Theology and Religious Studies Courses
The Christian Village explores the central concepts of Christian Theology. Using the lens of teaching, whether as a future parent, a teacher or as a member of the "village" that it takes to raise a "child," we shall consider the following topics: human existence, God, Jesus Christ, and the Church's nature and mission. Offered every semester.
This course provides a foundation for the study of theology and religious studies to majors and minors. Students will develop a set of intellectual and analytical tools for the study of religion via theology and the core disciplines of religious studies. Limited to THRS majors, minors, and students from other departments with permission of the instructor.
Using a framework from the Jesuits Karl Rahner and Bernard Lonergan, this course will explore Judeao-Christian narratives as interpreted through the Catholic Christian tradition.
This course is designed to give students the basic tools for understanding the study of Sacred Scripture. Topics to be covered include: the senses of Scripture, the development of the canon, form criticism, historical criticism, and magisterial teaching since Pope Leo XIII on the study of God's word. Offered Spring/Fall.
A study of the main issues, themes and persons that shaped the history of Christianity from its origins to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on the correlation of social, political and cultural developments, ecclesiastical structure, and theological doctrine. The course examines how the Christian church has both been shaped by and has shaped the various historical and geographical contexts in which it emerged.
An interesting introduction to a topic in the field of Theology and Religious Studies.
The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of how feminist scholarship provides one fruitful means towards reappropriation of central Christian insights about God. The course will create a dialogue between theolgical discourse, that is, critical reflection upon the experience of God, and insights from feminist thought.
Introduction to the foundational theology of Catholic Christianity that draws on classic texts of Western theology. Issues examined include the problem of God, sacraments, spirituality, and prayer. Offered Spring.
An introduction to the historical-critical method of interpreting the Bible as preparation to read and understand the Word of God in the New Testament, and allow twenty-first century persons to appreciate its meaning and message. Offered every semester.
This introductory course provides a basic knowledge of the Qur’an, covering its revelation, historical context, form, content, and interpretation and application in the daily lives of Muslims. The course focuses on Muslims’ dynamic experiences and interactions with the text as an ever-unfolding ethical guide.
This course provides an in-depth look at Catholic Social Thought as well as movements within the Catholic Church inspired by Catholic Social Thought which engage social issues and moral problems. Ways in which Christian thinkers and activists view Catholic Social Thought as a public calling are addressed. Offered intermittently.
Economic Justice in Catholic Social Thought explores current domestic and international economic implications of the values and principles of Catholic thought. Those values include the priority of labor over capital, international solidarity and the holistic nature of true human development. Policy choices that flow from these priorities will be the focus of student projects.
Intensive study of grammar, composition, and conversation. Stress on the spoken language. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. Offered intermittently. Cross-listed With: HBREW 101
Hebrew II continues Hebrew I and provides instruction in the reading, writing, and speaking of modern Hebrew, with additional attention to Biblical Hebrew. Basic grammar and vocabulary and simple texts and audio materials will be presented. Offered intermittently. Cross-listed With: HBREW 102
The question of gender, sexuality, and same-sex relationships are of ongoing religious debate as developments in the human sciences and anthropology continue to challenge long-standing interpretations of the Bible on these issues. This course will explore these issues from an historical-critical interpretation of the Bible in order to shed new light on the age-old questions of human sexuality and spirituality.
The question of gender, homosexuality, and same-sex relationships are of ongoing religious debate as developments in the human sciences and anthropology continue to challenge long standing interpretations of the Bible on these issues. This course will explore these issues from a historical-critical interpretation of the Bible in order to shed new light on the age old questions of human sexuality and spirituality. However, the success or failure of this course rests on its ability to demonstrate to students that when discussing issues of same-gender relations within the context of Christian faith and theology, we are ultimately dealing not with issues, but with persons; and more specifically, persons-in-relation. This course, therefore, lends itself to critical assessment of the intersection between theology, the church as both local community and global instruction, and homosexual persons and their primary relationships. The integration of our course work with opportunities to dialogue with gay and lesbian Christians will attempt to provide a balance between historical-critical exegesis, Christian theology, and a focus on persons within the San Francisco community who strive to live lives of faith and integrity within the (Catholic) Christian milieu.
This course explores the emergence of contemporary African Theology from the intersection of African indigenous religions and cultures, and Christianity in colonial and post-colonial Africa.
The course establishes the exegetical ground-work for modern historical-critical interpretation of the Bible and examines the interpretation of the Exodus Event (Ex. 1-24) by various communities in the margins.
This course explores diverse religious practices of migrant and diaspora communities, analyzing the complex interplay between religion and economic, political, and cultural dimensions of migrant life.
This is an examination of the emergence of diverse Christian Feminist Theologies from Africa, Asia and Latin America and their response to economic, political and religious-cultural challenges of the Third World.
This course examines the role of religion in HIV/AIDS contexts and explores theological positions guiding the Church's compassionate response to a world facing this global pandemic.
Jesus in the various Christologies of the New Testament, in the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries, and in the writings of key contemporary theologians. Who is Jesus for me today? Jesus in liturgy and prayer. Offered intermittently.
Courses offered from time to time, topics to be determined.
Christ as the sacrament of the encounter with God; the church as a sacrament of Jesus; the seven formal sacraments as actions of the church. The history of their development, contemporary sacramental issues, ethical and ecumenical dimensions, and future possibilities. Offered yearly.
Marriage as human reality and saving mystery; covenant and sacrament. Relational, psychological, sexual, inter-cultural, religious and financial aspects of marriage: goals, responsibilities, problems. Offered yearly.
An examination of the major religious themes and practices of ancient Greeks and Romans. While we will survey historical developments, our focus will be on the Classical Period for the Greeks and the Imperial Period for the Romans. Special consideration will be given to the relationship between beliefs, rituals and concerns of the state, as well as various reactions to "state religion" by philosophers, practitioners in mystery cults, Jews, and Christians.
This course explores the relationship between politics and religion through an examination of the phenomenon ofreligious nonviolence as it manifests among Jews and Muslins living in Israel and Palestine.
Seminar which discusses the historical forces that shaped the evolution of Mediterranean society and religion from about 100 to about 500. Focus is on Christianity, but other religious traditions which pre-existed Christianity will also be considered. Offered intermittently.
This course engages with the transcendent biblical concept of justice as an irreversible commitment of God in history as articulated in the prophets, the Gospel of Jesus and emergent in liberation theologies in Latin America, Africa, Asia, in North America responses, in feminist responses, and in ecological knowledge, processes and paradigms. Offered yearly.
An overview of Jewish philosophy and theology since the seventeenth century, including the Jewish Enlightenment and the tradition of German Jewish idealism, the rise of Jewish existentialism, Jewish-Christian theological dialogue, post-Holocaust theology and Jewish feminist thought. Offered intermittently.
This course engages students in a critical consideration of the moral, religious, and social implications of the Holocaust and of Genocide in the 20th and 21st centuries, and explores various memorial practices and responses to the moral challenge of genocide.
This course examines social justice activism from Jewish and non-Jewish perspectives, in theory and in practice, through an exploration of some of the most important societal issues confronting Americans today: economic justice, racial and ethnic equality, gender equality, sexual orientation equality, and environmental justice. Students will meet with 15-20 Bay Area Jewish activists over the course of the semester.
This course explores the lives and thoughts of modern-day "prophets," individuals known for their social activism, political courage, and moral character. The course also examines the idea of a "political prophet," the meaning of activism, and other relevant questions. "Prophets" will change intermittently.
From the Bible to the English mystery plays and contemporary versions of the Passion, this course will examine both critically and in performance the theological implications of the great stories of the Bible and other spiritual works. Students will be asked to do small performances in class as well as write reflectively and analytically about their reading and viewing assignments. Offered intermittently.Cross-listed With: THETR 315
The study of the linkages between religion and politics. Religion as a political construct and as an instrument of power in society. Is religion simply a matter of faith? Is it only personal or is it the opiate of the masses? Given the political capital of religion in modern society, is it even possible to maintain the great wall of separation between church and state? Course will focus on the writings of Montesquieu, Marx, Jefferson, David Walker, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Hannah Arendt. Individual and group projects will be employed. Offered every year.
This course examines modern and contemporary Muslim thought and movements in relation to historical, political, and social transformations from the late-eighteenth century to the present. Topics of study include debates on scriptural interpretation, the role of Islam in broader society and the state, radicalism and violence, and women's and human rights.
This course servesas a primer for understanding the principal expressions, commitments, and claims of the Catholic faith. This course examines the beliefs and practices that Catholics hold in common with other Christians, as well as those that distinguish Catholics from other Christians, other religions, and the secular world.
This course surveys the lives of saints, both Catholic and "popular," to examine how spirituality and political charisma cross-fertilize in social-justice movements. Includes studies of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Diana of Wales, Archbishop Romero, Rev. Jim Jones.
The course will study Ignatian and other methods of Christian contemplative prayer and teach students to put them into practice. Portions of each class, and a day-long hiking retreat integrated into the course, will be dedicated to the practice of Christian meditation.
Continuing the practice of Christian meditation from the previous class, this course will introduce the theology behind these practices and demonstrate the ‘mystical’ roots of Christianity through the study of Christian mystics, theologians and their writings.
This course will continue the practice of in-class meditation and examine how similar and distinctive meditative practices among the world’s religions help to foster inter-religious dialogue and deepen our awareness of unity among all people, and all creation.
This final course in the series will return to the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius and the Centering Prayer practices of Keating in order to demonstrate the Jesuit spiritual ideal of “finding God in all things,” beginning with oneself, and extending to all.
This course surveys the religious life of U.S. Latin@ Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical/Pentecostal faith communities. It reviews contemporary theological, literary, and sociological writings to understand the ways Latinos construct their faith life, with special attenion to Chican@ faith and activism, and Latina feminism.
The Philippines has witnessed two major revolutions. The first was an armed conflict for national independence and the second a nonviolent movement ("People Power") to restore democracy. We will examine how they were influenced by Catholic thought and practice.
This course will explore several ancient sacred sites, their accompanying religious geographies, and some of the religious practices associated with them (such as pilgrimage) that continue to transmit a sense of mystery and value for contemporary men and women. Offered intermittently.
Explores the religious underpinnings of contemporary attitudes and practices concerning the environment. Both historical and contemporary understandings of nature as expressed in various religious traditions. Offered intermittently. Cross-listed With: ENVA 361
This course will situate religious pluralism in Latin America and the Caribbean within distinct sociocultural, political and economic contexts. A consideration of the roles that faith and belief play in peoples' lives and culture in Latin America. Offered intermittently. Cross-listed With: LAS 301
This course emphasizes both the historical foundations of the world's major religious traditions as well as how they have confronted and been shaped by the globalizing forces of modernity. Student research projects will require fieldwork in the Bay Area.
This course explores both historical and contemporary expressions of key religious traditions--Hinduism, Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Christianity--that have helped shape the socio-political development and cultural identities of Asian peoples. Offered every semester.
This class explores the histories, doctrines, and practices of Buddhism(s). Emphasis will be on its historical and philosophical as well as how contemporary men and women live as practicing Buddhists. Through diachronic and synchronic examination, we will get a broad, complex picture of Buddhism(s), a significant Asian tradition that has now taken in root in the West.
This course surveys nearly 2000 years of the religious traditions, heritage, and culture of the Japanese people. We will explore key texts, charismatic leaders, and periods of conflict and stability in our goal to understand both historical and contemporary religious and spiritual examples within Japan and abroad.
This course examines the origins, teachings, and practices of Zen Buddhism, from ancient China to contemporary East Asia and North America. It emphasizes both academic and participatory understanding of this tradition. Offered intermittently.
Ancient, classical, medieval, modern and contemporary Hinduism. Offered intermittently.
A theological survey of Jewish-Christian relations. Focuses on how Jews and Christians have conceptually related to each other symbolically and imaginatively, as well as institutionally and historically. Addresses the Jewish-Christian relationship from Late Antiquity through contemporary times. Topics include such issues as spirituality, human dignity, freedom, morality, responsibility and ritual practices. Offered regularly.
Introduction to the depth and richness of religious concepts, worship, spiritual practice, and social institutions found in Islam. Offered yearly.
This course explores contemporary Jewish communities and the myriad ways to identify as a 'Jew' through an analysis of the historical development of the foundational beliefs, rituals, and cultural expressions of Judaism from the time of the Hebrew Bible through today, paying particular attention to the dominant Jewish Ashkenazi narrative within the greater corpus of Jewish history among non-Ashkenazi Jews. Offered regularly.
Through the reading of biblical, classical and contemporary mystical and kabbalistic texts in translation, we will examine the great themes of the Jewish mystical imagination. Instead of studying the material historically, we shall approach it as a comprehensive, coherent, and evolving theological worldview.
This course will tour the centuries as we try to understand the traditions, people, teachings, rituals, cultures, and allure of diverse "Buddhisms" in the world today. Of particular concern will be local Buddhist institutions and their global links to Buddhist communities and traditions, near and far. Offered every other year.
In examining this conflict through the lenses of social justice and activism, this course de-exceptionalizes this ostensibly exceptional struggle, empowering students to understand ways to end conflicts that plague those living in Israel, Palestine, and beyond. We will explore ideas such as communal narratives, human rights, power, and sovereignty.
This course explores contemporary religions and cultures of the Himalayan regions such as Tibet, Nepal and northern parts of India. We will examine the relationship between the local peoples and their sacred spaces, between societies and their shamanic healers, and between celibate virtuoso and non-celibate ritual specialists. It is through such analysis that students will learn how religions such as Buddhism, Bon, Hinduism and shamanic healing practices shape the lives of the sturdy Himalayan people and how they in turn give new meanings to their cultures and societies.
This course for Majors and Minors centers on Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dorothy Day. Through spiritual autobiographies, critical theories, and fiction the course explores the theme of nonviolence as a political and religious force in the U.S., India, and elsewhere. Offered yearly.
A cross-disciplinary exploration into such themes as psychological types and disorders, the caricatures of power and love, the search for identity, authentic religious faith and its counterfeits. The method will be literary criticism, psychological analysis, and theological reflection. Literature will include fiction, essay, autobiography, poetry, and film. Offered intermittently.
Identify, analyze critically, and consider possible solutions to fundamental ethical problems and how they relate to contemporary issues, with a special focus on such topics as ecology, economic justice, international conflict, gender and sexuality, race, human rights, and religion. Offered regularly.
Courses not offered in any regular rotation, but highlighting key issues and concerns.
This internship course assists you in setting up an internship in a nonprofit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area in the fields of theology-religious studies and environmental studies, and is designed to help you and this particular group of students explore issues of spirituality and work. Offered yearly.
Written permission of the instructor and dean is required.
Provides an overview of ethical responsibilities for the natural world. The course explores the diverse ethical responses to environmental problems including contemporary philosophical and religious beliefs regarding nature. Offered intermittently. Cross-listed With: ENVA 404
Introduction to the Roman Catholic tradition of fundamental moral theology. In addition to an exploration of major themes in moral theology, selected issues in special ethics, especially sexual and medical ethics, will be used to show how the Church applies the fundamental themes of moral theology to practical life situations.
Using principally Catholic and Protestant approaches, this course reflects philosophically and theologically on a representative spectrum of current moral issues from the areas of sexual ethics, ethics (including gender and reproductive issues), biomedical ethics (including genetics and end-of-life issues), abortion, war and peace, and globalization. Offered Fall.