Theology Courses

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Spring 2018

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

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Religious Studies 451
Dr. Thomas Ryba
MWF: 11:30 am – 1:20 pm

Who do Christians think Jesus Christ was?  What do they think he was? What do they think was his mission?  What does it mean when Christians affirm that he was both God and Man?

Christianity is based on claims about Jesus Christ’s historical and ontological identity. Without an understanding of such claims, the Christian tradition is largely inscrutable. Moreover, these claims have linkages to all the divisions of Christian Theology but especially to the Christian notions of God, religious anthropology, soteriology, sacramentology, and spirituality.

In this course, we will examine the historical development of Christology from the New Testament period to the late 20th/early 21st century, with particular emphasis placed on the New Testament and conciliar data and their influence on the course of Christological development. Issues addressed will include: the nature of the hypostatic union, the consciousness of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the Incarnation, the works of Jesus Christ, the significance of the suffering of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the atonement, etc., have been understood by Christians.  Also examined will be some notable contemporary interpretations of Christology such as those of Bultmann, Barth, Lonergan, Schillebeeckx, Rahner, Pannenberg, Moltmann, Kasper, Boff, Marion, or others, especially as these have contributed to Christian understanding of Jesus Christ at the beginning of the 21st century.

This class will be taught as a seminar; grades based on a take-home midterm and a seminar paper.

Religions of the West

Philosophy 231 / Religious Studies 231
Dr. Thomas Ryba
BRNG 1268
MWF: 12:30 pm – 1:20 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 (to a lesser extent) 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.

Directed Readings

PHIL / IDIS 590: (To be arranged by student and professor) This course provides the student with an opportunity to explore individually tailored research topics.  The emphasis is upon initiative, independence, and creativity, within limits agreed upon by instructor and student.  Topics and meeting schedule are subject to instructor’s approval.  

Prerequisites: one course in theology, or in philosophy, or instructor’s approval.