Theology II

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About Theology II: Christian Doctrine

Rationale | Pedagogical Matters | Curriculum Details

Rationale

Theology II is an introduction to Christian Doctrine for seminary students and interested others. The course presumes basic background knowledge about philosophical influences on Christian theology and the history of Christian thought. The recommended texts offer suggested readings for students who feel the need for more work in these areas.

The course aims to encourage competence in two tasks: theological analysis and theological construction. Theological analysis involves thinking about everyday situations in an effort to discern what is theologically important about them. Such discernment is crucial both for making sense of the world in light of the religious commitments of one's community (a crucial aspect of the preaching task) and for guiding decisions about what to do.

Theological construction involves being able to develop your own theological point of view by making use of resources from the theological traditions that flow (or tumble) into the present. While intrinsically interesting, theological construction is also of immediate relevance to students on ordination track, most of whom will be required to describe their theological perspective both orally and in writing, and to those considering further study in theology.

Theological analysis and theological construction will be encouraged in several ways.

  • Lectures on Christian doctrine will present basic information and at least one example of a theological point of view (namely, that of the lecturer) so as to initiate students into some of the complex issues debated within Christian theological traditions. This information is vital to both analysis and construction.
  • Theological analysis will be exhibited constantly both by teaching staff and by students themselves as they work on and present projects to the class. Part of each class time will be given over to this activity in one form or another.
  • Course texts of two sorts will also play a role. A basic text with readings aims to convey information while several systematic theologies—including the creations of arguably the preeminent Protestant and Catholic theologians of the twentieth century and one of the great feminist process theologians—will provide detailed examples of theological construction.
  • Besides the project mentioned above, students will write a paper conveying their own theological points of view. While students may feel that their background in theology makes them just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous at this stage, there is great value in thinking theologically in a constructive mode right from the beginning of learning theology.

Pedagogical Matters

The pedagogical principles adopted by the teaching staff, as well as their execution, are subject to ongoing evaluation. End-of-semester course evaluations are particularly helpful in that regard. This course will change next year in part because of what you say on those forms. This web page offers another opportunity to profit from the wisdom and experience of this year's class by inviting email comments during the semester about the teaching methods and performance of the staff. To make those comments, please email me at the feedback address.

Curriculum Details

This course, STH TT810, is a core requirement for MDiv students in the School of Theology. The prerequisite for this class is STH TT704, "Theology I: History of Christian Theology in Philosophical Perspective." This course is the prerequisite for the various Theology III electives in the MDiv curriculum.

The information on this page is copyright 1994-2010, Wesley Wildman (basic information here), unless otherwise noted. If you want to use ideas that you find here, please be careful to acknowledge this site as your source, and remember also to credit the original author of what you use, where that is applicable. If you want to use text or stories from these pages, please contact me at the feedback address for permission.