Fall 2013 Courses
THEO 5090 | Biblical aramaic
Dr. Karina M. Hogan
This course is designed to teach the fundamentals of Standard Literary Aramaic, with the primary goal of enabling students to read the Aramaic portions of the (mostly) Hebrew Bible. The course assumes at least a basic knowledge of Biblical Hebrew. Students will learn the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of Biblical Aramaic while reading the entire corpus of Biblical Aramaic, in simplified form at first. The course will conclude with a selection of later Aramaic texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Targums and the Midrash.
THEO 5301 | History of Christianity II
Dr. Kathryn M. Reklis
This course investigates Christian thought and practice, both Protestant and Catholic, in the early modern and modern periods. Rather than attempt a comprehensive survey of all major thinkers and movements from the 16th-21st centuries, we’ll consider 12-13 exemplary moments in the history of Christian thought and practice, analyzing each for whatit indicates about Christianity at that time and place, and for how the study of that moment can prove instructive for developing skills to think critically, theologically and historically, about religion in the modern world. We will focus primarily on European and North American contexts, but expand our horizon to consider the exchange of goods and ideas in circulation from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas that created the material conditions for modernity and that gave birth to new modes of Christian subjectivity.
THEO 6192 | Greco-Roman Contexts of Christianity
Dr. Benjamin H. Dunning
Early Christian literature was produced in a social, cultural, and intellectual world very different from our own. In spite of the Apostle Paul’s bold pronouncement that God has “made foolish the wisdom of the world” (1 Cor 1:20), the first Christians were in fact thoroughly immersed in (and dependent on) the concepts and categories of their time as they sought to hammer out ideas and practices that would characterize the various groups of Christ-followers. As the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has pointed out, writers, artists, and other cultural producers always work within “a space of possibles [which defines] the universe of problems, references, intellectual benchmarks . . . in short, all that one must have in the back of one’s head in order to be in the game”—and early Christians were no exception. But this historical reality presents a fundamental hermeneutical challenge to historians and theologians today. Whether we approach this literature primarily as scholars of the ancient world or as theologians seeking a resource for constructive projects, the interpretive challenges posed by cultural distance remain.
Accordingly, this course will delve into the social, material, and intellectual history of Greco Roman antiquity, focusing on aspects of the ancient world that are crucial to the interpretation of early Christian literature. Topics to be covered include ancient philosophy, Roman religion, Greco-Roman history and historiography, material culture, education, social relations, and ideas about the body, gender, and sexuality. Where possible, primary and secondary readings will overlap with the reading list for the CIA Greco-Roman World exam, but the course extends beyond the scope of the exam list. Students with knowledge of Greek, Latin, or other relevant ancient languages will be encouraged to put these skills to use in their own research projects. However, no knowledge of ancient languages is required for the course.
THEO 6211 | Paul, Prisoner and Martyr
Prof. L. L. Welborn
This course seeks to discover the impact of Paul’s imprisonment upon the history of the early church, with special attention to the emergence of what may be called “political theology.” Paul’s authentic letters from prison, Philippians and Philemon, will be carefully examined. We shall also explore the image of Paul as the “prisoner of Christ” and as a “martyr” in the deutero-Pauline literature (Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Timothy, 3 Corinthians) and in the Acts of the Apostles. Literary-critical analysis and a chronology of Paul’s life and letters make it possible to raise the question of the physical and emotional effects of the experience of imprisonment upon the development of Paul’s “political theology.” We shall also read letters from prison (and exile) by philosophers of the early Roman Empire for the sake of comparison with the letters of Paul. Thus we shall attempt to determine the political and theological posture of the apostle and of the church which nourished the memory of Paul as a prisoner and martyr.
THEO 6359 | North African Christianity
Prof. Maureen A. Tilley
Ancient Christians in North Africa developed more sophisticated theologies than their contemporaries in Rome. Terms for the Trinity and the sacramental character imprinted on the soul come from Africa, as does the saying "Outside the Church there is no salvation." The course "North African Christianity" introduces students to the physical and cultural environment of early Christian communities in North Africa and to the theologies Africans produced between the origins of African Christianity in the second
century and the Middle Ages. Writings include selections from Tertullian, Cyprian, stories of martyrs and literature of the Donatist controversy (with Augustine). Some attention will be paid to archaeology and, if possible, given the talents of the class, pseudo-Cyprianic literature. Subjects include martyrdom, ecclesiology, sacraments, biblical interpretation. Requirements include active participation in seminar discussions, a report on secondary literature and either a second report or a translation from Latin and,
finally, a research paper.
THEO 6456 | Medieval Liturgy
Dr. John Baldovin
This course will deal with the development of the Christian liturgy in the West from the 5th century up to the eve of the Reformation, with particular attention to the early medieval period. It will include a study of the sources of the liturgy, especially the various liturgical books. It will also involve a close study of the development of the Mass
of the Roman Rite and in particular the Ordo Romanus Primus. In addition brief consideration will be given to other medieval western rites: Ambrosian, Gallican, MozarabicThis course will also cover the development of the liturgical calendar as well as the main lines of the development of the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office. Some
attention will be given to the medieval liturgical commentaries, esp. that of William Durandus. Finally the course will deal with the architectural spaces used for the liturgy.
THEO 6616 | Contemporary theology of the trinity
Prof. Aristotle Papanikolaou
An investigation into the origins and the development of the Doctrine of the Trinity. Special emphasis will be given to the recent revival of Trinitariantheology and current attempts at reestablishing a connection between belief in a trinitarian God and Christian praxis/spirituality. Among other concerns, the course will address the following question: Why study the doctrine of the Trinity (or, what’s the point)?
THEO 6671 | Contemporary Christology
Prof. Terrence W. Tilley
Contemporary Christologies are constructed within the context of a tradition which is rooted in the first Christians’ attempts to understand who Jesus was and what his significance was for them and the world. No responsible contemporary theologian could attempt to provide a constructive Christology, a portrait of the historical Jesus, a revisionist Christology, or an a/Christology without serious investigation and understanding of the relevant traditions which have developed about Jesus of Nazareth within the Christian communities. The first kinds of issues addressed in the course are devoted to exploring and understanding those traditions. The second sort of issues addressed in the course part is the modern and contemporary quests for the historical Jesus. More than any other contemporary theological issue, the newest quest has evoked substantial media attention and public controversy. We will use texts that analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the methods of investigation, the reliability of the results of those investigations, and their significance for the Christian communities. The course also considers other contemporary Christological issues, e.g., the significance of Jesus in the context of world religions, the question of the priority of soteriological over Christological claims, Jesus and eschatology. Much of this material will be generated by the research of participants in this course, especially in their reports and research papers.
THEO 6738 | The mystical-prophetic turn
Dr. Michael E. Lee
The course analyzes the thought of Johann Baptist Metz (Germany), Gustavo Gutiérrez (Peru), and David Tracy (U.S.). Though emerging from different contexts and informed by diverse philosophical schools of thought, these three authors look to mystical and prophetic strands of the Christian tradition to articulate responses to the intellectual, political, and theological challenges of late modernity.
THEO 7736 | bioethics
Dr. Charles C. Camosy
Confusion and polarization reigns supreme when it comes to discussion of medical ethics: whether in a hospital ethics committee, presidential debate, an academic journal, or over a pint in a pub. Indeed, in part due to issues like abortion and health care reform, we are now more polarized than at any time in our nation’s history since the Civil War. Our discussion of these matters is more often characterized by people talking past each other than about discussion of the even the same topic—to say nothing of actually making progress on a particular issue. For instance, three very different topics—the personhood of the fetus, the permissibility of ever killing the fetus, and public policy about the personhood or killing of the fetus—are often unhelpfully lumped together into arguments over a single topic: abortion. This course attempts to deal with several classic and controversial topics in medical ethics in a way that cuts through the confusion by dealing with the each of the three kinds of issues (moral status, killing/treatment/care/use, and public policy) systematically and in their actual medical contexts. Given that we are in a Jesuit context, the course will emphasize the Roman Catholic moral traditions—but will almost always be in conversation with secular traditions as well. In an attempt to move beyond the polarization of our culture on these issues, key points not only of disagreement, but, importantly, common ground will be emphasized in an attempt to at least get the issues straight and move the debate forward.