Chair: John O'Keefe (2021-2023)
Department Office: Humanities Building, Room 135
Interim Chair: Todd A. Salzman (2020-2021)
Department Office: Humanities Building, Room 141
The Theology Department is dedicated to the classical understanding of theology as “faith seeking understanding.” Faculty in this department represent a spectrum of theological interests including Old and New Testament studies, patristic and historical theology, moral theology, liturgical theology, and systematic theology. Members of the theology department also have expertise in several of the world’s religious traditions. The department attracts students with diverse career goals ranging from ministry to medicine.
Major in Theology
Specific Requirements for Admission to the Theology Major
Sophomore standing and “C” average in two or more completed theology courses.
Associate Degree in the College of Professional Studies
This department offers the following associate degree to students in the College of Professional Studies:
THL 110. The Christian Tradition, Then and Now. 3 credits.
This course provides a basic introduction to the history, teachings, and practices of Christianity, and to theology as an academic discipline. Consideration of the origins and evolution of Christianity will prepare students to interpret the intellectual and the practical challenges it faces in a rapidly changing world.
THL 112. The Christian Tradition:Global Visions. 3 credits.
This course will introduce students to the basic teachings, history and practices of Christianity and its global enculturation. Course topics will consider the local expression of Christianity in North America, Latin America, Asia and/or Africa.
THL 114. The Christian Tradition: Exploring the Great Questions. 3 credits.
Christian doctrines emerged from addressing core questions: Who is God? Who is Jesus? What is the Church? What does it mean to be truly human? What is the human being’s relationship to non-human nature? What constitutes salvation? What is the source of evil and sin? What is revelation? This course is organized around key questions and key themes as they have evolved over the course of the history of Christianity.
THL 115. The Christian Tradition in Women's Voices. 3 credits.
By studying Christianity in light of women's concerns and voices, this course reveals a dimension of Christian theology that transcends traditional categories. Utilizing historical, topical, and literary approaches, this course addresses contemporary theological concerns in light of the voices of women in the Christian past and present.
THL 116. The Christian Tradition: Faith and Witness. 3 credits.
This course aims to introduce the Christian theological tradition from a Jesuit, Catholic view. It invites students to begin a journey of reflection on how the Christian community throughout history have thought and lived out the truth that God is love - a love that gives and attracts.
THL 130. Orientation to the Certificate in Theology for Ministry. 1 credit.
Course designed to orient nontraditional, undergraduate students to the study of theology for ministry, and to the process of ministry formation. Students are introduced to four essential formation areas for ministry and to basic Ignatian reflection and discernment skills, which incorporate the exploration of motivations for pursuing ministry studies, development of good study and research skills and integration of work, study, and life-balance. P: High school diploma. For students in the Certificate in Theology for Ministry only.
THL 131. Theological and Ministerial Integration. 1 credit.
Understanding and application of key concepts of pastoral ministry including appropriate pastoral strategies and pastoral planning. Emphasis upon framing one's own ministerial experience and the knowledge gleaned from previous coursework in a reflective manner. P: Courses in the Undergraduate Certificate in Theology for Ministry; Students from St. Joseph Educational Center in Des Moines, Iowa only.
THL 175. The Human Induced Climate Crisis:Origins and Solutions. 3 credits.
This course will analyze the cultural forces that allowed social, religious, and political discourse to diverge so widely from scientific discourse concerning the climate crisis. It will also reflect upon what kind of social, religious, psychological, and political transformation is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. CO: COM 101.
THL 176. Sport and Spirituality. 3 credits.
This course will focus on the intersection of sports, spirituality, religious faith practice, and social context. This course will clarify terminology for the interdisciplinary study of sport and religion and then critically examine examples of the intersection of sport and spirituality. The intent is to look at sports and athletic competition in light of their potential to point to, substitute for, undermine, or augment personal quests for communal religious meaning and faith/spiritual significance. Co: COM 101.
THL 215. The Biblical Tradition: Ancestors and Heroes. 3 credits.
Introduction to the primary story of biblical Israel (Genesis – 2 Kings), and how to interpret the Bible critically within its literary, social, and historical contexts. Emphasis will be placed on interpreting the biblical stories through focusing on the social and literary role of the characters. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course.
THL 216. The Biblical Tradition: The Human Question. 3 credits.
Students will survey selected texts of the Older Testament, for the purpose of acquiring and developing skills in reading closely, interpreting critically, and writing effectively, with an eye toward exploring the question of what it means to be human from a biblical perspective. P: One course of The Christian Tradition (THL 110-125).
THL 217. The Biblical Tradition: Social Justice in the Old Testament. 3 credits.
This course examines the themes of force, violence and social justice in the Old Testament and in selected New Testament texts, primarily reading the story of ancient Israel from its origins to the return from exile, along with prophetic comment on that story. Students will learn how to interpret the Bible analytically within its literary, social, and historical contexts. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course.
THL 230. The Biblical Tradition: Gender, Economy, and Violence. 3 credits.
Introduction to critical interpretation of the Bible, focusing on traditions in which gender, economics, or violence are prominent; includes consideration of implications for Christian theology and practice. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course.
THL 231. Biblical Tradition: Perspectives on Suffering and Evil. 3 credits.
Introduction to critical interpretation of the Bible, with focus on traditions that address the experience of suffering and evil; includes reflection on applicability to individual and communal experiences of suffering and evil in today's world. P: The Christian Tradition.
THL 235. The Biblical Tradition: Sickness and Healing. 3 credits.
Introduction to the Gospels and how to interpret them critically within their historical, social, and literary contexts. Critical interpretation of gospel traditions about sickness and healing will be a major focus. P: One course of The Christian Tradition (THL 110-125).
THL 236. The Biblical Tradition: New Testament. 3 credits.
A survey of selected writings from the early Christian communities, understood in their cultural and literary contexts. P: One course of The Christian Tradition (THL 110-125).
THL 237. The Biblical Tradition: Early Christian Community and Identity. 3 credits.
This course explores how the earliest followers of Jesus understood themselves and their communities by interpreting Biblical texts within their literary, social, and historical contexts. Emphasis will be placed on the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of the New Testament. P: One course of The Christian Tradition (THL 110-125).
THL 238. The Biblical Tradition: The Johannine Literature. 3 credits.
This course studies the portrait of Jesus and the good news provided by the early Christian community as preserved in the Gospel and Letters of John. Focus lays on interpreting the group’s theology and their particular contribution to the development of Christianity through their literary, historical, and social contexts. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course.
THL 239. The Biblical Tradition: The Synoptic Gospels. 3 credits.
This course studies the portrait of Jesus and the good news provided by the early Christian community as preserved in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, known as the Synoptic Gospels. Focus lays on interpreting the theology of the Gospels and their particular contributions to the development of Christianity through their literary, historical, and social contexts. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course.
THL 240. The Biblical Tradition: Messiah, Prophet, and Rabbi. 3 credits.
This course explores the expectation of a messiah in the Second Temple Period, how the earliest followers of Jesus portrayed Jesus in the New Testament texts, and how modern scholars construct the life of Jesus from a historical perspective. Emphasis will be placed on the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of the New Testament. P: The Christian Tradition.
THL 241. The Biblical Tradition: The Gospel in Service of Social Justice. 3 credits.
This course introduces the service and social justice component of the Christian scriptures, focusing on the good news shared by and for the oppressed that cultivates a community living and working for the common good. The class will introduce the origin, development, and interpretation of the Bible, followed by a more systematic reflection upon the social gospel and its impact upon contemporary Christian faith and practice. P: The Christian Tradition course.
THL 270. Theological Ethics: Applying Moral Principles. 3 credits.
This introduction to fundamental ethical theories investigates Christian moral principles and how they apply to moral issues. It analyzes the role of religious faith, explores the individual and the common good and emphasizes ongoing moral development and critical thinking. P: One Magis Core Philosophical Ideas course.
THL 271. Theological Ethics: Applying Moral Principles in the Marketplace. 3 credits.
This course introduces major ethical theories, including utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and key approaches to social ethics, through a conversation with the range of concerns animating Christian moral reflection, and with special attention to issues arising in contemporary capitalism. P: Philosophical Ideas course.
THL 272. Theological Ethics: Sexual and Gender Issues. 3 credits. (Same as WGS 272)
This course investigates the nature and sources of moral obligation, moral virtue, justice, wisdom, and a good human life from a Christian theological perspective and applies this perspective to sexual and gender issues. P: Philosophical Ideas course.
THL 273. Theological Ethics: Moral Perception and Moral Blindness. 3 credits.
This introduction to fundamental ethical theories focuses upon ethical thought as the foundation for ethical action, and investigates the impact of religious faith, psychological awareness, and personal character upon the development of moral thinking. P: One Magis Core Philosophical Ideas course.
THL 274. Theological Ethics: Social Action and Political Advocacy. 3 credits.
This academic service learning course empowers students to catalyze faith-based social change by engaging key concepts and strategies in fundamental moral theological ethics, social science and political science. As part of the coursework, students serve at a local community partner site. P: Philosophical Ideas course.
THL 300. Ultimate Questions: Jesus Christ, Yesterday and Today. 3 credits.
This course examines the historical Jesus, scriptural Christologies, and classical Christological teachings and their reception throughout Christian history. Contemporary integrations such as the “search for the historical Jesus,” as well as liberation and feminist/womanist theologies will be explored. P: One Philosophical Ideas course (PHL 110 or PHL 111 or PHL 112 or PHL 113 or PHL 113); one course of The Christian Tradition (THL 110-125); one course of The Biblical Tradition (THL 201-240).
THL 301. Divine Providence, Catholic Social Teaching, & the Problem of Climate Change. 3 credits.
This course will deal with a number of questions as they are addressed primarily by the doctrine of providence: How can one reconcile the teaching that God is the source of all that is and guides nature and history to its divine end with an evolutionary world view? How can human beings change the climate if God is all powerful and the source of all that is? What is the relationship of God to creation? While the course takes up the question of providence in relationship to human and non-human agency, it also reflects on the human being and her freedom and social responsibility in light of the fact that human beings have become geological agents, destabilizing planetary systems (most especially the climate system) with effects that will play out on geological time scales of tens of thousands to possibly millions of years. P: One Magis core Philosophical Ideas course, One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course, One Magis Core The Biblical Tradition course.
THL 305. Ultimate Questions: Reconciliation. 3 credits.
This course analyzes the concept and practice of reconciliation through a theological and social lens. Students will explore the multifaceted nature of reconciliation, including elements of forgiveness, justice, lament, and mediation. Students will also analyze global case studies in social reconciliation, including race relations in America. Students will be challenged to apply these concepts to their own local communities and contexts. Prereq: Philosophical Ideas; The Christian Tradition; The Biblical Tradition.
THL 309. Ultimate Questions: African Christianity. 3 credits.
This course offers an introduction to African Christian theology. Topics include African traditional religion and the history of Christianity in Africa; modern theological perspectives on God, Christology, liturgy & enculturation; and contemporary ecclesiological challenges (e.g., church and state, violence and reconciliation, poverty, patriarchy, and dialogue with Islam). Prereq: Magis Christian Tradition course, Magis Biblical Tradition course, Magis Philosophical Ideas.
THL 312. The Spirituality and History of Ignatius of Loyola and the Society of Jesus. 3 credits.
An examination of the Society of Jesus from its founding by Ignatius of Loyola during the pivotal 16th century, through suppression and recovery to the challenges of the modern post-Vatican II era, this course seeks to understand the Jesuits on two levels: through their controversial history, set within the context of their times and as represented by the lives of selected individuals; and through the development of their particular spirituality, Ignatian methods of prayer and discernment of spirits, as originated in the Spiritual Exercises and enhanced over time. Students will have the opportunity both to understand Jesuit history and to understand the theology of Ignatian spirituality for their own interior lives. Prereq: Philosophical Ideas; The Christian Tradition; The Biblical Tradition; THL 100; THL 200.
THL 314. Vatican II. 3 credits.
Vatican II was the seminal event in the Catholic Church during the last 450 years. From how the Church understood itself (Lumen gentium) its mission to the world (Gaudium et spes) as well as the Bible (Dei verbum) and other religions (Nostra aetate) Vatican II represents a radical re-orientation for the Catholic Church. As such, it deserves careful study and understanding. P: Philosophical Ideas course; Christian Tradition course; Biblical Tradition course.
THL 315. Ultimate Questions: Theology of Christian Marriage. 3 credits.
This course covers the history of marriage in the Christian tradition, marriage as sacrament, and contemporary issues related to marriage. P: One Magis Core Philosophical Ideas course; One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course; One Magis Core The Biblical Tradition course; or 200-level Scripture course; Junior standing.
THL 316. Ultimate Questions: A Theology of the Catholic Sacraments. 3 credits.
For the Catholic Church, the sacraments manifest and communicate to humanity the mystery of a loving communion with God in Jesus Christ. This course explores how the divine life communicated in and through Jesus is made manifest in the sacraments, which transform persons into lovers of God and the world. The approach of study is a historical, systematic, and pastoral exploration of the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist) and the sacraments of reconciliation and marriage in Catholic practice. Prereq: Philosophical Ideas, The Christian Tradition, The Biblical Tradition.
THL 325. Catholicism: Creed and Question. 3 credits. SP
This course explores the basic beliefs and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church within the context of current theological debate. P: 200-level Scripture course; Jr. stdg.
THL 327. Christianity and the Holocaust. 3 credits.
Christianity has been grappling for sixty years with the enormity of the Holocaust. This course will investigate the history of Jewish-Christian relations, the New Testament foundations and the articulation of central Christian doctrines that encouraged Anti-Judaism, and the efforts being made by Christians to re-think identity and doctrine vis-à-vis Judaism.
THL 338. Eucharist: Liturgical Theology and Practice. 3 credits.
Study of the Eucharist from an ecumenical perspective. The course is intended for Catholic and Protestant, mainline and evangelical Christians seeking a critical, historical, and theological understanding of their eucharistic heritage. P: 200-level Scripture course; Jr. stdg.
THL 339. Theology of the Church and Sacraments. 3 credits.
An historical and critical analysis of the sacramental dimension of Christianity as it applies to the church. A treatment of the church as the sacrament of the risen Jesus and of the classical Christian sacraments as solemn, symbolic actions of both that church and that Jesus. P: 200-level Scripture course; Jr. stdg.
THL 349. Egyptian Art and Archaeology. 3 credits. OD (Same as ARH 349, CNE 349, HIS 349)
This course will explore the history, society, culture, and religion of ancient Egypt form the pre-dynastic era through the Ptolemaic period, as revealed through its artistic and material remains. Attention will be given to how sculpture, painting, architecture, and other material remains provide a window on Egyptian life and thought. P: So. stdg.
THL 350. Archaeology of Israel and Jordan. 3 credits. OD (Same as ARH 350, CNE 350, HIS 350)
A chronological survey of the archaeology of Israel and Jordan, providing a material perspective on the history of society, economy, and religion of the people from the Neolithic period to the Byzantine Period.
THL 351. Introduction To Chinese Philosophy. 3 credits. OD (Same as PHL 351)
Origin and development of Chinese philosophy. The basic doctrines and moral principles that the Chinese tradition holds. Different schools of Chinese philosophy, such as Confucianism, Daoism, and Moism. How Chinese philosophy has been practiced in daily life. The conflicts between Chinese tradition and modern China. P: One Magis Core Philosophical Ideas course, and one of the following: PHL 201, PHL 250, PHL 270, PHL 271, PHL 272, PHL 275, PHL 300, PHL 320, or PHL 399.
THL 353. Introduction to Buddhism. 3 credits. OD (Same as PHL 353)
Origin and development of Buddhism's basic doctrines and beliefs. The different schools of Buddhist traditions, and the changes as Buddhism spread from India through China and Japan to the West. How Buddhist teachings are practiced in daily life. P: Philosophical course, and one of the following: PHL 398 (was PHL 201), PHL 250, PHL 270, PHL 271, PHL 272, PHL 275, PHL 300, PHL 320, or PHL 399.
THL 354. Introduction to Judaism. 3 credits. OD
Development of Jewish faith, philosophy, institutions, and peoplehood. P: 200-level Scripture course; Jr. stdg.
THL 358. Critical Issues In The Study Of Native American Religions. 3 credits. OD (Same as AMS 358, ANT 358, NAS 358)
This course utilizes anthropological perspectives in the study of Native American religion. The focus of the course is non-Western, non-proselytizing religions which are coterminous with local political or kinship based social groups. The course looks at the history of the study of Native religions, the nature of Native religions as understood by a variety of disciplines, and the contemporary critique of colonialism by Native peoples specifically in regard to intellectual colonialism of Native knowledge and the practical colonialism inherent in the imitation of Native religions by non-tribal members.
THL 359. Ultimate Questions in Living Religions of the World. 3 credits.
This course looks at ultimate questions in the world's religions as practiced today. As a comparative introduction to living religions, it explores both the contours of the category "religion" and historical and contemporary expressions of "religion". Using an impartial approach, particular attention is paid to how different religions conceive of ultimate reality, goodness, the human person, social relationships, and the natural world. Prereq: Philosophical Ideas, The Christian Tradition, The Biblical Tradition.
THL 365. Faith and Moral Development. 1 credit. FA
A series of three one-credit-hour seminars taken over three consecutive semesters. Each seminar will examine a theory of faith or moral development and a biography of a social activist such as Dorothy Day or Martin Luther King, Jr. P: Oral Communication course; Ethics course; Sophomore standing.
THL 380. Method and Theory in Theology. 3 credits.
Intended primarily for theology majors and minors, this course trains students in reading, writing, research, and using critical theories (e.g., psychoanalytic, Marxist, new historical, feminist) in theology and religion. The content will be divided between skills-building (reading, writing, research) and exploring critical theories as they apply to theological studies. P: Christian Tradition; Mathematical Reasoning course. P or CO: Philosophical Ideas.
THL 390. History of the Christian Church. 3 credits. SP
Survey of the intellectual, ecclesiastical and political developments which shaped Christianity through two millennia. Exploration of complex relations among beliefs, institutions, and practices which constitute Christian history. P: 200-level Scripture course.
THL 391. Applied Ministry/Spirituality. 1-3 credits. OD
Offered only in the Certificate programs in Ministry and Spirituality. Experiential study chosen in consultation with adviser.
THL 416. For the Greater Glory: The Jesuits, their History and Spirituality. 3 credits. OD (Same as HIS 416, SRP 416)
An examination of the Society of Jesus from its founding by Ignatius of Loyola during the pivotal 16th century, through suppression and recovery to the challenges of the modern, Post-Vatican II era, this course seeks to understand the Jesuits on two levels: through their controversial history, set within the context of their times and as represented by the lives of selected individuals; and through the development of their particular spirituality, Ignatian methods of prayer and discernment of spirits, as originated in the Spiritual Exercises and enhanced over time. Students will have an opportunity both to analyze Jesuit history and to experience Ignatian spirituality in their own interior lives. P: Sr. stdg. and PHL 270 or PHL 271 or PHL 272 or PHL 275 or THL 270 or THL 272 or THL 273.
THL 419. Bible, Spirituality, & American Public Life. 3 credits.
Exploration of the biblical foundations of Christian spirituality, followed by critical examination of the implications for contemporary American life; includes attention to intersection of race, gender & economic realities. P: THL 110, THL 200.
THL 420. Science and Religion. 3 credits. OD (Same as PHL 420, SRP 420)
This course explores the relationship between science and religion from three perspectives: philosophy of science, scientific theories, and theology. Issues to be studied include: reductionism vs. emergentism, the relationship between God and world (including creation and evolution), the Galileo affair, and Darwin and design. P: Sr. stdg. and PHL 250/THL 250 or a Magis Core Ethics course.
THL 431. Jesus Christ: Liberator. 3 credits.
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Christology from the perspective of liberation asks concretely "what do we need to be liberated from in order to know and love Jesus Christ?" While "salvation" traditionally pertains to one's status in the next life, "liberation" pertains to both the present and the future. Of particular interest for this course will be the role of context and culture and how it influences belief. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course; One Magis Core The Biblical Tradition course; One Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course; Senior standing.
THL 443. Ecclesiology in Global Context. 3 credits. (Same as JPS 443)
The Catholic Church as present within various countries around the world provides unique opportunities for understanding how local churches incorporated the call of the Second Vatican Council to read the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel. Immersion learning allows contact experiences with people and different realities to teach and supplement academic material in the classroom. P: One Magis Core Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course and one 100-level THL course.
THL 457. Biomedical Ethics: Philosophical and Theological Approaches. 3 credits. OD (Same as HAP 457, PHL 457)
This course explores philosophical and theological ethical theories and analyzes and evaluates select issues in biomedicine and health care policy in light of those theories. P: Ethics course; Senior standing.
THL 463. Social Justice in Selected Global Faith Traditions. 3 credits.
Examines how global Catholic, Mainstream Protestant, Peace Church, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions inform their members in their approach to problems of social justice. Includes attention to how Ignatian charisms and values have informed efforts to enact social change. Students will critically engage a specific problem of social justice with which they have experiential contact, and will also reflect on how their own background contributes to their personal and professional development as global citizens who will be working as agents of social justice. P: One Magis Core Contemporary Composition course; one Magis Core Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course; one Magis Core The Christian Tradition course; one Magis Core The Biblical Tradition course; Sr. Stdg.
THL 464. Social Justice in Islam and Muslim Experience. 3 credits.
This course is an inherent integration and intersection of issues of social justice, ethics, diversity, and potential service, in Islam in particular and also in Muslim-Christian partnership. Students will critically engage a specific problem of social justice with which they have experiential contact, whether in Islam, or in the Muslim experience, or in Christian-Muslim relations. P: Critical Issues in Human Inquiry; Senior standing.
THL 470. Seminar in Selected Topics. 3 credits. OD
Topical seminar with topics changing in different semesters. Course may be repeated with a different topic. P: Biblical Traditions course; Jr. stdg.
THL 471. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. 3 credits.
This course offers both an academic and a practical, personal experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. Students experience the process of the Spiritual Exercises and learn the major emphases of Ignatian spirituality. They reflect, individually and together,on the invitation and the impact of the Exercises upon their lives, including their invitation to work for justice. They experience various forms of prayer. Students write a series of short papers, some analyzing experiences in the Exercises; some reflecting on their experience of prayer,service, and work for justice; one analyzing the thinking of the Exercises by contrast with views from two contemporary academic fields; and one final integrating essay offering what students have learned from making the Exercises in the light of what they know of one culture and what they have learned in their major discipline. P: Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course; Permission of instructor; previous or contemporary experience of work related to service and social justice; Senior standing.
THL 479. Communication and Theology. 3 credits. (Same as COM 479, THL 479)
This course explores communication from a Christian perspective. Christian values such as charity, justice, freedom, human dignity, reconciliation, and peace as developed in Sacred Scripture, Church documents, and by great Christian thinkers are applied critically to issues and cases from three areas of communication studies: Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, and Mass Communication. P: PHL 250/THL 250 or Magis Core Ethics course and Sr Stdg.
THL 488. Personal and Spiritual Dimensions of Leadership. 3 credits. (Same as COM 488, EDU 488, SRP 488)
The purpose of the course is to give students the opportunity to engage in introspection and examination of their personal belief and value systems related to leadership. The course begins from the assumption that leadership is "a journey that begins within" and examines the relationship between leadership theory and Christian spirituality. Biographical examples will be analyzed; biographies will be drawn from diverse fields such as health, science, business, government, sports and education. P: Sr. stdg.
THL 492. Senior Seminar. 3 credits. FA
Study of a major theme in the Christian theological tradition. Each student will write and present a major research paper related to this theme. P: Sr. stdg; One Magis Core Oral Communication course; One Magis Core Contemporary Composition course. Open to Theology majors only.
THL 493. Directed Independent Readings. 1-4 credits. OD
May be repeated to a limit of six hours. P: DC.
THL 495. Directed Independent Study. 1-4 credits. OD
May be repeated to a limit of six hours. P: DC.
THL 498. Pastoral Synthesis. 3 credits. OD
Integrating project synthesizing a personal pastoral experience under faculty direction.
THL 499. Justice, Culture, Society, and Vocational Discernment. 3 credits. (Same as JPS 499)
This seminar engages readings, guest speakers, and site visits to consider how individuals and organizations understand justice and work for social change. The seminar also explores career opportunities in the field and vocational discernment in the Ignatian tradition. Required for Justice and Society majors and Justice and Peace Studies minors, but especially open to all students in the Department of Cultural and Social Studies. P: Jr. or Sr. standing.
THL 501. The Pentateuch. 3 credits. OD
Origin and composition of the first five books of the Bible. Historical and theological traditions contributing to their formation. Emphasis on their unique theology and on the use of the books in the New Testament period.
THL 502. Old Testament Themes. 3 credits. OD
In-depth study of the themes of covenant and community as they are developed in the Pentateuch and in Prophetic and Wisdom Literature. A survey of contemporary scholarship will support a careful study of the pertinent texts.
THL 503. The Prophetic Literature Of The Old Testament. 3 credits. OD
The uniqueness of the prophetic movement. Background literary styles, relevance of the prophetic message.
THL 504. The Wisdom Literature Of The Old Testament. 3 credits. OD
Study of the patterns of Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, some of the Psalms, compared with the wisdom literature of other ancient peoples.
THL 505. History of Biblical Interpretation. 3 credits.
A wide-ranging historical examination of the ways in which individuals and communities have understood and appropriated the texts of the Bible. Specific topics include theologies of Scripture, inner-biblical interpretation, early Jewish and Christian exegesis, medieval interpretation, and the study of the Bible during the Renaissance, Reformation(s), scientific revolution, and the modern period. P: 200-level Scripture course and Soph. stdg.
THL 507. The Gospel of Matthew. 3 credits. OD
A study of the theological vision of the text of this gospel, using all available methods and resources: redaction criticism, composition criticism, narrative criticism, etc.
THL 508. The Gospel of Mark. 3 credits. OD
A study of the first written gospel, its outline and structure, authorship, sources and influence on later New Testament writings.
THL 509. The Gospel Of Luke And The Acts Of The Apostles. 3 credits. OD
Study of Luke-Acts as a two-volume whole - a work of history, theology, and literary artistry.
THL 511. The Gospel of John. 3 credits. OD
Study of the unique witness to the meaning of Jesus in the Johannine Gospel.
THL 514. The Pastoral Epistles. 3 credits. OD
The first attempts to weld Christianity and Western humanism as initiated in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
THL 516. The Book Of Revelation (The Apocalypse). 3 credits. OD
A contemporary scholarly interpretation of the book of Revelation with reference to contemporary apocalyptic.
THL 517. The Parables of Jesus. 3 credits. OD
Stories that formed the core of Jesus' preaching. How he told them. How the evangelists retold them. How we understand them today.
THL 518. Women and the Bible. 1-3 credits. OD (Same as WGS 518, CSP 680)
Study of the representations of women in biblical narratives; attention to the construction of gender in the ancient world. Introduction to the various approaches contemporary women are taking to these biblical texts. P: Christian Tradition course, Biblical Tradition course.
THL 520. The Dead Sea Scrolls. 3 credits. OD (Same as CNE 520)
Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls and various theories about their origin. Exploration of the light they shed on the textual history of the Hebrew Bible, developments in ancient Judaism, and the early history of Christianity.
THL 523. Israelite Religions. 3 credits. (Same as CNE 523)
This course will examine the manifold expressions of Israelite religions - biblical, archaeological, and epigraphic. Emphasis will be placed on the diversity of Israelite religions and the relationship of Israelite religions to the religions of her Near Eastern neighbors. P: Jr. stdg.
THL 524. History of Ancient Israel. 3 credits. OD (Same as CNE 524, HIS 524)
An examination and reconstruction of the history of ancient Israel from biblical and other ancient New Eastern literary texts, and from archaeological and epigraphic materials.
THL 529. Translations of the Bible. 3 credits. (Same as CNE 529)
Various ancient translations of the Bible and their significance.
THL 530. Contemporary Catholic Theologians. 3 credits. OD
Key themes in the thought of Rahner, Conger, De Lubac, Lonergan, and other contemporary Catholic theologians.
THL 531. Studies in Early Christianity. 3 credits. FA, OD
The emergence of early Christian theology through the writing of the theologians of the first 500 years of the Church's history. Attention to some of the following themes: the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, the emergence of Classical Christology, early Christian exegesis, the thought of St. Augustine. P: Christian Tradition course, Biblical Tradition course.
THL 533. Ecclesiology: Contemporary Church Questions. 3 credits.
Basic contemporary questions about the life of the church will be explored in the context of the Creed and traditional dogmatic theology. Particular emphasis on the church's transition into the third millennium.
THL 534. Introduction to Liberation Theology. 3 credits. OD
Liberation theology arose during the sixties and seventies in Latin America as a way of reflecting upon and acting out Christian faith from the perspective of those who directly experience a world of poverty, injustice and violence. Although particular to Latin America, the issues raised by liberation theology are relevant to Christianity in North America as well. P: Magis Biblical Tradition course or THL 200-level Scripture course.
THL 535. Doctrinal Development: Christology & Trinitarian Theology. 3 credits. OD
Development of the Christian community's understanding and teaching about the person and work of Jesus Christ and the Trinity.
THL 536. The Mystery of God and the Suffering of Human Beings. 3 credits.
This course will treat the problem of reconciling the Christian claim that God is love, as expressed in the doctrine of providence, with the reality of human suffering.
THL 538. Seminar in Christian Anthropology. 3 credits. OD
Study of Christian theological anthropology in eastern and western traditions. P: The Christian Tradition course or HRS 101.
THL 540. Ecclesiology: The Documents of Vatican II. 3 credits. OD
Basic contemporary questions about the life of the church will be explored through a careful study of Lumen Gentium and other selected documents from Vatican II. The Council's theology is examined in the context of the Creed and traditional dogmatic theology.
THL 541. God is Green. 3 credits.
This course explores Christian environmentalism in historical and contemporary context. Topics include the ancient church, the reformation, the impact of modern science, environmental ethics, Catholic magisterial teaching, and Christian environmental spirituality.
THL 544. Christian Celebration: The Liturgical Year. 3 credits. OD
Biblical origins and historical development of feast and season, e.g., Christmas and Easter. The theologies of the saints' days and celebrations. History and meaning of daily common prayer in the Church.
THL 545. Liturgy and Christian Life. 3 credits. OD
The historical development of Western Liturgy and its technical interpretation through the centuries. Emphasis on the saving presence of Christ and on the role of liturgy in the rest of Christian life.
THL 546. The Theology of the Saints and Martyrs: A Faith to Live and Die For. 3 credits.
This course explores how the saints and martyrs are theological agents of human flourishing in the world. Drawing from the Ignatian-inflected theologies of Bernard Lonergan and Hans Urs von Balthasar, we will explore how specific men and women are incarnate images of Trinitarian self-emptying love, and as such, living examples of the Gospel. P: THL 110 or THL 112 or THL 114; sophomore standing.
THL 552. Studies in Medieval Christianity. 3 credits. SP
This course surveys the history and theology of the medieval Church, examining key religious institutions (e.g., the papacy, monastic orders, universities) and key leaders and theologians (e.g. Benedict, Gregory VII, Anselm, Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas). P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course; a 200-level Scripture course; So. stdg.
THL 553. Reformation Theology. 3 credits.
This course examines the history and theological controversies of the Reformation. Students will be introduced to: the various reform efforts of the late medieval Church; the influence of Christian Humanism; the writings of significant Protestant theologians; and the response of the Roman Catholic Church to these reform efforts. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course.
THL 555. Major Christian Theologian. 3 credits. SP
This course involves an in-depth study of the life and writings of a major Christian theologian, one who shaped Christian history and doctrine in a decisive way: for example, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin. This course is repeatable is taken under a different topic to a maximum of 6 credits. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course; a 200-level scripture course; So. stdg.
THL 560. Theology of Ministry. 3 credits. OD
Through historical investigation of the practice of ministries in the western church from earliest times to the present, this course aims to arrive at some systematic conclusions about the nature of ministry.
THL 561. Finding God In Daily Life: Prayer And Discernment. 3 credits. OD
General introduction to Christian spirituality with special emphasis on Ignatian spirituality. Goal is to deepen understanding of spirituality as well as to improve the quality of Christian living by developing practices of personal prayer and discernment of spirits. Special emphasis placed on the theology of the Holy Spirit, Ignatian spirituality and the spirituality of Thomas Merton. P: One Magis Core The Christian Tradition course; a 200-level Scripture course; So. stdg.
THL 563. Contemporary Moral Problems. 3 credits. OD
A comprehensive study of one or more moral issues facing contemporary society.
THL 564. Christian Sexual Ethics. 3 credits. OD
Investigation of the historical and methodological dimensions of sexual ethics within the Catholic tradition; contemporary magisterial teachings on issues such as premarital sex, artificial birth control, homosexuality, and reproductive technologies; critical analysis of those teachings from various theological perspectives.
THL 565. Catholic Social Teaching. 3 credits. OD (Same as JPS 565)
This course provides an examination of contemporary Catholic social ethics. Focus is on the relevance of Christian moral reflection on issues of concern in contemporary society, including racism, poverty, issues of life and death, immigration, economic justice, and the environment. We will give special attention to the moral teachings and ethical methods of Roman Catholic social ethics, but other perspectives within Christianity will also be studied and discussed. P: Magis Ethics course.
THL 567. Gender, Race and Morality. 3 credits.
This course will examine how critical reflection on gender and race challenges Christian thought, and how attending to these fundamental features of human personhood and social life may improve Christian conversations about God, faith, moral agency and obligation, culture, and social issues. lt will begin by introducing students to feminist philosophy and ethics, and to the range of methods and concerns that biblical scholars, theologians, and ethicists in conversation with this literature have addressed. It will then introduce students to the concerns and methods of womanist theologians and other scholars who complement this critical attention to gender with attention to race and ethnicity, as well as other aspects of personhood and social location. It will pay particular attention throughout to the varying conceptions of moral agency, moral obligation, and justice that are proposed by these literatures. P: Ethics course.
THL 568. Women In The Christian Tradition. 3 credits. OD (Same as WGS 568)
Study of the outlook on man, woman, and divinity in the Bible, the Christian churches past and present, and "post-Christian" feminism. Examination of the Judeo-Christian tradition, both the pervasiveness of its patriarchal assumptions, and the liberating resources it can contribute to a healthy understanding of maleness and femaleness today.
THL 572. Ethics and Spirituality. 3 credits. OD
Consideration of the diverse spiritual traditions of Christianity to see asceticism, prayer, contemplation and discernment as categories which bridge spirituality and ethics. The traditional strands of Christian spirituality as resources for the contemporary life of faith and action. Readings from John of the Cross, Kierkegaard, Kenneth Kirk, Dorothy Day, Merton, Barth and Rahner.
THL 573. Religion and Politics. 3 credits. OD
Four Christian formulations of the relation of religion to politics: the sectarian approach, linked to liberal humanism; the natural law tradition, reformulated as basic human rights; the integration of religion and politics in liberation theology; and Christian realism with its dialectic of distance and engagement. Some of the complex interpenetrations of religious issues and political realities. P: One course of The Christian Tradition (THL 110-125) and a 200-level Scripture course and So. stdg.
THL 574. Faith and Food. 3 credits. OD
A biblical and contemporary approach to food as fellow creature, medium of fellowship, component of worship, tool of exploitation, prophetic symbol, and object of stewardship.
THL 575. Foundations of Christian Spirituality. 3 credits. AY, FA, SP
Designed to introduce students to the major historic and contemporary themes, images and practices in the Christian spiritual tradition. Focus on students' integration of that tradition into their own lives.
THL 576. Introduction to Jesuit Spirituality. 3 credits. OD
Study of the life and selected writings of St. Ignatius Loyola as well as contemporary interpretation of his spirituality. Topics include Jesuit prayer, selections from the Constitutions of Society of Jesus, chief documents from the 32nd Congregation of the Society of Jesus, discernment, and the vow of obedience.
THL 577. Special Questions in Jesuitica. 1-4 credits.
Systematic and/or historical investigation of topics relating to the Society of Jesus. Content and number of credits to be specified when the course is offered. (This course offered only at the Jesuit College, St. Paul, Minn.).
THL 579. Special Methods of Teaching Religion in the Secondary Schools. 3 credits. (Same as EDU 579)
Overview of the principles for communicating the Christian message effectively to different age levels with opportunities to observe and put them into practice. The course deals with the objectives and functions of religious education in terms of secondary school learning experiences. Attention is directed to the selection, organization, and presentation of meaningful learning materials and selection, use and evaluation of textbooks and related aids. P or CO: EDU 341 and EDU 342 or EDU 551 and EDU 552.
THL 585. Foundational Principles And Leadership Skills For Youth Ministry. 4 credits. OD
The foundational understandings and principles of comprehensive youth ministry; a deeper understanding for the minister of the theological foundations of Youth Ministry. Theories, skills and approaches for effective leadership in ministry.
THL 586. Fostering The Faith Growth Of Youth Through The Components Of Youth Ministry. 4 credits. OD
Exploration of adolescent spirituality, theological and spiritual foundations for engaging young people in the work of justice and service, theological understandings of faith, discipleship, and Catholic identity, and caring for young people and their families.
THL 587. Methods Of Teaching Religion In Elementary School. 3 credits. AY, FA (Same as EDU 587)
The course is designed to prepare students to effective religious educators in Catholic elementary schools. The course content will encompass the four dimensions of religious education: message, community, service and worship. Students will not only become acquainted with methods and materials for teaching religion, but they will also gain experience planning liturgical celebrations.
THL 588. Christian Ethics of War and Peace. 3 credits. OD (Same as JPS 588)
Introduction to the development and application of Christian ethical perspectives on the use of lethal force from the biblical period to the present day. Just war theory and pacifism in both Catholic and Protestant traditions. Special attention given to the formation of personal conscience in reflection on public policy and world events, both historical and current. P: PHL 250/THL 250 or One Magis Core Ethics course and Jr. stdg.
THL 589. The Rwanda Genocide as a Challenge for the Church. 3 credits.
Exploration of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide in historical, theological, and political contexts with particular focus on roles played by majority Catholic Church. P: One course of The Christian Tradition (THL 110-125).
THL 592. Practicum in Ministry. 3-6 credits.
Supervised experience and development of skills in appropriate ministry under faculty direction.
THL 594. Special Seminar in Biblical Studies. 3 credits.
May be repeated to a limit of six hours.
THL 596. Special Seminar in Historical-Doctrinal-Liturgical Studies. 3 credits.
May be repeated to a limit of six hours. P: DC.
THL 598. Special Seminar in Christian Life Studies. 3 credits.
May be repeated to a limit of six hours. P: DC.
Professors: Julia A. Fleming, Leonard J. Greenspoon, Thomas M. Kelly, Richard W. Miller, John J. O'Keefe, Nicolae G. Roddy, Todd A. Salzman, Ronald A. Simkins
Professor Emeritus: H. Dennis Hamm S.J., Michael G. Lawler, Joan L. Mueller, Wendy M. Wright
Associate Professors: Dulcinea Boesenberg, Sherri Brown, Eileen C. Burke-Sullivan, J. Jay Carney, Harold Ashley Hall, Zachary B. Smith
Assistant Professors: Gordon P. Brubacher, Susan Calef, Max T. Engel, Julia A. Feder, Christina G. McRorie
Resident Assistant Professor: Jeannie Sellick