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Areas and Courses of Study

The courses listed on the following pages are expected to be offered by Yale Divinity School in 2015–2016. The letter “a” following the course number denotes the fall term, and the letter “b” following the course number denotes the spring term. “H” indicates a hybrid course. Normally, courses numbered in the 500s carry Area I credit, with those in the 600s carrying Area II credit, those in the 700s carrying Area III credit, those in the 800s carrying Area IV credit, and those in the 900s carrying Area V credit. Courses with a four-digit number are generally eligible for elective credit only. Unless otherwise noted, all courses are for three hours of credit each term. Courses with the designation REL are offered by YDS. Those with an RLST designation are offered by the Department of Religious Studies of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to the curricular offerings specified below, students may arrange special reading courses with individual faculty members (see Reading Courses in chapter on Other Curricular Considerations). Courses on special topics of interest to a group of students may also be planned and approved for credit, to run for a period of weeks or for an entire term. Information about the Negotiating Boundaries Workshop (REL 3990) and the M.A.R. (REL 3899) and S.T.M. (REL 3999) thesis writing options can be found in the chapter Programs of Study. Students are encouraged by the faculty to take courses in other schools and departments of the University. (See also Interdepartmental Studies in chapter on Other Curricular Considerations.) In each case, prior consent must be received from the instructor. For a complete listing of the offerings, consult the bulletins of the Graduate School and the professional schools, Yale College Programs of Study, or Yale’s Online Course Information (OCI) site at http://students.yale.edu/oci.

Courses with numbers lower than 500 are undergraduate courses. Additional work is normally required in undergraduate courses presented for YDS credit. For credit toward a Divinity degree, the student must secure the permission of the instructor and have the instructor communicate to the Divinity academic dean the graduate-level evaluative measures to which the student will be held. Normally, graduate-level parameters would involve an enhanced research component and/or a term paper significantly longer than the paper required of the undergraduates enrolled in the class.

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Area I: Biblical Studies

This area is concerned with the interpretation of the Christian Scriptures in the broadest sense, including the study of the classical biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), the content of the Old and New Testaments, critical methods of interpretation, biblical history, cultural and historical milieu of the Bible, and the theological and pastoral implications of the text.

  • 1. Introductory courses are offered in the critical study of the Old and New Testaments; except for the language courses, all courses in Area I have these foundation courses (or their equivalent) as prerequisites.
  • 2. Language courses are offered at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. Generally, elementary biblical languages are eligible for elective credit only.
  • 3. Three types of exegesis courses are offered: those based on the English text; those based on the original text and requiring a working knowledge of the biblical language; and advanced exegesis seminars that require at least an intermediate knowledge of the biblical language. Exegesis courses of each type are offered each term on selected books or topics from the Old and New Testaments. It is possible, therefore, during the course of one’s program, to engage in detailed exegesis of representative sections of the biblical text.
  • 4. Thematic courses are offered on a wide range of theological and historical issues raised by the scriptures. These include courses on the cultural and historical milieu of the Bible.
  • 5. Advanced seminars are designed for YDS students with the requisite background and qualifications, and for doctoral students. Permission to enroll in these seminars must be received from the individual instructor.
  • 6. Area I is also concerned with examining the implications of the scriptures for the contemporary church. In addition to doing this in courses offered specifically in Area I, members of the faculty in Area I join with other faculty members in offering courses dealing with the use of the Bible in Christian ministry.

YDS offers intensive courses in elementary Biblical Hebrew and elementary New Testament Greek for six weeks during the summer. Such work earns six hours of academic credit and prepares the student for the course in exegesis. Summer work will satisfy most denominational language requirements.

Critical Introductions

REL 500a, Old Testament Interpretation The first half of a two-term introduction to the content of the Old Testament (Pentateuch and Historical Books) and to the methods of its interpretation. The course focuses on the development of Israelite biblical literature and religion in its historical and cultural context as well as on the theological appropriation of the Old Testament for contemporary communities of faith. Robert R. Wilson

REL 500b, Old Testament Interpretation A continuation of REL 500a. This course introduces students to critical study of the Latter Prophets and the Writings. Students become familiar with the content of those biblical books; learn about a variety of historical, literary, and theological approaches for analyzing and appreciating the historical contexts, literary artistry, and rhetorical power of those scripture texts; and explore the significance of particular interpretive issues for the reading practices and theologies of Christian communities of conviction. Carolyn J. Sharp

REL 501a, New Testament Interpretation The first half of a two-term introduction to the literature of the New Testament and to the methods and resources useful for interpreting that literature. The course also highlights the living character of New Testament traditions for various communities, in distinct venues and modes (art, song, architecture, etc.), in different times and locales. Over the course of the year, the course aims to (1) provide guidance in the art and methods of exegesis, broadly conceived; (2) nurture students’ sensitivity to the factors that affect their interpretation of Christian Scripture; and (3) introduce students to distinct modes of reading the New Testament. Term one introduces students to basic exegetical skills and tools of historical interpretation, focusing on the Gospels and Acts. Michal Beth Dinkler

REL 501b, New Testament Interpretation A continuation of REL 501a. The spring term is devoted to a study of the Pauline letters, other epistolary and homiletic literature of the New Testament, and the Book of Revelation. Michal Beth Dinkler

Biblical Languages

REL 3604a and b, Elementary Biblical Hebrew An introduction to the language of the Hebrew Scriptures—Biblical Hebrew. Students work through the grammar book, doing exercises and practicing paradigms. Among these exercises is the reading of specific biblical texts. By the end of the year, students should have a basic grasp of this ancient language’s grammar and some experience reading texts in this language. Eric D. Reymond

REL 3605a and b, Elementary New Testament Greek A two-term introduction to the language of the New Testament intended for those with little or no knowledge of Koine Greek. Concentration in the first term is on elementary grammar and syntax, and a basic working vocabulary. The second term is devoted primarily to rapid reading of the Johannine literature and to developing a working knowledge of the critical apparatus and indexes of the Greek New Testament for use in exegesis and interpretation. Daniel Schriever

REL 518a, Intermediate Koine Greek A sequel to Elementary Greek, this intermediate Koine Greek course prepares students for advanced Greek exegesis courses. Class time is spent on translation of New Testament texts, discussion of Greek syntax, sight-reading of Greek texts outside the New Testament, and grammar review. Quizzes and exams test vocabulary building and translation of assigned and unfamiliar Greek texts. Students also become acquainted with the variety of literary styles and genres in the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Assignments cover all of the above and assume consultation of reference tools (Greek lexica, advanced grammars, exegetical dictionaries, etc.). Sonja G. Anderson

REL 574a and b, Intermediate Biblical Hebrew This course focuses on the reading of biblical texts but also offers a review of the elementary grammar of Biblical Hebrew and the introduction of more complicated grammatical concerns. More specifically, the first term focuses on prose texts and reviews the morphology of verbs and nouns as well as basic components of Hebrew syntax; the second term introduces students to Biblical Hebrew poetry while continuing the study and review of Hebrew morphology and syntax. In addition, the form and function of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) are introduced. Eric D. Reymond

REL 576a, Advanced Biblical Hebrew Prose This course examines topics in the grammatical and syntactical analysis of Biblical Hebrew prose. It introduces students to the fine points of the structure, grammar, and syntax of biblical prose so that they are capable of reading the biblical text fluently and carefully. Joel S. Baden

REL 577b, Advanced Biblical Hebrew Poetry This course examines topics in the grammatical, structural, and syntactical analysis of Biblical Hebrew poetry. It introduces students to the fine points of the structure, grammar, and syntax of biblical poetry so that they are capable of reading the biblical text fluently and carefully. Joel S. Baden

Exegesis Based on the Original Language

REL 556a, Hebrew Exegesis: Exodus A close reading of selected portions of the book of Exodus. Topics discussed include the grammar and syntax of the Hebrew, themes and theologies raised by the passages, and interpretive methods productively applied to the text. Students are expected to engage extensively with secondary scholarship. Joel S. Baden

REL 578b, Hebrew Exegesis: Psalms This exegetically focused course explores literary, traditio-historical, theological, and hermeneutical issues involved in interpreting the Psalms. Paying close attention to the Hebrew text, students consider the diction, themes, literary artistry, and rhetorical power of selected psalms, reading each psalm on its own merits and, as relevant, also considering each psalm’s potential role in larger literary collections within the Psalter that show evidence of discernible literary and theological interests. A systematic review of Hebrew grammar is not the focus of this course; those seeking such work should take Intermediate Hebrew instead. Consideration of grammar and syntax are subordinated to larger interpretive issues involved in appreciation of the complex poetic artistry and theological significance of the Psalms. Carolyn J. Sharp

REL 580a, Exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew (Greek): Advanced NT Seminar This course explores literary, historical, and theological interpretations of the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel is situated in its socio-historical context(s), and its literary style, art of Greek composition, and theological and rhetorical aims are attended to closely. This course does not focus on translation, but weekly reading of the Greek text is assumed. The format is designed to familiarize advanced NT students with the academic processes involved in doing NT scholarship (e.g., peer review). After the first few weeks of the term, half of each class period is spent responding to and critiquing student papers. Michal Beth Dinkler

Graduate Seminars in Biblical and Cognate Studies

REL 548b, The Composition of the Pentateuch This class examines the grounds for, and the application of, theories regarding the composition of the Pentateuch through close textual readings of selected biblical passages. It introduces students to the major theories of pentateuchal composition and teaches them how to approach constructively the issues raised by the reading of the Pentateuch. Joel S. Baden

REL 549b, Approaches to Old Testament Ethics This course examines the various ways in which the Old Testament has been used in ethical reflection. The strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches are noted, and new approaches are explored by examining the Old Testament’s own basis for making ethical evaluations. The course aims to suggest new approaches for the use of the Old Testament in ethical reflection. Robert R. Wilson

REL 562a, What Are Biblical Values? This course examines what the Bible has to say about several issues that are controversial in the modern world. It also reflects on the difficulty of identifying a single, or even a dominant, biblical position on some issues, and on the relevance of the biblical texts for the modern debates. The foundations for biblical values in creation, covenant, and eschatology are considered, and biblical attitudes to family values, gender and sexuality, social justice, war and peace, ecology, purity, and other issues are discussed. John J. Collins

REL 566a, Reading Joshua: Contemporary Hermeneutical Issues This course explores contemporary issues in interpretation of the book of Joshua, using discussions of that biblical book as a lens through which to focus engagement of larger hermeneutical issues. Moving between local exegetical study and broader analytical modes of inquiry, the following topics, among others, are considered: constructions of belonging and Otherness in the rhetoric of Joshua; the hyperbolic violence of the holy-war program as a challenge for biblically based ethics; and the significance of narratological and paraenetic modes of instruction for the identity formation of the ancient Israelite implied audience(s) of the book of Joshua. The hermeneutical discourses engaged include literary criticism, ideological criticism, historical-critical inquiry, postcolonial criticism, and theological appropriations of Joshua for Christian communities of conviction. Carolyn J. Sharp

REL 567a, Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures Feminist biblical interpretation has undergone profound changes in the past fifty years. Early work focused on honoring the voices and stories of women characters within the Bible and resisting gendered dynamics of oppression as those were identified in ancient socio-historical contexts, interpretive traditions over the centuries, and norms in the modern scholarly guild of biblical studies. Under the influence of feminist analysis and gender theory work done outside of biblical studies, more recent years have witnessed the emergence of sophisticated critical attention within biblical scholarship to questions of the formation of biblical subjects and implied audiences, reader agency in the construction of meaning, and reading practices as culturally situated performances. This course examines contributions of feminist scholars to a variety of interpretations of texts within the Hebrew Scriptures, moving from the foundational work of second-wave feminist biblical scholars to contemporary feminist, womanist, and queer analyses that take into account late-modern and postmodern understandings of gender, sex, power, the body, and textual authority. Carolyn J. Sharp

REL 582a, Torah and Jewish Identity This course examines how the Torah of Moses came to define Jewish identity in the Second Temple period, and some of the different ways it was understood. It begins with Deuteronomy as an attempt to define Israelite/Judean identity. Sessions are devoted to Ezra, the Maccabean revolt, Jubilees, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Diaspora Judaism. John J. Collins

RLST 801a, Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the History of Israelite Religion An intensive study of important features of ancient Israelite religion, including the origins of monotheism, the priesthood, worship, prophecy, and apocalypticism. The course explores the main features of Israelite religion in its cultural context. Robert R. Wilson

RLST 801b, Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Ezekiel A close reading of the Hebrew text of Ezekiel, with a focus on the book’s literary history and religious thought. The aim of the course is to understand more clearly the theological perspective of the book within the context of the Babylonian Exile. Robert R. Wilson

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Area II: Theological Studies

The work of this area includes analysis of the development, thought, and institutional life of the Christian community in various periods and contexts, and training in the substance and forms of theological positions and argumentation.

  • 1. The comprehensive purpose of the courses designated Theological Studies is to foster an understanding of the classical theological tradition of Christianity, acquaint the students with contemporary theological thought, and develop the skills necessary to engage effectively in critical analysis and constructive argument.
  • 2. Christian Ethics as a discipline gives attention to the moral strand within Christian belief by offering opportunities for systematic study of foundational aspects of the moral life, formulation of constructive proposals regarding ethical issues, and rigorous thinking regarding action guidance.
  • 3. Liturgical Studies is intended to foster a serious and scholarly engagement with the origins and historical evolution of inherited patterns of worship, and to prepare the students to lead the worship of contemporary Christian communities with competence and sensitivity.
  • 4. The Denominational Courses are offered primarily, although not exclusively, for the constituencies of particular denominations. Distributional credit in Area II will be granted for only one denominational course.


REL 601a, Theology and the New Testament For most of the twentieth century, the dominant way of interpreting the Bible as taught in most seminaries and divinity schools has been through the methods and assumptions of modern historical criticism. The genre of “New Testament theology” has been dominated by the idea that the “historical” meaning of the text (what the author “intended” or an ancient audience would have understood to be the meaning of the text) provided at least a “foundational” meaning, if not the only meaning, of the biblical text, upon which secondary theological or pastoral interpretations of the text might be elaborated. This course first situates “Theology of the New Testament” in its modern (and “modernist”) contexts, critiques that practice and genre, and then explores how postmodern, Christian theological interpretation may employ but move beyond historical criticism to experiment with creative, imaginative, but still orthodox readings of the New Testament in today’s churches. Dale B. Martin, Kathryn E. Tanner

REL 616a, Introduction to East Asian Theology This course introduces students to some of the themes and key thinkers in twentieth-century theology in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. It surveys different theological movements within these countries (such as “homeland theology,” Minjung theology, etc.) and encourages the development of a critical response to the challenges that these theologies raise for both non-Asians and Asians. The course considers contextualization and inculturation debates in each of these societies, as well as regional responses to Christianity. Students read primary texts in English, with background reading for context, and are encouraged to develop their own responses to the authors and their thought. Chloë F Starr

REL 620a, History of Early Christian Theology An introduction to Christian theology and practice from the close of the New Testament through the Council of Chalcedon in the East and St. Augustine in the West. The formative period of mainstream historical Christianity is known as the “patristic period,” so named for the early fathers and mothers of the faith. This course takes a comprehensive approach to early Christianity, concentrating on the church’s faith-experience and broader understanding of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Church in connection with biblical interpretation, theological anthropology, worship, spirituality, ethics, social realities, and political life. The course also includes a practical ministry module for those who wish to engage in a special ministry project as part of the regular course work. Christopher A. Beeley

REL 621b, Medieval Theology Survey A survey of major theological movements and figures in the period from Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries to Nicholas of Cusa in the fifteenth. Broadly, the major figures fall into three categories: those in the monastic traditions, those in the scholastic or university traditions, and those from a wide diversity of backgrounds, lay and clerical, male and female, who write in their vernaculars, often poetically. Denys A. Turner

REL 626a, Systematic Theology The purpose of the course is to explore the nature and systematic interconnections between issues and doctrines that are central to the Christian faith and life. Marcus Elder

REL 633b, Devotion and Practice in Early Christianity An introduction to the emergence of Christianity as a movement characterized by a set of distinctive practices including ritual, asceticism, and discourse. Students consider how Christianity drew on existing traditions and created a distinctive set of practices involving food, gender, and space, as well as the more obviously “religious” issues of sacrifice, prayer, and scripture reading. Attention is given to material as well as literary evidence from the first five centuries C.E. Andrew B. McGowan

REL 643a, Music and Theology in the Sixteenth Century: Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the Council of Trent The Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century was a “media event.” The invention of letterpress printing, the partisanship of artists like Dürer and Cranach, and—not least—the support by musicians and composers were responsible for spreading the thoughts of Reformation. But while Luther gave an important place to music, Zwingli and Calvin were much more skeptical, and the English Reformation, given its unique circumstances, had yet another view of music and its function within liturgy and devotional life. The course shows how music was viewed by different camps of the reformation as well as by Catholic theologians from the sixteenth century. Which theological decisions formed the basis for their view? How did these theologies of music affect musical practice, such as liturgical singing and more elaborate art music? Markus Rathey

REL 645a, Asian-American Theologies This course examines the development of Asian-American theologies and their key themes: migration, intercultural theology, autobiographical narratives, political activism. The course looks at marginality and inter-generational conflicts, at Asian-American biblical hermeneutics, and at questions such as why Korean Buddhists might attend church when in America. Students are encouraged to undertake a fieldwork project of their own choosing on an aspect of Asian-American Christianity, for which training is given. This course is for all, not just for students of Asian heritage: the topics and methodologies are highly relevant to anyone doing theology in contemporary society. Chloë F. Starr

REL 661b, Augustine St. Augustine of Hippo is the chief architect of distinctively Western Christianity, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, and he is one of the most influential figures in Western intellectual and political life as a whole. This course offers an intensive study of Augustine’s major works within the context of his life and times. Students study Augustine’s The Free Choice of the Will, Confessions, Teaching Christianity (De doctrina Christiana), The Spirit and the Letter, The Trinity, The City of God, and selected Sermons and other treatises in light of the major theological controversies and ecclesiastical developments in which he was involved. Christopher A. Beeley

REL 665b, Martin Luther: Life and Work Lectures on topics related to the life and work of Luther, readings in English translation of selected works, readings in secondary literature on Luther’s life and thought, and class discussion. William G. Rusch

REL 672b, Patristic Christology The doctrine of Jesus Christ that patristic theologians and church councils articulated between the fourth and the eighth centuries became foundational for most later forms of Christianity, Eastern and Western, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. At the same time, patristic Christology is a complex and sometimes competing set of traditions that contains both deep continuities and paralyzing differences, such as those that led to the schism among Eastern Orthodox churches following the Council of Chalcedon and to related differences between mainstream Eastern and Western Christologies. This seminar offers a detailed study of these developments. After examining the complex Christological foundations laid in the third and fourth centuries, it concentrates on the post-Chalcedonian period of the fifth to eighth century, following the Byzantine tradition that ran through the seventh “ecumenical council” as well as certain non-Chalcedonian Christologies. Christopher A. Beeley

REL 687a, Prayer Book: Anglican Liturgical Tradition A historical introduction to Anglican liturgical tradition, from the sixteenth century to the present. After considering the origins and development of the first Books of Common Prayer during the Reformation, the course traces the American prayer book tradition to the 1979 Book and supplementary materials, and considers the history of prayer book revision across the Anglican Communion in the twentieth century and to the present. Andrew B. McGowan

Christian Ethics

REL 615a, Introduction to Christian Ethics I: Perennial Positions This course is the first of two that together are intended to establish a foundation for the academic study of Christian ethics. It investigates classical Christian conceptions of the possibility, theory, and purposes of Christian ethics. Staff

REL 615b, Introduction to Christian Ethics II: Contemporary Trajectories This course is the second of two that together are intended to establish a foundation for the academic study of Christian ethics. It explores prominent contemporary Christian approaches to society and human emancipation. Staff

REL 654a, Social Practices and Ethical Formation One of the striking features of the contemporary intellectual landscape is a pervasive concern with the normative features of social practices. This seminar is a critical investigation of some of the influential forms this has taken (neo-Aristotelian, Hegelian, Wittgensteinian, post-structuralist) and of their theological refractions. Broad agreement on the significance of social practices masks significant disagreement on questions of moral agency, authority, and truth. Readings include texts by Bernard Williams, John McDowell, Jeffrey Stout, Alasdair MacIntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, Michel Foucault, Pierre Hadot, Michel de Certeau, Judith Butler, and Kevin Hector. Jennifer A. Herdt

Liturgical Studies

REL 608b, Reformed Worship This course introduces students to the history, theology, and liturgical practices of Reformed worship. Through readings, lectures, class discussions, and actual practice designing and leading worship, students gain familiarity with the ethos and characteristics of Reformed worship; Reformed theologies of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; the historical development, ordering, and function of elements within the Lord’s Day service; weddings, funerals, and other occasional services; and some of the contemporary debates regarding Reformed worship practice. This course has been especially designed for students who are in the Reformed Studies Certificate Program or who are considering ministry in one of the Reformed denominations (Presbyterian, DOC, UCC). Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Melanie C. Ross

REL 648a, Reel Presence: Explorations in Liturgy and Film We live in an intensely visual culture, and film—as a key component of that culture—shapes the cultural imagination as well as our own inner lives. Christian liturgy and religious ritual are present in many contemporary films. These “reel presences” are the subject matter 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. To sharpen the ability to “read” and interrogate the construal of Christian worship in popular films, films are paired with readings from the field of liturgical studies that illumine the topic embedded in the film’s (sub-)text on liturgy. Teresa Berger

REL 670b, Church Growth and Mission through Worship: What Are They Saying? The Barna Group estimates that in 2015, 10,000 churches will close and that the average size of congregations in the United States is eighty-nine adults. Eighty percent of 14–33 year olds reported church is not important to them. Millennials have different preferences from their parents and prefer worship spaces that are quiet and decorated in a classic style. They do not look for a church facility that caters to the whims of pop culture but for a community that calls them to a deeper meaning. In short, churches do not need to create ultramodern worship spaces to connect with young people but rather an environment that engages and inspires. The objective of this seminar is to explore more fully the Barna Group’s report, Making Space for Millennials, and its implications. This is done by examining some of the literature that is addressing the growth of congregations through worship. Bryan D. Spinks

REL 682a, Foundations of Christian Worship The core course in Liturgical Studies. The course focuses on theological and historical approaches to the study of Christian worship, with appropriate attention to cultural context and contemporary issues. The first part of the course seeks to familiarize students with the foundations of communal, public prayer in the Christian tradition (such as its roots in Hebrew Scripture, its Trinitarian source and direction, its ways of figuring time, space, and human embodiment, its use of language, music, the visual arts, etc.). The second part of the course offers a sketch of historical developments, from earliest Christian communities to present times. In addition, select class sessions focus on questions of overall importance for liturgical life, such as the relationship between gender differences and worship life, or the contemporary migration of liturgical practices into cyberspace. Teresa Berger, Melanie Ross

REL 697b, Eucharistic Prayers and Eucharistic Theology This course looks at the broad structural development of the Eucharistic liturgy at certain key epochs in the history of the Christian church. However, its main focus is on the central prayer of the rite, the Eucharistic Prayer or Great Thanksgiving. The course examines the theories put forward regarding the prayer’s possible origins and its historical development, its treatment by the various sixteenth- and seventeenth-century reformers, and attitudes toward it during subsequent epochs to the present. The course reflects on the theologies expressed in this prayer genre and considers the corresponding sacramental theology in doctrinal writings on the Eucharist. Bryan D. Spinks

Denominational Courses

REL 3792a, REL 3793a, and REL 3794b, Colloquium on Ministry Formation/Anglican This yearlong colloquium series focuses on the theme of leadership formation. In the fall term, first-year students examine the complex array of skills and intelligences required to develop “the pastoral imagination,” and third-year students engage in a workshop on liturgical celebration (second-year students do not take a colloquium in the fall). In the spring term, all three classes meet together for a revolving series on the theory and practice of leadership; organizational behavior; and leading change. These one-half credit colloquia are required of all Berkeley Divinity School students wishing to qualify for the Diploma in Anglican Studies.

REL 3795a and b, Colloquium on Ministry Formation/Lutheran The one-half-credit Lutheran Colloquium is offered each fall and spring term. The fall colloquium, entitled “From Mission to Ministry: Pauline Models for Lutheran Ministry,” encourages students to think creatively and critically about what it means to be engaged in Christian ministry today, especially in light of Paul’s self-understanding as a missionary, Martin Luther’s theology of the cross and Lutheran understandings of ministry, and contemporary reflection on mission as accompaniment. In the spring the colloquium focuses on the practice of ministry in the Lutheran tradition. The colloquium’s primary focus is on students considering ordination in the ELCA, but it is open to all. David W. Kuck [F], Duane C. Pederson [Sp]

REL 618a, Anglican Theology and History I: Great Britain A survey of the major developments in British Anglican theology, church history, and ecclesiology from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. This course is a companion to Anglican History and Theology II: ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, making a two-term study of the historical evolution and theological traditions of Anglicanism. The two courses may be taken in any order, although there is some advantage to beginning here. The primary aim of the course is to analyze and make a constructive theological assessment of classical Anglican tradition and its modern forms, both as an examination of the enduring nature of Anglicanism and as a pastoral and spiritual resource for Christian life and ministry. Christopher A. Beeley

REL 619a, Anglican Theology and History II: ECUSA and the Anglican Communion This course is a companion to Anglican History and Theology I: Great Britain, the two courses together forming a two-term survey of the historical evolution and theological tradition of Anglicanism, particularly as it has developed in the American context. We seek an understanding of Anglicanism that is not so captive to the British experience as to merely rehearse debates internal to the Church of England, but instead pays special attention to the American experience (including that of African American Episcopalians) and those of non-British Anglican churches. While attending to the contemporary debates about what precisely binds the Anglican Communion together, we seek to understand the challenges faced by Anglican leaders and evaluate proposed solutions to those problems. A primary task of the course involves negotiating competing Anglican identities. For example, we identify the many ways in which those who have sought to establish a specifically theological identity for Anglicanism have interpreted Christian history in agenda-laden ways. Paul Kolbet

REL 691a or 691b, Ecclesiology, Ministry, and Polity Lectures on comparative ecclesiology, doctrines of the ministry, and patterns of church polity in Western Christianity. Sections are arranged to enable students to study the history, doctrine, worship, and polity of their own denominations. Sections on Baptist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist, A.M.E. Zion, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United Methodist polities are offered, most in alternate years. Staff

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Area III: Historical Studies

The intent of Historical Studies is to foster and demand serious consideration by students of the essential historical substance of Christian faith and tradition. Two aspects of inquiry merge in this area of the curriculum: (1) the development of analytic capacities for the understanding of religious thought and practice in their cultural context, and (2) special studies in the cultural context itself that are deemed essential to competent ministry. Work in this area includes social and cultural analysis often focusing on issues that arise at the intersection of established disciplines. Area III thus includes subjects falling outside the domain of explicitly Christian thought.

REL 700a, Transitional Moments in Western Christian History I: From the First Churches to the Scientific Revolution This course introduces students to the historical study of Christianity by focusing on key moments from the emergence of the first churches to the Reformation of the seventeenth century. Themes include the formation of the canon, martyrdom, early Christian society, African Christianity, gender and sexuality, heresy, Luther’s protest, religious wars, and missions to China. In lectures and sections, students examine a range of written and visual materials to discern patterns and diversities of religious experience. Bruce Gordon

REL 700b, Transitional Moments in Western Christian History II: American Religious History This course introduces students to the historical study of religion in the United States by examining certain key topics and episodes from the colonial period to the present. Offered as the second half of a two-part series in the history of Western Christianity, the course focuses on the United States as the context in which most Yale Divinity School students will do their work. The moments addressed in the course do not represent an exhaustive history of religion (or even of Christianity) in America, but they do provide a meaningful introduction to significant issues in that history and to the historical methods used to interpret them. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 703a, Methods and Sources of Religious History The purpose of this course is to introduce students to historiography and essential research skills and to engage with historians of religion. Students read several diverse works that raise key questions about the historical study of religion. These include Grafton, What was History?, Zemon Davis, Women on the Margins, and Berkofer, Fashioning History. Students write a short review of a historiographical book from a list provided by the instructors. The second part of the course focuses on skills training. Students work in their chosen area of interest. Kenneth P. Minkema

REL 717b, Witchcraft and Witch-hunting in Early Modern Europe and America This seminar examines witchcraft and witch-hunting in Europe and America from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century through reading and discussion of primary documents and classic and recent studies in the field including social, cultural, and intellectual history; gender and women’s studies; anthropology; psychology; sociology; and town and environmental studies. Students learn about the interaction of religious beliefs relating to witchcraft and the occult with social and cultural conditions and shifts, the history of the interpretation of witchcraft and witch-hunting, and the continuing relevance of witchcraft studies as a laboratory for new approaches and methods. Kenneth P. Minkema

REL 718a, Religion in the American West This course investigates the histories of religious encounter and the formation of diverse religious identities in the American West, placing them in broader contexts of the Atlantic world, Pacific world, hemispheric, and national histories. The West has played multiple roles in the nation’s imagination: a place to be conquered and controlled, a place for new beginnings (religious or otherwise), a place of peril and of opportunity. Over the course of the term students have the opportunity to ponder the religious dimensions of each of these constructed meanings and to examine their very real impact on the people and landscapes of the West. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 720a, Religious Freedom in U.S. History Religious freedom is often affirmed as a founding principle of the United States. A familiar narrative of progress charts the founders’ original goal of ensuring liberty for competing Protestant denominations through the eventual inclusion of Jews, Catholics, and (at least ideally) those who practice any of the world’s religions. Without entirely unseating that narrative, this course aims to complicate it by interrogating the cultural biases, exclusions, and limitations as well as apparent successes of religious freedom through the course of U.S. history. Primary and secondary source readings draw attention to competing discourses of religious freedom as they have developed over time, allowing us to chart the shifting meanings of this ideal in American culture. Along the way we address topics such as the historical formations of secularism, the history of First Amendment jurisprudence, the struggles of religious minorities, debates over school prayer and gay marriage, and the role of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 730b, Native Americans and Christianity This course examines the complex and often painful history of American Indian encounters with Christianity in colonial North America and the United States. Moving from the early colonial period to the present, and with particular attention to Native American voices, we explore a variety of indigenous responses to Catholic and Protestant missions and the development of distinctively Native Christian traditions. Along the way we interrogate and historicize key trends in the study of indigenous Christianity, including Red-Power era critiques of missions, the influence of postcolonial theory, and the recent emphasis on indigenous Christian agency. Tisa J. Wenger

REL 738b, Jonathan Edwards and American Puritanism This course is designed to offer students an opportunity for intensive reading in and reflections upon the significance of early America’s premier philosophical theologian through an examination of the writings of the Puritans, through engagement with Edwards’s own writings, and through selected recent studies of Euro-Indian contact. The course is meant, through primary and secondary literature, to familiarize students with the life and times of Edwards and to encourage reading and discussion about Edwards’s background, historical and intellectual contexts, and legacy. Harry S. Stout, Kenneth P. Minkema

REL 754b, God and Self: Spiritual Autobiographies in Context The course studies a selection of works that broadly deal with spiritual autobiography, a form of religious writing revived in the Reformation and that flourished in the following centuries. The emphasis is on ways in which religious experiences such as conversion, suffering, and loss are recounted, selves constructed, and life narratives told. Students are required to examine the historical and social contexts in which the works were written, as well as relations with other forms of literary and historical writing (such as martyrologies, letters, and the novel). Students examine writers as both authors and subjects of profound religious experiences. The course is not about personal experiences but about the work of extraordinary women and men from the past five hundred years. Bruce Gordon

REL 761a, Living the Reformation This course explores the nature of religious change in the European Reformation by focusing on the diverse ways in which men and women experienced traumatic upheaval during the period 1517–1650. Students consider the nature of the Reformation, asking whether or not it was primarily a theological movement and whether we can or should understand the Reformation apart from the older confessional interpretations. Through extensive reading of microhistories and primary sources, students enter into the lives of men and women who made complex decisions about their faith. The course examines the ways in which people encountered religion through the spoken word, visual culture, music, and societal institutions. Bruce Gordon

HIST 387a, West African Islam: Jihad and Its Pacifist Opponents The course explores the pacifist impetus in Muslim West Africa and in Islamic thought. It examines the origins of jihad in Islamic expansion and compares that to the opposing pacifist Muslim clerical tradition and its Sufi connections. Colonial penetration posed a challenge for the pacifist tradition as it did for jihad, resulting in making jihad obsolete and turning religion into a function of civil society. Lamin Sanneh

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Area IV: Ministerial Studies

The biblical and theological heritage of Christianity finds focus in engagement with persons and structures of the church and culture. The revelations of the Bible and theology, by their very nature, require ever-renewed lodging and expression in the ongoing life of both the church and the world. The church and the world, by their natures, require ever-renewed rooting and direction in the Christian heritage. It is a lifetime vocation to learn to discern and guide the processes of this reciprocal engagement. Area IV aspires to find guidelines and impetus for this vocation. All courses in Area IV presuppose some personal experience with the occasions of ministry. Although some Area IV courses have no prerequisites and are appropriate for entering students, students normally will wait until their second year to begin their preaching courses.

Pastoral Theology and Care

REL 807a, Introduction to Pastoral Theology and Care This introduction to pastoral theology, care, and counseling familiarizes students with the pastoral-theological literature that advances a “communal contextual” model of care. This model stresses the importance of becoming aware of socio-cultural contexts of care, especially as related to race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation/gender identity, age, and disability. The course is designed to foster skilled listening, communicating, caring, and teaching in diverse communities of care. Participants are introduced to the joy and privilege of pastoral caregiving and taught to develop a practice of theological reflection, self-care, and ethical accountability. Teaching methods include lectures, discussion, film, case studies, small-group work, and role-plays. Mary Clark Moschella

REL 810b, Religiously Literate Ministry Ministry in a multireligious and increasingly secular society calls for religious leaders to have new kinds of theological, pastoral, and cross-cultural knowledge and skills. This seminar explores major contemporary models for interfaith community building (hospitality, religious literacy, shared service, text study, etc.), as well as theological rationales for interfaith work. We define the qualities of effective interfaith relationships as well as common mistakes leaders can make. Guest religious leaders from different religious traditions and interfaith activist efforts help us look critically at the promise of this work as well as its limits. Though this is not an “Introduction to World Religions” course, students are introduced to some interreligious resources at Yale and in the New Haven community. Ian B. Oliver

REL 824a, Ministry and the Disinherited There is a serious and vigorous public debate about the influence of religious values upon us as a society and the social responsibilities of religious institutions, particularly to those who are most vulnerable and in need of support. This course has as its focus the effort to theologically reflect on and discern, from an interdisciplinary approach, who are the disinherited. It explores aspects of the Christian religious dimensions in social and political reform movements and in faith-based social services. Students also examine the influence of religious values on individual behavior and consider ideas about the roles of the church and government in meeting human needs. Frederick J. Streets

REL 833b, Ethnography for Pastoral Leadership This is a course in pastoral ethnography, a form of pastoral listening to a congregation or a community that gives leaders “ears to hear” the voices of ordinary persons as they practice their faith. Through engaging in pastoral ethnography, a religious leader can help a group articulate its corporate faith stories in their cultural complexity. This practice is key to pastoral leadership with and through the people. Mary Clark Moschella

REL 856a, Pastoral Wisdom in Fiction, Memoir, and Drama Wisdom comes to pastoral practitioners through diverse sources. This seminar explores pastoral themes and insights that emerge through reading particular creative works of fiction, memoir, and drama. The class reflects theologically on the situations, emotions, beliefs, values, and practices that this literature suggests and evokes. Articles and texts in pastoral theology are consulted as secondary sources. Mary Clark Moschella

REL 876b, Psychopathology and Pastoral Care This course brings together current medical expertise in psychopathology and substance abuse with pastoral theology and care practices. The basics of the DSM-5 are introduced, including the history, etiology, epidemiology, symptoms, and treatments for the major psychiatric illnesses. Films and memoirs are studied to convey an experiential understanding of the symptoms and suffering involved. We engage in pastoral theological reflection and learn practices of care for persons and families afflicted with these conditions. Mary Clark Moschella, Robin M. Masheb

Preaching Ministry

REL 812a,b, Principles and Practices of Preaching This is the introductory course in the theology, history, and practice of preaching. It is a prerequisite for upper-level homiletics courses. 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 plenary presentations and small group preaching sections for which students prepare and deliver sermons. Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Timothy Jones

REL 827b, Preaching the Parables of Jesus This course provides both hermeneutical and homiletical explorations of the New Testament parables attributed to Jesus. The first emphasis is on exegesis and interpretation. Students become acquainted with the literary genre “parable” and with the current range of hermeneutical approaches to the parables of the New Testament. They engage in responsible and creative exegetical analyses of several parables, viewed in literary, canonical, and social contexts. The second emphasis is on preaching. Students explore ways in which sermons can extend into current contexts the literary, theological, and cultural impact of biblical parables. They deepen skills in preaching by crafting and delivering in class two sermons drawn from parables. Thomas G. Long

REL 868a, Prophetic Preaching At the heart of the witness of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures is a prophetic “Word of God” that preachers are called to interpret and proclaim with honesty, integrity, and compassion. In this course participants have an opportunity to explore the nature of prophetic preaching in the midst of church, nation, and world, and to reflect upon the tensions and challenges presented when the prophet is also a pastor. They also explore strategies for faithful prophetic witness in the pulpit and enhance their own skills as preachers of God’s two-edged Word. Through readings, class discussion, and the preaching and critique of sermons, students wrestle with how best to “speak truth in love” from the pulpit in ways that are faithful, relevant, and transformative for local faith communities. Leonora Tubbs Tisdale

Educational Ministry

REL 811a, Models and Methods of College and University Chaplaincy This course explores various approaches to college and university chaplaincy found in the United States in the twenty-first century. It provides an overview of strategies needed to offer a creative, current, and engaging chaplaincy in higher education—drawing on a historical framework for the role of chaplaincy in the college setting from the middle of the twentieth century, when secularism became a heavier influence, and exploring the issues that confront the vocation in a pluralistic context in the present century. Through a series of lectures, open discussions, site visits, short chaplaincy narratives, and guest speakers, the class encounters numerous perspectives and approaches to ministry in higher education. Sharon M. K. Kugler

REL 814b, Teaching the Bible in the Congregation This course is designed to explore various resources, teaching approaches, and practical applications that will equip persons to teach the Bible in the local church. Attention is given to the task of teaching; preparing to teach through analysis and interpretation of the biblical text; engaging teaching and learning styles in the classroom; teaching the Bible to various age levels; evaluating and selecting Bible study programs and curriculum resources; using creative approaches to teaching the Bible; and equipping church members to engage the text in ways that are meaningful and transformative in their lives. Yolanda K. Smith

REL 848b, Leadership Ministry in Schools This course seeks to prepare students of all denominations for leadership positions in schools. It begins with an analysis of “where young people are” today and in particular the existential/spiritual questions they are often asking, even without realizing they are asking them. Teaching about religion in secular schools—public and independent—is briefly considered. Then the course turns its attention to schools with some sort of religious orientation. After studying the heritage and tradition of such schools, we consider the issues involved in leading them today. The roles of school head, chaplain (lay or ordained), the religion teacher, and the student are considered. The difficulties and delights of educational ministry and leadership are identified and discussed. Naturally, issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality arise. Through required field trips, the course considers the particular problems and opportunities involved in inner-city schools and parish day schools. F. Washington Jarvis

REL 875a, Advanced Topics in Leadership Ministry in Schools and Colleges Yale is the first divinity school to offer courses in school and college ministries at the master’s level. The academic field is, in many ways, an “emerging” one. This seminar is designed to allow students to pursue—in depth—themes raised in the introductory courses. Topics considered depend to some degree on student interest but normally include most of the following: the history of religious study and formation in schools; analysis of “where students are” today; the variety of religious schools (i.e., schools with some religious affiliation or orientation) with a variety of purposes; built-in institutional problems in religious schools; inner-city religious schools; the varieties of worship in religious schools; religious curriculum in schools; the varieties and models of college and university ministries. Issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality normally arise in connection with most of these topics and with the case studies undertaken. F. Washington Jarvis

Spirituality and Ministry

REL 840a, Contemporary Christian Spirituality This course critically reflects on developments in Christian spirituality in the past forty-five years, the vocations and role of laity, feminism, the development of the social teaching of the churches, the new cosmology, the rise of postmodernism, new understandings of spiritual practices, and multiculturalism. It provides a theoretical framework for developing one’s own spirituality in the light of these and other developments and an understanding of practices that support spiritual growth. Topics to be included are definitions of spirituality, asceticism, vocational choices and commitments (including life-style, ministry, and work), Christian discipleship, prayer/meditation, compassion and solidarity, sexuality and spirituality, and the effects of feminism. Janet K. Ruffing

REL 841b, Women Mystics This course looks at women mystics in their historical context and in relationship to a variety of critical perspectives on the mystical experience and teachings of these extraordinary women (their theologies; reliance on bodily knowing; teachings; contributions to feminism, mystical understandings, and social transformation). We explore the contributions of a sampling of women from various lifestyles and centuries, reading them not only in their historical context but also in relationship to our own times. This is a course on women mystics, but it is not a course exclusively for women. Mystics to be studied are Gertrude the Great (thirteenth-century Benedictine), Hadewijch of Brabant (thirteenth-century Beguine), Teresa of Avila (sixteenth-century Carmelite reformer), and Dorothee Soelle (twentieth-century lay Protestant theologian). Janet K. Ruffing

REL 847b, Ignatius of Loyola and the Spiritual Exercises This course on St. Ignatius and his Spiritual Exercises explores the life and times of Ignatius, the major influences on his spiritual life, and accounts of his personal experience that grounded his development of the Spiritual Exercises—a very powerful set of practices or “experiments” with various forms of prayer that enable a person to experience the Trinitarian God as a God desiring to offer each person abundant graces in the context of an intimate relationship with God in a life of service. The prayer processes focus on praying with texts from the scriptures related to the themes of the various movements in the Spiritual Exercises. In the course of the term, students learn a variety of reflective practices and make two four-week “retreats” based on Michael Hanson’s The First Exercises, a retrieval of Ignatius’s work with people seeking to grow in their spiritual lives while continuing to be immersed in their normal daily activities. Janet K. Ruffing

REL 857a, Theology and Practice of Spiritual Direction This course explores the experience of contemporary spiritual direction from the standpoint of both the director and the one directed. It situates the contemporary ministry of spiritual direction within the history of the Christian tradition and explores the theology, focus, process, and current models of spiritual direction. Spiritual direction has long been considered a charismatic gift of the Spirit. The course promotes reflection on the student’s prior experience of spiritual direction as a way of making explicit the model(s) of spiritual direction one may have experienced and their effect on spiritual growth. This course does not qualify a student to offer spiritual direction, but it will facilitate discernment about whether seeking further cultivation/refinement of a charism (a practicum) in spiritual direction is indicated. In addition to studying the history and models of spiritual direction, the course gives considerable attention to the importance and meaning-making aspects of the narrative process inherent in spiritual direction. It also explores a theology of religious experience, including the key theological themes of sin, conversion, and discipleship of Jesus that are central to this process for Christians. Additionally, students consider how spiritual direction supports the development of prayer as well as briefly treat discernment of spirits and the qualities and competencies desired in a spiritual director/guide/companion. Finally, the course gives attention to how the societal and environmental context of a directee’s life situation can be explored so that spiritual direction supports action toward social justice as it emerges from the directee’s own experience. Janet K. Ruffing

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Area V: Comparative and Cultural Studies

Courses in this area are grouped as follows: Comparative Studies: The exploration of non-Christian traditions with special emphasis upon comparative religious questions. Philosophy of Religion: The study of conceptual issues that bear upon method in theology and ethics, the philosophical clarification of religious concepts and categories, and the examination of philosophical worldviews that are alternatives to traditional Christian perspectives. Religion and the Arts: Studies concerning the nature of human imagination in visual, literary, and musical forms that have shaped the religious life and its cultural expression, both within and outside the Christian church. The inquiry is normally undertaken within the context of ministry. Study of Society: The employment of normative and social-scientific tools to comprehend and bring under ethical and theological scrutiny societal institutions (including religious ones) and ideational patterns.

Comparative Studies

REL 914a, Christian-Muslim Encounter: Historical and Theological Dimensions This course is an introduction to Islamic theology through the framework of the Five Pillars, with special emphasis on the development of religious structures and institutions in the early centuries. In time the pillars of religion grew independently of Islam’s political culture. Civil society offered a stable environment for religious life amidst political changes. This situation has similarities with New World ideas about society rather than the state as the proper locus of religion. Lamin Sanneh

REL 916b, World Christianity: Religious and Cultural Factors From its earliest origins the Christian movement has taken hold in diverse cultures and societies in equally diverse and complex ways, and this fact has been reiterated in the contemporary phase with particular sharpness. Across and beyond denominational boundaries, the Christian movement took a sharp and vigorous turn from the middle of the twentieth century, replacing the old paradigm of mission as a Western effort with mission as a post-Western development. The global response to the election of Pope Francis in 2013 has highlighted his Third World roots in Latin America, demonstrating the new energy driving Christianity’s post-Western transformation and the implications for a post-Christian West. The course explores the religious and cultural dimensions of the subject. Lamin Sanneh

REL 919b, African Religions: Theological Inquiry Sacrifice is a core feature of religious life and practice, and the course presents the subject through a variety of religious traditions. Using Evans-Pritchard’s classic study of Nuer religion, the course builds on the theme with comparative materials from other religions before considering Christian ideas of sacrifice in the concluding stages. A critical question in the inquiry is the relation between sacrifice and community, on the one hand, and, on the other, society and the individual. Lamin Sanneh

REL 983b, China Mission This course surveys thematically the history of mission in China and gives students the opportunity to pursue their own research-level project in the Day Mission archives. The first half of the course moves from Jesuit-era China to the nineteenth century and examines both Roman Catholic and Protestant mission in China: history, ideologies, successes, and failures. During the second half of the course, class time and preparation time are spent in the library classroom working with mission archives and developing a research paper. Major themes covered include Jesuit accommodation policies and their influence on later mission; the Protestant emphasis on the Word of God encountering Chinese textual traditions; mission policy, sectarianism, and cultural clash; and Chinese responses to liberal understandings of mission as social care. Chloë F. Starr

Philosophy of Religion

REL 907b, Theological Aesthetics This course is about the intersection of theology and aesthetic theory. Students read theologians and philosophers both from the tradition and from contemporaries, though the emphasis is on trying to understand the different options present in the tradition. Discussion is also focused through the use of a number of works of art—visual, musical, and literary. John E. Hare

REL 929b, Theology of Plato and Aristotle This course is about Plato’s and Aristotle’s views of the divine. Most of the important work of both philosophers on this topic is read. One aim of the course is to think about these philosophers as sources, sometimes congenial and sometimes not, for Christian reflection on a range of questions including the relation between goodness and the divine, the nature of the soul, the origin or lack of the origin of the cosmos, and the relation between happiness and virtue. John E. Hare

REL 937a, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Religion This course explores a number of texts by Kierkegaard, most of them pseudonymous, but also Works of Love written under his own name. A focus of the course is on what Kierkegaard intends us to think about the three stages of life, namely the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. John E. Hare

Religion and the Arts

REL 933b, Poetry and Faith This course is designed to look at issues of faith through the lens of poetry. With some notable exceptions, the course concentrates on modern poetry—that is, poetry written between 1850 and 2013. Inevitably the course also looks at poetry through the lens of faith, but a working assumption of the course is that a poem is, for a reader (it’s more complicated for a writer), art first and faith second. “Faith” in this course generally means Christianity, and that is the primary context for reading the poems. But the course also engages with poems from other faith traditions, as well as with poems that are wholly secular and even adamantly antireligious. Christian Wiman

REL 941b, Chinese and Japanese Christian Literature What effect did Christianity have on modern Chinese literature, if any, and what sort of Christianity emerges from Chinese Christian literature? Is Endo Shusaku the only Japanese Christian writer? This course traces the (sometimes fleeting) development of a Christian literature in China and Japan from late Imperial times to the end of the twentieth century, with particular focus on the heyday (in China) of the 1920s and ’30s, and on the Japanese side, on Endo’s postwar novels. Using texts available in English, we examine how Christian ideas and metaphors permeated the literary—and revolutionary—imagination in East Asia. The influence of Christianity on literature came directly through the Bible and church education, and indirectly through translated European and Western literature, but it is rarely clearly in evidence. We test the assertion that the church and Christian life were part of social reality for early-twentieth-century Chinese intellectuals and explore the aesthetic visions and construction of the human being that developed out of this social scene. The later part of the course analyzes the writings of selected late-twentieth-century Chinese and Japanese authors who identify themselves as Christian. Chloë F. Starr

REL 944a, Religious Themes in American Contemporary Fiction: Short Story Readings in contemporary American short fiction with a particular interest in scriptural resonance and religious (Jewish as well as Christian) significance. Authors to be considered include Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, Allegra Goodman, Tobias Wolff, Andre Dubus, Bernard Malamud, Raymond Carver, Junot Díaz, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Jamie Quatro. The objectives of the course are to encounter a range of contemporary writing in the short story genre, to develop clarity of thought and expression, to read analytically and write imaginatively, and to assess the range of “spiritual” writing in an allegedly secular age. Peter S. Hawkins

REL 945a, From House Churches to Medieval Cathedrals: Christian Art and Architecture from the Third Century to the End of Gothic This 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 Yale Art Gallery and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Vasileios Marinis

REL 947b, Christian Art and Architecture from the Renaissance to the Present This course examines art associated with, or related to, Christianity from the thirteenth to the twenty-first century. Analyzing major artistic monuments and movements in a variety of regions, the course pays particular attention to how art shapes and is shaped by the social and historical circumstances of the period and culture. The course aims to familiarize students with key monuments of Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, and related arts, examining each within its own particular sociocultural and theological perspective. Special attention is given to examples of Christian art and architecture in the greater New Haven area. Vasileios Marinis

REL 961b, Psalms in Scripture, Literature, and Music A study of selected psalms (e.g., 23, 51, 130, 150) as literary and theological works that have had a long history in Jewish and Christian worship. From this beginning we then look at these scriptural texts as inspiration for a wide variety of literary and musical compositions. Our goal is to explore the richness and power of the Psalter through an examination of the relationship between scripture and art, in this case music and literature. What happens to the biblical text over time and as it is interpreted in different media? Peter S. Hawkins, Markus Rathey

REL 964b, Imagining the Apocalypse: Scripture, Fiction, Film This course explores the literary-theological and sociological facets of the apocalyptic, primarily through modern works of the imagination. Sessions begin with an introduction to various definitions and ideas of the apocalyptic, with special reference to biblical literature in the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the New Testament. From these distinctively theological/religious visions, in which God is the primary actor and God’s people figure as the main subjects, the course explores how that framework for the apocalyptic has undergone significant transformations in the popular imagination of late-modern, particularly Western, societies. Through such works as A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, as well as the film Children of Men, the course considers how portrayals of especially postapocalyptic worlds contemplate themes that resonate with significant theological concerns. David Mahan

REL 971a, Creative Faith: A Writing Course An assumption of the course is that the act of creating and the act of believing are intimately related. Indeed for many artists they are inseparable. Students work on some form of “spiritual” prose. This may take the form of spiritual autobiography, but it might also be more outward-focused, employing criticism, biography, or other method. This course is part seminar and part workshop. Half of the time is devoted to the reading and analysis of exemplary works of art, and the other half to discussing work done by students in the class. Christian Wiman

REL 981a, Visual Controversies: Religion and the Politics of Vision This interdisciplinary seminar explores the destruction, censorship, and suppression of pictures and objects, as these acts have been motivated by religious convictions and practices, in medieval Europe and then in the United States from colonization to the present. In such episodes, religion does not operate in a vacuum but draws attention to other cultural pressure points concerning, for example, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Already in the third century in Europe, and as early as the seventeenth century in the geographic area that is now the United States, individuals and groups practiced a range of behaviors we might meaningfully, though often figuratively, label iconoclastic. This course focuses most specifically on the emergence of Christian art and architecture in dialogue (or competition) with Greco-Roman religions and Islam; and on variations of Protestant Christianity; while it also directs attention to case studies within Byzantine Orthodoxy, American Judaism, Islam, and Catholicism and looks to comparative situations and episodes of contention elsewhere in the world. Topics likely considered include the conversion of “pagan” temples into Christian churches in late antiquity; iconoclastic interventions on Christian floor mosaics in Palestine after the Muslim conquest; destruction of images during Byzantine Iconoclasm; attitudes toward images during the Protestant Reformation; American Puritan uses of a theology of figuration to justify genocide as an “iconoclastic” act in the Pequot War; Shaker constructions of elaborate visionary pictures as forms of “writing” rather than “art”; sculptor Rose Kohler’s determination to define and regulate “Jewish art” in her work with National Council of Jewish Women; recent adjudication of the public display of the Ten Commandments or Christian nativity scenes; the Western contexts of the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas; and international culture wars and the specific uses of “blasphemy” charges to restrict the visual practices of religions. Prerequisite: permission of the instructors. Sally Promey, Vasileios Marinis

REL 982b, Performance of Text: Poetry of T.S. Eliot A study of T.S. Eliot’s poetry from his early “Preludes” to “Little Gidding,” the fourth of the Four Quartets. Each class session entails analysis of a poetic text and discussion and critique of its performance possibilities. Both instructors help students develop skills in literary and dramatic interpretation. The theological resonance of Eliot’s work will be of ongoing interest. Peter S. Hawkins, Karin Coonrod

Study of Society

REL 905a, Resources for the Study of Religion Designed to help students develop skills for identifying, retrieving, and evaluating the literature or information required for research in religious studies and/or the practice of ministry. Information about the form, function, content, and organization of specific bibliographic and reference sources in religious studies and related disciplines (with an emphasis on the Christian tradition) is set in the broader context of the history of scholarship, publishing, and libraries. Suzanne Estelle-Holmer

REL 906a, Environmental Ethics The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to core questions and moral frameworks in environmental ethics as they relate to Christianity. This course explores how scholars, activists, and religious leaders have created and refined Christian responses to environmental problems. In order to develop a deeper understanding of not only the promise of environmental ethics, but also its efficacy and theoretical underpinnings, this course invites students to critically assess the effectiveness of these strategies and to be analytical in the examination of proposed solutions. Students explore how various ethics and worldviews arose historically in conversation with environmental philosophy and in response to contemporary ecological and theological concerns. Special attention is given to understanding, critically assessing, and applying the fundamental methodology that undergirds environmental ethics as read through the lens of Christian theology and religious moral reasoning. This course simultaneously allows students to take stock of contemporary issues including but not limited to global climate change; the moral status of ecosystems; biodiversity loss; the relationship among race, gender, poverty, and the environment; and intersections with other issues such as animal welfare, economics, and agriculture. Matthew Riley

REL 911Ha, Thomas Berry: Life and Thought Thomas Berry (1914–2009) was a priest and historian of religions. He was an early and significant voice awakening religious sensibilities to the environmental crisis. He is particularly well known for articulating a “Universe Story” that explores the world-changing implication of evolutionary sciences. This six-week hybrid course investigates the life and thought of Thomas Berry in relation to the field of religion and ecology as well as the Journey of the Universe project. As an overview course it draws on his books, articles, and recorded lectures to examine such ideas as the New Story, the Great Work, and the Ecozoic era. In addition, the course explores Berry’s studies in world religions including Buddhism, Confucianism, and indigenous traditions. Finally, the course highlights his challenge to Christianity to articulate theologies of not only divine-human relations, but also human-Earth relations. This is a two-credit course but will include a three-credit option. Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim

REL 912Ha, Journey of the Universe This six-week hybrid course draws on the resources created in the Journey of the Universe project—a film, a book, and a series of twenty interviews with scientists and environmentalists. Journey of the Universe weaves together the discoveries of evolutionary science with cosmological understandings found in the religious traditions of the world. The authors explore cosmic evolution as a creative process based on connection, interdependence, and emergence. The Journey project also presents an opportunity to investigate the daunting ecological and social challenges of our times. This course examines a range of dynamic interactions and interdependencies in the emergence of galaxies, Earth, life, and human communities. It brings the sciences and humanities into dialogue to explore the ways in which we understand evolutionary processes and the implications for humans and our ecological future. This is a two-credit course but will include a three-credit option. Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim

REL 969b, Christianity and Ecology This course explores the ways in which Christianity is responding to environmental degradation. Environmental problems pose not just new challenges at the intersection of religion and science, or where humans connect with nature, but give rise to new social and spiritual problems as well. The environmental crisis raises, in other words, economic, social, biological, legal, moral, and theological concerns. Climate change, in this regard, sets the stage for reconsidering Christian faith not just in terms of practice and policies, but also in terms of the central doctrines of faith. This course introduces students to the major theologies and strategies for action that Christians are creating while simultaneously assessing the effectiveness of such strategies and examining the growth of pragmatic, on-the-ground responses. Matthew Riley

REL 985b, Faith, Democracy, and Social Change The Gospel calls Christians to love neighbor, work for justice, and seek reconciliation. In this context, the course examines a number of vital questions, such as: What implications do these commitments hold for political organization and activity? How does Christian faith and practice stand in relation to democratic ideals of mutual accountability and equal voice for all citizens? What social practices are essential to sustaining democratic culture, and how do Christian communities stand in relation to these practices? What skills are needed in order to bear witness to the already and not-yet of God’s reign in the societies in which we live? Where do we see skills for effective organization, collective action, and capacity building being developed most effectively within the churches? How transformative can such practices be in the face of neocapitalism? How can Christian communities be forces for shalom in a world where religion is often regarded as a primary source of global conflict? How can Christian communities of privilege move beyond vague good wishes to concretely realize solidarity with the oppressed? Jennifer A. Herdt

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Additional Courses Offered

Area I

  • Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions
  • Apocalyptic Religion in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Apocalypticism: Ancient and Modern
  • Ascents to Heaven in Antiquity
  • Biblical Theology: Walter Brueggemann and His Critics
  • The Book of Ben Sira
  • Character and Community in the Biblical Short Story: Jonah, Ruth, Esther
  • Corinthian Correspondence
  • Crafting Early Christian Identities
  • Daniel and Related Literature
  • English Exegesis: Amos and Hosea
  • English Exegesis: Epistle to the Hebrews
  • English Exegesis: Luke-Acts
  • English Exegesis: Philippians
  • English Exegesis: Revelation
  • English Exegesis: Romans
  • English Exegesis of Matthew
  • Ezra-Nehemiah
  • Feminist Interpretation: A Narratological Approach to 1 and 2 Samuel
  • Gender, Sex, and Power in the Books of Ruth and Esther
  • Gender in Early Christianity
  • Gnostic Texts in Coptic
  • Gospel of John and Parting of Ways
  • Greek Exegesis: Acts of the Apostles
  • Greek Exegesis: Ephesians and the Pauline Tradition
  • Greek Exegesis: Galatians
  • Greek Exegesis: Gospel of John
  • Greek Exegesis: Luke
  • Greek Exegesis: Mark
  • Greek Exegesis: Revelation
  • Greek Exegesis: Romans
  • Greek Exegesis: 2nd Peter and Jude
  • Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Deuteronomy
  • Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Isaiah
  • Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Kings
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Book of Judges
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Genesis
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Jeremiah
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Joshua
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Korahite Psalms
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Leviticus
  • Hebrew Exegesis: The Book of Micah
  • Hebrew Exegesis, Genesis: Women
  • Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews
  • Hellenistic Jewish Texts
  • Historical Grammar of Biblical Hebrew
  • Historical Jesus
  • History and Methods of Old Testament Interpretation I
  • History and Methods of the Discipline of New Testament Studies
  • History and Methods II
  • History of Biblical Interpretation
  • History of First-Century Palestine
  • Irony and Meaning in the Hebrew Bible
  • Jesus’ Death as a Saving Event
  • Jewish Apocalyptic Literature
  • Judaism in the Persian Period
  • Literary Criticism and the New Testament
  • Literary Criticism of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Living with Difficult Texts
  • Martyrs and Martyrdom
  • The Messiah: The Development of a Biblical Idea
  • New Testament Apocrypha
  • Patristic Greek
  • Paul and the Spirit
  • Philo of Alexandria
  • Prophecy in a Time of Crisis
  • Prophecy in Context
  • Readings in Hellenistic Judaism
  • The Rise of Monotheism in Ancient Israel
  • Scripture and Social Ethics
  • The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Tradition and Ideology in the Book of Jeremiah

Area II

  • African American Moral and Social Thought
  • African American Religious Strategies
  • Augustine
  • Baptism and Eucharist in Ecumenical Dialogue
  • Black Religion in the Public Square
  • Bonhoeffer and King
  • Catholic Liturgy: Between Dogma and Devotion
  • Charles Taylor on Self and Secularization
  • Christian Ethics and Social Problems
  • Christian Marriage
  • Christian Theology of “Other Religions”
  • Christianity and Social Power
  • Churches of the East
  • Contemporary Cosmology and Christian Ethics
  • Contemporary German Theology
  • Contemporary Theological Anthropology
  • Credo: Faith Prayed and Sung
  • The Cult of the Martyrs in Early Christianity: Feasts
  • Cuthbert, Bede, and Their Theological, Musical, and Liturgical Legacy
  • Daily Prayer
  • Desire and the Formation of Faith
  • Environmental Theologies
  • Ethics and Human Nature
  • The Ethics of St. Augustine
  • Eucharistic Prayers and Theology
  • Foundational Texts in African American Theology
  • Gender and Liturgical History
  • God in Modern Thought
  • Imago Dei and Human Dignity
  • In the Face of Death: Worship, Music, Art
  • Introduction to Medieval Latin
  • Introduction to Theology
  • Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics
  • Liturgical Theology
  • The Liturgy, Ritual, and Chant of Medieval England (Sarum Use)
  • Love and Justice
  • Lutheran Ethics in a Comparative Context
  • Medieval Christology and Atonement Theory
  • Music in Medieval Britain
  • Natural Law and Christian Ethics
  • Patristic Christology
  • Patristic Trinitarian Theology
  • Political Theology
  • Practicing Jesus: Christology and the Christian Life
  • Praying What We Believe: Theology and Worship
  • Process Thought
  • Protestant Liturgical Theology
  • Queer Theology
  • Readings in Schleiermacher
  • Reformed Worship
  • Ritual Theory for Liturgical Studies
  • Seminar in the Theology of Paul Tillich
  • Social Practices and Ethical Formation
  • Theological Ethics
  • Theological Themes in the Reformed Creeds and Confessions
  • Theology and Ecology
  • Theology of Athanasius
  • Theology of the Lutheran Confessions
  • Theology of Vatican II
  • United Methodist History and Doctrine
  • Virtue and Christian Ethics
  • Virtue and Hypocrisy: Moral Thought
  • Worship, Culture, Technology
  • Worship and War
  • The Worship Mall

Area III

  • Buxtehude
  • Calvin and Calvinism
  • Chinese Protestant Christianity, 1800–2010
  • Christian Spirituality in the Age of Reform
  • Death and the Dead
  • Finding Spirituality in Modern America
  • The German Mystical Tradition in Theology, Piety, and Music
  • German Reformation, 1517–1555
  • Interpreting Medieval Religion
  • Introduction to Post-Reformation Studies: Sources of Early American History
  • James Baldwin as Religious Writer and Social Critic
  • Late Beethoven
  • Martin Luther, Religion, and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Music, Liturgy, and Historiography in Medieval England
  • Pietism and the Origins of Evangelicalism
  • Primary Readings in American Christianity, 1870–1940
  • Race and Religion in American History
  • Reformation Europe
  • Religion “Beyond the Veil”: Approaches to the Study of Black Religion in the United States
  • Religion in American Society, 1550–1870
  • Religions and Societies in Colonized North America
  • Sacred Music in the Western Christian Tradition
  • Sin, Penance, and Forgiveness in Early Modern Europe

Area IV

  • Advanced Skills for Pastoral Ministry
  • Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals
  • Body and Soul: Ministry for Sexuality and Justice
  • Christian Education in the African American Experience
  • Congregational Song as a Resource for Preaching and Worship
  • Contextual Preaching
  • Creativity and the Congregation
  • Death, Dying, and Bereavement
  • Discernment of Spirits through Selected Mystics
  • Family Systems and Pastoral Care
  • Feminist and Womanist Perspectives on Pastoral Theology and Care
  • Introduction to Religious Education
  • John of the Cross: A Guide for Difficult Times
  • Meditation: East and West
  • Multicultural Perspectives on Preaching
  • Musical Skills and Vocal Development for Parish Ministry
  • Narrative Therapy: Resources for Pastoral Care
  • The New Homiletic: Innovative Methods of Proclamation
  • Pastoral Care, Anxiety, and Depression: Framing Hope
  • Pastoral Practice and Care in Response to Addiction
  • Planning and Presiding at Worship
  • Professional Seminar: Theology and Practice of Church Music
  • Radical Pedagogy
  • The Roundtable Pulpit
  • Spirituality and Religious Education
  • Spirituality of Presence in the Pulpit
  • Text, Memory, and Performance
  • Theologies of Preaching
  • Wellsprings of Joy in the Ministry and in Life
  • Women’s Ways of Preaching

Area V

  • A Communion of Subjects: Law, Environment, and Religion
  • American Environmental History and Values
  • American Indian Religions and Ecology
  • American Religious Thought and the Democratic Ideal
  • Art, Architecture, and Ritual in Early Christianity and the Middle Ages
  • The Art and Architecture of Conversion and Evangelism
  • Chinese Christian Theologians
  • Christian Pilgrimage
  • Christian Social Ethics
  • Communicative Ethics in a Multicultural Democracy
  • Covenant, Federalism, and Public Ethics
  • Critical Moments in the History of Christian Art
  • Cult of the Saints in Early Christianity and the Middle Ages
  • Dante’s Journey to God
  • Disagreement, Fallibility, and Faith
  • Divine Command Theory
  • Environmental Ethics in Theory and Practice
  • Ethics and the Economy
  • Faith and Globalization
  • Gender, Religion, and Globalization: Practices, Texts, and Contexts
  • Genesis: Scripture, Interpretation, Literature
  • Global Ethics
  • Global Ethics and Sustainable Development
  • Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion
  • Indigenous Religions and Ecology
  • Interpreting Gospel Music
  • Jewish Space
  • Kant’s Philosophy of Religion
  • Late-Medieval English Drama
  • Mary in the Middle Ages
  • Milton
  • Passion of Christ in Literature and Visual Art
  • Performative Theology
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Practices of Witnessing and Onlooking in Visual Theory
  • Religion, Ecology, and Cosmology
  • Religion, Power, and the Self
  • Religion and the Performance of Space
  • Religious Lyric in Britain
  • Ritual, Hermeneutics, and Performance Art
  • Southeast Asian Christianities
  • Spiritual Autobiography
  • Spiritual Topographies in Modern Poetry and Fiction
  • Theological Predication and Divine Attributes
  • Visual Controversies
  • Visual Fluencies
  • Witnessing, Remembrance, Commemoration
  • Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Religion
  • World Religion and Ecology: Asian Religions
  • Writing about Religion

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