Fall 2016 Course Descriptions

Course Title: Foundations of New Testament Theology

Course Number: THST 6010. 1 

Section Times/Days: Fall 2016

Instructor: Dr. Jeffrey S. Siker

Course Description/Principle Topics:

The course objective is to acquire a working knowledge of and appreciation for the literary, historical, social, theological, and pastoral dimensions of the New Testament writings and their worlds.  The course also encourages students to make connections between the New Testament writings and contemporary theological/pastoral issues. 

The content of the course includes reading the New Testament, and reading extensively in secondary literature on the New Testament and its study.  Principle topics include: the gospel traditions, the writings of Paul and the Pauline tradition, hermeneutics, exegetical method, the historical Jesus, the history of interpretation, and appropriating the NT for the interpretation of contemporary theological/pastoral concerns. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

1)    Students will know both the content of the New Testament writings and various historical, theological, ethical, social, and pastoral issues/approaches associated with the interpretation of the New Testament.

2)    Students will be able to engage in detailed exegetical analysis of New Testament passages, both from the Gospels and from the letters of Paul.

3)    Students will value critical and constructive approaches to theologizing on the basis of the New Testament writings.  Students will also value such critical/constructive uses of the New Testament in contemporary theological discourse. 

Prerequisites/Recommended Background:


Required Texts:

  • The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (or another modern translation)
  • Aland, Synopsis of the Four Gospels (English Ed)
  • Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament
  • Dunn, Unity & Diversity in the New Testament, 2nd ed.
  • Gorman, Elements of Biblical Exegesis
  • Schneiders, The Revelatory Text, 2nd ed. (recommended)

Course Work/Expectations:

  • Lecture/discussion
  • readings
  • Midterm Exam
  • two 5-7 page exegetical papers

Final Paper (15-20 pages)


Course Title: Foundations of Historical Theology

Course Number/Section: THST 6020.1 

Times/Days:  TR 11:20-12:50 and 1:00-2:30

Instructor:  Charlotte Radler

Please contact professor charlotte.radler@lmu.edu for further information.  

Course Title: Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment

Course Number/Section:   THST 6052.1

Times/Days: Monday 7:15-9:45 PM

Instructor: Rev. Jim Clarke Ph.D.

Course Description/Principal Topics:

  This course will seek to further the students’ understanding of Ignatian spirituality by 1) a study of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, 2) a study of commentary on the text, and 3) learning from the actual experience of the group during the semester.  The hypothesis entertained by the instructor is that some of the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises can be experienced in a group when it engages in a critical and prayerful approach to them.

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 the wisdom of St. Ignatius regarding discernment and the ability to apply it to their own lives
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of Ignatius forms of prayer.

Prerequisites/Recommended Background:

   No prerequisites are necessary

Required Texts:

  • Reader
  • Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality,  Margaret Silf.
  • Eyes to See, Ears to Hear, David Lonsdale
  • The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path, Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon Au
  • Finding God in All things: A Companion to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, William Barry
  • Draw Me Into Your Friendship: A Literal Translation and a Contemporary Reading of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, David Fleming

Course Work/Expectations:

  • Attendance and active participation in class
  • Each week: Outside class

◦                      An hour of praxis

◦                      A 1 page description/reflection of what you experienced during that hour

◦                      Reading the assigned readings

      : In class

◦                      Sharing the description of your experience

◦                      Discussing the assigned readings

  • A 5 page final integrative paper
  • 20 minute class presentation of your paper

Take home final exam

Course Title: Liturgical Theology

Course Number/Section: THST 6040.01   

Times/Days: Wednesdays, 7:15 p.m. – 9:45 p.m.

Instructor: Nicholas Denysenko

Course Description/Principal Topics:

Liturgical Theology explores the dynamic relationships between liturgical history, sacramental theology, and pastoral ministry. Liturgical theology contains numerous schools of thought on how liturgy, as a gathering of Christian people who encounter God in prayer and worship, serves as a primary source for all theology. This course examines the ways in which liturgical rites, texts, contexts, history, hermeneutics, and art make a significant contribution to the theological enterprise. The course covers the methods of discovering and articulating liturgical theology for parish ministry. Students will read works of classical liturgical theology from Christian antiquity, samples of liturgical theology by leading contemporary experts, and will practice using liturgical sources and sacramental celebration for parish ministry. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will become acquainted with the diverse approaches to and methods of liturgical theology.

Students will practice the methods of articulating liturgical theology by closely examining primary texts and contexts, such as architecture, language, and music.

Students will become familiar with ancient and contemporary articulations of liturgical theology.

Students will be able to critically reflect on the integration of liturgical theology in parish ministry

Prerequisites/Recommended Background:


Required Texts:

  • Massimo Faggioli, True Reform
  • David Fagerberg, Theologia Prima
  • Kevin Irwin, Models of the Eucharist 

Course Work/Expectations:

  • Participation in class discussion and individual student responses to readings
  • Midterm Exam
  • Two critical analysis papers, 5 pages each
  • One book review, 5 pages

One 20 page paper and in-class presentation

Term: Fall 2016

Course Title: Foundations of Theological Ethics

Course Number And Section: THST 6060

Section Time/Days: T 7:15PM-9:45PM - Diocese of OrangeInstructor: Matthew Petrusek

Course Description: 

This graduate-level seminar provides an in-depth examination of the central ideas and methodologies that constitute the field of “theological ethics.” The course will identify and evaluate how foundational thinkers in the history of theological ethics respond to the fundamental theological, ontological, anthropological, epistemological, and ethical questions that ground and motivate theological-ethical inquiry. Within this broad interpretive framework—which will include philosophical as well as religious texts—we will also examine and evaluate specific theological-ethical paradigms (e.g., natural law, virtue, agape/caritas, different forms of “sola scriptura,” imago deiimitatio Christi, mysticism, liberation, etc.), the constitutive components of moral action (e.g., freedom, responsibility, rationality, desire, will, conscience, experience, vulnerability to individual and social sin, etc.), and relevant socio-economic contexts (e.g., persecution, the formation of the early Church, Protestant and Catholic Reformations, modernity, industrialization, post-modernity, globalization, poverty, war, etc.). The course will also ask students to take stands on normative theoretical questions (e.g., Which theological-ethical alternatives seem most justified and why?) and practical moral problems (e.g., How can theological-ethical inquiry help us address concrete economic, legal, political, biomedical, social, etc. issues?). Seeking to tie these strands together, the course’s overarching goal is to establish a conceptual framework for appreciating and evaluating the methodological and substantive unity-in-diversity and diversity-in-unity that constitutes the discipline of theological ethics.

Student Learning Outcomes:

The purpose of the course is to help students to:

-Establish a broad and sophisticated understanding of some key themes, ideas, and methodologies in the history of theological ethics.

-Appreciate the “dialectical” or “conversational” character of theological ethics by examining how different viewpoints often respond to each other in the form of preserving insights of competing views while seeking to redress their perceived shortcomings.

-Think critically about how theoretical theological-ethical reflection directly relates to various spheres of concrete action, including individual decision-making, the creation and implementation of social and political norms and laws, the role of the “church” both internally (including pastoral issues) and within a religiously-pluralistic society, etc.

-Examine the conditions for the possibility of moral action and how it relates to the human good. 

-Explore the relationship between philosophy and theology in an ethical context.

Prerequisites: Graduate status

Required Texts:

-St. Thomas Aquinas. Introduction to Saint Thomas Aquinas, ed. Anton C. Pegis. The Modern Library, 1948.

-Day, Dorothy. Loaves and Fishes: The Story of The Catholic Worker Movement. Orbis Books, 1997.

-Gustavo Gutiérrez. We Drink from Our Own WellsThe Spiritual Journey of a People. Orbis, 2003.

-Martin Luther. Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings, ed. John Dillenberger. Anchor Books, 1962.

-Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches that Changed the World, ed. James M. Washington. HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.

-John Howard Yoder. The Royal Priesthood: Essays, Ecclesiological and Ecumenical, ed. Michael G. Cartwright. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994.

-Additional readings will be available through MYLMU Connect, including selections from Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, St. Augustine, John Calvin, the Radical Reformers, Papal Encyclicals, Reinhold Niebuhr, and John Paul II


Course Work:

  • Attendance/Participation (including leading seminar discussion): 10%
  • Take Home Midterm: 25%
  • Seminar Presentation: 10%
  • Research Paper: 25%

Take Home Final Exam: 30%

Course Title: Comparative Mysticism 

Course Number/Section: THST 6082  /  YGST 6082

Times/Days:  Mondays, 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Instructor: Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology

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: n/a

Required Texts:

  • William James, Varieties of Religious Experience
  • Joseph Campbell, ed., The Portable Jung
  • Douglas Christie, The Blue Sapphire of the Mind
  • Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts
  • Chapple, ed., Antonio deNicolas: Poet of Eternal Return
  • Anne Marie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam
  • 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 summary paper and presentation based on a portion of one of the books listed above.  This will provide students with an opportunity to summarize a segment of an assigned text and present its main ideas succinctly.  The second project will be a research project 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.  This paper must be thoroughly researched with at least seven print sources.  It must be a minimum of fifteen pages, double spaced.  It must in some way draw conceptually from the course material.  

Course Title: THST 6090.01

Course Number/Section: Graduate Theology - Pro-Seminar

Instructor: Daniel Smith-Christopher

Course Description:

This graduate course introduces students to the basic concepts, themes, and methods of Christian theology. We will analyze the concepts and themes of God, Jesus Christ, Trinity, creation, anthropology, sin, free will, justification, atonement, ecclesiology, and hermeneutics through the engagement with Scriptural sources as well as ancient, medieval, and contemporary theological lenses. We will explore debates in theological method, including the interpretation of Scripture and tradition, systematic theology, pastoral theological/practical theology method, methods of Christian ethics and moral theology, theologies of liberation and critique, methods of hermeneutics, and inter-religious dialogue and comparative theology. We will critically and constructively engage these concepts and methods as an orienting touchstone for further work in theology and pastoral theology.

Student Learning Outcomes:

The purpose of this course is to help students:

  • To gain knowledge of basic concepts and themes of Christian (Catholic and Protestant) theology.
  • To understand some of the major methodological debates pertaining to different theological approaches, including Biblical theology, historical theology, pastoral theology/practical theology, systematic theology, Christian ethics, and comparative theology.
  • To value the importance of theological methods and their implications for theological reflection, including substantive debates (historical and contemporary) regarding the interpretations of Christian teaching.
  • To learn research skills and to improve critical reading and writing abilities, particularly with respect to the articulation of theological and normative arguments.

Prerequisites: Graduate status.

Required Texts:

  • McGrath, Alister E., Christian Theology: An Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell (5th Ed), 2011
  • Vyhmeister, N., and Robertson, T.D., Quality Research Papers: For Students of Religion and Theology Paperback – Deluxe Edition, Zondervan, 2014

Course Expectations:

Attendance and participation are necessary for succeeding in this course; more importantly, they enable students to learn effectively and enjoy the ideas explored. Students must complete a series of critical response papers that are to be treated as research papers.  These papers can be only be turned in on designated dates and only for a reading that will be discussed in class. 

Course Title: Comprehensive Exam Seminar 

Course Number: THST 6092.01

Section Times/Days: Tuesdays 4:30pm-7:00pm 

Instructor: Tracy Tiemeier

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.


  • Francis Schussler Fiorenza and John P. Galvin, Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives, 2nd Ed.
  • Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland, Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classic Themes

Course Work/Expectations:

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

2. One general exam in theology (10 page take-home exam)

3. One special topic exam in Biblical Theology, Comparative Theology, Historical Theology, Theological Ethics/Moral Theology, or Spirituality/Liturgy/Faith&Culture (10 page take-home exam)

4. One research proposal (10 page proposal of research seminar project)

Course Title: Rethinking Women in the New Testament

Course Number/Section: THST 6998.1

Times/Days: M  4:30-7:00 PM

Instructor: Dr. Judy Yates Siker

Course Description/Principal Topics:

This course explores the women who appear in–and disappear from–the books of the New Testament.  Our exploration will utilize a variety of lenses/hermeneutics.  Using multi-cultural and feminist lenses we will consider the stories of women who are named individually and women who appear in groups. Using socio-literary lenses, we will consider issues of textual voice and presence; power and gender; family and household life; and religious practice. In our readings we will engage traditional and and non-traditional scholarly interpretations of the texts, and course participants will be encouraged to articulate their own emerging understandings of the representation of women in the New Testament and the effects of these on the church of today. 

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  • Students will be able to describe, compare (when applicable), and interpret the women’s narratives in New Testament writings studied.
  • Students will be able to conduct analysis and exegesis of the New Testament texts and identify the impact of social, political, cultural and gender contexts on interpretations of the biblical text.
  • Students will offer fresh interpretations of selected women’s stories in the New Testament.
  • Students will learn the connections between Christian faith and practice as exemplified in the New Testament writings themselves and in subsequent interpretation of the New Testament.

Prerequisites/Recommended Background:


Required Texts:

  • The Bible (any modern translation: NRSV, RSV, NAB, NJB, NIV, etc.) 
  • Newsome, Carol A., Sharon Ringe, and Jacqueline Lapsley, eds. Women’s Bible Commentary, Third Edition: Revised and Updated. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2012. (ISBN-10: 066423707X) 
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav. Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.  (ISBN-10: 0300076614)
  •  Segovia, Fernando F. and Mary Ann Tolbert, eds. Reading from This Place, Vol. 1: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in the United States.  Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1995.(ISBN-10: 0800628128)
  •  Segovia, Fernando F. and Mary Ann Tolbert, eds. Reading from This Place, Vol. 1: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in Global Perspective.  Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000. (ISBN-10: 0800629493)

All other required readings will be found in your folders on MyLMUConnect Blackboard site.

Course Work/Expectations: 

In addition to weekly reading assignments and class participation, coursework includes reading summaries/reflection papers, a mid-term exam, one class presentation and a 15-20 page final paper.

Course Title:  Bioethics at the Beginning of Life 

Course Number/Section: THST 6998.2  

Times/Days:  M 7:15-9:45 pm

Instructor:  Roberto Dell’Oro

Course Description/Principal Topics:

Please contact instructor:  Roberto.Dell’Oro@lmu.edu.