This course introduces students to the many ways Catholics have read and interpreted Sacred Scripture. Focusing on key Old Testament and New Testament passages, the course surveys historical-critical, narrative and canonical approaches, as well as methods grounded in liturgy and lectio divina, highlighting the advantages and challenges of each.
The course examines the basic themes in Roman Catholic moral theology in light of the renewal of the discipline by the Second Vatican Council, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the legacy of teachings from Pope John Paul II and the integrating work of major Catholic theologians.
The course considers the centrality in the Catholic tradition of: a spiritual life rooted in personal prayer; the various expressions, methods of prayer and spirituality which have developed in the Church over the centuries (e.g. Benedictine, Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite and Jesuit); and how prayer serves as the basis of both radical personal transformation and modes of communal Christian life, (e.g. monasticism, religious life and ecclesial movements).
The course explores the primary ways Catholicism believes God in Jesus Christ reveals Himself to humanity: through Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium; communal life and worship; personal prayer, moral development and spiritual growth; and the ongoing engagement of all these elements with human learning, reason and history.
The course considers the worship and sacraments of the Catholic Church as necessary expressions and celebrations of the presence of Jesus Christ's Incarnation and Paschal Mystery, and how these encounters with Christ have played a role in shaping Catholic doctrine. The course culminates in a consideration of the role of liturgy and sacraments in human transformation to fulfillment in God. Pretheology program /undergraduate credit only. 3 credits
This course aims to clarify how and why the Hebrew Scriptures became the Old Testament of the Catholic Church. The course examines the various ways these Scriptures constitute the Word of God that is still normative for Catholic theology, worship and living.
This course examines how the experience of Jesus Christ, especially in His death and resurrection, compelled His followers to interpret Him and the heritage of the Old Testament in a new light, how these insights opened new directions for Jesus’ disciples beyond Judaism while also preserving the Old Testament as indispensable for comprehending God’s revelation through the Paschal Mystery.
This course explores the wide range of Jewish and Christian writings that appeared c. 100 B.C. – 400 A.D., making claims to Scriptural status but ultimately rejected as such by each religious community. The origins and theology of these writings, their relation to Sacred Scripture and their impact on Christian thought and culture are considered.
This course examines how human personal life is fulfilled in social relationship; how the particular settings of family, nation and culture all receive a deeper understanding through the revelation of Jesus Christ; and how this reflection has led the Church to articulate a comprehensive body of teachings concerning social, legal, medical, political and economic institutions.
This course investigates Eastern and Western Christian monasticism from its origins in 4th century Egypt to the medieval mendicant orders. Particular attention is given to examining the various forms of monastic life, its rules and ideals, devotions and ways to sanctity, and how the monastic movement has both challenged and sustained the Church and society.
An exploration of how Christian reflection on the person and mission of Jesus Christ led to an understanding of His community of followers, whereby the Church becomes an object of faith; and how this Christological reflection is the basis of the Church’s self-understanding, even in its concrete historical, cultural and institutional manifestations.
This course examines how Christians have defended and proposed their faith from New Testament times to today. Emphasis is given to the various methods of apologetics that have developed as part of the Church's engagement of the modern world's profoundly religious questions about humanity and society.
The course introduces students to the writers and theologians of the Church¿s first seven centuries who laid the common foundations for Christianity¿s understanding of God, Jesus Christ, the Church, the Bible and the essentials of Christian living. Special attention will be paid to the most pre-eminent of the Fathers and samples of their writings.
The extensive legacy of teachings from Pope John Paul II is examined, especially his emphasis on Jesus Christ as the basis for personal fulfillment, social responsibility and human culture. His contributions to a renewed sense of Christian mission following Vatican II and for the III Millennium are also examined.
Augustine’s Confessions contains several stories of spiritual transformation, not just an account of his own famous conversion. This course will entail a close reading of the entire Confessions with a view toward how Augustine presents all these transformations. The course will complement and augment what students encounter in the Core Curriculum Signature courses.
This course is centered on the question: How do we learn not only what virtue is but how to be virtuous? In accordance with Catholic Virtue Ethics, this course considers virtue within the framework of character formation and begins with the premise that we can learn how to be virtuous by watching other people’s actions and decisions. By giving us a broad lens of human experience, fiction can serve as the primary teacher of virtue. Through reflection on the fiction works of Franz Kafka, Ayn Rand, Ursula Le Guin, Graham Greene, Walter Miller, and Azar Nafisi, in dialogue with various Catholic magisterial documents, for example, Gaudium et spes, Dignitatis Humanae, Evangelium vitae, Deus caritas est, and Lumen fidei, this course will address questions such as: Is all self-sacrifice virtuous? Is luxury necessary for authentic human development? Can governments prevent virtue? Is there virtue in failure? Is there a necessary connection between religion and morality?
This course explores the complexity of anti-Catholicism as an aspect of American history and society. It critically examines the phenomenon from historical, sociological and theological perspectives and considers its implications for American culture and the Catholic Church in America. Recommended: HIST 1301 & 1302 taken previously.
Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła) indicated to his closest collaborators that studying his literary works is an optimal way to grasp the implications of his larger philosophical and theological project. Following his advice, this course will consider selections from his poems and plays in order to identify hermeneutic keys to a fuller understanding of his thought.
– A detailed reading of Dante’s masterpiece The Divine Comedy, uncovering the theological content expressed in the poem’s doctrinal, spiritual, liturgical, biblical, and historical layers, as well as in its artistic construction. Text in translation.
This course will provide a survey of the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the History of Salvation and, in particular, in the life of Christ and the Church. The main areas of concentration are Mary in the Scriptures, Mary in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, the Marian Dogmas of the Church, the teaching of the contemporary Magisterium, Mary in the Liturgy of the Church, the spiritual motherhood of Mary, and the Marian orientation of Catholic spirituality, Mary in Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, contemporary approaches, questions and controversies.
This course will focus on the life and teaching of John Henry Newman (1891-1890), whom Pope Benedict XVI declared “Blessed” in September, 2010. The course will trace Newman’s life, from his early and Anglican life to his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1845, his subsequent life as a Catholic and his becoming a Cardinal in 1879. Among Newman’s works treated will be his sermons, his Essay on the Development of Doctrine (1845), The Idea of a University (1856), his Apologia pro vita sua (1863) and his Grammar of Assent (1870). The course will also indicate Newman’s influence on modern Catholic theologians, including Fr. Bernard Lonergan, S.J. who called Newman “my fundamental mentor and guide.”
An examination of the scientific, theological, cultural, and ethical dimensions of food. Topics to be covered include the science of food and food components; risk-benefit issues, such as those pertinent to genetically modified food and food and color additives; biblical perspectives on food and food aid, the Holy Mass as a sacred meal, food taboos, and “feasting” and “fasting”; diets including vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, and weight loss plans, and food addictions; issues of hunger and malnutrition, and food coping mechanisms for stress.
This course seeks to deepen a student's understanding of the relationship between the Catholic theology of creation and contemporary empirical science. Topics to be covered include the birth of science, the historical-philosophical environment of this birth, the interventions of recent Popes on the issue, the specificity of the cosmos as shown by current science, the unity of the cosmos and its beauty, the importance of philosophical realism, the doctrine of creation, the theory of the Big Bang, the theory of evolution, and the fundamental of climate science. Primary sources will be emphasized. This course will show how early Christian thought built upon the accomplishments of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Islamic, Chinese, Indian, and Mesopotamian insights into the natural world and how modern empirical science emerged. It will also show how the development of empirical science in Europe is the direct result of the fruitful dialog of Aristotelian metaphysical and epistemological insights and the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo et cum tempore. It references the Old and New Testaments, the proceedings of Ecumenical Councils, the writings of pre-Christian civilizations in Mesoamerica, India, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and the Arab world.
Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) is widely regarded as one of the greatest Catholic theologians of the twentieth century. Yet approaching him can seem daunting: many of his 100 books contain ornate language and long, technical treatments of other authors. This course aims to provide an accessible entryway into the heart of Balthsar’s vast theological project by focusing on his notion of love as mutual self-giving. According to Balthasar, the Trinitarian God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, is an eternal mystery of giving and receiving love. This groundless love in the Holy Trinity is the cause of mankind’s creation and redemption in Christ. In light of this unifying claim, we shall introduce the following: Balthasar’s life and spirituality, his philosophy, his Christology, and his Trinitarian theology. The course begins with an overview of Balthasar’s life, influences, and central works. The rest of the course will be a close reading of his two short books, Love Alone is Credible and Life out of Death, and several essays from his Explorations in Theology.
The course will survey the key elements of the development of Sacred Music as seen through the prism of 2000 years of musical development in the RomanCatholic Church. The course will explore the music as it developed within the Mass and the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours. It will also chronicle the music as itdeveloped along geographical, political and social contexts of the explored period. A core element of the class will be the student’s learning to sing Gregorian Chant.
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