Course Descriptions

Fall 2018 Course Descriptions

  • History of Christian Spirituality

    COURSE TITLE: History of Christian Spirituality

     

    COURSE NUMBER/SECTION:  THST 6022:01

     

    TIMES/DAYS: M 4:30-7:00

     

    INSTRUCTOR: Christie, Douglas

     

    COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS

     

    This course offers a close, critical examination of the history of Christian spirituality. Spirituality as lived experience can be defined as “conscious involvement in the project of life integration through self-transcendence toward the ultimate value one perceives” (Schneiders). The distinctively Christian form of spirituality, born of Jesus’ own sense of God’s intimate presence and expressed through through the dynamic unfolding of the Holy spirit in the life of the community, has continued to develop and evolve across the entire history of Christianity. This course will examine some of the key figures and texts that have shaped the Christian spiritual tradition, from its earliest expressions to the present moment. Particular attention will be given to understanding how social-historical context has influenced Christian spiritual thought and practice and how Christian spirituality has in turn offered a response to and critique of unjust social structures.  Students also will be invited to consider the challenges and possibilities inherent in retrieving ancient spiritual ideas and practices for contemporary use, including pastoral practice.

     

     

    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

     

    1. Learning to situate and interpret classic Christian spiritual texts in their social, historical contexts.
    2. Learning to assess and evaluate the relationship between thought and practice within Christian spiritual experience.
    3. Learning to interpret classic Christian spiritual practice in light of contemporary questions and concerns.
    4. Learning to retrieve classic Christian spiritual thought and practice in response to contemporary pastoral realities.

     

     

    PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND

     

     

     

     

    REQUIRED TEXTS

     

    +Evagrius, Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer

    +Augustine, The Confessions

    +Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

    +Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer.

    +Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship

    +Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

     

     

    COURSE WORK/EXPECTATIONS

    1. Regular and engaged participation in class.
    2. Three Short Papers.
    3. A Personal Essay.
    4. A final Paper.
  • Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment

    COURSE TITLE: Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment

     

    COURSE NUMBER/SECTION:   ThST 686

     

    TIMES/DAYS:  Monday 7:15-9:45 PM

     

    INSTRUCTOR: Rev. Jim Clarke Ph.D.

     

    CORE AREA:  Spirituality

     

    FLAGGED:

     

    COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS

     

    This course seeks to further student understanding of Ignatian Spirituality by: 1.) studying the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius 2.) A study of commentary on the text 3.) learning from the actual experience of the group

     

     

     

    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

     

    • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the structure and dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
    • Students will demonstrate an understanding of Ignatian wisdom regarding discernment and the ability to apply it to their lives
    • Students will demonstrate an understanding of Ignatian forms of prayer

     

     

     

    PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND

     

      None

     

     

     

    REQUIRED TEXTS

     

    William Barry, Finding God in all Things

    David Fleming, Draw Me Into Your Friendship

    David Lonsdale, Eyes to See, Ears to Hear

    Margaret Silf, Inner Compass

    Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon, The Discerning Heart

     

     

     

     

    COURSE WORK/EXPECTATIONS

     

    Class discussion on reading material

    Weekly 1-2 page reflection papers with praxis

    5 page final integrative paper with class presentation

    Take Home final exam

  • Foundations of Pastoral Theology

    Course Title: FOUNDATIONS OF PASTORAL THEOLOGY --  FALL 2018

    Course Number: THST 6070. 01   (CRN 42247)

    Michael P. Horan, Ph.D.

    Office: University Hall 3767

    Phone: (310) 338-2755

    mhoran@lmu.edu

     

     

    COURSE DESCRIPTION:

    Through the readings, papers and seminar sessions we will consider the nature, tasks, style and purpose of pastoral theology in relation to other branches of theology. In an effort to do this, the course will be grounded in the biblical, historical, sociological and theological sources for constructing a theology of pastoral ministry appropriate to various settings (churches, pastoral care and ministry to various persons and cohorts/age groups). Through this course we will consider various “models” of pastoral theology as we consider the theological issues beneath the practice of pastoral ministry today.

     

    LEARNING OUTCOMES:

    Students who successfully complete this course will be able to

     

    • Understand and situate within the history of Christian theology and ministry the pastoral/ministerial nature of theology, and the theological activity implicit in pastoral ministry.
    • Appreciate more fully and articulate clearly the importance of the relationship between academic theology and the pastoral life of the church.
    • Construct a theology of ministry that is faithful to the biblical and historical heritage of ministry, and adequate to the contemporary experience of lay and ordained ministers today, with special attention to the Catholic context for pastoral ministry.

     

    REQUIRED TEXTS:

     

    • Gula, Richard M. Just Ministry. New York: Paulist, 2006.
    • Hahnenberg, Edward P. Ministries: A Relational Approach.  New York: Herder and Herder, 2003. 
    • Osmer, Richard R. Practical Theology: An Introduction. Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2008. 
    • Wolfteich, Claire E. Invitation to Practical Theology. New York: Paulist, 2014.
    • Other essays, articles and web material available as needed.

     

    COURSEWORK EXPECTATIONS AND MODES OF ASSESSMENT:

     

    30%  Active participation in Seminar discussion; this includes leadership for discussions, and preparation for full, conscious and active participation in the seminar and small group discussions, as elaborated in the syllabus.

     

    50%  Five essays which function as brief written analyses of the readings, usually in the form of responses to Focus Questions (unless otherwise stipulated in the syllabus).

     

    20%  Final Integrating Essay (functions as a take home exam)

     

     

  • Spiritual Formation for Pastoral Ministry

    Title:  Spiritual Formation for Pastoral Ministry

    Course Number:  THST 6074-01

    Section Times/Days:  Wednesday 4:30-7 pm, University Hall 3222

    Instructor:  Dr. Brett C. Hoover

     

    Description: This course focuses on understanding and cultivating spiritual practices to maintain a holistic spirituality capable of balancing self-possession and self-transcendence, contemplation and action, self-care and the care of others in the context of pastoral ministry. The course explores spiritual practice in a variety of Christian spiritual traditions. The course will include theoretical and experiential learning, including group prayer experiences as well as critical group reflection on spiritual dilemmas and challenges that arise in the context ministry.  Students are asked to meet with a spiritual advisor or director for the duration of the course.

     

    Student learning outcomes: Students will be able to …

    • Define and describe what spiritual practice is in the context of the Christian tradition;
    • Describe and critically consider the spiritual practices and ideas raised by different Christian spiritual traditions, placing those traditions into dialogue with at least one non-Christian tradition;
    • Make sense of their life history and contemporary life and ministry experiences in light of Christian spiritual traditions;
    • Engage in Ignatian and other forms of Christian discernment, with attention to the history of grace and sin in their own lives;
    • Formulate their own approach to spiritual practice, considering their own context and life state, and evaluating that approach in dialogue with Christian spiritual traditions.

     

    Pre-requisites:  None.

     

    Textbooks:

    • Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon, The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path (Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2006).
    • Colleen M. Griffith and Thomas H. Groome, Catholic Spiritual Practices: A Treasury of Old and New (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2012).
    • Peter Tyler and Richard Woods, eds. The Bloomsbury Guide to Christian Spirituality (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012).
    • Claire E. Wolfteich, American Catholics Through the Twentieth Century: Spirituality, Lay Experience, and Public Life (New York: Crossroad, 2011).

     

    Work expectations:

    Expectations for this class include journal entries, a scaffolded spirituality portfolio including critical analysis of a spiritual practice, research on a particular tradition of Christian spirituality in dialogue with a non-Christian tradition, and autobiographical reflection in the light of Christian spiritual traditions.   All students must be engaged in spiritual advising or direction.

  • Comparative Mysticism 

    (Information is from 2014 description and is subject to change)

    TERM: Fall 2018

    COURSE TITLE: Comparative Mysticism 

    COURSE NUMBER: THST 6082 / YGST 682          Mondays 4:30 to 7:00 

    INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Key Chapple

    COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS  In this class we will explore the inner or mystical life as articulated in the life and practice of various religious traditions.  We will begin with a study of a modern classic: The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, the pre-eminent American philosopher and psychologist as well as the key ideas of Carl Jung.  We will then examine the Jewish and Islamic mystical traditions, as well as key writers in the emerging field of contemplative Christian ecology.  Yoga and mysticism will be examined through the writings of 20th century philosopher Sri Aurobindo. 

     
     STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES    Students will be familiar with the psychological approaches to religious experience as found in William James and Carl Jung.  Students will learn the principles and practices of mystical theology from the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Yoga traditions.  They will be versant with primary figures. They will also be able to write about and discuss this topic.
     
    PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND

    Graduate status in Theological Studies or Yoga Studies. 


    REQUIRED TEXTS

    William James, Varieties of Religious Experience

    Joseph Campbell, ed., The Portable Jung

    David Cooper, God is a Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism 

    Anne Marie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam

    Douglas Christie, The Blue Sapphire of the Mind

    Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts

    Debashish Banerji, Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo

     
    COURSE WORK/EXPECTATIONS Students will be required to complete two projects.  The first will be a response paper and presentation based on a portion of one of the books listed above.  This will provide students with an opportunity to explore an area of their choosing, whether the psychological substrate or Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or Yogic approaches to the spiritual life .  The second project will be a research project and presentation pertaining to mysticism and/or spirituality, particularly in its relationship to one or more specific theological traditions.  Suggested topics might include the life and work of various individual mystics (Rumi, Kabir, Lalla, Hildegard of Bingen, George Fox, Al-Junayd, Patanjali, etc.) or a study of the general philosophical and theological issues that surround the study of mysticism, drawing from literature by contemporary writers such as Nasr, Katz, Stace, Underhill, and others.

  • Graduate Pro-seminar

    Title:  Graduate Pro-seminar

    Course Number:  THST 6090-01

    Section Times/Days:  Tuesday 4:30-7 pm, University Hall 3218

    Instructor:  Dr. Brett C. Hoover

     

    Course Description:  Christian theology is disciplined reasoning through the questions raised by human beings as a result of their relationship with God in Jesus Christ.  Studying theology is neither catechesis (formation in Christian faith) nor apologetics (defending Christian faith).  It means joining an ongoing historical dialogue (occasionally an argument) that Christians call tradition, analyzing and critiquing how and why diverse Christians from the past and present have expressed their relationship to God as they have, but also continuing to seek adequate ways to do so today.  This course will also explore some of the foundations of religious studies, that is, the discipline that considers religious traditions irrespective of one’s personal faith commitments.  In short, the proseminar course prepares students for further graduate study in Theological Studies.  It introduces some of the vocabulary, background knowledge, methodologies, and skills necessary for such study, including theological reading, research, and writing.  The seminar includes input and exercises that will expose students to the basic subfields of theology (including biblical studies, historical theology, ethics, systematic or constructive theology, pastoral theology, liturgy, spirituality, and comparative theology).  Students will explore methodological questions and procedures appropriate to each. 

     

    Student Learning Outcomes:

    Students will be able to…

    • Say what Christian theology is;
    • Demonstrate that they know and can make use of the foundational mechanics of theological study at the graduate level (critical theological reading and writing, research, and citation);
    • Understand theological arguments, offering analysis and critique, learning to make their own theological arguments;
    • Define and use the disciplinary vocabulary of Christian theology and religious studies;
    • Understand and make critical use of theological methodologies from different sub-disciplines of Christian theology;
    • Describe how theological ideas, practices, and methodologies occur in response to the questions and challenges of different historical eras and different cultures. 

     

    Pre-requisites:  None

     

    Required Texts:

    • Gonzalez, Justo. Mañana: Christian Theology from the Hispanic Perspective. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990.
    • McFarland, Ian A. et al, eds. The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011.
    • Rausch, Thomas. I Believe in God: A Reflection on The Apostles Creed.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2008.
    • Yaghjian, Lucretia B. Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers (New York: Continuum, 2006). 

     

    Course Work:

    Expectations for this class include argument summary papers, glossary contributions, reading response blog, oral presentations in class, midterm and final examinations. 

  • Comprehensive Exam Seminar

     

    COURSE TITLE: Comprehensive Exam Seminar         

     

    COURSE NUMBER: THST 6092.01

     

    SECTION TIMES/DAYS: Tuesdays 4:30pm-7:00pm

     

    INSTRUCTOR: Tiemeier

     

    CORE AREA: N/A

     

    FLAGGED: N/A

     

    COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS

     

    This is the required comprehensive exam seminar for all MA in Theology students. While drawing on students’ previous course work, the seminar also requires students to study additional sources that will help them integrate their theological education and provide a foundation for their research projects. The comprehensive exams are administered as a part of the course requirements.

     

    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

     

    Review and assess major Christian thinkers

    Articulate and analyze major theological themes

    Construct theological arguments

    Integrate theological studies

     

    PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND

     

    36 units of course work completed.

    Students with at least 30 units may petition the Graduate Curriculum Committee for permission to enroll.

     

    REQUIRED TEXTS

     

    Athanasius, On the Incarnation

    Augustine, De Trinitate

    Anselm, Cur Deus Homo

    Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (Prima Pars)

    John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book One)

    Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith

    Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation

    Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is

    Peter Phan, Being Religious Interreligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue

    M. Shawn Copeland, Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being

     

    Additional books chosen in consultation with the instructor.

     

    COURSE WORK/EXPECTATIONS

    1. Seminar Discussion and Presentations (Oral examination occurs in class)

    2. One general exam in theology (20-page take-home exam)

    3. One disciplinary exam in theological studies (Chosen in consultation with the instructor--e.g., biblical theology, spirituality, history of religions, liturgy, ethics, comparative theology, historical theology, philosophy of religion, faith and culture, moral theology, ritual studies, etc. 10-page take-home exam)

    4. One research proposal (10-page proposal of research seminar p

  • Care of Our Common Home

     

    TERM: FALL 2018

     

    COURSE TITLE: SS: CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME

     

    COURSE NUMBER/SECTION: THST 6998.2

     

    TIMES/DAYS: W 7:15-9:45 pm

     

    INSTRUCTOR: Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu

     

    CORE AREA: n/a

     

    FLAGGED: n/a

     

    COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS: TBD

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: TBD

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND: TBD

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    REQUIRED TEXTS: TBD

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    COURSE WORK/EXPECTATIONS: TBD

  • Introduction to Bioethics

     

    TERM: FALL 2018

     

    COURSE TITLE: Introduction to Bioethics

     

    COURSE NUMBER/SECTION: THST 6998.1

     

    TIMES/DAYS: 7:15-9:45 pm

     

    INSTRUCTOR: TBD

     

    CORE AREA: n/a

     

    FLAGGED: n/a

     

    COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS:

     

    Bioethics represents a complex intellectual phenomenon in the

    canon of newly emerging disciplines. Although an established

    academic field, it still struggles to find a formal and coherent

    methodology for the analysis of ethical problems triggered by

    advances in medicine and the life sciences. The course introduces

    students to the historical, theoretical, and thematic dimensions of

    bioethics. More specifically, the course looks at historical

    contribution of theologians and philosophers to bioethics; it

    addresses the theoretical challenges of bioethics as an

    interdisciplinary field, with an emphasis on dominant theories in

    bioethics; and, finally, it touches upon the main topics of bioethics,

    including medical experimentation, assisted reproductive

    technologies, genetics, transplantation, assisted suicide, and

     

    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: TBD

     

     

     

     

     

    PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND: TBD

     

     

     

     

     

    REQUIRED TEXTS: TBD

     

     

     

     

     

     

    COURSE WORK/EXPECTATIONS: TBD

  • Foundations of Theological Ethics: A Comparative Analysis

     

     FALL 2018 

    FOUNDATIONS OF THEOLOGICAL ETHICS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS 

    BIOE 6600 01 

    UH 4511 

    W7:15 – 9:45 

    DR. NICHOLAS R. BROWN 

    nbrown15@lmu.edu tel: 310-338-1663 

    UH 4519 

    Office Hours: MF: 7-8am, 10:20am-1pm; W: 7-8am, 10:20am – 7pm 

    THE COURSE 

    In a 2012 article entitled “In Defense of Irreligious Bioethics” published in The American Journal of Bioethics Timothy Murphy writes, “The task of bioethics can be understood, in a sense, as enlarging the prospect for society’s informed consent about its choices, by showing what various religious experiences, creeds and commitments mean in relation to other options. To enjoy the benefits that flow from adversarial engagement, the most valuable approach to religion is to repudiate in all its manifestations the idea that there is a transcendent reality to which the immanent world is beholden.” (8) Murphy’s negative appraisal of religion gives voice to a common if not a prevailing question within the field of bioethics, namely to what extent (if at all) is its project philosophically, conceptually and normatively compatible with the study and practice of religion? The purpose of this course is to engage this question further and sketch out some preliminary answers. Toward that end, it is structured as follows: In the first part of the course, we will take up a meta-ethical analysis of different approaches to religious ethical inquiry and identify what unique metaphysical and normative contributions they offer. As part of this analysis, we will also explore the different historical and intellectual forces that have suppressed religious perspectives within the evolution bioethics and relegated it to the periphery. Next, we will examine, compare, and contrast how bioethics is framed within the context of three different formative religious traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Lastly, we will survey how each of these traditions evaluates significant bioethical principles issues at the beginning of life, end of life and health care. 

    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES 

    Upon completion of the course students should master the following competencies, as should be demonstrated in the in class article and précises presentations, class participation and discussion, and in the research paper: 

    • Systematic analysis of the nature of bioethics in Judaism, Christianity or Islam, (b) applied analysis, and (c) comparative analysis. 

    • The ability to critically reflect upon the nature of bioethics in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam and question representations of these religions in bioethical discussions in general and in bioethical literature in particular. 

     

    • The capability to succinctly and convincingly formulate arguments about applied bioethics in Judaism, Christianity or Islam. 

    • The capacity to critically compare and explain bioethical attitudes in different religions. 

     

     

    PREREQUISITES 

    Undergraduate degree 

    REQUIRED TEXTS 

    Electronic books 

    Dariusch Atighetchi, Islamic Bioethics: Problems and Perspectives (Dordrecht: Springer, 2007) *Ebook

    Eric Blyth and Ruth Landau, Eds., Faith and Fertility: Attitudes Towards Reproductive Practices in Different Religions From Ancient to Modern Times (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009) 

    H. Tristram Engelhardt, The Foundations of Christian Bioethics (Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers, 2000) 

    M. Therese Lysaught and Joseph Kotva, Jr., Eds., On Moral Medicine: Theological Perspectives in Medical Ethics, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012) 

    Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good (New York: Routledge, 1971) 

    Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, Marion Farber, trans. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998) 

    Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007) 

    Electronically scanned chapters 

    Yechiel Michael Barilan, Jewish Bioethics: Rabbinic Law and Theology in Their Social and Historical Contexts (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014) 

    David E. Guinn, Handbook of Bioethics and Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) 

    John F. Peppin, Mark J. Cherry, and Ana Iltis, Religious Perspectives in Bioethics (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2004) 

    William Schweiker, Ed., The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics (Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 2005) 

    Allen Verhey, Religion & Medical Ethics (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996) 

    • Additional readings will be submitted over the course of the semester.