Take a Class – Spring 2019

Brite Divinity School’s Spring 2019 schedule offers a variety of classes on diverse topics taught by our permanent and adjunct faculty. Individuals interested in enrolling in a specific class without pursuing a degree may be eligible to enroll as a Special Student. For more information, please complete the Request Special Student Application form below. Need-based tuition grants at 50% may be available. The application deadline for Spring courses is Friday, December 7.

Morning Courses

Issues in American Religious Life and Thought: USA Christian Liberal/Progressivist Theologies

Photo of James DukeDr. James Duke
Friday 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

This course attempts an overview of the most notably influential of liberal/progressivist Christian theologians and theological movements in the USA from colonial times to the present. In so doing it tracks the ever-changing meanings of such labels as “conservative or liberal” and “traditionalist or progressivist.” Students may in their final paper focus on a figure, movement or issue of special interest to them, relating to the liberal/progressivist theological developments.  For more information about this course, read the prospectus.  To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Feminism and Theology

Photo of Namsoon KangDr. Namsoon Kang
Wednesday 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Radicals and reformers have regarded institutionalized religion such as Christianity as a bastion of conservatism. Religion seems to represent unchanging stability; it derives legitimacy from ancient tradition and custom and lends support to the preservation of old familiar patterns of belief and behavior. Many active feminists who hope to bring about radical change in a given society are often directly opposed to religious beliefs, organization, and practices because of deep-seated patriarchal value systems and practices. Yet, feminist leadership has also come from within religious institutions: Some feminists cherish aspects of their religious experience and beliefs. In this context, feminists have had a complex, often paradoxical, and changing relation to Christianity as an institutionalized religion. Feminist theological discourse and movement, emerged in the 1960s in the context of the so-called Second Wave feminism, take gender issues to the Christian tradition and community. This course will give attention to the major themes and intersections of how feminism has addressed the institution of Christian religion and re/constructed theological discourses and practices in more egalitarian and just ways. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Special Topics: Church History – Christian Missions in the Modern Era

Photo of Tim LeeDr. Tim Lee
Wednesday 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

The course explores modern, chiefly twentiethCentury, thoughts and practices related to Christian missions, with a focus on East Asia. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

 

The Ministry of Pastoral Care

Photo of Barbara McClureDr. Barbara McClure
Tuesdays 8:15 am -10:45 am

This course introduces students to basic theories, theologies and methods of pastoral care, especially in the ecclesial context. This course assumes that care is mediated through acts of pastoral leadership, liturgy, preaching and the forming of congregational life and programming as well as through specific individual conversations. Special attention is paid to the person of the pastor as caregiver and leader of a community of faith and care. Theories and methods of care are related to real and practical problems a pastor faces in a congregation including illness and death, grief and loss, marriage and family issues, domestic violence and abuse. Skills learned will include listening, analysis of systems, and diagnosis and referral. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Special Topics in Christian Thought : Anglican Theologies

Photo of Ed WaggonerDr. Ed Waggoner
Thursday 8:15 am-10:45 am

This seminar will introduce students to major theological movements and thinkers in Anglican traditions, from the 16th Century to the present. Readings and discussions will explore Anglican identities from ‘classical’ and global theological perspectives. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Afternoon Courses

Evangelism

Photo of Natalya CherryDr. Natalya Cherry
Tuesday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

“An exploration into the theology and methods of evangelism in mainline Protestantism, with focus on the development of a congregation’s evangelism ministry” (Brite Bulletin). Declaring the good news of Jesus Christ in the 21st century, amid dismal forecasts for mainline Protestantism, is a matter of mitigating the bitter invective polluting public discourse by listening to understand, at least as much as by proclaiming forgiveness. This course considers theologies, practices, and aesthetics of evangelism, as well as different perspectives on the contemporary situation of Christianity in North America. Through the use of critical reflection on resources, demographic and ethnographic study, creative exercises, multi-media experiences, reflective structured dialogues, and possibly even a site visit or two, students will be able to understand biblical and theological foundations upon which to construct evangelism that is good news for all people, to analyze their context to develop holistic models of evangelism relevant to that context, and to become (and to train others to become) recipients as well as bearers of good news. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

United Methodist Polity

Photo of Natalya CherryDr. Natalya Cherry
Thursday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

“The organization, polity and comprehensive program of the United Methodist Church. Required of United Methodist students for ordination” (Brite Bulletin). Students will “examine the development of United Methodist polity from a historical and theological perspective,” using “The Book of Discipline and The Book of Resolutions as working handbooks for mission and ministry,” in order to be able to “relate historical understanding and theological reflection to the mission and ministry of the contemporary church through: 1. A knowledge of the rationale and ordering of United Methodist structures; 2. Understanding the nature of authority and power in the church; 3. Commitment to an ongoing process of renewal” (University Senate Standards for Courses in UM Studies). Please note that, while following these standards and their numerous sub-sections (to be listed in the syllabus and ranging from understanding structural expressions of ecclesiology to perceiving the nature of ecumenical relationships), this particular semester will give unique attention to the Special Session of General Conference, its relevant history, present proposals for a Way Forward, and future results (see Note under “Requirements” below). For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

History of Christianity I, Early to Medieval

Photo of James DukeDr. James Duke
Tuesday and Thursday 4:30 pm-5:45 pm

This course surveys the history of the Christian church(es) from first century origins to the eve of 16th century reforms. Its primary aim is to offer resources and opportunities for the development of historically-informed understandings of the character of the Christian tradition(s). The study focuses on exploring varied historical factors and theological concerns at play in shaping the “faith and order” and “life and work” of the church(es).For more information about this course, read the prospectus.  To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Interpreting the Hebrew Bible

Photo of Ariel FeldmanDr. Ariel Feldman
Tuesday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

A graduate level, introduction to the critical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Christian Worship

Photo of Jo HudsonDr. Jo Hudson
Wednesday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

This is an introductory course on the principles and practices of Christian worship. Emphasis will be placed on the diversity of historic and contemporary expressions of Christian worship, the cultural contexts within which worship takes place, theological reflection upon the elements of Christian worship, and developing skills for effective pastoral leadership in worship. Students will also begin to develop the skills needed to plan, organize, lead, and reflect upon the weekly worship of a congregation with pastoral sensitivity, theological vision, creativity, and shared leadership. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Special Topics in Christian Thought, Love: Philosophical-Theological Issues

Photo of Namsoon KangDr. Namsoon Kang
Wednesday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

Love in various forms is as old as humankind. However, love has never been as socially, politically, existentially, philosophically, and theologically decisive as it is in contemporary societies. As people have lost their belief in traditional values such as God/ the Divine, the Revolution, or the Nation State, love has become the only thing everyone still holds on to both in the private and the public spheres, regardless who/what one is. In this context, the world is currently going through a revolution of love (Luc Ferry) and love becomes significant sources of the creative human power, and of the meaning of life. The increasing significance of love in various sectors of human life is a crucial theme for philosophical and theological reflections and for theorizations of contemporary societies. In this course, we will explore philosophical and theological approaches to love as discourse and practice. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

History of Christianity II: Reformation and Modern

Photo of Tim LeeDr. Tim Lee
Thursday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

This course surveys the history of Christianity from the 16th to 20th century, examining key events, developments, and personalities. Among its objectives is to examine new modes of Christian thought, practices, and associations that emerged in this period, as well as ways the religion interacted with states. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Special Topics in Church History: Eastern Christianities

Bryce RichDr. Bryce Rich
Wednesday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

In this course we will explore the development of several Eastern Christian traditions: Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and the Church of the East. We will follow the historical path of the first seven Ecumenical Councils and subsequent controversies particular to the Eastern Orthodox world. We will pay particular attention to the liturgies, prayers, iconography, and spiritual practices of these traditions, with an eye turned to the historiography produced by these communities in their attempts at self-presentation. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Theologies of Militarization

Photo of Ed WaggonerDr. Ed Waggoner
Thursday 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

The purpose of this course is to create public theologies about U.S. militarization. We will rely on anthropologists, political scientists, activists, military authorities, and journalists for a broad introduction to several aspects of militarization in the United States (e.g., geography, environment, politics, economics, education, media and entertainment, gender, and race). Readings for the second part of the course will explore contemporary Christian views about national power. Students will develop their own theological positions and strategies for engaging in public conversations about the role of the U.S. military in American society and in the world. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

Evening Courses

Interreligious Dialogue

Photo of David BrockmanDr. David Brockman
Tuesday 6:15 pm-8:45 pm

As the U.S. grows more religiously diverse, people of faith find themselves rubbing shoulders with religious others more often than ever before. This course is designed to help students develop perspectives and tools for engaging in meaningful, mutually transformative dialogue with religious others in today’s religious, cultural, and political context. The course examines the history and development of Christian thought about other religions, as well as the concept of interreligious dialogue in general. The course then focuses on how Christians can engage in dialogue with four major world religions—Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. This will entail exploring those traditions as potential bearers of ultimate meaning, as well as studying their historical origins and developments, and their contemporary significance. The course will pay particular attention to dialogue with Muslims in the context of widespread Islamophobia. Students will listen deeply to the witness of religious others, reflect theologically on that witness, develop their own theological position on interreligious relations, and engage in dialogue with one other religious tradition. For more information about this course, read the prospectus. To request an application for this course, complete the form below.

 

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