Department of Religious Studies, Theology & Philosophy
An introduction to the background of biblical and theological studies to prepare students for graduate level research. A focus on scholarly approaches to the texts, current concepts in the literature, methods used by various schools of thought and proper tools for research. Required of all students. This course is cross-listed with RS405.
This course is designed to introduce students to important texts within the Hebrew Bible. By its end, students will have focused on particular writings in Hebrew Scripture; e.g., the Pentateuch, Prophetic literature, the Wisdom tradition, Psalms, or apocalyptic. This course is cross-listed with RS406.
This course will serve as an introduction to religious literature of the earliest churches as preserved in the New Testament. Students will examine selected writers or categories of New Testament literature; e.g., the Synoptic Gospels, Luke-Acts, the Johannine corpus, the letters of Paul, and the Pastoral Epistles. By its end, students will have an understanding of those documents, which have had the most significant effect on the development of the church and its character, including readings in modern New Testament criticism. This course is cross-listed with RS404.
A study of the Hebrew Scriptures in light of the historical, cultural, political, and religious circumstances that influenced their formation. The course will introduce the student to the literary and historical questions being raised with regard to this literature.
A biblical study of the concepts of prophecy, prophets and their call and message, as discovered in the literature of the Hebrew Bible. To examine the meaning and purpose of the divine message of selected classical prophets and to increase awareness and accountability in the area of social justice.
An exploration of women and their experiences within the narratives of the Bible. To survey female deities in other religions as influencing the Bible. To present theological traditions about women and examine the functions of women in the early Christian communities as they impact today’s church.
A study of the land, the culture, and the people of ancient Israel and of early Christianity through visits to biblical sites, archeological excavations and museums. This course is taken in Israel. (This course does not fulfill the biblical core requirement.)
An introduction to travels of Paul and the history of the early Christian church. Visits to biblical sites, archaeological excavations, and museums. This course is taken in Greece and/or Turkey. (This course does not fulfill the biblical core requirement.)
This course will explore the history of the churches of Rome proper, beginning with early Christianity and following through to modern day. This course will be taught on location during a trip to the city of Rome and include visitations to the various basilicas and churches within the city. (This course does not fulfill the biblical core requirement.)
An exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures that will enable a student to study a specific topic in depth. This course can be repeated with different areas of concentration.
This course explores the basic issues, which are at the basis of the Christian belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The course will survey the question of the meaning of Jesus and the faith placed in him by examining the scriptural data, historical dialogues, current issues that are raised by faith in Jesus, and intellectual frameworks that have shaped the theologians as they articulate for the community of faith what Jesus truly means. This course is cross-listed with RS431.
A study of theology of God as Trinity dealing with Biblical, Conciliar, and theological developments through the centuries. This course stresses contemporary insights and thinking that highlight the “relational,” yet unitary understanding of God as Trinity.
This course will explore the definition and history of the Christian community and the challenges that the modern Christian community faces. By outlining the challenges to the community and presenting the theological principles behind communal praxis in the world, the students will gain an understanding of the community at large. This course is cross-listed with RS320.
An investigation of key moments throughout the two thousand years of Christian history using original texts, art, architecture, and music. To familiarize the students with major historical periods beginning with early Christianity and continuing through the centuries up until the present day. Emphasis upon community development and issues that impact this history.
This course will explore the treatment, writing, and praxis of women throughout the history of Judeo-Christian tradition, beginning with women of the Hebrew Scriptures and following right through modern day.
This course provides the opportunity for study of a particular topic in theology. Topics are chosen by the professor with reference to the interests and needs of students. This course is cross-listed with RS290.
This course explores the basic issues that are at the foundation of Christian belief about humanity and its ultimate purpose. It will present the Christian tradition on sin and grace, and will also highlight the optimistic and pessimistic strains within the world religions, including Christianity.
This course will be an overview of the historical evolution and ongoing theological reflection on the Church’s worship as found in the Catholic Tradition. We will consider questions such as: 1) How has the “text” of the Church’s worship evolved in historical, cultural, and pastoral “context”? 2) How has celebration of the Church’s liturgy been a source of theology and expression of Christian identity and transformation? 3) What are the basic principles of worship articulated in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and subsequent documents? Examination of the Church’s worship will be explored through the lens of: paschal mystery, revelation, sacramentality, symbol, word, proclamation, and liturgical arts. Therefore, both ancient texts, as well as historical and theological analysis by contemporary theologians, will be used. For example, we will consider the issues that led the bishops at Vatican II to reform the Missal of Pius V, and examine the Council’s Document on the Liturgy and the documents issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship since Vatican II, including most recent documents and publications concerning the Roman Missal. The goal of the course will be to arrive at a fuller understanding of the theological and spiritual contexts that underscore the Liturgy of Word and Sacrament.
An examination of liturgy as an expression of spirituality, Christian theology, and history. Contemporary approach to Word and Sacraments as well as liturgy as a source of theology.
An exploration of the historical, theological, and pastoral practice that gives ritual expression to the presence of God. To study the pastoral and theological development of the Church’s understanding of sacraments. This course is cross-listed with RS323.
This course will explore the nature, purpose and function of Church law, using practical applications of pastoral significance in the modern Church. Special attention will be given to the role of law in the Church from viewpoints of ecclesiology, theology, and social justice, as well as to the role of basic canonical principles in the life of members of the Catholic Church. This course is cross-listed with RS452.
Course will examine the biblical, theological, and ecclesial foundations in understanding and implementing the missionary evangelization process deeded to the Christian community. This course will reflect on the centrality of this call to the identity and purpose of the Church. In doing so, we will observe the cultural, psychological, and social dimensions that shape the Church’s evangelization.
This course explores the historical, philosophical, and pastoral approaches, which rest at the basis of ministry. We will look also at the sources for each of these: the Scriptures and the Church’s tradition. This course is cross-listed with RS456.
This course considers the impact of key people on the early development of the Christian spiritual tradition. It also focuses on the support they can give to the spiritual journeys of people today.
This course emphasizes the impact of feminine thought and experience on the Christian Spiritual Tradition. It focuses on the influence of varied women during the medieval period and gives a special emphasis to the spirituality of Julian of Norwich. Each class also deals with the tradition’s guidance in the development of spirituality today.
An understanding of the ministerial roles and responsibilities of the Catholic school administrator. To investigate the philosophical and historical foundations of the Catholic school. To explore the role of Church governance and governmental structures of the Catholic school and the public arena. (Course does not count toward degree).
A study of the compositional history, literary design, and social situations in the Gospel of Mark. This earliest gospel will be studied in light of Christology, its contribution to the New Testament, and its use as a source for other gospels.
This course is a study of the third gospel, with an emphasis on Luke’s major themes. In addition to miracles, parables, passion and resurrection narratives, special emphasis will be placed on Jesus as Prophet, table fellowship, and discipleship.
An examination of the history and identity of the Johannine community as it develops and interacts with the mission of Jesus. A focus on the topics of Jewish feasts, Johannine signs and discourses, as well as the leadership role of women. This course is cross-listed with RS311.
An examination of the person and work of Jesus Christ as experienced in the early Christian Communities of Mark and Matthew. To present sufficient background of Gospel formation and sources, first-century Palestianism Judaism, Christology, parables, and miracles, as well as the Passion, Death, and Resurrection narratives within the first two gospels.
An exploration of Paul’s message to specific early Christian communities. A study of the person of Paul, the cultural milieu of the first-century Greco-Roman world, and the theology of the authentic letters of Paul in their relationship to today’s world. This course is cross-listed with RS404.
This course will explore the Christian perspective on morality and its application to current moral issues. In so doing, the theological definition and principles of Christian morality will be presented, as will a survey of the historical development of Christian morality.
This course will serve as a study of theological, Christological, and ecclesiological foundations for social justice. The stress is on the systemic and structure issues in being a just society.
A theological investigation of marriage and family life with special emphasis being given to current understandings and developments.
A consideration of what helps or hinders religious development and the responsibility of Church to foster growth in faith. An examination of the various theological, philosophical, and educational models that inform the foundations of religious formation. Criteria for evaluating appropriate models of religious formation will be discussed. This course is cross-listed with RS450.
The interfacing of theology and psychology as it relates to the solid development of people engaged in religious counseling on the parish level. The course aims to give theological foundation and psychological insights to assist people working in the various forms of counseling that takes place outside the therapeutic field. This course is cross-listed with RS451.
An introduction of a blend of theory (ecclesiology of Vatican II) and a practical translation of that theory in order to create methods of developing a loving and caring parish. Presentations on types of parishes, shared and collaborative ministry, parish identity, etc.
An examination of various issues in field ministry today, such as the role of the lay minister, the professionalization of ministry, ministry as service, and specific kinds of ministry that encompass the theology of mission and ministry.
Upon completion of this one year course offered by the Diocese of Trenton, students will be allowed to transfer 3 credits with a “P” (Pass) grade.
This course is a general survey of the formation and development of the liturgical cycle of seasons and feasts, their structures and the musical genres that were created in response to them. The scope of the course includes recent directives and documents concerning music within the worship and prayer life of the contemporary church.
This course will explore the psychological, scriptural, theological, and historical foundations of Christian Spirituality. Following a brief examination of the psychological dimensions of spirituality in general, we will study the roots of Christian Spirituality in Sacred Scripture. We will examine the Christological, Ecclesiological, and Eschatological foundations of Christian Spirituality and a survey of the history of it from the beginning to the present, with a special focus on situating the Mercy charism within that history.
This course will examine and explore the meaning and context of “mercy” as it has been experienced and described biblically, historically in the broader context, and, more particularly, within the community of the Sisters of Mercy. It will examine the roots of Mercy through the life of its foundress and early leaders, and how this charism has been called forth in particular times and places, and how today this charism is continuing as God’s gift in both familiar and novel forms.
This course will take as its starting point the contemporary context of religious diversity, pluralism, and secularism. We will ground the comparative study of spirituality in contemporary comparative method in theology, with special attention to the ecumenical and interfaith movements of the 20th and early 21st centuries and the Second Vatican Council. The course will study comparatively select scriptures, texts, and practices, and consider the practice of interfaith dialogue. Particular focus will be on the theme of compassion as the basis of mercy and on the practice of various forms of contemplation across religious traditions. Experiential aspects of this course will include engaging in the practice of interfaith dialogue, virtually as a class and in person locally, and coming to understand the interfaith practices of contemporary Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates.
This course will consider the relevance to the Mercy tradition of ethical praxis informed by scripture, Catholic Social Teaching, and contemporary contextual theologies. We will focus on the role of prayer and discernment in community as vital resources for theological-ethical praxis rooted in practical experiences of Mercy ministries, activism, and theological reflection. Experiential aspects of the course will center on the role of the arts in forming and sustaining a spirituality. There will be specific focus on art, music, dance, etc., as deepening the capacity to encounter the suffering of the other and engage in movements for justice.
This culminating course will explore theological and spiritual dimensions of the contemporary experience of the charism of Mercy by examining several questions. First, as all of creation yearns for the goodness of God, how do we understand the sacramental, “paschal” nature of life and the call to live more harmoniously and equitably with each other and with all of creation, mindful especially of those who are poor, oppressed, and suffering? Second, how does the ethical challenge to live Mercy rest within the theological aesthetic invitation to recognize the mercy and beauty of God as mediated to us through our lived experiences in the world? Third, made in the image of God, yet aware of our human limitations and failings, how do we understand the call to live lives, if not radical lives, of mercy and hope, both personally and communally, in times of wonder and strife?
This course is offered by the Center for Youth Ministry Development on four weekends over the course of one year. Topics are Principles of Youth Ministry, Practices of Youth Ministry, Foundations of Ministry Leadership, and Skills for Christian Leadership. Upon completion of this one year course offered by the Center for Ministry Development, students will be eligible to register for 4 credits with a “P” (Pass) grade. Required for Youth Ministry track.
This course is offered by the Center for Youth Ministry Development on four weekends over the course of one year. Topics are Fostering the Faith Growth of Youth through 1) Evangelization and Catechesis, 2) Justice and Service, 3) Pastoral Care, and 4) Prayer and Worship. Upon completion of this one-year course offered by the Center for Ministry Development, students will be eligible to register for 4 credits with a “P” (Pass) grade. Required for Youth Ministry track.
Students will create and implement a ministry project and produce a paper to describe and analyze the project according to the literature related to the theory and practice of Youth Ministry. Required for Youth Ministry track.
The student will work independently with a professor on a subject pertinent to their interests and program as agreed upon with the faculty member. Offered on application.
Prerequisite(s): Approval of proposed study and number of credits by director of graduate theology.
Research in an area of theological thought to assist in the formulation and writing of the master thesis. Taken in the final semester of the student’s program. Offered on application.
Prerequisite(s): Completion of all coursework for the degree.
Intensive study in one area of theological concentration to assist the student in the formation and writing of the master’s thesis. Offered on application.
Prerequisite(s): Acceptance from the program director.
Johann M. Vento, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies; Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Theology, and Philosophy
Ph.D., Fordham University
M.A., Washington Theological Union
B.A., University of Maryland
Elissa Cutter, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Theology
Ph.D., Saint Louis University
M.A., Graduate Theological Union
A.B., Georgetown University
Joseph F. Gower, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
A.B., University of Scranton
Corey Katz, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D., Saint Louis University
M.A., University of Western Ontario
B.A., University of Toronto
Jonathan Kim-Reuter, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D., M.A., New School for Social Research
M.A., B.A., Kent State University
Judith Schubert, RSM, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Ph.D., Fordham University
M.A., Providence College
B.A., Georgian Court University