Theology and Ethics

*-indicates a required course

+-indicates that there are prerequisites for admission to the course

Area III: Theology and Ethics

*TS100 - INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (3) In order to achieve a basic understanding of the discipline of systematic theology, this course surveys the Western philosophical foundations of Christian theology from the Presocratics of early Greece through Immanuel Kant and the European Enlightenment.  By examining the relationship between philosophical ideas and theological reflection, students develop the fundamental skills necessary for the analytical interpretation of theological texts and the constructive task of formulating a personal theological statement.

*TS105 - INTRODUCTION TO LIBERATION THEOLOGIES (3) An examination of Christian theology as it finds contemporary expression in the liberation theologies of North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The birth of liberation theological movements in the latter part of the 20th century is viewed against the background of the Enlightenment and the emergence of orthodox, liberal, and neo-orthodox theologies.  Students  have the opportunity to clarify their own theological stance by engaging theological perspectives that are radically different from their own.

*+TS201 INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIAN ETHICS (3) This course explores why and how people make decisions.  Sociological, political and economic factors which influence decision making, critical issues and theological perspectives related to decision making and contemporary perspectives resulting from cultural change will be examined.

*+TS 203  WORLD RELIGIONS (3) This course surveys the major religions of the world.  It is designed to challenge students’ perceptions about different belief systems.  In this class we will engage in comparison and contrast activities.  We examine similarities and differences as well as points of convergence and divergence in the major ways of thinking of peoples of other faiths.  Students are challenged to set aside their own religious experiences and their own religious principles and practices as they engage in this exploration.

TS 207 THE ETHICS OF “INFORMED CONSENT” (3) A study of bio-medical ethics utilizing the account of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as a case study illuminating the significance of “informed consent as a normative principle in public policy.”

*+TS210 - AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGOUS EXPERIENCE (3) This course focuses upon the development of the African American religious experience in the United States.  Attention is given to the African heritage.  The African American experience in Christianity, Islam and Judaism is explored.  In each instance, concern is given to the efficacy of the experience for the adherents.  Prerequisites: TS100, TS105

+TS220 - ECCLESIOLOGY: THE BLACK CHURCH IN THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTEXT (3) This course is a study of the social, cultural, and historical forces that have shaped the theological understanding of “The Black Church” in the context of North America.  Case studies of local congregations from within African American ecclesial traditions, along with evangelical and liberal Protestant traditions is used to critically examine the theological role of church in society.  The freedom and justice tradition of the African American church frame the dialogue with a variety of North American church traditions that view the church as an empowering agent of social resistance, cultural critique, and transformation.  Attention is also  given to present developing ecclesiologies that are emerging from increasingly diverse church communities throughout North America. Prerequisites: TS100, TS105.

TS 222 CHURCH AND STATE IN THE 21ST CENTURY (3) This course is a study of the First Amendment right to religious liberty and the history of its interpretation in decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. Particular attention will be paid to implications for current issues in critiques of “separation of church and state” as the prevailing legal interpretation.

+TS230 CHRISTIANITY AND RACISM (3) The emergence of racism as a modern phenomenon is explored.  A Christian understanding of humankind is contrasted with a racist viewpoint.  A survey of the cultures of various ethnic groups in the United States is used to promote an appreciation of racial diversity in this country.  Prerequisites: TS100, TS105

*+TS235  ISLAM IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE (3) This course looks at Islam as one of the major monotheistic religions of the world, and African American adaptations in the United States.  We  do a brief survey of the founding and establishment of Islam as a major world religion.  We  do a survey of the various expressions of Islam among African Americans in the United States.  We  consider the Nation of Islam both as a religious movement and as an expression of Black nationalism.  Prerequisites: TS100, TS105

+TS240 THEOLOGICAL METHOD (3) A critical study of the meaning and future of classical and contemporary theological method.  The contribution, critique, and challenge of Liberation, Womanist, and Feminist theologies to each other and to Western theological methodology is examined.  This approach to the study of theological method debates the assertion: "No one puts new wine into old wineskins."  Specific attention is given to how the recovery and use of non-traditional sources of God-talk (prayers, songs, story, etc.) are creating new theological paradigms.  How traditional sources of theology (scripture, tradition, experience, and reason) are interpreted, through the lens of different cultures and contexts of oppression, is also be explored.  Students have the opportunity to advance constructive statements about new ways of doing theology in their context. Prerequisites: TS100, TS105

250 ECO-JUSTICE AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH (3) This course explores contemporary work in eco-justice theology, eco-feminism, Native American and third world scholarship, and the sustainability movement. Questions concerning the place and role of human beings within creation, understandings of God and Christ, economic globalization, conflicting uses of public lands, environmental racism, classism and sexism, and the struggle for nurturing sustainable and just communities are considered. The emphasis is upon constructive theological and ethical reflection upon the global problematic of environmental degradation and injustice.  Prerequisites: TS100, TS105

+TS260 ECOLOGICAL THEOLOGY (3) Can the Christian tradition provide a rationale that will persuade human beings from destroying other species, their habitats and the grater biosphere of our planet?  Widespread ecological degradation has prompted biblical scholars, systematic theologians and ethicists to explore ways of thinking about and acting more compatibly within the community of diverse beings which constitute Earth. This course has been designed to bring students into this ongoing dialogue by examining systematically some notions in Christian texts and discerning the extent to which they provide promising foundations for ecological theology.  Prerequisites: TS100, TS105

+TS320  THE THEOLOGY AND ETHICS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (3) This course  considers both the life and thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Specific attention is given to understanding his sociopolitical context and his contribution as a theologian and ethicist.  An examination is made of his writings and important interpretations of this thought. This class may be substituted for Introduction to Christian Ethics.  Prerequisites: TS100, TS105

+TS330  ADVANCED SEMINAR IN AFRICAN AMERICAN THEOLOGY: THE THEOLOGY OF THE SPIRITUALS (3) This study places the Spirituals at the center of African American theological consciousness as an invaluable resource for the contemporary construction of African American theologies.  The origin, function, and theological content of the Spirituals is examined in relation to issues that are critical to the liberation of the African American community and the historical role and traditions of the Black church.  Students are given an opportunity to develop resources and skills that permit advanced research in the theological interpretation of the Spirituals. Prerequisites: TS100, TS105, any TS200 level course

+TS 336 RACE, CRIME AND JUSTICE (3) The course is designed to provide scholarly and experiential exposure to the issues presented by the scale of incarceration in the United States today. Participants will gain an understanding of the politics of crime policy, the relationship between incarceration and crime, the racial dynamics of the criminal justice system, and alternatives to incarceration. The course will also facilitate interaction with actors in the justice system in the Washington, D.C., area, which may include court watching and a tour of the DC Jail, and discussions with leaders in corrections, jail ministry, reentry planning, and advocacy.

+TS342 – INTRODUCTION TO WOMANIST THEOLOGY (3) This course  explores the origins, development, and major themes of Black and Womanist theologies as contemporary theological movements that emerged in the United States in the late 20th century. The major focus of the course is a critical examination of the mutual critique and dialogue between Black and Womanist theologies.  Specific attention is given to how the issues of gender, race, and class inform the tensions between and the construction of each theological perspective. Tensions within Black and Womanist theologies are also addressed along with the way they have engaged, challenged, and been challenged by various theological perspectives in the United States, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  Students  confront the question: What do both of these theologies have to say to each other about Christianity, culture, politics and social reality in today’s world? Prerequisites: TS100, TS105.

+TS370  DIRECTED STUDY (3) An opportunity for middler and senior students to explore a question, challenge, issue or concern more fully. The student  approaches a faculty member in the preferred area of study to request guidance and oversight, as well as, approval and direction in the pursuit of research to prepare an appropriate project or paper that will fulfill the agreed- upon requirements for the conclusion of the study.  Prerequisite: Faculty recommendation