Special Student: Take A Class

Brite Divinity School’s January-term and Spring 2018 schedules offer 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.

January Term (January 8-12; 9am-5pm)

CHHI 70293/80293/90293 Issues in American Religious Life and Thought: Christianity and Social Action in US HistoryCHHI 70293 Christianity and Social Action in U.S. History

This class explores Christian social action in US history by critically reflecting upon justice-oriented practices (e.g. nonviolent resistance, violent action, grassroots organizing, economic policy, and the ballot box) utilized in various settings (e.g. churches, educational institutions, non-profit groups, political organizations, etc.). For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Spring Term (January 16-May 11)

Biblical Interpretation Courses:

HEBI 60003 Interpreting the Hebrew BibleHEBI 60003 Interpreting 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.

HEBI 65013 Exegesis in the Hebrew Bible - PsalmsHEBI 65013 Exegesis in the Hebrew Bible: Psalms

This course is an advanced introduction to the Book of Psalms. By carefully reading Psalms in English translation and through critical analysis of significant secondary literature, and through class discussions as well as writing and other assignments, the goal of the course is to develop a sophisticated understanding of the historical, literary, liturgical, theological, and ethical dimensions of Psalms and to reflect on ways in which study of the book might inform contemporary contexts of ministry. *This course has a prerequisite of HEBI 60003. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

HEBI 75033 Biblical Hebrew IIHEBI 75033 Biblical Hebrew II

This course will continue to introduce students to Biblical Hebrew. It is the second of two semesters. This semester will focus on grammar, syntax, and vocabulary for sight and oral reading, and reading and translation of extended portions of Biblical Hebrew poetry and prose. *Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I is the prerequisite. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

NETE 60003: Interpreting the New TestamentNETE 60003 Interpreting the New Testament

This introductory course for Master’s level students is designed to lay a foundation for lifelong critical and constructive interpretation of the New Testament. The course will provide a historical introduction to the writings of early Jesus followers contained within the New Testament, along with related sources from the first and second centuries of the common era. It will introduce students to tools for interpreting the New Testament both in its historical context, and with an eye to present day communities and their theological and ethical concerns. The course provides practice in close reading of biblical texts, as well as opportunities for debate and dialogue concerning its meaning. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

NETE 75013 Biblical Greek IINETE 75013 Biblical Greek II

This course continues the process of learning New Testament Greek (grammar, syntax, vocabulary) with the aim of being able to engage the NT text with the assistance of good linguistic resources. *The course is the second of a 2-semester sequence. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

History, Theology and Ethics Courses:

CHHI 60023 History of Christianity II: Reformation and ModernCHHI 60023 History 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.

CHHI 75013/85013/95013 - Seminar in Christian Thought: Rethinking Theological Thinking Today: The Theologies of Edward and Wendy FarleyCHHI 75013 Reforming Theological Thinking Today: The Theologies of Edward & Wendy Farley

Focus on readings and discussion of the ground-breaking theologies of Edward Farley and Wendy Farley. Focus is on their reforming views of “how to think theologically.” Ed taught theology at Vanderbilt until his retirement and recent passing. Wendy’s career unfolds still, now as Professor and Program Director of Christian Spirituality at San Francisco Theological Seminar after Emory University. Each of offer their own sharp critiques of “theological thinking as usual” and fresh proposals for Christian teaching, theological education, and ministries today. *This course has a prerequisite of CHHI 6113 or CHHI 6413. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

CHTH 60003 Introduction of Christian TheologyCHTH 60003 Introduction 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.

Postcolonial TheologiesCHTH 70013 Postcolonial Theologies

This course is to develop the intellectual and historical background of postcolonial discourse and to examine the ways in which theologians address issues of postcolonialism and the theological issues in their thinking. By the end of this course, the students will normally understand different approaches to issues of postcolonialism, be able to investigate conceptions of theological issues in postcolonialism, and understand how religion and its theological discourse are implicated in geopolitical and cultural strategies of postcolonialism. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Cosmopolitan TheologyCHTH 70023 Cosmopolitan Theology

Cosmopolitan discourse has recently emerged, especially in the areas of political and social philosophies, which seeks global justice and solidarities in an era of neo-empire, globalization, and identity politics. Cosmopolitan discourses help one to change one’s epistemology to move beyond one’s boundaries of religion, nationality, ability, gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and so forth. It also maintains principles of global justice and human rights and calls for application of justice to all singular individuals of the cosmos. In this way, cosmopolitanism becomes one of the prominent political, philosophical, socio-cultural movements and discourses of the turn of the twenty-first century. This course takes cosmopolitan ethos primarily from Greek philosophy, St. Paul, Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, and Jacques Derrida as significant theological/philosophical grounds for global justice, planetary hospitality, solidarity, and neighbor-love. Cosmopolitan theology embraces and, at the same time, moves beyond the collective identity position and group-based allegiances. Cosmopolitan theology calls for radical solidarity across the borders of particular identity, for a planetary community of radical inclusion, and for deep compassion and justice for the other. In this context, cosmopolitan theology is a form of public theology that has a profoundly significant public relevance of a theological discourse for today’s world. This course examines significant issues in cosmopolitan discourse such as: Its philosophical ground, major characteristics, various types and views, theological implication/application, justice, hospitality, neighbor-love, and solidarity. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

CHTH 70970/80970/90970 Special Topics in Christian Thought – Angels and DemonsCHTH 70970 Angels and Demons

The purpose of this seminar is to explore, critique, and create theologies about angels and demons. Contemporary academic theologians avoid talking about angels and demons. Should they? Some Christians take these entities to be constructs that we may use to talk about God or nature or aspects of ourselves and our experiences. Some Christians believe that angels and demons are personal beings that are somewhat like humans. Others believe that angels and demons are impersonal forces. Still others associate them with patterns in social systems and institutions. We will read sources from the early Christian, medieval, early modern, and contemporary eras, to investigate the work that views about angels and demons have done in Christian theologies. We will also consider (briefly) depictions of angels and demons in popular culture. Could Christian theologies of angels and demons be generative for individuals and communities today, as they address their ecological, social, political, and economic contexts? For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

CHTH 75063/85063/95063 Major Issues in Contemporary Theology - From Gay Liberation to Queer TheologiesCHTH 75063 From Gay Liberation to Queer Theologies

The Church today has become an arena for many political and religious debates concerning homosexuality and related topics: same-sex marriage, adoption by single gay parents or same-sex couples, and responses to transgender individuals. In this course we will explore texts and theories that have shaped the theologies exhibited in these debates from the 1950s to our own time. In the first part of the course, we will examine a number of biblical passages, exploring various theological interpretations, including traditional readings, various lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) liberation theology lenses, and queer theological readings that question the very categories of gender and sexualities. Our survey continues with texts from the Early Church, a few primary sources from gender and queer theory, and contemporary theological reflections shaped by these ideas. *This course has a prerequisite of CHTH 60003. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

CHTH 75093/85093/95093 Major Figures in Christian Theology – Schleiermacher and Constructive TheologyCHTH 75093 Schleiermacher and Constructive Theology

Pastor-Theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) has been called the “founder of modern Christian Theology.” Your own theology will probably never be quite the same after you wrestle with his. And that could be a good thing. In this seminar, we will discuss: On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers
(1799), the book that first brought him fame; selected sermons and short pieces; and sections from his mature systematic theology, The Christian Faith (1830-1831). We will also read pieces from modern and contemporary theologians who help us to perceive Schleiermacher’s influence and who have fruitfully agreed and/or disagreed with his work. The overall goal is to see what his theology could incite in our own thinking. *This course has a prerequisite of CHTH 60003. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

CHET 60013 Introduction to Contemporary Theological EthicsCHET 60013 Introduction 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.

RECU 70970/80970/90970-045 WOMANIST THEOLOGY AND ETHICSRECU 70970 Womanist Theology and Ethics

Drawing from the Black idiomatic expression “you actin’ womanish,” novelist Alice Walker in her collection of essays, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983) penned the term “womanist” in efforts to name the distinctive political aims of Black women beyond a white feminist scope in the 1980s. From Walker’s four-part poetic framing, womanism birthed in religious studies as a critical approach to take seriously the lived experiences of Black women against multiple forces of oppression. This course engages the theoretical contributions of womanist scholarship of the 20th and 21st centuries to the discipline(s) of theology and ethics. The course explores womanist thought as a theo-ethical enterprise for dismantling multidimensional oppression at the critical crossways of identity and difference. Utilizing the core tenets of womanist theological ethics, students will interrogate the moral virtue(s) of the body, human flourishing, ecology, faith, love, justice, hope, and redemption. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Practical Theology Courses:

HOML 65003: Foundations for PreachingHOML 65003 Foundations 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. *This course has a prerequisite of HEBI 60003 or NETE 60003. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

PRTH 70163 Ministry in the LGBT CommunityPRTH 70163 Ministry in the LGBT Community

This class is designed for ministers-in-training who will likely participate in conversations about homosexuality in their churches and communities, provide ministry and pastoral care to Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer persons, or assume leadership roles in hermeneutical/theological debates about homosexuality, gender presentation, and gender identity. This course seeks to equip students with a base of essential material about LGBTQ experience, including literature
and videography in the field, biblical criticism, and theological constructions. The voices of LGBTQ persons themselves, both presented in books and articles and in person, will be the primary sources for this course. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

REED 65003 The Church’s Educational MinistryREED 65003 The 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.

REED 70970 Special Topics in Christian Education - Ministries of Advocacy and ActionREED 70970 Ministries of Advocacy and Action

This is a religious education course. Students will reflect on social action and methods of religious education designed to motivate and sustain ministry teams that are involved in social action and advocacy. Students will prepare a lesson designed to inspire and call people to ministries of social action and advocacy, participate in an activity of action or advocacy and reflect upon it using practical theology resources, and prepare and teach lessons designed to train and support ministry teams. Depending on the class size, students will lead one or two short in-class lessons. The focus of this course is upon recruiting for and sustaining these ministries rather than creating and administrating the ministries themselves. Students will have the opportunity to focus their assignments on justice-related issues that they are passionate about and that are relevant to their own contexts. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

PTPC 60003: The Ministry of Pastoral CarePTPC 60003 The Ministry of Pastoral Care

This course introduces students to basic theories, theologies and methods of pastoral care, especially in the ecclesial context. This course assumes that care is mediated through acts of pastoral leadership, liturgy, preaching and the forming of congregational life and programming as well as through specific individual conversations. Special attention is paid to the person of the pastor as caregiver and leader of a community of faith and care. Theories and methods of care are related to real and practical problems a pastor faces in a congregation including illness and death, grief and loss, marriage and family issues, domestic violence and abuse. Skills learned will include listening, analysis of systems, and diagnosis and referral. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Sexuality, Race, and Class in Pastoral Practice PTPC 75103/85103PTPC 75103 Sexuality, Race, and Class in Pastoral Practice

In this course students will develop practical, theological, and theoretical competencies for critically engaging selected aspects of difference in social identities that are treated oppressively in church and culture. Aspects of social identity such as gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, racial and ethnic identities, and differences shaped by socioeconomic class illustrate how social identities in various cultures are organized by asymmetries of power insinuated in norms that reflect historical and contextual factors and function via ideological, governmental, and economic spheres. In this course students will develop pastoral competencies for effectively resisting oppression related to these four aspects of social identity. Students will also develop theoretical and theological competencies for analyzing and strategically engaging marginalization and privilege as they are present in relation to sexism, racism, heterosexism, and classism. We will give particular attention to the implications of resisting these forms of oppression as they arise in individual and relational life in congregations. We will also develop analytical and strategic skills for public theological engagement in relation to these types of oppression evident in systems and structures of civic/public life. *This course has a prerequisite of PTPC 60003. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

Pastoral Care in Response to Grief and LossPTPC 75443 Pastoral Care in Grief and Loss

This course assists students in developing theoretical and theological foundations for effective pastoral care in response to experiences of grief arising from various types of loss such as death, declining physical abilities, grief arising in the context of families and other relational systems, work settings and vocational hopes, in the context of injustice, a sense personal or moral failure, and experiences of moral injury in military contexts. Students will engage current theories of grief and related theological, biblical, psychological, and ritual resources. *This course has a prerequisite of PTPC 60003. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

WRSP 60003 Christian WorshipWRSP 60003 Christian Worship

This is an introductory course on the principles and practices of Christian worship. Emphasis will be placed on the diversity of historic and contemporary expressions of Christian worship, the cultural contexts within which worship takes place, theological reflection upon the elements of Christian worship, and developing skills for effective pastoral leadership in worship. For more information about this course, click here. To request an application for this course, complete the below form.

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