Philosophy and Systematic Theology

  • STH TT 731: Theology & World Religions
    As students, scholars, spiritual seekers and religious leaders we live in a modern world manifesting many forms of diversity. One key form of this diversity is religious pluralism. We become more and more aware that that, for instance, all the historical religions of the world now comprise the spiritual mosaic of spiritual life in North America. This course provides an overview of the historical development of the world's religions in order to better understand the current spiritual pluralism of North America. While the history of world religions does not explain everything that is happening in the lives of modern religious people, informed understanding of these religions is still essential for anyone who seeks to dialogue in a meaningful fashion with a person of another faith tradition. The course will focus on both the emic (inner dimensions) and etic (outer dimensions) of the historical and spiritual development of the world's religions. We will stress the differences as well as the similar features of the religions. We will also ask genuine theological questions because we live, work, communicate and minister in diverse religious communities of faith.
  • STH TT 732: History of Christian Theology in Philosophical Perspective
    Christianity called itself a "philosophy" in its early centuries and its theology has always been highly responsive to philosophical thought, even when it has attempted to be anti-philosophical. This course tracks the history of Western European Christian theology through the influences of Plato and Plotinus on Augustine and Bonaventura, Aristotle on Thomas Aquinas, the rise of early modern subjectivism on Luther and Calvin, the influences of Kant and Hegel on Schleiermacher, Barth, and Tillich, the rise of process theology, and the influence of Marx on liberation and postmodern theologies. The emphasis will be more on the shaping of theological contours than on the philosophies themselves.
  • STH TT 733: Constructive Theology
    This course introduces students to the major themes of Christian theology with the aim of providing them with a framework for effective and faithful theological reflection. Beginning with revelation and ending with eschatology, we follow a familiar progression in the study of systematic theology, examining modern and postmodern theological perspectives on God, creation, human nature, sin, Christology, ecclesiology and other doctrinal loci. The methodological approach is constructive, in that emphasis is placed on helping students integrate central issues of faith in response to contemporary issues.
  • STH TT 803: Resurrection: Eschatology for the 21st Century
    TBA
  • STH TT 805: The Theology and Ethics of Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr
    The purpose of this course is three-fold: (a) to understand the methodologies of each of the Niebuhr brothers; (b) to discern their similarities and differences; (c) to assess the extent to which the thought of each may or may not be a helpful resource for analyzing contemporary moral problems and providing ethical guidelines for their resolution. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 806: Theology and Literature
    This course explores the theological relevance of literature through an examination of contemporary fiction and examines the benefits and limitations of writing theology in the form of fiction. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 811: Mysticism & Philosophy: Medieval Jewish
    Thematic introduction to mysticism and philosophy, with a focus on dynamics of religious experience. Readings from medieval Jewish philosophy, Kabbalah, Biblical interpretation, Sufi-inspired mysticism, poetry from the Golden Age of Muslim Spain. Attention to interactions with Islamic philosophy and mysticism. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 813: Proseminar in Science and Religion
    Quantum entanglement is one of the most remarkable ideas to have emerged from physics in the twentieth century. Identified as a consequence of quantum theory already in the 1920s, it was not confirmed as a physical phenomenon until the 1980s. The broader implications of living in an "entangled" world are only beginning to be felt outside the walls of physics. This course explores the significance of quantum entanglement for theological reflection on creaturely and divine relationality. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 815: Introduction to Chinese Religion
    An introduction to the history of the intellectual and spiritual development of the Confucian tradition from its beginnings to the modern period in China, Korea, and Japan. Special emphasis is placed on the classical and Neo-Confucian phases, as well as on contemporary Confucian-Christian dialogue. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 816: 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 956. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 818: Development of Christian Thought: The Holy Spirit
    A re-examination of Spirit is essential to post-9/11 Christianity and an understanding of God's presence and activity in our time. This course explores this claim and seeks to provide students with both a historical and constructive study of a doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Tracking the Spirit through the Christian tradition, from the biblical texts in Genesis to the present day, we will focus on the major movements in which a doctrine of the Spirit takes precedence, i.e. the Reformation, Quakerism, the Holiness movement, Pentecostalism, and African-American gospel traditions. Exploring the rich textual imagery and embodied testimonies associated with Spirit, we will explore the connections between Spirit and issues of justice, reconciliation, suffering, and healing. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 819: Institute for Philosophy and Religion
    This course, taught in the fall, runs in tandem with the annual program of the Institute for Philosophy and Religion (www.bu.edu/ipr) and affords students the opportunity for in-depth exploration of the issues and texts related to each year's series.
  • STH TT 821: Topics in Philosophy and Future of Religion
    Examines key questions in the contemporary philosophy of religion, including the possibility of religion without God, "naturalized" or scientific views of religion, religious pluralism, and inter-religious tolerance. Featuring visiting lecturers in fall Institute for Philosophy and Religion lecture series. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 824: Scientific Approach to Religion
    This seminar examines interpretations of religious beliefs, behaviors, and experiences deriving from the biological, evolutionary, psychological, cognitive, neurological, and medical sciences. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 825: John Wesley's Theology Today
    The theology of John Wesley, though projected from an historical past, is a living and dynamic force in contemporary theology. This course examines the primary doctrinal, methodological, and practical commitments of John Wesley?s theology as developed in his sermons, hymns, writings, and life-praxis. The course also explores contemporary trends in Methodism and in Wesleyan theology more generally as they attempt to respond to the present theological situation and to the future prospects of a Christian faith lived out in the twenty-first century. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 828: Liberal Evangelical Christianity
    The general aim of this course is to learn about the history, sociology, theology, and ethics of the tension between liberals and evangelicals that has persisted among Protestant Christians within the United States, under various names, since early in the nineteenth century. The specific aim is to situate a variety of moderate possibilities within this tension. These range from mid- twentieth-century movements such Neo- Evangelicalism (represented by Billy Graham and Carl Henry, among others) and the hearty reception of famous preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick, who defined himself as 'liberal evangelical'; through the revolutionary social visions of evangelicals such as Ron Sider and Tony Campolo, the cultural critique of Jim Wallis and the Sojourners Community, and the Christian pacificism of Anabaptists such as John Howard Yoder; to the green evangelicals, liberal evangelicals, evangelical liberals, progressive evangelicals, and radical moderates of today. The class is intended for master's students interested in the liberal-evangelical tension and especially in the prospects for transcending that tension both in individual faith identities and in congregational contexts. The class should help participants become more articulate communicators and more effective leaders around issues bearing on this tension. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 832: Paul Tillich
    Centered on one of the major theological works of the twentieth century, the Systematic Theology, this course is designed to assist students to contextualize, interpret, and analyze the thought of Paul Tillich and to assess its significance for contemporary theology. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 833: Religion and Science
    Explores recent developments in the theoretical and cultural relations between religion and science, paying particular attention to strategies for moving beyond the limitations of the pervasive ?conflict? view. No specific background in science required. Focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on the interaction between Christian thought and the natural sciences. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 837: Doing Theology in a Global Context
    Methodological course which aims to construct a theological method that is appropriate and helpful to theologians and pastors in a post-colonial and globalized world. This would involve mapping the global/post-colonial context and examining the various sources, methods, and norms of theology in light of this new context. Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)
  • STH TT 838: Religious Thought: Happiness East and West
    What is happiness? How can we achieve a balanced, healthy, flourishing life? Classical thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Chuang Tzu; Stoic, Epicurean, Confucian, Buddhist paths; comparison with contemporary happiness studies. (Requires TF 701/702 or equivalent)