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. 

cunningham classStudents 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

Information on the Two University Requirements in Theology
Directed Readings:
Students pursuing a Directed Readings course should  have a minimum  GPA of 3.5 in their major. The  proposed  course of study may not duplicate or reflect content of regularly offered courses. The work should reflect the intellectual challenge, intensity  and time commitment reflected  in the number  of credit  hours awarded. Departments will normally limit to two the number of Directed Readings classes that may fulfill the requirements of the major.
A directed readings course is expected to have regular meetings with the faculty mentor and an amount of reading and writing assignments equivalent to a regular 3-credit course in Theology. Students must work with their faculty mentor to develop a specific timetable for consultations and submission or presentation of student  work. Mentors will advise  the student  on possible sources of information, provide  feedback  on a regular  basis, suggest  and  facilitate consultation with other  faculty  or sources  to assist  the student, and offer constructive criticism.  All directed readings must be approved by both the instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students and instructors should agree upon a Directed Readings Contract, and contact Undergraduate Coordinator Emily Hammock Mosby at for processing.
International Opportunities

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.

Spring 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 20111 - Sin

The course offers an introduction to various dimensions of the idea of sin. What exactly is sin, how serious and widespread a problem is it, and what are its origins and consequences? Is sin primarily a corporate or individual matter, or even a cosmic force? Are some sins more serious than others, and what kinds of sin might compromise a sinner's standing in a community of belief? We will explore these and similar questions as we consider (1) the idea of sin across a range of biblical texts (and other early Jewish and Christian sources), and (2) the perspectives of a selection of subsequent authors, ancient and modern. Throughout the course, our reading of particular sources will facilitate reflection on sin as a theological idea or concern. We will also give some attention to the idea of sin in other religious traditions. Class sessions will be structured so as to maximize opportunities for discussion and student participation.

THEO 20205 - Christian Hope: Confronting Last Things

As individuals and as a world society, we tend to focus our energies on building a happy and secure future for ourselves; yet in a real sense we live surrounded by death, threatened by the impermanence of our relationships and by the fragility of life on our planet. A sense of this threat provides much of the background for human greed and violence, but it is also the context for human hope. The heart of Christian faith is to hope for life in the face of death; it is to see a lasting value in our historical choices and loves, because Jesus is risen and because he promises us a share in his resurrection and his life. Christian hope can only be expressed in images, since what it refers to still lies in the realm of promise; yet the Christian believer can live from that hope now, can love in the freedom it affords, because the Holy Spirit has been given us by the risen Lord as "a foretaste of things to come" (Eph. 1. 14). Through faith enlivened by the Spirit, we find in our present reality signs of a life without end that is, in a mysterious way, already ours. This course will study the details of this Christian hope for the future in its origins, development, and implications. It will study "the last things"--death, judgment, purgation, heaven and hell-in both their individual and their social dimensions, as Christian theology has traditionally conceived them; and it will try to articulate an understanding of these objects of hope as they might best be integrated today into Christian thought and practice. In addition, it will consider the ways that a Christian sense of the finality of salvation colors and influences all the other aspects of the intelligent reflection on faith we call theology.

THEO 20243 - Martyrs and Martyrdom

Suffering and salvation have been linked in Christianity since the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth in first-century Jerusalem. From the diverse contexts and cultural currents that informed it in the world of the ancient Mediterranean, to the persecution of Christians in multiple countries today, martyrdom has played a centrally important role in the experience, imagination, theology, and memory of Christians. It is inextricable from questions about persecution and power, death and identity, suffering and truth. This course examines the experiences, representations, reception, and place of martyrs in the early church and Christian tradition more broadly. We will analyze together the importance of martyrdom for the definition and development of Christian doctrine, ecclesiology, and devotion, and consider the influence of these in turn on attitudes about persecution, the imitation of Christ, and martyrdom itself.

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 a theological introduction to the basic teachings of the Catholic faith. The primary text is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This will be supplemented by theological source readings from all periods. The emphasis will be on the coherence of the system of basic Catholic teaching as a whole. The argument is that the coherence is located in the love of God which lies at the heart of all Christian mysteries. "Love alone is credible" in the words of one famous theologian of the twentieth century and it is that love, and that credibility, that we will set ourselves the task of investigating.

THEO 20260 - The Trinity

A study of the development and meaning of Trinitarian doctrine.

THEO 20261 - The Cross in the History of Christianity: Texts, Art, and Tradition

A historical survey of the cross and crucifix in Christian theology, popular piety, ritual practice, and art, from the New Testament though the sixteenth-century and in both eastern and western traditions. Topics include the discovery and dissemination of relics of the True Cross, the emergence and development of crucifixion iconography, hymns dedicated to the cross, and the liturgical feasts and veneration of the cross.

THEO 20619 - Rich, Poor, and War

This course examines the economic dimensions of violence in light of Catholic social teaching and Western political and economic thought. After an in-depth overview of Catholic social teaching in relation to alternative social theories, we bring them to bear on the issue of violence in three social spheres: the domestic (domestic abuse and sexual assault), the economic (sweatshops), and the international political (war). In each case we will examine Catholic responses to the problem.  

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 20658 - Long Title: Theology of Nature and the Environment

What is nature and why should we care about it? This question structures the intellectual arc of THEO 20658, a course designed to explore answers from the perspective of the Christian theological tradition. As such, relevant, subsidiary questions may provide guidance such as, "what is God's/humanity's relationship to nature?" - "are humans part of nature?" - "does Christian faith require us to protect the environment?" - "do animals go to heaven?", "does the theory of evolution conflict with Christian belief?" - "what's for dinner?" We will trace responses to these and other questions from the Bible, the early Christian church, the Middle Ages, and from contemporary theological reflection. Since a hallmark of the American response to the environment - both inspiration from its inherent beauty and condemnation of/social action regarding its degradation by humans - can be found in the genre of literature known as "nature writing," we also will correlate Christian theology with select American nature writers.

THEO 20664 - Theology of Poverty

"I make a lot of poor decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don't pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? I will never have large pleasures to hold on to when you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning", writes Linda Tirado in Hand to Mouth. The Truth about being poor in a Wealthy World (London: Virago Press 2014). Is it true that those decisions do not matter? Poverty matters. Poverty is not only a major global (and local) challenge, but also an important theological topic especially stressed by Pope Francis who calls for a "Church of the Poor"; a "preferential option for the poor" has been established as an important element in theological approaches after the 1960ies. But even before that, since the first centuries, poverty and wealth have been topics in Christian discourse and areas of Christian concern. The course will reconstruct the milestones of Christianity's discussion of poverty beginning with early Christian writings found in the Scriptures and texts such as Clement of Alexandria's discussion of wealth and Christian virtues or John Chrysostom's sermons on the poor and the rich, as well as Christian poverty ideals in the desert and during the early Middle Ages, and the influential fight about the status of poverty in the 13th and 14th centuries. Poverty played a role in Martin Luther's critique of the Church and in the history of the Jesuits beginning in the 16th century. Many religious orders committed themselves to poverty and to supporting the excluded. This historical overview of the Christian tradition is led by a systematic interest: What is the theological meaning of poverty? The course explores the distinctive theological perspective on poverty against the background of poverty research in general. There will be four guiding questions: 1) How is poverty understood in contemporary interdisciplinary poverty research? 2) What does the theological tradition say about poverty - looking at biblical texts as well as Christian writings? 3) What is the place of poverty in Catholic Social Teaching even before 1891? 4) What are successful ethically justifiable responses to poverty in the course of Christian history?

THEO 20801 - Theology of Disability

This course introduces students to Christian theological reflection on the physical limitations, disabilities, and impairments of the human being. The topic will be considered in the light of Scripture, classic theological texts, relevant philosophical resources, and the apostolic witness. Students will be familiarized with contemporary theological work on disability and cognitive impairment.

THEO 20803 - God's Grace and Human Action

What are the respective roles of God and the human person in salvation? Are ideas of human freedom and of the value of human acts compatible with a belief in God as the source of grace and redemption? These and other questions about salvation have been hotly debated by Christian theologians throughout the centuries. This course analyses the positions articulated by such figures as Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, and examines how they shaped the Catholic-Protestant debate about the role of good works, and of God, in salvation.

THEO 20828 - Long Title: 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 20887 - Christianity and Other Religions: Biblical and Historical Perspectives

The Old Testament portrays ancient Israel as an active participant in the religiously diverse world of the Ancient Near East. In the New Testament, we find Jesus and the apostles proclaiming the Gospel in the midst of "many gods and many lords" (I Corinthians 8:5). The early church spread Christianity in the religiously and spiritually eclectic Greco-Roman world. In the medieval period, while the western church was somewhat insulated, the churches of the east were facing the rise of Islam, the spread of Manichaeism, and even encountering Buddhism. In the early modern period, European exploration and the spread of Christian missions catalyzed new encounters with religious others. Today, globalization makes us increasingly aware that we live in a world of great religious diversity. This course examines the ways the people of God have thought about and responded to other religions throughout history. Beginning with a survey of the Bible's stances toward other religions, the course will then survey various Christian perspectives from the early church, from the medieval and early modern periods, and from the contemporary period. Students will discover that there is no singular Christian response to other religions, and that in fact, Christianity itself has been deeply shaped through inter-religious encounters and debates. Students will also be encouraged to critically assess various perspectives, and to grapple with the uniqueness of Christian claims in a religiously diverse world. Along the way, students will learn about the beliefs and practices of several non-Christian religions, and be exposed to some of the ways these religions have responded to Christianity.  

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 20890 - God and Dialogue

The course will explore the relationship between God and humanity through a variety of theological lenses. The asymmetrical relationship will be considered as a form of dialogue and as a path to finding new approaches to a dialogue of cultures viable today. Sources will include the Old and New Testament, St. Augustine, medieval Christian writers like St. Anselm of Canterbury, Ramón Llull, St. Catherine of Siena, and Nicholas of Cusa, Bartolomé de la Casas, Jewish thinkers like Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas, Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Pope Paul VI, Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, Robert Schreiter, Virgilio Elizondo, María Pilar Aquino, Alejandro García-Rivera, the monks of Tibhirine, and Emmanuel Katongole.

THEO 20894 - The Christian Experience: Vocation and the Theological Imagination

This course provides an entrée into the theological foundations of Christian vocation through considering the transformation of human experience by means of the theological imagination. That God calls is an objective fact of revelation. How human beings perceive and appropriate this call is an entirely different matter. Thus, this course considers both the central images of Christian salvation history from creation to eschatology, as well as how these images were appropriated in the lived experience of Christianity. This course is designed to assist Notre Dame undergraduates who are preparing to work as "Mentors-in-Faith" within Notre Dame Vision.  

THEO 30048 - Know Your Catholic Faith: Mary in the Movies

The intersection of theology and secular culture presents the monumental challenge of depicting what escapes all visual categories: transcendence and mystery. For more than a century, the Blessed Virgin Mary has caught the imagination of filmmakers of religious, agnostic, and even atheist affiliations. The results range from being in harmony with the Christian faith to sacrilegious portrayal/caricature. This course will examine a variety of films about the Blessed Virgin Mary in view of their scriptural, doctrinal, and spiritual presentation of Mary of Nazareth: her election, vocation and mission from God. On successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of a range of representations of the Blessed Virgin Mary on screen and to respond critically to the theological issues raised.

THEO 33501 - Tensions in Vocational Discernment

This course will attend to the unavoidable tensions involved in vocational discernment, while recognizing the relationship between these tensions and certain paradoxes of the Christian faith that underlie them. Particular topics treated in the course will include human desire and passions, God's will and human freedom, participation in multiple communities, and the responsibility to both openness and commitment in discernment. This course will take place in a retreat format, with two full-day Saturday sessions (January 25 and March 22). Students must attend each of these sessions in their entirety in order to participate in the course (approx. 9:30am to 5:30pm).  

THEO 30864 - Dante, Mercy, and the Beauty of the Human Person

This course runs alongside the lecture series that bears the same name. Students will be required to attend four of the five evenings of lectures, which means eight out of the ten total lectures (two per evening). The lectures will occur on February 11, February 23, March 16, March 29, and April 6, all from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. In addition to the lectures, students will meet in reading groups with the instructors periodically as they make their way through reading Dante's Divine Comedy during Lent and into Easter. The lecture series and the course intentionally coincide with the Year of Mercy and respond to what Pope Francis said/wrote about Dante in relation to the 750th anniversary of the poet's birth: "[The Comedy] is an invitation to rediscover the lost or obscured meaning of our human path and to hope to see again the glowing horizon on which the dignity of the human person shines in its fullness."

THEO 40003 - Elementary Hebrew II

This is the second of a two-semester introductory course in Biblical Hebrew; under normal circumstances, the student must complete the first in order to enroll in the second. In addition to the completion of Lambdin's elementary grammar, students are introduced to some (modified) Biblical texts.

THEO 40108 - New Testament Introduction

How did the New Testament come to be? This course will offer a critical introduction to the documents that make up the canon of the New Testament, considering questions of both origin (authorship, date, circumstances) and content (structure, purpose). Beginning with the earliest traditions about Jesus, the course will in turn examine Jesus, the Pauline writings, the Gospels and Acts, and Hebrews to Revelation. Attention will also be paid to familiarising students with basic methodological approaches.

THEO 40123 - Pilgrims in a Foreign Land: War, Exile and Diaspora in the Bible

A good deal of the later literature in the Old Testament and in the New Testament reflects the realities of foreign rule and foreign occupation. This course will explore the ways in which early Jews and Christians responded to the challenges posed by wars, foreign invasions, and adapting to life in exile in other lands. Interestingly, some of these writings feature women characters as heroines (e.g., Esther, Ruth, Judith, Susanna). Other works to be studied include Jeremiah, Jonah, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles, Daniel, Matthew, Luke, Acts, and select letters of St. Paul. Issues of land, ethnicity, diaspora, self-identity, gender, patriarchy/matriarchy, and future hope will be addressed.

THEO 40202 - The Christian Theological Tradition II

The course will examine the development of the Christian tradition from the time of the Reformation to the present, with special attention to the confessional division of the western Christian tradition during the Reformation, and the responses that post-Reformation Christian traditions make to the secularization of Western culture. The objective of this course is to develop an ecumenical understanding of contemporary Christian traditions. Class time each week will consist of two lectures and one student-led discussion. Evaluation will be based on discussion, four short papers, and a final exam. Spring only.

THEO 40211 - St. Anselm's Philosophy/Theology

An examination of the major philosophical and theological writings of St. Anselm. His "Monologian, Proslogian," and Cur Deus Homo" will be of central concern, but several lesser-known texts will also be read. Topics discussed in these writings include arguments for the existence of God, the divine nature, the Trinity, the Incarnation, freedom (and its compatibility with divine foreknowledge), and truth.

THEO 40248 - Deification in Christian Theology

Deification, Divinization, or Theosis (literally "becoming god") is a theological concept that has gained widespread attention in recent years. It is often associated with Eastern Christian theology, usually with the sense that it represents an exotic view, one which is at best an optional extra or at worst an utter abrogation of the Christian faith. The idea, however, that the sanctification of the human being can in some way be described as deification is not as marginal or alien to the Christian tradition as many assume. Beginning with Scripture and moving through early and medieval Christian texts, this course will explore the ways in which Christians have talked about holiness as connected with deification. We will also explore modern appropriations of this language as well as texts that attack the idea. The aim of the course is to introduce a rich, multifaceted, and increasingly debated topic in Christian Theology.

THEO 40294 - U.S. Latino Catholicism

Latina and Latino Catholics have lived their faith in what is now the United States for almost twice as long as the nation has existed. This course explores the development of Latino Catholicism in the United States, the ways Latinos are currently transforming the U.S. Catholic Church, Hispanic faith expressions related to Jesus and Mary, and especially the theological contributions of contemporary Latinas and Latinos.  

THEO 40404 - Theology of the Mass

This course offers a historical approach to liturgical theology through a comprehensive study of the Mass in Christian thought and life. The class has two primary foci. In the first, students will develop a sense of the ritual action of the Eucharistic liturgy as a theological performance. In the second, students will be introduced to key theological, aesthetic, and spiritual classics in the development of a Eucharistic theology connected to liturgical practice. This class, although grounded in the Catholic tradition, will attend to Eucharistic theology and practice among Orthodox and Anglicans in particular.

THEO 40405 - Mary and the Saints in Liturgy, Doctrine, and Life

This course explores the evolution and theology of Mary and the saints in their liturgical and doctrinal expressions in an attempt to discern, evaluate, and articulate their proper place within Christian liturgy, doctrine, and life today in relationship to the central mediatorial role of Christ. Issues of popular piety, "models of holiness," and ecumenical division, dialogue, convergence, feminist critique, and liturgical renewal will also be examined. Requirements include several short papers/seminar-style presentations, and a research paper.

THEO 40613 - Catholic Social Teaching

This seminar will introduce students to the key texts that make up Catholic social teaching. Students will read one document each week and ask how the document's ideas relate to our own present lives and planned futures. The course concludes with asking what would our anticipated professional vocations look like if informed by Catholic social teaching. For instance, what would a law firm or health clinic look like if they were formed by ideas such as the common good and the option for the poor.  

THEO 40636 - Introduction to Catholic Moral Thought

What are the fundamental moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and how are they relevant to our lives today? These questions may seem to have clear, obvious answers, but that is not always the case. In this class, we will examine the foundations of Catholic moral teaching, with the aim of placing contemporary views within a wider theological and historical context. Topics to be considered will include sexual morality, family life and gender, bioethics, moral challenges of national security and war, and economic justice. Students will be encouraged to examine these questions from many points of view and to develop and defend their own views.

THEO 40711 - Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

In our course we will consider Christianity's encounter with Islam, from the Islamic conquests of the 7th century to the internet age. The first section of the course is historical. We will examine how various historical contexts have affected the Christian understanding of Muslims and Islam, from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad to September 11 and beyond. The second section of the course is systematic. How are Christians today to respond to Islam, in light of recent world events and recent Church teaching? In addressing this question we will analyze primary theological sources that express a range of responses, from pluralism to dialogue to evangelism. Students in this class will be introduced to the Quran, to the life of Muhammad, to the difference between Sunni and Shi'ite Islam, to Church teaching on Christianity's relationship with Islam, and to trends in the theology of religions.  

THEO 40712 - Gender and American Catholicism

This course surveys gender and American Catholicism, focusing on the following themes: the role of religious belief and practice in shaping Catholics' understanding of gender differences; gender in the context of family and religious life; masculinity, sport, and American culture; embodiment; gender, education, and work; gender and sainthood; and Catholicism and feminism. The class format will involve discussion of assigned primary and secondary sources, supplemented by occasional background lectures. We will take several field trips, including a visit to the Notre Dame Archives for a presentation on Catholic material culture, a tour of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart to enhance our understanding of church architecture and devotional life before the Second Vatican Council, an evening at South Bend's Catholic Worker House, and a visit to Catholic Chicago, an interactive exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.

THEO 40810 - Feminist and Multicultural Theologies

An exploration of how the voices of women have helped to reshape theological discourse and to bring to light new dimensions of the living Christian tradition. Using writings of feminist, womanist, Latina, mujerista, Asian, and "Third World" theologians, the course will focus on the significance of gender and social location in understanding the nature and sources of theology, theological anthropology, Christology/soteriology, the mystery of God, and women's spirituality.

THEO 40837 - Meaning, Vulnerability and Human Existence

This course explores the contribution that the coming together of theological and literary reflection can make to our understanding of the nature of meaning. Focusing on the work of Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Primo Levi, Dostoevsky and Shakespeare, students will address questions such as 'What is it we are doing when speaking, reading, using language?', 'How do the intellect and the imagination work in relation to literary texts?', 'How might all this relate to our ways of thinking about God, human nature, and the relationship between them?' Such questions will be addressed, in particular, through reflection on how the texts studied invite us to think about the nature of love, forgiveness, vulnerability and creativity.

THEO 40866 - Catholicism and World Religions

The present encounter of Catholicism with other religions is one of the most urgent and exciting events of our time. It ranks alongside the global struggle against poverty and injustice and the engagement of theology with science as one of the three great tasks of the twenty-first century Church. After a long history of mostly negative appraisals of the value of other religions the Catholic Church abruptly changed its position at Vatican II (1962-65), now formally recognizing that truth and holiness were possible for people practicing other faiths. Since that time a lively theological, dialogical, and sometimes apologetic engagement with people of other religions has taken place. The purpose of this course is to investigate the meaning and significance of Vatican II's new approach to other religions in the context of mission, dialogue and evangelization. However, in order to avoid facile generalizations about what other religions are about and the proper way to engage them, the majority of this course will be oriented to the particular. Students will be introduced to some of the most important teachings, practices, and spiritualities of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, all of which will be treated in comparison with the teachings and spiritualities of Catholicism. By course end we ought to have a greater appreciation of the spiritual paths of others while also coming to a deeper awareness of the value of Christ and the Church for all of humanity.  Note: this course is not available for students who have already enrolled in Prof. Malkovsky's course, Theo 20828: Christianity and World Religions.

THEO 40867 - Black Theology: An Introduction

The Gospel message is both spiritual and social. However, Classic Christian theology has, at various times and in varying degrees, obscured this fact. The recent events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston are the latest instances of a longstanding social problem in U.S. history and culture, a social problem that calls for theological reflection that does not tacitly disavow the interdependence of spiritual, social, and bodily well-being. In order to work out for ourselves a more critically informed Catholic theology for the U.S. today, this course will examine the theological contributions of African American religious communities who have wrestled with the yet unresolved theological question of the United States: "What does it mean to be truly Christian in a capitalist society organized according to the racialization of human groups?"

THEO 40868 - Eschatology in Art

This course examines the ways in which the Christian eschatological imagination is expressed in and informed by masterpieces of Western art. The centerpiece of this study is a week-long trip to Northern Italy to study specific works on site (over Spring Break), including Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" and Botticelli's "Chart of Hell" (Rome), Fra Angelico's "Last Judgment" and "Christ in Limbo" (Florence), Vassari/Zuccari's "Last Judgment" and Santi di Tito's "Resurrection" (Florence), Luca Signorelli's Fresco Cycle in the Chapel of Madonna di San Brizio (Orvieto), and Giotto's "Last Judgment" and Bellini's "Christ in Limbo" (Padua), among others. In preparation for studying these works well, the first part of the course preceding Spring Break will focus on eschatological questions pertaining to the meaning and significance of bodies, the issue of time, the relationship between individuals and community, and the doctrines of the "four last things": death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Alongside this theological work, the class will also include lessons in art history (from an art historian) through which students will develop the skills and capacities to critique the works of art they will study in an intelligent and discerning manner. The middle part of the course (Spring Break trip) will be conducted in a seminar style around the on-site examinations of the selected works of art. In the end, students will be asked to assess how the eschatological imagination is formed, expressed, and communicated in these works, while also analyzing how they aid in the flourishing of the Christian theological imagination.  

THEO 40869 - Beauty and Justice from Juan Diego to Pope Francis

Benedict XVI and Francis look to the via pulchritudinis ("the way of beauty") as a path to God. This path leads people of all walks of life to take another look at the integral beauty of Christian faith. At the same time, works of art, transcendental beauty, and the beauty of the Gospel are not just goads to seeking the Absolute. They literally shock us, in a healthy way, to go outside of ourselves. Latino theologians, looking back to the message in a painted image that Saint Juan Diego received from Our Lady of Guadalupe, have connected the way of beauty to the prophetic call for social justice. In this new synthesis, the Catholic tradition, Marian symbols, and the life and well-being of the people of God are inextricably linked to the cry of the poor. This course will explore the both roots and the branches of this new theological aesthetics of liberation.

THEO 43001 - Proseminar

This course gives an introduction to the study of theology. In particular, it provides: [1] an overview of theology and its disciplines / areas of specialization, [2] bibliographies of primary and secondary sources for theological research, and [3] information about internships and career opportunities for theology majors. The course meets once each week for 50 minutes throughout the semester. Students are expected to attend every class. Two short papers are required at the end of the semester. Required of all Theology majors.

THEO 43203 - Joint Seminar in Philosophy and Theology: Augustine and Aquinas on Knowing God

Speaking meaningfully and thinking truly about God, who seems to be by definition beyond the boundaries of human conception and human language, has always been an almost insuperable challenge to worship and to communication among people of faith. How do we refer to God, whom we believe to be the source, sustainer, guide and goal of our lives, and of the process of the universe? Where do our ideas about God's being come from? How do we know that they are true? In this seminar, we will examine key works and passages from two of Western Christianity's most influential and most philosophically sophisticated theologians, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to see what help they can offer us in our quest to know God. We will also consider some philosophical and theological influences that seem to have shaped their thought, and the implications of their approaches for the Christian life of faith.