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Introduction to Theology
This course aims to provide a working knowledge of key vocabulary, topics, and traditions in Christian theology, to spark an interest in theology, and to develop the theological literacy needed to take part in cultural or ecclesial contestations and/or to pursue personal decisions about faith and practice. No particular faith commitment or background is assumed.
A single semester can offer at best a limited introduction to the vast variety of histories, issues, narratives, stories, and images that together constitute the substance of Christian theologies. In our texts we will meet very different ways of thinking about Christian doctrines, the Christian tradition, and the nature and content of faith.
The language and conceptual vocabulary utilized in Christian theology can be technical and off-putting. Two important aims of this course will be to learn some of that conceptual vocabulary, and to practice translating between the technical language of Christian theology and ordinary language. Learning this language is not an end in itself. It is a means to the end of engaging in depth with the richness of Christian theological traditions.
The course is scheduled like a traditional lecture course, but class time will not be exclusively devoted to lecture. Students should come prepared to participate in discussions and activities during class.
The instructor reserves the right to modify the syllabus as needed during the course of the semester.
The aims of the course are that students who complete the semester
Will demonstrate familiarity with some main themes of Christian theological traditions
Will acquire theological vocabulary and concepts they will need as they pursue graduate theological education
Will become acquainted with and practice research and textual interpretation skills in theological studies, particularly with respect to writing
Will have demonstrated the ability to critically assess theological arguments and will have taken steps toward articulating and developing their own theological positions
No background required
Careful reading of 60-130pp/week, submission of classesv2 writing assignments, 3 short papers, 1 final paper (5-7 pages), attendance at section
Short paragraphs submitted to class web site (10%), library assignment (10%), argument outline (10%), 3 short papers (30%), final paper (40%)