Courses

  • STH TT 947: Advanced Systematic Theology II: The Human Condition
    Study of the theological dimensions of human life, examining the Christian notions of sin and salvation, and some variants and alternatives to these and other religious traditions. Develops a contemporary Christology.
  • STH TT 948: Advanced Systematic Theology III: Sanctification and Religious Life
    Study of both personal and communal dimensions of the religious life. Examines the church and the religious practices of ritual, symbol making, and paths of spiritual perfection. Develops a systematic doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the church.
  • STH TT 949: Hermeneutics for Teaching and Preaching
    The purpose of this course is to hone skills at the doctoral level in various tasks of hermeneutics (fancy word for interpretation) necessary for preaching and religious education. Religious life has both ultimate predicaments and ultimate ecstatic fulfillments. These can be sorted roughly into five basic problematics that take various forms in nearly all religions, although this course will focus on Christianity with some informal treatments of other religions. These problematics are (1) living under obligation, with issues of righteousness, discernment of justice and morality, guilt, and forgiveness, (2) the quest for personal wholeness, with issues of suffering, brokenness, dignity, and sanctification, (3) the engagement of others, with issues of ingroup/outgroup distinctions, loving enemies, loving in different ways, and loving nature, (4) the attainment of a value-identity in ultimate perspective, with issues of the meaning of life and coping with finitude and ambiguity, and (5) gratitude for sheer existence, with issues of radical contingency, affirmation of life and death, and union with and distance from God. Each of these problematics singly and in combination with others has been called "salvation," but the complexity of religion requires that they be thought together and each one interpreted to the others. The four domains of hermeneutics (scripture, experience, tradition, and reason) will be explored through the grid of these five religious problematics.
  • STH TT 954: Scientific Approaches to Religion
    This seminar examines interpretations of religious beliefs, behaviors, and experiences deriving from the biological, evolutionary, psychological, cognitive, neurological, and medical sciences.
  • STH TT 956: Atheisms and Theologies
    The general aim of this course is learn about varieties of atheism-older "classic atheism," so-called "new atheism" of recent years, and theologically inspired forms of atheism-and to understand the various theological responses to atheism. Questions of particular importance are: (1) How strong are traditional and new atheistic arguments? (2) Where does or should theology stand in relation to the arguments of atheism? (3) What are the origins of modern atheism? (4) Should postmodern mystical theologies and iconoclastic anti-anthropomorphic theologies that reject a determinate divine being be considered atheistic? If so how does this sort of atheism relate to other types? The class is intended for advanced masters students and doctoral candidates interested in con-temporary theology and its conceptual roots in older theological debates. Meets with STH TT 816.
  • STH TT 961: Varieties of Religious Naturalism
    The aim of this course is learn about varieties of religious naturalism and how they have been, and can be, incorporated into philosophical and theological reflection. The seminar will read a variety of works in contemporary religious naturalism, from twentieth-century classics to current contributions, and from theoretical analyses of the meaning of naturalism to surveys attempting to map out the territory of plausible viewpoints. We will also track the close relationship between religious naturalism and both ecologically-rooted forms of spirituality and nature-centered forms of mysticism.
  • STH TT 966: Fem/Womani Theo
  • STH TT 974: Religious Experience
    This seminar is a multidisciplinary study of religious experience, drawing on philosophy, theology, literature, psychology, sociology, the cognitive sciences, and the neurosciences. An advanced research seminar, this course presumes significant background knowledge in theology and philosophy and is designed for doctoral students. Advanced master's students can participate with the permission of the instructor.
  • STH TT 998: Theology and Trauma
    This course aims to bring the recent studies in the interdisciplinary study of trauma to bear on the field of theology. What unique challenges does the phenomenon of trauma pose to contemporary theology? The first part of the course explores recent studies in trauma, focusing on three areas of research: 1) neurobiology of trauma, 2) clinical/therapeutic studies, and 3) literary approaches to trauma. The second part of the course examines theological engagements with issues of radical suffering. The third part brings together the insights from the first two and focuses on the question of what it means to witness theologically to individual, societal, and global trauma. We will look at issues and contexts such as the criminal justice system, war, poverty, and racism. In this final part, students will be working towards constructive theological engagements with issues of trauma through interaction with a variety of mediums: art, literature, spiritual practices, and film. The course is not a counseling course. It aims to provide rich theological reflection around issues of suffering, violence, and trauma, both individual and global.
  • STH TY 704: Introduction to Spiritual Care and Counseling
    This course introduces a method of spiritual care as practical theology. Students will learn to assess the experiences of loss, violence, and addiction reflected in spiritual care conversations. They will use theological, psychological, and cultural studies to reflect upon these issues of loss or violence, and develop theologically based strategies of care and justice.
  • STH TY 803: The Psychology of Religion
    Examining methodological questions and issues in the psychological interpretation of religious matters by considering what is meant by 'religion' and what is involved in interpreting 'religion' psychologically.
  • STH TY 806: Theories of Human Development
    The goal of this course is to achieve an understanding of the human developmental process and how that process integrates the growth of faith and the life of the community. We will use a series of theoretical readings, broader lectures by the professor, and selected autobiographies to apply theory. As our experiences provide excellent laboratory data, there will be various opportunities to examine our own life processes as a way of seeing theory in action. Course Objectives: By the end of the class, students should: - know the primary developmental theories, including psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, social learning, faith development and be able to identity of variety of lesser used theories - be able to critique developmental theories using the insights of feminist theory, studies in racism and sexual identity, and the reality of globalization - be able to apply theory to case material - discuss the relationship of human development and community context
  • STH TY 811: Object Relations and the Study of Religion
    Achieving familiarity with and fluency in a series of psychoanalytic theories of personality/character, development, relationships, motivation, health, and pathology, as a context in which to practice psychoanalytic interpretations of religious matters.
  • STH TY 814: Womanist Psychologies of Religion
    This seminar course will "engage womanist theology and ethics, womanist pastoral and practical theology for their embedded psychologies of religion. We will examine psychological aspects of Black women's religious experience in the U.S. Of particular interest will be the place, relationship and significance of black religious experience as a particular(ized) cultural psychological construction and experience. Additionally, we will take up for consideration the theological basis for articulating a womanist psychology of religion, and the argument that womanist epistemology, theological anthropology as well as practical and pastoral theologies are embedded in psychological dynamics and require an explicit articulation of a (psychoanalytic) psychology of religion.
  • STH TY 821: Psychoanalysis of/and Spirituality
    Examines the growing engagement between psychoanalysis and spirituality. Historically this has been contested ground with psychoanalytic theorists having little regard for religion and spirituality beyond the realm of a psychological interpretation. Over the last two decades, this has shifted and a number of works have been either written about psychoanalysis as spirituality; psychoanalyst's spiritual practices, and/or psychoanalysis of spirituality. The emphasis of these conversations has resulted in conferences dedicated to the topic as well as psychoanalysts specializing in spirituality. The impact on studies in spirituality has produced a more conscious interest in the relevance of psychodynamic perspectives of spirituality and spiritual direction. This course takes these shifts up while resisting the temptation to collapse the distinctions.
  • STH TY 826: Psychodynamics of Marriage and Family
    This is an introductory course that includes a comprehensive overview of the field of family systems and family therapy. This course will serve as an introduction to the theory and techniques of couples and family therapy. An attempt will be made to integrate theory and practice through assignments, class activities, and personal and professional self-reflection. Students will have the opportunity to reflect upon how they might actually use course content professionally in their respective disciplines.
  • STH TY 828: Womanist Approaches to Religion
    This course will provide students an opportunity to think about how womanist scholars approach the study of religion and black women's religious experience. We will take up for examination the questions: "what do womanist scholars mean by womanist approaches to religion?" And, "what constitutes religion and religious experience?" The course is interdisciplinary and interfaith in its consideration of religion. Students will be introduced to the methods, aims, approaches, sources and disciplinary locations of womanist scholarship on religion. Particular attention will be given to the widening scope of womanist research on religion interms of methodology and religions. The class will engage our concerns through lecture, discussion and site observations.
  • STH TY 842: Pastoral Psychology of Healing
    Every person, in her or his personal relationships and professional activities, is guided by a complex, often tacit, theory of healing, comprised of judgments about illness/suffering (what's wrong?); health/well-being (what's possible? what's ideal?); the trajectory from one to the other (how do we get there?); and factors that enhance as well as inhibit movement along that trajectory (what should we do?). Examining and comparing a range of theories of healing--in psychology, medicine, Christian traditions, world religions, and non-Western cultures--equips us critically to reflect upon, amend, if not reconstruct our respective theories of healing..
  • STH TY 854: Pastoral Theology and Psychology
    Practical theologians, pastoral theologians, and pastoral psychologists focus on different subject matters, use different methods, and address different audiences. Nonetheless, they share a common purpose: to diagnose, accurately and in-depth, concrete problems of the human condition (e.g., suffering, evil) and, correspondingly, to construct effective ways of addressing those problems (i.e., forms of intervention, strategies of care). This is a reading course that examines contributions of theologians, practical theologians, pastoral theologians, and pastoral psychologists, and provides a context in which students may investigate research problems that are especially relevant to their respective communities and traditions, as well as their particular vocational objectives (e.g., parish ministry, chaplaincy, pastoral care, seminary teaching).
  • STH TY 855: Pastoral Care, Community Justice and Feminist Ethics
    Two questions that undergird this course is 1)"what is the relationship between pastoral care and justice in and for the broader community?" and 2) "what do diverse feminist ethical and theological perspectives contribute this prior question?" These questions will guide us throughout the semester as we 1) read diverse perspectives on pastoral care and community justice; 2) visit ministry sites that seek to respond to various forms of structural, i.e. economic, healthcare; gendered, ethnicity/racial, sexuality, prison, etc. forms of injustices that impact specific communities; 3) articulate pastoral theologies of care that explicit integrate ethical commitments to justice and responsible pastoral action; 4) explore the difference that difference makes in the texts (human narratives as well as those written); 5) interrogate the exercise of power in unjust social, religious and structural practices and in justice oriented practices of care.