The Theology Major
The discipline of theology explores the big questions: What does it mean to be human? How shall we live? What does it mean to believe in (or reject) the existence of God? Why are there so many religions? Christian theology tackles these questions by engaging a variety of disciplines, including history, philosophy and literary studies. It works critically and appreciatively to discover, interpret, and understand the evolving beliefs and practices of Christianity. In light of Fordham's Jesuit heritage and Catholic identity, the department focuses on the rich diversity within the Catholic tradition. Coursework emphasizes the mutual influence of faith and culture historically and in the present. New York City provides a valuable resource, especially for engaging in dialogue with other faith traditions of the world. Located in the poorest US congressional district (Fordham’s Bronx Campus) and bordering census tracts of both the highest and lowest income levels in Manhattan (at Lincoln Center), our locations in New York City invite faculty and students to repeatedly make the connections between the world's religious and moral teachings and the realities of social injustice.
Majoring in theology provides an excellent liberal arts education. Theology majors learn the crucial skills of thinking critically and analytically, writing persuasively, communicating effectively and working with others cooperatively. They learn how to interpret classic and contemporary texts, to understand ritual, to analyze and evaluate moral norms, and to explore patterns of authority in the tradition and in the cultures it inhabits. Electives allow students to shape the major in light of their own interests.
The department offers a variety of activities each semester, including guest speakers, a movie series, musical events, study trips, informal gatherings with faculty, retreats, and museum visits. All theology majors and minors are invited to attend regular seminars at which faculty and graduate students present their current work
The department also has a chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa
, the national honor society for religious studies and theology.
the THEOLOGY MAJOr
The major in theology is available at Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College at Lincoln Center and Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Lincoln Center and Rose Hill.
Theology majors are members of the theological community formed by the department's faculty and graduate students. The theology major offers students foundational study in the disciplines of biblical studies, historical theology and systematic theology. The program requires 10 courses. It is structured so as to bring together two elements: a) Content: a consideration of traditional theological themes, such as God, Christ, Church, ethics and liturgy; and b) Method: various aspects of Christianity are approached through distinct methods, which may or may not be engaged in doing theology per se, but whose end results are relevant to theology. Building on the core curriculum and its tier system, the major in theology is likewise structured in several tiers.
Tier One: Course Requirements of All Majors
The first tier consists of the following four requirements: THEO 1000-Faith and Critical Reason; one Sacred Texts and Traditions course; and two courses from the three-course sequence THEO 3832–3834-Christian Thought and Practice.
Tier Two: Concentrations
The second tier consists of five courses, which allow students to concentrate in one of four fields; other fields may be added in the future. The rationale for these four fields is primarily methodological; each concentration fosters a distinct set of scholarly skills and centers around unique sets of questions. The course requirements for each concentration are as follows; where elective courses are indicated, students will choose elective courses from any of the offerings of the theology department.
This concentration consists of systematics, ethics, liturgy and historical courses and fosters critical capacities for thinking about fundamental questions such as God, the human person, truth, and society, as well as questions about how to live. It requires two Sacred Texts and Traditions courses, chosen in such a way that between these two courses and the Sacred Texts and Traditions course required in the Core Curriculum, each major will take one course on the Old Testament, one on the New Testament, and one on the sacred texts of a non-Christian tradition; the third course in the three-course sequence THEO 3832–3834-Christian Thought and Practice not already taken in the first tier; and two electives.
This concentration centers primarily on the textual traditions of Christianity, but also allows space for the sacred scriptures of other traditions. This concentration trains its students in the methods of exegesis and scriptural interpretation. It requires two Sacred Texts and Traditions courses, chosen in such a way that between these two courses and the Sacred Texts and Traditions course required in the core curriculum, each major will take one course on the Old Testament, one on the New Testament, and one on the sacred texts of a non-Christian tradition; and three electives.
Faith and Culture
This concentration focuses on the dynamics of religious beliefs and practices as an area of human experience shared across time and cultures and seeks to develop a broader understanding of the phenomenon of religion as practiced by persons of various faiths. It requires THEO 3870-Religion as Human Experience; a course on the Old Testament or New Testament if not already taken in the first tier; a course on a major non-Christian religious tradition; and either two or three electives, such that the total number of courses a student takes in this concentration will be five.
This concentration focuses on the theology, history, and practice of Roman Catholicism in the United States. It requires AMCS 3000–3001-Catholic Studies Seminar; a course chosen from the offerings of the theology department which focuses on American Catholicism; and two electives. Concentrators in American Catholicism take at least one course in either of the testaments of the Christian Bible, if not already taken in the first tier. If a student in this concentration took a non-biblical course in the first tier, the biblical course taken in this tier would count as an elective.
Tier Three: Capstone Seminar
The third tier consists of a capstone course to be taken by all majors, THEO-3860-Contemporary Conversations in Theology. This course crowns the requirements for the major by focusing on a common theological theme. The theme of the course and the works utilized will depend on the expertise of the instructor; it includes a 25-30 page final paper.
THEOLOGY SECONDARY MAJOR
Theology is an important place to explore, and it combines well with other fields. A future doctor can be prepared for ethical decision-making. A future psychologist or social worker can be prepared to understand religious beliefs that can be a large part of understanding how a client sees the world. A future lawyer or politician can understand one of the major influences in public debate and legislative decision-making. A future international businessperson will only benefit from understanding the quite different religions that shape people in other parts of the world. A future--or present--artist can only benefit from understanding a force that has inspired theatre and the arts from time immemorial. And a future minister or priest almost cannot function without understanding theology well. The secondary major is available at Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, and Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center.
The secondary major comprises eight courses: Faith and Critical Reason, one Sacred Texts and Traditions course, any two of the three "Christian Thought and Practice" courses described above in the first tier of the major, and four theology electives. Secondary majors are strongly encouraged, but not required, to take as an elective the capstone seminar described above in the third tier of the major.
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