Academic Catalog 2018-19Printable PDF Catalog

Course Descriptions

STM/DMin courses listed separately at end of page.

Key to Course Numbering

BIB 100s Language of the Early Church

BIB 200s 1st- and 2nd-year courses fulfilling Biblical requirements

BIB 300s Courses fulfilling Bible at the Crossroads requirements (normally for seniors)

BIB 400s Bible or free electives (some courses have pre-requisites)

CXT xxx Contextual Education requirements (mostly noncredit)

DEN xxx Courses fulfilling denominational history/polity courses for particular students

GSE xxx General Studies courses, usually free electives

HTH 100 Systematic Theology 1: Creation, Sin, and New Creation

HTH 101 Church History 1: Dynamic Faith of the Church

HTH 20x Courses fulfilling History 2: Globalizing Christianity requirement

HTH 21x Courses fulfilling Theology 2: Doing Theology in a Diverse World requirement

HTH 300s Courses fulfilling Gospel and Freedom requirement (normally for seniors)

HTH 400s History/Theology free electives

PRAX 10x Courses fulfilling Worship requirement

PRAX 11x Courses fulfilling Pastoral Theology (formerly Presence in Community) requirement

PRAX 12x Courses fulfilling Church in Society requirement

PRAX 13x Courses fulfilling Preaching the Gospel requirement

PRAX 14x Courses fulfilling Congregational Formation and Education requirement

PRAX 30x Courses fulfilling Equipping the Saints/Church Administration requirement (normally for seniors)

PRAX 400x Praxis free electives

SPFM xxx Free elective courses that also fulfill the noncredit Spiritual Formation requirement

Xxx 700s STM/DMin courses. May be taken by advanced first-degree students with instructor permission.

 

 

BIB 100 Language of the Early Church

The New Testament was written in Koine Greek. As the language in which God's Living Word is communicated to us, it is imperative that we can read and understand that word as clearly as possible. The variety of English translations of the New Testament demonstrates that every translation is also an interpretation. For leaders in the Church, this course will provide the knowledge, skills, and training in software resources to work with the original language texts; awareness of the interpretive issues involved in translation; and practice in effectively communicating the Word for the church today.  [No prerequisites] M.Div Language of the Early Church requirement 

Mark Vitalis Hoffman, Crystal Hall

 

BIB 201 Reading and Telling the Story

This course will provide an overarching survey of the Bible to equip students to understand the critical perspectives for reading the biblical texts. Learning and applying historical critical methods while also studying geographical, historical, and sociological realities of the biblical world, students will see how God’s work in creation came to fulfillment in Jesus and informs the lives of Christians today. The course will benefit both readers of the text and visitors to the biblical lands. It will increase understanding both of the biblical world and of the realities in those lands today and prepare leaders faithfully to share the biblical witness in congregations today. Reading & Telling the Story requirement [Pre-requisite for MDiv students: BIB 100 Language of Early Church][May be taken simultaneously with Story of Israel]

Mark Vitalis Hoffman

 

BIB 210 Story of Jesus and the Early Church

As the authoritative resource for understanding the story of Jesus and the early church and as basis of the church’s faith, confession, and witness, a study of the New Testament is essential. In this course, students will be prepared to listen to God’s Word in personal study and in community and apply insights gained as leaders in church and world through worship, education, service, and encouragement. Understanding the New Testament includes engaging in critical reading and reflection on these texts as well as studying their social, literary, cultural, historical, source, theological, and textual dynamics. In this course, students will be introduced to the basic aspects of exegeting texts in their original language as foundational work for preaching, teaching, and integrating the texts for the life of faith and of the church. MDiv/MAML Story of Jesus & the Early Church requirement, or free elective [Pre-requisite: BIB 201 Reading and Telling the Story]

Crystal Hall

 

BIB 220 Story of Israel

This course is designed as a critical introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in general and as a survey of the structure, contents, and major theological themes of the ‘Primary History’ (the books of Genesis through Kings). The course is ‘critical’ in the sense that its central intention is to orient students to and engage students in the responsible study of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible in the contemporary world. MDiv/MAML Story of Israel requirement, or free elective [May take simultaneously with Reading and Telling the Story]

Brooks Schramm, Robert Robinson

 

BIB 301 Prophets Seminar: Jeremiah

A study of selected texts from Jeremiah, with special attention to exegetical method. Rigorous seminar format. MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement, or Bible or free elective [Pre-requisite: BIB 220 Story of Israel

Brooks Schramm

 

BIB 302 Bible at the Crossroads 

MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement or Bible or free elective

TBA

 

BIB 303 Judgement and Justice 

“If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe ” (Exodus 21:23-24). “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:14-15). Scripture abounds with images of judgement and justice, images that have inspired human imagination and sparked human thinking for centuries. In this course we will engage deeply with selected scriptural depictions of judgement and justice and discuss how they support or problematize current theologies of atonement and systems of criminal and civil justice. MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement or Bible or free elective. [Prerequisites BIB 100 Language of the Early Church, BIB 201 Reading and Telling the Story].

Allison deForest

 

BIB 304 Bible at the Crossroads: The Psalter and the Life of Faith

This course engages the Psalms as the primal language of Jewish and Christian prayer, devotion, and piety, both corporate and personal. In this manner, the course is conceived as a language course: an encounter with the vocabulary, phraseology, and peculiar idiom of the Psalms as they have been bequeathed to synagogue and church by ancient Israel. Perspectives from the areas of theological anthropology, systematic theology, pastoral theology, and liturgics (both Christian and Jewish) are regularly incorporated into the course. MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement, or Bible or free elective. [Prerequisite: The Story of Israel]

Brooks Schramm

 

BIB 310 Love of God: Song of Songs

The history of interpretation of the Song of Songs is long and complex, as this small collection of poems has generated more commentaries than any other biblical book, except for the Psalter and Genesis. In the modern period, the book has raised difficult problems for critical interpreters, and it is not uncommon to hear the question: is Song of Songs the least biblical or the most biblical book in the Bible? This course leads students to an encounter with the Song through the eyes of selected Jewish and Christian commentators and seeks to demonstrate the centrality of “the love of God” for both traditions. Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement or Bible or free elective. [Prerequisite: The Story of Israel]

Brooks Schramm

 

BIB 350 African Presence in Scripture 

A study of African and Hamitic people in the development of the Old and New Testament religion and people, as demonstrated in the Bible. MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement, or Bible or free elective 

James Pollard

 

BIB 355 Acts: The Early Church and the Church Today

This course will provide a survey of the book of Acts. While investigating issues of background, history, translation of the Greek, and the like, students will also consider how the issues faced by the early Church can inform the issues faced by the Church today and promote faithful practice. Possible topics include issues of biblical interpretation, decision making, stewardship, mission, Jewish-Christian relations, and the practice of piety and spirituality. MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement, or Bible or free elective. [Prerequisite: The Story of Jesus and the Early Church]

Mark Vitalis Hoffman

 

BIB 357 Paul, Women and the Authority of Scripture 

The Pauline Epistles give us some of the best evidence we have of women’s active participation in the ministry of the early church. They also contain some of the most restrictive statements in the Bible about women’s speech and leadership. This course will explore this tension and the relevance of these passages for the historical study of women in the early church and for Christian life and ministry today. Discussion of the Pauline Epistles will also serve as an avenue into exploring what we mean when we say the Bible has authority. How do we as 21st century Christians faithfully and responsibly interpret these ancient documents as Scripture? This course satisfies the “Bible at the Crossroads” elective requirement, and it is also offered for STM/DMin credit. MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement, or Bible or free elective. [Pre-requisites: BIB 100, BIB 201, and BIB 210; or equivalent] 

Jennifer McNeel

 

BIB 380 Israel/Palestine/Jordan Travel Seminar

There are few experiences more enriching to an understanding of the Bible and more formative for spiritual insight than visiting the lands where so much of biblical history occurred. The Bible speaks of the extent of the land from Dan to Beer-sheba. We will be visiting these sites and others connected with Abraham and Sarah, David and Solomon, prophets and priests, Jesus and the disciples, and forward through the Byzantine and Islamic periods to the present. While focusing on biblical highlights of the land, the trip also engages with the cultural and religious aspects of the complicated modern situation today. Students may choose to take the trip for credit which will include preparatory readings and an on-site presentation. Fulfills MDiv Bible at the Crossroads requirement, or Bible or free elective

Mark Vitalis Hoffman

 

BIB 401 Hebrew

Hebrew is the original language of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, and its recovery was a central and indispensable building block of the Protestant Reformation. Students learn the basics of biblical Hebrew vocabulary and grammar and begin to sharpen their perspective on the exquisite art of translation. The course is enhanced by an orientation to Bible software tools as an aid to ongoing study of the language. Bible or free elective

Brooks Schramm

 

BIB 461 Romans 

In this course we will walk through this, Paul’s most systematic letter, in detail discussing Paul’s context, rhetorical strategies, his Old Testament exegesis and how these help us and his first readers understand the good news “power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Roman 1:16).” We will take this opportunity to examine this essential epistle through a variety of 21st Century lenses to see clearer its meaning and purpose for us today. Assignments will include weekly online discussion of the text, an exegetical paper on a passage of the student’s choice and a project for use in a ministry setting. Bible or free elective [Pre-requisites: BIB 201 Reading and Telling the Story and BIB 210 Story of Jesus]

Allison deForest

 

BIB 472 Neglected Apostles: Peter and James

Though Paul referred to them as “pillars” (Gal 2:9), Peter and James the Just have taken second place to the apostle to the gentiles, at least as far as the letters attributed to them are concerned. Martin Luther famously questioned the status of the Epistle of James alongside the Gospels and the letters of Paul. In this course students will ask what can be known about the historical Peter and James, explore what has been said of them by church tradition, and carefully examine the canonical writings bearing their names. Topics for study and discussion will include historicity and canonicity, faith and works, apocalypticism, and the relationship between Jewish and Gentile Christianity in the first and second centuries AD. [Pre-requisite: BIB 210 Story of Jesus and the Early Church] Bible or Free Elective

Joshua Yoder

 

BIB 478 Queer Hermeneutics

From Supreme Court rulings on wedding cake to the systemic discrimination of trans communities in bathrooms and courtrooms across this country, the bible is regularly wielded as a weapon to justify violence against LGBTQIA+ communities. This course seeks to go beyond simply rehearsing what the bible has to say about sexuality to engaging how queer biblical interpretations can give voice to counter messages that challenge homophobic violence and support LGBTQIA+ communities. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course will critically examine how queer interpretations, especially trans interpretations, open up new perspectives on biblical texts as well as the theologies and sociopolitical ideologies connected to them. Emphasis will be placed on the practical applications of existing queer interpretations for preaching, worship, education, advocacy, and justice work as well as the creation of new queer biblical interpretations. [Pre-requisite: BIB 210 Story of Jesus and the Early Church OR BIB 220 Story of Israel] Fulfills MDiv Bible at Crossroads of Church and Culture requirement, or Bible or free elective

Karri Whipple

 

DEN 201 Lutheran Foundations 

This course explores the Lutheran confessional texts included in the Book of Concord as a witness to the gospel and guidance for faith and life. Through a first-hand reading of the documents, and learning about their history, context, and content, students will gain an appreciation of the historical foundations of Lutheran theology and reflect critically on the relevance of the Confessions for public ministry today.

Fulfills denominational history/polity requirement for Lutheran students [Pre-requisite: HTH 100 or HTH 101]

Vincent Evener

 

DEN 204 Baptist Polity

A study of the basic structure, mission, and theological standards of the Baptist tradition. Fulfills denominational history/polity requirement for Baptist students

Wayne Croft

 

DEN 206 Essentials of Anglicanism

The course will focus on the formation of Anglican and Episcopal identity, responsibility, authority, collegiality and accountability through engagement with both primary sources, major texts, and various articles. A seminar for students with little previous study of Anglicanism serious about appropriating the fundamentals of Anglican church history, spirituality and theology and being prepared, in turn, to teach lay inquirers’ or ecumenical classes on Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church, to preach sermons grounded in an Anglican theological perspective, and to lead liturgy as a lay person. The course also lays a significant part of a basic foundation for students who will take the General Ordination Examinations. Fulfills denominational history/polity requirement for Anglican students

TBA

 

GSE 151 John’s Island Service Travel Seminar

Leadership. Knowledge. Experience. The John’s Island trip is centered in a student-organized work trip to John’s Island, South Carolina. In preparation for the trip students will meet six times during January term to learn the deep history of the Sea Islands, to study the Gullah culture of the region, to investigate the economic and social forces that are reshaping the islands, and to plumb the depths of the religious life of the people of the islands. Learning will continue during the trip itself, in conversation with neighbors on the islands and in presentations by local resources. The deepest learning will occur through working with those served by the trip, by immersion in their culture. Free Elective

Robert Robinson

 

GSE 351 Inter-Seminary Seminar 

Selected topics for students in the final year are pursued along with students from other area seminaries. Free elective; for seniors by invitation only

Robert Robinson

 

HTH 100 Creation, Sin, and New Creation 

This course introduces students to constructive and liberative theological thinking that emphasizes (1) the inherent relationality of God, creation and humanity, and (2) the meanings of salvation. Mindful of the world of which we are a part, in all its weakness, incompleteness, and sinfulness, we do theology by attempting our best thinking and praxis through the sources and tools that are available to us. A guiding question for the course is how theology informs public ministry. Systematic Theology 1: Creation/Sin/New Creation requirement

John Hoffmeyer

 

HTH 101 Dynamic Faith of the Church 

Participants learn to identify, draw upon, and creatively apply, with integrity, for leadership in parish ministry and other public roles, the faith of Christian women and men from the origins of Christianity in Judaism and the Roman Empire to 1500.  Participants demonstrate abilities to articulate and employ key discourses, including doctrines of God, Trinity, Christology, the Church, Sin, and Scripture; and demonstrate and employ awareness of key practices, including Baptism and Eucharist. Fulfills History 1: Dynamic Faith of the Church requirement for MDiv, MA, and MAPL students; MAML free elective

Jon Pahl, Vincent Evener, Philip Krey

 

HTH 201 Christianity Becomes a World Religion

Course description forthcoming.

MDiv History 2: Globalizing Christianity requirement, or free elective

Maria Erling

 

HTH 202 Faith and Film

According to some observers, film and media is religion in America; seeing is believing. Many people spend much more time engaged with media than with a local congregation or agency. At the least, films interact with faith traditions to represent, expose, critique, extol, and shape them. In this course, we will study the interactions between movies and television and religions in the United States, from the early twentieth-century to the present, bringing to bear tools from the disciplines of cultural studies, history, and theology, among others, with a focus on engaging media (especially film and television) in congregational ministry and public theology. Viewing of 5-7 films will be accompanied by close readings and discussions of each of them, in conjunction with key secondary sources and reviews. MDiv History 2: Globalizing Christianity requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or free elective

Jon Pahl

 

HTH 203 Jesus and Cultural Perspectives

Course description forthcoming.

MDiv History 2: Globalizing Christianity requirement, or free elective

Jayakiran Sebastian) 

 

HTH 204 History of Lutheranism

United Lutheran Seminary is the oldest Lutheran seminary in the Western Hemisphere. It has been a leader in experiencing, benefitting from, and responding to exploration, colonialization, slavery, war, missionary zeal, and missionary regret. Today, after many language transitions and merger processes, Lutherans no longer rely on ethnic ties to gain a greater witness, but through ecumenical relationships, and world partnerships have tried every form of persuasion to adapt to new communities. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. Leaders hope for more inclusion; community memory and tradition become difficult barriers to overcome. But it can be done. This course explores how the many settlers and immigrant communities assimilated into the American scene, and how they time and again sought to broaden their appeal to meet their own vision of becoming a more inclusive church. By examining this history students will learn where the minefields are in scoping out the American landscape and what has been and what is promising about Lutheranism’s witness in our time. MDiv History 2: Globalizing Christianity requirement, or free elective

Maria Erling

 

HTH 212 Christian Encounters with Other Faiths 

The seminar attempts to examine the nature and scope of Church’s engagement with religious pluralism in light of biblical, historical and theological perspectives. It is not a course on world religions. We will examine Christian attitudes and approaches to other living faiths and how it shapes Christian self-understanding in contemporary society. We will also explore the nature and function of interreligious dialogue in Western societies and its implications for pastoral ministry.  MDiv Theology 2: Doing Theology in a Diverse World requirement, or free elective [Pre-requisite: HTH 100]

Paul Rajashekar

 

HTH 213 Understanding Mission Today

The seminar will examine the nature and function of the church’s mission in light of biblical, historical and contemporary perspectives. Attention will be paid to theologies of mission as articulated in various ecumenical, Roman Catholic and evangelical statements issued in recent decades. A select number of themes will be explored in greater detail in relation to our context of religious pluralism. Lutheran perspectives on evangelization and mission will also receive attention. MDiv Theology 2: Doing Theology in a Diverse World requirement, or free elective. [Prerequisite: Creation, Sin, and New Creation]

Paul Rajashekar

 

HTH 214 Black (African American) Theology

We will study contemporary black theology in the United States. The course examines the history, methodology and systematic construction of black theology with a focus on Christology in the African American perspective. We endeavor to reach three goals (1) to identify and study issues pertaining to the theological interpretation of “black religion,” which is regarded as the principal subject matter for black theology; (2) to identify sources and learn methods for doing systematic/constructive black theology; and (3) to examine central themes in black theological accounts of Christology (the person of Christ), inclusive of black and womanist symbols for Christ, interpretations of the teachings and ethics of the historical Jesus in black Christologies, and the meanings of the Cross and Resurrection for interpretations of redemptive sufferings, liberation and salvation. MDiv Theology 2: Doing Theology in a Diverse World requirement, or free elective

Frederick Ware

 

HTH 216 Life, Death and Salvation in a Multi-Faith World

Increasingly, the church is realizing that what it means to be “saved” is a much more complex question than simply where one is “going” after death. Instead, salvation touches the whole of human life—both individually and communally—and relates directly to how one understands both life and death. The challenge is clear: Christians today require a faithful, meaningful answer to the question of how Jesus saves, but in doing so, our postmodern context requires both a reexamination of the tradition and also a fresh articulation of how salvation relates to an understanding of life and death—in Christianity and in other religious traditions as well. This course, then, seeks to give students the tools to do just that, by examining what it means to be “saved” [liberated, enlightened, delivered, etc.] in both Christianity and selected other world religious traditions, and the ramifications such understandings have for life and meaning in the world. MDiv Theology 2: Doing Theology in a Diverse World requirement, or free elective. [Prerequisite: HTH 100]

Kristen Largen

 

HTH 221 The Ecumenical Church

This course seeks not only to analyze the history and background of the search for ecumenical understanding among the Churches, but also address the challenges and opportunities regarding the possibilities for unity and concord among the churches today. Focusing on the work of the World Council of Churches, we will examine the quest for unity among the Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Pentecostal confessional families; understandings of worship and the sacraments; interfaith relationships and the unity of humankind; gospel and cultures; mission and conversion; and justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Fulfills denominational history/polity requirement for students not required to take such a course or may be taken as free elective

Jayakiran Sebastian

 

HTH 303 The Lord’s Supper & the Communion of the Church 

The objective of this course is to facilitate and promote reflection on the communion meal, also known as the Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper, within the wider context of the Biblical understanding of the church as communion, with a view to developing an informed and integrated understanding of eucharistic issues and themes which emerge from the worldwide church and from the practical life-realities of the churches in our own contexts today. The course will examine the biblical foundations, practices in the early church, the variety of understandings during the reformation, the quest for unity and fellowship brought about through the ecumenical movement, and the challenges for the understanding of the church as communion today.

MDiv Gospel and Freedom requirement, or free elective [Pre-requisites: HTH 100 and HTH 101]

Jayakiran Sebastian

 

HTH 306 Paths of Conscience travel seminar

This course will be an immersive experience into the history of the resistance to slavery on the part of churches and believers. It will also explore the theological and moral resources needed for initiatives still needed to address the effects of slavery on our moral sensibility today. We will travel together from Philadelphia to the Eastern Shore to Washington DC to Harpers Ferry to Gettysburg visiting sites in the struggle. MDiv Gospel and Freedom requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or free elective [Pre-requisites: HTH 100 and HTH 101] Limited to 11 students.

Maria Erling

 

HTH 307 Religions, Violence, and Peacebuilding

This course provides students with tools to understand, prevent, and mitigate the ways religions produce or reinforce patterns of systemic violence, and will offer students resources to strengthen practices that promote peacebuilding in congregations, agencies, and communities. The primary approach in the course will be historical, but practical discussions with religious leaders and visits to agencies committed to religious peacebuilding will be components of the course as well. [Pre-requisites: HTH 100 and HTH 101] Fulfills MDiv Gospel and Freedom requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or free elective 

Jon Pahl 

 

HTH 308 Marriage, Family and Sexual Renunciation in Christian History

This course will explore Christian attitudes toward marriage, domestic life, and sexual renunciation from the early church through the Reformation era. Today, the family and human sexuality are frequently at the center of Christian reflection, concern, and controversy; students will gain new insight into present questions and discussions by learning about the diversity and development of Christian ideas and practices over history. MDiv Gospel and Freedom requirement, or free elective. [Prerequisite: Dynamic Faith of the Church]

Vincent Evener 

 

HTH 310 Bonhoeffer Seminar

An integrative seminar relating theological discourse to the public arena, focusing on the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The public aspect of the various disciplines—history, Bible, theology, ministry—will be related to issues arising from the analysis of the contemporary public situation. MDiv Gospel and Freedom requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or free elective. [For those in their last full year of coursework]

Katie Day 

 

HTH 315 Contemporary Lutheran Theology

This course explores a variety of contemporary Lutheran theologies. The course’s primary purpose is to assist you in drawing upon the richness of Lutheran thought for your own theological and ministerial practice. MDiv Gospel and Freedom requirement, or free elective. [Prerequisite: Creation, Sin, and New Creation]

John Hoffmeyer

 

HTH 316 Modern Anglican Theology 

This course offers an introduction to a selection of significant Anglican writers from the eighteenth century to the present. Although most of the writers are from the Church of England, Anglicans from elsewhere in the Communion are also included. A range of types of writing and of theological traditions will be included, illustrating the diversity of Anglicanism. Some weeks will focus on one particular writer, while others will focus on a topic, with reference to more than one writer. The course should be of particular value to Episcopal and other Anglican students, enabling them to understand the range of traditions within their tradition, and the arguments and tensions that have characterized it. Special attention will be given to the task of teaching Anglican theology and forming Anglican identity in the contemporary parish. Readings will include, but not be limited to, works by Michael Ramsey, C.S. Lewis, John Milbank, Kathryn Tanner, Kate Sonderegger, and Sarah Coakley. [Prerequisites: HTH 100 and HTH 101] MDiv Gospel and Freedom requirement, or free elective; required for Anglican Studies students

Kara Slade

 

PRAX 100 Worshipping Community 

This course aims to equip leaders to prepare worship within and with a community, drawing on the richness of the church’s traditions and of the community’s giftedness and context. Bringing together fruits of biblical study, church history, ecumenical theological consideration (especially of the sacraments), and pastoral care, it also draws on disciplines ranging from anthropology to neuropsychology. Students will both prepare corporate worship appropriate to their own tradition, and practice leading it. MDiv Worship requirement, or Praxis option, or free elective

Scott Ickert, J. Barrington Bates

 

PRAX 104 Worship in the African American Tradition 

This course explores the historical, theological and Biblical basis of worship in the African American tradition, from slave narratives to contemporary experiences. It further analyzes the development of worship styles from various church traditions with deep history, exploring the various forms of worship, and the planning for worship services to address the needs of an un-churched society will be a part of this course. Various liturgies of worship and special worship services (funerals, weddings, baptism, and communion) common in the life of the African American church will be examined, discussed and experienced. MDiv Worship requirement, or Praxis option, or free elective

Wayne Croft

 

PRAX 110 Pastoral Theology

An introduction to the foundations of pastoral theology, formation, and care, to equip participants to develop relationships of empathy and compassion with those seeking care. Students will explore various models of pastoral theology, and how they inform pastoral and community care. Students will develop a framework for understanding their own personal and pastoral formation, using the tools of family systems, narrative theory, and psychodynamic psychology. Through engagement with dynamic pastoral cases, students will develop the ability to engage in pastoral assessment, analysis, and develop a plan of care. Attention will be given to professional ethics, grief & loss, health & illness, making appropriate referrals, and the spiritual importance of self-care and boundaries. Through in vivo practice, students will continue to develop their pastoral presence, through prayer, empathy, listening, assertion, and problem solving skills, in order to respond in common pastoral, sacramental, and crisis situations. MDiv Pastoral Theology requirement, or Praxis option, or free elective

Storm Swain

 

PRAX 120 Church in Society 

The complex relationship between religion and society has re-emerged as a critical, sometimes volatile, social dynamic globally as well as in the North American context. This course will lay the foundations for a critical understanding of this relationship from the perspective of the Christian faith. Drawing on theological, sociological and historical sources, students will become familiar with different approaches of looking at the engagement of church and society.  The complex relationships between the church and cultural contexts, government and politics will be explored as the basis for doing public theology at local, national and global levels. MDiv Church & Society requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or Praxis option, or free elective

Katie Day

 

PRAX 123 Rural and Small Church Ministry 

Seventy-one per cent (71%) of all congregations in the United States have fewer than 100 people in average weekly attendance (63% in ELCA). Forty-four per cent (44%) of all congregations are in rural or small town settings (47% in ELCA). Explore your reaction to social change, conflict, community patterns, and mission in rural places and small churches, including Appalachia and other regions. While readings, presentations and discussions frame the course, there are options for ethnographic field research in a setting you choose. MDiv Church in Society requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or Praxis option, or free elective

Gilson Waldkoenig

 

PRAX 124 Faith-based Community Organizing

Course description forthcoming.

MDiv Church in Society requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or Praxis option, or free elective

Linda Noonan

 

PRAX 127 Appalachian Church in Society

Get ready for challenges in ministry, through a close look at church, society and ecology in Appalachia. A region rich in cultural histories and stunning landscape, Appalachia has also been traumatized by environmental damage, economic and racial inequality, opioid epidemic and other problems. The intensive week includes traditional classes and immersion trips to Appalachian communities. Assigned readings and presentations introduce methods for community analysis and the roots of environmental and social problems. Conversations with mission leaders probe resilience of church and Spirit. MDiv Church in Society requirement, or MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or Praxis option, or free elective

Gilson Waldkoenig

 

PRAX 130 Preaching the Gospel 

Preaching in the 21st Century is an introduction to the theology, methods, and practice of the oral communication of the gospel. This course provides a general introduction to the task of preaching. Students will distinguish and analyze: 1) the place of preaching in the context of the worshipping assembly; 2) the theological work of preaching as part of the practice of Christian ministry; and 3) the techniques and methodologies that various preachers use in the preparation and delivery of sermons. MDiv Preaching the Gospel requirement, or Praxis option, or free elective

Karyn Wiseman, C. David Reese

 

PRAX 140 Congregational Formation and Education for a Changing Church 

Students will demonstrate basic knowledge of the philosophy and history of Christian education, demonstrate ability to analyze, use and describe educational resources in their perspective ministries, and be able to develop pedagogical skills in teaching children, youth and adults in the Christian faith from their various denominations. Students will acquire a knowledge of their current denominational curriculum surrounding Sunday school, first communion, confirmation, baptism, adult catechumenate, and age-appropriate Bible study. Students will also demonstrate an ability to use media, technology and the arts in the delivery of Christian education. The field education placement will be crucial to achieving these goals. MDiv Congregational Formation and Education requirement, or Praxis option, or free elective

Charles Leonard

 

PRAX 144 Certificate in Congregational Faith Formation 

The 16-day course in congregational faith formation includes hands-on education emphasizing small groups, community development and relational ministry as a way to engage congregations in faith formation (also known as Christian Education.) The days of classroom work include Biblical and theological training, cultural analysis, long range planning, family ministry, Christian Education and lots of how-to strategies. This course is scheduled to meet 2 days a month from September – April (Friday-Saturday). The scope of this course is for faith formation for children, youth and young adults, but can be easily used with adults. Registration for the course takes place in the fall semester; a grade will be given at the close of the spring semester. MDiv Congregation Formation and Education requirement, or Praxis option, or free elective

Chelle Huth

 

PRAX 310 Equipping the Saints 

The focus of the course is on preparation for the administration of a congregation, particularly the identification of shared leadership with laity for evangelism, stewardship, and program planning, execution and evaluation. Pastoral responsibilities for priority setting, church and personal finances, and identification of skills among the laity are emphasized. MDiv Equipping the Saints requirement, or Praxis option, or free elective

Charles Leonard

 

PRAX 410 Missional Evangelism: Creativity in Context 

This course explores a variety of current practical approaches to engage in mission and evangelism. Specific focus will go to interaction of church communities with people not currently participating in a faith community. Classes will be interactive, inviting creativity and adaption of techniques for use in diverse contexts. Free Elective

Jennifer Hope-Tringali with Gil Waldkoenig

 

PRAX 420 Critical Reflection

This course is an intensive case-based peer-group action reflection course for students who have a weekly ministry setting, with onsite supervision. The course will foster participants’ understanding of pastoral ministry as they intentionally integrate their praxes of ministry, systematic theology, and the formation of their personal and ministerial identity, responsibility, authority, collegiality, and accountability. Students will write weekly pastoral assessments and make regular case presentations on praxes of ministry. This course is a partial completion of the degree requirement for the Critical Reflection on Praxes of Ministry. The other parts of the requirement include ministry placement, and individual supervision, which needs to be overseen by the Director of Contextual Education. Please note ELCA, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and some other denominations require a certified Clinical Pastoral Education unit. This course does not fill that requirement.) [Pre-requisite: PRAX 110 Pastoral Theology]. Limited to 12 students.

Storm Swain

 

PRAX 428 Environment, Faith and Praxis

Environment and God’s outdoor creativity are cradles of faith, thresholds to the gospel of Christ Jesus. Participants in this course develop competencies and plans to lead ecological and outdoor ministries. Students choose projects in areas such as food & faith; energy stewardship; habitat care; outdoor spirituality; or eco-justice advocacy. The course provides connections from environmental history and ecological theology to inform projects developed by participants. Fulfills MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or MA/MAPL Praxis option, or free elective

Gilson Waldkoenig

 

PRAX 431 God and Guns

An historic and sociological examination of guns in American society—beliefs, practices, “gun cultures,” and gun violence. Theological and ethical perspectives on consideration of gun policies is also explored. MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or Praxis option, or free elective

Katie Day

 

PRAX 451 Preaching John

The Gospel of John presents a very different portrait of Jesus when compared to its counterparts. As a result, its role in the imagination of the church's preaching has been supplementary to the three-year lectionary preaching cycle that favors the Synoptic Gospels. This course focuses on the narrative integrity of the Fourth Gospel, its specific theological claims, and the particular ways in which it interprets the meaning of the Word made flesh so that its unique voice might be taught and preached with integrity and faithfulness in the life of the church. Free elective

Karoline Lewis

 

PRAX 460 Relationships, Marriage, Family and Congregation 

Pastoral care of persons and congregations in the context of intimate relationships, marriage, and family. Practical skills will include pastoral and congregational assessment, premarital preparation, relationship counsel, and crisis intervention
with couples and families. Through up-to-date research, case studies, video clips, and personal reflection, students will gain an understanding of the developmental challenges, family systems, and group dynamics as they impact individuals,
couples, families, congregations, and the community. Participants will explore how religious and spiritual beliefs, values, and practices, impact pastoral care and the role of public theology in a community in crisis. MA/MAPL Praxis option, or free elective [Pre-requisite: PRAX 110 Pastoral Theology]

Storm Swain

 

PRAX 467 Preaching Popular Media

A look at the use of popular media (movies, TV shows, popular/secular music, news and current events, and other media sources) to augment the preaching moment.  The course will also look at the task of preaching and the news (from traumatic events to political discourse). Addressing the benefits, possibilities, difficulties, and cautions of using popular media in the pulpit will occur. Attention will be given to the use of digital media in proclaiming the Word.  Creation of digital media projects, sermon outlines with media usage, sermon PowerPoints, and other types of media projects will be required. Students will be required to preach. MA/MAPL Praxis option, or free elective [Pre-requisite: PRAX 130s course]

Karyn Wiseman

 

PRAX 468 Liturgy for a New Day

Course description forthcoming.

MA/MAPL Praxis option, or free elective

Karyn Wiseman

 

PRAX 470 Thriving, Dying, Merging, and Emerging Congregations

This course explores the developmental, systemic, leadership, and missional dynamics of congregations that are beginning, ending, and changing. In case studies of real life congregations we will identify possible best practices and explore what adaptive leadership skills are to help congregations navigate Church in today's world. MA/MAPL Praxis option, or free elective

Karyn Wiseman and Storm Swain

 

PRAX 481 Race, Gender and Sexuality

A focus on the issues of pastoral leadership and the various ways one’s race, gender and sexuality influence individual leadership style and the perception of that leadership style by others. We will explore each participant’s personal gifts and makeup in order to discover how different styles of leadership may be beneficial to them in pastoral leadership. MA/MAML/MAPL Public Theology option, or Praxis option, or free elective

Karyn Wiseman Elective

 

SPFM 112 The Saints’ Guide to Happiness  

No saint ever composed a guide to happiness. In fact many of them warned against the temptation to reduce the gospel to a system of techniques or “easy steps.” Yet this course takes note of the fact that those women and men whom the church has named “saints” were individuals who embodied the deepest wisdom of Christianity. In general they were renowned for their balance and good humor, their compassion and generosity, their humility and gratitude, their spirit of peace and freedom in the face of obstacles, and their ability to find joy in all things. In the end they were not named saints because of the way they died, or because of their visions or miraculous deeds, but because of their extraordinary capacity for love and goodness, which reminded others of the love of God. This course looks to these venerable models of the Christian life, both ancient and modern, to help ministerial candidates develop a morally integrated Christian spirituality and the habit of prayer. Free elective; also fulfills noncredit Spiritual Formation requirement

John Largen

 

SPFM 110 An Experiential Introduction to Contemplative Christian Spirituality

The 20th century spiritual teacher Henri Nouwen, writing about the lives of public ministers, said that one’s own intimacy with God in a prayerful life is the very beginning, source, and core of her or his ministry in the world (The Living Reminder). This course will be a didactic and experiential introduction to contemplative Christian spirituality with the aim of facilitating both our individual growth in intimacy with God and the development of a resilient life of prayer. By becoming familiar with Christianity’s rich spiritual tradition, and by personally “experimenting” with a variety of classical prayer-forms and disciplines, we each can begin to appropriate the church’s ancient wisdom for our lives today. Free elective; also fulfills noncredit Spiritual Formation requirement

John Largen

 

 

STM/DMIN courses

 

BIB 701 Prophets Seminar: Jeremiah 

A study of selected texts from Jeremiah, with special attention to exegetical method. Rigorous seminar format. 

Brooks Schramm

 

BIB 703 STM/DMIN Judgement and Justice

“If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe ” (Exodus 21:23-24). “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:14-15). Scripture abounds with images of judgement and justice, images that have inspired human imagination and sparked human thinking for centuries.  In this course we will engage deeply with selected scriptural depictions of judgement and justice and discuss how they support or problematize current theologies of atonement and systems of criminal and civil justice.

Allison deForest

 

BIB 704 The Psalter and the Life of Faith

This course engages the Psalms as the primal language of Jewish and Christian prayer, devotion, and piety, both corporate and personal. In this manner, the course is conceived as a languagecourse: an encounter with the vocabulary, phraseology, and peculiar idiom of the Psalms as they have been bequeathed to synagogue and church by ancient Israel. Perspectives from the areas of theological anthropology, systematic theology, pastoral theology, and liturgics (both Christian and Jewish) are regularly incorporated into the course.

Brooks Schramm

 

BIB 710 Love of God: Song of Songs

The history of interpretation of the Song of Songs is long and complex, as this small collection of poems has generated more commentaries than any other biblical book, except for the Psalter and Genesis. In the modern period, the book has raised difficult problems for critical interpreters, and it is not uncommon to hear the question: is Song of Songs the least biblical or the most biblical book in the Bible? This course leads students to an encounter with the Song through the eyes of selected Jewish and Christian commentators and seeks to demonstrate the centrality of “the love of God” for both traditions.

Brooks Schramm

 

BIB 755 Acts: The Early Church and the Church Today

This course will provide a survey of the book of Acts. While investigating issues of background, history, translation of the Greek, and the like, students will also consider how the issues faced by the early Church can inform the issues faced by the Church today and promote faithful practice. Possible topics include issues of biblical interpretation, decision making, stewardship, mission, Jewish-Christian relations, and the practice of piety and spirituality.

Mark Vitalis Hoffman

 

BIB 757 Paul, Women, and the Authority of Scripture 

The Pauline Epistles give us some of the best evidence we have of women’s active participation in the ministry of the early church. They also contain some of the most restrictive statements in the Bible about women’s speech and leadership. This course will explore this tension and the relevance of these passages for the historical study of women in the early church and for Christian life and ministry today. Discussion of the Pauline Epistles will also serve as an avenue into exploring what we mean when we say the Bible has authority. How do we as 21st century Christians faithfully and responsibly interpret these ancient documents as Scripture?

Jennifer McNeel

 

BIB 761 Romans

In this course we will walk through this, Paul’s most systematic letter, in detail discussing Paul’s context, rhetorical strategies, his Old Testament exegesis and how these help us and his first readers understand the good news “power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Roman 1:16).” We will take this opportunity to examine this essential epistle through a variety of 21st Century lenses to see clearer its meaning and purpose for us today. Assignments will include weekly online discussion of the text, an exegetical paper on a passage of the student’s choice and a project for use in a ministry setting.

Allison deForest

 

BIB 772 Neglected Apostles: Peter and James

Though Paul referred to them as “pillars” (Gal 2:9), Peter and James the Just have taken second place to the apostle to the gentiles, at least as far as the letters attributed to them are concerned. Martin Luther famously questioned the status of the Epistle of James alongside the Gospels and the letters of Paul. In this course students will ask what can be known about the historical Peter and James, explore what has been said of them by church tradition, and carefully examine the canonical writings bearing their names. Topics for study and discussion will include historicity and canonicity, faith and works, apocalypticism, and the relationship between Jewish and Gentile Christianity in the first and second centuries AD.

Joshua Yoder

 

PRAX 778 Environmental History of Christianity

Global and local environmental troubles prompt critical reconsideration of habits and traditions, and in recent decades, scholarly “environmental history” and “ecological hermeneutics” emerged. Inspired by those methods, this course re-reads history of Christianity in eco-theological perspective, seeking precedents and critical insight for the church’s contemporary response to environmental crisis. The course is online and organized in weekly units featuring a-synchronous activities (presentations, media and discussion boards). A required research project happens with a choice of synchronous or a-synchronous options. [Open to senior first-degree students by permission; free elective]

Gilson Waldkoenig

 

DMin Collegial Seminar

A seminar for DMin students that provides for collegial conversations around problems and issues in ministry based upon case studies, including the role of public theology and ministry.

Martin Zimmann

DMIN COL1 DMin Colloquium 1 (non-credit)

Colloquium I is a non-credit requirement that introduces students to the goals and requirements of the DMin program, including the development of individual Student Learning Goals. Students will be oriented to the expectations and opportunities of academic study in biblical studies and theology for the practice of ministry

Allison deForest et al.

DMIN COL2 DMin Colloquium 2 (non-credit)

Colloquium II is a non-credit requirement for DMin students who have achieved candidacy and are ready to engage in their final doctoral projects. Students will be introduced to the development of the DMin Project Proposal, methodologies and expectations for research, as well as the project review process.

Allison deForest et al.

 

HTH 702 Faith and Film

According to some observers, film and media is religion in America; seeing is believing. Many people spend much more time engaged with media than with a local congregation or agency. At the least, films interact with faith traditions to represent, expose, critique, extol, and shape them. In this course, we will study the interactions between movies and television and religions in the United States, from the early twentieth-century to the present, bringing to bear tools from the disciplines of cultural studies, history, and theology, among others, with a focus on engaging media (especially film and television) in congregational ministry and public theology. Viewing of 5-7 films will be accompanied by close readings and discussions of each of them, in conjunction with key secondary sources and reviews.

Jon Pahl

 

HTH 710 Spirituality in the Medieval Tradition (tentatively scheduled)

Course description forthcoming.

Philip Krey

 

HTH 715 Contemporary Lutheran Theology

This course explores a variety of contemporary Lutheran theologies. The course’s primary purpose is to assist you in drawing upon the richness of Lutheran thought for your own theological and ministerial practice.

John Hoffmeyer

 

HTH 720 Islam: Beliefs, Culture, and Contacts 

This course will equip individuals with competencies for Interfaith engagement with Islamic faith and culture. Students will be provided skills and knowledge that will increase understanding and improve dialogue with the Islamic community. Topics will include: the origins and beliefs of Islam; the Qur’an; Islam in history, particularly its encounters with Christianity; and Islam today. Students will be encouraged to embrace the diversity of religious traditions and contribute towards comfortable engagement while acknowledging and appreciating the distinctiveness of the other religious tradition. This course will be offered as a Philadelphia Intensive with pre-readings and online engagement and with follow up assignments. [Open to senior first-degree students by permission; free elective]

Roger Allen and Noah Hepler

 

HTH 721 Theologies of Religions

This graduate seminar is a study of contemporary theologies of religions and an exploration of the place of world’s religions in one’s theology. After an introduction to our contemporary situation of religious pluralism and the significance of interreligious dialogue in Christian discussions, some prominent models or theological proposals for responding to religious plurality will be examined. We will be addressing a range of theological ( and practical) issues that may require considerable amount of reading and reflection. Students are invited to select a theologian or theological topic for an in depth analysis and presentation in class. Our primary focus is on “Christian theologies of religions” though perspectives from other religious traditions are not excluded.

Paul Rajashekar

 

PRAX 715 Military Culture and Pastoral Care for Active Duty, Veterans, and Family Members 

Military service is by its very nature inherently stressful. During periods of active conflict, as during the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Armed Service members and their families were exposed to significant trauma along with multiple deployments. These military experiences and their associated physical, psychological, social, and spiritual consequences often follow military members and their families into their post-service life.  The personal and family challenges associated with reintegration into civilian life are important risk factors for mental health problems and may lead to stressful personal and family relationships. Moreover, for the military members, the Veteran, and for their family members, the stigma and shame often associated with mental health issues, especially in the military, may lead to profound suffering, sometimes persisting for a lifetime and frequently transmitted across generations.  Clergy are on the frontlines of this problem as they administer to their congregants. Service members and Veterans frequently use chaplains in the armed services for their counseling needs. Thus in the civilian world pastors become the first responders to Veterans in crisis. This course will focus on the unique cultural factors associated with military service.   The course will provide an introduction to military culture and the impact of military life on the family.  Topics including stressors specifically related to military duties and service life, reintegration, grief and bereavement, suicide prevention, moral injury, military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and intergenerational trauma will be examined through the lens of the impact of military culture and experiences and pastoral care. Course content will include multimedia material – videos, podcasts, news articles and research articles. [Open to first-degree students by permission; free elective]

Nancy Isserman, Will Barnes, and guest speakers

 

PRAX 730 Faith, Finances and Proclamation (tentatively scheduled)

In this class, students explore the joy of preaching around the issue of stewardship in a congregational setting. Taking a look at the biblical basis and possible interpretations of faithful giving and how that translates into proclamation is the focus of this course, which is intended to be a practi</