthropology. It will looks and some of the classical issues that are discussed around this doctrines such image dei and sinful being. It will also address issues of method, identity, construction and contextual as they relate to this doctrine.

HT315 Theology of Martin Luther
(no description)

HT316 Jewish-Christian Dialogue
The purposes of this course are 1) to explore the history and current state of Jewish-Christian relations, 2) to engage in dialogue on “difficult issues” in that relationship, and 3) to reflect on the implications of Jewish-Christian relations for Christian ministry and theology. The proper “tone” for this course is not adversarial but dialogical-i.e., serious, informed, sustained conversation together about issues of real importance to both Christians and Jews. It is the conviction and experience of the professors that such conversation expands and deepens the faith of the participants by enabling them to see through other eyes.

HT317/HT500 Summoned to Hope: Constructing a Theology of Mission
The mission of the church in the 21st century is to confess hope in action. In the fall of 2000, five theologians from around the world gathered at Columbia Theological Seminary under the auspice of the Campbell Seminar in Atlanta, GA, to explore and debate this theme. The conversations of the scholars resulted in a book of essays and in relationships that continue to provide important discussion of this aspect of the church’s life. This course offers students an opportunity to engage these documents as a means to develop their own critical understanding of the mission of the church in the 21st century, and how that will inform and engage their own particular contexts of ministry.

HT318 Reprocessed Theism: A Course in Process Theology
(no description)

HT319 Peacemaking and the Powers
This course explores what it means to be a peacemaker and seeker of justice in post-9/11 America. Using the Pledge of Nonviolence as the framework for holistic peacemaking, the course will delve into the peacemaking message of Jesus. Walter Wink’s analysis of the “powers” will provide the overview for responding to Dr. King’s call to challenge the “giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism.” The course will examine King’s writings and witness and apply it to our post-9/11 moment in history.

HT320 Black Theology and Contemporary Critical Issues
This seminar will invite students to focus attention on recent developments in the black theology movement today. Since its inception in the late sixties as articulated by writers such as James H. Cone, Cornell West, and Gayrand Wilmore, feminist and womanist scholars have broaden the base of theological discourse. Hence, we shall critically examine issues of power and identity, methodology and message, and the question of responsible stewardship to God in local congregations

HT321 Theology and Spirituality of Howard Thurman
A seminar focusing on the theological, spiritual, moral and practical issues in the critical thought of Howard Thurman. The course will give special attention to the biblical roots and cultural attitudes that shaped Thurman’s prophetic witness in American society. The mystical roots of his theology will also be explored.

HT322 Theology of Calvin
Students read from Calvin’s Institutes, scripture commentaries, and other writings to identify the thinking and major themes of this theologian and reformer whose theology is sometimes described as “grace and gratitude.”

HT323 Making of Liberal Tradition
A study of the rise of American liberal theology in the 19th c. as a middle way between conservative orthodoxy and secular rationalism.

HT324 Post-Holocaust Ethics
This course will explore the failure of the “Enlightenment Project” in light of the Holocaust. As Rabbi Irving Greenberg asserted, after Auschwitz there ought not to be any more final solutions, theological or otherwise. Bearing Greenberg’s warning in mind, the course will contrast an “ethics of the self” with an “ethics of the Other,” drawing specifically on the work of Martin Heidegger, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Emmanuel Levinas.

HT325 History and Theology of the Ecumenical Movement
The purpose of this course is to identify the vision, goals, methods and theological foundations of the modern ecumenical movement and to examine the current state of ecumenical discussion and activity on several issues of major significance for the church. In the process, we will also survey the history and structures of modern ecumenism and talk about how all of the above affects ministry in the congregation.

HT326 Mission in the 21st Century
This class looks at what it means to do mission in our day and age. We will look the major issues of our time and try to articulate a theology that can provide a vision of hope in the midst of it.

HT328 Expressing Theology: Interpretation of Theology in Film
This class looks at theological construction. It uses the medium of film to study how doctrine can be expressed and how that, in turn, shapes a different theological system that can be articulated.

HT329 When Life Meets Faith

HT330 Holy Spirit

HT331 Trinity

HT332 American Church and Religious History

HT333 Heresy: The Politics and Piety of Religious Dissent
This course surveys the idea of “heresy” within Christian history. It covers many of the major heretical movements in the early church, the Middle Ages, and early modernity. The emphasis of the course is on the politics of heresy – how ideas of heresy and orthodoxy are interrelated and inseparable, and how they play out in broader social and political contexts. Special attention will be given to the question of marginalized groups within heretical movements, and to considering how dynamics of heresy and orthodoxy play out in the church today.

HT334 Theology and Care in a Violent World
Violence influences our daily lives personally, locally, nationally, and globally.  Theology and Pastoral Care are critical disciplines to help us address this reality.  Using feminist and liberation models, this course will examine systems of violence as a means to speak back to them. In so doing, we will explore ways to resist, survive and transform these context of violence and suffering.


HT400/500 Summoned to Hope
An opportunity to engage the Campbell Seminar documents as a means to develop their own critical understanding of the mission of the church in the 21st century, and how that will inform and engage their own particular contexts of ministry.

HT402/502 History and Theology of the Ecumenical Movement
The purpose of this course is to identify the vision, goals, methods and theological foundations of the modern ecumenical movement and to examine the current state of ecumenical discussion and activity on several issues of major significance for the church. In the process, we will also survey the history and structures of modern ecumenism and talk about how all of the above affects ministry in the congregation.

HT404 Mission from an Asian Perspective
This course engages the work of a world-wide authority on mission in the global church.

HT501 Reinterpretation of Neo-Orthodoxy
(see HT300)

HT502 History and Theology of the Ecumenical Movement
(see HT402)

HT503 Theology of Douglas John Hall

HT504 Mission from an Asian Perspective
(see HT404)

HT505 Political Ethics: America, Theologically Considered

HT506 Christology and Context
Since the end of the 1960’s and beginning of the 1970’s a large number of Christological sketches have been coming to light in the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America through individual theologians and theological movements. This class will look at some of them and how they shape the discussion of Christology and theological construction.

HT507 Reformed Sacramental Theology
This course will present the basics of sacramental theology within the Reformed tradition, focusing on the sacramental universe, Word, Supper and baptism.

HT508 Religion and Politics in American History

HT509 Facilitating Ethical Discussion in Congregations

HT510 God's TV: American Religion and Mass Media

HT512 Liberation Themes in Theology
Liberation is about attention to voices silenced; making space for them hearing them and championing them.  More importantly it is about allowing previously silenced voices to reshape how we think about study and do theology.  Different theologies understand the task of liberation differently because each addresses different contexts which bring into sharp relief different issues.  However every theology has an innate tendency to believe it has something universal to say.  The question then becomes how does one learn from the insights of one context to deepen and enrich the way we see another?  Such a study requires at least two things.  First it requires attention to particularity of contexts and the how it sees voices being silenced and why they should be heard to make theology more authentic.  Second is to compare theologies to see how they might enrich each other.

HT522 Theology of Calvin

HT524 Post Holocaust Ethics

HT533 Heresy: The Politics and Piety of Religious Dissent
(see HT333)

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