Yale University.Calendar.Directories.

Areas and Courses of Study

The courses listed on the following pages are expected to be offered by Yale Divinity School in 2017–2018. The letter “a” following the course number denotes the fall term, and the letter “b” following the course number denotes the spring term. “H” indicates a hybrid course. Normally, courses numbered in the 500s carry Area I credit, with those in the 600s carrying Area II credit, those in the 700s carrying Area III credit, those in the 800s carrying Area IV credit, and those in the 900s carrying Area V credit. Courses with a four-digit number are generally eligible for elective credit only. Unless otherwise noted, all courses are for three hours of credit each term. Courses with the designation REL are offered by YDS. Those with an RLST designation are offered by the Department of Religious Studies of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Listed near the end of this chapter, under Courses without Area Designations, are those courses that do not normally count toward fulfillment of the area distribution requirements described in the chapter Programs of Study: elementary biblical languages, denominational colloquia, Supervised Ministry practica, M.A.R. and S.T.M. theses or projects, the ISM colloquium, the ministerial relationships workshop, and the weekend series of courses on leadership for church and society.

In addition to the curricular offerings specified below, students may arrange special reading courses with individual faculty members (see Reading Courses in the chapter Other Curricular Considerations). Courses on special topics of interest to a group of students may also be planned and approved for credit, to run for a period of weeks or for an entire term.

Students are encouraged by the faculty to take courses in other schools and departments of the University. (See also Interdepartmental Studies in the chapter Other Curricular Considerations.) In each case, prior consent must be received from the instructor. For a complete listing of the offerings, consult the bulletins of the Graduate School and the professional schools, Yale College Programs of Study, or Yale’s Online Course Information (OCI) site at http://students.yale.edu/oci.

Courses with numbers lower than 500 are undergraduate courses. Additional work is normally required in undergraduate courses presented for YDS credit. For credit toward a Divinity degree, the student must secure the permission of the instructor and have the instructor communicate to the Divinity academic dean the graduate-level evaluative measures to which the student will be held. Normally, graduate-level parameters would involve an enhanced research component and/or a term paper significantly longer than the paper required of the undergraduates enrolled in the class.

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Area I: Biblical Studies

This area is concerned with the interpretation of the Christian Scriptures in the broadest sense, including the study of the classical biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), the content of the Old and New Testaments, critical methods of interpretation, biblical history, cultural and historical milieu of the Bible, and the theological and pastoral implications of the text.

  • 1. Introductory courses are offered in the critical study of the Old and New Testaments. Except for the language courses, all courses in Area I normally have these foundation courses (or their equivalent) as prerequisites.
  • 2. Language courses are offered at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. Generally, elementary biblical languages are eligible for elective credit only.
  • 3. Three types of exegesis courses are offered: those based on the English text; those based on the original text and requiring a working knowledge of the biblical language; and advanced exegesis seminars that require at least an intermediate knowledge of the biblical language. Exegesis courses of each type are offered each term on selected books or topics from the Old and New Testaments. It is possible, therefore, during the course of one’s program, to engage in detailed exegesis of representative sections of the biblical text.
  • 4. Thematic courses are offered on a wide range of theological and historical issues raised by the scriptures. These include courses on the cultural and historical milieu of the Bible.
  • 5. Advanced seminars are designed for YDS students with the requisite background and qualifications, and for doctoral students. Permission to enroll in these seminars must be received from the individual instructor.
  • 6. Area I is also concerned with examining the implications of the scriptures for the contemporary church. In addition to doing this in courses offered specifically in Area I, members of the faculty in Area I join with other faculty members in offering courses dealing with the use of the Bible in Christian ministry.

YDS offers intensive courses in elementary Biblical Hebrew and elementary New Testament Greek for six weeks during the summer. Such work earns six hours of academic credit and prepares the student for the course in exegesis. Summer work will satisfy most denominational language requirements.

Critical Introductions

REL 500a, Old Testament Interpretation The first half of a two-term introduction to the content of and basic critical approaches to the Old Testament (Pentateuch and Historical Books). John J. Collins

REL 500b, Old Testament Interpretation A continuation of REL 500a. This course introduces students to critical study of the Prophetic Books and Writings (Psalms, Wisdom) of the Old Testament. The course concentrates on the methods of Old Testament interpretation and on the development of Israelite biblical literature and religion in their historical and cultural context, as well as on the theological appropriation of the Old Testament for contemporary communities of faith. Robert R. Wilson

REL 501a, New Testament Interpretation The first half of a two-term introduction to the literature of the New Testament and to the methods and resources useful for interpreting that literature. The course also highlights the living character of New Testament traditions for various communities, in distinct venues and modes, in different times and locales. Over the course of the year, the course aims to (1) depict the social, cultural, and religious matrices of the Jesus movement and emergent Christianity; (2) to foster a basic knowledge of the New Testament’s historical, literary, and theological characteristics as scholars understand them; (3) provide guidance in the art and methods of exegesis, broadly conceived; (4) nurture students’ sensitivity to the importance of social location in the interpretation of Christian Scripture; and (5) introduce students to distinct modes of reading the New Testament. Term one introduces students to basic exegetical skills and tools of historical interpretation, focusing on the Gospels and Acts. Yii-Jan Lin

REL 501b, New Testament Interpretation A continuation of REL 501a, expanding the skill base to other modes of interpretation. The spring term is devoted to a study of the Pauline letters, pastoral and catholic epistles, and the Apocalypse of John. Yii-Jan Lin

Biblical Languages

Note: Elementary biblical languages are listed near the end of this chapter under Courses without Area Designations.

REL 518a, Intermediate New Testament Greek A sequel to Elementary Greek, this intermediate Koine Greek course prepares students for advanced Greek exegesis courses. The course work consists of preparation and discussion of translations of a variety of New Testament texts, readings and written exercises on Greek syntax, sight-reading of Greek texts outside the New Testament, and vocabulary building. Students gain practice in using a Greek-English lexicon and advanced Greek grammars. Judith M. Gundry

REL 570a, Historical Grammar of Biblical Hebrew The course examines the development of the sounds and forms of Biblical Hebrew, paying particular attention to the following (partially hypothetical) stages of the language and its predecessors: Proto-Semitic, Proto-Hebrew, Hebrew in the Iron Age, and Hebrew in the Second Temple Period. The course begins with an introduction to Hebrew in relation to other Semitic languages and an introduction to the alphabet. It then addresses the phonology of Hebrew as attested in the time of the Masoretic scribes, in the time of early Judaism and Christianity, in the time of the Persian era, and in the time of the Iron Age and in earlier periods. Finally, the course addresses specific morphologies of Biblical Hebrew: nouns, adjectives, verbs, and particles. Eric D. Reymond

REL 574a and b, Intermediate Biblical Hebrew This course focuses on the reading of biblical texts but also offers a review of the elementary grammar of Biblical Hebrew and the introduction of more complicated grammatical concerns. More specifically, the first term focuses on prose texts and reviews the morphology of verbs and nouns as well as basic components of Hebrew syntax; the second term introduces students to Biblical Hebrew poetry while continuing the study and review of Hebrew morphology and syntax. In addition, the form and function of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) are introduced. Eric D. Reymond

REL 577b, Advanced Biblical Hebrew This course examines topics in the analysis of Biblical Hebrew prose and poetry, building on the students’ familiarity with grammar as studied at the intermediate level. Joel S. Baden

Exegesis Based on the Original Language

REL 563b, The Book of Lamentations This course examines the biblical Book of Lamentations with a focus on understanding its composition, structure, and theology. Students must have completed both terms of Old Testament Interpretation, or their equivalent, and must have at least one—preferably two—years of Biblical Hebrew. Joel S. Baden

REL 564a, Deuteronomy This course studies selected passages from the Book of Deuteronomy, emphasizing its composition, structure, theology, and literary prehistory. Students must have completed both terms of Old Testament Interpretation, or their equivalent, and must have at least one—preferably two—years of Biblical Hebrew. Joel S. Baden

REL 585a, Greek Exegesis of the Gospel of Luke This course explores literary, historical, and theological interpretations of the Gospel of Luke. Close readings and exegetical discussions of the Greek text focus on translation issues, Luke’s literary style and art of composition, and situating this text in its social and historical contexts. Michal Beth Dinkler

Graduate Seminars in Biblical and Cognate Studies

REL 502a, Bounty and Duty: The Hebrew Bible and Creation The course explores ideas about creation and the interconnectedness among the created realms in the Hebrew Bible, then juxtaposes the ancient worldview with the science and ethics of contemporary ecological concerns. Gregory Mobley

REL 510b, The Bible and the Environment This course explores the theme of the environment in the Bible against a broad backdrop of scholarly research on religion and science/ecology. Students are oriented to the subject matter through readings and lectures by experts in the biological sciences, environmental studies, and at the intersection of biblical studies/ theology/ethics/religion and science/ecology. Students then read a variety of biblical texts and traditions that deal with the environment, exploring the history of their interpretation and application in different periods and contexts. The research paper focuses on one such biblical text/tradition. Judith M. Gundry

REL 517a, “Race” and the New Testament This seminar is divided into two parts. The first considers possible concepts of race and/or ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean world, while the second focuses on racial/ethnic theory today, and on minoritized hermeneutics of the New Testament in particular. Ancient primary sources, the New Testament, and contemporary scholarship form the reading materials. Yii-Jan Lin

REL 523b, Confrontations with Empire in the Hebrew Bible: English Exegesis of Esther, Daniel, and Ezra-Nehemiah This course examines four short books in the Hebrew Bible that are set in the midst of empire. The course proceeds by conducting close readings of these narratives with special attention to the dynamics of imperial encounter within them. The exegetical approach is largely literary, but the course also addresses historical and compositional factors. The major orienting questions are: What are the manifold (and, at times, conflicting) ways these stories figure imperial power? What theologies of religious and political power are extant in these texts? What strategies of compliance, collusion, and resistance are valorized and disparaged? What literary strategies are deployed to articulate these various perspectives? In addition to engaging the biblical text directly regarding the nature of empire, students also critically analyze contemporary biblical scholarship on these issues. We unpack the key terms and critical infrastructure of these modern interpretations, asking: What theories of power and subversion are at work, named and unnamed, in the work of a given scholar? When are categories like resistance and subversion helpful, and when are they overwrought? Finally, when is contemporary analogizing misplaced? When is it appropriate? Is it ever necessary? Together, our aim is to articulate and grapple with the challenges and complexities of reading biblical literature. Laura Carlson

REL 536b, English Exegesis: The Gospel of Matthew Through reading and analysis of the English text of the Gospel of Matthew, this course aims to familiarize students with the cultural-historical context of the gospel and its reception history. Secondary readings and class discussion also focus on literary, theological, and explicitly contextual interpretations of the text. Yii-Jan Lin

REL 546a, Apocalypticism Ancient and Modern This seminar reviews the origins of apocalyptic thought in the three great monotheistic religions and also considers the modern adaptations of apocalypticism in each tradition. Abbas Amanat, John J. Collins

REL 549a Approaches to Old Testament Ethics This course examines the various ways in which the Old Testament has been used in ethical reflection. The strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches are noted, and new approaches are explored by examining the Old Testament’s own basis for making ethical evaluations. The course aims to suggest new approaches for the use of the Old Testament in ethical reflection. Robert R. Wilson

REL 557b, The Messiah: The Development of a Biblical Idea This course enables students to grasp the historical basis of an important theological idea and to appreciate how ideas of the messiah in the Old Testament and in early Judaism differ from those that took hold in Christianity. In the process, students become familiar with the ideology of kingship in the ancient Near East and with the relevant materials in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Pseudepigrapha. John J. Collins

REL 560b, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews This seminar examines two incidents in the Hellenistic world that can be construed as persecution of the Jews. The first occurred in the years 167–164 B.C.E., when the Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes tried to suppress the traditional Jewish cult in Jerusalem. The second took place in Alexandria in 38 C.E., when the Jewish community came under attack from its Gentile neighbors and the Roman authorities. The seminar explores these incidents in the context of Seleucid and Roman history, social unrest in the ancient world, and specific policies of the Seleucids and Romans toward subject peoples. The focus is on questions of causation in history, including economic, cultural, religious, and other factors. John J. Collins, J.G. Manning

REL 571a, An Introduction to Rabbinic Literature This course explores rabbinic culture and provides an introduction to the major texts that shaped Judaism for centuries to come. Issues considered include gender and ethnicity, Jewish-Christian interactions, Jewish mysticism, creation of Jewish liturgy, and rabbinic modes of grappling with the Bible. These issues are considered through the lives and thought of key figures and as expressed in the major genres of rabbinic literature—Mishnah, Tosefta, Midrash, Targum, the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the world of rabbinic literature, both its corpus and its main themes. Special attention is given to fostering future independent access to the rabbinic sources for scholars from other disciplines. The course assumes no prior knowledge of rabbinic literature or Hebrew. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal

REL 594b, Readings in Hellenistic Jewish Literature This course helps students develop facility with Greek prose (and some poetry) of the Hellenistic and early Roman periods through rapid reading of a variety of literature relevant to the study of Judaism of the Second Temple period. Harold W. Attridge

RLST 800a, Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the History of Israelite Religion An intensive study of important features of ancient Israelite religion, including the origins of monotheism, the priesthood, worship, prophecy, and apocalyptic. Robert R. Wilson

RLST 801b, Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Isaiah A close reading of selected chapters of the Hebrew text of Isaiah as a way of testing recent theories of the book’s compositional history. Robert R. Wilson

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Area II: Theological Studies

The work of this area includes analysis of the development, thought, and institutional life of the Christian community in various periods and contexts, and training in the substance and forms of theological positions and argumentation.

  • 1. The comprehensive purpose of the courses designated Theological Studies is to foster an understanding of the classical theological tradition of Christianity, acquaint the students with contemporary theological thought, and develop the skills necessary to engage effectively in critical analysis and constructive argument.
  • 2. Christian Ethics as a discipline gives attention to the moral strand within Christian belief by offering opportunities for systematic study of foundational aspects of the moral life, formulation of constructive proposals regarding ethical issues, and rigorous thinking regarding action guidance.
  • 3. Liturgical Studies is intended to foster a serious and scholarly engagement with the origins and historical evolution of inherited patterns of worship, and to prepare the students to lead the worship of contemporary Christian communities with competence and sensitivity.
  • 4. The Denominational Courses are offered primarily, although not exclusively, for the constituencies of particular denominations. Distributional credit in Area II will be granted for only one denominational course.


REL 600a, Introduction to Theology This course aims to provide a working knowledge of key vocabulary, topics, and traditions in Christian theology; to spark an interest in theology; and to develop the theological literacy needed to take part in cultural or ecclesial contestations and/or to pursue personal decisions about faith and practice. No particular faith commitment or background is assumed. S. Mark Heim

REL 605a, Black Theology This course considers varied black theological traditions. It inquires: What does it mean to be black and Christian (and, by extension, to be black, Christian, and poor; black, Christian, and woman; black, Christian, and sexually minoritized; black, Christian, and diasporan immigrant; and/or any aggregation of these social indicators) amidst racist, sexist, heterosexist, and xenophobic social contexts and theological metanarratives rooted in white cisgendered heteronormativity? In light of black realities, black theology asks: Who is God and who is God in Christ for those who live and move and have their being in the margins of church and society? Students preliminarily engage the underpinnings of the black radical tradition as a proto-black theological response to anti-black racism in the United States. Students further engage the substantial intracommunal critique of black theological method. The course concludes with an examination of the problem of ontological blackness, as well as an abbreviated consideration of the peril and promise that varieties of blacknesses and black religious experience hold for the Black Church and for black theological and praxeological tasks in the twenty-first century. Eboni Marshall Turman

REL 607a, The Theology of Vatican II This course focuses on the key texts of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) and the theological vision they contain, especially with regard to the nature of the church, the liturgy, the Scriptures, the role of the church in the world, and religious pluralism. The Second Vatican Council constituted the most important moment in the life of the Roman Catholic Church in the twentieth century. Students study the key texts of the Council with emphasis on theological developments that preceded them and made the texts possible. And, for certain conciliar documents, the class examines their reception history in the fifty years since the Council ended. The course is thus not only an inquiry into historical theology but also an engagement with the Catholic tradition in the twenty-first century. Teresa Berger

REL 612b, Christ and Flourishing This course explores the ways in which Christ—as a character in the gospel narratives, an object of Christian theological reflection, and a living presence in the life of the Church—informs Christian visions and practice of (individual, communal, and cosmic) flourishing. Students engage a thematic reading of the Gospel of Luke, organized around the Gospel’s core themes and touch-points with key concrete phenomena of human experience. The guiding questions are: What does it mean for Christ to be the key to human existence and flourishing, and what does flourishing look like if Jesus Christ is taken to be the key? The principal objectives are three: to equip students to wrestle with the formal question of how to relate Christ to a Christian articulation of flourishing; to give students an opportunity to read the Gospel of Luke as a source text for such an articulation; and to help students articulate their own vision of flourishing in dialogue with the Christian tradition. Ryan McAnnally-Linz, Miroslav Volf

REL 616a, Introduction to East Asian Theologies This course introduces a range of themes and key thinkers in twentieth- and twenty-first century theology in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. It surveys different theological movements within these countries (such as “homeland theology,” Minjung theology, the “no-church” movement, etc.) and encourages a critical response to the challenges that these theologies raise for Christians in Asia and elsewhere. The course considers contextualization and inculturation debates in each of these societies, as well as regional responses to Christianity. We read primary texts in English, with background reading for context, and students are encouraged to develop their own responses to the authors and their thought (e.g., students may submit theological reflections to count toward their grade). Chloë F. Starr

REL 617a, Voices of Liberation: The Liberation Theology Movement This course examines the emphases, epistemologies, and methodologies of the liberation theology movement. After delving into these foundational matters in theology, it moves on to explore the contours of five expressions of liberation theology that have emerged and developed in the United States: African American/black theology of liberation, feminist theology of liberation, Hispanic/Latinx theology of liberation, ecological theology of liberation, and LGBTQ theology of liberation. The implications of these for theological reflection, church ministry, and religious practice are considered. But besides offering students a solid introduction to liberation theology, the course also analyzes basic concepts underlying theories of injustice, domination, and oppression. Benjamín Valentín

REL 621b, Medieval Theology This course introduces students to the background and development of the medieval theological tradition from the late Roman world to the Renaissance. Selected authors are read in their theological and historical contexts. Central questions include the nature of God, mysticism, biblical exegesis, and pastoral care. The course also makes use of visual material to explain the world in which theological ideas evolved and spread. Bruce Gordon

REL 626b, Systematic Theology This course introduces students to the art of Christian theological reflection. It initiates students in the practice of systematic thinking by exploring the interconnections between contemporary issues, doctrines, and the perennial challenges that are central to Christian faith and life. The central purpose of the course is to expose students to the inner logics of Christian thought. Willie J. Jennings

REL 628b, Screening Theology: Theology in and through Film Highlighting the possibility and potential of a theology of culture, this course explores the ways in which recent Hollywood movies can be used as resources to think about and even rethink the meanings of key theological concepts such as ideas about God, human nature, sin, Christ/human redemption, and eschatological hope. Through lectures, reading materials, movies, and class discussions, students are encouraged to consider how an appreciative and critical engagement with popular culture can allow for a relevant and contemporary practical theology. Benjamín Valentín

REL 629a, Theology and Medicine Team-taught by a member of the Yale School of Medicine faculty and a member of the YDS faculty, this course explores the challenges of contemporary medicine from a theological perspective. It considers theological resources relevant for the practice of medicine and examines the practice of medicine as a resource for deepening theological reflection. Topics of traditional interest in both fields—suffering, illness, healing, and well-being—are addressed in interdisciplinary terms. The focus of the course is not on chaplaincy ministry but on a conversation among those who reflect on the application of physiological science and religious wisdom to human need. Key to this conversation is recognition that doctors and theologians share a need for the healing and spiritual health they hope to nurture in others. An important feature of the course is several field trip experiences and class meetings on the Yale New Haven Hospital campus. Students attend rounds with medical teams, explore laboratory settings, and meet with various faculty who practice in settings where the spirit and body intersect, through cooperation with the Program for Medicine, Spirituality, and Religion at Yale School of Medicine. S. Mark Heim, Benjamin R. Doolittle

REL 634a, Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Christian Faith The course involves a close reading of the whole of The Christian Faith, one of the greatest works in Christian theology by one of the most influential and controversial theologians of the modern period, Friedrich Schleiermacher. Students come to understand the text both comprehensively and in detail, and to understand its general significance for the history of modern Christian thought. Kathryn E. Tanner

REL 643a, Music and Theology in the Sixteenth Century: Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the Council of Trent The Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century was a “media event.” The invention of letterpress printing, the partisanship of artists like Dürer and Cranach, and—not least—the support by musicians and composers were responsible for the spreading of the thoughts of the Reformation. But while Luther gave an important place to music, Zwingli and Calvin were much more skeptical, and the English Reformation, given its unique circumstances, had yet another view of music and its function within liturgy and devotional life. The course shows how music was viewed by different camps of the Reformation as well as by Catholic theologians from the sixteenth century. Which theological decisions formed the basis for their view? How did these theologies of music affect musical practice, such as liturgical singing and more elaborate art music? Markus Rathey

REL 645b, Asian American Theologies This course examines the development of Asian American theologies and their key themes: migration, intercultural theology, autobiographical narratives, political activism. The course looks at marginality and intergenerational conflicts, Asian American biblical hermeneutics, and questions such as why Korean Buddhists might attend church when in America. Students are encouraged to undertake a fieldwork project of their own choosing on an aspect of Asian American Christianity, for which training will be given. This course is aimed at all YDS students: the topics and methodologies are highly relevant to anyone doing theology in contemporary society. Chloë F. Starr

REL 649b, Christ and the Bodhisattva: Comparative Theology and Buddhist Wisdom This course provides a brief introduction to the general field of comparative theology, a basic orientation to Mahayana Buddhist teaching and practice (with a particular focus on the case of the bodhisattva through the lens of Shantideva’s classic The Way of the Bodhisattva), and an exploration of Christian comparative reflection on these sources. The class engages several prominent theologians working in the Buddhist-Christian theological conversation and explores the ways in which Christian thought and practice can be informed by comparative learning from Buddhist sources. S. Mark Heim

REL 657b, U.S. Hispanic/Latinx Theologies In the United States, feminist and African American/black theologies have received much-deserved recognition for their original contributions to the task of theological construction. However, it is necessary to note that alongside these liberation theologies, though with less publicity until recently, Latinx theologians have been developing a distinctive form of contextual and liberation theology written from the perspective of their lives in the United States. Although influenced in certain respects by the mode of liberation theology that emerged in Latin America, and also by feminist and African American/black liberationist theologies in the United States, these theologians have created an inimitable theological expression that has sought to analyze the existential conditions of U.S. Hispanic American life and to rethink Christian thought and practice in light of these conditions. The course examines this theological expression, offering an overview of the historical development, main academic theologians, core themes and methods, and the promise and challenge of U.S. Hispanic/Latinx theology. Benjamín Valentín

REL 658a, The Flesh Made Word: A Survey of the Jesus of History and Christology This course explores the history of Christology, including its origins in early Christianity, its evolution from the second through the fifth century, and its more recent reformulation at the hands of contemporary theologians. The course begins with study of the historical Jesus, offering a look at the emerging picture of Jesus arising from present-day historiography, archaeology, and literary analysis. The class then explores some of the different and more formative theological interpretations of the religious significance of Jesus that have emerged in the history of Christianity. Benjamín Valentín

REL 663a, Political Theology An exploration of Christian political theology and the relationship of the authority of the church to civil authority from the mid-twentieth century to the present, exploring the continuing legacy of natural law approaches, competing Augustinian political theologies, and liberation and postcolonial theologies’ contribution to shifting attention away from the authority of the nation-state to the agency of the oppressed and marginalized. How does our own post-Christian and post-secular moment open up new possibilities for Christian politics beyond either accepting the privatization of faith and the subordination of the church or denouncing modernity and the secular? Authors include Luke Bretherton, M. Shawn Copeland, Stanley Hauerwas, Jacques Maritain, J.B. Metz, John Milbank, Reinhold Niebuhr, Oliver O’Donovan, Kwok Pui-lan, Carl Schmitt, Jeffrey Stout, Charles Taylor, and John Howard Yoder. Jennifer A. Herdt

REL 665b, Martin Luther, His Life and Work This course consists of lectures, readings in English translation of selected works of Martin Luther, readings in secondary literature on Luther’s life and thought, and class discussion. William G. Rusch

REL 667a, Medieval Latin for Saints and Sinners This is an introductory reading course in Late Antique and Medieval Latin that is intended to help students interested in Christian Latin sources improve their reading ability. The primary objective is to familiarize students with Medieval Latin and improve their proficiency in reading and translating Medieval Latin texts. Students come to recognize the features (grammatical and syntactical) that make Medieval Latin distinct, improve their overall command of Latin by reviewing grammar and syntax, and gain an appreciation of the immense variety of texts written in Medieval Latin. John Noël Dillon

Christian Ethics

REL 603b, Love, Prophecy, and Social Criticism This course examines competing philosophical and theological accounts of love, justice, and prophetic criticism. It also explores the roles, aims, and ethics of prophetic speech in public discourse. The course begins by examining three related but distinct approaches to the ethics of love: philosophical, Augustinian, and a democratically inspired ethic of care of self, other, and world. The middle section of the course focuses on the ethics of prophetic practices and the role of social criticism in the public sphere. The course concludes in examining the form, content, and methods of courageous exemplars working within and against various black prophetic traditions. Clifton L. Granby

REL 606b, War and Violence in Christian Ethics This course examines the just and unjust use of violence. At every turn it seeks to discern how Christian commitment (or its absence) makes a difference for how the use of violence is conceived and justified. Inquiry falls into three parts: (1) charting the transformation of the “just war” tradition from its fourth-century origins in the thought of St. Augustine to its secularization in the modern period, before (2) doubling back on the eschatological pacifism that was assumed in the pre-Constantinian church and that reemerged in the political theology of the Anabaptists, defended in recent years by John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas. Finally, the course (3) considers some contemporary disputes over the substance and application of these rival traditions in the emerging age of robotic warfare and horror. Special emphasis throughout is given to current armed conflicts, especially in the Middle East. Adam Eitel

REL 615b, Introduction to Christian Ethics This course is an introduction to Christian moral norms, ideals, and practices, and to some perennial disputes over their substance. Drawing upon a range of historical and contemporary sources, the course examines what difference Christian commitment makes for moral assessment—for considering the ends that human beings endorse, the actions we permit or prohibit, the traits of character we praise, tolerate, or admonish. Inquiry falls into two parts: (1) The course takes as its point of departure some recent and influential work on the moral vision of the New Testament canon. (2) On this basis, the course then asks how different Christians throughout the ages have looked to scripture for help thinking about the tightly interlocking issues of war, poverty, and politics. Throughout, the course brings these matters to bear on our own social moment, asking: How shall Christians love God and neighbor, show hospitality to strangers, and speak truth to power in this present age? Adam Eitel

REL 631a, Theological Ethics This course grapples with some of the basic (albeit deeply contested) ideas by which Christian moral discourse is governed. Students examine theological accounts of what it means to live well, focusing mainly on classical and contemporary works of relevance to central problems in the academic study of Christian ethics, and religious ethics more generally: whether teleological conceptions of human flourishing comport with Christian faith; whether those conceptions can withstand philosophic critique; whether certain moral obligations can be universally applied to all; the sources of human action; the ethical significance of divine commands; and the concepts of virtue, goodness, evil, horror, and the sacred. Adam Eitel

REL 669a, Some of Us Are Brave: Black Feminist Theory, Black Womanist Ethics This advanced seminar seriously considers radical subjectivity as the first tenet of womanist theological ethics in its focus on the relationship between black feminist theory and black womanist ethics. Building on the work of leading black feminist scholar and intellectual activist Patricia Hill Collins, the course places contemporary black feminist thinkers in conversation with black womanism to identify critical points of continuity and divergence that frame black women’s intellectual production in church and society. The commitments of womanist theologians/theological ethicists like Emilie M. Townes, Kelly Brown Douglas, and Angela Sims guide the seminar as it privileges the interdigitation of race, gender, class, and sexual indicators as the groundwork of moral imagination and moral resistance. Students engage a womanist ethical “dance of redemption” to deepen knowledge of the distinct textures of black women’s historiography, personality, carcerality, and aesthetic maneuvers that substantiate the construction of black womanist-feminist ethical norms and mandates. Considerable attention is given to theo-ethical reflection on contemporary social concerns that disproportionately affect the lives and life chances of black women, as well as praxial application of black feminist theoretical considerations. Eboni Marshall Turman

REL 681b, Imago Dei and Human Dignity An examination of contemporary arguments over human dignity in political theory and bioethics, against the backdrop of traditional understandings of the image of God in terms of the structure of the human person, right relationship with God, or as task confronting human agency. Contemporary authors include Nick Bostrom, J. Kameron Carter, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Ernest Fortin, Timothy Jackson, John Paul II, Robert Kraynak, Gilbert Meilaender, Richard Rorty, Jeremy Waldron, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Course objectives include (1) to become familiar with, and to reflect critically and constructively on, influential theological understandings of the imago dei from the broad scope of the Christian tradition; (2) to reflect on various contemporary understandings of human dignity as these relate or do not relate to the imago dei; and (3) to reflect on the implications of these conceptions of imago dei and human dignity for ongoing discussions of human rights and bioethics. Jennifer A. Herdt

REL 694a, Recognition: Theology, Ethics, and Politics The cultural weight of the category of “recognition” has swelled dramatically in recent decades. It has figured in significant social movements like Black Lives Matter and in popular business trends like “personal branding.” It seems that recognition is widely held to be an important component of human flourishing. The prospect of its attainment can justify struggle and strategic pursuit. The reality of its deprivation can spark protest and denunciation. Parallel to this trend in popular discourse, theoretical treatments of recognition in philosophy, social theory, and theology have proliferated. Whether or not there is a genealogical relationship between these two trends, the study of theories of recognition is significant not only in its own right as an intellectual endeavor but also in its ability to help us respond appropriately to problems surrounding recognition in various contemporary culture milieus. This class examines two of the seminal theoretical treatments of recognition from the nineteenth century, surveys significant twentieth- and twenty-first-century theories of recognition, and considers what a Christian ethic of right recognition might entail. Ryan McAnnally-Linz

Liturgical Studies

REL 611b, History of American Evangelical Worship This course examines the history and development of American Evangelical worship from the eighteenth century to the present day. Topics include the shift in sacramental theology between the First and Second Great Awakenings, the liturgical legacy of early-twentieth-century Fundamentalist-Modernist controversies, Pentecostal contributions to evangelical worship, ways in which race and gender have shaped evangelical identity, and evangelical approaches to liturgical renewal at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Melanie C. Ross

REL 635a, What Is a Sacrament? What is a sacrament, and what does it do? Why do Christian traditions view them so differently? How do sacraments relate to fields of study like Christology, pneumatology, and ecclesiology? This course addresses these questions in an array of historical periods and theological traditions. All students are welcome; no prior background in liturgical studies is required. Melanie C. Ross

REL 656a, Designing and Curating Worship The purpose of this course is to provide training in the practice of planning, curating, and leading Christian worship in parish or congregational settings, and also in broader contexts. The course reviews all the major elements of liturgical/worship planning, including attention to the use of space and light, architectural detailing, the relationship between bodies and space, the inclusion of the congregation in worship design, and how context guides worship planning. Class sessions are devoted to discussion of how all these elements are put into practice in various different denominational settings, as well as in new settings (e.g., emergent, postmodern, Alternative Worship, para-church, etc.). The course also draws extensively from the world of the arts, including insights from dramaturgy, interior design, theater, and music, to understand worship as an event in space and time, not a lifeless script. Maggi E. Dawn

REL 682a, Foundations of Christian Worship This is the core course in Liturgical Studies. The course focuses on theological and historical approaches to the study of Christian worship, with appropriate attention to cultural context and contemporary issues. The first part of the course seeks to familiarize students with the foundations of communal, public prayer in the Christian tradition (such as its roots in Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament; its Trinitarian source and direction; its ways of figuring time, space, and human embodiment; its use of language, music, the visual arts, etc.). The second part offers a sketch of historical developments, from earliest Christian communities to present times. In addition, select class sessions focus on questions of overall importance for liturgical life, such as the relationship between gender differences and worship life, and the contemporary migration of liturgical practices into cyberspace. Bryan D. Spinks, Melanie C. Ross

REL 690b, Liturgical Theology This seminar proposes for scholarly inquiry key texts and themes in theological reflections on Christian worship. We probe some of the voices that initially defined the field in the twentieth century, asking: What is “theological” about this reflection on worship? How is the relationship between Christian faith and cultural context understood? What has been occluded in most traditional definitions of “liturgical theology”? Who is absent, and who cannot be rendered visible, within the traditional framework? We also keep our eyes open to theologies of worship embedded in actual, local congregational practices. These practices are integrated into the work of the seminar through visits to distinctly different worshipping communities during the course of the term. Melanie C. Ross

REL 695a, Daily Prayer: Liturgical Developments, Theological Principles, Contemporary Practices This seminar inquires into the rich tradition of rhythms, materials, and practices of daily prayer that have developed and continue to develop in Christian communities. The course is organized around three main foci: questions of historical development; basic theological convictions and material sources that have shaped practices of daily prayer; and the contemporary cultural context, including digitally mediated practices as these influence forms of daily prayer. Teresa Berger

Denominational Courses

Note: Denominational colloquia are listed near the end of this chapter under Courses without Area Designations.

REL 618a, Anglican Theology and History I: Great Britain A survey of the major developments in British Anglican theology, church history, and ecclesiology from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. This course is a companion to Anglican History and Theology II: ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, making a two-term study of the historical evolution and theological traditions of Anglicanism. The two courses may be taken in any order, although there is some advantage to beginning here. The primary aim of the course is to analyze and make a constructive theological assessment of classical Anglican tradition and its modern forms, both as an examination of the enduring nature of Anglicanism and as a pastoral and spiritual resource for Christian life and ministry. Christopher A. Beeley

REL 619a, Anglican Theology and History II: ECUSA and the Anglican Communion This course explores the origins and development of the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion. The class considers the development of the Episcopal Church from colonial origins to a multinational and increasingly multicultural church, with attention to various theological voices and to present polity. The Anglican Communion is explored as an emerging postcolonial network of provinces, subject to contests over the character and identity of Anglicanism that continue to the present. Ian T. Douglas, Andrew B. McGowan

REL 659b, Free Church Ecclesiology in Ecumenical and Contemporary Perspective: The Congregationally Based Traditions A significant sector of the Christian world holds to a vision of the church that is congregationally based. These groups, whose denominational and internal diversity is an accurate reflection of their theological commitments, are neither Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, magisterially Protestant, nor classically Pentecostal. Baptists, Congregationalists, Quakers, Mennonites, Disciples, Brethren are among those who align themselves with key convictions arising out of the radical Reformation and English separatism. The course traces the historical framework of this congregationally based ecclesiology (in the context of recent ecumenical developments), reviews contemporary theological expressions of its vision, and explores ways these paradigms may be relevant in a post-denominational and emergent-church context in North America. The course has particular application for those from or considering service in congregationally governed churches, but may be of interest to others as well. S. Mark Heim

REL 691a or 691b, Ecclesiology, Ministry, and Polity Lectures on comparative ecclesiology, doctrines of the ministry, and patterns of church polity in Western Christianity. Sections are arranged to enable students to study the history, doctrine, worship, and polity of their own denominations. Sections on Baptist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist, A.M.E. Zion, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United Methodist polities are offered, most in alternate years. Staff

REL 696a, United Methodist History This course covers the history of Methodism from its eighteenth-century beginnings to the present. While basic doctrinal and theological history are covered, the focus is on institutional and cultural developments. Because it is designed for UMC students, the course encourages and develops study and reflection that make connections between history and present institutional concerns. Morris L. Davis

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Area III: Historical Studies

The intent of Historical Studies is to foster and demand serious consideration by students of the essential historical substance of Christian faith and tradition. Two aspects of inquiry merge in this area of the curriculum: (1) the development of analytic capacities for the understanding of religious thought and practice in their cultural context, and (2) special studies in the cultural context itself that are deemed essential to competent ministry. Work in this area includes social and cultural analysis often focusing on issues that arise at the intersection of established disciplines. Area III thus includes subjects falling outside the domain of explicitly Christian thought.

REL 703a, Methods and Sources of Religious History This course introduces students to the historiography of religious history; to the history of methods, approaches, and problems in the field; and to techniques for using and citing primary and secondary sources in the study of religion. Seminars include lectures, common readings, writing exercises, and presentations by students and visiting scholars. Students develop research proposals related to their specific areas of interest. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 704a/AFAM 776a, “Beyond the Veil”: Approaches to the Study of Black Religion in the United States This course explores how scholars have developed and pursued the modern study of black religion in the United States from its inception in the early decades of the twentieth century, through its institutionalization in the academy after the civil rights movement, and its continued evolution in contemporary times. The course focuses especially on pioneers in the field (e.g., W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Carter Woodson) and considers the rise of competing methodologies for the study of black religious cultures—ranging from the historical to the sociological, while including at various moments the theological, anthropological, and literary. Special attention is given to the ways in which racial and religious identities have shaped and confounded scholarly efforts to interpret black religious subjects, even as these various identities have also provided a platform for interrogating the meaning of race, nation, and the nature of political commitment in America. Clarence E. Hardy

REL 712a, History of Early Christianity: Origins and Growth Christopher A. Beeley

REL 713b, History of Medieval Christianity: Learning, Faith, and Conflict This course explores the diversity of Western Christianity from the end of antiquity to the start of the early modern period. Central themes include the development of theology, concepts of reform, mysticism, gender, and relations between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In lectures and sections the class investigates a broad range of primary sources, including written texts, visual images, architecture, and music. The medieval age witnessed constant change and innovation in church and society and was transformed by its encounters with religions and cultures beyond Europe. Paul R. Kolbet

REL 714a, History of Early Modern Christianity: Reformation to Enlightenment This course introduces students to the rapidly changing world of early modern Christianity, a period that ranges from the Reformation to the Enlightenment and the transatlantic worlds of the eighteenth century. This age saw the dramatic expansion of Christianity beyond Europe to Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and the course explores the global nature of the early modern world. Students are exposed to a range of primary sources and historical methods to examine rival interpretations and perspectives. The course focuses on the reading of a wide variety of primary sources from the period. Above all, it challenges students to consider the past both on its own terms and in how it continues to shape our present. Bruce Gordon

REL 715b, History of Modern Christianity: American Encounters, Postmodern Transformations This course focuses on critical encounters among peoples who have contributed to the development of modern Christian cultures in the American context since the European conquest. Even though the course’s general trajectory is loosely chronological, it is not intended as a comprehensive survey but instead adopts an approach that focuses on religious belief, institutions, and practices as central in forging human communities and fostering conflict among them. At the same time, the course aims to trace how religious identity and practice in more contemporary times have reflected modern attempts for self-actualization within and just beyond the institutional formations of religion. Clarence E. Hardy

REL 717a, Witchcraft and Witch-hunting in Early Modern Europe and America This seminar examines witchcraft and witch-hunting in Europe and America from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century through reading and discussion of primary documents and classic and recent studies in the field—including social, cultural, and intellectual history, gender and women’s studies, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and town and environmental studies. Students learn about the interaction of religious beliefs relating to witchcraft and the occult with social and cultural conditions and shifts, the history of the interpretation of witchcraft and witch-hunting, and the continuing relevance of witchcraft studies as a laboratory for new approaches and methods. Kenneth P. Minkema

REL 718b, Religion in the American West This course investigates the histories of religious encounter and the formation of diverse religious identities in the American West, placing them in broader contexts of Atlantic world, Pacific world, hemispheric, and national histories. The West has played multiple roles in the nation’s imagination: a place to be conquered and controlled, a place for new beginnings (religious or otherwise), a place of perils and of opportunities. Over the course of the term we ponder the religious dimensions of each of these constructed meanings and examine their very real impact on the people and landscapes of the West. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 728a, Religion and U.S. Empire This course interrogates the multiple intersections between religion and U.S. empire. It asks not only how Christianity and other religious traditions have facilitated and enabled empire, and how they have served as resources for resistance, but also how the categories of “religion” and the “secular” were assembled as imperial products alongside modern formations of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Students learn to see religion and the secular as historical formations alongside race, class, gender, and sexuality, and to critically interrogate their intersections with empire. In an online forum, seminar discussions, and two papers, students develop the analytical and writing skills that are the building blocks of all scholarship in the humanities. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 730b, Native Americans and Christianity This course examines the complex and often painful history of American Indian encounters with Christianity in colonial North America and the United States. Moving from the early colonial period to the present, and with particular attention to Native American voices, we explore a variety of indigenous responses to Catholic and Protestant missions and the development of distinctively Native Christian traditions. Along the way, the course interrogates and historicizes key trends in the study of indigenous Christianity, including Red-Power era critiques of missions, the influence of postcolonial theory, and the recent emphasis on indigenous Christian agency. Students build critical awareness of the historical intersections of colonialism and Christianity; apply postcolonial frameworks to understand the role of Christianity in indigenous communities; and develop skills in historical analysis. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 738b, Jonathan Edwards and American Puritanism This course offers students an opportunity for intensive reading in and reflections upon the significance of early America’s premier philosophical theologian through an examination of the writings of the Puritans, through engagement with Edwards’s own writings, and through selected recent studies of Euro-Indian contact. Through primary and secondary literature, the course familiarizes students with the life and times of Edwards and encourages reading and discussion about his background, historical and intellectual contexts, and legacy. Kenneth P. Minkema, Harry S. Stout

REL 740b, Martin Luther King, Religion, and the Civil Rights Movement Clarence E. Hardy

REL 741a, James Baldwin as Religious Writer and Social Critic James Baldwin’s exile from his country and his Pentecostal heritage granted him a perspective that shaped and animated his social criticism and his literary art. Students consider the nature of this twin exile, Baldwin’s exploration of African American life, and how these shaped his understanding of religion, sex, country, and world. Clarence E. Hardy

REL 750a, Object Lessons: Material and Aesthetic Formation in the American Sunday School Through a focus on the material culture of Christian education, this course explores the history of the American Sunday school. Tracing the development of the pious pedagogical method known as the “object lesson,” the course examines the relationship between seemingly spiritual performances such as prayer, memorization, and the sensation of sacred presence, and material things such as picture cards, finger games, and optical devices. The overarching theme of the course is aesthetic formation, or the particular ways in which pedagogical techniques attune the senses to certain experiences of divine presence and sacred immediacy. Grounded in questions of materiality and sensation, the course relates the formation of Protestant religious instruction to the broader fields of advertising, popular culture, museum display, racial classification, and foreign missions. Anderson Blanton

REL 760a, Jews, Christians, and Renaissance Bibles This course examines Jewish and Christian sacred texts, and their production, interpretation, and cultural contexts, from antiquity to the seventeenth century, with particular emphasis on the two centuries following the introduction of moveable type in Europe. The course is taught in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and focuses on the study and examination of works from Yale’s rich collection of Judaica and Bibles. The course examines the complex history of Jewish biblical interpretation and its appropriation by Christian scholars in the medieval and early modern periods. Included are such topics as translation techniques, rabbinic commentaries, the history of printing, Christian humanism and Hebraism, reading practices, the use of Bibles in worship and study, and anti-Semitism. Joel S. Baden, Bruce Gordon

REL 766b, Reading Calvin’s Institutes This course works through almost the whole of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Students work together as a group to focus on the structure, arguments, and contexts of the work. Particular attention is given to analysis of the theological, literary, and historical aspects of the book, and students are challenged to formulate their analysis of Calvin’s methods and intentions. Bruce Gordon

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Area IV: Ministerial Studies

The biblical and theological heritage of Christianity finds focus in engagement with persons and structures of the church and culture. The revelations of the Bible and theology, by their very nature, require ever-renewed lodging and expression in the ongoing life of both the church and the world. The church and the world, by their natures, require ever-renewed rooting and direction in the Christian heritage. It is a lifetime vocation to learn to discern and guide the processes of this reciprocal engagement. Area IV aspires to find guidelines and impetus for this vocation. All courses in Area IV presuppose some personal experience with the occasions of ministry. Although some Area IV courses have no prerequisites and are appropriate for entering students, students normally will wait until their second year to begin their preaching courses.

Pastoral Theology and Care

REL 804a, Practical Theology Seminar This seminar offers an orientation to the field of practical theology and an overview of methodologies for doing practical theological reflection in a variety of contexts. As a field, practical theology is both old and new. Practical theology is concerned with the practices and actions, past and present, of God, individuals, and communities. Practical theology is also concerned with reflecting on these actions with an eye toward renewed or improved practices in the future. Thus, we utilize practical theological methods to help us explore the connections between our religious traditions and convictions and the way we do ministry. Almeda M. Wright

REL 807a, Introduction to Pastoral Theology, Care, and Counseling This course invites students into the practice of particular pastoral care skills such as listening and responding in pastoral conversations; supporting families through life-transitions; “reading” and engaging cultural contexts and systems in which care takes place; and intentional uses of the self in spiritual care. The course introduces at a basic level key theoretical frameworks including narrative, intercultural/interreligious care, family systems, and grief and trauma theory. The course attends throughout to contexts and systems of injustice and oppression as a dimension of pastoral care. Joyce Mercer

REL 807b, Introduction to Pastoral Theology and Care This course familiarizes students with the pastoral-theological literature that advances narrative and communal contextual models of care. These models stress listening to persons’ stories in all of their cultural complexity and bringing these stories into conversation with theology, tradition, and local communities of faith. Pastoral skills in listening, responding, and group process are practiced in the classroom and in small groups led by local pastoral practitioners. Family systems theory, premarital counseling, and crisis care are covered. Throughout, attention is given to issues of justice and social location as critical dimensions of caregiving. Teaching methods include lecture, discussion, film, case studies, independent research projects, small-group work, and role-plays. Mary Clark Moschella

REL 810b, My Neighbor’s Faith: Building Interreligious Community As communities across the country and around the world engage religious diversity in a way they never have before, this seminar seeks to explore theoretical and practical issues in interreligious community building. The course surveys social scientific models for how interreligious relationships and communities are formed, as well as Christian theological models for interreligious contact. The class defines the qualities of effective interfaith relationships and identifies common mistakes leaders can make. Guest religious leaders from different religious traditions make presentations, students conduct interviews across traditions, and a final project seeks to create an interfaith community education experience at YDS. Ian Buckner Oliver

REL 824a, Ministry and the Disinherited There is a serious and vigorous public debate about social responsibilities and the influence of religious values upon us as a society, particularly upon those who are most vulnerable and in need of support. This course has as its focus the effort to theologically reflect on and discern, from an interdisciplinary approach, those who are the disinherited. The course explores aspects of the Christian religious dimensions in social and political reform movements and in faith-based social services. At the same time, students examine the influence of religious values on individual behavior and grapple with ideas about the role of the church and government meeting human needs. The course addresses, through the interests and research of the students, topics such as poverty; health care disparities; sexual orientation; ethnic, gender, and racial discrimination; hunger; immigration; homelessness; public education; and the welfare of children. Students are expected to develop an interdisciplinary approach from perspectives found in biblical scriptures, sacred texts, theological/religious beliefs and values, social work, sociology of religion, law, psychology of religion, political science, and social welfare theories. This allows students to create a contextualized theological approach to identifying the disinherited and to explore the kinds of ministries that might address the needs of these groups. Frederick J. Streets

REL 883a, Pastoral Perspectives on Death and Dying This course is designed to increase participants’ wisdom, skill, and pastoral sensitivity in times of death, dying, and bereavement. A variety of religious and cultural perspectives are considered, emphasizing the importance of context and faith community. Practice sessions and other exercises address the role of chaplains as well as congregational leaders. Course literature includes memoirs and readings in pastoral theology, applied philosophy, the history of medicine, and the social sciences. Mary Clark Moschella

REL 887a, Advanced Pastoral Seminar: Narrative Therapy and Care This course offers an in-depth study of the developing field of narrative therapy with its roots in family systems and critical theory and its emerging adaptations in the pastoral field. This is an advanced seminar for students who are focusing their studies in the area of pastoral care or who may be considering Ph.D. work in pastoral or practical theology. The literature on individual, couple, family, and collective care practices is explored, as are readings addressing LGBTQ care, gender, culture, race, trauma, and violence. Participants practice narrative care conversations each week. Mary Clark Moschella

Preaching Ministry

REL 812a, Principles and Practices of Preaching This is the introductory course in the theology, history, and practice of preaching. It is a prerequisite for upper-level homiletics courses. Special attention is given to biblical exposition, the congregational context, the appropriate use of experience, the development of a homiletical imagination, the preacher’s spirituality, and engaging all the preacher’s gifts for communication. The course includes plenary presentations and small-group preaching sections for which students prepare and deliver sermons. Donyelle McCray, Carolyn J. Sharp

REL 819a, The Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Preaching: The Writings Since ancient times, the Hebrew Scriptures have constituted a vitally important set of theological resources for Christian homiletics. The ministry and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and the New Testament traditions that grew up around him cannot be understood apart from the narratives, legal material, poetry, sapiential traditions, and theological ideation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The exquisite artfulness of ancient Hebrew narrative can engage the Christian imagination on many levels. A preacher might draw congregations into the characterization of Daniel, Ruth, Esther, or Nehemiah, or explore the dramatic conflicts and resolutions emplotted in those books. The formation of believers in wisdom is a central concern of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, which trace knowledge of the Lord and its antitheses in ways that fascinate many in today’s church. Job and Lamentations wrestle with issues of suffering and justice in compelling poetry that can be explored powerfully from the pulpit. Through centuries of Christian tradition, the Psalms have been central to spiritual teaching, devotional practices, liturgical forms, and artistic refractions of lament, trust, and praise. This course invites students into critical reflection on the Writings as a rich resource for Christian proclamation. Students engage contemporary homiletical theory, study sermons from expert preachers, and explore their own homiletical approach by designing and preaching two sermons on texts from the Writings. Throughout the course, we consider how to make the Gospel known through preaching practices that honor the enduring witness of the Hebrew Scriptures while claiming the truth of God in Christ. Carolyn J. Sharp

REL 830a, Radical Lives of Proclamation This course provides a window into the spiritual lives of six visionaries: Pauli Murray, Óscar Romero, Cho Wha Soon, William Stringfellow, Malcolm X, and Howard Thurman. Considerable attention has been directed to their lives as social activists and teachers, but this course focuses on their lives as preachers. The course examines each preacher’s understanding of God, the human person, and community, and examines the ways these factors fund spirituality and shape sermons. The course also gives significant attention to the faith these visionaries lived and contrasts it with the faith they articulated publicly. Ultimately, these visionaries are used as models, and authentic ways are found to embrace their legacies in our own preaching. Donyelle McCray

REL 831b, Is It a Sermon? God’s action in the world is proclaimed in numerous ways: in music, visual art, literature, testimony, and performance. When might such forms of expression constitute preaching? What are the boundaries of the sermon genre? How might preachers and other proclaimers learn from one another? The aim of this course is to explore the limits of the sermon genre and use the insights gained to enhance the preaching task. Together, we trouble the neat lines that separate preaching from other ways of witnessing to the faith. We regularly examine the relationship between proclamation and identity, at times relying heavily on African American traditions of proclamation and resistance. Ultimately the course seeks to foster vibrant preaching and intellectual curiosity. Donyelle McCray

Educational Ministry

REL 811a, Models and Methods of College and University Chaplaincy This course explores various approaches to college and university chaplaincy found in the United States in the twenty-first century. Drawing on a historical framework for the role of chaplaincy in the college setting from the middle of the twentieth century, when secularism became a heavier influence, and exploring the issues that confront the vocation in a pluralistic context of the twenty-first century, the course provides an overview of strategies needed to offer a creative, current, and engaging chaplaincy in higher education. Through a series of lectures, open discussions, site visits, short chaplaincy narratives, and guest speakers, the class encounters numerous perspectives and approaches to ministry in higher education. Sharon M.K. Kugler

REL 815a, Radical Pedagogy This course studies and employs radical pedagogy as a lens through which to explore the intersections of religious education and community transformation. In essence, the class explores the ways that education, particularly religious education, is powerful, political, transformative, and even radical. This course also pushes students to address questions about the goals of education. Many proponents of radical pedagogy also embrace ideals of radical equality or democracy. To explore these issues, the class wrestles with contemporary questions about educational reform in public schools and considers what role religious education can play in addressing social justice concerns within communities. The foundational theorists and conversation partners in the course include public and religious educators, critical theorists, and community organizers. While this course directly draws upon experiences as persons of faith and experiences within religious communities, the cases and readings draw heavily on what might be called “secular” theorists and educators who focus on public educational arenas. Almeda M. Wright

REL 848a, Leadership Ministry in Schools This course seeks to prepare students of all denominations for leadership positions in schools. It begins with an analysis of where young people are today and, in particular, the existential/spiritual questions they are often asking, even without realizing they are asking them. Teaching about religion in secular schools—public and independent—is briefly considered. Then the course turns its attention to schools with some sort of religious orientation. After studying the heritage and tradition of such schools, students consider the issues involved in leading schools today. The roles of school head, chaplain (lay or ordained), the religion teacher, and the student are considered. Many aspects of school life are explored, including the pedagogical, pastoral, and liturgical. The difficulties and delights of educational ministry and leadership are identified and discussed. Naturally, issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality arise. Through required field trips, the course considers the particular problems and opportunities involved in inner-city schools and parish day schools. Jere A. Wells

REL 875b, Advanced Topics in Leadership Ministry in Schools and Colleges This seminar is designed to allow students to pursue, in depth, themes raised in the introductory courses. The course’s overall consideration is how an educational leader trained at YDS can effectively “minister” to students, colleagues, and other members of school communities. Readings and discussions cover a range of topics including the tradition of faith-based education, school mission, pedagogy, worship, service programs, and ethical leadership in the “business” of schools (admissions, budgets, fundraising). The seminar also makes extensive use of case studies and simulations. For the major research project, each student pursues a topic of particular interest related to schools and educational leadership. Research includes direct experience, fieldwork/campus visits, and review of scholarship. Issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality arise in connection with topics considered in this seminar. Jere A. Wells

Spirituality and Ministry

REL 809a, Loving Creation: Spirituality, Nature, and Ecological Conversion This course focuses on the spiritual dimension of ecology. Spiritual thought and practice are enriched through being situated in the natural world, and scientifically based ecology is given added depth and meaning by extending the ecological field to include traditions of spiritual thought and practice. The spiritual tradition offers practices and a history of a quality of mind and heart that cultivates an awareness of the beauty and significance of the living world as well as its fragility and need for respectful care. In this course, we explore a contemplative ecology rooted in the ancient desert tradition primarily though the work of two thinkers: Douglas Burton-Christie’s “Contemplative Ecology”; and Denis Edwards’s Trinitarian theology, which expands our sense of the ongoing involvement of God in creation and requires ecological conversion of all us to repair the harm caused by the distorted utilitarian and individualistic ethic. Janet K. Ruffing

REL 835a, Meditation: East and West This seminar, just as easily named “Christian Contemplative Practice,” explores in a practical and theoretical manner the Christian tradition’s rich heritage of prayer complemented by selected meditation practices from Eastern religions. Also included is a unit on Buddhism within its own worldview. Janet K. Ruffing

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Area V: Comparative and Cultural Studies

Courses in this area are grouped as follows. Comparative Studies: The exploration of non-Christian traditions with special emphasis on comparative religious questions. Philosophy of Religion: The study of conceptual issues that bear upon method in theology and ethics, the philosophical clarification of religious concepts and categories, and the examination of philosophical worldviews that are alternatives to traditional Christian perspectives. Religion and the Arts: Studies concerning the nature of human imagination in visual, literary, and musical forms that have shaped the religious life and its cultural expression, both within and outside the Christian church. The inquiry is normally undertaken within the context of ministry. Study of Society: The employment of normative and social-scientific tools to comprehend and bring under ethical and theological scrutiny societal institutions (including religious ones) and ideational patterns.

Comparative Studies

REL 914a, Christian-Muslim Encounter: Historical and Theological Dimensions This course is an introduction to Islamic theology through the framework of the Five Pillars, with special emphasis on the development of religious structures and institutions in the early centuries. In time the pillars of religion grew independently of Islam’s political culture. Civil society offered a stable environment for religious life amidst political changes. This situation has similarities with New World ideas about society rather than the state as the proper locus of religion. Lamin Sanneh

REL 983b, China Mission The Day Missions Collection at YDS is the strongest mission collection in the world, comprising about one third of the Divinity Library’s 500,000 volumes—and it is also the central repository in the United States for China-related mission papers. This course offers students the opportunity to complete an original research project in the library relating to mission in China, utilizing manuscript, microform, and monograph materials from the collections. For the first six weeks, students read intensively in mission history, theory, and practice, schematized through mission narratives. The next four weeks are “library lab” time: supervised reading time in special collection and archive materials within the library; reading into and developing projects while help is on hand for deciphering handwriting; providing reference tools for China, etc. The final two weeks are dedicated to research presentations and evaluation, with each student offering research findings to the class in any media chosen. Chloë F. Starr

Philosophy of Religion

REL 907a, Theological Aesthetics This course is about the intersection of theology and aesthetic theory. Students read theologians and philosophers from both the tradition and the present, though the emphasis is on trying to understand the different options in the tradition. The course also considers a number of works of art—visual, musical, and literary—to focus discussion. John E. Hare

REL 909a, Rationality and Christian Belief An in-depth introduction to some important controversies in religious epistemology. A central question of focus is whether the most plausible theory of epistemic justification is able to accommodate the claim that Christian belief is (often) justified. Attention is given to Swinburne’s evidentialist theory, Plantinga’s contention that key Christian convictions are “properly basic,” Alston’s perceptual model of religious belief, and various alternative proposals. John Pittard

REL 910a, Philosophy of Religion This course is a general introduction to the philosophy of religion, including such topics as classical and contemporary arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, the significance of religious experience, the relationship between faith and reason, possible tensions between science and religion, whether God is important to morality, and the possibility of life after death. John Pittard

REL 958b, Science and Religion This course is a philosophical exploration of the relationship between science and religion. Questions to be treated include: Does religion answer questions better left to science? Is the apparent “fine-tuning” of the physical constants evidence for a designer? Can a universe that is not designed have a purpose? Does science challenge religious perspectives on the mind, soul, and will? Is contemporary evolutionary theory compatible with the view that human beings are created in God’s image? Does the cognitive science of religion supply reasons for doubting the rational standing of religious belief? Is scientific naturalism in tension with cognitive self-trust? The course aims to acquaint students with important issues at the interface of science and religion and to deepen students’ understanding of how contemporary science, theology, and philosophy mutually inform and challenge one another. Additionally, the course gives students opportunities to critically engage contemporary philosophical work and to practice and improve in philosophical writing. John Pittard

Religion and the Arts

REL 901b, Modern Faith This course addresses issues of faith using the work of various modern artists and thinkers. Some of the questions raised include: Is there such a thing as a “modern” faith? What does the language we use have to do with what and how we believe, and is that language amenable to change? What is the role of art with regard to personal and collective belief? What is devotional doubt? And how does one change one’s life? Students become familiar with various modern artists and thinkers who have engaged issues of faith; gain a clearer sense of what art has to do with faith and how they might use this knowledge in their own lives; learn to analyze the readings theologically and to explain how they relate to and differ from each other; and achieve a clearer sense of what they mean when they use words like faith, belief, prayer, devotion, and God. Consequently, they learn to better articulate their own faiths. Christian Wiman

REL 912a, Sacred Music: Unity and Diversity What is “sacred music”? The answer depends on the individual perspective, denominational affiliation, and also personal musical taste. The course takes an ethnographic approach and explores the use, understanding, and function of sacred music in different local congregations in New Haven. The work in the classroom provides the theoretical and methodological basis, while students each visit one local congregation from a denomination different from their own over several weeks. Students observe the musical practices and engage with members of the clergy and community about questions of “the sacred in music” and the function of music in worship and devotional life. A particular focus of the course is on music that does not represent the Western musical canon. Students conduct and evaluate their research during the term and present their results in a small symposium at the end of the term. Markus Rathey

REL 915a, Faith-[In]forming: Christian Poetics for the Twenty-First Century This course centers on the question: Is a Christian poetics for the twenty-first century needed, or even possible, and if so what would it look like? From this guiding question students consider what the designation “Christian” means for theories of literature and literary-critical practices, and how other approaches to literary studies support or challenge the endeavor to formulate a Christian poetics. The first half of the course frames the study, drawing first upon classic statements on the nature of literary creation and interpretation, then turning to various efforts by twentieth- and twenty-first-century Christian writers and critics to describe a Christian poetics or theology of language (theopoetics) for modernity and postmodernity. From this theoretical framework, the second half of the course is devoted to critical practices. Students examine the poetry and critical thought of several twentieth- and twenty-first-century poets, paying particular attention to form and how religious faith informs poetic vision and poetic statement, as well as critical reading. The last two of these poetic sequences are not by poets writing from a faith perspective and so provide the opportunity to test the broader application of a Christian poetics to literary studies. David Mahan

REL 923a, Practices of Witnessing and Onlooking in Visual Theory Thomas Merton, in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, writes that his “confrontation of twentieth-century questions in the light of a monastic commitment…inevitably makes one something of a ‘bystander.’” While he has a great deal to say about guilt, the act of “bystanding” concerns him less directly. Visual practices of bystanding, onlooking, beholding, and witnessing are the focus of this course, which puts into conversation two discourses. One discourse comprises biblical articulations of witnessing in Christianity and Judaism. The other comprises modern expressions of visuality in religious and secular thinkers and practitioners. Within these discourses the course traces a thread concerning the gap between spectatorship and participation. It considers how visual forms can witness and participate in social movements. The material covered comprises biblical readings, such theorists and writers as Guy Debord, James Baldwin, and Giorgio Agamben, and related visual examples in photography, the graphic novel, and film. While most of these examples are drawn from twentieth-century American and European sources, the course develops the necessary theoretical background and skills of close reading and close looking necessary to discuss a wide range of material. Margaret Olin

REL 943a, Performance behind Bars: Sacred Music, Sacred Texts, and Social Justice The course meets in a maximum-security prison where students collaborate with incarcerated men on the creation of performances of theater and music inspired by their collective reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Students learn how to apply their skills as writers or performing artists to a real-world situation and gain knowledge of the American criminal justice system and its relevance to Dante’s poem from a unique perspective behind bars. Ronald Jenkins

REL 945a, From House Churches to Medieval Cathedrals: Christian Art and Architecture from the Third Century to the End of Gothic This course examines the art associated with, or related to, Christianity from its origins to the end of Gothic. It analyzes major artistic monuments and movements in a variety of regions, paying particular attention to how art shapes and is shaped by the social and historical circumstances of the period and culture. The class considers art in diverse media, focusing on painting, sculpture, architecture, and decorative arts. Trips to the Yale Art Gallery and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library are included. The course aims to familiarize students with key monuments of Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, and related arts, analyzing each within its particular sociocultural and theological perspective. The course stresses the importance of looking at works of art closely and in context and encourages students to develop skills of close observation and critical visual analysis. Additionally, students are encouraged to examine the ways parallel developments in Christian theology, dogma, and liturgy are influenced by art. Vasileios Marinis, Sally M. Promey

REL 947b, Christian Art and Architecture from the Renaissance to the Present This course examines art associated with, or related to, Christianity from the thirteenth to twenty-first century. It analyzes major artistic monuments and movements in a variety of regions, paying particular attention to how art shapes and is shaped by the social and historical circumstances of the period and culture. The course aims to familiarize students with key monuments of Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, and related arts, examining each within its particular sociocultural and theological perspective. The course stresses the importance of looking at works of art closely and in context and encourages students to develop skills of close observation and critical visual analysis. Additionally, students are encouraged to examine the ways developments in Christian theology, doctrine, and liturgical practice interact with visual and material arts. Regular readings from the text are complemented by in-depth class lectures and discussions. Special attention is given to examples of Christian art and architecture in the greater New Haven area. Vasileios Marinis, Sally M. Promey

REL 949b, Spiritual Topographies in Modern Poetry and Fiction This course examines the role of place, and physical space, as both setting and trope in modern/postmodern poetry and fiction. Beginning with notions of sacred space(s) from Scripture, the course examines works of poetry by a range of poets including R.S. Thomas, Denise Levertov, Mary Karr, Wendell Berry, and Ilya Kaminsky, and the novels Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, Home by Marilynne Robinson, Native Son by Richard Wright, and Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy. Through close readings of these works, the course considers how meaning is conveyed through the author’s development of physical locations and spaces as a mirror of spiritual journey and human longing and as windows into the human condition. Themes of the sacred and the profane, the material and the transcendent, good and evil, home and homelessness, and identity and transformation are among the theologically important questions that arise from this study. David Mahan

REL 955b, The Cult of Saints in Early Christianity and the Middle Ages For all its reputed (and professed) disdain of the corporeal and earthly, Christianity lavished considerable attention and wealth on the material dimension of sainthood and the “holy” during its formative periods in late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Already in the second century Christian communities accorded special status to a select few “friends of God,” primarily martyrs put to death during Roman persecutions. Subsequently the public and private veneration of saints and their earthly remains proliferated, intensified, and became an intrinsic aspect of Christian spirituality and life in both East and West until the Reformation. To do so, it had to gradually develop a theology to accommodate everything from fingers of saints to controversial and miracle-working images. This course investigates the theology, origins, and development of the cult of saints in early Christianity and the Middle Ages with special attention to its material manifestations. The class combines the examination of thematic issues, such as pilgrimage and the use and function of reliquaries (both portable and architectural), with a focus on such specific cases as the evolution of the cult of the Virgin Mary. Felicity Harley-McGowan, Vasileios Marinis

REL 975a, Gospel Music in the Church and World This seminar analyzes contemporary African American gospel music as it is currently implemented for liturgy, evangelism, and popular consumption. Beyond analysis of key musical and lyrical characteristics of gospel, this class gives attention to the religious and sociocultural contexts that inform gospel composition and performance. Black American gospel music is integrally connected, if not inextricably linked, to the liturgical and theological traditions of black American Pentecostals, Baptists, and Methodists. Consequently, this course is also a musical introduction to African American Christianity, and especially to African American Pentecostalism, which is the faith tradition that a majority of contemporary national gospel artists claim. Finally, the global resonances of this music are explored. Classes include interactive demonstrations in addition to discussion of audio/video recordings, other primary source material, and other required texts. Students also engage in participant observation of church services and music performances. Charisse Barron

REL 977b, Poetry for Ministry This course is aimed at future ministers, church leaders, other students who may be entering related careers, and the occasional wild-eyed prophet. It is designed to teach students how to use poetry everywhere from the pulpit to street corners, from hospitals to weddings, to your own most urgent prayers. A working assumption of the course is that we can only speak of God metaphorically, so it makes sense to employ the art in which metaphorical language is most developed. A second assumption is that, since much of the Bible is in verse, a knowledge of poetry in general will make one a better reader of the Bible. And a final assumption is that the aesthetic experience of worship has declined in this country, and that while this decline might not be the cause of religious attrition in general, it is probably related. Poetry can help with this. The course offers a combination of lectures, seminar discussions, and workshops. Maggi E. Dawn, Christian Wiman

Study of Society

REL 903Ha/F&ES 783Ea, Introduction to Religions and Ecology This hybrid online course introduces the newly emerging field of religion and ecology and traces its development over the past several decades. It explores human relations to the natural world as differentiated in religious and cultural traditions. In particular, it investigates the symbolic and lived expressions of these interconnections in diverse religious texts, ethics, and practices. In addition, the course draws on the scientific field of ecology for an understanding of the dynamic processes of Earth’s ecosystems. The course explores parallel developments in human-Earth relations defined as religious ecologies. Similarly, it identifies narratives that orient humans to the cosmos, namely, religious cosmologies. This is a six-week, two-credit course with a three-credit option. John Grim, Mary Evelyn Tucker

REL 911Hb, Thomas Berry: Life and Thought Thomas Berry (1914–2009) was a priest and historian of religions, and an early and significant voice awakening religious sensibilities to the environmental crisis. He is particularly well known for articulating a “Universe Story” that explores the world-changing implication of evolutionary sciences. This course investigates the life and thought of Berry in relation to the field of religion and ecology as well as the Journey of the Universe project. As an overview course it draws on his books, articles, and recorded lectures to examine such ideas as the New Story, the Great Work, and the Ecozoic era. In addition, the course explores his studies in world religions including Buddhism, Confucianism, and indigenous traditions. Finally, the course highlights Berry’s challenge to Christianity to articulate theologies of not only divine-human relations, but also human-Earth relations. This is a six-week, two-credit course with a three-credit option. John Grim, Mary Evelyn Tucker

REL 912Hb, Journey of the Universe This course draws on the resources created in the Journey of the Universe project: a film, a book, and a series of twenty interviews with scientists and environmentalists. Journey of the Universe weaves together the discoveries of evolutionary science with cosmological understandings found in the religious traditions of the world. The authors explore cosmic evolution as a creative process based on connection, interdependence, and emergence. The Journey project also presents an opportunity to investigate the daunting ecological and social challenges of our times. This course examines a range of dynamic interactions and interdependencies in the emergence of galaxies, Earth, life, and human communities. It brings the sciences and humanities into dialogue to explore the ways in which we understand evolutionary processes and the implications for humans and our ecological future. This is a six-week, two-credit course with a three-credit option. John Grim, Mary Evelyn Tucker

REL 918Ha/F&ES 786Ea, Native American Religions and Ecology This hybrid online course explores a diversity of Native American peoples and examines their ecological interactions with place, biodiversity, and celestial bodies as religious realities. The dynamic interactions of First Nations’ cultures and bioregions provide a lens for understanding lifeways, namely, a weave of thought and practice in traditional Native American life. Through symbolic languages, subsistence practices, and traditional rituals, lifeways give expression to living cosmologies, namely, communal life lived in relation to a sacred universe. This is a six-week, two-credit course with a three-credit option. John Grim, Mary Evelyn Tucker

REL 930b, Revolutions in Modern American Judaism This course enables students of all religions and backgrounds to gain an appreciation of contemporary forms of American Jewish religious, cultural, spiritual, political, and social expression and affiliation. It is premised on the notions that (1) “Jewish Civilization,” as Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan famously named it in the 1920s, has undergone stunningly disruptive revolutions during the last 250 years, none of them separate from the revolutions that Western civilization has generated and endured, and (2) that these disruptions, disappearances, affirmations, and renunciations are still being played out by a people who today rarely if ever know themselves as a single coherent community practicing a single common religion or sharing a single overriding cultural, spiritual, or political ideal. This course explores what it is that these divergent and often exclusive forms of Judaism seem to have in common. James E. Ponet

REL 934b, Ecological Ethics and Environmental Justice This seminar examines historical sources and recent debates within environmental and ecological ethics. It gives special attention to the influence of religious and theological worldviews, practices of ethical and spiritual formation, the land ethic, environmental movements for preservation and conservation, eco-feminism, and quests for economic, global, and environmental justice. The course draws from a range of intellectual and interdisciplinary approaches, including theology, philosophy, literature, sociology, anthropology, and postcolonial studies. Questions concerning race, place, empire, gender, and power are integral to our examination of these topics. Clifton L. Granby

REL 948a, Social Media, Leadership, and Flourishing: Social Media Literacy Matters This course is designed to discuss connections between social media engagement, social media literacy, theological reflection, and the flourishing life. It draws on the research of media scholars, religious scholars, and educators to equip Christian leaders (in churches, the academy, and elsewhere) to model and teach social media literacy by helping leaders shape environments that will guide people (e.g., congregants and students) in their social media engagement as well as in theological reflection on social media’s values, practices, and necessary competencies. Angela Gorrell

REL 974b, Evangelism in the Context of Mission and World Christianity This course examines biblical, historical, theological, sociocultural, and practical dimensions of evangelism and gives special attention to the complex dynamics of intercultural communication in the transmission of faith. Students are encouraged to explore evangelism from the perspectives of their own faith journeys as well as from some specific church traditions. Thomas John Hastings

REL 993b, Interfaith Learning through an Exploration of Life-Cycle Rituals This is an exploration of interreligious learning through a focus on life-cycle rituals related to birth, coming-of-age, marriage, vocation, pilgrimage, and death. The primary focus is on Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, with attention also to Hinduism and African traditional religion. The focus on life-cycle rituals is intended to, first, provide a window into the larger “houses” of the respective religions and, second, to prepare prospective clergy for liturgical mediatorship in pluralistic communities. Gregory Mobley

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Courses without Area Designations

Courses listed below do not normally count toward fulfillment of the area distribution requirements described in the chapter Programs of Study.

REL 3604a and b/HEBR 523, Elementary Biblical Hebrew An introduction to the language of the Hebrew Scriptures—Biblical Hebrew. Students work through the grammar book, doing exercises and practicing paradigms. Among these exercises is the reading of specific biblical texts. By the end of the year, students should have a basic grasp of this ancient language’s grammar and some experience reading Hebrew. Eric D. Reymond

REL 3605a and b, Elementary New Testament Greek A two-term introduction to the language of the New Testament intended for those with little or no knowledge of Koine Greek. Concentration in the first term is on elementary grammar and syntax and on a basic working vocabulary. The second term is devoted primarily to rapid reading of the Johannine literature and to developing a working knowledge of the critical apparatus and indexes of the Greek New Testament for use in exegesis and interpretation. Matthew D.C. Larsen

REL 3792a, REL 3793a, and REL 3794b, Colloquium on Ministry Formation/Anglican The overall purpose of the Colloquium series in the Anglican Studies curriculum is to supplement the curriculum with topics of importance in preparing for service to God in and through the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. The Colloquium offers Episcopal and Anglican students an opportunity to engage in reflection and discernment on their experience of formation for religious leadership, lay and ordained, providing an opportunity to integrate varied theological disciplines. While leadership skills and capabilities can in some measure be taught abstractly, they are most effectively integrated into one’s formation through exposure to seasoned leaders in various institutional contexts. Students explore a wide variety of leadership skills and styles in the presentations at the Colloquium and the assigned readings. Students practice leadership skills through role-playing, improvisation, and case studies. The intention is to set a leadership context in which students can practice leadership lessons that can be adapted to a ministry environment. Each term of the Colloquium focuses on different leadership skills. Over the course of their participation in Colloquium, Berkeley students are exposed to, and given an opportunity to practice, valuable leadership skills for ministry. These one-half-credit colloquia are required of all Berkeley Divinity School students wishing to qualify for the Diploma in Anglican Studies. Andrew B. McGowan, Cathy H. George

REL 3795a and b, Colloquium on Ministry Formation/Lutheran The one-half-credit Lutheran Colloquium is offered each fall and spring term. The fall colloquium focuses on Lutheran worship; the spring colloquium focuses on Lutheran spiritual practices and self-care. The primary focus is on students considering ordination in the ELCA, but it is open to all. Paul Sinnott [F], Elaine Julian Ramshaw [Sp]

REL 3899, M.A.R. Thesis or Project A project or thesis is an option for both the concentrated and comprehensive M.A.R. programs. Students may elect to write a thesis in the second year of their program. Candidates who choose to write theses or pursue projects enroll for one or two terms, three credit hours per term. A full description of the course is included in the chapter Programs of Study.

REL 3900a or b, Transformational Leadership for Church and Society This series of six one-credit-hour courses helps students discover new ways to offer responsible, creative, and inspirational leadership in church and society by bringing in guests who have proven themselves as leaders in a range of arenas. Each course weekend begins with four hours of instruction on Friday afternoon, including two and a half hours of instruction and a ninety-minute public event with each invited guest. The class gathers for eight hours of course work on Saturday. A maximum of three credits can be applied to the M.A.R., M.Div., or S.T.M. degree through enrollment in this course. William Goettler

REL 3910a and b, ISM Colloquium The Institute of Sacred Music Colloquium is central to the purpose of the Institute and to the faculty’s involvement in, and personal attention to, how ISM students are trained. Colloquium is the meeting ground for all Institute students and faculty, the place where we study together, grapple with major issues, and share our work as students of sacred music, worship, and the arts. Taken for .5 credits per term, Colloquium meets every Wednesday from 3:30 until 5 p.m., with informal discussion from 5 to 5:30 p.m. ISM students from the two partner schools of Music and Divinity collaborate on a presentation to be given in their final year. The course is divided into two term-long parts, with responsibility for the fall term resting primarily with the faculty and outside presenters, and for the spring term primarily with the students. Martin D. Jean

REL 3986a and 3987b, Part-time Internship with Practicum This internship is taken for two consecutive terms starting in September. Internship sites include churches, social service and social change agencies, schools, college campuses, and other institutions. The internship, under the mentorship of a trained supervisor, is combined with a peer reflection group (Practicum) taught by a practitioner, for a total of four hundred hours over the two terms. The internship is guided by a learning covenant that is developed by the student in collaboration with the supervisor. In some cases where a site does not have a theologically trained supervisor, the student may also receive supervision from a theological mentor assigned by the director of the OSM. The Part-time Internship with Practicum carries three credits each term. Both terms must be completed to meet the degree requirement. Placements are selected during the preceding spring term. Lucinda A. Huffaker

REL 3988a and b, Part-time Internship with Advanced Practicum This program is open to students returning for a second supervised ministry internship. This internship can be arranged as a second year at the same site or at a different site to provide another type of contextual experience. Like the first supervised ministry, the second internship, under the mentorship of a trained supervisor, is combined with a peer reflection group (Practicum) facilitated by a practitioner, for a total of four hundred hours over the two terms. The internship is guided by a learning covenant that is developed by the student in collaboration with the supervisor. In some cases where a site does not have a theologically trained supervisor, the student may also receive supervision from a theological mentor assigned by the director of the OSM. In addition to performing typical internship responsibilities, each intern creates a unique major project that involves substantive research and is presented to other students in the advanced practicum. The Part-time Internship with Advanced Practicum carries three credits each term. Completion of both terms is required before credit is granted. Successful completion of one supervised ministry internship is a prerequisite. Lucinda A. Huffaker

REL 3989, Summer Intensive Internship with Practicum This internship program is similar to the Part-time Internship with Practicum except that it involves full-time ministry totaling four hundred hours during the summer. Internships in churches are rarely suitable for Summer Intensives, unless they have structured summer programs for seminarians. Summer Intensive Internships include two days of class on campus in May and a weekly peer-group Practicum conducted virtually via the Internet. The course carries six credits for the summer. Lucinda A. Huffaker

REL 3990a or b, Negotiating Boundaries in Ministerial Relationships This nine-hour workshop helps students develop critically reflective understandings of professional ethics as it applies to maintaining boundaries in the practice of Christian ministry. This subject is explored through the analysis of aspects of spiritual care and ministerial behavior, including sexuality, power, boundaries, and the personhood or character of the minister. The workshop, required of all M.Div. students, is a prerequisite for any supervised ministry. The workshop does not receive academic credit but does appear on the student’s transcript. Kate M. Ott, Lucinda A. Huffaker

REL 3999, S.T.M. Thesis or Project An extended paper, an independent thesis, or a project in the candidate’s area of concentration is required for the S.T.M. degree. Extended papers are written in conjunction with the regular requirements for courses credited toward the S.T.M. degree. Candidates who choose to write theses or pursue projects enroll for one or two terms, three credit hours per term. A full description of the course is included in the chapter Programs of Study.

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Additional Courses Offered

Area I

  • Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions
  • Apocalyptic Religion in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Ascents to Heaven in Antiquity
  • The Bible in Its Ancient Near Eastern Setting
  • The Book of Ben Sira
  • Composition of the Pentateuch
  • Corinthian Correspondence
  • Crafting Early Christian Identities
  • Daniel and Related Literature
  • English Exegesis: Epistle to the Hebrews
  • English Exegesis: Luke-Acts
  • English Exegesis: Philippians
  • English Exegesis: Revelation
  • English Exegesis: Romans
  • Ezra-Nehemiah
  • Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Gnostic Texts in Coptic
  • Gospel of John and Parting of Ways
  • Greco-Roman Proseminar
  • Greek Exegesis: Acts of the Apostles
  • Greek Exegesis: Ephesians and the Pauline Tradition
  • Greek Exegesis: Galatians
  • Greek Exegesis: Gospel of John
  • Greek Exegesis: Mark
  • Greek Exegesis: Matthew
  • Greek Exegesis: Paul’s Letter to the Romans
  • Greek Exegesis: Revelation
  • Greek Exegesis: 2nd Peter and Jude
  • Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Deuteronomy
  • Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Ezekiel
  • Hebrew Bible Seminar: Prophetic Stories in Kings
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Book of Judges
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Exodus
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Genesis
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Jeremiah
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Joshua
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Leviticus
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Psalms
  • Hebrew Exegesis: The Book of Micah
  • Historical Jesus
  • History and Methods of Old Testament Interpretation I
  • History and Methods of the Discipline of New Testament Studies
  • History and Methods II
  • History of Biblical Interpretation
  • History of First-Century Palestine
  • Jesus’ Death as a Saving Event
  • Jewish Apocalyptic Literature
  • Judaism in the Persian Period
  • Literary Criticism and the New Testament
  • Literary Criticism of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Living with Difficult Texts
  • Martyrs and Martyrdom
  • New Testament Apocrypha
  • Patristic Greek
  • Paul and the Spirit
  • Philo of Alexandria
  • Prophecy in a Time of Crisis
  • Prophecy in Context
  • Readings in Hellenistic Judaism
  • The Rise of Monotheism in Ancient Israel
  • Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Torah and Jewish Identity
  • What Are Biblical Values?
  • Women and Gender in Early Christianity

Area II

  • African American Moral and Social Thought
  • African American Religious Strategies
  • Agency, Character, and Complicity
  • Augustine
  • Baptism and Eucharist in Ecumenical Dialogue
  • Black Religion in the Public Square
  • Bonhoeffer and King
  • Catholic Liturgy
  • Charles Taylor on Self and Secularization
  • Christian Ethics and Social Problems
  • Christian Marriage
  • Christian Theology of “Other Religions”
  • Christianity and Social Power
  • Church Growth and Mission through Worship: What Are They Saying?
  • Churches of the East
  • Contemporary Cosmology and Christian Ethics
  • Contemporary German Theology
  • Contemporary Theological Anthropology
  • Credo: Faith Prayed and Sung
  • The Cult of the Martyrs in Early Christianity: Feasts
  • Cuthbert, Bede, and Their Theological, Musical, and Liturgical Legacy
  • Desire and the Formation of Faith
  • Devotion and Practice in Early Christianity
  • Digital Media, Liturgy, and Theology
  • English Reformation Liturgical Traditions and the Evolution of the Books of Common Prayer
  • Environmental Theologies
  • Eschatology, Apocalypse, Utopia
  • Ethics and Human Nature
  • The Ethics of St. Augustine
  • Eucharistic Prayers and Eucharistic Theology
  • Foundational Texts in African American Theology
  • Gender and Liturgical History
  • God in Modern Thought
  • In the Face of Death: Worship, Music, Art
  • Introduction to Christian Ethics
  • Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics
  • Liberation Theologies in the United States
  • The Liturgy, Ritual, and Chant of Medieval England (Sarum Use)
  • Love and Justice
  • Medieval Christology and Atonement Theory
  • Medieval Theology Survey
  • Music in Medieval Britain
  • Natural Law and Christian Ethics
  • Passion and Atonement: The Cross in Contemporary Theological Discussion
  • Patristic Christology
  • Patristic Trinitarian Theology
  • Practicing Jesus: Christology and the Christian Life
  • Praying What We Believe: Theology and Worship
  • Process Thought
  • Protestant Liturgical Theology
  • Queer Theology
  • Readings in Schleiermacher
  • Reel Presence: Explorations in Liturgy and Film
  • Reformed Worship
  • Ritual Theory for Liturgical Studies
  • Sacrifice: Gift, Ritual, and Violence in Early Christianity
  • Seminar in the Theology of Paul Tillich
  • Slavery and Obedience
  • Social Practices and Ethical Formation
  • Theological Ethics
  • Theologies of Religious Pluralism
  • Theology and Ecology
  • Theology and the New Testament
  • Theology of Athanasius
  • Theology of the Lutheran Confessions
  • Virtue and Christian Ethics
  • Virtue and Hypocrisy: Moral Thought
  • Words for Worship
  • Worship, Culture, Technology
  • Worship and War
  • The Worship Mall

Area III

  • Buxtehude
  • Calvin and Calvinism
  • Chinese Protestant Christianity, 1800–2010
  • Christian Spirituality in the Age of Reform
  • Christianities in the Colonized Americas
  • Death and the Dead
  • Finding Spirituality in Modern America
  • The German Mystical Tradition in Theology, Piety, and Music
  • German Reformation, 1517–1555
  • God and Self: Spiritual Autobiographies in Context
  • Interpreting Medieval Religion
  • Introduction to Post-Reformation Studies: Sources of Early American History
  • Late Beethoven
  • Liturgical Books of the Middle Ages
  • Living the Reformation
  • Martin Luther and the Reformation
  • Music, Liturgy, and Historiography in Medieval England
  • Pietism and the Origins of Evangelicalism
  • Primary Readings in American Christianity, 1870–1940
  • Race, Religion, and Theology in America
  • Reformation Europe
  • Religion in American Society, 1550–1870
  • Religions and Societies in Colonized North America
  • Religious Freedom in U.S. History
  • Sacred Music in the Western Christian Tradition
  • Sin, Penance, and Forgiveness in Early Modern Europe
  • West African Islam: Jihad and Its Pacifist Opponents

Area IV

  • Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals
  • Body and Soul: Ministry for Sexuality and Justice
  • Christian Education in the African American Experience
  • Congregational Song as a Resource for Preaching and Worship
  • Contemporary Christian Spirituality
  • Contextual Preaching
  • Creativity and the Congregation
  • Discernment of Spirits through Selected Mystics
  • Ethnography for Pastoral Leadership
  • Family Systems and Pastoral Care
  • Feminist and Womanist Perspectives on Pastoral Theology and Care
  • Ignatius of Loyola and the Spiritual Exercises
  • Introduction to Religious Education
  • John of the Cross: A Guide for Difficult Times
  • Joy as Spiritual Path in Caregiving Vocations
  • Ministry and Addictions
  • Ministry with Youth
  • Multicultural Perspectives on Preaching
  • Musical Skills and Vocal Development for Parish Ministry
  • The New Homiletic: Innovative Methods of Proclamation
  • Pastoral Wisdom in Fiction, Memoir, and Drama
  • Planning and Presiding at Worship
  • Preaching the Parables of Jesus
  • Professional Seminar: Theology and Practice of Church Music
  • Prophetic Preaching
  • Psychopathology and Pastoral Care
  • The Roundtable Pulpit
  • Spirituality and Religious Education
  • Spirituality of Presence in the Pulpit
  • Teaching the Bible in the Congregation
  • Text, Memory, and Performance
  • Theologies of Preaching
  • Theology and Practice of Spiritual Direction
  • Women Mystics
  • Women’s Ways of Knowing
  • Women’s Ways of Preaching

Area V

  • A Communion of Subjects: Law, Environment, and Religion
  • Accidental Theologies
  • African Religions: Theological Inquiry
  • American Religious Thought and the Democratic Ideal
  • Animal Ethics
  • Aquinas and Scotus
  • Art, Architecture, and Ritual in Early Christianity and the Middle Ages
  • The Art and Architecture of Conversion and Evangelism
  • Chinese and Japanese Christian Literature
  • The Chinese Theologians
  • Christian Pilgrimage
  • Christian Social Ethics
  • Christianity and Ecology
  • Communicative Ethics in a Multicultural Democracy
  • Covenant, Federalism, and Public Ethics
  • Creative Faith: A Writing Course
  • Critical Moments in the History of Christian Art
  • Dante’s Journey to God
  • Disagreement, Fallibility, and Faith
  • Divine Command Theory
  • East Asian Religions and Ecology
  • Environmental Ethics in Theory and Practice
  • Ethics and the Climate Crisis
  • Ethics and the Economy
  • Faith, Democracy, and Social Change
  • Faith and Globalization
  • Faith and the Will
  • Gender, Religion, and Globalization: Practices, Texts, and Contexts
  • Genesis: Scripture, Interpretation, Literature
  • Global Ethics
  • Global Ethics and Sustainable Development
  • Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion
  • If I Cannot Fly, Let Me Sing: Poetry in Music
  • Imagining the Apocalypse: Scripture, Fiction, Film
  • Indigenous Religions and Ecology
  • Interpreting Gospel Music
  • Jewish Space
  • Kant’s Philosophy of Religion
  • Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Religion
  • Late Medieval English Drama
  • Literature of Trauma
  • Mary in the Middle Ages
  • Milton
  • Passion of Christ in Scripture, Literature, and Visual Arts
  • Performance of Text: Poetry of T.S. Eliot
  • Performative Theology
  • Poetry and Faith
  • Psalms in Scripture, Literature, and Music
  • Reading Poetry Theologically
  • Religion, Ecology, and Cosmology
  • Religion, Power, and the Self
  • Religion and the Performance of Space
  • Religious Lyric in Britain
  • Ritual, Hermeneutics, and Performance Art
  • Sacred Music in the Western Christian Tradition: From the Bible to Modernity
  • Sensational Materialities: Sensory Cultures in History, Theory, and Method
  • South and Southeast Asian Christianities
  • South Asian Religions and Ecology
  • Spiritual Autobiography
  • Theological Predications and Divine Attributes
  • Theology of Plato and Aristotle
  • Visual Controversies
  • Visual Fluencies
  • Witnessing, Remembrance, Commemoration
  • Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Religion
  • World Christianity: Religious and Cultural Factors
  • Writing about Religion

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