Theology and Practice of Sabbath

TC 878 Sabbath: Theology and Practice

Dr Claire Wolfteich

Team taught by a Jewish rabbi and a Christian practical theologian, this course invites students to delve into Jewish and Christian traditions on Sabbath, an important spiritual practice with many layers of theological meaning. We will explore classic texts on Sabbath—including texts from the Bible, the Talmud, and the Mishnah—as well as historical and contemporary Christian writing on the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day. Topics to include discussion of motifs of “maaseh breisheet” (creation) and “yetziat mitzrayim” (exodus), blessing and sanctifying, cessation of work, preparation for sabbath, sabbath consciousness, and imitatio dei. We also will explore Christian theologies of the Lord’s Day, including the meaning of Sabbath in light of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. This is a course in spirituality and practical theology. We will be studying and engaging in the practice of Sabbath keeping as we closely read classic and contemporary texts—and in this way exploring what the practice of Sabbath embodies and enacts theologically. We also will focus attention on questions of Sabbath keeping and spiritual formation, relationships between Sabbath keeping and pastoral excellence, and implications of Sabbath for social justice.