Theological Studies

Students in Theological Studies explore religious movements and ideas, along with the ways in which these shape our world. They discuss ancient and modern texts, watch movies, pursue creative projects, write autobiographies, or even tour Italy. In our classes, you will be invited to explore questions about the nature of ritual, the importance of myths, the problem of suffering, the well-being of animals and the environment, and the relationships among the multiple humanistic and religious traditions of the world. Perhaps most importantly, you will be invited to decide for yourself the meaning and purpose of your life, and you will be challenged to figure out how human beings can best live together for the good of all.

theological Studies at Hanover

  • Discuss some of life’s great mysteries
  • Explore religious traditions both deeply and broadly
  • Confront moral questions and learn how to answer them
  • Participate in conversations about the meaning of life that started long ago and continue in fresh ways today
  • Understand your own gifts and passions more fully
  • Engage with inspirational professors who are passionate about their subject

What do theological studies majors study?

Theology majors can choose among a wide variety of courses, including:

  • C.S. Lewis
  • Faith in Fantasy and Fiction
  • Early Christianity in Italy
  • Theology and World Religions
  • Feminist Theologies
  • Religion in America
  • Gender, Sex, and Family
  • Religious Autobiography
  • Great Spiritual Questions
  • Sexual Ethics
  • Ethics in Medicine
  • Jesus of Nazareth

Recent Graduates’ Career Paths

Each year, a few students choose Theological Studies to be their major. A larger number of students decide to major in another discipline and to minor in Theological Studies. And many more students sign up for our upper-level classes simply for their own benefit and interest. Here are some of the recent career paths that majors, minors and other interested students have taken:

  • Research Assistant, Tissue Procurement Lab
  • Associate Director of a University Press
  • Internal Medicine Resident
  • Senior Program Coordinator with an adoption travel program
  • Corporate attorney
  • Graphic Designer and Writer
  • Investment Counselor and Financial Planner
  • Caseworker with Catholic Social Services
  • Health Services Clinical Program Coordinator
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Chaplain
  • Assistant Professor of Theology
  • Pediatrician
  • Museum Curator
  • State-level Charter Schools Program Manager
  • Director of Planning and Business Development at a Regional Hospital

"The primary strength of the Theological Studies department at Hanover College is without question the outstanding faculty. Not only are they extremely intelligent and passionate about their subject, but are also truly joyful, giving, inspiring people."

Kyle Gobel '06

Graduate School and Seminary Placements

In preparing for their chosen professions, our students have attended a large number of prestigious graduate programs, divinity schools, and seminaries. Among these are:

  • Vanderbilt University Divinity School
  • Harvard Divinity School
  • Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Claremont School of Theology
  • KU Leuven
  • Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Indiana University School of Law
  • Indiana University School of Social Work
  • Case Western Reserve
  • University of Kentucky, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration
  • University of Notre Dame
  • George Washington Univ. Trachtenberg Sch. of Public Policy and Public Admin.
  • George Mason School of Law
  • Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
  • Medical College of Virginia
  • University of Virginia
  • Duquesne University
  • Duke University Divinity School
  • University of Louisville Law School

Courses

Number
Name
Credits
Description
THS 161
Theology and the Human Condition
1
Central issues in theology will be raised by asking: What is a human being? What does it mean to be human? Various answers to these questions and the theological frameworks that support them will be examined. In combination with a Philosophy course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level theological studies courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Meets the major requirement for an introductory course.
THS 162
Theology and the Arts
1
Central issues in theology will be raised by examining various works of art such as literature, music, drama, film, sculpture, or painting. Various specific framings of and answers to the issues that the works of art offer will be evaluated. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level theological studies courses. In combination with a Philosophy course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Meets the major requirement for an introductory course.
THS 164
Theological Perspectives - Nature
1
Study of central issues in theology through an examination of various concepts of nature, such as those found in the Bible, Origen, Irenaeus, Augustine, and St. Francis. Each concept of nature says something different not just about the natural world, but also about what it means to be human and what our relationship with and responsibility for the natural world should be. In combination with a Philosophy course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level theological studies courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Meets the major requirement for an introductory course.
THS 165
Theology and Ethics
1
Focuses on topics and texts in ethics and raises questions everyone struggles with throughout life. What is the good life? What does it mean to bea good person? How do we know what the good is? What is the nature of the good? In combination with a Philosophy course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level theological studies courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Meets the major requirement for an introductory course.
THS 166
Theological Perspectives on Bodies
1
Study of central issues in theology through an examination of various perspectives on the meaning of the human body and embodiment. Questions that may be addressed: What does it mean to be embodied? What is the relationship between spirit and body? How do societies interpret bodies? What role do race, gender, sexuality and ability play in these interpretations? How do our actions and our beliefs serve to harm or care for bodies? What happens to the body when we die? In combination with a Philosophy course from the approved list, this course satisfied the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in a 100- level theological studies course. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Meetsthe major requirement for an introductory course.
THS 167
Foundational Issues in Theology
1
Addresses some of the fundamental issues in theology. Students critically reflect on various metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical positions and identify the one they find most reasonable. At the end of the course, they will bring together their positions and construct a coherent theological position. In combination with a Philosophy course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level theological studies courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Meets the major requirement for an introductory course.
THS 168
Theology and the Environment
1
Central issues in theology will be studied through an examination of various concepts of the physical world, such as those found in the Bible and Augustine. Each concept says something different not just about the natural world, but also about what it means to be human, and what our relationship with and responsibility for the natural world should be. This course is stacked with Phi 168 and therefore must be taken in the same term. Both together satisfy the Examined Life LADR. It meets for two hours a day, 3-4 days a week. Open to first and second year students who do not have credit in 100-level theological studies courses or 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
THS 169
Theology: Arts, Music and Media
1
Central issues will be raised by examining various works of art from genres such as literature, music, drama, film, sculpture or painting. Various specific framings of and answers to the issues that the works of art offer will be evaluated. This course is linked with Phi 169 and therefore must be taken in the same academic year as Phi 169. Both courses together satisfy the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-theological studies courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
THS 223
Religious Autobiographies
1
This course will reflect on the role of autobiography in communicating religious identity and will investigate how religious belief and practice intersect with race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Throughout the semester we will examine experience as a source of religious knowledge and authority. Students will critically reflect on numerous religious autobiographies as well as write portions of their own autobiographical story.
THS 224
Great Spiritual Figures
1
This course will focus on one or more individuals in the history of spiritual reflection who have had a significant impact on the lives of others. Specific figures will differ from year to year. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.
THS 225
Great Spiritual Questions
1
This course will focus on one or more perplexing issues in the history of human spiritual reflection and practice. Specific questions will differ from year to year. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.
THS 226
Theologies of Religious Encounter
1
From its beginning Christianity has developed in contact with other religions, yet today inter-religious encounter is happening in new and more urgent ways. This course poses critical theological questions about such encounters: Can many religious paths be "true"? If so, how? Does having faith in one religion require us to deny the value and validity of other religious paths? What is the meaning of our neighbor's faith for our own?
THS 227
Feminist Theologies
1
This course engages a spectrum of scholars across cultures and religions who use the lens of gender to both claim and critically challenge their religious traditions. Along the way, it considers how key themes in feminist thought--e.g., language, embodiment, experience, power, selfhood/subjectivity, sexuality--have shaped the broader development of contemporary theologies.
THS 321
Gender/Sex/Fam Judeo-Christian Trad
1
This course will examine how believers within the Judeo-Christian tradition have defined, negotiated and debated gender, sexuality, and family roles. We will investigate interpretations of sacred texts, theological conversations, historical shifts and ritual life in Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Mormonism.
THS 322
Christian Calling
1
An examination of the idea that God calls human beings to certain ways of living, some of which are universal and some of which are as particular as persons are unique.
THS 325
Contemporary Theology
1
A study of some recent developments in Protestant and Catholic theology. Offered alternate years.
THS 326
Sexual Ethics - Christian Trad
1
A study of many of the issues in the field of sexual ethics, especially as these have been and continue to be shaped by the history and doctrine of Christianity.
THS 327
Faith, Hope, and Love
1
This course explores theological, ethical, and practical dimensions of faith, hope, and love, using both historical and contemporary texts drawn primarily from the Christian tradition.
THS 329
Grace & Sin
1
This course examines the central doctrine Christianity has used to diagnose and describe the human condition. It first traces the history of the doctrine's development from early Christianity through the Protestant Reformation. It then turns to recent thinkers who consider the doctrine in light of concrete contemporary issues such as trauma and suffering, global economics, and religious diversity.
THS 331
Religion in America
1
This course focuses on the religious history of America from before the creation of the United States up through the present day. It will explore the beliefs and practices of America's religious minorities and those of the Christian majority. As we examine various religious faiths, we will investigate what members of each tradition believe, how they practice their faith and what their experience of America was and is.
THS 332
History of Christianity
1
This course is designed to introduce students to the genesis and spread of Christianity as a global religion. It will focus on internal divisions within the Christian community with an emphasis on debates over orthodoxy and heresy. It will also address Christian encounters with "the other" (other religious traditions, other cultural groups) as it spread its message as a missionary religion.
THS 338
Faith in Fantasy and Fiction
1
An exploration of the way in which authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and John Updike address important issues of faith in their fiction.
THS 339
An Odyssey to the Holy Land
1
A study of the geography and history of the Holy Lands with particular attention given to areas within Israel and other Mediterranean countries associated with major biblical figures and events. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
THS 341
Early Christianity in Italy
1
An off-campus course in Italy focusing on the development of Christianity in Italy from the apostolic times through the Renaissance with particular attention to religious figures, religious art and architecture, and religious movements.
THS 354
Sages & Seers:Israel's Wisdom
1
A class focusing on various issues which occur in Israel's wisdom and prophetic literature, with particular attention to the emotional and intellectual aspects of Israel's faith.
THS 355
Jesus of Nazareth
1
A seminar focusing on Jesus' life and ministry. Themes and topics vary from semester to semester.
THS 358
Geography of the Holy Lands
1
A survey of the history, culture, topography, and development of societies in the Middle East from the Neolithic period through the present, with particular emphasis on explaining the relationship between the sociogeographical history of the area and the biblical narrative. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
THS 412
Theological Studies Seminar
1
Integration of the various components of the major and exploration of advanced methods in theological studies. Culminating experience in theological studies. Prerequisite: senior standing.

Faculty