Advanced Courses – Biblical and Theological Studies
RLE 600: THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES
In this course students will be provided with an overview of the canon of Scripture commonly referred to as the “Old Testament.” Students will explore the general history of Ancient Israel as well as employ the historical-critical method for the interpretation of the text.
RLE 601: TORAH AND EARLY ISRAEL
The history and faith of Israel are examined from the earliest beginnings through the reign of Solomon. The text is interpreted with regard to the cultural context of the Ancient Near East. The early prophetic tradition is explored in light of Torah and the historical writings of the Hebrew Scriptures. Special attention is given to the theological significance for Christian faith.
RLE 602: THE PROPHETS
This course studies the prophets of Israel and the world in which they lived, from the division of the Israelite kingdom to the Maccabean period, to understand their message as well as the nature of the prophetic tradition and its relevance for the church today.
RLE 603: THE WRITINGS
While giving special emphasis to the book of Psalms, the Five Scrolls, Job and other wisdom materials, this course offers a study of the cultic and wisdom traditions in Israel. Special attention is given to the significance of the Psalms and Wisdom for Christian theology and devotion.
RLE 610: THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES
This course includes an introduction to Gospel literature, the writings of Paul, the text of Revelation, and other writings forming the Christian canon of Scripture. Students will gain a knowledge of the origin of the texts, their historical context, and their interpretation through the use of the historical-critical method.
RLE 615: THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS
This course explores the origins, structure, and general character of Matthew, Mark, and Luke with special emphasis on the theological thrusts of each gospel. Select pericopes, chosen to create an awareness of the difficulties and problems of New Testament interpretation, are taken for extensive exegesis.
RLE 616: JOHANNINE WRITINGS
With consideration of the context of the historical situation of the community in which and for which the Johannine texts were written, this course offers an examination of the Gospel and Letters of John. Emphasis is given to the theology (Christology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Ethics) of the texts and their significance for contemporary Christian faith.
RLE 617: THE LETTERS AND THEOLOGY OF PAUL
The central topic of this course is an analysis of the authentic Pauline letters, the situation and conflicts that provoked them, and the theology in and behind them. Other letters attributed to Paul (the “deutero-Pauline” literature) will also be considered.
RLE 631: THE DOCUMENTS AND THEOLOGY OF VATICAN II
Students will review the historical context that gave rise to the Council as well as the most important documents produced by Vatican II. After a thorough consideration of the theologies present in conciliar texts, students will explore the implementation and development of the Council’s teachings in the contemporary Church.
RLE 632: THEOLOGIES OF LIBERATION
While offering an in-depth consideration of the Liberation theology developed in Central and South America, the course will also provide an overview of feminist and Black theologies. Some attention will be given to the foundation of liberation theologies in the political theology of Western Europe and the general struggle for human freedom as an essential component of Gospel faith.
RLE 633: WOMEN AND RELIGION
Students will explore questions of method and concepts of gender, patriarchy, feminism, and liberation as they appear in studies of women and religion. Emphasis will be given to the perspectives that feminist theologians contribute to the theological enterprise based on a critical analysis of established feminist authors. Consideration will be given to the ways in which feminist thought provide renewed understandings of male and female identity.
RLE 641: SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION
This course investigates the sacramental dimensions of Christian Initiation in the Early Church and the historical factors that contributed to the dissolution of the rite in the West. The biblical foundations and theology of Baptism, particularly as developed in the letters of Paul, will be complemented with a study of the development of Confirmation. A consideration of the New Testament theology of the Eucharist and an exploration of the implications of restoring the process of the rites in the contemporary Church will complete the course.
RLE 643: THE EUCHARIST
This course has two aims. The first is to offer a solid historical and theological understanding of Eucharist as a sacrament of the Christian community. The second aim is to apply the insights offered by a historical perspective and the work of contemporary theologians to the work of celebrating the Eucharist in today’s parish. Consideration will also be given to topics such as Eucharistic devotion and the Sunday gathering of the Catholic community in the absence of a priest.
RLE 645: SACRAMENTS OF RECONCILIATION AND VOCATION
Attentive to the historical development of the sacraments of Reconciliation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick, the course will also highlight the particular theology operative in the contemporary practice of the rites. The themes of relationship, commitment, forgiveness, service, and leadership will be explored as dimensions of Christian living in faith and hope.
RLE 647: HUMAN SEXUALITY AND CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
Drawing on the contributions of contemporary natural and social sciences, the course will provide a critical investigation of the historical and ideological understandings of human sexuality. Building upon the notion of human sexuality and love as dimensions of human holiness, attention will be given to considering Christian marriage as a sacramental event in contemporary theological reflection as well as in historical expression.
RLE 651: MORAL ISSUES IN TODAY’S HEALTH CARE
Although health care began as a ministry of the Church, it is now secularized and commercialized, especially in the United States. Ethical questions arise as a result of this shift and the course will examine them. Topics, among others, include patient autonomy, the right to life, euthanasia, reproductive technologies, abortion, genetic engineering, research ethics, and the cost of health care. Secular as well as religious approaches will be studied.
RLE 653: PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS ETHICS
Catholic social teaching in general and the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter on the economy, in particular, provide a perspective for the practice of corporate business in the present culture of the United States. This course intends to explore the ethical implications of social teaching that upholds the rights of labor, insists on the dignity of the worker, and advocates a responsible distribution and use of the world’s goods. While the major emphasis is on responsibility in corporate enterprise the course also gives perspective to other professionals who provide service through profit and not-for-profit structures.
RLE 661: THE TRADITION OF THE MYSTICS
This course includes both a study of the nature of mysticism in the Judeo- Christian tradition and the study of selected writings from representatives of that tradition. Consideration will be given to the physical, psychological, and social dimensions of mystical experience as well as a theological understanding of the mystic’s encounter with the Holy.
RLE 663: THE SPIRITUAL CLASSICS
The human search for God takes a variety of forms in the Christian tradition. This course explores the path of holiness given in the writings of significant men and women from the early and Medieval periods of Christianity through the Reformation.
RLE 665: CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUALITY
This course focuses on the dynamics and authors on the spiritual life in post-Reformation Christianity. Consideration will be given to European spiritualities of the 17th through 20th centuries and to American movements. Beyond what is generally deemed traditional Christian spirituality, the course will propose some examination of Creation and New Age spiritualities, modern Evangelical Christianity, and feminist and liberation spiritualities.