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Divinity Courses 2010-2011
Courses fulfilling the distribution requirements for Institute students pursuing the M.Div. are indicated with a letter indicating the relevant subject area: W (Worship), M (Music), and/or A (Religion and the Arts – visual arts or literature).
The letter “a” following the course number denotes the fall term; the letter “b” denotes the spring term.
REL 648b, Reel Presence: Liturgy and Film Culture is intensely visual, and film—as a key component of contemporary visual culture—shapes the cultural imagination as well as inner lives. Films thus function not only as “entertainment” but also as significant “meaning-makers.” The church cannot and does not stand apart from this (witness the frequency with which films turn up in homilies). Christian liturgy and religious ritual are present in many contemporary films. These “reel presences” are the subject of this course, which focuses on worship as it comes to be constructed and reflected in the medium of contemporary film. Representations of worship in films are never value-neutral; they carry within them rereadings and reinterpretations. How then do filmmakers image, exploit, or advance assumptions about Christian worship? In this course, films are seen as theologically and liturgically “pertinent texts” (Irena S. M. Makarushka) that can be interrogated. Films are paired with readings from the field of liturgical studies that illumine the topic embedded in the film’s subtext on liturgy. Together, films and readings open a space for dialogue on contemporary concerns and insights about the meaning of liturgy. [W] Teresa Berger
REL 673b, Cuthbert, Bede, and Their Theological, Musical and Liturgical Legacy: The Christian Witness of Durham Cathedral and York Minster This is an intensive team taught interdisciplinary study course and will include a seven day visit to Durham and York to learn about and experience not only the past treasures of these two centers of Christian witness, but also the present worship, music and life of the Cathedral and Minster. The course will introduce students to the history of
Christianity in the North East of England, and particularly the place of
Durham Cathedral, from the time of Cuthbert to the present work of the
Cathedral Chapter, including the hymns composed by YDS graduate,
Canon Rosalind Brown. Students will have to make written application to the instructors for enrollment in the course. A high academic standard will be required. Students will learn in considerable depth about the Christian life in worship and theology centered on Durham Cathedral, and will see for
themselves the manuscripts and other treasures of this famous sacred
space of the North of England. [M, W] Robin Leaver and Bryan Spinks.
REL 680b, The Churches of the East: Introduction to Their Identity, Christology, and Worship This course will introduce students to the various greater and lesser churches of Eastern Christianity. It will look particularly at the Christological divisions which separated Eastern Orthodox from Syrian and Coptic Orthodox, Church of the East and Maronite, including the Christology of Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius, the Chalcedonian Definition, the Christological writings of Severus of Antioch, the monothelitic controversy, and the creedal documents of the Church of the East. It will also look at the recent Agreed Statements on Christology signed between the Roman Catholic Church and the Syrian and Coptic Orthodox Churches under the auspices of Pro Oriente, Vienna, and the relevant statements in the current dialogue between the various Syrian Churches. It will consider the worship of these churches in relation to the eucharist, noting the history, family likenesses, development and theology, and any influence of Christological teaching. Special attention will be given to the Church of the East, which survives mainly in Iraq and parts of Iran. [W] Bryan D. Spinks.
REL 682a, Foundations of Christian Worship The core course in Liturgical Studies. It focuses on theological and historical approaches to the study of Christian worship, while also giving appropriate attention to pastoral, cultural, and contemporary issues. The first part of the course seeks to familiarize students with the basic elements of communal, public prayer in the Christian tradition, such as its roots in Hebrew Scripture; its Trinitarian basis and direction; its ways of figuring time and space; its use of language, scripture, music, and the arts. The second part of the course provides an outline of historical developments from the biblical roots to the present. [W] Teresa Berger
REL 684b, Baptism and Eucharist: Biblical, Liturgical, and Theological Perspectives The course, co-taught by a New Testament scholar and a liturgical scholar, focuses on the two key Christian rituals of baptism and Eucharist, from their biblical roots to contemporary diversity in practice and interpretation. Given the breadth of the subject matter, the course highlights a select number of themes related to baptism and Eucharist, with particular weight given to the biblical witness and early developments. (Re)readings of historical sources and scholarly reflections on them form the core material of analysis. The course creates space for a nuanced reflection on the development of baptism and Eucharist, as both backdrop and resource for contemporary concerns. [W] Teresa Berger and Adela Yarbro Collins
REL 685a, MUS 518a, In the Face Of Death: Worship, Music, and Art This team-taught seminar proposes for intellectual inquiry the rich traditions that worship, music, and the visual arts have created and continue to offer in the face of death. The seminar’s focus is on the Christian tradition. Given the breadth of the subject matter, the course attends to a broad spectrum of themes related to ritual, music, and art “in the face of death,” yet does so quite selectively. Readings of historical sources themselves (textual and nontextual), scholarly research into the past, and analysis of contemporary materials form the core materials. The course is shaped by three foci of inquiry: ritual, music, and art as they relate to (1) those who have died, (2) those who are dying, i.e., facing imminent death, and (3) the confrontation with the hour of our own dying. The Christian tradition holds rich resources and insights for all three. The course creates space for a nuanced reflection on this tradition, as both backdrop and resource for contemporary engagement. [W, M] Teresa Berger, Markus Rathey
REL 686a, Eucharist Theology and the Eucharistic Prayers. The objective of the course is to consider the relationship between lex credendi and lex orandi of the Eucharist. The course will examine the development of the theology of the sacrament of the Eucharist, in East and West, and will consider ecumenical and postmodern considerations of the subject. It will look at this theology in relation also to the origin and development of the central prayer of the communion rite, from its New Testament background to contemporary compositions. [W] Bryan D. Spinks.
REL 687a, The English Reformation, Liturgical Traditions, and the Evolution of the Anglican Books of Common Prayer This course falls into two parts. Part I covers the period 1500-1789, and is concerned with the development and theologies of the Reformation traditions in England and Scotland.
Part II is concerned more specifically with the Anglican tradition- the influence on modern liturgical revision from the nineteenth century until the present. It will compare the services of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer with that of another Anglican Province. That selected for this year is the 1995 A Prayer Book for Australia, and the Sydney Diocese worship provisions. Non-Anglicans may compare their own denominational book with the 1979 BCP and Enriching our Worship. [W]
Bryan D. Spinks
REL 801a – b, Marquand Choir.
REL 802a – b, Marquand Gospel Choir. Mark Miller.
REL 812a, Principles and Practice of Preaching This is the introductory course in the theology, history, and practice of preaching, and is the prerequisite for all advanced courses in homiletics. Special attention is given to biblical exposition, the congregational context, the appropriate use of experience, the development of a homiletical imagination, and engaging all the preacher’s gifts for communication. The course includes lecture presentations and small group practica for which students prepare and deliver sermons. Students must sign up for a one of the practica when they sign up for the course. Nora Tubbs Tisdale and Thomas H. Troeger
REL 843a, Professional Seminar: Theology and Practice of Church Music In this professional seminar, ministers- and musicians-in-training will consider models for shared ministry involving musicians and pastors. Using theological and musical principles outlined in class, students will gain the skill and understanding needed for a sound liturgical ministry. Specifically, students will: learn to develop and articulate their own theology of worship; learn a variety of other liturgical theologies; examine various models for liturgical ministry by using these theological and musical principles; and consider case studies with an eye toward making ministerial decisions informed by the principles learned. Martin Jean and Thomas Troeger.
REL 945a, From House Churches to Medieval Cathedrals: Christian Art and Architecture From the Third Century to the End of Gothic The course examines the art associated with or related to Christianity from its origins to the end of Gothic. It analyzes major artistic monuments and movements in a variety of regions, paying particular attention to how art shapes and is shaped by the social and historical circumstances of the period and culture. The class considers art in diverse media, focusing on painting, sculpture, architecture, and decorative arts. It includes trips to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. [A] Vasileios Marinis
REL 948a, Art, Architecture, and Ritual in Early Christianity and the Middle Ages This course examines ritual in its artistic and architectural context in early Christianity and the Middle Ages. Christian ritual is situational. That is, much of what is important about it cannot be understood outside the specific context in which it occurs. While the majority of the class is devoted to the Divine Liturgy/Mass, its architectural accommodation, and the art associated with it, it also focuses on other secondary rites, like baptism, marriage, and funerals. Moreover, the class investigates extra-liturgical rituals such as pilgrimage. The goal is not to create a neat narrative matching art and ritual but rather to consider both as products of specific historical, social, and theological circumstances. [A] Vasileios Marinis
REL 950a - b, Dante’s Journey to God This course on the Divine Comedy is a reading of the entire text in the light of what it purports to be—a journey toward the vision of God. Such an approach does not mean dissolving the narrative in allegory or ignoring literary considerations in favor of theology: it means taking full account of the poem as a path with a divine destination. Special interest is paid to how Dante transforms his pagan as well as Christian sources, how deeply he assimilates the Bible and its interpretative traditions, and how boldly he attempts to establish his own text as a “sacred poem.” [A] Peter S. Hawkins
REL 953a, Reading Poetry Theologically The course explores poetry as a form of theological discourse. Through close readings of individual poems and poetic sequences, the class considers how the form as well as the subject matter of the poetry opens up new horizons for interpreting and articulating theological themes. Beginning with selections from Gerard Manley Hopkins and concluding with a study of the poetry and thought of Geoffrey Hill, the class examines how modern and late-modern Anglo-American poets have created fresh embodiments of a Christian perspective and contributed to the public tasks of theology. [A] David Mahan
REL 957b, Genesis: Scripture, interpretation, Literature With a goal of appreciating the richness and complexity of the biblical narrative and the richness and complexity of interpretations to which the narrative has been subject from earliest times to the present, this course will offer a close analysis of both primary and secondary characters in the book of Genesis. Along with attention paid to the biblical narrative, we will look at the interpretations given these characters first in Jewish and Christian exegetical traditions and then in their subsequent “afterlife” in secular literature. Looking at the cycle of stories within Genesis (Primeval history, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph), we will see how characters can exemplify the greater purpose of the sacred text and yet often stand in tension (and even at odds) with that purpose. In the commentary traditions, we will assess how religious communities variously interpreted these figures. Then, by turning to imaginative literature, we will explore how these same figures have been reinterpreted and refashioned in poetry and prose. [A] Peter Hawkins and Victoria Hoffer.
REL 966a, Sensational Materialities This interdisciplinary graduate seminar explores the process and practice of researching and writing sensory and material histories of religious images, objects, buildings, and performances. While the professor’s training and research concern American things and religions, the course considers broader geographical and categorical parameters in its selection of readings so as to invite intellectual engagement with the most challenging and decisive developments in relevant fields. The goal is to study not only the visual cultures of religions but also to investigate possibilities for scholarly examination of a more robust human sensorium of sound, taste, touch, scent, and sight, the points where the senses meet material things (and vice versa) in religious life and practice. Topics for consideration include the cultural construction of the senses and sensory hierarchies; the course invites thinking beyond the “Western” five senses to other locations and historical possibilities for identifying the dynamics of sensing human bodies in (trans)national religious practices, experience, and ideas. [A] Sally M. Promey
REL 3910a – b, Colloquium. Martin D. Jean