Summer 2013 Course Descriptions

Summer 2013 Course Descriptions

Summer Session I: May 20 - June 28, 2013

COURSE TITLE: Foundations of New Testament Theology
SECTION TIMES/DAYS: Summer Session 1, 2013, T/Th 4-7pm
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jeffrey S. Siker

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

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

1) Students will know both the content of the New Testament writings and various historical, theological, ethical, social, and pastoral issues/approaches associated with the interpretation of the New Testament.
2) Students will be able to engage in detailed exegetical analysis of New Testament passages, both from the Gospels and from the letters of Paul.
3) Students will value critical and constructive approaches to theologizing on the basis of the New Testament writings. Students will also value such critical/constructive uses of the New Testament in contemporary theological discourse.


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

Midterm Exam
two 5-7 page exegetical papers
Final Paper (15-20 pages)
class participation

COURSE TITLE: Sacraments and Sacramentality
SECTION TIMES/DAYS: Hybrid T/H, 4:00-7:00 p.m. and online
INSTRUCTOR: Nicholas Denysenko, Ph.D.

Christians who participate in liturgical worship often have a meaningful and complex experience of the divine. The Church has traditionally titled these events “sacraments,” or mysteries, and has even defined and categorized seven specific sacraments. The liturgical celebration of sacraments involves the familiar elements of the world, such as water, bread, wine, and oil, and also habitual human actions and gestures, such as walking in order (procession), kneeling, embracing and kissing, prostrating, turning, and using verbal forms of communication. Explaining the meaning of such activity in the context of sacramental celebration constitutes sacramentality.

This course closely examines sacraments in their liturgical context to explicate sacramentality as experienced by the assembled liturgical community. Students will learn methods for studying and articulating sacramental theology, study the historical contexts for the development of sacramental theology, and learn how traditional sacramental celebration and theology informs contemporary practice and pastoral ministry.

THST 398 is a hybrid course with most meetings online and content delivered asynchronously. Course materials such as recorded lectures will be delivered via Blackboard. Regular, frequent, and substantive participation in class tools such as the discussion board and blog is required and crucial for attaining learning outcomes.


Students will critically read and interpret sacramental texts from early Christianity and late antiquity.
Students will encounter and discuss the nature and function of symbols, art, and sacred space.
Students will research select sacraments in their contexts and present their work in written and verbal communication 
Students will study the anthropological and sociological dimensions of sacramental celebration.

THST Graduate ProSeminar

Geoffrey Rowell and Christine Hall, eds., The Gestures of God: Explorations in
David Power, Unsearchable Riches: The Symbolic Nature of Liturgy

Regular and frequent participation in online discussion board.
Three critical analysis papers (5 pages each) 
Participation in course blog
One longer essay on a approved topic of the student’s choice (10-15 pages)

TERM: Summer Session I 2013
COURSE TITLE: Issues in Moral Theology Today
SECTION TIME/DAYS: Monday/ Wednesday 7:10-10:10
Instructor: Dr. Jonathan Rothchild

Course Description: 
This graduate course explores central themes, thinkers, methodologies, and topics in contemporary Christian ethics. We will engage in a critical reading of Christian ethicists and other philosophers and theorists regarding the central themes of justice, participation, dignity, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We explore their central theological loci, normative ethical presuppositions, and commitment to concrete practical moral problems (including, economic ethics, bioethics, punishment, politics and culture, and culture and race). We will ask of these thinkers: What are the primary tasks of Christian ethics? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their methods? What theoretical and practical aspects of their approaches would you adopt to develop your own constructive Christian ethics? With each new author and topic, we will undertake a brief excursus into the Scriptural themes (e.g., creation, imago dei, sin, imitatio Christi, redemption), experiential dimensions (e.g., freedom, conscience, law, otherness, responsibility) and classic theological articulations (Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Catholic social teaching) that underpin, but also challenge—and are challenged by—the complexity of the contemporary moral life.

Student Learning Outcomes: 
The purpose of the course is to help students to:
-Understand the Scriptural, historical, doctrinal, and experiential dimensions of Christian reflection on the moral life.
-Examine different methodological approaches within contemporary Christian ethics.
-Correlate these methodological approaches and contemporary moral problems, particularly with respect to economic ethics, punishment, bioethics, politics, race, and culture.
-Identify general similarities and differences between Catholic and Protestant theological ethics and evaluate the prospects for rapprochement
-Interpret texts critically and articulate self-reflexively their own positions vis-à-vis the values for church, society, and culture.


Graduate Status.

Required Texts:
-Lisa Sowle Cahill, Theological Bioethics: Participation, Justice, Change. Georgetown University Press, 2005.
-Anthony Bash, Forgiveness and Christian Ethics. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
-Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice. The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2009.
-Charles Curran and Leslie Griffin, eds. The Catholic Church, Morality and Politics. Paulist Press, 2001.
-Traci West, Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter. Westminster John Knox, 2006.
-Howard Zehr, Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice. 3rd Edition. Herald Press, 2005.
Additional readings will be made available via MYLMU Connect.

Course Work: 
Attendance and Participation: 20%
4 Critical Response Papers: 30% 
1st two papers: (5% each) 
2nd two papers (10% each)
Final Research Paper: 50%

TERM: Summer 2013
COURSE TITLE: Revelation
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. David A. Sánchez

The objectives of this class are summarized as follows: 1. students will be introduced to the Book of Revelation via a chapter by chapter analytical reading of the text; 2. students will be introduced to the social and cultural world(s) behind the text; 3. students will unpack the genre of “apocalypse” as constructed in modern biblical scholarship; 4. students will be introduced to the history of interpretation of the Book of Revelation; and 5. students will attempt to discern the ongoing legacy of the Book of Revelation (modern interpretive strategies.

The primary learning objective of this course is to introduce students to that ancient text known as the Book of Revelation. A second learning objective of this course is to prompt students to evaluate the role interpretation(s) of Revelation play in promoting an acute sensitivity to living (i.e. interpreting) responsibly in a culturally diverse world thereby promoting justice and the service of faith.

Wayne A. Meeks, Gen Ed. The Harper-Collins Study Bible.
Adela Yarbro-Collins, Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse
Christopher Frilingos, Spectacles of Empire: Monsters, Martyrs, and the Book of
David A. Sánchez, From Patmos to the Barrio: Subverting Imperial Myths
Brian K. Blount, Can I Get a Witness? Reading Revelation through African American

Preparation of all assigned readings
Written summations of all assigned readings
Informed and respectful contributions to class discussions
Submission of a final paper prospectus and bibliography 
**This prospectus should delimit the nature and general thesis of the research paper to be submitted (e.g. exegetical, history of interpretation, etc.); methodological approach (e.g. historical-critical, postcolonial, socially-located, feminist hermeneutic, etc.). A preliminary and brief bibliography should also be included.
Completion of a final research paper (in consultation w/ the instructor)

Summer Session II: July 01 - August 09, 2013

 THST 698: The Bible and the Blues: The Book of Lamentations and The Legacy of Blues Music

Memphis Theological Seminary, and Loyola Marymount University (Taking Place in Memphis, TN)

Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher (LMU)

NOTE: THIS IS A ONE WEEK INTENSIVE COURSE July 22-26, 2013 taking place in Memphis, TN

The Book of Lamentations will be the central Biblical focus of this course, but this short course is an experiment in comparative Biblical analysis. Lamentations arguably comes from the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE, and has become a “canonical” expression of sadness for Jewish and Christian tradition – although one of the central arguments of Claus Westermann is that it is NOT very central to Christian Theology, and he wants to know why not!!

Lamentations is arguably, “Hebrew Blues”. To understand more about the Lament and Mourning traditions of the Hebrew Bible, we will compare this genre to one of the most powerful musical gifts of the African-American experience to the world – the tradition of “The Blues”, and specifically, “The Delta Blues”.

Just as it is impossible to understand the book of Lamentations without understanding something of the suffering and events of the Babylonian Conquest and Exile, so it is also impossible to fully appreciate the Blues without understanding its’ roots in the African-American experience.

Thus, in this course, we will work steadily toward a comparison that begins to do justice to Hebrew Blues, and African-American Laments – and Hebrew Laments, and African-American Blues!


(1) $30/night for Housing (Memphis Theological Seminary housing)

(2) Flight to and from Memphis (“from” only if you want to leave Memphis…)

(3) Dinners each night (we hit the town and listen to music over dinner!!)