Notre Dame’s Department of Theology is home to a diverse and brilliant faculty capable of offering a great variety of courses. From the ancient world to contemporary issues, from metaphysics to mysticism, you will find many courses suited to your theological interests.
Students enjoy courses with our world-class faculty, including Prof. Larry Cunningham
Popular upper-level courses in theology include:
- Chesterton and Catholicism
- Christianity in Africa
- Death and Rebirth
- Major Roman Catholic Thinkers: John Henry Newman
- Spirituality and Discipleship
- The Theology of Benedict XVI
- The World of Buddhism
There are many opportunities offered through the department and other campus entities for students to study theology abroad, from international pilgrimages during class breaks to full semester study abroad programs. Students can find many ways to engage with the international Church. Find more information here.
Fall 2016 Courses
THEO 20103—The One Jesus and His Many Portraits: The Various Images of Jesus in the New Testament and Beyond
This course explores the many different faith-portraits of Jesus painted by various books of the New Testament: e.g., from suffering servant abandoned by God through high priest interceding with God to Godself. In each case, the course will ask how this particular portrait did or did not have an impact on subsequent Christian faith and what it may say to faith in Christ today. The course will combine a lecture format with discussions, readings, and reflections on the readings.
THEO 20214—Latino Theology and Christian Tradition
This course examines the development of faith and theology among Latinos in the United States, especially how U.S. Latina and Latino theologians have articulated the meaning and implications for Christian living of core theological topics such as Christology, worship, evangelization, and social justice.
THEO 20242—Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife
The class examines the various theories of the afterlife in Christian history and theology. It explores how Christians have thought about heaven, hell, purgatory, and limbo; the resurrection of Jesus and everyone else; the relationship of virtue and sin to eternal reward and punishment; the geography of the underworld; and the ethics of immortality from ancient Greece to today's Google's immortality project.
THEO 20249—The Eastern Churches: Theology and History
The main theological subject of this course is the Church, explored in her journey through history in the diversity of her cultural traditions. Eastern Christians and their Churches comprise an indispensable part of the world Christianity that sheds light on its origins, its basic theological tenets, its achievements and its historical dilemmas and challenges. The course provides an overview of the variety of Eastern rite Churches belonging to the different cultural traditions of Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The students will be introduced to the theological views and liturgical life of the Eastern rite Christians, i.e., Orthodox, Oriental and Eastern Catholic, and their fascinating history. We shall explore the Byzantine rite Churches in more detail, and discuss the challenges their theology and history present to the Christian world at large. Special attention will be given to Slavic Christianity and especially Russian and Ukrainian religious history. Reflections on the diversity of Christian traditions should lead to important insights into theological topics of central importance for today such as the theology of culture, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, and the theology of history.
THEO 20251—The Catholic Faith
This course is intended to serve as a resource for catechists and religious educators. It provides a basic theological introduction to the material represented in Pillars I and II of the Catechism of the Catholic Church : the Creed and the Sacraments. The course is specifically designed to cover this material in a way that will provide facility in teaching it in a variety of contexts. Readings will come not only from the Catechism , but from various primary sources, both traditional and contemporary illustrative of the theology that forms its background. The course will be especially useful for anyone wishing to acquire an understanding of the basic doctrines of the Catholic faith and of the theological integration of these doctrines.
THEO 20262—The Person of Christ
"Who do you say that I am?" Jesus' charged question to his disciples has resonated through the centuries of Christian history, sparking numerous debates and controversies. Who is Jesus Christ? Is he God, man, or both? If we say he is both, what do we mean? These are the basic questions at the heart of what is known as "Christology" or the study of Christ. During this course, we will examine why a precise answer to such questions has exercised the hearts and minds of so many Christians over so many generations, leading both to specific creedal definitions of orthodox belief in who Christ is, as well as bitter conflicts and Christian division. Beginning with Scripture and proceeding through some of the major moments in the history of Christianity, the aim of the course is to explore the multi-faceted historical, philosophical, and theological background to some of the key debates regarding the person of Christ, from early Christianity through the medieval and Reformation periods, and up to the present day.
THEO 20401—Church and Worship
An analysis of the church as a community of believers and a social institution, and a study of church liturgy and sacraments. This course will center around three key areas, namely (1) Anthropology: As humans, why do we feel the need to express ourselves and our relationship to God through ritual activity? (2) Theology: What are the Christological and ecclesiological underpinnings for the sacraments? (3) History: What is the historical development of each of the seven sacraments? What has remained constant in spite of the historical mutations?
THEO 20425—The Nuptial Mystery: Divine Love and Human Salvation
This course introduces students to the study of theology through attention to the sacrament of marriage. The structure of the course, drawn from the rite of marriage, seeks to understand the nature of divine and human love and how this love is salvific for the human person. The course, grounded in historical study, will introduce students to major sources for Christian theology. The class will treat themes related to a natural theology of love; the understanding of God as lover within the Scriptures and the Tradition; sexual ethics and a theology of family life; and, a spirituality of marriage in the modern age.
THEO 20605—Introduction to Catholic Moral Theology
This course will introduce students to how the Christian tradition has reflected (and continues to reflect) on what it means and what it takes to live a good life. We will pursue questions like: what does God have to do with what's ethical? Why are we called to be good? How do we know what is good? How should my thinking about these things relate to what other persons have to say about them? The aim of the course is to think deeply about these basic questions by considering how Christian beliefs about our relationship with God, creation, and humanity have oriented and shaped the Church's own moral reasoning. Beginning with a basic overview of what the Christian tradition has said about the goals of Christian ethics, the course will then move through a historical overview of three key theories of moral theology: divine command theory, natural law, and virtue ethics. We will then examine how these concepts and ways of moral thinking cash out in concrete situations, by using them to analyze difficult contemporary moral issues related to the central moral commands of Scripture: feed the hungry (poverty), care for the widow and orphan (family and sexuality), and welcome the stranger (immigration and refugees).
THEO 20606—Theology of Marriage
This course seeks to introduce participants to the principal elements in the Catholic Tradition on marriage by examining the sources of this tradition in sacred scripture, the work of ancient Christian writers, the official teachings of the Church and recent theological reflection. The method employed in the course is thus historical, scriptural, and thematic. The readings selected for this course are intended to expose students to contemporary discussion in moral theology apropos of these issues, and provide them with the necessary theological tools to critically evaluate a wide variety of ethical positions dealing with marriage in the Catholic tradition.
THEO 20625—Discipleship: Loving Action for Justice
This course is designed for students who have completed a Summer Service Project Internship (SSLP or ISSLP) or Social Enterprise Microfinance Internship (SEMI). It affords students the opportunity to re-engage their immersion experiences. Students will employ tools of social analysis, theological reflection, and rhetoric relative to both topics such as hunger, homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and immigration, and themes such as freedom, solidarity, mimesis, power, and the preferential option for the poor. The goal of the course is to develop a theology of discipleship to which justice is integral, including considerations of worship, sustainability, social reconciliation and restorative justice.
THEO 20639—Theology, Ethics, and Business
This course is intended to be an introduction to Catholic moral theology customized for those discerning a career as a business professional. In the wake of ethics failures at a number of prominent corporations, business leaders have renewed their call for ethical behavior and have begun to establish criteria for hiring morally thoughtful employees and to institute ethics education in the workplace. In the first part of the course, we will examine Catholic theological ideas about conscience and how it functions in the process of making a moral decision. In the second part of the course, we will examine a selection of Catholic writings on the idea of vocation and calling, as well as the nature of human work, the relationship between workers and management, and the norms of justice that ought to govern these relations. Finally we will examine ideas about character and virtue to assess the challenges and opportunities for moral formation in a business context. Class format will combine analysis of theological texts and discussion of business cases. Course requirements include a midterm and final examination and a group project.
THEO 20643—The Askesis of Nonviolence: Theology and Practice
This course will explore the theology and practice of nonviolence as a form of askesis, or spiritual discipline. The material will include readings from Scripture, the early Christian tradition, and Catholic social teaching. Religious sources outside the Christian tradition will include Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Badshah Khan. This course will use the method of community-based learning and will require 20 hours of service at particular sites in the South Bend area.
THEO 20659—War, Peace and Revolution
What is the relationship between God's work of salvation and human political responsibility? This course builds upon the "foundations" provided in the first theology course to trace this classic question of Christian theology through historic developments in Christian perspectives on war, peace and revolution. While the relationship between divine and human action is our central question, it refracts in a number of diverse and at times contradictory ways across the tradition from the New Testament to today. Thus, we will 1) analyze how doctrines regarding sin, salvation, the Church and the Reign of God are worked out politically with regard to the use or rejection of violence; 2) attend to the ways in which the social and political positions of Christians shape their theological affirmations; and 3) deploy the theological grammar generated by our study to analyze contemporary practical and pastoral concerns regarding war, peace, and revolution. During the first half of the semester, we will explore how Christian perspectives on violence changed as Christianity went from a persecuted minority to a bearer of imperial power. During the second half of the semester, we will run from the Middle Ages to the 20th century three times: first to discuss the growth of just war theory, second to discuss the evolution of peace concern, and third to discuss the tradition of Christian revolutionary violence. The class is divided overall into six short segments. Students will write a short position paper at the end of each segment, which will become the basis for a class discussion.
THEO 20663—Holy Cross Spirituality and the Life of Virtue
This course offers an introduction to the spirituality of the Congregation of Holy Cross through an examination of the biographies of the Congregation's members. As a development level course in theology, the primary goal of the class is to familiarize students with the historical development of three classic theological topics (spirituality, saints and virtue) by focusing on the charism, lives and apostolates of Holy Cross. An important secondary goal will be to help students to develop an appreciation for how Holy Cross has influenced and continues to inform the work of the University of Notre Dame and what would be required to live by that vision after graduation in professional life, family life, and in local Church communities. The course will host a number of guest speakers from Notre Dame and from other Holy Cross institutions. Course requirements include midterm and final examinations and a short research paper.
THEO 20665—Theology of Human Development
The course offers an introduction to theological thinking about "development," understood as integral development, i.e. personal growth as well as development of nations; the course reconstructs important milestones throughout the history of Christian teaching on "development," and presents important voices. There will also be space to look into the distinctive theological contribution to contemporary development discourse.The course is a development course - i.e. it takes up a major theme (development) in the Christian theological tradition; subjects the theme to systematic inquiry; develops the theme historically, with attention to the full sweep of Christian history; and, in light of the systematic and historical understanding of the theme, explores experiential and pastoral implications. The course will reconstruct the milestones of Christianity's discussion of development beginning with biblical sources and early Christian writings, exploring aspects of the monastic tradition and the conversations and conflicts between theology and scientific/technological progress. There will be space to discuss religious orders and their contribution to development and culture, and to look into the broader context of mission studies. Particular theological traditions such as liberation theology and contextual theology will be taken up with special consideration of their discussion of "development." Special attention will be paid to Catholic Social Teaching since development-related challenges are at the core of the Catholic Social Tradition with its documents since Pope John XXIII.This historical overview is led by a systematic interest: What is the theological meaning of development? The course explores the distinctive theological perspective on development against the background of development studies in general. There will be five guiding questions: 1) What does the theological tradition say about development ("culture," "cultivation," "progress," "civilization") - looking at biblical texts as well as Christian writings? 2) What is the place of "development" in Catholic Social Teaching even before 1891? 3) What are successful ethically justifiable responses to development challenges in the course of Christian history? 4) How is development discussed in contemporary interdisciplinary development studies? 5) What is the distinctive theological contribution to contemporary debates on development?
THEO 20828—Christianity and World Religions
The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the basic teachings and spiritualities of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. We will approach these religions both historically and theologically, seeking to determine where they converge and differ from Christianity on such perennial issues as death, meaning, the nature of the ultimate Mystery, the overcoming of suffering, etc. We will also examine some traditional and contemporary Catholic and Protestant approaches to religious pluralism. Our own search to know how the truth and experience of other faiths is related to Christian faith will be guided by the insights of important Catholic contemplatives who have entered deeply in the spirituality of other traditions. By course's end we ought to have a greater understanding of what is essential to Christian faith and practice as well as a greater appreciation of the spiritual paths of others. Requirements: Short papers, midterm exam, and final exam.
THEO 20830—Islam and Christian Theology
The relationship between Christianity and Islam is absolutely unique, in part because of the way Muslims challenge Christian teaching on Jesus. Muslims insist that Jesus was not god, not a savior and did not die on the Cross. Instead he was a Muslim prophet who predicted the coming of Muhammad. From an Islamic perspective Christian teaching on Christ is confused and the Bible on which it is based is a falsified version of a revelation which God gave to Jesus. Muhammad came centuries later to correct the errors of Christians and to preach the same eternal teaching that Jesus once taught: monotheism. This is the basis for Islamic criticism of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus. In this course we will listen to how Muslims explain and express this idea, examine how Christians have responded through the centuries, and ask what Christians today have to say back to Islam. In particular, we will discuss both scriptural and socio-historical contexts that have shaped Muslim approaches to Christianity and Christian responses, and how these theological differences can be dealt with in order to develop fruitful conversations and peaceful coexistence. NO PRIOR BACKGROUND in Arabic or Islam is required for this course.
THEO 20843—The Church and Empire
The formation of Christians' communal identity, theological imagination, and social practices have always been worked out - whether implicitly or explicitly - in relation to empire. This course explores this complex theological and historical relationship between Church and empire with particular attention to the ways Christian communities have attempted to resist the onslaught of pre-modern and modern imperialism in order to preserve the integrity of various aspects of the gospel of Christ. In the process of this exploration we will attempt, as a class, to discern some general characteristics of a counter-imperial Catholic ethos or spirituality by paying close attention to the ways the Church has compromised, negotiated, or resisted empire concerning images of Jesus, the effects of baptism, the scope of Christ's Eucharistic presence, and the legitimate modes of evangelization at the Church's disposal.
THEO 20847—Christianity and the Challenge of Buddhism
In 1997 Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) suggested that in the future Buddhism, rather than Marxism, might be the principal challenge to the Church. He has also, of course, fully endorsed the declaration of the Second Vatican Council that the Church "rejects nothing that is true and holy" in other religions, including Buddhism. Against the background of these two judgments - which may seem, but really are not, mutually contradictory - this course will consider: The fundamental differences between Christianity and Buddhism, both in matters of doctrine and in matters of spiritual and moral practice. The reasons why - despite, or perhaps because of, those differences - Buddhism today attracts increasing interest in cultures once shaped chiefly by Christianity The beliefs and values that both Buddhism and Christianity can legitimately be said to share and the ways in which they can reasonably be expected to collaborate with one another. Our overriding purpose will be to explore the ways in which Christians, especially Catholic Christians, can, should, or must view and relate to Buddhism. In the course of this exploration, the course will also provide a basic introduction to the fundamentals of Buddhism.
THEO 20883—The Character Project: Grace and Becoming Human
This course moves in the direction of three broad questions: "What are you looking for?", "What do you love?", and "How will you live?". By attending to how these questions arise, why they are important, and how one responds to each, we will study how the Christian tradition provides an account of the meaning, dignity, and destiny of the human person, particularly in relation to the prospects for moral and spiritual growth. As the course unfolds, students will not only grow in the ability to account for the development of character in a theological framework, but also practice applying this wisdom to specific moral issues in their own lives as well as in contemporary culture.
THEO 20888—Science, Theology, and Creation
This course investigates the Christian understanding of creation and how this doctrine relates to contemporary scientific issues. We will examine the development of the doctrine beginning with Scripture and the Creed and progressing through the early Church period into the Medieval and Scholastic era, focusing on the concepts of creation ex nihilo, creation continua, divine Providence, and divine action in the world. With the rise of the modern era, we will analyze the origin of and principles involved with the purported conflict between science and theology. We will bring the doctrine of creation into dialogue with three contemporary issues in the sciences: cosmology, evolution, and ecology. Integral to this course will be the relationship and response of humankind to God and to creation. This course will have a special appeal to students interested in the intersection of science and theology.
THEO 20898—Theology & Science from Plato to Pope Francis
This survey course is a study on the long relationship between the often overlapping studies of the world around us (science) and the Divine (theology), especially in its Christian (and eventually Roman Catholic) form. It is a 3000-year journey of Christianity and modern science, which begins before either existed?around 1500 years before Christianity and 3000 years before the Scientific Revolution. This course will approach both science and Christianity from a theological perspective while incorporating studies of history and philosophy. In terms of methodology and approach, the beginnings of the discussion between science and theology will be found in the classical dialogue between, as Tertullian wrote, "Athens and Jerusalem"--or between reason and faith. Before the advent of the Scientific Revolution and its partner movement of the Enlightenment, scientific knowledge was not discernible from philosophical knowledge. Because of this, the first part of the course will be focused on understanding the theological discussions around reason and philosophy through discussions of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. Beginning in the 16th century, the course will shift to discuss more traditionally understood realms of "theology and science"--heliocentrism, evolution, environmental theology, creation, medical ethics, and modern atheism. However, we will consistently return to discussions of faith and reason in theological literature, as these "hot topics" can only be properly understood through the wider methodological frame offered by theological reflection.
THEO 30011—Know Your Catholic Faith: Mary
This course will examine Mary in the Christian Tradition, particularly the primary teachings about Mary in Roman Catholicism and the implications of those teachings for contemporary Christian faith. The course is part of the Know Your Catholic Faith series offered through the Department of Theology and as such will examine all pertinent texts on Mary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Does not fulfill the 2nd theology university requirement.
THEO 30052—Know Your Catholic Faith: Prayer
Deep in the human heart is a natural desire for God that is expressed in prayer. This mini-course explores questions like: What is Prayer? Why do we pray? How do we pray? Other themes to be explored: Jesus at Prayer, Praying the Psalms, the Song of Songs as Prayer, Augustine on Prayer (Letter 130 to Proba and Book 10 of The Confessions), Benedict on Lectio Divina, Guigo II on Contemplative Prayer, Ignatius of Loyola on Prayer, Teresa of Avila on Prayer, Praying with the Poetry of John of the Cross and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Contemporary Prayer Forms like Centering Prayer and Christian Meditation, Praying with Pope Francis to a Merciful God. Members of this class are asked to keep a journal of assigned readings and of their ongoing reflections on prayer. Class meetings will occur at 6:15--8:30 on Wednesdays: 9/7; 9/14/ 9/21, 9/28 and 10/5. All meetings will take place in the Chapel of Geddes Hall.
THEO 30054—Know Your Catholic Faith: Holy Cross Spirituality
This course will introduce the topic of spirituality in Catholic theology and explore the various influences on Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Readings will be taken from Moreau's writings along with selections from other figures in Holy Cross history. The course will include short trips to campus sites and some guest presentations.
THEO 30656—Caritas: Love of God and Neighbor
"Love" is the highest virtue in Christianity; Pope Benedict XVI has dedicated his first encyclical to the topic of "caritas." Pope Benedict has returned to the concept of love in his social encyclical Caritas in Veritate. But what is the meaning of "love"? What does love mean in everyday life? The course will introduce students to different aspects of love in close conversation with Pope Benedict's Encyclical Deus Caritas Est. It will provide building blocks for a theology of love, but will also look at the role of love in Catholic Social Tradition. If we understand love as "robust concern" then it makes sense to request people to love their neighbor and their community. The course will explore the concepts of love and "caritas," different theories of love, and different forms of love. It will cover cultural, social and political aspects of love and discuss questions such as: What does it mean to love a person? What does it mean to love a neighbor? What does it mean to love a community? What does it mean to love an enemy? What does it mean to love God?The course is community-based: Community-based learning offers the opportunity to integrate learning and service. Classroom discussions and course readings should inform how students approach their service and interactions in the community, and their service should inform classroom discussions and the reading of articles and essays. In the context of this course, community-based learning is intended to provide a structured way for students to engage the local community to deepen their understanding of love, care, robust concern, and Caritas. Students will make a commitment to participate weekly (from weeks 2-14 of the semester) in a service activity at one of four sites in the South Bend area. The usual time commitment at these sites is 2 hours per visit, not including transportation time. These organizations are in partnership with the Center for Social Concerns, providing community-based learning coordinators who work with ND students to support learning and service experiences on-site. The community-based nature of the course will ensure that there will be experience-guided discussions on love of neighbor and community.
The Discernment Seminar provides senior-level undergraduate students an opportunity to reflect on their Notre Dame experience and consider postgraduate plans with one another through small-group discussion. Each session is structured to assist the students' exploration and articulation of their respective vocations through a variety of means, including narrative theology, spiritual direction, literature, and the arts.
THEO 40002—Elementary Hebrew 1
This is a two-semester introductory course in biblical Hebrew; under normal circumstances, the student must complete the first to enroll in the second. The fall semester will be devoted to learning the grammar of biblical Hebrew. The spring semester will be divided into two parts. For the first six weeks we will finish and review the grammar. In the remaining part of the course we will read and translate texts from the Hebrew Bible, Qumran, and Rabbinic literature. The course will focus on developing reading and comprehension skills in biblical Hebrew through the study of biblical texts. In addition, students will learn how to use reference grammars, concordances, and apparatus to the Biblica Hebraica. The course encourages students to think about the grammatical forms and their implications for biblical interpretation.
THEO 40004—Intermediate Hebrew
The course is designed to develop the students' ability to read Hebrew texts and increase vocabulary while reviewing grammar. Selections for reading and analysis will be drawn from the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, with some use of Modern Hebrew as well.
THEO 40101—Introduction to the Old Testament
This course will offer students an introductory-level survey of the books of the Hebrew Bible, with emphasis placed on the holistic (i.e., theological, literary, and social-scientific) study of the history, literature, and religion of ancient Israel. The implications of selected texts in Christian and Jewish theological discourse will also be explored. Required course components include the major divisions of the Hebrew Bible (Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings), and writing spans the following research-related genres (case studies, article reviews, journal, and critical notes). Fall only.
THEO 40117—Introduction to Judaism
This course surveys the major practices and beliefs of Judaism. Our focus is on Judaism as a religious tradition, one that links its adherents across time even as it changes in response to new circumstances. We begin by examining the foundational religious categories that crystallized in antiquity, such as the commandments and Torah study. We then turn to transformative developments in later periods, among them the flourishing of philosophy and mysticism in medieval Judaism, religious reform movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Holocaust, and Zionism.
THEO 40201—The Christian Theological Tradition I
This course offers a survey of Christian theology from the end of the New Testament to the eve of the Reformation (well, almost). Taking the theological idea of "Mystery" as our theme, we will acquaint ourselves with theologians or theological developments of major significance in the period covered by the survey. Thus, students will be invited to think about the character and nature of the theological task while investigating major issues, challenges, and questions at the intersection of faith and reason.
THEO 40222—Augustine: Philosophy and Exegesis
The Confessions describe the way in which Augustine came to the synthesis of philosophy and Christianity characterizing the work of his middle period both by solving certain problems in metaphysics and by learning certain methods of biblical exegesis. This course will study in detail the interaction between philosophy and exegesis in Augustine's work through the reading of 1. (in the first half of the semester) a series of primarily philosophical texts (dialogues of Cassiciacum, works on psychology, epistemology, semantics, and ethics, and selections from On the City of God) and 2. (in the second half of the semester) the treatises On Christian Teaching, On the True Religion and twelve books of On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis. Knowledge of Latin is desirable if not absolutely essential. Written requirement: one final essay of ca. 20 pp.
THEO 40238—Transfiguration in the Fiction of C.S. Lewis
This course will look at a theme that runs throughout the works of C. S. Lewis: theosis. Christianity's ultimate end is the deification of a person. In Lewis' fiction there is a strong theme of the transfiguration of matter and the human being, and the moral/ascetical prerequisite leading up to it. This course will first use some secondary theological sources to unpack theosis in light of the Christian doctrines of creation, sin, Trinity, and Christology, and then it will turn to Lewis himself - first to his non-fiction (Mere Christianity, Abolition of Man, Weight of Glory essays), but our main time will be spent in his fiction (Narnia, Screwtape Letters, Great Divorce, The Pilgrim's Regress, Til We Have Faces). Thirty seats in this course are reserved for students in the department of theology. Remaining seats are reserved for non-theology students who have already completed both university requirements in theology. If you wish to receive permission to register, please contact Prof. Pagliarini in the Theology Department (email@example.com). Provide your name, Notre Dame ID number (e.g. 9016932263), and area of study (e.g. Political Science).
THEO 40287—Eucharist in the Middle Ages
The Eucharist stands at the heart of western European Christianity in the high middle ages. The insistence of church officials on regular reception of the Eucharist; the numerous scholastic treatments of the theoretical issues associated with the Eucharist; the recourse by spiritual authors, especially women, to the Eucharist to express their most profound religious and devotional insights; the pointed reference to the Christ Eucharistically-present to establish Christian identity and to distinguish the members of Christ from others, both within and outside of western Europe; the development of new rituals focused on aspects of the Eucharist; the burgeoning of artistic representations of Eucharistic themes; all testify to the centrality of the Eucharist in medieval theological and religious consciousness. Through the close reading of representative texts by a wide variety of 13th-century authors, and, the study of the different kinds of 'Eucharistic' art, this course examines the uses made of the Eucharist by a broad spectrum of high medieval Christians. A special concern of the course is the relation between Eucharistic doctrine and religious practice?to what extent have teachings about transubstantiation and real presence shaped religious expression? how has religious experience itself occasioned the refinement of these doctrines?
THEO 40295—Introduction to Byzantine Theology
This course introduces students to major theological sources, themes, and debates of the Byzantine Christian East. Beginning with formative texts of the Greek patristic era, students proceed to cover key areas and "moments" of Byzantine theology: Christological debates in the aftermath of Chalcedon; iconoclasm and icons; ascetic and monastic theology; developments in Liturgy and sacramental theology; approaches to Scripture; East-West relations; theological interactions with Islam; Hesychasm; and Byzantine Theology after 1453. The goal of the course is to equip upper-level undergraduate and Master's-level students with an accurate overview of this vast, intricate, and fast-growing field of study.
THEO 40424—History of Christian Architecture
A broad survey of purpose-built spaces for Christian worship, from the beginnings to the present. The course will attend to questions of form and aesthetics and the functionality of these spaces for liturgy or other church activities. Finally, the course will consider the social, economic, and political dimensions of church building projects.
THEO 40425—Liturgical History
Survey of liturgical history and sources with regard to both Eastern and Western rites. Fundamental liturgical sources including basic homiletic and catechetical documents of the patristic period and the liturgical books of the Middle Ages. Basic introduction to the methodology of liturgical study.
THEO 40627—Catholicism and Politics
Catholicism and Politics poses the question, both simple and complex: How ought Catholics to think about the political order and political issues within it? The first part of the course will survey major responses to this question drawn from Church history: the early church, the medieval church, and the modern church. The second part applies these models to contemporary issues ranging among war, intervention, globalization, abortion, the death penalty, religious freedom, gender issues, and economic development. The course culminates in "The Council of Notre Dame," where teams of students, representing church factions, gather to discover church teachings on selected controversial political issues.
THEO 40632—The Heart’s Desire and Social Change
This course will help students to explore their deepest passions and to translate those interests into concrete action through social innovation. The process will begin with discernment about vocation, through the lenses of theology and business. Students will then engage in a design thinking process to develop their interests and determine how these social passions can connect to their work or to an entrepreneurial project.
THEO 40638—Theology for a Fragile Earth
This course will provide a primer in ecotheology. We will use both contemporary and historical theological resources and discuss their relevance for what is arguably the biggest global challenge facing humanity today. The method of ecotheology starts with a particular context -that of the current fragile state of the earth's systems and how they impact the most on vulnerable members of the human community. We will use tools common to ecotheologians, drawing on a re-reading of biblical literature, eco-theologies of liberation, paying particular attention to the most recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si. We will discuss Christological and anthropological questions in ecotheology, as well as the practical implications of seeking to implement environmental justice and ecojustice. A learning journal will be part of the assessment method for this course.
THEO 40707—Scripture, Violence and Peace
The complex relationship between religion, peace and violence has preoccupied scholars in the last few decades. Some argue that religion is inherently violent, while others contend that it can be a resource for peace. At the heart of this contention is the fact that religious scriptures contain both violent and non-violent passages. This course will discuss both elements in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures and how they have been interpreted and understood by believers across different generations and contexts. We consider such essential questions as: How have these passages been understood in the pre-modern period, and to what extent have they been recontextualized in the modern context? Can the violent element of the Holy Scripture be interpreted fruitfully for interactions among different religious communities in the modern world? This course will address these questions through a critical analysis on how these passages shape the believers' approach to the "other" even today. NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF JUDAISM OR CHRISTIANITY OR ISLAM IS REQUIRED FOR THIS COURSE.
THEO 40713—Between God and the Party: Catholic Faith and Revolutionary Politics in Cuba
The Cuban revolution of 1959 created a very difficult situation for the Roman Catholic Church. Before the Communist Revolution the Church was associated with Spanish colonial rule and the interests of the wealthier classes. Afterwards, priests were jailed, and Christmas outlawed. The confrontational relationship between Church and State began to change in 1992 when Cuba declared itself a secular state and permitted openly Catholic Cubans to participate in the activities of the Communist Party. With the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1998, a real dialogue began to take shape. The subsequent visits of Popes Benedict (2012) and Pope Francis (2015) also established new relationships, as did the resumption of full diplomatic relationships between Cuba and the United States just prior to the visit of Pope Francis. Special attention will be paid to: prophetic figures in Cuban history like Fr. Félix Varela, José Martí, and Fr. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, dissidents, voices critical of the regime who use social media as well as Catholic voices of democratic opposition, religious pluralism and race relations, the leadership role of the Cuban bishops, the house Church movement in Cuba, and the religious and socio-cultural significance of Our Lady of Charity both on the island and in the diaspora community in Miami. This course is especially well suited to those interested in Theology, Latin American, Black Diaspora, and Latin American Studies, Political Science, Peace Studies, and International Relations.The course will involve an optional travel portion to Cuba during fall break for which students will have to pay a total cost of around $350. Reading knowledge of Spanish is required. The first round of applications for this course is due by April 11th, but if not enough applications are received by that time, then applications will be received on a rolling basis until the class fills up.
THEO 40805—Christian Anthropology
This course will explore contemporary perspectives on how Christians understand the mystery of being human in relation to the mystery of God. Questions to be considered include the following: What does it mean to be a human person? How are human beings related to the rest of creation? Do we have a vocation and destiny? What is human freedom and how has it been affected by human sin? What is meant by the Christian claim that Jesus life, death, and resurrection brought about salvation for all of humanity and for the cosmos? In an evolutionary context and a globalized world which includes new possibilities for human solidarity and collaboration, but also violence, suffering, and ecological devastation, what is the meaning of the Christian beliefs that human persons are created in the image of God, impacted by original sin but also redeemed, and promised a future that includes resurrection of the body and a new creation? This course is open to all students who have completed the two required courses in theology as well as to theology majors and minors.
THEO 40823—Religion and Literature
This course has as its essential context the crisis of authority of discourse in the modern period subsequent to literature gaining independence from Christianity. It focuses specifically on the three main postures literature strikes vis-a-vis confessional forms of Christianity no longer thought to have cultural capital. (i) The antithetical posture. Here Christianity is viewed exclusively in negative terms as repressive, authoritarian, and obscurantist, the very opposite of the true humanism that is literature's vocation. Readings here include Voltaire and Camus. (ii) The retrievalist posture. This posture is fundamentally nostalgic. The loss of Christianity's cultural authority is mourned, and literature is seen to be an illegitimate substitute. Readings include Dostoyevski and Marilyn Robinson. (iii) The parasitic posture. Here Christianity is criticized but not totally dismissed. Portions of it are savable, especially select elements of the New Testament which emphasizes human being's capacity for knowledge and freedom. Central here is the work of the Romantic Shelley and American Transcendentalist Emerson. In addition to these, we consider James Joyce. In addition to the figures and texts covered in the class, I will refer in passing to quite literally dozens of authors who illustrate one or other of these positions. Perhaps one of them is a favorite of yours.
THEO 40862—Introduction to Vatican II
Almost every aspect of Catholic life and theology has been impacted in some way by the work of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) - even as there are ongoing debates about what exactly this impact should be. This course will introduce students to the event and documents of Vatican II as well as to diverse interpretations of the council. After a brief introduction to both the field of ecclesiology (the study of the Church) and the history leading up to Vatican II, the center of the course is an examination of the the central documents of the Council with regards to the nature and mission of the Church. The final part of the course engages developments in the Church following Vatican II.