The Theology and Ethics of MLK, Jr.
This course is a study of the life, ministry, and leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is taught during Spring Term and includes 7-10 days of travel in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Fee charged. Satisfies RP CCR and partially satisfies CP ACE.
God, Death & the Afterlife
This course pursues a number of questions that have long been of theological concern: What is a soul? What happens to us when we die? How can theology help me cope with mortality and grief? What is eternity like? Do I want to be buried? We will examine ancient, medieval, and modern perspectives on such queries, sometimes from several religious traditions. We will also examine the impact of science and technology on these conversations. Satisfies the RP CCR.
Theology and the Human Condition
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. Satisfies the RP CCR.
Theological Perspectives - Nature
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.
Theology and Ethics
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? Satisfies the RP CCR.
Theological Perspectives on Bodies
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?
This course examines the topic of interfaith encounters. We will ask questions about how people encounter the religious "other" and how these encounters transform them. We will explore such as these: How are we supposed to make sense of violence done in the name of religion? What approaches to religious exchange promote peace? How might we engage in productive inter-religious dialogue? What would this dialogue look like?Satisfies the RP CCR and satisfies the W1 ACE.
Issues in Religious Ethics
A survey of issues in the field of theological ethics. Topics will vary from year to year, but will include such things as friendship, love and justice, kinds of oppression, moral decision-making, sustainability, issues at the beginning and ending of life, gender and sexuality, lying and truth-telling, the nature of family, violence and pacifism, informed consent, conversation and community, and what it is that gets us out of bed in the morning. Satisfies the RP CCR and the W1 ACE.
An examination of major principles and topics in the field of medical ethics. Topics may vary from year to year but will include most of these: definition of death, euthanasia, assisted suicide, organ donation and transplantation, just distribution of medical care, reproductive rights and technologies, medical confidentiality, the nature of suffering and health and the purpose of medicine, genetic testing and therapies, medical research, medical law, the relationship between patients/clients and medical professionals. Content may vary according to students' professional interests. Satisfies the W2 ACE.
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.
Great Spiritual Figures
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.
Great Spiritual Questions
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. Satisfies the RP CCR.
Theologies of Religious Encounter
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?
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.
Race, Ethnicity, and Religion
This course will investigate how racial and ethnic identities shape religious experience as well as how religious worldviews inform understandings of race and ethnicity. From liberation theology to Rastafarian music, from historical injustices to hope for future justice, we will explore the intersections of race, ethnicity and religion. We will analyze the myths, symbols, stories and histories that have created meaningful worlds for various religious and ethnic groups. Satisfies the CP ACE.
Comparative Religious Ethics
We will begin with two questions that lie behind the project of comparative work in ethics: To what extent are ethical values and responsibilities universal in scope and to what extent are they particular to traditions? Can we do comparative work from inside traditions, or must we attempt to stand outside all of them in order to see them more clearly? Then, using both ancient and contemporary texts and stories, we will examine specific moral issues from the points of view of a number of religious traditions. The final part of the course will focus on the meaning of comparative work for interreligious dialogueand for life together in a fragile world. Satisfies the W2 ACE.
God & Science
This course examines a theological and political conflict that developed over the course of modernity: the controversial tension between forms of Christianity and the broad field of the natural sciences that has come to be known as the conflict between religion and science. As background to the controversy, students will briefly examine theological texts from time periods such as the medieval, early modern, and Victorian era to gain a better understanding of how perspectives on God and science have changed over time. The primary focus of the course will be on the ways that 20th and 21st century theological thinkers have engaged the sciences in order to better understand, and reinvent, this relationship, sometimes thinking comparatively about how non-Christian or non-western traditions approach scientific concerns. Students will be asked to reflect on, and explore, their own perspectives on the issues and controversies.
Introduction to the Old Testament
This course examines the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Old Testament), focusing on biblical figures and narratives and on the history and cultural world of the Ancient Israelites. We will explore the various literary genres in the Hebrew Bible, discuss interpretive strategies for reading and understanding the biblical texts, and examine scholarly theories that reflect on how (and when) these biblical texts may have been composed.
Introduction to the New Testament
This course examines the history and theology of early Christianity through readings from the New Testament. Students will reflect on the diverse texts of the New Testament--gospel writings, narratives, epistles, and apocalypse--as products of the ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds. In their study, students will develop analytic tools for interpreting the New Testament in their contemporary context.
The Problem of Suffering
Virtually no one escapes suffering, a fact that has led many human beings to accept a theological account of their life and has led many others to reject all theological accounts they can imagine; after all, the latter ask, why would we suffer so much if God were actually all-good and all-powerful. After spending some time thinking about what suffering is and its role in our lives, we will examine several possible theological responses to it. At the end of the course, each student will write her or his own carefully constructed response, based primarily on the course materials, to the problem of the meaning and purpose of suffering. Satisfies the RP CCR.
Confronting Poverty in Indiana
An experiential learning course which examines poverty and addiction in a regional context. Explores religious and philosophical models of community engagement and social justice. Combines theological perspectives with sociological examinations of a regional social problem both inside and outside the classroom. Identical to Soc 235. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
Gender/Sex/Fam Judeo-Christian Trad
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.
A study of some recent developments in Protestant and Catholic theology. Offered alternate years.
Sexual Ethics - Christian Trad
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. One previous THS course and sophomore standing.
Faith, Hope, and Love
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.
Religion in America
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.
History of Christianity
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.
Early Christianity in Italy
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.
Jesus of Nazareth
A seminar focusing on Jesus' life and ministry. Themes and topics vary from semester to semester.
Theological Studies Seminar
Integration of the various components of the major and exploration of advanced methods in theological studies. Culminating experience in theological studies. Prerequisite: senior standing.