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Course Descriptions — Christian Heritage
Courses are for 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

CH110 The Orphan, the Widow and the Immigrant: Scripture & Social Justice
Katherine Brink
What is a scriptural ethic of justice? How does the ancient context of scripture help us define the contours of God’s justice in the contemporary life of the church? How can thoughtful interpretation of scripture empower us to mobilize on behalf of women, immigrants and other groups who suffer injustice in our communities? Drawing upon historical, comparative, ideological and sociological approaches, students in this class will interpret select biblical passages relating to social justice. With careful exegesis as a foundation, students will 1) explore how biblical texts have been and are used and misused as tools of oppression, and 2) generate and articulate a personal ethic of justice and avenues for self and community mobilization based on their ethic of justice.
No prerequisites. Global Justice track; Women's Studies elective; Justice & Peace Studies elective

CH111 Access to Biblical Hebrew
Carolyn Pressler
Familiarity with biblical Hebrew can give a student new access to the text and its interpretation. In this course, students are introduced to basic Hebrew grammar and vocabulary and an array of Hebrew-based exegetical tools.
No prerequisites

CH122 In the Wilderness with God: Teaching and Preaching from the Book of Numbers
Carolyn Pressler
This course is designed to bridge the gap between critical biblical exegesis and parish ministry. Students will engage in collaborative study of Numbers. They will be expected to use what they have learned by teaching and preaching in local congregations. Attention will be given to both interpretative methods and pedagogy. The book of Numbers, though given little attention in Christian circles, proves to be surprisingly relevant for our times. It raises such questions as: What does it mean to live in the presence of the holy; how does a pluralistic community negotiate identity; how does one live — and lead — faithfully in dangerous times?
No prerequisites

CH125 From Love Song to Lament: Poetry in the Hebrew Bible
Carolyn Pressler
The study of biblical poetry as art has received a great deal of scholarly attention during recent years. This course examines a range of poetry in the Hebrew Bible, including texts from Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Job and the Psalms. Students work at understanding and appreciating the biblical texts as literature and will be encouraged to incorporate art into their interpretive work. The course may satisfy a requirement in the Master of Arts in Theology and the Arts degree program.
No prerequisites

CH128 Social and Political Ideals of Ancient Israel
Carolyn Pressler
Biblical legal collections provide important insights into the values and ideals of ancient Israel. This course examines the political values and assumptions encoded in the Pentateuchal law, especially as those relate to gender, sexuality and sexual orientation, family life and treatment of the “other.”
Prerequisite: CH161


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CH130 The Liberating Word
Carolyn Pressler
If we assume that the Bible continues to wield social, political and ecclesial influence, then biblical interpretation has political ramifications. This course examines ways in which biblical interpretation reinforces or confronts contemporary understandings of race, gender and/or class. Emphasis will be on teaching and preaching the Bible as a liberating word.
No prerequisites

CH140 Feminist Approaches to Biblical Interpretation
Carolyn Pressler
During the past few decades, feminist, womanist and mujerista approaches to the scriptures have had an astonishing impact on the field of biblical studies. In the first half of the semester, students are challenged to re-examine their understanding of the Bible, biblical authority and interpretive methods in light of biblical interpretation from African American, European American, Asian American, Native American and Hispanic women’s communities. The second half of the term focuses on a number of issues, including female imagery for God in the Bible, sexuality and the Scriptures, the Bible and domestic violence and biblical models of women’s friendships.
No prerequisites

CH161 Orientation to the Older Testament: Pentateuch and Former Prophets
Carolyn Pressler
This course orients students to critical study of the Older Testament and introduces students to the history, literature and theologies of the Pentateuch and selected books from the Former Prophets (Joshua-Kings). Emphasis is on a dialogical model of interpretation, which takes seriously both the biblical texts in their contexts and the experience of the interpreter in her or his social and religious contexts.
No prerequisites. Required course for all master's degree programs

CH161ON Orientation to the Older Testament: Pentateuch and Former Prophets
Carolyn Pressler
This course is an online version of CH161 (see above) and meets on campus once per term. The Friday meeting time is 6:00-9:15 PM, and the Saturday meeting time is 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. PLEASE NOTE: Participants in this hybrid course must be prepared to log on to the course using high speed Internet at least three times per week. Students for whom this is not possible are advised to take section one (CH161) of the class.
No prerequisites. Required course for all master's degree programs

CH162 The Older Testament in the Life of the Church
Carolyn Pressler
Students in this course examine books from the Prophets, the Psalms, Wisdom literature and other selected writings, with a focus on how to interpret the texts in a congregational setting. Attention is also given to the role of the trained biblical student in empowering laity to interpret the Older Testament texts.
Prerequisites: CH161, CH261. Required course for M.Div.

CH210 New Testament Greek
Marilyn Salmon
A basic knowledge of the original language of the New Testament is a valuable tool for study and interpretation. In addition to acquiring a basic vocabulary and grammar, students will become acquainted with the fundamentals of text criticism and practice using Greek for exegesis.
No prerequisites

CH212 Justice and Peace: New Testament Perspectives
Marilyn Salmon
In this course we will consider New Testament literature as a source for constructing a theology of justice and peace. What do the gospels tell us about Jesus as an advocate for justice? Do the letters of the Apostle Paul disclose a commitment to justice and peace in his mission? We will study the narrative of Acts with an ear and eye for communities committed to right relationships. In examining New Testament perspectives, we will be mindful of the continuity between Older and Newer Testaments.
No prerequisites. CH161 and CH261 recommended; Justice & Peace Studies elective

CH221 Reading Acts for the Church Today
Marilyn Salmon
The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of the origin of the church in the 1st century. In this course we will consider how the Acts narrative might relate to church communities of the 21st century. We will read Acts as a source for considering such issues as conflict resolution, identity formation, stewardship, models for leadership and essentials for community life. Critical historical and literary methods and current scholarship will inform our interpretation of Acts.
Prerequisite: CH261 or permission of the instructor

CH222 Paul's Letter to the Romans for the 21st Century
Paul Capetz and Robert Jewett
This interdisciplinary course brings into dialogue the radical new interpretation of the apostle Paul developed in Robert Jewett's Romans: A Short Commentary with the theological and hermeneutical writings of Paul Capetz. Central to this dialogue are the themes of "honor and shame" (Rom. 1:16) in both the ancient and modern world. The dialogue will take as its starting point the historical-critical exegesis of Romans, which has been the most influential biblical text in the development of Western theology. Questions of hermeneutics, the history of interpretation, theology, ethics, and preaching will be pursued throughout the course.
No prerequisites.

CH225 Preaching and Teaching the Gospel of Mark
Marilyn Salmon
In this course we will consider Mark as a source for proclamation in faith communities. Using the tools of narrative criticism, we will explore the major themes in this gospel and their meaning and purpose for 1st century audiences, as well as for contemporary listeners and readers. Participants will practice different ways of moving from biblical texts to interpretation for churches and other audiences.
Prerequisite: CH261

CH233 Interpreting the Bible after the Holocaust
Marilyn Salmon
More than a half-century has passed since the Holocaust, but the implications for the interpretation of the Bible continue to engage both Jewish and Christian biblical interpreters. Some of the critical questions we ask are: How do Christian scriptures contribute to anti-Semitism? How do Christians and Jews read the same texts? Is the New Testament anti-Jewish? What is the Christian responsibility in reinterpreting Christian texts and theology after the Holocaust?
No prerequisites

CH261 New Testament Texts in Context
Marilyn Salmon
Students in this course study the historical, social, literary and religious contexts in which the New Testament was written as well as different methods for interpreting these ancient texts for the Church today.
No prerequisites. Required course for all master's degree programs

CH262 Synoptic Gospels
Marilyn Salmon

This course focuses on one of the three Synoptic Gospels each year on a rotating cycle keyed to the revised Common Lectionary. The gospel in focus in a given year is studied in relation to the other canonical gospels and relevant 1st century contexts. The course places particular emphasis on learning methods for interpreting the gospel for contemporary situations, especially emphasizing passages in the revised Common Lectionary.
Prerequisites: CH161, CH261. Required course for M.Div.

CH263 Preaching the Gospels
Marilyn Salmon

The focus of this course is biblical preaching. We will practice the art of moving from text to sermon, giving particular attention to lectionary readings. Participants will use a variety of resources, both in print and online, and evaluate them in terms of theological perspective, attention to contexts and usefulness for preaching and worship.
Prerequisites: CH161, CH261

CH310 United Church of Christ History and Theology
The formation of the United Church of Christ has been characterized as “a special development in church history.” This course identifies the nature of that special development through an exploration of the four streams of traditions that united in 1957 to become the UCC and the development of the denomination since 1957. This exploration will involve both an historical and theological probing of UCC development in its historic and current modes. This course is a prerequisite to the UCC polity course and meets half of the history, theology and polity requirements for ordination in the United Church of Christ.
Prerequisites: CH461, CH462

CH311 United Church of Christ Polity
The United Church of Christ represents a special development in church history as a new mode of church organization that moves beyond the traditional forms of polity in response to the influence of modern ecumenism. Polity-in-process-of-development is the UCC story in the context of American denominational history. This course will explore the ecclesiology and implications of these developments in relation to the ministry and mission of the various settings of the church — national, conference, association and local congregation — as well as the role of the minister within those settings. This course completes the history, theology and polity requirements for ordination in the United Church of Christ.
Prerequisite: CH310

CH320 United Methodist History and Polity
This course, and CH413 Theology of John Wesley and the Wesleyan Tradition, together provide the six credits of instruction in United Methodist theology, history and polity that are part of the UMC ordination requirements. This course examines the emergence of the Methodist movement in England and the development of Methodism in the United States, leading to the creation of the United Methodist Church. It then explores the nature and functioning of the UMC as the institutional expression of its theological history with an emphasis on its unique form of connectionalism. The four spheres of church organization — local church, annual conference, jurisdictional conference, general conference — are covered so that students are enabled to use the Book of Discipline effectively in their ministry.
No prerequisites. Methodist Studies elective

CH330Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) History, Worship and Polity
This course is designed to equip students to become effective presbyters as ordained ministers of Word and Sacrament. It addresses Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) history, worship and polity, and contemporary issues affecting the life of the Church.
No prerequisites. Students are expected to enroll during the year prior to taking ordination examinations

CH340 Unitarian Universalist History and Polity
Traces the history of Universalists and Unitarians down to the present and explores polity structures and issues of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
No prerequisites

CH341 Unitarian Universalist History and Polity II
Traces the history of Universalists and Unitarians down to the present and explores polity structures and issues of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Prerequisite: CH340

CH365 American Baptist History and Polity
The history of Baptists from early beginnings to the present will be surveyed. Religious and theological concepts that mark the distinctive identity and concern of American Baptists will be highlighted. An overview will be given of the present polity, practices and denominational structure of the American Baptist Churches (U.S.A.).
No prerequisites

CH413 Theology of John Wesley and Wesleyan Traditions
This course, which meets United Methodist ordination requirements, deals with the theology of John Wesley, the historical context in which it emerged and its influence on British and American culture. Specific attention is given to the Wesleyan theological tradition in the United States from the 18th century to the present day, with a particular focus on points of continuity and change in that tradition.
Prerequisite: IS151

CH414 John Calvin and the Reformed Tradition
Paul Capetz
John Calvin (1509-1564) is the most important disciple of Martin Luther in the 16th century, even though he is regarded as the principal theologian in the Reformed tradition that is distinguished from Lutheranism. Through reading and discussion of primary texts, this seminar explores the relation of Calvin’s theology to Luther’s and asks what it means to speak of a “Reformed” tradition in Protestantism.
No prerequisites

CH415 Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation
Paul Capetz
Martin Luther (1483-1546) undertook a thorough reshaping of the theological tradition of Augustine that eventuated in the Protestant alternative to Catholicism. Through reading and discussion of primary texts, this seminar investigates the new understanding of Christian faith that found expression in the Lutheran Reformation.
No prerequisites

CH430 Women’s History and Experience in the Christian Tradition
Linda Gesling
This course is designed to give students a general view of the experiences and roles of women against the backdrop of western Christian history while affording time for deeper study of themes such as leadership, spiritual practice and service. Through presentations, reading and discussion, students will examine the ways in which women have been both victims and actors in the unfolding of the Christian story. Primary sources will be used to accent women’s voice as well as secondary sources for analysis and synthesis. Students will be encouraged to make connections between history and contemporary faith experience.
No prerequisites

CH440 Introduction to the Reformed Tradition: Theology & Confessions REVISED
Paul Capetz
This course will examine the distinctive themes of Reformed theology as it has taken shape, beginning with the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and continuing into the present day. Special attention will be given to classic confessional statements and to the understanding of their proper role and authority in the Reformed churches.
Prerequisite: CH461 or a course in Reformed history and theology

CH461 Introduction to Historical Theology
Paul Capetz
In the two millennia of Christianity’s history, conflicting theological interpretations of Christian faith have resulted in a multiplicity of churches and denominations. Nonetheless, all of these various proposals for construing the meaning of the gospel claim to be rooted in exegesis of the Bible. In this introduction to the history of Christian theology, four classic texts representative of larger movements within the ecumenical church will be analyzed in-depth with respect to
their scriptural foundations: Athanasius (Eastern Orthodoxy), Augustine (Roman Catholicism), Luther (the Protestant Reformation) and Harnack (liberal Protestantism). Attention will be given to the basic methods of the historical-critical study of theology as well as to the hermeneutical questions of biblical interpretation in relation to shifting cultural and social contexts.
No prerequisites. Required course for all master’s degree programs

CH462 American Religious Histories
Paul Capetz
The United States has become the most religiously pluralistic nation in the history of the world. Nevertheless, conflicts abound as to just what exactly the “disestablishment of religion” means today. This introductory course will examine the remarkable history of this nation’s diverse religious groups through reading of short selections of primary texts as well as wrestling with the implications of religious pluralism in the context of contemporary American society and culture.
No prerequisites. Required course for all master's degree programs

CH474 Introduction to Modern Theology and Modern Religious Thought
Paul Capetz
This course introduces students to the issues and figures of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment theology and religious thought in the West. Topics include the challenge posed to theology by the rise of modern science and the historical-critical method of biblical study as well as the emergence of a non-theological study of religion. Figures include Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Strauss, Harnack, and Troeltsch.
No pre-requisites. 

CH475 Introduction to Reformed Theology
Paul Capetz
Through reading and discussion of classical and modern texts by Calvin, Edwards, Schleiermacher, Barth, H. Richard Niebuhr and James M. Gustafson, this seminar focuses upon the differing understandings of what it means to be a Protestant in the Reformed tradition, including the significance of divergent theological methods.
Prerequisite: CH461

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