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Theological and Ecclesiastical Heritage

Course Descriptions

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.
3 credits

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.
3 credits

SETH630 Intro to Christian Theology

The discipline of Christian theology is approached topically and historically. Attention is given to faith and theological study, the triune reality of God, understanding of the person and work of Jesus, the mission of the Holy Spirit, the identity and purpose of the church, and the vitality of Christian hope.
3 credits

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.
3 credits

SETH721 Theology from the Underside

Economic and cultural globalization affect every part of our world, and their impact is most profoundly felt by those who are poor and marginalized. 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.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SETH630

SETH722 Contemporary Thought About God

Who, or what, is God? Earlier generations presupposed the existence of God in a way that has become highly problematic for contemporary thought, particularly in a pluralistic and largely secular culture. Many question whether “God talk” even makes sense, let alone whether it is true. In this course, we will examine philosophical and theological (and even neurological) accounts of divine existence, attributes, and action, and compare and contrast the conceptions of God held by a variety of theistic traditions.
1 credit

SETH723 Christology

The person and work of Jesus, from the first century to the present, has been a source of endless fascination and controversy. “Who do you say that I am?” he asked the first disciples, and after two millennia the question still resonates. Savior, prophet, sage, revolutionary, “cosmic Christ,” all are suggestive, none definitive. This course considers the various “quests” for the historical Jesus, traces the development of Christological doctrine, explores the significance of Jesus in an interfaith age, and invites participants to develop their own position on this critically important question.
1 credit

SETH724 Pneumatology

Often referred to as the “Cinderella of the Trinity” because of its relative neglect in much Christian thought, the Holy Spirit has become a renewed focus of Christian theology at the beginning of the 21st century, not only because of the rapid rise of Pentecostalism but because of the promise the Spirit holds both to revitalize the Church and to serve as a bridge between Christianity and other faiths and “spiritualities” broadly conceived. In this course, we examine the biblical, historical, and traditional understandings of the Holy Spirit and discuss what it means to “test the spirits” even as we expand our own views of the Spirit’s nature and work in our world.
1 credit

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.
3 credits

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.
3 credits

SETH780 End Times

A study of Jewish, Christian, Muslim and distinctively American views of why, how, and when the world will end, what will replace it, and what happens to humans. The scriptures, traditions, and histories of End Time thinking plus art and popular literature are considered. The role of such thinking in shaping past and present political, social, and religious movements and institutions will be featured. Students formulate and share their own scenarios for the End and its aftermath.
3 credits

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?
3 credits

  • 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.
3 credits

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.
3 credits

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.
3 credits

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.
3 credits

  • 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.
1 credit

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.
3 credits

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.
2 credits

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 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 fellowshiping entities to which ministers are accountable, are examined. Attention is also be given to various rites of passage as observed in Unitarian Universalist congregations.
3 credits