• SEMESTER: Fall 2022 

    COURSE TITLE: Foundations of New Testament Theology


    TIMES/DAYS: T 7:20pm-9:50pm - Hybrid

    INSTRUCTOR: Roy Fisher



    This graduate-level seminar style course examines the foundations of New Testament Theology. It is designed to introduce students to: (1) the historical-critical analysis of the New Testament as an entrée to a more textured understanding of the political, historical, social, cultural, and theological/pastoral dimensions of the texts; (2) the role social-location plays in both the historical and contemporary interpretation of texts (history of interpretation). As a result, students will consider their individual (private) and community’s (public) engagement of the New Testament (texts reading texts) in the processing and actualization of biblical interpretations (“scripturalization”). Throughout the course we will repeatedly engage the work of Native American scholars and theologians as a way of decolonizing both the texts we are reading as well as our own scholarly practices. These Native American interlocutors will help us think more holistically about questions such as: What kind of literature are we reading? For what communities were these texts written? When and why were they written? What are the texts doing and how are they functioning? How might the use of a particular theory or methodology impact/shape/influence what we see in the text? And, finally, what does any of this have to do with theology today? 



    Through their exposure and immersion into both text and textures of New Testament and biblical interpretation, students: 

    1. Will have gained a more complex understanding of the basic contours of the New Testament, including a general understanding of its literary diversity and textual complexities.
    2. Will have considered how New Testament texts might have been significant to their first-century communities.
    3. Will have begun to assess how culture, race, gender, sexual-orientation, class, and ethnicity impact theological reflection; and the social implications and/or ramifications for constructed interpretive practices.
    4. Will be further empowered to conduct critical research and write intelligently, ethically, and persuasively on both New Testament and biblical interpretation as socially conditioned and located readers.
    5. Will be able to identify significant contextual events leading up to, and contemporaneous with, the New Testament (aka the Second Temple period) and why these events are significant for properly understanding the New Testament.
    6. Will better understand how Biblical Studies as an academic subject that incorporates literary analysis, historical analysis (esp. archaeology, and reading ancient texts) including sociological, anthropological, political, and economic analysis – all in addition to the Bible as a document of religious interest.
    7. Will have considered how New Testament thought can be a source of important theological concepts informing contemporary Faith and Practice; including how to think critically and reflectively about the ways in which the New Testament continues to influence contemporary culture.






    • Schneiders, Sandra M. The Revelatory Text: Interpreting The New Testament as Sacred Scripture. Liturgical Press, 1999. ISBN 9780814659434. Available a free e-book via the LMU Library
    • Levine, Amy-Jill, and Marc Zvi Brettler. The Jewish Annotated New Testament: New Revised Standard Version (JANT). 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. ISBN 9780190461850 Available for free as an e-book at the LMU library. https://linus.lmu.edu/record=b5088740~S1
    • Ehrman, Bart. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. 7th Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780190909000
    • Additional resources/links posted on Brightspace.



    This is a hybrid course that meets once each week for 3.5 hours, either in-person or synchronously online. In addition to our schedule class meetings, participants will be watching several films and utilizing online learning platforms like the discussion board on BrightSpace. Methods of instruction will be multidisciplinary combining various media, lecture, sacred texts in translation, academic analysis, and class discussion of the assigned course materials. Given that this is a seminar style course, lectures by the professor will be minimal. Collaborative discussion, guided by the assigned materials (lectures, readings, films, web-resources, etc.) will constitute our primary experiential in-class activity. Students will engage in analysis of the multidisciplinary course content through class discussion, independent research, and reflective practices. This means that you MUST attend and actively participate in ALL scheduled class sessions (in-person AND online) as well as Brightspace assignments in order to successfully pass the course.

    At Loyola Marymount University, for each hour of scheduled class time per week, there is an expectation of at least 2 hours of outside work by each student per week. Using this ratio, class participants are expected to spend an average of 7 hours outside of class per week on class-related learning activities. This includes, but is not limited to: assigned reading, preparation for class, online discussions, projects, and exams. As a graduate level course this is a reading intensive course! Furthermore, it’s a class about a collection of books (aka the New Testament) so plan for extensive reading assignments EVERY week.               

  • COURSE TITLE: History of Christian Spirituality


    TIMES/DAYS: T 7:20-9:50 - Classroom Based Course

    INSTRUCTOR: Douglas Christie



    This course offers a close, critical examination of the history of Christian spirituality. Spirituality in its broadest meaning and as a dimension of 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 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.



    +Learning to situate and interpret classic Christian spiritual texts in their social, historical contexts.

    +Learning to assess and evaluate the relationship between thought and practice within Christian spiritual experience.

    +Learning to interpret classic Christian spiritual practice in light of contemporary questions and concerns.

    +Learning to retrieve classic Christian spiritual thought and practice in response to contemporary pastoral realities.





    +Mark Salzman, Lying Awake

    +Augustine, The Confessions

    +Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

    +Gregory Boyle, The Whole Language



    +Regular and engaged participation in class (20%)

    +Two Short Papers (30%)

    +Personal Essay (15%)

    +Final Paper (35%)

  • COURSE TITLE: Catholic Social Teachings


    TIMES/DAYS: T 4:30-7:00pm - Classroom Based Course

    INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Rothchild


    This graduate course explores the central themes, texts, and thinkers that constitute the traditions of Catholic social teaching. We will examine the trajectories of Catholic social thought in relation to changing intellectual, socio-political, legal, economic, and cultural contexts. We will analyze critically, constructively, and comparatively the main theological and ethical topics, methods, and normative and practical recommendations of Catholic social teaching through close readings of seminal texts in dialogue with currents theological ethicists. Topics include economic justice, church and the world, war and peace, human rights, the rights of women, immigration, racial justice, and criminal justice.


    • Engage in critical reflection on major theological themes, including the ability to articulate different perspectives and place them in dialogue, and the ability to engage such themes in real world contexts;
    • Situate contemporary theological developments in light of historical trajectories;
    • Interpret the work of seminal thinkers in Christian ethics and analyze contemporary moral problems;
    • Articulate multiple methods in theological studies and apply them in appropriate scholarly ways and contexts;
    • Engage critically with the Roman Catholic intellectual tradition, appreciating the internal diversity within Roman Catholic and wider Christian traditions, and articulating how an encounter with the Roman Catholic intellectual tradition enhances engagement with one’s own religious perspectives.




    Himes, Kenneth, O.F.M. Modern Catholic Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations. Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2018.

    O’Brien, David J., and Thomas A. Shannon, eds. Catholic Social Thought: Encyclicals and Documents from Pope Leo XIII to Pope Francis. Third Revised Edition. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016.

    Other readings will be made available via Brightspace.


    • Active participation
    • Critical Response Papers
    • Final Research Paper

  • Course Title: Foundations of Philosophical Ethics

    Course No. and Section: BIOE 6700.01-THST 6998.05                                                                                                       

    Time: T 7:15-9:45pm - Classroom Based Course                                                                                                        

    Instructor: Roberto Dell'Oro

    Course Description:

    The course introduces students in bioethics to the theories and problems of moral philosophy, comprising both a historical and a systematic component. It offers an introduction to main version of ethics, including natural law and virtue ethics, deontological and consequentialist theories. Students will understand the function and importance of ethical frameworks for the articulation of bioethical problems. Although the course’s interest is ultimately on the bioethical implications of foundational approaches to ethics, the focus will be theoretical in scope. Classical texts for the class include Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Mill, in addition to contemporary authors.  

    Student Learning Outcomes:

    1. Familiarize with the main theories and paradigms in the history of ethics, and identify the philosophical roots of contemporary discussion on ethical issues.
    2. Engage in the critical analysis of ethical questions, identify the historical and systematic components of ethical debates, and articulate their theoretical and practical dimensions.
    3. Appreciate the importance of ethical dialogue across different philosophical traditions

    Prerequisites/Recommended Background:

    Undergraduate Degree

    Required Texts:

    • Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 7th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)
    • Tom L. Beauchamp, Philosophical Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy, 3rd edition
      (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2001)
    • Alfonso Gomez-Lobo (with John Keown), Bioethics and the Human Goods: An Introduction to Natural Law Bioethics (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2015)

    Suggested Texts:

    • Paul Ricoeur, Oneself as Another (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992)
    • William Desmond, Ethics and the Between (New York: SUNY Press, 2001)
    • Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989)

    Additional texts from classical philosophers:

    • Plato, The Republic

    The Republic of Plato, trans. by Francis MacDonald Cornford (London: Oxford University Press, 1945)
    Also at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

    • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

    Ethica Nicomachea, transl. by W.D.Ross, in The Basic Works of Aristotle, edited by Richard McKeon (New York: Random House, 1941), pp. 927-1112
    Also at http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html

    • St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Teologiae, Ia, IIae., q. 55 and qq. 90-94

    Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas, edited by Anton C. Pegis (New York: Random House, 1948)
    Also at http://www.newadvent.org/summa/

    • David Hume, An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morality

    At http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=4320 

    • Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

    Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, transl. by James W. Ellington (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1981)
    Also at http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=5682

    • John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism and On Liberty

    The Utilitarians: Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill (New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday: 1973)
    Also at https://www.utilitarianism.com/mill1.htm and https://www.utilitarianism.com/ol/one.html

    Additional References: 

    • Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker, eds., Encyclopedia of Ethics, 2nd edition (New York/London: Routledge, 2001)
    • Warren T. Reich, ed., Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 2nd edition (London: Simon & Schuster, 1995)
    • Stephen G. Post, ed., Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 3rd edition (New York: Thomson, 2004)
    • Peter Singer, ed., A Companion to Ethics: Blackwell Companions to Philosophy (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1991)
    • John Skorupski, ed., The Routledge Companion to Ethics (London: Routledge, 2010)
  • COURSE TITLE: Foundations in Pastoral Theology


    TIMES/DAYS: M 4:10-7:00pm - Hybrid Course

    INSTRUCTOR: Brett C. Hoover


    Course Description:

    Pastoral (or practical) theology is an approach to theology that begins by attending to the way in which Christian tradition shapes and is shaped by (or should shape and be shaped by) everyday Christian life and practice. This course will offer a foundation in pastoral theology, including an exploration of 1) the various methodologies in pastoral theology, 2) the role of diverse contexts in Christian life and practice, and 3) the interpretation of Christian tradition in pastoral theology. The course will also look extensively at ministry, especially in light of 1) the contemporary "lay ministry explosion," and 2) the even more recent movement of pastoral workers beyond more traditionally ecclesial organizations. This phenomenon offers the occasion and context for engaging in pastoral theology in diverse contexts and allows us to step back even while engaged in it, in order to consider the nature, tasks, style and purpose of pastoral theology. In an effort to do this, the course will be grounded in the biblical, historial, sociological and theological sources for constructing a theology of pastoral ministry appropriate to various settings.


    Student Learning Outcomes:

    Students who complete this course will be able to...

    1. locate pastoral theology in the larger theological matrix, identifying and employing diverse voices in U.S. pastoral and practical theology;
    2. identify, describe, and evaluate practices of Christian faith as they appear in everyday life and pastoral ministry, making recommendations for their renewal or reform;
    3. describe and demonstrate various methodological approaches to pastoral theology, using at least one to develop or renew pastoral practices in a way that is rooted in critical fidelity to Christian tradition and effectively addresses pastoral problems or dilemmas. This will include the ability to...
    • analyze the way particular social, cultural, and ecclesial contexts shape questions and problems in everyday pastoral practice;
    • study and develop hermeneutically sound interpretations of Christian tradition for use in addressing questions and problems in Christian life and practice;
    • develop pastoral proposals and plans for the renewal or reform of pastoral pracitce in reponse to the analysis of the contexts that shape Christian life and the development of sound interpretations of tradition;

    4. name and develop selected elements needed to construct a theology of ministry that is faithful to the biblical and historical heritage of ministry, and adequate to the contemporary experience of the pastoral minister.


    Pre-requisites: None


    Required texts:

    • Cahalan, Kathleen. Introducing the Practice of Ministry. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010.
    • Scharen, Christian. Faith as a Way of Life: A Vision for Pastoral Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.
    • Gula, Richard. Just Ministry. New York: Paulist Press, 2010.

    Other readings specified below and found on Brightspace.


    Course Work: Expectations for this class include theology of ministry papers, video presentations on readings, and a pastoral research paper.

  • Title:  Spiritual Formation for Pastoral Ministry

    Course Number: THST 6074.01

    Section Times/Days: W 7:20pm-9:50pm - Hybrid Course

    Instructor:  Rachel A. Fox


    Description: This course focuses paths of spiritual formation in the Christian tradition, exploring perspectives from a variety of Christian spiritualities. It will examine theory and practice through both historical and contemporary lenses. It will explore spiritual formation as a balance of cultivating the pursuit of the Divine, pursuit of self knowledge and care, as well as the pursuit of community and care of others. 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 …

    • identify and define a variety formative paths with in the Christian spiritual tradition.
    • Student will be able to describe a path of formation in terms of theory and practice.
    • Student will be able to describe and critically consider, spiritual practices and theories raised by different formative paths with in the Christian tradition and discuss at least one of these in 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 formative paths.


    Pre-requisites:  None.



    Text books will be listed in the syllabus.


    Work expectations:

    Expectations for this class include research and written assignments, 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.

  • COURSE TITLE: Comparative Mysticism


    TIMES/DAYS: M 4:30-7:00pm - Classroom Based Course

    INSTRUCTOR: Eric Haruki Swanson



    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 Tongva indigenous California culture and the study and practice of elemental meditation techniques from India. We will then turn to two womanist classics: Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill and Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict. We will also explore June Singer’s explication of the key ideas of Carl Jung.  We will then examine the emerging field of contemplative Christian ecology as well as Jewish and Islamic mystical traditions with attention to the writings of Toshihiko Izutsu, a Japanese philosopher of mysticism. Yoga and mysticism will be examined through the writings of 20th century philosopher Sri Aurobindo.



    Students will be familiar with the psychological approaches to religious experience. 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.



    Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism, 1910

    Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Culture, 1934

    June Singer, Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jungs Psychology, 1972

    Christopher Chapple, Living Landscapes, 2020

    Louis Cozolino, Why Therapy Works: Using Our Minds to Change Our Brains, 2016

    Douglas Christie, The Blue Sapphire of the Mind, 2013

    Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 1975

    Debashish Banerji, Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo, 2012



    Class participation. Summary paper and presentation of one assigned reading. Final research paper on a topic to be chosen in consultation with the professor of 15 to 20 pages. Twice-montly postings on the Brightspace Discussion board are required (total of six).

  • COURSE TITLE: Comprehensive Exam Seminar 


    TIMES/DAYS: W 7:20-:9:50pm - Hybrid Course

    INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Pineda-Madrid


    This is the required comprehensive exam seminar for all MA in Theology students who are at the end of their studies. 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.


    At the end of the course, students should be able to . . .
    - Review and assess major Christian thinkers
    - Articulate and analyze major theological themes
    - Appreciate the importance of recognizing an integral relation between theory, practice, and context.
    - Exercise skill in “the art of doing theology” and skill in serving as a resource for communities and persons in their endeavor “to think and act theologically” in a life-giving manner for the common good.


    Intro to Systematic Theology


    • Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching                                                                                       
    • Augustine, Confessions                                                                                                                   
    • Anselm, Cur Deus Homo                                                                                                                 
    • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (Prima Pars)                                                                                 
    • Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, El Divino Narciso                                                                                        
    • Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith                                                                                        
    • David Tracy, Plurality and Ambiguity                                                                                              
    • Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation                                                                                  
    • Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is                                                                                                             
    • M. Shawn Copeland, Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being


    1. 30% Discussion Posts, Responses, and Active Seminar Participation
    2. 35% One general systematics exam in theology (take-home exam)
    3. 35% One research proposal (10-page proposal of Spring research seminar project)
    4. Pass/Fail  Capstone Portfolio