Yale University.Calendar.Directories.

Areas and Courses of Study

The courses listed on the following pages are expected to be offered by Yale Divinity School in 2014–2015. The letter “a” following the course number denotes the fall term, and the letter “b” following the course number denotes the spring term. 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.

Return to Top

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. John J. Collins

REL 500b, Old Testament Interpretation A continuation of REL 500a. This course introduces students to the content, history, and critical methods of interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, from Isaiah through Chronicles. Joel S. Baden

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. Harold W. Attridge, 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. Adela Yarbro Collins, Michal Beth Dinkler

Biblical Languages

REL 3604a and b, Elementary Biblical Hebrew A rigorous two-term course designed to familiarize students with the basic principles of Biblical Hebrew grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. The primary goals are to read biblical prose texts with confidence, use a standard academic dictionary, and develop a deep appreciation for the stylistic features unique to the Hebrew text. Eric D. Reymond [F], Paul James Allen [Sp]

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. Mary Farag

REL 518a, Intermediate Koine Greek This course focuses on translation, syntax, vocabulary-building, and introduction to Greek exegesis. Students are exposed to a variety of styles and genres in the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Assignments consist of preparing translations for recitation and discussion, readings on New Testament Greek syntax, consultation of reference tools (Greek lexica, advanced grammars, exegetical dictionaries), and memorization of vocabulary. Essential preparation for Greek exegesis courses. Judith M. Gundry

REL 574a, 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. The course focuses on prose texts and reviews the morphology of verbs and nouns as well as basic components of Hebrew 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 aims to introduce students to the fine points of Hebrew grammar and syntax 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 aims to introduce 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 of the English Bible

REL 537b, English Exegesis: Epistle to the Hebrews This course offers the opportunity for a close reading of the Epistle to the Hebrews, with attention to the range of exegetical and hermeneutical issues relevant to interpretation of the text. Harold W. Attridge

Exegesis Based on the Original Language

REL 554b, Hebrew Exegesis: Jeremiah A close reading of major portions of the Hebrew text of Jeremiah, with a concentration on the poetic passages. The course focuses on philology and syntax, as well as on the literary contexts of the poetry in the book; attention is also given to the theological meaning of the poetic units. Robert R. Wilson

REL 586a, Greek Exegesis: Revelation This course considers issues involved in interpreting the book of Revelation, such as authorship, date, genre, cultural and political contexts, and history of interpretation. Also discussed is the use of gender in the text. Adela Yarbro Collins

Graduate Seminars in Biblical and Cognate Studies

REL 515a, Literary Criticism and the New Testament This course traces the various interstices between the disciplines of contemporary literary criticism and New Testament studies. The readings and discussions consider literary criticism’s unique contributions to the study of New Testament literature, as well as the ways in which such approaches have been challenged, rejected, and/or revised by poststructuralists, ideological critics, and others. Along the way, students engage with close readings of the New Testament texts themselves, attuned to their literary artistry. Michal Beth Dinkler

REL 542a, Prophecy in a Time of Crisis A close reading of the English text of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Second Isaiah in order to determine the reactions of these prophets to the sociological and theological crisis of the Babylonian exile. The careful study of the biblical text is set against the background of general readings in the anthropology of prophecy and in the sociology of forced migrations in modern times. Robert R. Wilson

REL 544a, History and Methods of Old Testament Interpretation I This class introduces students to the essential modes of historical-critical analysis of the Hebrew Bible, with particular emphasis on engagement with the primary works of scholarship that have shaped the field in the past century. It is intended to provide students with a solid basis for further engagement with both scholarship and the primary biblical text. Joel S. Baden

REL 545a, Jewish Apocalyptic Literature An introduction to Jewish apocalyptic literature, including the books of Daniel, Enoch, 4 Ezra, 2 and 3 Baruch, and related themes in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other literature. John J. Collins

REL 552b, Ascents to Heaven in Antiquity This course examines, in English translation, accounts of ascents to heaven in Jewish, Greek, and Latin literature and in the New Testament and later Christian literature. Two types of ascents are studied: (1) journeys to the realm of God or the gods or the realm of the dead followed by return to ordinary life; (2) journeys to these realms at the end of ordinary life. Adela Yarbro Collins

REL 555b, Gnostic Texts in Coptic The course features selected portions of important texts from the Nag Hammadi collection, including the Apocryphon of John, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Truth, Thunder, the Treatise on Resurrection, the Tripartite Tractate, as well as other noncanonical texts preserved in Coptic, including the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Judas. Harold W. Attridge

REL 562b, What Are Biblical Values? This course examines, first, whether it is possible to speak of biblical values at all. It then proceeds to examine the bases for biblical values in creation, covenant, and eschatology, and to discuss biblical attitudes to family values, ecology, gender and sexuality, social justice, purity, and other issues. John J. Collins

REL 563a, Martyrs and Martyrdom An investigation of the origins and developments of the concepts “martyr” and “martyrdom.” The course examines precedents in Second Temple Jewish texts (Daniel, 1 and 2 Maccabees), in New Testament texts (the passion narratives, passages about the sufferings and death of Paul, passages about “witness” and “witnessing” in the book of Revelation), and in the apostolic literature (Ignatius of Antioch’s anticipation of his death in Rome). Students also read analogies, such as the account of the self-defense and death of Socrates (Plato’s Apology and Phaedo) and the so-called Acts of the Pagan Martyrs, and early Christian martyrdoms, such as The Martyrdom of Polycarp, The Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne, and The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity. Adela Yarbro Collins

REL 594a, Hellenistic Jewish Texts This course helps students develop facility with Greek prose (and some poetry) of the Hellenistic and early Roman periods through rapid reading of a variety of literature relevant to the study of Judaism of the Second Temple period. Harold W. Attridge

REL 598b, History and Methods II: Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures in Late Modernity and Beyond This course explores significant developments in late modern and postmodern methods of biblical interpretation. The course is designed to foster learning along three interrelated axes of inquiry having to do with historical analysis, literary representation, and the role of the reader. Of particular interest is exploration of notions of authorship and constructions of ideology and reader agency in feminist interpretation, queer readings, masculinity studies, and postcolonial criticism. Throughout the term, we focus on the book of Ruth as a textual site for our engagement of methodological questions and their implications for meaning making. Carolyn J. Sharp

REL 599b, Ezra-Nehemiah This course examines the evidence for the restoration and reorganization of Judah in the Persian period, focusing on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Students are expected to read the primary texts in the original languages (Hebrew and Aramaic). John J. Collins

RLST 801a, Hebrew Bible Seminar: Problems in the Book of Isaiah A close reading of selected chapters of the Hebrew text of Isaiah in order to test recent theories of the book’s compositional history. Prerequisites: two years of Biblical Hebrew and previous scholarly work in biblical studies. Robert R. Wilson

RLST 802b, Apocalyptic Religion in Cross-Cultural Perspective An examination of millennial and “end-time” beliefs in a variety of cultures and religions around the world. Attention is given to Jewish and Christian texts, as well as Native American traditions; African, Middle Eastern, and Asian religious movements; and modern manifestations such as Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate, Waco, and the Oklahoma City bombing. The course includes a general consideration of religious violence in apocalyptic movements, as well as an exploration of how groups react to the failure of the apocalypse to occur. Robert R. Wilson

Return to Top

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 600b, Introduction to Theology The aim of this course is for students to gain a working knowledge of the vocabulary, topics, and history of Christian theology; to spark their interest in theology; and to give them the beginnings of the theological literacy needed to take part in cultural contestations over religion, in church, and/or in their own decisions about faith and practice. Linn Marie Tonstad

REL 620a, History of Christian Theology to 451 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 foundational age of mainstream historical Christianity 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: at the heart of study are the faith experience and deeper understanding of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Church in close connection with canon formation, 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. Miroslav Volf, Linn Marie Tonstad

REL 628a, Introduction to Medieval Latin This is a course in elementary Latin grammar. Classical norms are emphasized as the starting point for recognizing the lexical and syntactical variations found in medieval literature. Marcus Elder

REL 641a, Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics A close reading of representative selections from the Church Dogmatics enables students to grasp both the crucial specifics and the grand scope of this major work in modern theology. Kathryn E. Tanner

REL 644a, Christianity and Social Power This course examines intersections between Christian theology and issues of sociopolitical equality through the study of historical cases. Cases include Christian justifications of hierarchical rule in the early church, medieval arguments over the status of women in church and society, controversies over “New World” colonization, leveling movements in the English civil war, arguments for and against slavery in the United States, nineteenth-century reactions to democratic reform movements on the continent, and contemporary controversies over the ordination of women and gay people. The course helps equip students to answer the following general questions: What is the relation between Christian belief and action? When is Christian belief being used ideologically, to serve independent interests in gaining and maintaining power? On what basis can one judge between conflicting uses of the same Christian beliefs? Kathryn E. Tanner

REL 646a, Charles Taylor on Self and Secularization Charles Taylor is one of the most influential Christian philosophers alive. His comprehensive accounts of the self (Sources of the Self) and of secularization (A Secular Age) are immensely learned and are important resources for theologians and religious thinkers more broadly. Students read critically major portions of these two works as well as some of Taylor’s shorter pieces. Miroslav Volf

REL 660a, Queer Theology This course provides an introduction to queer theology, its theoretical grounding in queer theory, and some of the controversies and possibilities that make up its current shape. Questions considered include whether Christianity can or should be queer; what the implications of contemporary debates in queer theory over temporality, futurity, sociality, and spatiality might be for Christian thought and practice; and the way queer theory’s anti-essentialist stance shifts the terms of debates over the status of LGBTQ persons in Christianity. The objective of the course is to introduce students to the development of queer theory and its influence in Christian theology and to give them the resources and training they need to participate as constructive queer theologians in the contemporary field. Linn Marie Tonstad

REL 680b, Churches of the East The Eastern Christian traditions trace their roots to the very beginnings of Christianity, have grown in the cradle of Christianity, have suffered persecution, and are still living Churches. However, if not unknown, Eastern Christianity is usually seen as a cultural curiosity of the East, an ossified remnant from the past, and as totally irrelevant to Western Christianity. In seeking to explore the place of the Eastern Churches in modern Christianity, this course focuses on the Syrian Orthodox Churches by exploring their Christological differences and their liturgical traditions. Bryan D. Spinks

REL 687a, English Reformation Liturgical Traditions and the Evolution of the Books of Common Prayer This course falls into two sections. The first covers the period 1500–1789 and is concerned with the development and theologies of the Reformation liturgical traditions in England and Scotland. The second is concerned with the specifically Anglican tradition, with the impact of the Tractarian and Liturgical Movements to the present. It compares the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and Enriching Our Worship with the 2006 Book of Common Worship of the Church of South India, and the Divine Liturgy of the Mar Thoma Church, which is in communion with the Anglican Church. Bryan D. Spinks, Paul F. Bradshaw

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. Frederick V. Simmons

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. Frederick V. Simmons

REL 681a, Imago Dei and Human Dignity An examination of contemporary arguments over human dignity in political theory and bioethics, against the backdrop of traditional understandings of the image of God in terms of the structure of the human person, right relationship with God, or as task confronting human agency. Contemporary authors include Nick Bostrom, J. Kameron Carter, Lisa Cahill, Ernest Fortin, Timothy Jackson, John Paul II, Robert Kraynak, Gilbert Meilaender, Richard Rorty, Jeremy Waldron, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Jennifer A. Herdt

REL 689b, Natural Law and Christian Ethics The notion of a natural law, a universal morality accessible to all rational persons without the assistance of revelation, has proven attractive ever since it was first articulated by the ancient Stoics. This seminar traces the historical fortunes of natural law thinking and surveys its varied contemporary forms with an eye to assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Is “natural law” simply a phrase invoked in equivocal fashion by different discourses, or is there substantial continuity of meaning in natural law reflection? How can natural law discourse avoid becoming a cloak for ideology? Is it meaningful to call a historicist, contextualist natural law “natural law”? Along the way we also consider how and with what success natural law thinking has been put to work in various areas of the moral life: property and poverty, sovereignty and war, and sexual ethics. Jennifer A. Herdt

Liturgical Studies

REL 603b, The Cult of Martyrs in Early Christianity: Feasts This course explores the commemoration of local martyrs in early Christian communities (e.g., Asian, Roman, Hagiopolite, North African), especially the practice of celebrating annual “nativities” or feasts in their honor. Considerable attention is also given to the later expansion of this practice to include biblical figures and non-martyrs within a fully developed “sanctoral cycle.” Intersecting topics of interest include devotional themes in early homilies and encomia; the selection of festal lectionary readings; the organization of early martyrologies and calendars; and the contemporary practices of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant communities. Hugo Mendez

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, 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, the arts, etc.). The second part of the course provides an outline of historical developments, from biblical roots to the present. In addition, select class sessions focus on important questions such as the relationship between gendered lives and liturgical celebration, and between liturgy and ethical commitments such as earthcare. This gateway course to the Program in Liturgical Studies should be taken prior to other liturgy courses offered at Yale. The course is especially recommended for all students preparing for ordination and/or other responsibilities in worship leadership; it is also an essential course for all students interested in graduate work in liturgical studies. Teresa Berger, Bryan D. Spinks

REL 683b, The Liturgy, Ritual, and Chant of Medieval England (Sarum Use) This course focuses on the rites, ceremonies, and music of the Use of Sarum, which was the predominant Use for services in the late medieval period in England. It includes preliminary study of the emergence of the Romano-Western liturgical synthesis and considers some of the Anglo-Saxon representation of this synthesis. It considers the aims of the Anglo-Norman church and especially the siting and building of the Old Sarum Cathedral. It compares the Sarum Use to those of Rouen, Hereford, and York and examines the new Cathedral of Salisbury and the liturgical implications of its architecture and decoration. It considers the various services of the Use of Sarum and their musical repertories, both monophonic and polyphonic, as well as the wider cultural significance of Sarum traditions beyond the medieval era. Bryan D. Spinks, Henry Parkes

REL 685a, In the Face of Death: Worship, Music, Art This 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 focus in this seminar is on the Christian tradition. Given the breadth of the subject matter, the course has to do 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 one’s own dying. The Christian tradition holds rich resources and insights for all three of these subject matters. The course creates space for a nuanced reflection on this tradition, as both backdrop and resource for contemporary engagement. Teresa Berger, Markus Rathey

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 3795, Colloquium on Ministry Formation/Lutheran The one-half credit Lutheran Colloquium is offered each fall and spring term. The fall colloquium is intended for Lutheran students entering Yale Divinity School. It focuses on issues relating to call, vocation, ministry, and ordination. It is intended to help incoming students discern the sort of ministry to which they might be called. In the spring the colloquium focuses on the practice of ministry in the Lutheran tradition. Topics vary from year to year, reflecting the interests and expertise of the visiting professor leading the colloquium. Its primary focus is on students considering ordination in the ELCA, but it is open to all.

REL 609a, Theology of the Lutheran Confessions Through lectures, assigned readings, and class discussion, this course examines the Book of Concord of 1580 and certain other documents that served as sources for the Book of Concord. The objectives of the course are twofold: to develop a knowledge and understanding of the Lutheran Confessions in their original context and to gain an appreciation of the contemporary importance and influence of these confessions for Christianity in the twenty-first century. William G. Rusch

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 either sequence. The primary aim of the course is to analyze and make a constructive theological assessment of classical Anglican tradition, 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 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.

Return to Top

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 sixteenth century. Themes include the formation of the canon, martyrdom, early Christian society, monasticism, the crusades, heresy, Luther’s protest, religious wars, and Catholic renewal. 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 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. Clarence E. Hardy III

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. Clarence E. Hardy III, Kenneth P. Minkema

REL 704b, Religion “Beyond the Veil”: Approaches to the Study of Black Religion in the United States This course explores how scholars have constructed and pursued the modern study of black religion in the United States from its inception in the early decades of the twentieth century, through its institutionalization in the academy after the civil rights movement, and its continued evolution in contemporary times. The course focuses especially on pioneers in the field (e.g., W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Carter Woodson) and considers the rise of competing methodologies for the study of black religious cultures, which range from the historical to the sociological while including at various moments the theological, anthropological, and literary. Special attention is given to the ways in which racial and religious identities have shaped and confounded scholarly efforts to interpret black religious subjects and practices even as these identities have also provided a platform for interrogating the meaning of race, nation, and political commitment in America. Clarence E. Hardy III

REL 732a, Calvin and Calvinism This course begins with the life and thought of John Calvin considered within the historical context of the sixteenth century. Particular emphasis is placed on Calvin’s role in the wider Reformation and his interaction with allies and opponents. The course then shifts to study the phenomenon of Calvinism as it spread across Europe and America and, later, Africa and Asia. Bruce Gordon, Carlos Eire

REL 741a, James Baldwin as Religious Writer and Social Critic James Baldwin’s exile from his country and his Pentecostal heritage granted him a perspective that shaped and animated his social criticism and his literary art. We consider the nature of this twin exile, Baldwin’s exploration of African American life, and how these elements shaped his understanding of religion, sex, country, and world. Clarence E. Hardy III

REL 744b, The German Mystical Tradition in Theology, Piety, and Music The course explores the extraordinarily rich tradition of Christian mysticism that flourished in German lands between the eleventh and eighteenth centuries. The focus is on expressions of mystical religion in both texts and music. Students read works by leading authors, paying close attention to historical, theological, and ecclesiastical contexts. The diverse and powerful ways in which German mysticism found expression in works of music are central to the seminar, and students learn to identify and discuss a range of genres within and outside liturgical worship. Bruce Gordon, Markus Rathey

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

Return to Top

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,b, Introduction to Pastoral Theology and Care This course is designed to introduce the student to foundational theories and strategies of pastoral care. We explore theological, psychological, and ethical resources that together can act as a particular kind of “lens” to help pastoral caregivers discern the issues at hand in the pastor encounter. Particular attention is also paid to cultural and communal contexts and consequent strategies of care. The student develops skills in the art of pastoral care through a rigorous method of practice in the form of role-play and reflection enhanced by the foundational theories mentioned above. We spend significant time exploring specific issues and strategies commonly faced by pastors. The course presupposes that the task of pastoral care is primarily a theological one. Further, the focus of this course locates the primary context of pastoral care in the parish but not exclusively as the task of ordained clergy. M. Jan Holton

REL 809a, Pastoral Care, Anxiety, and Depression: Framing Hope This course examines the psychological, theological, and cultural aspects of both long-term and episodic anxiety and depression. Students grapple with the range of difficult, even paralyzing feelings brought on by anxiety and depression and begin to explore how to frame the equally powerful notion of hope, theological and otherwise, in these contexts. The course stresses a strength-based (rather than a deficit-based) model of understanding mental illness and explores non-Western interpretations of depression and anxiety. Students begin the process of developing a pastoral theology of suffering and hope as we explore what pastoral care with those suffering from anxiety and depression can look like. This course is designed for those entering both pastoral and lay ministry but will benefit a wide range of individuals and professions. M. Jan Holton

REL 810a, When We Do Not Know What We Do Not Know: Religiously Literate Leadership in a Multi-Faith World Though not “World Religions 101,” this course emphasizes the importance of religious literacy for the religious professional and examines ways in which the work of interfaith encounters and engagement is understood and supported within various ministry, educational, or nonprofit settings. In seminar style, students hear from religious professionals who have committed to interfaith work within the broader context of their vocation and are able to look critically at the edges of this work as well as the promise. Through the examination of case studies, students explore specific challenges, outline issues, craft responses, and review actual resolutions. Sharon M. K. Kugler

REL 818a, Wellsprings of Joy in the Ministry and in Life A seminar in the pastoral theology of joy. First-person accounts of caregiving ministries are queried for insights into the theologies and practices that create space for joy in the midst of caregiving. The class engages in theological and psychological analysis of the themes, skills, and habits of heart and mind identified in the narratives. Practical dimensions of the course include experiential learning exercises, journal keeping, and the practice of narrative pastoral care conversations. Mary Clark Moschella

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 and discern, from an interdisciplinary approach, who are the disinherited. It explores aspects of the Christian religious dimensions in social and political reform movements, faith-based social services and the influence of religious values on individual behavior, and ideas about the role of the church and government in meeting human needs. Frederick J. Streets

REL 829b, Pastoral Leadership and Church Administration The course explores the intersection of leadership/management and the pastoral role, with a focus on the practical aspects of ministry as shaped by denominational and congregational characteristics. Based on their own theological reflection, students explore approaches to various tasks of leadership and administration: planning and visioning, boards and committees, budgets, buildings and property, stewardship, time management, legal issues, church conflict, personnel management. Drawing on a variety of resources, including readings, case studies, personal experiences, and shared discussion, the course is intended to help students develop or refine their own concepts of leadership and administration to be applied in their future parishes. Limited to second- or third-year ordination track M.Div. students. Martha C. Highsmith

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 843b, Professional Seminar: Theology and Practice of Church Music In this one-credit professional seminar, ministers- and musicians-in-training consider models for shared ministry involving musicians and pastors. Using theological and musical principles from the readings and class discussions, students gain the skill and understanding needed for a sound liturgical ministry. Thomas H. Troeger, Martin D. Jean

REL 879a, Advanced Skills for Pastoral Ministry An advanced course in the skills of pastoral care and counseling. Five distinct modalities are covered, including psychodynamic/relational, family systems, cognitive behavioral, narrative, and marriage and couples counseling. The morning hour of class is devoted to lecture and discussion of the reading. The afternoon portion is set aside for practicing pastoral skills. Throughout, the course emphasizes the basic components of providing a pastoral presence, including empathy, theological reflection, and spiritual awareness and growth. Mary Clark Moschella

REL 883b, Death, Dying, and Bereavement This course is intended to equip those who plan to enter pastoral ministry—including pastors, chaplains, and pastoral counselors (but will benefit those in a variety of vocations)—with an understanding of the theological and psychological responses to death, dying, loss, and grief. In particular we explore the physical process of dying; human response to various types of loss; the grief process; and pastoral care strategies for care with the bereaved (including ministry to the dying, visitation, elements of grief care, and rituals surrounding death). This course examines pastoral care that embraces ways of living creatively in response to death and grief; locates the sacred in the journey of death and grief; and embraces the concept of hope, particularly the transition of hope. The course includes lectures, student presentations, and discussion of assigned readings. M. Jan Holton

Preaching Ministry

REL 812a, Principles and Practices of Preaching Homiletics is a theological discipline. Even if a student does not intend to preach on a regular basis, knowledge of the field is an essential part of having a well-rounded theological education, because through the centuries it has had a major role in both church and society. Most of the major Christian thinkers preached, and to understand them fully requires a knowledge of homiletics. Skills and practices learned in this course assist students in making meaningful oral presentations in their vocational lives. All students build a common foundation in the basic methods and principles of homiletics. A required course for M.Div. students. Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Thomas H. Troeger

REL 817b, Congregational Song as a Resource for Preaching and Worship This course examines some of the primary historical periods of hymn writing in the Western church that are represented in mainstream hymnals and considers contemporary and global congregational song. Students design a service, create and deliver a sermon based on these perspectives, and learn how to write a hymn text; students with the gift of musical composition may instead write a hymn setting. Students are required to write hymns in light of the theological and social needs of our time. In teams they collaborate to design and lead the class in services that feature their hymn texts with settings (where possible) that music students have composed. Thomas H. Troeger

Educational Ministry

REL 803a, Introduction to Religious Education This course explores theories and practices of religious education within Christian communities. In particular, students explore and begin to formulate perspectives on the purpose, function, contexts, and methods of religious education. The course is guided by two essential questions posed by religious educator Mary Boys: “What does it mean to be religious?” and “What does it mean to educate in faith, to educate persons to the religious dimensions of life?” This course is primarily oriented toward the practices of religious communities and institutions, such as churches and para-church organizations. However, the issues and contexts explored can connect with a variety of settings including families, community organizations, and schools. Almeda M. Wright

REL 808b, Christian Education in the African American Experience Historically, the African American church has been actively involved in developing educational opportunities for African Americans. For example, it participated in the development of numerous schools and institutions of higher learning. It provided leadership opportunities for pastors, teachers, and community leaders. It established itself as an independent institution concerned with the social, moral, and spiritual development of the race. And, it developed Christian education programs that attempted to address the particular needs of the African American community. Although the history of Christian education in the African American experience reveals a cycle of growth and decline, the African American church has much to offer contemporary Christian education reflection and practice and can inspire new paradigms for African American Christian education. To this end, this course provides an introduction to the educational ministry of the African American church. Yolanda Smith

REL 815a, Radical Pedagogy This course studies and employs radical pedagogy as a lens through which to explore the intersections of religious education and community transformation. In essence, the course explores the ways that education, particularly religious education, is powerful, political, transformative, and even radical. This course also pushes students to address the question of “toward what ends or goals do we hope to push education?” Many proponents of radical pedagogy also embrace ideals of radical equality or democracy. To help explore these issues, students wrestle with contemporary questions about educational reform in public schools as well as ask the question of what role religious education can play in addressing social justice concerns within communities. While this course directly draws upon experiences as persons of faith working within religious communities, the cases and readings for the course also draw heavily on what might be called “secular” theorists and educators who focus on public educational arenas. Almeda M. Wright

REL 848b, Leadership Ministry in Schools This course seeks to prepare students of all denominations for leadership positions in schools: school heads, administrators, chaplains, teachers of religion, and counselors. It begins with a consideration of “where young people are” today. Teaching about religion in secular schools—public and private—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), and the religion teacher are considered. The difficulties and delights of educational ministry and leadership are identified and discussed. Many aspects of school life are explored, including the pedagogical, pastoral, and liturgical. Naturally, issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality are raised by readings, case studies, role-plays, simulations, and visiting practitioners. Through required field trips, the course considers the 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 835a, Meditation: East and West The seminar, just as easily named “Christian Contemplative Practice,” explores in a practical and theoretical manner the Christian tradition’s rich heritage of prayer complemented by selected meditation practices from Eastern religions. A unit on Buddhism within its own worldview is also included. The purpose of the course is to provide an understanding of classical and contemporary treatments of Christian prayer, as well as guided experiments with a variety of prayer modes for those who wish to enrich their own prayer lives or who are engaged in teaching prayer or facilitating the prayer of others in ministry. Janet K. Ruffing

REL 838a, John of the Cross: A Guide for Difficult Times Students explore John of the Cross’s mystical teaching on the dark nights and the development of contemplative prayer, including mystical transformation or divinization through the process of prayer and life experiences. This entails a close reading of “The Spiritual Canticle,” “The Living Flame of Love,” The Ascent of Mount Carmel, and “The Dark Night.” The course not only interprets these texts within the sixteenth-century framework of John of the Cross but also considers key contemporary applications of this teaching in relationship to what some are interpreting as social experiences of dark night and impasse, and the way personal and social pain in our lives contributes to our interior transformation through participation in God. Janet K. Ruffing

Return to Top

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

Philosophy of Religion

REL 910b, Philosophy of Religion This course covers such topics as religion and ethics, religious experience, the problem of evil, faith and reason, arguments for the existence of God, miracles, death and immortality, science and religion, and religious pluralism. John E. Hare

REL 922a, Theological Predication and Divine Attributes An exploration of philosophical debates concerning the nature of theological language and the nature of God. Topics include theories of analogical predication, divine simplicity, God’s relation to time, divine impassibility, the nature of God’s love, divine freedom, the compatibility of foreknowledge and human freedom, and theories of providence. John Pittard

REL 932b, Disagreement, Fallibility, and Faith An exploration of the challenges posed to faith by religious disagreement, the contingency of religious belief, and our susceptibility to various forms of cognitive bias. Topics include the problem of divine hiddenness, John Hick’s religious pluralism, disagreement-motivated religious skepticism, the influence of rationally irrelevant factors on religious belief, and the implications of intra-religious disagreement for communities of faith. John Pittard

REL 939b, The Problem of Evil The evils of our world can seem to present strong reasons for disbelieving in the existence of God. This course examines the main forms that this problem for theism takes, and some of the proposed ways of solving, or at least mitigating, the problem. Keith DeRose, John Pittard

REL 969b, Kant’s Philosophy of Religion The purpose of this class is to read and discuss Kant’s work about the philosophy of religion and moral theology. Some of all three Critiques are read, in addition to Lectures on Ethics, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, and The Conflict of the Faculties. John E. Hare

Religion and the Arts

REL 923b, Practices of Witnessing and Onlooking in Visual Theory Visual practices of bystanding, onlooking, beholding, and witnessing are the focus of this course, which puts into conversation two discourses. One discourse comprises biblical articulations of witnessing in Christianity and Judaism. The other discourse comprises modern expressions of visuality in religious and secular thinkers and practitioners. Within these discourses the course traces a thread concerning the gap between spectatorship and participation. It considers how visual forms can witness and participate in social movements. Margaret Olin

REL 924b, Interpreting Gospel Music This course explores the composition, performance, and reception of gospel music from its North American origins to its contemporary global forms, highlighting significant styles, songwriters, and performers from the late nineteenth century to the present. Through the lens of gospel music, the course explores how music is used to express various social identities; how gospel music reflects economic, political, and religious change; and how migration, media, and missionary activities have informed gospel’s sounds, meanings, and uses. Monique Ingalls

REL 935a, Religious Lyric in Britain Survey of the religious lyric in Britain from the seventeenth century to Michael Symmons Roberts (b. 1963). Others poets include Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Hopkins, Hardy, Larkin, Stevie Smith, Wilfred Owen, David Gascoyne, and R. S. Thomas. Working within a British framework, and moving chronologically, the course traces a literary tradition that has a certain cultural and religious (i.e., Christian) coherence. By choosing lyric poetry the course looks at short, non-narrative, often emotive work (Wordsworth, “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”) that stresses the speaker’s personal thoughts or feelings. Whereas secular lyric typically concentrates on human love, with all its ebb and flow, the religious lyric is concerned with the divine-human relationship—its presence and/or its absence. This study mixes close textual analysis with attention to larger theological issues. Peter S. Hawkins

REL 949b, Spiritual Topographies in Modern Poetry and Fiction This course examines the place of place, and physical space, as both setting and trope in modern/postmodern poetry and fiction. Beginning with notions of sacred spaces from scripture, we examine five modern works of literature: Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot, Home by Marilynne Robinson, The Orchards of Syon by Geoffrey Hill, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, and The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. Through close readings of these works, we consider how meaning is conveyed through the author’s development of physical locations and spaces as a mirror of spiritual journey and human longing and as a window into the human condition. Themes of home and homelessness, the material and the transcendent, good and evil, and identity and transformation are among the theologically important questions that arise from this study. David Mahan

REL 950a, Dante’s Journey to God This one-term 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 into 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 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.” Peter S. Hawkins

REL 966b, Sensational Religion: Sensory Cultures in Material Practice This interdisciplinary seminar explores the sensory and material histories of (largely American) religious images, objects, buildings, and performances as well as the potential for sensory subjects to spark controversy in material religious practice. The goal is not only to study 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. The seminar is coordinated with other campus events, including speakers in the Sensory Cultures of Religion Research Group. Sally M. Promey

REL 967a, Religion and the Performance of Space This interdisciplinary seminar explores categories, interpretations, and strategic articulations of space in a range of religious traditions in the United States. The course is structured around theoretical issues, including historical deployments of secularity as a framing mechanism, conceptions of space and place, and perceived relations between property and spirituality. Examples of the kinds of case studies treated in class include public displays of religion, the enactment of ritual behaviors within museums, the marking of religious boundaries of various sorts, and emplaced articulations of “spiritual” properties or real estate. Several campus events, including research group presentations, are coordinated with the seminar. Permission of the instructor required; qualified undergraduates are welcome. Sally M. Promey, Margaret Olin

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 978a, Performative Theology This course examines the relationship between form and content in theological writing, giving close attention to memoir, confession, novel, epistolary fiction, letters, and diary, and assesses the theological meaning created by literary and written forms. The course enables students to identify various forms of writing as theological works in their own right. Maggi E. Dawn

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 926b, A Communion of Subjects: Law, Environment, and Religion Thomas Berry once wrote, “The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.” One might also insist that the university is a communion of subjects, not a collection of disciplines. Perhaps no subject better illustrates this point than the environment, for to understand and appreciate the environment requires expertise from multiple intellectual traditions, including history, religion, philosophy, anthropology, aesthetics, economics, political science, and legal studies. This course focuses on the scholarship and practice of leading figures working at the intersection of law, environment, and religion, who will be brought to campus to participate in a discussion series that forms the core of the course. In preparation for these visits, teams of students are assigned to study deeply the writing and actions of a designated speaker. Class sessions during this preparatory phase resemble a traditional graduate seminar, with readings and discussion designed to stimulate engagement with the most challenging and vital questions facing the “communion” of law, environment, and religion. During the core phase of the course, speakers interact with students in multiple ways. The central activity is an in-depth interview led by members of the student team. Other students conduct a podcast interview with the speaker at Yale’s audio recording studio; these podcast interviews, which are intended to engage the speaker in a more personal conversation about his or her life history, values, and worldviews, will be posted on Yale’s iTunes University site. One of the conceits of the academy is often that such subjective elements have little bearing on one’s intellectual work. As a result, too little attention is paid within the university to the role of family, community, religion, and other critical biographical factors in shaping one’s ideas. Enrollment limited to twenty-four. John Grim, Douglas A. Kysar, Mary Evelyn Tucker

Return to Top

Additional Courses Offered

Area I

  • Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions
  • Apocalypticism: Ancient and Modern
  • Approaches to Old Testament Ethics
  • Biblical Theology: Walter Brueggemann and His Critics
  • The Book of Ben Sira
  • Character and Community in the Biblical Short Story: Jonah, Ruth, Esther
  • The Composition of the Pentateuch
  • Corinthian Correspondence
  • Crafting Early Christian Identities
  • Daniel and Related Literature
  • English Exegesis: Amos and Hosea
  • English Exegesis: Luke-Acts
  • English Exegesis: Philippians
  • English Exegesis: Revelation
  • English Exegesis: Romans
  • English Exegesis of Matthew
  • Feminist Interpretation: A Narratological Approach to 1 and 2 Samuel
  • Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Gender in Early Christianity
  • Gender, Sex, and Power in the Books of Ruth and Esther
  • 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: Matthew
  • 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 Bible Seminar: Problems in the History of Israelite Religion
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Book of Judges
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Genesis
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Joshua
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Korahite Psalms
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Leviticus
  • Hebrew Exegesis: Psalms
  • Hebrew Exegesis: The Book of Micah
  • Hebrew Exegesis, Genesis: Women
  • Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews
  • Historical Grammar of Biblical Hebrew
  • Historical Jesus
  • History and Methods of the Discipline of New Testament Studies
  • History of Biblical Interpretation
  • History of First-Century Palestine
  • Irony and Meaning in the Hebrew Bible
  • Jesus’ Death as a Saving Event
  • Judaism in the Persian Period
  • Literary Criticism of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Living with Difficult Texts
  • The Messiah: The Development of a Biblical Idea
  • New Testament Apocrypha
  • Patristic Greek
  • Paul and the Spirit
  • Philo of Alexandria
  • 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
  • Anglican Theology and History II: ECUSA and the Anglican Communion
  • Asian American Theologies
  • Augustine
  • Baptism and Eucharist in Ecumenical Dialogue
  • Black Religion in the Public Square
  • Bonhoeffer and King
  • Catholic Liturgy: Between Dogma and Devotion
  • Christian Ethics and Social Problems
  • Christian Marriage
  • Christian Theology of “Other Religions”
  • Contemporary Cosmology and Christian Ethics
  • Contemporary German Theology
  • Contemporary Theological Anthropology
  • Credo: Faith Prayed and Sung
  • 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
  • Introduction to East Asian Christianity
  • Liturgical Theology
  • Love and Justice
  • Lutheran Ethics in a Comparative Context
  • Martin Luther: Life and Work
  • Medieval Christology and Atonement Theory
  • Music in Medieval Britain
  • Music and Theology in the Sixteenth Century
  • Patristic Christology
  • Patristic Trinitarian Theology
  • Political Theology
  • Practicing Jesus: Christology and the Christian Life
  • Praying What We Believe: Theology and Worship
  • Process Thought
  • Readings in Schleiermacher
  • Reel Presence: Liturgy and Film
  • Reformed Worship
  • Ritual Theory for Liturgical Studies
  • Seminar in the Theology of Paul Tillich
  • Theological Ethics
  • Theological Themes in the Reformed Creeds and Confessions
  • Theology and Ecology
  • Theology of Athanasius
  • Theology of Vatican II
  • United Methodist History and Doctrine
  • Virtue and Christian Ethics
  • Virtue and Hypocrisy: Moral Thought
  • Worship and War
  • The Worship Mall

Area III

  • Buxtehude
  • Chinese Protestant Christianity, 1800–2010
  • Christian Spirituality in the Age of Reform
  • Death and the Dead
  • Finding Spirituality in Modern America
  • German Reformation, 1517–1555
  • Interpreting Medieval Religion
  • Introduction to Post-Reformation Studies: Sources of Early American History
  • Jonathan Edwards and American Puritanism
  • 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 in American Society, 1550–1870
  • Religion in the American West
  • Religions and Societies in Colonized North America
  • Religious Freedom in U.S. History
  • Sacred Music in the Western Christian Tradition
  • Sin, Penance, and Forgiveness in Early Modern Europe
  • Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe and America

Area IV

  • Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals
  • Body and Soul: Ministry for Sexuality and Justice
  • Contemporary Christian Spirituality
  • Contextual Preaching
  • Creativity and the Congregation
  • Discernment of Spirits through Selected Mystics
  • Ethnography for Transformation
  • Family Systems and Pastoral Care
  • Feminist and Womanist Perspectives on Pastoral Theology and Care
  • Ignatius of Loyola and His Spiritual Exercises
  • Models and Methods of College and University Chaplaincy
  • 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 Practice and Care in Response to Addiction
  • Pastoral Theology and Practice in Communities of Displacement
  • Planning and Presiding at Worship
  • Prophetic Preaching
  • Psychopathology and Pastoral Care
  • The Roundtable Pulpit
  • Spirituality and Religious Education
  • Spirituality of Presence in the Pulpit
  • Teaching the Bible in the Congregation
  • Text, Memory, and Performance
  • Theologies of Preaching
  • Women Mystics
  • Women’s Ways of Preaching

Area V

  • American Environmental History and Values
  • American Indian Religions and Ecology
  • American Religious Thought and the Democratic Ideal
  • The Art and Architecture of Conversion and Evangelism
  • Art, Architecture, and Ritual in Early Christianity and the Middle Ages
  • Chinese and Japanese Christian Literature
  • Chinese Christian Theologians
  • Christian Art and Architecture: Thirteenth–Twenty-First Century
  • 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
  • Divine Command Theory
  • Environmental Ethics in Theory and Practice
  • Ethics and the Economy
  • Faith and Globalization
  • From House Churches to Medieval Cathedrals
  • 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
  • Jewish Space
  • Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Religion
  • Late-Medieval English Drama
  • Mary in the Middle Ages
  • Milton
  • Passion of Christ in Literature and Visual Art
  • Poetry and Faith
  • Psalms in Literature and Music
  • Religion, Ecology, and Cosmology
  • Religion, Power, and the Self
  • Religious Themes in Contemporary Short Fiction
  • Ritual, Hermeneutics, and Performance Art
  • Southeast Asian Christianities
  • Spiritual Autobiography
  • Theological Aesthetics
  • Theology of Plato and Aristotle
  • Visual Controversies
  • Visual Fluencies
  • Witnessing, Remembrance, Commemoration
  • Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Religion
  • World Religion and Ecology: Asian Religions
  • Writing about Religion

Return to Top

Yale QuickLinks.