College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Religion and Theology (THL)

THL 100   The Biblical Heritage of Christianity4 credits

An investigation of the sacred literature and basic theological expressions of the Christian tradition. The course emphasizes the covenant dealings of God with His people and the completion of the old covenant in God's new covenant in Jesus Christ. Students will read selected portions from each major division of the Old and New Testaments and will explore themes taken up by the ecumenical creeds. This course fulfills the introductory general education requirement for Theology and counts toward the minor in Religion.(THL100 is not open to students enrolled in or having taken THL 203, THL 206 or THL 303)

THL 201   Old Testament3 credits

An introduction to the historical context and literature of the Old Testament. Special attention is paid to the concepts of promise, law, covenant, grace, and the presence of God in the narratives of the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets. The course also examines the nature of prophecy and the psalm and wisdom resources in the Porphets and Writings.

THL 205   History and Literature of the Old Testament4 credits

An introduction to the historical context and literature of the Old Testament. Special attention is paid to the concepts of promise, law, covenant, grace, and the presence of God in the narratives of the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets. The course also examines the nature of prophecy and the psalm and wisdom resources in the Prophets and Writings. Students begin to use the tools of Biblical interpretation and practice reading texts in their historical and literary contexts.

THL 206   New Testament3 credits

An introduction to the historical context and literature of the New Testament. Students master the stories and teachings of early Christianity, and grow in their ability to read texts of the Bible in their historical and literary contexts.

THL 215   History and Literature of the New Testament4 credits

An introduction to the historical context and literature of the New Testament. Students master the stories and teachings of early Christianity, practice the use of the tools of biblical interpretation, and grow in their ability to read texts of the Bible in their historical and literary contexts.

THL 219   Principles of Biblical Interpretation3 credits

As an introduction to principles and methods of Biblical interpretation as employed by Lutherans with a high view of the Scriptures, students will focus on learning and practicing methodological models for studying and interpreting Biblical literature. Special attention will be given to the study of the historical/cultural context and literary nature of the inspired text. Prerequisites: THL 201 and THL 206.

THL 241   Church History3 credits

A panoramic survey of Christian history and thought from the apostolic age to the present. As such, the course traces the church's institutional history, its theology, its worship life, and the history of its missionary expansion against the larger political, intellectual, and socio-cultural back drop. This course is required for the minor in Confessional Lutheranism. It is not a general education course.

THL 270   Our Living Faith4 credits

A study of the content and effective application of the Christian understanding of creation, redemption, and sanctification; with an exploration of the biblical basis, the conceptual framework and the contemporary significance of the historic doctrines of the church. This course is required for the minor in Confessional Lutheranism. (Required Prerequisite: Minimum C- in THL205; Recommended Prerequisite: THL215)

THL 310   Archaeology and the Bible4 credits

Archaeology has become an indispensable source for the reconstruction of past cultures and therefore is of direct importance for Biblical studies. The course aims at giving students insight into the material culture of societies in the ancient Levant from the Bronze and Iron ages down to the material context of Early Christianity in the Roman and Byzantine periods. Students will be introduced to basic methods of archaeological work and to important archaeological regions, periods and types of material culture relevant to the world of the Bible and Christianity. Students will use archaeological data to reconstruct contexts for biblical texts. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: TH L100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 320   Global Christianity4 credits

The question “What is Christianity?” will be explored from a global perspective. After surveying the state of Christianity, its teachings, and practices, students will wrestle with basic questions of life and Christian vocation in the third millennium. A major component of the course will be study of worship practices of area churches representing diverse cultural and immigrant groups. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 325   Goodness, Justice & Christian Faith4 credits

In this course, students will examine the ways in which both philosophical and theological frameworks change how we live our individual lives and shape the future of our families, friendships, sports teams, businesses, and political societies. In particular, the course invites students to relate these frameworks to their own thinking about sex and family, war and peace, work and the use of its financial fruits—and more generally, to the moral and political action to which they believe they are called in this life. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 336   The Problem of Evil4 credits

The problem of evil has led human beings to ask difficult questions about God. If God is both all-powerful and completely good (as many religious traditions claim), then why does God allow evil? Or, does evil demonstrate that in fact, there is no God? In this course, students will grapple with classic philosophical, Christian, and other religious approaches to these questions. They also will examine how these different approaches lead to different practical responses to evil in our personal lives and in our public life together. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 342   Athens and Jerusalem: Philosophy and Christianity4 credits

A selective historical survey of the principal areas of inquiry, key figures, major issues, and central themes commonly addressed by western philosophy and Christian theology during the ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary periods. Among the topics that may be considered are the relationship of faith and reason; truth; nature and grace; the classical arguments for the existence of God; evil; the philosophical and theological virtues; and religious language. The course is based on extensive readings from primary sources and is supplemented by lectures and discussions. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 344   Martin Luther: Saint & Sinner4 credits

This course examines the life and theology of the Martin Luther, instigator of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. A prolific writer and bold thinker, Luther appears today on many top ten lists of most influential people in the last millennium. By studying Luther in his medieval context and by reviewing the influence of his thought since the 16th century, the course will explore the relevance of his theology for the 21st century. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 351   Jesus and Muhammad4 credits

This course explores the lives, contributions, teachings, and significance of Jesus and Muhammad through selected reading of the Christian Scriptures, pagan and Jewish sources, the Quran, Ibn Hishan, Al-Waqidi, and some later writers. Students will gain skill and confidence in reading ancient texts and understanding the historical, social, and religious trends that shaped the ancient world. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 353   Christianity and World Religions4 credits

From a Christian perspective, this course explores the varieties of human religious beliefs. Major religions are surveyed in terms of artifacts, behaviors, emotions, beliefs, values, world views, and histories. The course will cover Animism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, with special attention in the latter case devoted to the Christian denominations of North America. Prerequisites: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215

THL 356   One Nation under God? Christianity and Politics in America4 credits

The claim that the United States is a Christian nation will be examined from the Puritan settlers through the rise of the religious right in the late twentieth century, with particular emphasis on the notion of covenant and the influence of Christian leaders in various reform movements (abolitionist, temperance, women’s suffrage, civil rights). The question of “one nation under God” will be tested against the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology.(Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 357   Christianity and the Media in Contemporary Culture4 credits

Christianity has an unmistakable interplay with various forms of the media. This course explores subtle and overt Christian themes in movies, music, magazines/newspapers, theater, the World Wide Web, and television. Students locate, watch, and critically analyze numerous media resources and discuss them in correlation to Christian themes in the Bible. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 THL 215)

THL 359   Theology and Art4 credits

A study of representative samples of written texts, art, architecture, and worship life in order to understand the relationship among intellectual pursuits, artistic developments, political/societal changes, and the spiritual life of Christians. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206)

THL 365   Christianity thr Symbol/Ritual4 credits

THL 371   Mission of God4 credits

This course traces the mission of God through the Old and New Testaments. It explores God's intent for his mission people in the past, present and future and discloses that intent in biblical narratives and texts and in Lutheran theology and Lutheran confessions. This course fulfills the intermediate general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL 100 or THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 377   Faith and Justice in the City4 credits

Students will apply the Christian scriptures and Lutheran theology to today's multicultural, global, urban context with close attention to the Christian concepts of vocation, justice, and service toward one's neighbor. Through thoughtful evaluation of theology, philosophy, and the humanities, students will evaluate Christian ethics and habits for living in today's global society as thoughtful men and women of faith and conviction.

THL 409   Studies in Biblical Theology2 credits

An exploration of sections, books, or major topics of the Old and New Testaments, as determined by the instructor and announced by the division. This course is recommended for the major in theology. It does not fulfill the general education requirement for Theology. (Prerequisite: THL203, Old Testament Narrative; THL206, New Testament)

THL 431   Lutheran Doctrine I3 credits

A study of the content and effective application of the Christian understanding of doctrine itself, God, creation, theological anthropology, and the person and work of Christ, with an exploration of the biblical basis, conceptual framework, and the contemporary significance of the historic doctrine of the Lutheran church. Particular attention will be given to the contributions of C.F.W. Walther to the Lutheran understanding of Law and Gospel. Prerequisites: THL 201 and (THL 206 or THL 215)

THL 432   Lutheran Doctrine II3 credits

A study of the content and effective application of the Christian understanding of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, sanctification, the means of grace, the Christian church, public ministry, and eschatology with an exploration of the biblical basis, conceptual framework, and the contemporary significance of the historic doctrine of the Lutheran church. Particular attention will be given to the contributions of C.F.W. Walther to the Lutheran understanding of church and ministry. Prerequisite: THL 431

THL 441   Lutheran Confessional Writings3 credits

A survey and analysis of the gospel-centered doctrinal content of the Book of Concord in its 16th century historical and theological context. The eleven confessional documents are studied and interpreted as the church's normative exposition of Holy Scripture, to which exposition the evangelical Lutheran church is committed in terms of both theological method and doctrinal substance.

THL 459   Studies in Religion & Society2 credits

A study of the interaction between the essential tenets of Lutheran Christianity and the structures of democratic society. Among the topics considered are Christian vocation, the nature of culture and the ways Christianity has historically related to culture (with a special emphasis on the interplay of religion, church and race in North American cultural experience), the functions of Law and Gospel, the Lutheran understanding of the "two governments," and the role of Christians in society at large. This course is an elective for the major in theology. It does not fulfill the general education requirement for Theology.

THL 460   Worship for Lutherans3 credits

Exploring early church experience and Reformation teaching, the student uncovers the meaning of worship. Critical evaluation of contemporary practice and recent developments in worship make the student better able to provide leadership in congregational worship life.

THL 482   Christian Ministry & Practice3 credits

The concepts of call, vocation, ministry and team ministry are studied in relation to the worship, witness, teaching, service and fellowship of the church. Students will develop an awareness of the oneness of the church as the body of Christ gathered around Word and Sacrament. The nature of the ministry as servant hood is explored in the context of the life of local churches. Students spend time off campus in local congregations observing and participating in the life of the church.

THL 488   Independent Study1-4 credits

Independent study offers students an opportunity to do research and complete a major project in an area of religion of their own choosing. This course is an elective for the major in theology. It does not fulfill the general education requirement for Theology.

THL 496   Senior Thesis2 credits

The Senior Thesis is the culminating work of a student majoring in Theology. The purpose of the thesis is to utilize the perspective, understanding, research skills, and writing abilities students have developed in their studies to investigate a substantial topic. The goal is for students to produce a paper of high quality and distinction. The work is normally done in one semester in the senior year under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The paper will be read by a second faculty member and proposed to the annual undergraduate Research Symposium. This course is required for the major in theology. It does not fulfill the general education requirement for Theology.