Course Descriptions

Courses numbered at the 300-level have the prerequisite of one previous TRS course which includes any course at the 100-level (as offered in previous years) or the 200-level.

Biblical Studies

TRS 201 Introduction to the Old Testament     3 CR
Development of the major traditions of the Hebrew Bible. Authorship of these traditions, why they were written and what historical circumstances they were responding to.

TRS 202 Introduction to the New Testament     3 CR
This course will examine the New Testament texts, methods of interpretation, cultural and historical setting of the texts, and the varied theologies expressed by these foundational Christian texts.

TRS 203 Introduction to the Gospels     3 CR
This course is an introduction and examination of the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. The course will explore contemporary methods used by scholars and the Church to interpret these texts.

TRS 204 Letters of Paul     3 CR
An introduction to Paul of Tarsus, his writings and his theology.

TRS 301 Death and Resurrection of Jesus     3 CR
Investigates what can be known of the historical Jesus through a proper methodological examination of the sources. Special emphasis is on the parables of Jesus. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 302 The Historical Jesus     3 CR
Traces the development of the traditions of the death and resurrection of Jesus as they are found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 303 The Gospel of John     3 CR
A critical interpretation of the Gospel of John. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 304 New Testament Ethics     3 CR
This course is an examination of the ethical legacy of the New Testament. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 305 Scripture in the Life of the Church     3 CR
An overview of the entire biblical canon, an introduction to the historical-critical study of the bible, and consideration of the Catholic Church’s contemporary methods for study and interpretation of Scripture. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

Theology and Spirituality

TRS 220 Introduction to Catholic Theology     3 CR
This course will explore the nature of Catholic theology and offer an introduction to the basic domains and methods of Catholic theology.

TRS 221 Understanding Theology     3 CR
An introduction to the nature and role of theology. Investigates both academic, or “public,” theology and confessional, or “church-centered,” theology.

TRS 222 Faith and Reason     3 CR
This course investigates the relationship between faith and reason. In what ways are faith and reason compatible and what is the history of the interaction between theology and academic disciplines such as those in the natural and social sciences?

TRS 223 Sacraments     3 CR
Explores the history of the sacraments, the theology behind them and their role in contemporary Catholic life.

TRS 230 History of Christianity I     3 CR
How the central doctrines of Christianity have developed with focus on the first five centuries.

TRS 231 History of Christianity II     3 CR
A survey of how central Christian doctrines shaped Christianity through the middle ages and beyond.

TRS 232 Christian Spirituality     3 CR
Great spiritual masters of the Western religious traditions (e.g., John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola, Teilhard de Chardin, Martin Buber and Thomas Merton).

TRS 233 Women in Christianity     3 CR
A theological, textual and gender-based examination of women in the history of Christianity, incorporating critical analysis of texts written about and byChristian women. Topics include the image of women and woman's spirituality in the Bible, writings of the Church Fathers, mystics, sectarian movements, and the feminist reconstruction of tradition.

TRS 234 Contemporary Roman Catholic Thought     3 CR
Various thinkers and movements that have shaped Roman Catholic life and thought, including Karl Rahner, the Second Vatican Council and liberation theology.

TRS 235 Constructing the Concept of God     3 CR
Imaginative construction of a concept of God appropriate for modern life.

TRS 320 Jesus the Christ     3 CR
Examines the theological interpretation of Jesus as the Christ in the history of the Christian tradition. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 321 The Church: Roman Catholic Perspectives     3 CR
An investigation of Catholic thinking and teaching about the nature of the Church. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 322 The Christian Trinity     3 CR
This course will examine the Christian theological conception of God as a trinity of persons. How has this theological understanding of God developed over time? How does theology explain the Christian worship of one God who is also three? Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 323 Theology and the Human Person     3 CR
The course explores the theological conception of the human person in the light of Christian revelation. It engages questions such as what is a human person? In what way is a human person like God and Christ? What do we mean by human nature, sin, grace and free will? Can the traditional Christian view of the human person accommodate modern scientific notions of humanity? Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 324 Death, the Future and Eternity     3 CR
This course will investigate the varied aspects of Christian eschatology, the unfolding of the future, in relation to the cosmos and to the individual. When, how, and why does the world end and where does the individual fit into all this? Topics covered include theological discussions of time, the future, the human soul, death, the intermediate stage, and the journey of the Christian community and the human family into the future. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 325 Faith and Science     3 CR
This course explores the history and interaction between Catholic theology and science over the past few centuries. This course investigates the interaction between faith, reason, science, theology and philosophy in the medieval, modern, and contemporary Catholic/Christian context. Specific topics include the interaction between faith and science through the history of cosmology, development of the idea of evolution, ecology, and technology. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 327 Contemporary Roman Catholic Thought     3 CR
Various thinkers and movements that have shaped contemporary Roman Catholic life and thought, including Karl Rahner, the Second Vatican Council and liberation theology. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 328 Contemporary Protestant Thought     3 CR
Some of the most important Protestant theologians of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Kierkegaard, Schleiermacher, Barth and Tillich. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 330 Mysticism     3 CR
This course introduces the student to the dimension of spirituality known as mysticism, through readings in and critical analysis of mystical texts of the world's religions, including Tao the Ching, the Hindu Upanishads, Zohar and other Kabbalistic texts, the poets of Sufism, and Christian mystics from the history of Christianity. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 331 Monks, Hermits and Warriors     3 CR
Monks, Hermits, and Warriors is designed to introduce students to the dimension of the Christian faith often termed “the religious life.” As such, it traces the historical development of monasticism in the Latin West and explores its various manifestations.  More than just history, though, our course ponders questions that delve into theology and spirituality. What motivates an individual to embrace such a life? What, for that matter, constitutes the religious life? What are its aspirations, purposes, and benefits – both personally and within the larger, social context? The course begins with some theoretical and historical background and proceed through the historical eras of late antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, early modernity, and modernity. There will be extensive use of both primary and secondary sources to engage some of the major movements, figures, and ideals that have characterized the consecrated life. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 332 Medieval Theology     3 CR
Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 333 Women in Celtic Christianity     3 CR
Women in Celtic Christianity is a course on Celtic women and their spirituality within the tradition of Celtic Christianity. The course will explore women how women of different classes, colors, ages, and spiritual experiences have realized and expressed their faith, and how those expressions are worthy of exploration and affirmation (a fact not always culturally sanctioned). Celtic Christianity is a tradition rich in its own history and particularities within the broader culture of the Western Church, and so it is certainly worthy of a focused exploration. In order to appreciate the distinctiveness of Celtic women and their spirituality, students will examine some of the unique characteristics of Celtic Christianity, a form of the Christian faith that emerged from the peculiar confluence of the histories, topographies, pre-Christian folk religions and cultural ethoi of the Celtic peoples. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 334 Catherine and Theresa     3 CR
The course Catherine and Teresa will explore the noteworthy lives and spiritual gifts of the brilliant and extraordinary Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila, two of the most remarkable women in the history of Christianity, and, possibly, in the history of any religion. Because of the depth and breadth of their writings, as well as their enduring impact as theologians and spiritual teachers, both Catherine and Teresa have been named “Doctors” of the Church, an honorific reserved almost exclusively for men. The simple facts of their well-documented lives present some complexity: passionately devout in their faith, both were passionate mystics; though both somewhat reclusive contemplatives, they were engaged constantly in advancing political reform and, in the case of Teresa, ecclesial and monastic reform.  Catherine and Teresa have left an astonishing collection of works, including contemplative writings, reflective and spiritual compositions, politically and socially charged correspondence, and an intricate and ingenious theology. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 335 Spiritual Teachers & Thinkers     3 CR
Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 336 Theology & Native Irish Spirituality     3 CR
Celtic Christianity is a tradition rich in its own history and particularities within the broader culture of the Western Church, and so it is certainly worthy of a focused exploration. The course will include a study of the general history and theological peculiarities of the Celtic Church within Celtic cultures and geographies, with a particular focus on Irish spirituality and Irish Christianity. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 337 Narratives of Solitude     3 CR
To better understand the human condition, students read texts about the nature of solitude and narratives composed by men and women experiencing periods of voluntary or imposed isolation. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course


TRS 240 Foundations of Catholic Ethics     3 CR
Explores the historical sources and methods of reasoning in the Roman Catholic moral tradition. Critically examines current moral issues in Catholicism.

TRS 241 History of Christian Ethics     3 CR
The ethical reflections of some of the most influential Christian thinkers from the Church Fathers to the present (e.g., Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther) applied to various important topics of ethical debate in Christian history (e.g., the notion of just war).

TRS 242 The Catholic Social Justice Tradition     3 CR

TRS 243 Ethics in World Religions     3 CR

TRS 340 Bioethics     3 CR
Introduces students to the methods and principles of biomedical ethics, and explores several ethical issues in medical practice and health care policy. The theoretical frameworks employed include religious-ethical perspectives in Christianity and some other religious traditions, as well as philosophical and social critiques and proposals. Major topics covered include euthanasia, reproductive technologies, human cloning, consent for experimentation and allocation of health care resources. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 341 Religion, War & Peace     3 CR
An examination of various attitudes toward war and peace embraced by Christian tradition and other religions. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 342 Human Rights     3 CR
Human rights are highly valued and praised by citizens and nations around the world. They are seen as essential to human well being and happiness and as a framework for a common morality among humankind. The United Nations Universal Declaration claims that recognition of human rights is “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Religious leaders likewise pay high tribute to human rights—for instance, the Catholic Church enumerated a list of universal and inalienable rights in the 1960s that is quite similar to the UN Declaration. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 343 Philanthropy as Moral Action     3 CR
Explores the content, sources, and methods of Catholic social thought (CST). Investigates its relevance to social-ethical problems in both the United States and the global community, with particular attention to issues of equality and inequality, economic rights and development, globalization, and philanthropy. Provides students the opportunity to develop initial skills of social entrepreneurship. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 344 Virtue Ethics     3 CR
Virtue ethics is about the development of good moral character for living a fulfilled life. One of the oldest approaches to ethics in Western philosophy and Christian ethics, this theory has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. Virtue been an important concept both for revivifying Christian and Catholic ethics and for studying comparative religious ethics. The course investigates the philosophy and theology of virtue throughout history; the value of the social and natural sciences for understanding virtue; and the social applications of virtue ethics. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 345 Religion and the Environment     3 CR
Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

World Religions & Comparative Studies

TRS 260 Introduction to Eastern Religions     3 CR
Explores history, beliefs and practices of Hinduism,Buddhism and other religions of India, China andJapan and the emergence of the contemporary NewAge movement.

TRS 261 Introduction to Islam     3 CR
A theological and phenomenological exploration of beliefs, practices, and symbology of Islam, incorporating extensive readings from the
Qur'an, the hadith and shari'a, and Sufism. This course analyzes contemporary topics such as religion and gender, and religion and politics.

TRS 262 Judaism     3 CR
This course will provide a broad understand of the key components of Judaism. Topics to be covered include Biblical foundations, historical development, theological considerations, rituals and symbols, calendar and holidays, prayer, life cycle events and contemporary denominations. The course will explore the role of God in the life of Jews past and present and compare and contrast the meaning of Judaism then and now.

TRS 263 Symbol, Myth and Ritual     3 CR
Notions of symbol, myth and ritual, as well as an introduction to the use of symbols, myths and rituals in a wide variety of religious traditions.

TRS 264 Ancient Cults and Religions     3 CR

TRS 265 Introduction to World Religions     3 CR
A descriptive and comparative study of the beliefs, practices, and sacred texts of several world religions.

TRS 266 Understanding Religion    3 CR
A critical and constructive study of the nature of religion, its function in human life, and its various forms and manifestations. The perspectives of influential theories of religion over the centuries will be studied.

TRS 270 Religion in America     3 CR

TRS 271 Death & Dying in World Religions     3 CR
Examines the concept of “death”—the central reality in human life and that which makes authentic, full, human and humane life possible.

TRS 272 Religion in Contemporary Ireland     3 CR
The course examines complex factors involved in shaping religion in contemporary Ireland. The changing face of Irish religious sensibility is situated within such factors as, Irish history, the major role of Catholicism in the culture, and the multicultural dimensions of 21st century Ireland.

TRS 273 Religions, Health and Healing     3 CR

TRS 275 Religion and Sexuality     3 CR
Examines the relationship between religion and sexuality in various world religions. Topics include asceticism vs. eroticism; defining normality and deviance; sex as a means to challenge or maintain the social order; religious responses to the changing sexual morality in contemporary Western society.

TRS 277 Christian-Jewish Relations     3 CR
This course examines the historical and theological relationship between Judaism and Christianity beginning at the time of Jesus, which resulted in the separation of and misunderstanding between Christians and Jews through the Patristic period, Renaissance, Middle Ages, until the present time. Particular attention is paid to the recent positive studies in interreligious understanding advanced by the Second Vatican Council.

TRS 360 Women in world Religions     3 CR
An analysis of women's role in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam—both historical and contemporary—using theories and methods of gender study. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 361 Women in Islam     3 CR
Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 362 Women in American Religion     3 CR
A critical analysis of women and religion within the context of American history and culture. This course examines religious writings/narratives by Native American women, and American women in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The impact of race, class, history, and/or ethnicity upon religious experience is also explored in the writings of feminist, Womanist (African-American) and Mujerista (Latina) theologians. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 363 Religions, Health and Healing     3 CR
Explores theories and practices of healing in Eastern, Western and Primal religions. Examines research on connections between religion and health and efficacy of alternative and spiritual therapies. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 364 Death and Dying in the World Religions     3 CR
The course is concerned with the mythic history of Ireland, and “beginning” of the Irish, and the traditions by which the Irish have come to identify themselves and give meaning to their world. Students study the religious function of social institutions; gods, goddesses and ruling powers;holy places; feasting and sacrifice; spirits and ancestors; and the other world. The class also looks at the role of women in these traditions and what these traditions mean with regard to such issues as our own estrangement from the natural order. The continuation of “myth” in modern Ireland is also studied in this course. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 368 Contemporary Religious Thinkers     3 CR
Representative writings of a specific religious thinker. Focus is on the work of either an important theologian or a contemporary scholar of religion. Consult the course instructor for the topic. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 370 Interreligious Dialogue     3 CR
Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

Historical and Cultural Studies

TRS 281 Catholic Church Music     3 CR
This course is an examination of the great tradition of music written for the Catholic Church from 100 AD to the present, viewed through an understanding of the Church’s historical and present liturgical traditions. As a significant component of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, relevant musical examples from early through contemporary periods are examined from liturgical, technical, and cultural viewpoints. The Church’s reaction to and use of the wide variety of musical compositions are examined and discussed.

TRS 283 North American Christianities     3 CR
This course will study the history and character of four “restorationist” Christian movements born or nurtured in North America: Shakers, Mormons, Adventists, and Christian Scientists. These movements all originated in the United States in the 19th century, and each produced a text that is a supplement to the Christian Scriptures. The course will study how these movements grew and changed from their earliest moments, how they shared concerns in wider United States society, and how they differed from that mainstream society at the same time.

TRS 284 Cults, Sects and New Religious Movements     3 CR
Explores beliefs and practices of new religions in America, including Mormonism, Unification Church, Christian Science, Scientology, Theosophy, New Age, Neopaganism and UFO cults. Presents both sociological and theological approaches to understanding new religions.

TRS 381 Evangelicalism     3 CR
Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 383 Holocaust, Genocide and Religion     3 CR
Holocaust Studies: Genocide and Religion is a course that will introduce students to a scholarly analysis of the Holocaust and other 20th century genocides with a deliberate focus on religion as a dimension of the event of genocide: religion as potential cause of, as a common reason for, as a likely casualty of, and as a possible response to, the terrible reality of genocide. The course will explore the potential liability of religion for the commission as well as continuation of the Holocaust and other genocidal events, and assess degrees of accountability among religious populations, both lay and clerical, as well as theological teachings and religious histories.  The course will also examine contemporary theological perspectives on theodicyas a general, more inclusive, theme of the existence of evil and human suffering. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 386 Religion in Literature     3 CR
Explores religious dimensions in the fiction of 20th century and contemporary novelists and short story writers, and possibly in other literary formats, such as poetry and memoir. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 387 Film Seminar: Religion in Film     3 CR
Examines the “religious dimensions” of a wide range of films. The course considers both subject matter and style/techniques. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course

TRS 388 Religious Issues in Science Fiction     3 CR
Uses science fiction films and short stories to investigate questions about humanity, the meaning of life, and the nature of the universe that have been posed by religious traditions. Prerequisite: A 3-credit TRS course