TR246 Theological Reflection and Spiritual Encounter in 20th Century Art and Architecture
(Course description TBA)
TR247 Theology and Music
How does the experience of music influence and shape our theological thinking? This course will go beyond the traditional field of church music to investigate how ideas derived from reflection on music (musical aesthetics) have been used by theologians to construct novel understandings of God and the life of faith from a variety of theological perspectives. Students will critically engage with the insights of figures such as Augustine, Hildegard, Schleiermacher, Barth, Küng, Ann Pederson, Heidi Epstein, and Jeremy Begbie. Alongside these, we will explore in a non-technical manner both sacred and secular musical works (medieval, classical, jazz, popular) as avenues for opening us up to listen, feel, and think in new and creative ways.
TR249 Engaging Theology and Religious Imagination through the Arts ONLINE
No prerequisites. Theology & the Arts elective.
Interpretation of the Arts
This course introduces students to the history of religion, theology,
and the arts as used in theological study, theological education,
and the life and worship of the church. Students will study the
major theoretical approaches to theology and the arts. Stemming
from this study, students will begin an initial development of their
own theoretical approach to the arts, using ideas from theology,
arts criticism, and experiential learning.
TR272 Arts Practicum
In this experientially-based course, students focus on their art forms and/or a particular art concern and its interpretation. Students will demonstrate ability through performing, exhibiting, and/or interpreting the arts through a project. Through course discussions and comments, students will develop and put into practice project plans. Examples might include the creation of an art exhibit, a recital performance of music or dance, a poetry reading, a presentation integrating the arts in worship, or a series of lectures for a selected audience on the arts in the life of faith and worship. The practicum assumes class participation, reading, critical reflection, project design, practice, and a performance/presentation as appropriate before a group at the seminary or other designated settings.
Prerequisites: Equivalent of one full-time year of study (27 credits)
TR331 Antiracism Dialogue: Theory and Practice
Antiracism theory and practice from a relational theology perspective. The course employs a circle approach to antiracism dialogue, study, and community formation. Explores the interpersonal dynamics of racism, focusing on institutional and systemic racism. Examines the notion of racism as violation, causing spiritual woundedness and material harm and, from the perspective of the sinned-against, raises questions about traditional understandings of forgiveness.
TR360 Film as Theological Text: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexualities
This course examines the cultural medium of film as theological text. Theological inquiries are made into the meanings of grace, redemption, repentance, truth, and the vocation of ministry by critically focusing on the re-presentation and re-production of race, class, sexualities, and gender in film. A critical method rooted in theological, biblical, and visual fundamentals, expanded by literary, cultural, and theological social analysis, guides this study of film as theological text. Tentative films are Slumdog Millionaire, Sweet Land, Birth of a Nation, Malcolm X, Daughters of the Dust, Transamerica, Paris is Burning, Milk, Raise the Red Lantern, Snow Falling on Cedars, Broken Rainbow, Rabbit-Proof Fence, and The Soloist. Students will see each film outside of class.
TR408 Introduction to Feminist Theologies
What is feminist theology? What have feminist theologies contributed to the theological community and, perhaps more importantly, to women and men seeking for alternative ways of seeing the sacred? We will explore works of feminist theologians in the period from the 1960s to the present. We will identify and discuss some characteristics of feminist theologies and reflect on how these theologies resonate with our own experience. There will be some lecture, and reading, writing, conversation, and reflection will be main components of our time together.
TR421 Black Theology and Womanist Theology
The purpose of this course is to develop a critical understanding and interpretation of black and womanist theologies; to become familiar with their intellectual traditions; to put both disciplines in critical dialogue; to examine their commonalities and differences; and to see how they challenge our own perspectives.
No prerequisites. Woman's Studies elective
This course focuses on two fundamental questions: What is the theological
significance of the natural world? How can Christian ethics address
the question of our role in, and responsibility for, the natural
environment? These questions will be considered in the context of
scientific and practical knowledge of the natural world.
TR509 Comparative Religious Ethics
This course introduces students to ethical systems in the major, non-Christian world religions and includes some additional in-depth reading on one or more of those systems. There will be discussion of case studies and specific ethical issues, comparing the different ethical approaches in the different religions.
TR513 Theology of Spirituality & Nonviolence
This course will explore nonviolence as a distinct set of scriptural, philosophical, and theological conversations throughout Christian history, also informed by broader religious traditions. At the same time, we will deepen our engagement with nonviolence as a spirituality—a rhythm of transformative practices involving personal, inter-personal, and communal lifestyles. Finally, we will employ nonviolence as a resource for social analysis and strategy in the organization of people’s movements. In the classroom, we will engage in exercises derived from best practices in current nonviolence training; investigate experiments in nonviolence such as the Civil Rights Movement, People Power in the Philippines, the Occupy Movement, and the Arab Spring; and critically engage with the impact of nonviolence on our understandings of the meaning of Jesus, the concept of God, and the nature of liberative empowerment for social change.
TR514 New Encounters:
Hospitality, Security, and Peace in a Mobile World
The increasing mobility of people is one of the main tenets
of our globalized world. While this may be cause for celebration, there
is another side to the flow of people that is alarming: the massive
movement of people due to global market forces, political and religious
conflicts, ecological crisis, etc. This has led to shifting demographics,
new encounters of various sorts, and exciting possibilities of forming
more colorful communities, as well as pressing challenges. This course
takes account of the flow of people and the challenges it brings:
its impact on the countries of emigration and the countries of immigration
policies, national security, ecology, health, cultural and religious
encounters, and human rights. Moreover, this course takes a theological
reading of the issues and explores ways of helping faith communities
and civil society respond creatively to the challenges.
TR522 Theories of Justice and Reconcilliation
TR533Theological Ethics of H. Richard Niebuhr
Paul Capetz and Faculty
H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962) is one of the most important figures in American theology in the twentieth century. Through reading and discussion of primary texts, the seminar examines Niebuhr’s theological and ethical thought, as well as his use of historical and sociological categories for the interpretation of human life in its religious and moral dimensions.
TR536 Ethics of Reconciliation
We will explore the theological and social ethics of reconciliation, specifically the notions of forgiveness, repentance, justice, and community. In the first two-thirds or so of the course, we will focus on theory in readings, writing, lecture, and discussion. In the last portion of the course, we will apply this to specific issues in reconciliation, e.g., domestic violence, racial justice, political conflict.
TR537 Justice: Social, Legal, Economic
In this seminar, we will explore different conceptions of social justice and how law and economics — dominant expressions of justice in today’s society — might reflect these different conceptions. We will read and discuss liberal theories of justice and their critiques and discuss how positive and natural law theories and economic systems relate to concepts of justice and morality.
TR545 Process Thought and Christian Faith: The Theology of John B. Cobb Jr.
An in-depth study of the works of preeminent Christian process theologian John B. Cobb Jr. from his early theoretical works to his ethical writings on ecology, economy, evolution, and religious pluralism. Cobb spent his early career focusing on the interpretation of Christian faith through the lens of philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, then increasingly turned his attention to writing for laypersons on socio-economic issues relating to the common good. Dr. Cobb has agreed to some interactive participation with students of this course.
TR546 James Luther Adams
(Course description TBA)
TR553 Theology & Ethics of James Cone
This seminar will examine the theology and ethics of James Cone, the founder of "Black Theology." We will study classic texts representative of Cone's theological development, analyze his theological method including the norms and sources informing his theology, and seek to come to terms with the understanding of Christian faith he proposes in response to the racism and oppresson that black people in America have had to suffer.
TR572 Vocation and Virtue (Good Work)
This course brings together themes in moral agency, institutionalism, virtue, and vocation in examining the role and identity of a “professional” in today’s workplace. We will explore the generally common constraints and freedoms that individuals in different professions experience in the workplace in their pursuit of their ideals and goals. In addition, we will examine the work place as an arena in which to develop virtue and live our vocation and citizenships.
Christology is arguably the most critical topic of theological discourse
for Christian faith since it treats of the decisive significance
attributed to Jesus by the church. Historically, however, the shape
of the christological question has undergone development from ancient
to modern times. Whereas the classical formulation of the
christological question concerned the relation between divinity
and humanity in Jesus, the modern formulation of the question has
revolved around the relation between the so-called “Jesus of
history” and the “Christ of faith.” In this seminar,
we will examine this historical shift in the formulation of the
christological question and study certain influential constructive
proposals for understanding how Christians today should understand
their central christological confession that “Jesus is the
TR610 Theology of Religions
Brings to the students’ attention the evermore pressing reality that we are living in a religiously plural world — a world whose very survival demands that communities must learn to live with each other — and invites them to take a critical account of the basic theological premises of the Christian faith vis-à-vis the claims of other religions. It is the hope of this course that students will be able to articulate a theology of religions that is adequate to our pluralistic context while remaining faithful to their respective religious heritage.
TR632 Race, Sexuality
& Gender: Analyze! Preach!
TR637 Theology of Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) was not only the 20th –century’s most influential New Testament scholar but also one of its most important systematic theologians. Bultmann’s proposal for demythologizing the New Testament evoked a storm of controversy among pastors and theologians regarding what it means to proclaim the gospel in the modern world. His synthesis of historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament, existentialist philosophy, and Protestant theology is an achievement with which every serious student of Christian theology must come to terms. This seminar will examine the historical, philosophical-hermeneutical, and systematic aspects of Bultmann’s theology through a careful reading of some of his major primary texts.
TR675 Seminar on Unitarian Universalist Theology
In this course, we will explore historical and contemporary theological themes within Unitarian Universalist thought and practice. Throughout the course there will be structured opportunities for theological reflection, conversation, and analysis of selected topics. Special attention will be given to theological resources from historically under-recognized groups within Unitarian Universalism.
TR714 World Religions
Understanding that other faiths may offer insight into our own, this course provides an overview of major world religions. Judaism, Islam, West African practices, Hinduism, and Buddhism receive specific focus, with students examining the relationship between culture and religion in these traditions. Special attention will be given to how people live out their beliefs through ritual, artistic expression, and social conduct. Field research in the growing local multifaith community will be included.
Hinduism is now a growing religion in America. With its understanding of the multiple faces of God, connections to yoga, and rich art traditions, the oldest major world religion has much to teach us about dynamic theology, spirituality, and sensuality as part of religion. This course will explore Hindu history, practices, scripture, and beliefs through readings, discussion, and experiential learning. Visiting a temple, meditation, yoga, and music and dance concerts will be a part of class learning. Comparison to your own religious tradition will be an active part of our conversation.
TR720 Zen Buddhism
A special transmission outside scriptures — no dependence on words and letters, direct pointing to the human heart and mind, seeing into one’s true nature, and the attainment of Buddha hood. With these brave words attributed to Bodhidharma, Buddhism entered China. We will follow the course of this lively stream of Buddhism as it flows through China, Japan, and North America. We will give careful, sustained attention to selected primary texts as well as landmark secondary interpretations. Complementing our textual study will be an engagement with some of the spiritual practices of Zen Buddhism: concentration and mindfulness, koan study and ink painting, tea ceremony, and poetry.
Register now as a non-degree student
TR721 Buddhism and the Arts
The core teachings of Buddhism are illuminated by its arts. Trace the evolution of the “Dharma” from the sculpture and empty cushions of early Buddhism, through the spacious poetry and painting of China and Japan, to the practical arts of tea ceremony, flower arranging, and jazz. As the images of the Buddha migrate across the generations, why did he open his eyes and smile?
TR722 Theological Voices from a Global Perspective
Our era has witnessed the emergence of various theological voices, especially theological voices long muted and buried, that need to be taken seriously by the church and the theological community. Students in this course will be exposed to various theological voices around the world as to their context, method, and content and encouraged to engage critically with them, with the hope that these voices enrich and widen their theological views.
TR725 Theological Voices of Minorities in the United States
The time for silence is over; the long time “absents” in the history of the United States are now raising their voices. A challenge is before us to respond to these voices and take account of how we do theology and ministry. This course accepts the challenge by exposing students to the history, struggles, hopes, and theological voices of racial minorities in the United States.
TR726 Judaism and Islam
The mother and sister religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam have both a rich history and relationship. Study of the history, theology, and culture of these traditions may provide deeper insight into their impact on our world. This course will do so, with attention to both traditional interpretations, but also mystic Kabbalah and Sufi understandings, and modern feminist views. Attention to the arts will provide important insights into how these religions existed and affected their communities.
TR736 Introduction to Judaism for Christians
This course will offer Christian students an introduction to Judaism tailored to their particular needs for Jewish knowledge. The course will focus primarily on post-Biblical Jewish sacred text, theology, and practice, as well as a brief overview of Jewish history adn contemporary trends in the American Jewish community. Emphasis will be placed on the recognition and transformation of the supercessionist narrative, replacing it with a view of Judaism as a separate, authentic, and evolving religion.
No prerequisites. Non-Christian religion(s) elective.
Among the world religions, Taoism occupies an unusual place: it spans the gap from primordial shamanism to twenty-first century systems theory; it fosters both scientific rigor and mystical rapture. This investigation of the “Nature Religion” of China will explore its many transformations. The last two units will consider how three friends (Alan Watts, Ken Cohen, and Al Huang) transplanted Taoism to America. Learning methods include primary and secondary texts, small group discussion, lectures, discussion, calligraphy, guest speakers, and field trips. Students will learn Taoist spiritual practices including breathing, standing meditation, T’ai Chi, and Chi Gong.
TR749 Buddhism in America
This course will explore the influx of traditional forms of Buddhism into America from 1842 to the present, as well as the emergence of what appears to be a new form of socially engaged, ecologically aware "American Buddhism."
No prerequisites. Non-Christian religion(s) elective.
TR522 Theories of Justice and Reconciliation
No prerequisites. Required course for Justice and Peace Studies concentration; Leadership towards Racial Justice elective.
TR771 Approaches to the Study of Religion and Religious Communities
This course introduces students to major approaches to the study of religion as a human phenomenon and to research methods for studying actual religious communities.
TR820 Reimagining the Church: Ecclesiology, Mission, and Ministry for Our Contemporary Time
This course introduces students to the classical as well as the various contemporary models of the church or ecclesiologies. Then these ecclesiologies will be critiqued in light of the tradition and contemporary challenges the church is facing. Furthermore, students will engage in reconstructing or re-imagining an ecclesiology that is not only faithful to the Christian heritage, but also responsive to the current context, both globally and locally.