Take a Class – Spring 2020

Brite Divinity School’s Spring 2020 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 an auditor or Special Student. For more information, please request a Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application.


Introduction to Theological Ethics

Dr. Charles Bellingerwith Dr. Charles Bellinger, Theological Librarian and Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course will survey the major methodological questions of theological ethics, 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, philosophical schools of moral thought, violence and war, gender and sexuality, natural law, virtue, social justice, ecology, and liberation. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

History of Christianity: Turning Points

with Dr. James O. Duke, I. Wylie and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of History of Christianity and History of Christian Thought

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course surveys the history of Christianity from its first century origins to the present by focusing on major pivotal points of change. Its primary aim is to offer resources and opportunities for the development of historically-informed understandings
of the shape-shifting character of the Christian tradition(s). The study focuses on exploring varied historical factors and theological concerns at play in shaping the “faith and order” and “life and work” of church(es). (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Church in Midst of Pluralism: Christianity in the Majority World

Photo of Dr. Tim Leewith Dr. Timothy Lee, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Director of Asian (Korean) Church Studies

SCHEDULE: Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: Christianity’s center of gravity—in terms of numbers and vitality—has shifted to the Majority World (i.e., Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Oceania). It stands to reason that one who seeks to serve as a religious leader in a globalized world should become familiar with the history of Christianity in the Majority World. This course examines the history of Christianity in the Majority World from the 16th to 20th century, focusing on the implantation and development of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It explores topics such as Christianity’s encounter with indigenous religions; colonialism and Christian missions; and Christianity’s encounters with societal forces of the Majority World. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Special Topics in Church History: Fundamentalism-Modernist Conflict in US Protestantism

Photo of Dr. Tim Leewith Dr. Timothy Lee, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Director of Asian (Korean) Church Studies

SCHEDULE: Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: The current bifurcation of US Protestantism into Liberalism/Progressivism and Conservatism/Fundamentalism traces its roots back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with the Fundamentalist-Modernist conflict of the 1920s and 1930s being the most illustrative. This course explores the social and theological background of this conflict. It examines, in particular, the rise of premillennialism in US Protestantism and thoughts of two representative figures in the conflict: Harry Emerson Fosdick and J. Gresham Machen, champions, respectively, of Modernism and Fundamentalism.(Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>


Introduction to Christian Theology

Photo of Ed Waggoner

with Dr. Edward Waggoner, Assistant Professor of Theology in the Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: An exploration of issues and doctrines that animate
Christian life. Topics include the sources and goals of theology, as well as basic questions about major doctrines. Discussions, lectures, and course assignments identify and critically engage patterns of faith and practice that persist over time, and theological priorities from specific cultural and historical contexts.(Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Special Topics in Christian Thought: Reformed Theology

with Dr. Michael Miller, Executive Vice President and Dean and Associate Professor of Theology

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays, 8:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Special Topics in Christian Thought: Angels and Demons

Photo of Ed Waggoner

with Dr. Edward Waggoner, Assistant Professor of Theology in the Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies

SCHEDULE: Thursdays, 8:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

DESCRIPTION: 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 believe that angels and demons are personal beings. Others believe that angels and demons are impersonal forces. Others associate them with patterns in social systems and institutions. And yet others view angels and demons as fictive constructs that may be used to talk about God or nature or human relationships. We will read sources from the early Christian, medieval, early modern, and contemporary eras, to examine the different kinds of work that angels and demons do in Christian theologies and communities. We will also explore how tropes of the angelic and demonic are functioning in contemporary entertainment and social and political discourse.(Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Interpreting the Hebrew Bible in Context

Wil Gafneywith Dr. Wil Gafney, Professor of Hebrew Bible

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course is an introduction to critical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books focusing on content and context. It will include a selective survey of the history, literature and religion of ancient Israel focusing on the Torah (Pentateuch) and Prophets (Former and Latter). 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? (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Biblical Hebrew II

with STAFF

SCHEDULE: Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course is the second in a two-semester sequence.

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Special Topics in Preaching – Preaching the Parables

Dr. Lance Papewith Dr. Lance Pape, Granville and Erline Walker Associate Professor of Homiletics, and Director of Disciples Formation

SCHEDULE: Thursdays, 8:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course provides resources and opportunities for interpreting and preaching the parables of Jesus with a focus on exploring ways to creatively and faithfully regenerate the eventful theological impact of the parable in the sermon. Parables will also be explored as a paradigm for thinking about preaching and biblical narrative imagination generally. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Understanding Early Judaism

Photo of Ariel Feldmanwith Dr. Ariel Feldman, Rosalyn and Manny Rosenthal Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Jewish Studies Program

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course introduces students to the histories and literatures of Second Temple Judaism. Through a close study of key events and texts of this period, it explores the development of a vibrant and diverse religious system that saw an emergence of nascent Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Analyzing a selection of texts written in different times, languages, and geographical locations, this course highlights the changes in beliefs and practices of Second Temple Jewry as it negotiated religious, cultural, political, and economic effects of Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman rule. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Interpreting the New Testament

with Dr. Francisco Lozada, Charles Fischer Catholic Associate Professor of New Testament and Latina/o Church Studies

SCHEDULE: Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: This introductory course for Master-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. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Special Topics in New Testament Studies: The New Testament and Anti-Judaism

with Dr. Shelly Matthews, Professor of New Testament

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: In 1974, the feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Reuther diagnosed anti-Judaism as the “left hand of Christianity,” a problem she saw as present even within the New Testament itself. Much scholarship since then has been devoted to either refuting, documenting, or providing further nuance to this assessment. This course will assess that more recent scholarship, with an eye to preparing students for Christian ministry in the current national and global context of rising anti-Semitism, Christian Zionism synagogue shootings and other hate crimes. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Biblical Greek II

Photo of Dr. Joseph McDonaldwith Dr. Joseph McDonald

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course continues the work of NETE 70013, helping you build a firm foundation in biblical Greek by emphasizing the basics of Koine Greek 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 second in a two-semester sequence.  (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Ministry in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community

with Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Professor of Practical Theology and Director of Field Education and Supervised Ministry

SCHEDULE: Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: 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. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

United Methodist Polity

Photo of Natalya Cherry

with Dr. Natalya Cherry, Assistant Professor in Methodist Studies and Theology

SCHEDULE: Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: “The organization, polity and comprehensive program of the United Methodist Church. Required of United Methodist students for ordination” (Brite Bulletin). Students will “examine the development of United Methodist polity from a historical and theological perspective,” using “The Book of Discipline and The Book of Resolutions as working handbooks for mission and ministry,” in order to be able to “relate historical understanding and theological reflection to the mission and ministry of the contemporary church through: 1. A knowledge of the rationale and ordering of United Methodist structures; 2. Understanding the nature of authority and power in the church; 3. Commitment to an ongoing process of renewal” (University Senate Standards for Courses in UM Studies). Please note that, while following these standards and their numerous sub-sections (to be listed in the syllabus and ranging from understanding structural expressions of ecclesiology to perceiving the nature of ecumenical relationships), this particular semester also prepares students to understand proceedings of Geenral Conference 2020 that will take place after the end of the course. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Introduction to Black Church Traditions and Culture

with Dr. Oluwatomisin “Tomi” Oredein, Assistant Professor in Black Religious Traditions, Constructive Theology and Ethics

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays, 8:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

DESCRIPTION: This course aims to familiarize students to the origins, narrative arc, topical priorities, and past and current articulations of African American religious life in the United States. This course challenges students to comparatively identify the cultural patterns and ideas within the practices of the Black Church that coincide and differ from their own faith contexts. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

Howard Thurman: Spirituality and the Quest for Justice

with Dr. Timothy Robinson, Alberta H. and Harold L. Lunger Associate Professor of Spiritual Disciplines and Resources

SCHEDULE: Tuesdays, 8:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

DESCRIPTION: 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. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

From Sacred Ritual to Christian Worship

Photo of Jo Hudsonwith Dr. Jo Hudson, Affiliate Faculty

SCHEDULE: Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: This is an introductory course on the principles and practices of Christian worship. The
course examines the nature and function of ritual and symbols in the practice of faith communities. Attention will be given to historical, theological, and practical developments in Christian sacramental worship, as well as to issues in planning and leading ritual in institutional and chaplaincy settings. In addition, 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 will be considered. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>

January Intensive


Episcopal Church Liturgy and the Book of Common Prayer

with The Rev. Canon Andrew R. Wright, Affiliate Faculty

SCHEDULE: January 6-10, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

DESCRIPTION: Examination and application of liturgical principles and planning forEpiscopal Church worship, with a specific emphasis on the history, theology, and use of the Book of Common Prayer. This class is taught in an intensive form, meeting in session for one class week. There are assignments prior to and after the week of class sessions. (Read the Course Prospectus)

Request Non-Degree-Seeking Student Application >>