Summer 2019 Course Descriptions

Summer 2019 Course Descriptions

Summer Session I

Course Title: Buddhism

Course Number/Section: THST 6084

Times/Days:  M/W 4:00-7:00

Instructor: Dermott J. Walsh


Course Description

Buddhism is one of the great world religions, and dates back to approximately 2,500 years ago. Since its beginnings in India Buddhist, has spread all across Asia and more recently into Europe and the United States. This course explains the doctrinal, philosophical and practical aspects of Buddhism through an exploration of the three Buddhist learnings of morality, meditation and Wisdom. The course will focus on Indian and East Asian Buddhism.

Student Learning outcomes

1. Students can identify, elaborate and discuss key issues of Buddhist doctrine, develop     familiarity with the main sects of Buddhism and identify key doctrinal and historical elements of different approaches to Buddhism. 

2. Students can construct a coherent argument concerning Buddhism based upon both their own experiences and external consultation of scholarly sources 

3. Students are capable of finding points of contrast between Buddhism and other religious traditions, especially Indic traditions and Yoga. 

4. Ability to relate scholarly sources and discussions to their own personal practice and experience. 


Required Texts

Gethin, Rupert. The Foundations of Buddhism.
All other required readings will be posted as PDF documents.


Title:  Migration and the Border: Context, Theology, and Responses

Course Number:  THST 6998-01

Section Times/Days:  Mondays/Wednesdays, 4-7 pm

Instructor:  Dr. Brett C. Hoover


Description:  For this engaged learning experience, graduate students in theology and pastoral theology will study and construct a theological response to immigration and the struggles of contemporary immigrants.  Students will begin by studying the context of immigration today and then examine Christian theologies of migration from different parts of the world.  The course will meet according to an irregular schedule with a one-week visit to the U.S.-Mexico border from June 3 to 7, observing and discussing the institutions of border control and of pastoral care for immigrants on both sides of the border. 


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

  • make use of pastoral theological methodologies to reflect on the phenomenon of migration and life at the border;
  • articulate reasons rooted in sociological research as to why people migrate to the United States and what challenges they face;
  • understand and value biblical and theological approaches to migration and critically evaluate them as a Christian response to the global phenomenon of migration;
  • construct their own theology of migration;
  • develop a practical response to migration in terms of public theology, activism, or ministerial planning.


Pre-requisites:  None.


Required Texts:

  • Daniel G. Groody, Border of Death, Valley of Life (New York: Rowman and Littelfield, 2002).
  • Daniel Groody and Gioacchino Campese, eds., A Promised Land, A Perilous Journey (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008).
  • Tisha M. Rajendra, Migrants and Citizens: Justice and Responsibility in the Ethics of Immigration (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2017).
  • Other articles as assigned.


Course Work:

Expectations for this class include keeping a reading journal, participation in a weeklong class trip to both sides of the San Diego-Tijuana border, an oral presentation to other students, and a final integrating research paper.


COURSE TITLE: Religion & Science


TIMES/DAYS: Tues/.Thur 4-7pm; Summer Session One



COURSE DESCRIPTION/PRINCIPAL TOPICS Why are we here? How do humans fit into the universe? Why do religions continue to be relevant in an Age of Science? Is religious experience contrary to scientific thought? These existential questions on the nature of our human experience have been explored from competing perspectives by the two dynamic forces of religion and science. The course investigates how scientific inquiry and religious faith might express complementarity and achieve unity. Topics spanning social change, public health, medicine, ecology—along with topics determined by students—will be investigated via this integral approach from both religion and science. The course surveys an array of issues and comparative ideologies from both Eastern and Western religions. The course will be seminar-based and class discussion will explore how religion and science simultaneously clash, coexist, and influence each other. Methods of instruction will be multidisciplinary combining various media, lecture, sacred texts in translation, academic analysis, and class discussion of the assigned reading material. Lectures and discussion will be supplemented with online videos, film, web-resources, and experiential activity. Students will engage in analysis of the multidisciplinary course content through class discussion, independent research, and group presentations.



  1. Trace the historical, philosophical, and cultural factors that have led to the apparent divide between science and religion.
  2. Explore the relationship of science within the Judeo-Christian, Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions.
  3. Engage in a critical and intellectual dialogue in the conflict, conversation, and convergence of science and religion.
  4. Articulate ways in which science and religion relate and provide examples of such relationships in various fields, e.g. biology, cosmology, ecology, medicine, ethics, etc.
  5. Comprehend general scientific claims and relate these to religion and various spiritual traditions.
  6. Examine the role that science and religion currently interact and play in contemporary media and politics in shaping socio-cultural perspectives and in 21st century contexts.
  7. Cultivate analytic, writing, and research skills in the completion of individual research projects on a topic pertaining to the course.


PREREQUISITES/RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND Graduate-level course. Although there is no specific prerequisite, students should have some prior studies in religion and theology.



Haught, John. Science and Faith: A New Introduction. Paulist Press 2013. (Available in print and on Amazon Kindle)

Kumar, Jay. Science of a Happy Brain. Page 2019. (Available in print and on Amazon Kindle)
Sacks, Jonathan. The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning
Schocken 2014 (Available in print and on Amazon Kindle)
Various articles and readings online.


Assignment/Hours per Semester

1. Class Room Instruction/35
2. Reading/45
3. Research Paper/40
4. Group Presentations/5



Summer Session II

COURSE TITLE: Introduction to Systematic Theology               










This course explores major themes in Christian systematic and constructive theology, such as: revelation and faith, human being, sin and grace, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, and the church. Attention is given to the historical development of major Christian doctrines, as well as their contemporary significance, particularly in light of philosophical, cultural, ecumenical, interreligious, and pastoral concerns.




Students will:

1) Know the major methods and themes of systematic theology;

2) Be able to write and speak theologically on systematic themes.








  1. Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives (Fiorenza and Galvin)
  2. Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classic Themes: A Project of The Workgroup On Constructive Christian Theology (Jones and Lakeland)

ISBN: 978-0800662912


ISBN: 978-0800636838





1. Seminar Discussion (20%)

2. Reading Analyses (20%)

3. Research Exercises (20%)

4. Research Presentation (20%)

5. Research Paper (20%)






TIMES/DAYS: Monday and Wednesday, 4:00-7:00


INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Chapple









Contact Professor















COURSE TITLE: Scripture & the Maori in New Zealand



INSTRUCTOR: Daniel Smith-Christopher




There is no substitute for thinking theology, thinking scripture, and thinking “church” - across cultures.  Over the past 17 years, the Theology Department of LMU has cultivated a very special relationship with the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori.  Our relationship is especially with the Diocese of Tairawhiti (pronounced: “tie-RA-fi-tee” – whose central offices in Gisborne) – on the East Coast of the North Island, where the Maori Anglican Church is especially strong.  Indeed, our host is actually the Maori Anglican Archbishop, Rev. Donald Tamihere and his marvelous staff of Maori clergy and lay leaders.  To date, they have welcomed over 200 LMU students to New Zealand, and welcomed us into their lives, their tribal centers and schools, and invited into dialogue with their Christian journey as the indigenous people of New Zealand.  Our Maori hosts are eager to engage in discussions on cross-cultural theology, and they are pleased that the LMU Theology Program often sends international MA students with the group as well, enriching the discussion even further.


Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher has been taking LMU student groups to New Zealand and is particularly interested in the role of the Bible in influencing Maori Christian movements and especially fascinating Prophetic movements unique to the Maori of New Zealand, modelled after the Old Testament Prophets.  Some of the movements from these 19th (and early 20th) Century Prophets remain active today in New Zealand.


Besides the fact that New Zealand is such a stunningly beautiful country – to have such profoundly interesting dialogue partners ready to engage LMU students and welcome them is a rare feature for ANY Theological Studies program.