Spring 2022 Course Descriptions

  • SPRING, 2022

    Thst 6000.01 CRN: 72306

    Foundations of Old Testament Theology

    Prof. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher

    Texts: REQUIRED

    1. Ceresko, Anthony, Introduction to the Old Testament: A Liberationist Perspective
    2. Collins, J.J., An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Third Edition/Fortress Press)
    3. Bible - New Revised Standard Version Recommended (New American Bible is OK.)
    4. Biblical Studies Alternatively, Susanne Scholz



    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. 



    • 7 quizzes spaced throughout the 15 week semester.
    • Final Research Paper - For your final research paper (13-17 pages), you will choose a specific passage (no more than 4 verses, contiguous) to analyze using a set format provided for you. There will be sample papers to examine as well.


    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 basic introduction to contemporary theological issues in relation to OT thought.


    Prerequisites/Recommended Background

        There are no prerequisites to this course. 

  • SEMESTER: Spring 2022

    COURSE TITLE: Introduction to Systematic Theology


    TIMES/DAYS: Mondays, 4:20 – 7:10 pm.

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

    *Sample course description from a previous semester—final requirements TBD 



    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.


  • TERM: Spring 2022

    COURSE TITLE: Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment


    SECTION TIME/DAYS: Mon 4:20-7:10pm

    INSTRUCTOR: Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ


    This course seeks to further the student’s understanding of the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola by a close reading of his spiritual classic, The Spiritual Exercises, and by a study of contemporary writing on Ignatian spirituality. Praxis, the reflection upon experience, is a central aspect of this course and reflects the hypothesis that some of the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises can be experienced by individuals in a group learning situation when they are approached in a critical and prayerful way.

  • SEMESTER: Spring 2022



    TIMES/DAYS: 4:40pm- 7:10pm / TUESDAYS

    INSTRUCTOR: Professor Kim R. Harris



    This course will provide students the opportunity to explore multiple liberation theologies. We will begin with the African American and Black Catholic experience and context. We will then pay special attention to how thinkers within various specific contexts center experience through theological discourse, to imagine a different world. Students in this class will be asked to immerse themselves within the multiple worlds/environments (i.e., historical embeddedness and socioeconomics), forms of embodiment (race, gender, sexuality, and ability), schools of thought (theistic, non-theistic, ecological, Marxist etc.), and geopolitical landscapes associated with the varying degrees of constructive liberative discourse. The recurring questions of this course will be: What does it mean to be free? How do we express our stories and longings for freedom? What does it mean to be free in this body, in this context? Does God want me to be free? Does it matter if God wants me to be free? Is freedom even possible? How does freedom intersect with disproportionate power dynamics which mutate and persist?



    SLO1: Have a basic understand of liberation theologies that span race, sex, gender, class, etc.;

    SLO2: Critically and creatively explore a liberation theology of their choice.

    SLO3: Be able to take liberation-based suppositions to their logical ends





    James H. Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (40th anniversary edition)

    James H. Cone, The Spirituals, and the Blues Slave Songs of the United States (https://docsouth.unc.edu/church/allen/allen.html)

    Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (https://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/douglass/douglass.html)

    M. Shawn Copeland, editor. Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience

    Delores S. Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk.

    Albert J. Raboteau, Slave Religion: The “Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South (updated edition, 2004)

    Gustavo Gutierrez, We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People

    Emmanuel M. Katongole, Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith After Genocide in Rwanda





    SITE VISIT (virtual) and ANALYSIS (20%)   


  • COURSE TITLE:  Practicum and Supervision in Spiritual Direction


    TIMES/DAYS: Mondays 7:30-10:20 PM

    INSTRUCTOR: Fr. Jim Clarke Ph.D.


    *Sample course description from a previous semester—final course requirements TBD



    The art of spiritual direction is best fostered through practice and reflection on that practice in a supervisory setting.  This course will give students an opportunity to grow in spiritual direction skills, self-awareness, and interior freedom under the guidance of experienced directors.



    1. Students will demonstrate their awareness of the dynamics of a spiritual direction session by writing and reflecting on a verbatim of each direction session.
    2. Students will demonstrate their ability to notice and articulate their own inner experience as they listen to the stories of others as spiritual directors.
    3. Students will identify what in their own personality structure and dynamics helps and/or hinders their effective functioning as spiritual directors.
    4. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of various spiritual disciplines and their understanding of how they can facilitate the spiritual development of others.



    THST 6051 The Theory and Practice of Spiritual Direction

    THST 6053 Psychological Foundations of Spiritual Direction



    Au, Wilkie and Cannon, Noreen, The Grateful Heart: Living the Christian Message, Paulist Press, 2011.

    Buckley, Suzanne, Sacred is the Call: Formation and Transformation in Spiritual Direction Programs, The CrossRoad Pub. Co., 2005

    Clarke, Jim. Soul Centered: Spirituality for People on the Go, Paulist Press, 2015

    Conroy, Maureen, Looking Into the Well: Supervision of Spiritual Directors, Loyola Univ. Press. 1995




    1. Completion of all assigned readings on time and active participation in weekly classes (20% of grade).
    2. Ongoing spiritual direction sessions with two spiritual directees, spaced in two-week intervals.
    3. Completion of the “Contemplative Reflection Form” for each spiritual direction session (50% of grade)
    4. A psychospiritual autobiography that highlights one’s developmental history and its relevance to one’s practice as a spiritual director (10% of grade)
    5. A final reflection paper to be shared in class (20% of grade)
    6. No late assignments will be accepted.
  • SEMESTER: Spring 2022

    COURSE TITLE: Foundations of Theological Ethics


    TIMES/DAYS: Wed 4:20-7:10pm

    INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Matthew Petrusek


    *Sample course description from a previous semester—final course requirements TBD


    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

  • SPRING 2022

    BIOE 6600 01/THST 6060-02
    Tues 7:30 – 10:20pm

    DR. NICHOLAS R. BROWN nbrown15@lmu.edu

    *Sample course description from a previous semester—final course requirments TBD


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


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

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

      analysis, and (c) comparative analysis.

    • The ability to critically reflect upon the nature of bioethics in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam

      and question representations of these religions in bioethical discussions in general and in

      bioethical literature in particular.

    • The capability to succinctly and convincingly formulate arguments about applied bioethics in

      Judaism, Christianity or Islam.

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



     Undergraduate degree


    All assigned course texts are accessible via the course Brightspace page.

  • SPRING 2022


    COURSE NUMBER: BIOE 6100 – THST 6066-01

    SECTION TIME: Wed 7:30-10:20 p.m. – (online)

    INSTRUCTOR: DR. Nicholas Brown


    *Sample course description from a previous semester—final course requirements TBD



    The question of the beginning is central to our understanding of the human condition.  To be born is to be given to be by a source we do not control, released into life by life itself, a miracle that escapes self-determination and control, while calling, at the same time, for responsibility and care.  How do we articulate the difficult balance between reverence for life and stewardship for the conditions that make it more livable, indeed, more human?  The course examines bioethical questions that concern the beginnings of life. Topics include the ethics of abortion, maternal fetal conflicts, ethical problems in neonatology, as well as the ethical judgment on the entire field of assisted reproductive medicine -- from in vitro fertilization, to surrogate motherhood, gamete storage techniques, and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. 



    Engage in the critical analysis of bioethical questions at the beginning of life and articulate their theoretical and practical dimensions.

    Appreciate the importance of ethical dialogue between theology and philosophy on ethical issues at the beginning of life.

    Understand the interplay of morality and law in relation to bioethical issues at the beginning of life.

    Become familiar with the clinical context that define beginning of life questions, and recognize the ethical challenges facing health care professionals and their patients today.



    Undergraduate Degree



    This graduate course is a combination of lectures and student participation through discussion sessions.  Assignments include in-class presentations, essays, and a research paper (15-20 pages) by the end of the semester. 



    James Mumford, Ethics at the Beginning of Life: A Phenomenological Critique (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) – Excerpts will be provided in Brightspace

    Ronald Dworkin, Life’s Dominion: An Argument about Abortion, Euthanasia, and Individual Freedom (New York: Vintage Books, 1994)

    Luc Boltanski, The Foetal Condition: A Sociology of Engendering and Abortion (Malden: MA, Polity Press, 2013)

    Cathleen Kaveny, Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2012)



    Raymond Devettere, Practical Decision Making in Health Care Ethics: Cases and Concepts, 3rd edition (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2009)

    Albert R. Jonsen, The Birth of Bioethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)

    Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 7th edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)

  • Title:  Supervised Pastoral Field Education

    Course Number:  THST 6078-02 (San Gabriel Valley cohort, others with permission)

    Section Times/Days:  Mondays, 7:30-10 pm

    Tentative location: St. John the Baptist Parish, Baldwin Park, CA

    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).

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

    Elizabeth Johnson, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011).

    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 field mentor, keeping a theological journal, an interview with an accomplished minister in a religious tradition different from that of the student, an oral presentation including prayer leadership, and a final project.

  • SEMESTER: Spring 2022

    COURSE TITLE: Yoga Philosophy: Text and Practice / Hinduism: Vedānta and Yoga

    COURSE NUMBER/SECTION:   YGST 6020 / THST 6083               

    TIMES/DAYS: M 4:20-7:10

    INSTRUCTOR: Nirinjan Khalsa



    In this course we will explore the foundational teachings of India’s traditional philosophies 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.



    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 written and oral skills through discussion leader presentations and papers.



    For students enrolled in Graduate Yoga Studies or Theological Studies



    Karma and Creativity, Christopher Chapple (available as e-book through LMU Library)

    Meditations through the Rig Veda, Antonio T. deNicolas (scans posted on Brightspace)

    The Thirteen Principal Upaniṣads, Robert Ernest Hume, tr. (available online)

    Avatāra: Humanization of Philosophy through the Bhagavad Gītā, Antonio T. deNicolas (scans posted on Brightspace)

    Classical Sāṃkhya, Gerald Larson (scans posted on Brightspace)

    Yoga and the Luminous, Christopher Key Chapple (e-book, LMU Library)

    The Concise Yogavāsiṣṭha or Vasistha’s Yoga, Swami Venkatesananda, tr. (LMU e-book)

    Engaged Emancipation: Mind, Morals, and Make-Believe in the Mokṣopāya/Yogavāsiṣṭha, Chapple & Chakrabarti (LMU e-book)

    *Please note: some books subject to change



    Students will be expected to come prepared and participate in weekly class discussions. Regular attendance is expected. Each week students will be assigned as facilitators and will submit a paper presentation. Students will journal about their weekly practices, culminating in a final paper.  

  • Title:  Pastoral Synthesis Seminar

    Course Number:  THST 6091-01

    Section Times/Days:  Tuesdays, 7:30-10 pm (irregular meeting pattern)

    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 problem or challenge (inside or outside of church ministry), 2) to articulate theological foundations for understanding and addressing that problem or challenge from a Christian perspective, and 3) to develop a preliminary proposal for how one might address the problem or challenge. 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 attend periodic sessions with other students and work independently with a faculty director to complete the PSP by the end of the semester.

    Student learning outcomes:

    Students will be able to:

    • Assess pastoral situations from a critical stance;
    • Reflect on ministerial practice in and perfect ministry skills for a culturally and religiously diverse society;
    • Perform biblical exegesis with attention both to historical contexts and contemporary pastoral contexts
    • Reflect critically on the praxis of faith and of justice within an ecumenically-minded Roman Catholic context
    • Situate contemporary theological developments and pastoral practice in light of historical trajectories;
    • Interpret the work of seminal thinkers in Christian ethics and analyze contemporary moral problems;
    • Establish strategies and habits for the integration of one’s own faith, pastoral practice, and theological expertise.

    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).

    Textbooks:  None

    Work expectations:

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

  • SEMESTER: Spring 2021
    COURSE TITLE: Research and Writing Seminar
    INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid


    This is the required research and writing seminar for MA in Theology students. It is the second course of a two course year-long sequence. The first course is the Comprehensive Exam Seminar.

    By the end of this course, a successfully engaged student will . . .
    (1) have acquired the skills needed to conceptualize and complete a larger research project

    (2) be able to evaluate sources for quality and to employ sources both appreciatively and critically       

    (3) have learned how to use multiple drafts to write a larger research project                                             

    (4) have demonstrated clear, scholarly, and reflective writing

    PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND                                                                                   

    THST 6092: Comprehensive Exam Seminar

    - Kate L. Turabian, Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students & Researchers, 9th ed. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2018) ISBN # 978-0-226-43057-7

    - [Recommended] Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2018) ISBN # 978-0-393-63167-8

    - [Recommended] Lucretia B. Yaghjian, Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers, 2nd ed. (New York: T&T Clark, 2015) ISBN # 978-0567499172


    Revised Proposal from the Comprehensive Exam Seminar (10%)

    Active Participation in Check-ins With A Colleague/s from the Class (15%)

    First Draft: 20 Pages/First Half (15%)
    First Complete Draft (15%)
    Oral Project Presentation (10%)
    Final Draft (35%)