Spring 2017 Course Descriptions

Spring 2017 Course Descriptions

Course Title: Foundation of Old Testament Theology

Course Number/Section: THST 6003

Time/Days: Graduate Seminar in orange

Instructor: Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher 

The Graduate Seminar on Old Testament Theology is a survey of the Old Testament with particular attention to contemporary issues in Biblical Theology. The Seminar schedule presumes that the students maintain a rigorous reading schedule so that conversation in the course is facilitated.

Course Expectations/Requirements

(1)  Weekly quizzes

(2)  Final Research Paper - For your final research paper (13-17 pages), you have a couple of options, including pre-assigned topics, or a topic of your own selection. For example, one pre-assigned topic can be:  Please write your own version of the following assignment:  You have been asked to make an hour presentation in your church/parish on the subject of “Old Testament Theology”. Select 10 central points of Old Testament Theology that you believe ALL Christians should know about and think about. Defend your selection with readings, quotations, and arguments drawn from the scholars that we have read in class minimally.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

(1)  Have a basic orientation to all the books of the Old Testament.

(2)  Have a basic grasp of essential dates of Old Testament History, and the importance of those events for the study of the Bible.

(3)  Have a basic understanding of the different genres of Old Testament Literature, such as Poetry, Wisdom, Prophetic Texts, Law, Story.

(4)  Have a basic understanding of critical approaches to the study of the Bible.

(5)  Have a basic introduction to contemporary theological issues in relation to OT thought.


(1)  Ceresko, Anthony, Introduction to the Old Testament: A Liberationist Perspective
(2)  Collins, J.J., A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Fortress Press)

(3)  Bible - New Revised Standard Version Recommended (New American Bible is OK.)

RECOMMENDED (not required)

(4)  Biblical Studies Alternatively, Ed. Susanne Scholz

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: There are no prerequisites to this course. 

Course Title: Introduction to Systematic Theology

Course Number/Section: THST 6030.01

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

Instructor: Susan Abraham

Systematic theology deals with the contemporary meaning of Christian doctrines and their interrelatedness. Therefore, systematic theology investigates Christian faith in its entirety. Since this is the case, the structure of this class is threefold: (1) an initial investigation of the contemporary situation that forms the context of both theological inquiry and pastoral ministry, (2) a survey of basic Christian doctrines (e.g. faith and revelation, God, Christology, ecclesiology, sacramental theology) through secondary and primary texts, and (3) the course requires students to do research in depth into a particular theological issue having to do with Christian doctrine.

Course Expectations/Requirements

  • Attendance
  • Participation
  • Presentations on readings
  • Responses to Presentations
  • Short papers each week on readings
  • Final Research Paper 

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this course successfully will have a familiarity with the history of Christian doctrine and contemporary theological debates about Christian doctrine. In addition, the course aims to assist students in developing skills in the following areas:

  • critical reading and expository writing
  • researching and organizing essays in theological studies
  • engaging contemporary ministry using theological reflection. 

Required Texts

Thomas Rausch, Systematic Theology: A Roman Catholic Approach (Liturgical Press, 2016)

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: None 

Course Title: Christology

Course Number: THST 6031.1

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

Instructor: Cecilia González-Andrieu, PhD 

Revered and ridiculed, beloved and betrayed, executed and alive. Is Jesus a cultural icon, an overused symbol, a historical person, a faith affirmation, a cosmic phenomenon?  Why do people who proclaim him “Lord” disagree with each other on so many things? This course is an introduction to Christology, the Christian community’s quest to understand Jesus Christ’s identity and purpose. The course uses a variety of approaches from Catholic, Protestant, Liberation, and Narrative theology along with creative works to explore: Jesus as a historical figure, his human/divine characteristics, his words and deeds, friendships and relationships, his suffering and death, his relationship to God and the questions surrounding his continuing connection to humanity. 

Course Work/Expectations


1. Reading: All readings and research packet materials are to be done prior to the class meeting.

2. Participation: In class discussions and processes, elaboration and presentation of research.

3. Writing and presentations: Several short papers, an interactive midterm exam, and a final research paper.

Student Learning Outcomes 

Students successfully engaged in this course will: a) Know the major categories, issues and controversies of Christology. b) Be able to write well and present their findings formally. c) Be able to actively engage and reflect upon the complex work of theology in multiple and diverse contexts. d) Extend their critical engagement with theological questions through the production of their own original research.

Required Texts

  • Fuller, Tripp. Jesus: Lord, liar, lunatic …or awesome? The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus. Fortress Press, 2015. 9781451499575.
  • Johnson, Elizabeth A. Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology. New York: Crossroad, 1990. 978-0824511616
  • Theissen, Gerd. The Shadow of the Galilean: The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Narrative Form, Fortress Press; Updated edition (2007),978-0800639006
  • Rausch, Thomas P. Who is Jesus? Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2003. 978-0814650783.
  • Sobrino, Jon.  Christology at the Crossroads, Orbis Books,1978. 978-0883440766.

Additional research packets with artistic and other sources will be posted weekly on MYLMU Connect.

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: This course is for graduate students.  

Course Title: The Theory and Practice of Spiritual Direction

Coure Number/Section: THST 6051.1

Times/Days: M 7:15-9:45

Instructor: Fr. Jim Clarke Ph.D.

Course Description/Principal Topics/Student Learning Outcomes

Students Will:

  • Read about contemporary models of spiritual direction.
  • Experience the process of spiritual direction.
  • Identify desired qualities in directors, directees, and spiritual direction relationships.
  • Explore contemplative listening.
  • Develop some skills in assisting others to notice and talk about their ongoing experience with God.
  • Explore how gender, racial, generational and cultural qualities can influence the practice of spiritual direction.
  • Describe how other Christian disciplines and particularly the directee's prayer life become part of spiritual direction conversations.
  • Analyze elements that influence discernment in the director, directee and spiritual direction meetings.
  • Reflect upon evaluating spiritual experiences.
  • Become acquainted with possible fruits and potential hazards resulting from participation in the Christian discipline of spiritual direction.
  • Identify appropriate accountability and supervision relationships for directors.
  • Discern whether they feel called to the ministry of spiritual direction. Do you desire to continue studying and become involved as a director?  Or is spiritual direction a discipline you feel called to pursue as a directee? 

Course Work/Expectations

  • Class attendance and active class participation
  • Weekly 1 page reflection paper
  • Course project 

Required Texts

Reader (purchased on the first night of class)

Janet Ruffing, Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings

Wilkie Au, The Enduring Heart: Spirituality for the Long Haul

William P. Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

William Barry and Willian Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction (Revised)

Joan Borysenko and Gordon Dveirin, Your Soul’s Compass: What is Spiritual Guidance

Jeannette Bakke, Holy Invitations: Exploring Spiritual Direction

Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: THST Graduate Students Only

Course Title: Foundations of Theological Ethics

Course Number/Section: THST 6060.01

Times/Days: W 4:30-7:00 pm

Instructor: Jonathan Rothchild

This graduate course introduces students to the foundations of Christian theological ethics. We will examine the relationships between the sources, methods, developments, and contexts of theological ethics. Exploring concepts and methods such as Christo-centric ethics, natural law, liberationist and feminist critical perspectives, Biblical ethics, agency, sin, solidarity, and moral arguments, we engage classical and contemporary voices in Catholic and Protestant ethics. After engaging the thought of thinkers such as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Catholic social teaching, and theologies of liberation and critique, we then address post-Vatican II debates within Catholic moral theology in American and global contexts. We conclude with considerations of conscience as applied to case-studies in sexual ethics, bioethics, and social ethics. The objective is to analyze critically various theological intersections to understand the theoretical and practical dimensions of theological ethics.

Course Work/Expectations

The course assignments will consist of:

  • Active class participation
  • Several shorter analysis papers
  • Midterm Exam
  • Final research paper

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the Scriptural, doctrinal, and experiential dimensions of Christian reflection on the morality.
  • Examine different methodological approaches within Christian theological ethics.
  • Engage in a critical analysis of the relationship between foundational frameworks of moral theology and contemporary normative problems.
  • Explain the basic differences between Catholic and Protestant theological ethics.
  • Appreciate the theological and pastoral dimensions of ethical reflection.
  • Interpret texts critically and articulate self-reflexively their own positions vis-à-vis the values for church, society, and culture. 

Required Texts

Curran, Charles. Catholic Moral Theology in the United States: A History. Georgetown, 2008.

DeCosse, David, and Kristin Heyer, eds. Conscience and Catholicism. Orbis, 2015.

Farley, Margaret. Just Love. Continuum, 2006.

Hogan, Linda, and A.E. Orobator, eds. Feminist Catholic Theological Ethics: Conversations in the World Church. Orbis, 2014.

Other readings will be made available via MYLMU Connect.

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: None

Course Title: Supervised Pastoral Field Education (Contextual Education Seminar)

Course Number/Section: THST 6078.1

Times/Days: T 4:30-7:00 p.m.

Instructor: Dr. Brett C. Hoover

Drawing upon an interdisciplinary framework, this field education seminar addresses ministerial leadership aimed at the whole person in the service of faith communities for the sake of God’s Reign. It offers foundational concepts and skills required for effectiveness in ministry that is contextually driven and performed in collaboration with other ministers. In a dialogical classroom context that models collaborative ministry, THST 689 seeks to engage students in theological reflection and ministry skill development. It helps students reflect on required supervised field education experiences either at their full-time ministry or in some other approved ministry environment. It aims to enable students to weave together theological, ministerial, and educational insights and understandings. As present and future leaders in the Church, students learn so that they may also be able to teach and train others in what they learn.

Course Work/Expectations

  • Some form of ministry for 5-7 hours per week (standing ministry jobs okay)
  • Regular meetings with a ministry supervisor
  • Keeping a theological journal
  • An interview with an accomplished minister in an area different from that of the student
  • An oral presentation including prayer leadership
  • A final project.

Learning Outcomes: As a result of this course, students will be able to:

  • Make use of pastoral theological methodologies in theological reflection;
  • Articulate with appropriate terminology the connections between their experiences of ministry and the theology they are learning;
  • Articulate key contextual factors—environmental, cultural, psychological, spiritual and ecclesial—that impact particular ministry sites and pastoral questions;
  • Facilitate work and learning groups in the context of ministry;
  • Identify key administrative and legal issues important in pastoral ministry;
  • Demonstrate improvement in prayer leadership and oral presentation (preaching) skills;
  • Demonstrate improvement in the interpersonal and leadership skills necessary for effective ministry in particular contexts today.

Required Texts

Jeffrey H. Mahan, Barbara B. Troxell, and Carol J. Allen in Shared Wisdom: A Guide to Case Study Reflection in Ministry (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993).

Marti R. Jewell and David A. Ramey, The Changing Face of Church: Emerging Models of Parish Leadership (Chicago: Loyola, 2010).

Edward Foley, Theological Reflection Across Religious Traditions:  The Turn to Reflective Believing (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

Prerequisites: THST 6000 and THST 6070

Course Title: Hinduism: Vedānta and Yoga (Yoga Philosophy Text & Practice)                    

Course Number/Section: THST 6083 (YGST 6020)

Time/Days: M 4:30-7:00 p.m.

Instructor: Christopher Chapple

In this course we will explore the foundational teachings of India’s six traditional philosophies: Sāṃkhya, Vedānta, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, and Mῑmāṃsā with special focus on Vedānta and the related systems of Sāṃkhya and Yoga. Vedānta, which includes the study of the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, and later commentarial literature, develops a theology of Brahman that sees an intimate relationship between the inner workings of the human person and the larger rhythms of the cosmos. Yoga, which tends to be less theologically specific, emphasizes practices of ethics, movement, and meditation that have been applied in several religious traditions.  We will read and discuss several primary texts and interpretive materials.

Student Learning Outcomes/Expectations/Requirements

Students will learn the major theological categories of the religious traditions of India, including the Vedic approach to multiple deities, Upaniṣadic approaches to embodied spirituality, Yoga’s emphasis on applied asceticism, and the attempt through the Bhagavad Gītā and the Yogavāsiṣṭha to mediate and reconcile these views. Students will acquire a working vocabulary of Sanskrit theological terms and enrich their writing skills through the preparation of two papers and brief summary and presentation of required readings.

Required Books:

Karma and Creativity, Christopher Chapple

The Artful Universe: The Vedic Religious Imagination, William Mahony

In Praise of Mother Earth: The Pthiv Sūkta of the Atharva VedaThe Thirteen Principal Upaniads, Robert Ernest Hume, tr. (in the public domain and available online)

Avatāra: Humanization of Philosophy through the Bhagavad Gītā, Antonio T. deNicolas

Classical Sākhya, Gerald Larson

Yoga and the Luminous, Christopher Key Chapple

The Concise Yogavāsiṣṭha or Vasistha’s Yoga, Swami Venkatesananda, tr.

Engaged Emancipation: Mind, Morals, and Make-Believe in the Mokopāya/Yogavāsiṣṭha, Chapple &  Chakrabarti 

Course Title: Research and Writing Seminar

Course Number/Section: THST 6093.01

Times/Days: W 7:15-9:45

Instructor: Tracy Tiemeier


This is the required research and writing seminar for MA in Theology students.

Course Work/Expectations

  • Revised Proposal from the Comprehensive Exam Seminar (10%)
  • Annotated Bibliography (20%)
  • First Draft (10%)
  • Second Draft (20%)
  • Final Draft (40%)

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will know the basic contours of biblical theology, systematic theology, theological ethics, historical theology, comparative theology, and theological method.


Students will value critical fidelity within the Roman Catholic tradition, ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, and the creative tension between theological unity and diversity.

Students will acquire research skills.

Students will evaluate sources for quality.

Students will demonstrate clear, scholarly, and reflective writing.

Students will be able to: perform biblical exegesis with attention to historical contexts, the history of interpretation, and contemporary theological developments; engage in critical theological reflection on major systematic themes; demonstrate a clear grasp of significant developments in the history of the church; describe the work of seminal thinkers in the history of Christian ethics and analyze contemporary moral problems; demonstrate familiarity with other (non-Christian) religious traditions; and recognize and employ various theological methods.

Required Texts

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students & Researchers, 8th ed.

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: THST 6092.01: Comprehensive Exam Seminar

Course Title: Foundations of Philosophical Ethics

Course Number: THST 6998.05 (BIOE 6700)

Times/Days: T 7:15-9:45

Instructor: Dr. Roberto Dell'Oro

The course introduces students in bioethics to the theories and problems of moral philosophy, comprising both a historical and a systematic component. Main versions of ethics will be studied, 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 from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Mill, and others will be studied.

Course Work/Expectations

This graduate course is a combination of lectures and student participation. Students are invited to come to class having done all the readings assigned for the day. Additional assignments include 2 in class presentations, midterm and final exams. Additional information on the exams will be provided.


Familiarize with the main ethical theories of bioethics and identify the philosophical components of the public discussion on bioethical issues. Engage in the critical analysis of bioethical questions and articulate their theoretical and practical dimension. Appreciate the importance of ethical dialogue across different philosophical traditions


Tom L. Beauchamp, Philosophical Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy, 3rd edition (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2001)

Additional texts from classical philosophers:

Plato, The RepublicAristotle, Nicomachean EthicsSt. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Teologiae, Ia, IIae., q. 55 and q. 90

Thomas Hobbes, The LeviathanDavid Hume, An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of MoralityImmanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of MoralsJohn Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism

Students are encouraged to rely on the internet for the retrieval of the material relevant to the course. The following pages are suggested for content:

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/

Philosophers Alphabetical Index at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~worc0337/philosophers.html

Ethics Updates at http://ethics.sandiego.edu/

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: Undergraduate Degree

Course Title: Islam and the Modern World

Course Number/Section: THST 6998.4

Times/Days: T  7:15 -9:45 pm

Instructor: Prof. Amir Hussain  

This course will introduce students to the contemporary Islamic religious tradition. It will focus on the ways in which different Muslim groups have understood Islam and what it means to be Muslim. We will start our study of contemporary Islam with some methodological issues: What is “Islam”? What is “the Modern World”? How can these phenomena be studied? The next section of the course will discuss feminism and its impacts on Islam and modernity. The third section of the course will focus on contemporary Muslim religiosity and activity outside of North America. The final section of the course will discuss the role of Islam in the United States and Canada.

Course Work/Expectations 

  • 15% A review of not more than 5 pages on the Esposito book.
  • 15% A review of not more than 5 pages on the Ahmed book.
  • 40% A research paper of not more than 15 pages.
  • 15% A theological reflection of not more than 5 pages about the course
  • 15% Seminar participation and presentation.

Student Learning Outcomes 

At the end of this course students will

1) demonstrate that they will think both empathetically and critically about Islam and Muslims;

2) demonstrate knowledge of the cultures of the contemporary Muslim world;

3) demonstrate that they have the ability to interpret texts and other cultural phenomena (such as rituals, myths, architecture) that have religious presuppositions or implications;

4) and through class participation and written assignments have improved their verbal and written skills. 

Required Texts

Shahab Ahmed, What is Islam?, Princeton, ISBN 978-0691164182

John Esposito, The Future of Islam, Oxford, ISBN 978-0199975778

Amir Hussain, Muslims and the Making of America, Baylor, ISBN 978-1481306225

Lecture outlines and other readings supplied by the professor 

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: None.

Course Title: The Pastoral/Theological Vision of Pope Francis

Course Number/Section: THST 6998.5

Times/Days: W 7:15 – 9:45 PM

Instructor: Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ, PH.D., STD 

This seminar explores the pastoral/theological vision and methods of  the reform papacy of Pope Francis. The achievements of Vatican II, theological, social, ecclesial, and cultural developments in Latin America, and the Jesuit heritage of this pope are foundational for understanding the “Francis Revolution.” Topics to be addressed: 1) Francis’s ecclesiology, 2) his pastoral theology and debt to Argentine Teología del Pueblo, 3) his debt to Ignatian spirituality, 4) his kerygmatic focus on mercy, 5) practical implications for ministry, and 6) critiques of his papacy from feminist perspectives and from ecclesiastical sources of resistance to the reforms.

Course Work/Expectations

In addition to regular attendance, active participation, and assigned readings, this seminar style class requires 1) a 2-3 page, double-spaced reflection paper every Wednesday based on assigned readings or students’ research reading. 2) a written mid-term exam based on assigned readings and class input/discussions. 3) In lieu of final exam a 15-20 page final paper (double-spaced) along with a 15 minute oral power point presentation is required.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Familiarity with primary theological and magisterial sources of the reform
  • Capacity to name and articulate key concepts and methods that inspire this Pope’s vision, and ability to analyze texts, identify contextual factors and theological sources
  • Identify elements of continuity and change in the Pope’s agenda
  • Critical sense of this Pope’s reform project and its practical implications.

Required Texts

Evangelii Gaudium (2013), Laudato Si’ (2015), Amoris Laetitia (2016). All available on Vatican website

Concluding Document of Aparecida: V General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean (2008), available in English on CELAM website.

Brigham, Erin, David E, DeCosse, and Michael Duffy, Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism in the United States, San Francisco: USF Press, 2016. (ISBN 9781940671949).

Deck, Allan Figueroa, Francis, Bishop of Rome, New York: Paulist Press, 2016 (ISBN 978-0-8091-0622-6).

Rausch, Thomas P. and Richard R. Gaillardetz, Go Into the Streets! The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis, New York: Paulist Press, 2016, (ISBN 978-08091-4951-3).

Other readings to be posted online.

Prerequisites/Recommended Background: Graduate Status in Theology or related discipline