Classics of the Christian Theological Tradition

Centered on reading and discussion of extracts from important and influential Christian theological writings, which have become “classics” in the Christian tradition. While selections will span the whole of Christian history, more than half will be from the 19th and 20th centuries. Non-English texts will be read in the best existing modern English translations. Gain knowledge in these classical texts and acquire the necessary skills to properly understand, to historically contextualize, and to critically evaluate them. One course.

Roman Catholic Tradition

History of the tradition from early days through the reforms of Vatican II with emphasis on the experiences of American Catholics, concluding with a discussion of current concerns about economic justice, gender equality, sexuality, and the post-Vatican II crisis of authority. One course.

History of the Christian Church

Crucial events, issues, structures, and writings that have shaped the Christian community and influenced Western civilization from the time of the early church to the present. Special attention to ethical themes such as human destiny, the “good life,” reform and renewal that have been permanent elements in Christian history. One course.

Ethical Issues in Early Christianity

Investigation of two major transitions in the early Christian movement and their impact on the formulation of Christian ethics: Christianity’s transition from a sect within Judaism to a Greco-Roman religious movement whose constituency came largely from the “pagan” world, and its transition from a sect in danger of persecution to a religion favored and supported by Roman imperial authorities.

The Historical Jesus

An investigation of what can be known about Jesus of Nazareth, his teaching about the kingdom of God and ethical behavior, his symbolic acts, and his cures. Principal attention given to the first three gospels, secondary attention to comparative material from the Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds. One course.

Non-Canonical Gospels

Historical-critical study of early non-canonical Christian Gospels, with special reference to the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Protevangelium of James, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Papyrus Egerton 2, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Philip, Dialogue of the Savior and Secret Mark; their relationship to other early Christian texts, their view of Jesus, their place in early Christianity; questions of authority, canon, canonical-bias, and concepts of heresy and orthodoxy. One course.

Zionism: Jewish and Christian Aspects

Examines various trends and ideologies within Zionism, with emphasis on the movement’s religious aspects. Study of various forms of Zionism, both Christian and Jewish, in the context of the constantly shifting Christian-Jewish relationship. Introduction to the origins of political Zionism, with focus on the manner in which religious ideas influenced both Zionism and the State of Israel. One course.

Women in Judaism

How women have understood, experienced, and shaped Judaism from the Greco-Roman period to the present day. Discussion topics include: women’s traditional religious roles and status; the ways in which women themselves have understood and expressed their Jewish self-identity and religious experiences over the centuries; and the transformation of Jewish women’s roles, expectations, and opportunities in the modern world, especially in the U.S. One course.