Spring 2019 Course Descriptions


Course Title: Introduction to the Old Testament

Course Number: THST 6000.01

Sections Times/Days:  WEDNESDAY, 4:30 – 7:00

Instructor: Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher


Course Description

This course is intended to be a challenging introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).  The emphases of this course are historical and literary familiarity with the Hebrew Bible, although questions about the Hebrew Bible as a religious text will not be out of place.  This is a “historical-critical” approach to Textual analysis.  There will be a secondary emphasis on the role of the Old Testament in informing contemporary Christian Theology. 


Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will:

  • Have a basic orientation to all the books of the Old Testament.
  • Have a basic grasp of essential dates of Old Testament History, and the importance of those events for the study of the Bible.
  • Have a basic understanding of the different genres of Old Testament Literature, such as Poetry, Wisdom, Prophetic Texts, Law, Story.
  • Have a basic understanding of critical approaches to the study of the Bible.
  • Have a good command of central theological themes that are informed by a study of the Old Testament


Prerequisites/Recommended Background

There are no prerequisites to this course.


Required Texts:

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

2) John J. Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (THIRD EDITION: Fortress Press)


Course Work / Expectations

     1) Class attendance is required

     2) 6 quiz-type short tests, spaced every  two-three weeks, covering BOTH reading and lecture material. Each test is worth 10 points.


      3)  All students will write the final paper (15-20 pages), an analysis of a selected Bible passage, which is worth up to 40 points.   Full Research Paper expectations – citations, bibliography, etc.  There will be detailed instructions.




COURSE TITLE: THST 6030: Introduction to Systematic Theology

TIMES/DAYS: M 4:30-7:00 pm

ISTRUCTOR: Rev. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J. 

Office University Hall 3852; 310-338-2931





This course explores classic themes in systematic theology, contemporary theologies of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, Christian anthropology, the Church and the sacraments, creation and eschatology,.  It will seek to place them in their biblical origins, historical development, and contemporary significance in light of the current philosophical, cultural, ecumenical, interreligious, and pastoral concerns. 




  1. Know the major themes, methods, and authorities in systematic theology
  2. Facility in speaking and writing about the these themes
  3. Appreciate Roman Catholic and ecumenical approaches
  4. Familiarity with representative theologians




Thomas P. Rausch,  Systematic Theology: A Roman Catholic Approach

Paul Crowley, ed. From Vatican II to Pope Francis: Charting a Catholic Future

Articles and texts from the professor (Brightspace)




  1. The course will be a seminar, requiring attendance and intelligent participation. Each student's contribution to the seminar process will be an important factor in determining the final grade.  Therefore, regular attendance and quality participation is important. 
  2. Completion of readings before class discussion
  3. Weekly 2 page reflection on reading
  4. Discussion of the readings
  5. Significant question(s)
  6. Midterm examination
  7. Research paper, a critical study, 12-15 pages in length, well documented with footnotes and bibliography, with both analysis and critical evaluation, using appropriate theological sources, of some issue in systematic theology.  The professor should approve the topic in advance and an outline, showing proposed development and basic bibliography, should be submitted no later than Monday February 12.  First come first serve as to topics.




COURSE TITLE: U.S. Latino/a Theology


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

INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Pineda-Madrid








Contact Professor













COURSE TITLE: Liturgical Theology: History and Interpretation


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









This course introduces students to key texts, themes, and issues in theological reflection on and from Christian liturgical practice. Students will learn to use historical, theological, and practical approaches to explore the rituals, symbols, texts, and performance of Christian liturgy. They will engage the dynamic relationship between praying and believing that constitutes the field of liturgical theology and consider how our liturgies shape, express, and even critique Christian theology and practice.




Through successfully completing this course, students will (1) gain a foundational theological vocabulary and familiarity in liturgical theology, (2) become acquainted with the diverse approaches and methods in liturgical theology, (3) reflect both theologically and critically on lived liturgical practice, and (4) be able to articulate the dynamic relationship between praying and believing.



  1. Students will learn the major methods of comparative theology and develop skills for doing theology comparatively.
  2. Students will gain familiarity with the history and basic doctrines of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism in dialogue with Christianity.
  3. Students will rethink theology through a comparative praxis.
  4. Students will develop familiarity with the Catholic Church’s multiple responses to the fact of religious diversity in light of globalization.


REQUIRED TEXTS (subject to change)


Dwight W. Vogel, editor. Primary Sources of Liturgical Theology. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000.

Aidan Kavanagh, On Liturgical Theology. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1984.

Maxwell Johnson. Praying and Believing in Early Christianity. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2013.

Teresa Berger. @Worship: Liturgical Practices in Digital Worlds.London: Routledge, 2018.

Additional readings will be available on Brightspace.


Please note:

Students may order texts directly from Liturgical Press at a 30% discount using the code STUDY30

Berger’s @Worshipis available electronically through the LMU Library.




Careful preparation of the course readings is expected. Writing assignments include short weekly responses, a book review, and three substantive papers which engage themes, methods, and practices in liturgical theology. One visit to a liturgy other than your own tradition is also required. 




COURSE TITLE: The Theory and Practice of Spiritual Direction


TIMES/DAYS:  Monday 7:15-9:45 PM

INSTRUCTOR: Fr. Jim Clarke Ph.D.








This course will offer an overview of the practice of Spiritual Direction and present the skills necessary to do the work. Through process, study, lecture and reading the student will be able to discern whether this ministry is for them.





Experience the process of spiritual direction

Explore contemplative listening

Develop skills in assisting others to notice and talk about their ongoing experience with God

Reflect upon evaluating spiritual experiences

Explore how gender, racial, generational and cultural qualities can influence the practice of spiritual direction

Read about contemporary models of spiritual direction

Describe how other Christina disciplines and the directee’s prayer life become part of the spiritual direction conversations





THST Graduate Students only




Reader (purchased on the first day 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 Reality

Wiliam Barry and William 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





Class attendance and active class participation

Weekly I page reflection paper

Course project which includes a 20 page paper summarizing the experience





TERM: Spring 2019

COURSE TITLE: Foundations of Theological Ethics



INSTRUCTOR:Prof. 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:


-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






Title:  Supervised Pastoral Field Education (Contextual Education Seminar)

Course Number:  THST 6078-01

Section Times/Days:  Tues. 4:30-7 pm, UH 1403

Instructor:  Dr. Brett C. Hoover


Description:  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.


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.


Pre-requisites:  THST 6000 and THST 6070.


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).

Anthony J. Gittins, Living Mission Interculturally: Faith, Culture, and the Renewal of Praxis (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015).


Course Work:

Expectations for this class include 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, and a final project.





COURSE TITLE:  Comparative Theology


TIMES/DAYS:  W 4:30 – 7:00pm

INSTRUCTOR:  Dr. Karen B. Enriquez


Course Description

This course is an introduction to the major theories and practices of comparative theology. It reviews the historical roots of the current situation of religious pluralism and clarifies the relationship of comparative theology to the Christian theology of religions, and interreligious dialogue and solidarity. It also engages in the practice of comparative theology through a dialogue of Christianity with the history, doctrines and practices with other religious traditions (Judaism, Islam and Hinduism), but predominantly with Buddhism.   


Student Learning outcomes


Prerequisites/Recommended Background:  Graduate Status in Theological Studies


Required Texts

  • James Fredericks, Buddhists and Christians: Through Comparative Theology to Solidarity(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004). ISBN-10: 1570755558
  • Diana Eck, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras, 2ndedition (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003). ISBN-10: 0807073016
  • Other required readings will be available on MYLMU Connect/Brightspace


Recommended Texts:

  • Paul Knitter, Introducing Theologies of Religions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002). ISBN-10: 
  • James Fredericks and Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier, eds. Interreligious Friendship After Nostra Aetate (   ).  ISBN 978-1-137-47211-3


Course Work/Expectations

Leading Discussion/Active Participation                                             

Weekly Response/Analysis Papers     


Final comparative research paper (20-25 pages)






COURSE TITLE:Hinduism: Vedānta and Yoga (Yoga Philosophy Text & Practice)                    


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:

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 Gītāand the Yogavāsiṣṭhato 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. 


Required Books:

Karma and Creativity, Christopher Chapple

The Artful Universe: The Vedic Religious Imagination, William Mahony

In Praise of Mother Earth: The Pṛthivῑ Sūkta of the Atharva Veda

The Thirteen Principal Upaniṣads, Robert Ernest Hume, tr. (in the public domain and

            available online)

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

Classical Sāṃkhya, Gerald Larson

Yoga and the Luminous,Christopher Key Chapple

The Concise Yogavāsiṣṭhaor Vasistha’s Yoga, Swami Venkatesananda, tr.

Engaged Emancipation: Mind, Morals, and Make-Believe in the 

            Mokṣopāya/Yogavāsiṣṭha, Chapple &  Chakrabarti


Two papers and brief summary and presentation of required readings will be required.





Title:  Pastoral Synthesis Seminar

Course Number: THST 6091-01

Section Times/Days: Thursdays 4:30-7 pm (irregular meeting pattern), UH 1402

Instructor:  Dr. Brett C. Hoover


Description: This course supports pastoral theology students in the development and execution of their final capstone project, the pastoral synthesis project or PSP. Taken in the final year of study, in this course students review pastoral theological methodologies studied in earlier courses and use one of those methodologies 1) to carefully study a contemporary pastoral challenge or dilemma (inside or outside of church ministry), 2) to articulate theological foundations for a response to the challenge or dilemma, and 3) to develop a preliminary proposal for how one might address the challenge or dilemma. The theological analysis forms the largest section of the PSP, intended to demonstrate a comprehensive sense of the student’s theological knowledge bases and skills, including the responsible use of Scripture, systematic/constructive theology, and other theological subdisciplines. Students request a faculty director and work independently with that director to complete the PSP by the end of the semester.


Student learning outcomes:

Students will show that they know the basic contours of:

  • Pastoral theology and its methodologies,
  • Critical approaches to biblical theology and systematic theology,
  • Other theological subdisciplines such as theological ethics or historical theology.

Students will be able to:

  • Assess pastoral situations from a critical stance,
  • Reflect on ministerial practice in a pluralistic society,
  • Engage in biblical exegesis with attention both to historical contexts and contemporary pastoral contexts,
  • Reflect critically on the praxis of faith, particularly within the Roman Catholic context,
  • Discuss the main contours of either church history or of theological ethics, especially as they relate to ministerial practice,
  • Integrate theological vision, critical understanding, and a faith attentive to justice.

Students will value:

  • The significance of ecclesial community for pastoral practice,
  • An integrated formation of the person for pastoral ministry,
  • A pluralistic approach to pastoral ministry.


Pre-requisites:  THST 6070 Foundations of Pastoral Theology, THST 6000 or 6010 (New or Old Testament), THST 6030 Introduction to Systematic Theology (may be concurrently enrolled).



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


Work expectations:

Expectations for this class include a PSP proposal, the articulation of a pastoral challenge, drafts of each of the four sections.






COURSE TITLE: Research and Writing Seminar




TIMES/DAYS: T 7:15-9:45, UH 2002








COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS: This is the required research and writing seminar for MA in Theology students.




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


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.


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.









THST 6092.01: Comprehensive Exam Seminar




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




Revised Proposal from the Comprehensive Exam Seminar (10%)

Annotated Bibliography (10%)

First Draft (20%)

Second Draft (20%)

Final Draft (40%)





COURSE TITLE: Bioethics at the End of Life




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









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