Spring 2014 Undergraduate Courses
Spring 2014 Courses
Foundations of Theology (multiple listings)
This first course in theology offers a critical study of the Bible and the early Christian tradition. Following an introduction to the Old and New Testaments, students follow major post-biblical developments in Christian life and worship (e.g., liturgy, theology, doctrine, asceticism), emphasizing the first five centuries.
THEO 20102: Gendering Christianity
This course is an introduction to feminist and gender-based approaches to Christianity. It addresses major topics of theological thinking (such as sin, salvation, images of God, Christology) relating historical development and contemporary re-readings. These topics will be considered in light of contemporary issues of gender and sexuality (eating disorders, sexual violence, the status of gays and lesbians, ecofeminism etc.). The approach will be both critical (i. e. analytic) and constructive. Course materials will include two novels as well as theological writings and videos on contemporary issues.
THEO 20103: One Jesus and His Many Portraits
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 20206: U.S. Latino Spirituality
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the dynamic origins, development and present status of the collective spirituality of the Latinos/as living in the USA. Emphasis will be placed on the Mexican Americans since they are not only the largest group but likewise the ones who have been living in the USA the longest. Drawing on history, cultural anthropology, Christian Theology and your own experience, this course will explore the roots and development of contemporary Latino Spirituality in the United States. As we explore in depth the spirituality of a people, this course will also help you discover and explore the roots and development of your own collective and personal spirituality.
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 20257: Jewish People and the Church
Since the days of the Apostles, the relationship between the Jewish people and the Church has been full of tensions, misunderstandings and even violence. This course provides an outline to the historical development of the very special ties between Christianity and Judaism during the last 2000 years and the key issues corresponding to the conflict. It will illustrate the Jewish roots of the Christian religion in late Antiquity, the painful self-separation of the early Church from Jewish tradition and its successful establishment and transformation to be the leading force of Western-Roman civilization. For the formative period between late Antiquity and the late Middle Ages, the course will analyze the emerging role of what is called "replacement theology". Why was it so important for the Church to see itself as the new and only chosen people of God? What role did the assumption of a banned and cursed Jewish people play for the identity of the western Church in the pre-modern period? This inclination against the Jewish people lead to intellectual reactions and discourses on the Jewish side and determined their perception and theological understanding of Christianity up to now. Against this backdrop, we will try to present both Jewish and Christian perspectives on an equal footing. In the last part of the course we will deal with new and current developments regarding the relationship between the Roman Church, Protestant denominations and Jews and Judaism after World War II, especially since the Second Vatican Council.
THEO 20605: Intro to Catholic Moral Theology
This course will explore what it means to live "the good life" according to Catholic theology. We will address questions such as: Why should I be moral? What is happiness? What makes actions and people good or bad? What does God or the Church have to do with ethics? Is there an ultimate purpose to my life, and will there be an afterlife? The course itself will be structured around the moral and theological virtues that are the basis of traditional Catholic moral theology. We will cover general topics such as grace, sin, holiness, freedom, the passions, natural law, and social justice. These will lead us into concrete and controversial topics such as euthanasia, abortion, premarital sex, homosexuality, and just war. The course will draw primarily upon the classical Catholic tradition, as represented especially by St. Thomas Aquinas. The overall goal is to grasp and explain what follows from the challenging claim: "There is only one real sadness in life: not to be saints."
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 20653: Synergoi
This is a community-based learning course focusing on the interrelationship of food, justice, the sacramentality of creation, liturgy, and the place of cooperatives in the Catholic social tradition. What does it mean for human beings to become synergoi, or co-operators with God's creative activity in their own local community as responsible members of God's creation called to live sustainably? As a requirement of the course, students will work with members of the local community at the Monroe Park Grocery Cooperative and with local farmers to bring fresh, affordable food into underserved neighborhoods of South Bend through MPGC. The course will be limited to twenty-five students and will require twenty hours of community-based work over the semester.
THEO 20658: Theology of Nature
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 20661: Not from this World
Ever since Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews, powerful men (and the occasional powerful woman) have wondered whether the man from Nazareth threatens or endorses the political order they've worked hard to establish. In two millennia, Jesus's own followers have come to different conclusions about how the lords of mere cities, nations, and empires ought to run things while Christians await the second coming of the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Moreover, Christians have disagreed about what their citizenship in Christ's kingdom means for their participation in the politics of this world. This course will challenge students to critically examine some of these arguments and respond with their own ideas about what "Christian politics" should look like. We will comb the entire history of Christianity for answers to this question, but we will give special attention to theological issues that have profoundly marked the practice of politics in America, including divine election, liberation, natural rights, religious freedom, social justice, and eschatology. Course requirements will include active participation in discussion, written responses to readings, group presentations of case studies, a multi-stage paper, and a final exam.
THEO 20701: God in a Multicultural Context
This course explores human capacity of understanding God as the "ultimate reality" from the perspectives of multicultural and pluralistic world views, and ways of thinking. The course examines the fundamental Christian concepts such as "creation," "human nature," "time and history," and "sin and guilt" among others in dialogue with other cultural and spiritual traditions in Asia, especially East Asia. Although the course will take a comparative approach in examining these fundamental concepts and ideas, the main thrust of this douse, however, will go beyond a mere "comparison." Rather it will expound a deeper meaning of the Christian understanding of God in light of other forms of the manifest ion of the "ultimate reality" found in non-Western and non-Christian traditions such as Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Shamanism, etc. The goal of this course, thus, is to enrich and enlarge the Christian experience of God in Christ by engaging in a dialogue with other spiritual traditions in order for us to reach a true meaning of "ecumenical ecumenism.
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 20820: 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 20861: Religion and Visual Arts in Christianity and Buddhism
A study of the ways in which religious ideas and values are conveyed in images, as distinct from the ways in which they are conveyed in language and texts. This course will examine in detail a selection of major works of art (painting, sculpture, architecture) from the Christian tradition, presented in comparison and contrast with analogous works from the Buddhist tradition. As we discuss these examples of visual religion (religion of the eye, rather than only of the ear) we will take note of the fact that some Christians and Buddhists have seen images as blessings, as instruments of salvation, or as enhancements of piety whereas others have condemned and even forbidden them as impious or heretical. We will then ask why and how such controversies have arisen.
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 20891: What Does it Mean to be Human?
What does the Christian tradition have to say about being a human person, and what does this mean for persons in the twenty-first century? This course will provide an introduction to theological anthropology, the Christian understanding of the nature and destiny of the human person. We will read a selection of ancient and contemporary thinkers in order to investigate three central questions about human personhood: Creation: What does it mean to be created, to have our existence as a gift from God and to be made in God?s image? Grace and Sin: What does it mean to be creatures both under the reign of sin and recipients of God?s grace? Salvation: What is the end for which we hope, and what does the full flourishing of human persons entail? In the last portion of the class, we will use our preceding investigations in order to think about three contemporary issues concerning personhood. We will look at current discussions about race, gender, and disability and ask how our theological resources might help us to think about these different aspects of human identity today. Requirements will include two short papers, a mid-term, and a final examination, as well as class participation.
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 30043: Know Your Catholic Faith: Catholic Social Teaching and the Environment
A particular focus for the proposed course will be on the writings on the environment of more recent popes, including that of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. Pope John Paul II showed a particular affinity with the natural world that surfaced in his teaching and in his guided nature retreats. We will explore the theological issues behind such writing and the relationship between ecology and social justice. This course will take place in a retreat setting over a weekend as a way of enhancing learning, and assessment will be based on a reflective journal that you will complete during the retreat. There will be one class briefing session of one hour on campus prior to the course, and one follow up session after it.
THEO 30044: Spirituality of Pope Francis
When Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected Pope last March and took the name of Francs, many people were surprised: not least because he is the first Jesuit in fact, a former Jesuit high-school teacher, novice director, and provincial superior - to be elected to that office in the Society’s almost 500 years of history. Many of his statements and gestures since then have also surprised the world by their clear changes of style and emphasis from previous Papal pronouncements and practices. In this mini-course, I hope to consider some of the main features of Jesuit prayer and spirituality, and of the pastoral work traditionally done by members of the Society of Jesus through the centuries. Then, by reading some of Pope Francis’ sermons and addresses and by thinking about how he lives, I hope to point to the influence of his Jesuit background on the model of leadership he is offering to the Church.
THEO 33501: Responding to God’s Call II
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 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 40005: Intermediate Hebrew II
This fourth-semester course in biblical Hebrew will continue and build upon THEO 40004. While the latter was devoted to the reading of biblical prose, this installment of Intermediate Hebrew will introduce students to the beauty of biblical Hebrew poetry. Our efforts will be focused on the preparation, oral reading, and translation of selected biblical passages. But time also will be spent continuing to review basic grammar as well as developing an appreciation of syntax and poetic structure (e.g., parallelism) in this powerful medium of prayer, prophetic revelation, and the quest for Wisdom in ancient Israel.
THEO 40108: New Testament Introduction
THEO 40108 is an introduction to the history and literature of the early Christian movement. The focus of the course will be on the writings contained in the New Testament, and an attempt will be made to understand these writings as historical documents within their social and religious setting.The purposes of the course are (1) to provide insight into the cultural and religious matrix of early Christianity, (2) to develop a basic knowledge of the New Testament writings with respect to their literary and theological characteristics, (3) to provide an introduction to the contemporary critical study of the New Testament, and (4) to provide guidance in the art and methods of exegesis.The course is composed of five major segments: (1) The Jewish Matrix of Early Christianity, (2) Jewish Messianism and the Ministry of Jesus, (3) Jesus in the Memory of the Early Church, (4) Paul and the Spread of Christianity, and (5) Ethics, Eschatology, and Early Catholicism.
THEO 40125: Creation and Liturgy
A detailed exegetical and theological examination of the doctrine of creation and the origins of the Divine Liturgy in the Bible.
THEO 40202: The Christian 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 40238: The 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).
THEO 40286: The Qur’an and its Relation to the Bible
To most Muslims the Qu'an is the eternal, uncreated Word of God. For them the Qur'an is not an inspired scripture like the Bible. Instead it is like Christ: a divine Word descended from heaven. It is perfect in regard to its literary qualities, its accounts of nations and prophets, and its scientific references. Islamic reverence for the Qur'an is seen in the way Muslims kiss the book before opening it, and are careful never to place another book on top of it. From the perspective of academic scholars, however, the Qur'an is a poorly understood text. Scholars are divided over the precise historical context in which the Qur'an emerged, its connection to the life of Muhammad, and its relation to the Bible and other religious literature. In this course we will examine the Qur'an itself, traditional Islamic teaching on the Qur'an, and academic controversies over the Qu'an. In addition we will examine the connection of the Qur'an to Christian theology. Indeed it should be remembered that the Qur'an is fundamentally concerned with the great figures of Biblical tradition, including Abraham, Moses, Mary, and Jesus. Moreover, the Qu'an repeatedly refutes Christian doctrine. Thus it is an important text for anyone interested in the relationship between Islam and Christianity, or the relations between Muslims and Christians, in past centuries or in our age. No prior knowledge of Arabic, the Qur'an, or Islam is expected of students in this course.
THEO 40293: Seeking Christ in the Desert
From the Church’s first centuries, men and women have felt called to an intimate encounter with the Incarnate Word through the monastic profession of obedience, stability, and life-long spiritual conversion. This course introduces students to the history of monasticism and monastic theology from its Scriptural origins to the present day. We will approach the phenomenon of Christian monasticism from several complementary perspectives. To begin, we will consider exemplary figures in the monastic hagiographical tradition, such as Antony of the Desert, Mary of Egypt, and Benedict of Nursia. Then, we will analyze the development of monastic rules of life, such as the rules of Basil, Augustine, and Benedict. Finally, we will study some of the principal exponents of monastic theology from Bernard of Clairvaux and Julian of Norwich to Charles de Foucauld and Thomas Merton. Throughout, we will ask ourselves how we can apply various key elements of monastic spirituality such as lectio divina, mutual obedience, and the balance of prayer and work to our daily lives as laypersons seeking Christ in today?s society. Our inquiry will be primarily discussion-based and will entail several exegetical papers as well as a final exam.
THEO 40294: U.S. Latino Cathoicism
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 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
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the tradition of Catholic social teaching with a view to developing skills for critical reading and appropriation of these documents. We will examine papal, conciliar, and episcopal texts from "Rerum Novarum" (1891) up to the present time, identifying operative principles, tracing central theological, ethical, and ecclesial concerns, and locating each document in its proper historical context.
THEO 40626: Politics and Conscience
Against a backdrop of large-scale society, mass movements, and technological bureaucracy, the invocation of "conscience" recalls the individual human person as a meaningful actor in the political sphere. But what is conscience, and what are its rights and responsibilities? What is it about conscience that ought to command governmental respect? Are there limits to its autonomy? What role should conscience play in questions of war and peace, law-abidingness and civil disobedience, citizenship and political leadership? And how does the notion of conscience relate to concepts of natural law and natural rights, rationality and prudence, religion and toleration? This course engages such questions through readings from the Catholic intellectual tradition (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, Fransisco de Vitoria, Desiderius Erasmus, John Henry Newman, Karol Wojty'a/John Paul II, and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI) and other writers of the history of ethical-political thought (Cicero, Seneca, John Locke, Mahatma Ghandi, Jan Pato'ka, and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn). We consider also various contemporary reflections on conscience expressed in films, essays, letters, plays, short stories, speeches, and declarations, beginning with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and Václav Havel's speech "Politics and Conscience." This class serves as both the capstone course for the interdisciplinary minor Philosophy in the Catholic Tradition and an upper-level elective for Political Science majors and Peace Studies minors. Its format combines lecture and seminar-style discussion.
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: 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 40634: African Literatures and Moral Imagination
To imagine is to form a mental concept of something which is not present to the senses. Imagination therefore deals with ?framing?. Like everyone else, Africans ponder over their condition and their world on the basis of their experience, history, social location and other realities which provide the ?frame? through which they construct and address reality. In this course, through the study of some significant African literary works and some literary works about Africa we will study the self-perception of the African and the way the African has ethically viewed his / her reality and tried to grapple with it over a period of time (colonialism, post colonialism, apartheid) with regard to various issues on the continent (political challenges, religion, war and peace) and over some of the social questions (class, urbanization/ city life, sex and sexuality, relationship of the sexes), etc. We will read such authors as Joseph Conrad, Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe, Athol Fugard, Wole Soyinka, Cyprian Ekwensi, Chimamanda Adichie, Syl Cheney-Coker, Tsitsi Dangaremga, Nawal El Sadawi, Ferdinand Oyono , and some others. Using these and many authors we will ask questions about what constitutes the moral imagination, how such an imagination is manifested in or apparent in the social, personal and religious lives of the various African peoples or characters portrayed in these literary works; to what extent the moral sense has helped/ conditioned or failed to influence the lives of these peoples and characters. We will also inquire into the extent and in what ways the writers in our selection have helped to shape the moral imagination of their people.
THEO 40705: Catholics in America
This course is a senior seminar designed to facilitate in-depth research on a topic related to the study of Catholicism in America. Organized around the overarching themes of mission, migration, and modernity, the seminar will cover, among others, the following topics: martyrdom, the immigrant church, religious congregations, Catholics in film and fiction, education and social reform. Class discussions, assigned reading, and written work will is designed to encourage students to develop and complete their research projects, which ordinarily will consist of final research paper of approximately 20 pages or a creative project accompanied by a critical essay, based on primary source research.
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 40816: Philosophy and Theology of the Body
Pope John Paul II's theology of the body constitutes a thoroughgoing effort to develop an account of human sexuality and love and of the "redemption of the body" in the context of an integral vision of the human person. This vision is based on his philosophical personalism together with a phenomenological analysis of the Genesis account of the human being as imago Dei. The first half of the course addresses first the original condition of human beings according to the Creator's intention and then concupiscence as the effect of original sin. The second half of the course addresses the sacramentality of marriage and the ethos of Christian marriage in the light of the redemption of the body. The principal text for the course will be John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, (Pauline Books & Media, 2006). Besides this we will read sections from Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility (Ignatius Press, 1993), his Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, and Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, as well as Pope Paul VI's Encyclical "Humanae Vitae." Course requirements include two 7-page papers and a final exam. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions.
THEO 40860: Beauty and the Eucharist
In its appearance in the host, the Eucharist is small, plain, almost nondescript. And yet, as philosopher Simone Weil has observed, the Eucharistic host has become the generative center for countless works of art not only tabernacles, churches, paintings, and altarpieces, but also musical compositions, poetry, and fiction. Above all, it has been the nourishment for lives of virtuous beauty, for mystics and saints in their encounters with Christ and their service to the poor. In this course we will take an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to understand the beauty of the Eucharist in philosophical and theological terms, but also through representative artworks (visual, musical, literary) inspired by the sacrament. In-class readings and discussions will be enriched by attendance at four additional, thematically related public lectures by invited speakers, thanks to an initiative by the Center for Liturgy at the Institute for Church Life.
THEO 40861: Sexual Renunciation and Spiritual Transformation in the Early and Medieval Church
To many, contemporary believers and non-believers the practice of sexual renunciation as a necessary, ideal, or even desired marker of one’s religious identity is difficult to imagine, let alone celebrate or embrace. Though many ordained clergy and vowed religious in the Catholic church, other Christian denominations, and other faith traditions take vows of celibacy, their numbers are dwindling; people of faith have been finding other ways to mark their religious commitments explicitly and exteriorly. But, in the history of the Christian church, from the early fourth century through the late middle ages, the celibate life was championed as the most exemplary witness to a new life in Christ; the transformation of self wrought through baptism could only be fully effected and perfected through the spiritual discipline of virginity. By means of the renunciation of one’s sexual desires, one could come closer to reclaiming humanity?s original, pure state at creation or to achieving the perfection of human nature promised at the resurrection. More significantly, the denial of sexuality invested its practitioners with significant spiritual authority, the power to overcome societal and ecclesiastical limitations placed on their gender, and sometimes even the confines of their very sexed bodies. They embodied the baptismal promise recorded in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians: For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female? (Gal 3.27-28). This course will be dedicated to providing a historical and theological account for the roots, growth, and flowering of this ascetic practice from its scriptural progenitors through its late medieval inheritors. It will focus on the primary sources related to this topic: treatises on virginity, consecration rituals, homilies, letters of spiritual guidance, martyr acts, saints lives, visionary accounts, and autobiographies, but these sources will be supplemented by relevant secondary literature. Through a variety of sources, this course seeks to understand not only the multiple and changing ways in which the discipline of virginity was theologized and practiced in the early and medieval church, but also how it empowered and spiritually authorized its practitioners to perform pastoral and liturgical acts customarily read as sacerdotal in nature, such as founding ecclesial communities, preaching, proclaiming the gospel, anointing the sick, forgiving sins, and interceding on behalf of souls in purgatory. Often irrespective of geographical location, class, gender, or prior sexual experience, men and women alike could serve as Christ for others through the spiritual transformation wrought by sexual renunciation, for they became Christ in their very flesh.
THEO 43001: Proseminar
This course gives an introduction to the study of theology. In particular, it provides:  an overview of theology and its disciplines / areas of specialization,  bibliographies of primary and secondary sources for theological research, and  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
In this seminar, intended as a synthetic experience for joint majors in theology and philosophy, we will read and discuss a selection of representative texts from the works of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas that deal with the possibility and the limitation of human knowledge of God, both by the use of our reason and by faith in God?s self-revelation. We will also read texts from the Greek philosophical tradition that strongly influenced the thought of these two writers on the question of human knowledge of the divine reality.
THEO 43401: Issues in Sacred Architecture
An upper-level seminar exploring themes related to issues in sacred architecture. The course is open to architecture students and students in other disciplines.