Academic Programs 
      

 

Putting Your Theology Together: A Systematic Theology  (TH-500)
Fall 2009

Theology is "talk about God."  Systematic theology is talk about God that has been formalized into a set of mutually coherent doctrines.  This course introduces the discipline of systematic theology by surveying the traditional loci of the christian confession and examining their appropriation and elaboration in the thought of the most influential christian theologian of the 20th century—Karl Barth—and in writings from the most trenchant source of internal critique and renewal in christian theology since the Reformation—liberation theology (in this case, feminist and hispanic).  Themes observed throughout the survey will include the responsiveness of theology to the witness of scripture, the role of christocentricity as a methodological rubric, and the interrelatedness of doctrine and ethics.  Students will be encouraged to own this discipline for themselves by developing systematic formulations of their theological convictions.

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:20 p.m., beginning Sept. 15
 

Marcus Elder
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics


Contact Information:

phone: 
(860) 509-9500
email:

 

Course Syllabus




COURSE OBJECTIVES

  1. To learn the terminology and traditional formulation of the loci of christian systematic theology as well as the critical appropriation of the tradition in the thought of recent theologians.
  2. To observe the application of systematic theological reflection to moral and political issues confronting the contemporary world.
  3. To learn to formulate one's own theological convictions systematically.

COURSE TEXTS

Required:
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics: A Selection with Introduction, ed. Helmut Gollwitzer (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994). [ISBN-10: 0-664-25550-7]

Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline (New York: Harper and Row, 1959). [ISBN-10: 0-06-130056-X]

Justo L. González, Mañana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990). [ISBN-10: 0-687-23067-5]

Catherine Mowry LaCugna, ed., Freeing Theology: The Essentials of Theology in Feminist Perspective (New York: Harper Collins, 1993). [ISBN-13: 978-0-06-064935-7]

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996). [ISBN-10: 0-687-00282-6]

Recommended:
Justo L. González, Essential Theological Terms (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005). [ISBN-13: 978-0-664-22810-1]

Electronic: A number of texts will be distributed in electronic format via email attachment.

COURSE ASSESSMENT

  1. Attendance and Participation—10% of grade. All students are expected to be present at each class meeting. All students are expected to engage in class discussion. Respect the learning environment—come on time and come prepared! (And bring the texts with you to class.)
  2. Weekly Writing Assignments—25% of grade. Students will write and submit by midnight on the Monday before class a one page critical reflection on the assigned readings bringing some aspect of Barth's thought into conversation with some aspect of thought in either Freeing Theology or Mañana (students' choice). A detailed instruction sheet will be distributed.
  3. Critical Review—25% of grade. Students will write a five page critical review of Volf's Exclusion and Embrace with particular reference to the themes of the course. A detailed instruction sheet will be distributed.
  4. Paper—40% of grade. Students will write a 10 page systematic reflection on one theological doctrine, showing its connections to at least two and no more than three other doctrines. Students are encouraged to use the lectures and readings as conversation partners or to consult with the instructor about further resources. A detailed instruction sheet will be distributed.

Note: All written assignments must conform to the “General Guidelines for a Research Paper.”

COURSE OUTLINE (Subject to change. Attend to messages announcing updates.)

Theological Prolegomena

Week 1 Theological Architectonics
September 15 Course Introduction & An Articulation of Theological Disciplines

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline ch. 1 (afterwards)

Week 2 Theological Method
September 22 Faith, Reason, and the Knowlege of God

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline chs. 2-4
Carr, "The New Vision of Feminist Theology," in Freeing Theology
González, "The Significance of a Minority Perspective," in Mañana (ch. 1)

Week 3 Theological Authority (Sources of Theology) 1
September 29 The Doctrine of Revelation

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline ch. 5
Hilkert, "Experience and Tradition: Can the Center Hold?," in Freeing Theology
González, "Let the Dead Gods Bury Their Dead," in Mañana (ch. 6), pp. 89-92
Pseudo-Dionysius, Mystical Theology [electronic]

Week 4 Theological Authority (Sources of Theology) 2
October 6 The Doctrine of Scripture

Readings: Barth, "The Strange New World within the Bible" [electronic]
Schneiders, "The Bible and Feminism," in Freeing Theology
González, "Reading the Bible in Spanish," in Mañana (ch. 5)

The Immanent Trinity

Week 5 The Being of God in se 1
October 13 The Doctrine of the Trinity

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline ch. 6
LaCugna, "God in Communion with Us," in Freeing Theology
González, "The One who Lives as Three," in Mañana (ch. 7)
Gregory of Nyssa, Ad Ablabium [electronic]

Week 6 The Being of God in se 2
October 20 The Doctrine of God

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline ch. 7
González, "Let the Dead Gods Bury Their Dead," in Mañana (ch. 6), pp. 92-100
Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion [electronic]

The Economic Trinity

Week 7 The Work of God ad extra – Creation 1
October 27 The Doctrine of Creation

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline ch. 8
González, "Creator of Heaven and Earth," in Mañana (ch. 8)

Week 8 The Work of God ad extra – Creation 2
November 3 The Doctrine of Human Nature

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline ch. 9
O'Neill, "The Mystery of Being Human Together," in Freeing Theology
González, "On Being Human," in Mañana (ch. 9)

Week 9 The Work of God ad extra – Reconciliation 1
November 10 The Doctrine of Christ

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline chs. 10-14
Johnson, "Redeeming the Name of Christ," in Freeing Theology
González, "And the Word was Made Flesh," in Mañana (ch. 10)

Week 10 The Work of God ad extra – Reconciliation 2
November 17 The Doctrine of Salvation

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline chs. 15-18
Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty [electronic]

November 24 No Class – Reading Week!

Week 11 The Work of God ad extra – Redemption 1
December 1 The Doctrine of the Church

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline chs. 19, 21-23
Hines, "Community for Liberation," in Freeing Theology
Ross, "God's Embodiment and Women," in Freeing Theology

5 page critical review of Volf's Exclusion & Embrace due today, December 1!

Week 12 The Work of God ad extra – Redemption 2
December 8 The Doctrine of Last Things

Readings: Barth, Dogmatics in Outline chs. 20, 24
González, "Life in the Spirit," in Mañana (ch. 11)

Week 13 The Christian Life
December 15 Doctrine and Ethics

Readings: Barth, "Christian Ethics" [electronic]
Cahill, "Feminism and Christian Ethics," in Freeing Theology
Miroslav Volf, "Theology for a Way of Life" [electronic]

10 page systematic reflection paper due January 5, 2010!

 

 

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