Theological and Ecclesiastical Heritage
SETH610 The Christian Tradition from the Apostles to the Reformers
This course explores the diversity of Christianity in a global context from 100-1600 CE, including the formation of the Orthodox, Coptic, Syriac, Catholic, and Protestant churches. Topics covered include the development of Christian doctrine, liturgy, social teachings, and spirituality. Attention is given to the relationship of Christian life and thought to changing social and political contexts.
SETH620 Rhythms of Ministry
This course examines the weekly and annual rhythms of worship and administration in ministry, with the intersections of the liturgical calendar with various secular and natural calendars as the framework. It introduces the challenges and joys of ministry by exploring historical and contemporary issues in worship and the resources available for effective administration. It seeks to ground students in leading religious organizations, understanding the role and nature of worship, and developing good communications skills. Should be taken in spring of first year at seminary.
SETH630 Intro to Christian Theology
This is a survey course on Christian theology by way of introduction to its method, sources, and main doctrinal content. This class is an opportunity to get acquainted with the basic tenets of the Christian faith and tradition. Primary attention is given to the triune reality of God, understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ, the activity of the Holy Spirit, the identity and purpose of the church, and the vitality of Christian spirituality. Theological themes will be studied in the context of contemporary ideas and questions.
SETH632 Theology in a Broken World: Intro to Christian Theology
This is an introductory course in Christian theology, focusing on the idea that we do theological reflection in a fallen and broken world. The latter emphasis does not mean that we do theology by giving up on our dreams for a better world, because that would be equivalent to trying to go on without hope. What we mean is that, mindful of the world that surrounds us, in all its weakness, incompleteness, and sinfulness, we do theology by attempting our best thinking and praxis through the sources and tools that are available to us from the Christian tradition up to the present time, while mindful of life’s fluidity, challenges, and exigencies. [This course will count as the equivalent to SETH630 Intro to Theology. For students who have taken SETH630, this course will count as a Theology elective or a General Elective.]
SETH712 Historical Theology
This course is a survey of the major figures and schools of thought through 2000 years of Christian history, with a focus on the historical and intellectual context of Christian theology in different periods and geographical regions. Rather than in depth study of a few theologians, the course focuses on a breadth of theological perspectives over time.
SETH721 Theology from the Underside
This is theology done from the place of the poor and powerless, from the experience and perspective of those marginal to society. In this course, we will explore biblical and theological responses, especially those that have come “from below,” to dynamics of wealth, power, and poverty in society and discuss what those who are less privileged have to teach the rest of us about God’s ways with and will for humanity. Since their inception in the 1960s, these global theologies have continued to produce a wealth of theoretical and practical reflections upon the primary need for orthopraxis over traditional orthodoxies.
- Prereq: SETH630
SETH726 Word, Spirit, and Sacraments
A study of the articles of faith on Word of God, Holy Spirit, and the Sacraments. Biblical understandings of the Word as creating and sustaining life, as well as validating and affecting sacramental realities will be a central focus to this course. The intimate relationship between Word and Spirit will be examined too. Traditional tenets of these doctrines will be assessed alongside modern-day perspectives. We will also explore the possibilities for translating dogmatic concepts into contemporary theological language.
- Prereq: SETH610 or SETH630
SETH730 The Meaning of Jesus Christ
This course will study diverse approaches to Christology from selected contemporary theologians, especially those in serious dialogue with the dogmatic traditions of the Church. The scope of this study will be ecumenical, applying a critical approach to questions in Christology and while reading creedal and confessional statements.
- Prereq: SETH610 or SETH630
SETH740 Church & Society: Theological & Historical Introduction
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to philosophical and theological ideas of “the good society”/the kingdom of God and ways in which these have played out in history. Topics to be covered include biblical and patristic foundations, theories of utopia and dystopia, the idea of “Christendom,” the Social Gospel and mainline Protestantism, Catholic social teaching and practice, Evangelical and Pentecostal social witness, Moravian, Anabaptist, and Quaker perspectives, liberation theologies and movements, the Church as creator and critic of culture, Christian communitarianism, and the interaction of religion and society in a pluralistic and multifaith age.
SETH742 Theology & Film
The course centers on issues and themes found in films as they relate to, support, or differ from perspectives expressed in the New Testament. The focus lies both on what a film says and how the film says it, studying the connections between thematic emphases and the technical/artistic elements that underscore them. One portion of the course deals with Jesus films. Other films are viewed through the different lenses of theological, mythological, and ideological criticism.
SETH750 Faith & Fantasy Literature of the 20th Century
This course will explore the works of a 20th century English fantasy author who used imagination to explore the vital themes of Christian faith. Students will analyze the works of J.K. Rowling from the perspective of Christian theology and spirituality. Of particular importance will be the themes of faith, personal transformation, virtue, friendship, discernment, sacrifice, death, and resurrection in the alternative world of Harry Potter. Of special interest will be the role of mythology and imagination in the formation of personal identity and morality.
SETH760 Theology and the Sciences
This course is a primer on the ways that theology relates to the natural sciences. In addition, developments in modern science, especially in the fields of cosmology, physics, and biology, are explored for their theological significance. Possibilities for the mutual enrichment between the sciences and theology are assessed. Class topics are also studied from a historical perspective, as well as for their relevance for public discourse.
- Prereq: SETH630
SEIP860 Rock Solid Theology
This course will explore lyrics written by Pete Townshend, the primary lyricist and composer for the band The Who, in order to look at spiritual themes in his work. Spiritual topics to be discussed include love, sin, self-sacrifice, mental health, sexuality, abuse, alienation, redemption, and identity. The musical cultural and socio-economic considerations of 20th century African-American experience and post-World War 2 working class youth will set the foundation for understanding the influence on American R&B on British youth. Building on this, music of other British bands, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd will be explored, but in less depth. Lectures will be supplemented with video and documentary footage. This course will compare issues of charisma and routinization in music and in religion. Students will analyze and do projects on musical groups and genres of their own interests.
SETH804 Biblical Theology of Exile, Colonialism, & Migration
People travel, move, and migrate for different reasons and the Bible includes stories of individuals and groups of people who are exiled, colonialized, and immigrate. These biblical passages reveal a bit of the Israelite’s history and the impact that it has made on the people. In our present context, many are colonialized, exiled, and migrant for various reasons. What are some of the impacts of movement to individuals lives as well as the community? What are the theological implications for these movements in today’s world? What does it mean to live in a society where multiple languages, cultures, and heritages collide and clash?
- Prereq: SETH630
SETH810 Moravian Theology
This course examines the rich theological heritage of the Moravian Church beginning with the concept of the essentials, ministerials, and non-essentials developed by Luke of Prague. Students read some of the classic texts in Moravian theology, such as Idea Fidei Fratrum, and some of the catechisms and confessions of faith used in the church. Special attention is given to the theology of Zinzendorf and how it relates to Moravians today. Students investigate the Ground of the Unity and the Essential Features of the Unitas Fratrum.
SETH820 Moravian History
This course is a survey of the history of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) from its founding in 15th century Bohemia to the present. The course examines three eras of Moravian history: the Czech Unity of the Brethren (1457-1670), the Zinzendorfian church (1722-1850), and the modern Unity (1850-present). Special attention is given to the Moravian Church in North America. Key figures include John Hus, Peter Chelcicky, Luke of Prague, John Amos Comenius, Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf, August Gottlieb Spangenberg, Anna Nitschmann, and Edmund De Schweinitz. Key topics include Moravian pacifism, communalism, the choir system, and global missions.
SETH821 Heretics and Hussites in Medieval Christian History
Heresy was considered a crime threatening the medieval moral universe. Between the eleventh and the fifteenth centuries, religious and social dissent increased. Some heretics and dissenters were considered so dangerous to social stability that authorities implemented policies of crusade, inquisition, and burning at the stake to contain the threat. This course examines groups and individuals in their historical contexts, situates them historiographically, investigates their origins, beliefs, and practices, and examines their social and religious influence.
Who became medieval heretics and dissenters and why? How do we account for the preponderance of women? Why was dissent considered so problematic and why did authorities fail to counter that problem effectively? The course focuses on the Waldensian, Cathar and Hussite movements, their repression and lasting significance. The emphasis is on Jan Hus and the early Hussite movement to the 1450s. This course uses a combination of formal lectures and interactive seminar discussions. Primary and secondary source texts, visual images and videos enhance learning.
SETH830 Moravian Worship & Polity
This course is designed to form students as pastoral theologians, worship leaders, and administrative leaders for the Moravian Church, drawing on resources such as the Moravian Book of Worship, Ground of the Unity, and the Moravian Covenant for Christian Living. It addresses the nature and responsibilities of governance in the Moravian Church from the worldwide Unity to congregational life, paying particular attention to issues surrounding call, the sacraments, and forms of ministry, including ordination.
- Prereq: SETH810, SETH820
SETH840 The United Methodist Church in Action: The United Methodist General Conference
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church meets every four years. This course offers our UMC students an opportunity to make important connections with the general church and to emerge themselves into the history and purpose of the General Conference by attending meetings, engaging in group discussions, and following an issue from committee though the vote on the floor. We are fortunate to have pre-arranged meetings on-site with well-known church leaders and historians who will provide insight into the contemporary context of those issues facing United Methodism as a global church. We are also invited to join in a few of the pre-Conference meetings with Drew Theological School. The interaction with other UMC students, clergy, and laity will provide a stronger understanding of the UMC connectional system.
SETH842 United Methodist Missions
This course explores the foundations (historical, theological, biblical, Spiritual) and transforming roles of the Church’s mission in the world both locally and globally. Particular attention will be given to the Wesleyan movement and how its approach to missions expands and transforms in order to serve an intercultural, interfaith, and global world. We will parse Wesley’s statement “I look upon all the world as my parish…”
SETH860 History, Theology, and Polity of the United Church of Christ
This course is designed to introduce United Church of Christ students to the history, theology, and polity of the United Church of Christ and its predecessor denominations and to enable them to become familiar with the polity and practice of ministry, as well as the resources of the UCC.
SETH870 Presbyterian Polity
Designed to prepare Presbyterian MDiv students to take the Standard Ordination Examination in Church Polity, this course will focus on the Form of Government, the Directory for Worship, and the Rules of Discipline of the Book of Order. Through lectures, discussions, and case studies, students acquire a working knowledge of the Presbyterian system as both a practical set of tools and an expression of Christian faith in the Reformed tradition.
SETH880 History and Polity of the Unitarian Universalist Church
The course looks at Unitarian European roots in the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation, especially the work of the Socinian movement in Italy, the Minor church in Poland, and the English Unitarians. We examine American Unitarian and Universalist development as a response to the Standing Order (Congregational) churches in New England and trace these separate movements through to the final merger in 1961. Institutional structures, such as AUA, UCA, UUA, and General Assembly, as well as the professional and fellowshipping entities to which ministers are accountable, are examined. Attention is also be given to various rites of passage as observed in Unitarian Universalist congregations.
SETH891 Special Topics: Comenius
John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) is known worldwide as the “father of modern education” and he is frequently cited at Moravian University. Today, his legacy is more recognized by the educational world than by the students and scholars of religion and theology, but Comenius was a pastor of the Moravian Church and his educational endeavors stemmed from a strong spiritual and theological desire to reform humanity. Already during his lifetime, his educational methods and textbooks were translated and published throughout Europe, and today they are available in dozens of languages. Comenius was invited by the most powerful governments of the time to reform their educational system, and he traveled all over Europe. This seminar explores the tumultuous Europe of the 17th century, which greatly influenced his life and work. We will review his religious and educational heritage and the significant contributions he made to both fields. At the end of the course, students will have a greater understanding of this often-forgotten Christian reformer and his continuing influence and worth in our understanding of Christianity and modern society. This course will help Moravian University students, regardless of their major, to learn about the man whose statue welcomes visitors to Comenius Hall.