Special Student: Take A Class


Brite Divinity School’s Fall 2018 schedule offers a variety of classes on diverse topics taught by our permanent and adjunct faculty. Individuals interested in enrolling in a specific class without pursuing a degree may be eligible to enroll as a Special Student. For more information, please complete the Request Special Student Application form below. Need-based tuition grants at 50% may be available. The application deadline for Fall courses is Friday, July 6.

Introduction to Contemporary Theological EthicsIntroduction to Contemporary Theological Ethics

This course will survey the major methodological questions of theological ethics since the early 20th century, its thematic subdivisions, and the schools of thought and individual authors who have shaped the discussion of ethical questions within the theological world. Topics addressed will include: the Bible and ethics, moral discernment, violence and war, gender and sexuality, natural law, virtue, social justice, ecology, and liberation. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

History of Christianity I: Early to MedievalHistory of Christianity I: Early to Medieval

This course explores the history of Christianity in its early and medieval periods. It focuses on modes of Christian thought, practice, and associations that emerged and developed in this period, as well as ways the faith interacted with society. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

History of Christianity II: Reformation and ModernHistory of Christianity II: Reformation and Modern

A survey of the history of the Christian church(es) from the sixteenth century era of Reformation to the twentieth century. Emphasis on figures, movements, and issues which played a role in shaping and re-shaping the beliefs, the institutions, and the practices of the Christian church(es) during these periods. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

History of Christianity in AmericaHistory of Christianity in America

Christianity in the United States from the 17th Century to the present. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

The Church in the Midst of Pluralism: History of Christianity in AsiaThe Church in the Midst of Pluralism: History of Christianity in Asia

This course examines the history of Christianity in Asia from the 16th to 20th century, focusing on the implantation and development of Christianity in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. It explores topics such as Christianity’s encounter with Asian religions; colonialism and Christian missions; and Christianity’s encounters with societal forces of Asia. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

History and Doctrine of the United Methodist ChurchHistory and Doctrine of the United Methodist Church

A study of the origin and development of the United Methodist Church and its doctrinal standards, with attention to John Wesley’s life and thought, subsequent theological transitions, and contemporary guidelines for doctrinal reflection in an ecumenical context. It includes attention to many historic Methodist-related denominations, such as the Evangelical Association, United Brethren, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Students will demonstrate an understanding of United Methodist history and an ability to apply UM doctrine to real ministry throughout both the ordination process and their life in ministry. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

The Bible in the Protestant American ExperienceThe Bible in the Protestant American Experience

A survey of the scholarly and popular approaches to the Bible in America throughout US History. Emphasis on figures, movements, and issues which played a role in shaping and re-shaping the interpretation and use of the Bible by Protestants in the US. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Introduction to Christian TheologyIntroduction to Christian Theology

This course explores issues and doctrines that animate Christian life. We will attend to major theological movements and individual voices. Topics include the sources, methods, and goals of theology, as well as basic questions about God as Trinity, creation, providence, sin and evil, and doctrines of Christology, Pneumatology, ecclesiology, sacramentology, and eschatology. Discussions, lectures, and course assignments will identify and critically engage not only patterns of faith and practice that persist over time, but also theological priorities from specific cultural and historical contexts. On the premise that theology is a living conversation, students will be encouraged to form their own constructive theological positions, in dialogue with another, their respective communities, and course materials.For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Introduction to Christian TheologyIntroduction to Christian Theology

This course explores issues and doctrines that animate Christian life. We will attend to major theological movements and individual voices. Topics include the sources, methods, and goals of theology, as well as basic questions about God as Trinity, creation, providence, sin and evil, and doctrines of Christology, Pneumatology, ecclesiology, sacramentology, and eschatology. Discussions, lectures, and course assignments will identify and critically engage not only patterns of faith and practice that persist over time, but also theological priorities from specific cultural and historical contexts. On the premise that theology is a living conversation, students will be encouraged to form their own constructive theological positions, in dialogue with on another, their respective communities, and course materials. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Derrida and Theopolitical IssuesDerrida and Theopolitical Issues

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was one of the few thinkers, in the latter half of the twentieth century, who profoundly and radically transformed our understanding of writing, reading, con/texts, and textuality. The scope of Derrida’s thinking is incomprehensible. As a person of prayers and tears, Derrida was a prominent philosopher-theologian/ theologian-philosopher who never kept his political and ethical passion separate from the uninterrupted theological/philosophical reflections. Derrida audaciously fought against all form of apartheid and exclusion, wherever they took place; and passionately and consistently spoke and lived the cosmopolitan justice, compassion, and hospitality. Derrida is regarded as a key thinker for the study of religion/theology. This course examines several theopolitical issues in Derrida’s thinking such as deconstruction, apophatic theology, justice, hospitality, cosmopolitanism, and forgiveness. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

God and Identity in Trinitarian TheologiesGod and Identity in Trinitarian Theologies

The purpose of this seminar is to explore recent trinitarian theologies. We will use Linn’s Tonstad’s book, God and Difference: The Trinity, Sexuality, and the Transformation of Finitude (2016) as a vantage point for thinking about several modern and contemporary views about the meaning and significance of Christian talk about “the Trinity.” What do Christians who build trinitarian theologies “do” with them? What specific social and political issues seem to be at stake in these descriptions of God? We will begin with a brief introduction to influential, early ideas and vocabulary for Christian talk about ‘the Trinity.’ We will then discuss Tonstad’s book (including her own proposal) in parallel with selections from work by Jürgen Moltmann, Leonardo Boff, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Marcella Althaus-Reid, Karen BakerFletcher, Sarah Coakley, and Kathryn Tanner. Our task will be to interpret these trinitarian theologies in conversation with one another, and to see what they may incite in our respective work/projects. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Interpreting the Hebrew BibleInterpreting the Hebrew Bible

This course is a graduate level introduction to critical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. We will engage issues of interpretation in light of history, archaeology, canon formation, and text and translation issues. We will read the bible in its ancient contexts and our own contemporary contexts with particular emphasis on teaching and preaching biblical literature. Our primary questions will include: What does the bible say? What did it mean? How has its meaning developed over time? How do (and should we) we understand and use the bible?For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Biblical Hebrew IBiblical Hebrew I

This course will help you build a firm foundation in biblical Hebrew by emphasizing the basics of Hebrew morphology (the way words are put together), syntax (the way phrases are put together), and vocabulary, strengthened by continual review through memorization, exercises, and translation. This course is the first in a two-semester sequence. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Foundations for PreachingFoundations for Preaching

This is the basic course in preaching. It is designed to 1) foster understanding and appreciation of preaching as a part of both the practice of ministry and the life and mission of the church, 2) offer instruction in the methods and skills employed in sermon development, and 3) provide opportunities for writing and preaching several different types of sermons, with evaluation. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Narrative and the Preacher’s TaskNarrative and the Preacher’s Task

This course examines the relationship between narrative and preaching. Everybody loves a good story, but what does story have to do with the proclamation of the gospel? The course will provide an introduction to narrative theory, review the ways thinking about stories has influenced preaching, and explore the relationship between biblical narrative and preaching.For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Introduction to JudaismIntroduction to Judaism

The course will define Judaism as a religious system based on Torah, with two main aspects—beliefs and practices. We will analyze the concept of Torah, as well as the methods of Jewish hermeneutics, by which Torah is explained and applied to changing historical circumstances. The basic creed of Judaism—its fundamental beliefs about God, the world, humankind, the people of Israel, and history—will be explored, as they are expressed in Jewish law, Jewish mysticism, Jewish ethics, and Jewish philosophy. We will consider the major practices and rituals of Judaism, especially those which involve the sanctification of time, space, and persons. This account of the broad structure of Judaism will be set within a historical overview of Judaism, which will identify the major events, developments, and figures. We will examine factors which have created diversity (history, geography, and ideology) and address the major modern varieties of Judaism—Hasidism, Orthodoxy, Reform, and Conservatism. The course will conclude with a consideration of some of the major issues which currently exercise the Jewish community (e.g. assimilation and loss of identity, antiSemitism and the Holocaust, the State of Israel). For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Interpreting the New TestamentInterpreting the New Testament

In forming students for leadership in the church, this course introduces students to the worlds in which the NT writers and their audiences lived, engages the contents of the NT writings, utilizes a variety of critical methods of interpretation, identifies resources, and develops skills necessary for the contemporary interpretation of these texts as the scriptures of the church. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Exegesis of the Gospels and Acts: JohnExegesis of the Gospels and Acts: John

This is a reading seminar on the Gospel of John focused entirely on an ideological analysis of the Fourth Gospel, informed by historical and literary studies. The contents of the course are subject to change. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Leadership in Nonprofit OrganizationsLeadership in Nonprofit Organizations

This course explores the nature and practice of leadership in nonprofit settings. As such, there are three foci throughout the semester – selfawareness and self-understanding, theories and styles of leadership and the world of nonprofits.
The class begins with a focus on students’ understanding of their own sense of mission (vocation), vision and values. This work provides the foundation for investigating various theories and styles of leadership, exploring several types of non-profits, and identifying basic administrative functions associated with non-profit organizations. Throughout the semester, students will reflect on what it means to be a “minister” in nonprofit settings. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Ministry of Pastoral CareMinistry of Pastoral Care

Students will develop skills for effective, theologically, informed practices of pastoral care especially in ecclesial settings. They will also develop corresponding skills for thinking theologically about such practices and for engaging various resources that can inform for practices of care congregational and specialized ministry. Effective care requires self-awareness, and we will give close attention to deepening self-awareness related to practices of care. Pastoral Care is a contextual, constructive theological practice informed by a range of theoretical resources that deepen analysis, assessment, and strategic action to enhance healing, hope, and relational justice. It requires the development of skills for caring responses with diverse persons across the lifespan, a range of relational systems, and with issues in public life. Students will engage current theological and theoretical resources that inform pastoral responses to issues such as family and marital issues, care across the lifespan, illness, grief and loss, death and dying, domestic violence and abuse, addiction, and structural or public aspects of brokenness that join care and justice.For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Sexuality in Pastoral PracticeSexuality in Pastoral Practice

Sexuality is central to our identity and a pervasive dimension of any human interaction. The influence of sexuality on the practice of ministry is equally significant though complicated by the church’s ambivalence about or distrust of it as God’s good gift and the politicization of sexuality in church and culture. In this seminar we will review matters related to sexuality through physiological, developmental, relational, ethical, and biblical/theological perspectives relevant for ministerial leadership in congregational and chaplaincy contexts.For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Practices for Spiritual CarePractices for Spiritual Care

This course provides a general introduction to perspectives on and practices for spiritual care. Special attention will be paid to developing the knowing of self, other, and the Divine. Skills for understanding, engaging, and responding to will be practiced each week.For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

The Church’s Educational MinistryThe Church’s Educational Ministry

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to a broad understanding of Educational Ministry that goes beyond what occurs in Sunday School classrooms. How are people in our faith communities being formed and transformed as disciples, both intentionally and unintentionally, through the ways by the way you carry out the historical tasks of the church? What are and what should be your methods in your own particular contexts? What theological concepts are being taught through the explicit, implicit, and null curriculum of your community of faith?
Students will survey the ways in which churches engage in religious education, explore the variety of needs and learning styles people have, be introduced to theories of religious education and practical theological integration, and reflect on a lesson they will teach in their own community of faith or other communal setting. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Spiritual Life and LeadershipSpiritual Life and Leadership

This course introduces the practice of the Christian spiritual life and the work of spiritual formation in Christian community. Attention will be given to both classical and contemporary expressions of Christian spirituality, the integration of spirituality, theology, and ethics, and to the role of spiritual discipline in the lives of seminarians and religious leaders. Significant class time will be devoted to experimentation with and practice of spiritual disciplines, and reflection on those experiences. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Howard Thurman: Spirituality and the Quest for JusticeHoward Thurman: Spirituality and the Quest for Justice

Howard Washington Thurman has been called a mystic, a prophet, philosopher, theologian, educator, pastor, and mentor to leaders of the civil rights movement. One of the most significant African American intellectuals and religious figures in the United States in the 20th century, Thurman left a legacy of writings, speeches, and sermons that articulate a spirituality that integrates a sophisticated analysis of the inner life, mystical experience, a rich aesthetic of nature, and pointed social criticism on racism, nonviolence, human suffering, and resistance to oppression. In this course we will encounter Thurman’s work directly through some of his major writings and speeches. Through a sustained engagement with Thurman’s spiritual and social writings, we will consider how he speaks to our own “inward journeys” and how spirituality and the quest for justice are integrated in our lives. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

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