Philosophy and Systematic Theology

  • STH TT 842: Lab Placement
    This is a course for students in a variety of Boston University School of Theology and Division of Religious and Theological Studies degree programs who are registered for laboratory placements. It is not available to students at other schools in the Boston Theological Institute.
  • STH TT 844: War and the Human: Theological Responses to 21st century War
    What motivates us to fight? What are the practices of war saying about who we are, as persons and as a nation? What is the impact of war? This course brings theological insights to bear on current practices of war. Beginning with analysis of the dimensions of 21st century war, we will explore perennial human questions raised within the context of war: love/hate, shame/guilt, conscience, justice, community, identity, and death. This course aims to deepen theological exploration and also seeks to empower students to develop constructive theological responses to war. The course focuses on current practices of war by the U.S. and features site-visits and engagements with different sectors of society directly involved in war/healing work. Topics addressed include: terror & the role of religion in war post 9/11; religion in the military (chaplains, race, class, gender, religious pluralism); the discourse of war - just war, pacifism; technology, intelligence, & the media; trauma and war; the function of race, class, and gender in war; peace, protest, and religious communities
  • STH TT 845: Spirituality, Medicine & Health
    The general aim of this science-religion course is to learn about the complex entanglements among religious traditions and spirituality, medical traditions and healing modalities, and norms for physical and mental health. This will involve (i) in Part 1 of the course, gaining a basic grasp on the history of the medical traditions of China, India, the Middle East, and the West, including the metaphysical frameworks that inform those traditions; (ii) in Part 2 of the course, studying the complex controversy over spirituality and health research and attempting to decide whether and how the efficacy of healing modalities is to be evaluated; (iii) in Part 3 of the course, understanding how western biomedicine interacts with the array of medical traditions and spiritually inspired healing modalities that thrive in the West; and (iv) throughout the course, addressing philosophical, theological, and ethical questions about norms for mental and physical health and comparing metaphysical frameworks for health and healing. The class is intended for advanced masters students and doctoral candidates interested in the science-religion dialogue, and particularly in spirituality and health.
  • STH TT 849: Queer Theology
    This course examines the emergence of queer theology as it has been derived from queer theory and LGBTQ social justice activists. It will acquaint students with the history of the term "queer", its challenges, its reappropriation and the impact queer theology is having on the Christian faith and practices. We will especially investigate how "queering" may contribute to theology as academic discipline, church practice and as an instrument of social justice. This course will privilege an intersectional analysis.
  • STH TT 852: Theological Thinking for Everyday Life and Ministry
    This course aims to teach theological thinking by doing a lot of it. The class is designed to place the specific experiences of participants in conversation with each other and with the wisdom of the authors of the readings. The aim is to become more effective theological thinkers.
  • STH TT 854: Classic Jewish Thought
    This course investigates basic human and religious issues as they have been understood in the classical Jewish tradition: creation and revelation, good and evil, the nature of suffering, the relationship between God and human beings, and the relationships of human beings to one another. We will explore these issues through investigation of sources from the Bible, midrashic literature, Talmud, and Jewish philosophy. Special attention to the role of Torah and its interpretation in Jewish life and thought
  • STH TT 855: Theology of Christian Mysticism
    Graduate Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
    A concentrated venture in philosophical theology. This lecture, reading and discussion course centers on the thought, not the praxis, of selected major mystics in the Christian tradition. Overviews Greek philosophical backgrounds then moves to a close examination of Eckhart, Nicolas of Cusa, Boehme, and William Blake.
  • STH TT 856: Preaching for the Modern World: Preaching Theological Challenges
    Consideration of the ways in which the contexts of preaching today differ from those in which the familiar formulations of theology came into being as well as the theological implications of the differences.
  • STH TT 857: Postmodern Theology and Spirituality
    This course examines the impact of philosophers like Nietzsche, Foucault, Levinas, Irigaray, and Derrida on the study of theology. Rather than shutting down a religious conversation, theologians within this tradition argue that postmodern thought opens up religious questions in new ways. What does postmodernism reveal about religious confessions and practices? How does this conversation help us to understand some of the shifts in spirituality and religious practice in our contemporary world? (John Caputo, Mark C. Taylor, Catherine Keller, and Mark D. Jordan)
  • STH TT 858: Theologies of Dialogue
    Graduate Prerequisites: STH TT 810.
    An examination of the major contemporary theological options proposed for the theory and practice of dialogue by the churches and theological communities.
  • STH TT 861: Varieties of Religious Naturalisms
    The aim of this seminar is to 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 862: Theologies of Liberation
    Theologies of liberation originated in the mid-twentieth century and have continued in various forms and contexts on into the twenty-first century. This course examines some of the classic texts in Latin American, Asian, Hispanic, Black, Womanist, Queer, and Feminist liberation theology and aims at an understanding of their sources, methods, hermeneutic, and primary themes.
  • STH TT 865: Religious Dimensions of Whitehead's Philosophy
    A detailed study of Whitehead's physical and metaphysical thought provides a framework for a formal consideration of his religious ideas. Hartshorne's transformation of Whitehead's metaphysical and religious ideas into pantheism. Philosophical ideas in process theology.
  • STH TT 866: Feminist and Womanist Theologies
    Feminist and womanist theologians provide some of the sharpest theological analyses of the ways in which power functions both within and outside of religious institutions. This course explores these contributions to an understanding of power, both divine and human, and the ways in which practices and professions of religious traditions can be both death-dealing and life- giving. How does power operate on bodies, in institutions, in global markets? What is the fuel "the power" necessary for social change and transformation? Examining critical moments in 20th century movements of liberation, this course draws on theory, theology, literature, and media to give theological depth and understanding to religious claims about love, power, and justice.
  • STH TT 871: Science Literacy and Scientific Boundary Questions
    This course introduces contemporary science to students with research and writing interests in the area of science, philosophy, and religion. It also treats scientific boundary questions, which are philosophical, ethical, and theological questions raised by science yet not answerable within science itself. This is more than a popular science course; it is the course to take when you are ready to go beyond popular science, and you are ready for integrative thinking that connects science, philosophy, history, ethics, and theology. The Fall semester lectures are on the biological sciences. That semester can be taken independently of the Spring semester on physics. The mathematics required for the Spring lectures on physics is taught through the whole year in a separate meeting. You should consult the instructor about your background and readiness to take this course prior to registering.
  • STH TT 872: Science Literacy and Scientific Boundary Questions
    This course introduces contemporary science to students with research and writing interests in the area of science, philosophy, and religion. It also treats scientific boundary questions, which are philosophical, ethical, and theological questions raised by science yet not answerable within science itself. This is more than a popular science course; it is the course to take when you are ready to go beyond popular science, and you are ready for integrative thinking that connects science, philosophy, history, ethics, and theology. TT872 lectures are on physics. TT871, on the biological sciences, can be taken independently of TT872 on physics. The mathematics required for the TT872 lectures on physics is taught through the whole year in a separate meeting. You should consult the instructor about your background and readiness to take TT871 or TT872 prior to registering.
  • STH TT 874: Contemporary Theological Systems
    An exploration of contemporary systematic perspectives on the Christian faith aimed at facilitating the development of the student's own ability to think theologically and to construct his or her own theological perspective in light of his or her own theological tradition and the contemporary situation.
  • STH TT 889: Theologies of Sexual Identity
    A study of the conceptual, biblical, historical, scientific, and critical roots of the current issues about sexual identity, focusing on women's ordination and gay marriage as prisms to understand the feminist and gay cultural revolutions. These movements have called attention to sexual identities more generally, and the theology of sexually identity for all human beings will be developed.
  • STH TT 890: Topics in Speculative Philosophy: The Axiology of Thinking
    A detailed study of the thesis that valuation structures thinking in imagination, interpretation, theorizing, and the pursuit of responsibility. Principal texts are the instructor's Reconstruction of Thinking, Recovery of the Measure, and Normative Cultures.
  • STH TT 898: 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.