Theology Courses

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Courses may be taken for UND or Purdue credit. Some may be used to fulfill Ecclesial Lay Ministry requirements.

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Interpretation of the New Testament

Religious Studies 201
Dr. Thomas Ryba
MWF: 12:30-1:20 PM

The purpose of Religious Studies 201 is to provide a critical overview of the Christian Scriptures (in their historical development). The notions of religion and development are central to this purpose. In our studies, we will discover that the characteristic religious thought of Christians–though unique–was influenced by the mythologies, cultures, philosophies, and theologies of other Mediterranean peoples in late antiquity. The assumption behind this investigation is that theology–as a non-native category–has application to the Christian Scriptures only after these scriptures are understood in the historical, social and intellectual contexts from which they emerged. Our general approach to the historical materials will be based on a neutral academic stance (as far as this is possible). This means we will take account of other canons and other extra-canonical interpretations of the Christian scriptures, especially when these are at variance with (and challenge) the Christian interpretations of New Testament history and theology.

Religions of the West

Philosophy 231 / Religious Studies 231
Dr. Thomas Ryba
MWF: 2:30-3:20 PM

The purpose of this course is to provide a systematic survey of those religions variously described, in the West, as ‘Western Religions’ or ‘Religions of the West.’ Immediately, a problem arises because the adjective, ‘Western,’ is questionable. The descriptions ‘Western’ or ‘of the West’ have been understood as designating a problematic geo-cultural location—but also a homogeneous style of religious thought because of their common origins as Abrahamic monotheisms. Contemporary scholars of religion, and indigenous believers, often contest this imputed homogeneity and have pointed to the incredible complexity and fluidity of these traditions, characteristics which resist simplistic classification. Well aware of the challenges such descriptions present, we, in this course, will engage in a comparative study of the systems of belief, thought, and practice traditionally termed ‘Western Religions’ by Western scholars of religions. This will be accomplished through a series of readings on these systems’ histories, philosophies, and scriptures.