Course Descriptions

TRS 201 Introduction to the Old Testament     3 CR
Literary and historical study of the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible in Judaism. Relationship of literary form and interpretation in passages from the Pentateuch, historical and prophetic books, and wisdom literature. Comparison and contrast of theological meanings of these writings for Jews and Christians.

TRS 202 Introduction to the New Testament     3 CR
Literary, historical, and theological study of the New Testament. Included topics: the origin, formation and development of the Gospels and letters, various types of interpretation, and the distinctive views of the New Testament writers about Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection.

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 The Letters of Paul     3 CR
Examines the social and religious world of St. Paul, his biography, his writings in the New Testament, and how these influenced the developing Christian church.

TRS 205 Gospel of Luke & Acts     3 CR
Study of Luke’s Gospel and its companion book, the Acts of the Apostles, utilizing historical, literary, and theological tools.

TRS 220 Introduction to Catholic Theology     3 CR
Introduces fundamentals of Catholic life and thought. Key doctrines examined are scripture, tradition, God/Trinity, Jesus Christ, sacraments, and the Church in the modern world. Additional topics might include ethics, spirituality, and the saints. Placed in historical context, Catholic theological reasoning about these doctrines are compared to theology in other branches of Christianity.

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 & 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
Traces the history of the Christian faith from the New Testament period to the Middle Ages. Major issues, controversies, and persons from these centuries are studied.

TRS 231 History of Christianity II     3 CR
Traces the history of the Christian faith from the Middle Ages to the present time. Major issues, controversies, and persons from these centuries are studied.

TRS 232 Christian Spirituality     3 CR
Presents spirituality as a topic worthy of study, plumbing its meaning through selections from the writings of great spiritual masters through the centuries—for example, Augustine, John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola, Teilhard de Chardin, 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 by Christian 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 contemporary 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 236 Comparative Theology     3 CR
Comparative theology brings two traditions together in comparison and contrast to learn both deeply without collapsing the two into one. The traditions studied may vary with the semester, but typically Christianity will be compared to another world religion.

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
The social-ethical teachings of the Catholic tradition, especially since Pope Leo XIII’s letter On the Condition of Labor in 1891. Explores Catholic social teaching that emerges from Church documents, traces its application to many issues of social and political conflict, and considers how this teaching is challenged by the perspectives of women, minorities, and people in developing countries.

TRS 243 Ethics in World Religions     3 CR
Examination of core ethical teachings and methods in several world religions. These resources guide ethical analysis of conflicted issues in contemporary society, such as economic inequality, racism, violence, sexual ethics, and bioethics.

TRS 260 Eastern Religions     3 CR
Explores history, beliefs, and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions of India, China, and Japan and the emergence of the contemporary New Age movement.

TRS 261 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
Key components of the complex religion of Judaism including Biblical foundations, historical development, theological considerations, rituals and symbols, calendar and holidays, Jewish mysticism, prayer, denominations, and lifecycle events. Explores the role of God in the life of Jews past and present and compares the meaning of Judaism then and now.

TRS 263 Symbol, Myth, & 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 Religions & Cults     3 CR
Explores the beliefs, practices, and teachings of ancient world religions including those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the mystery cults of the ancient Greco-Roman civilizations, and the religious traditions of pre-Christian northern Europe (Scandinavia) and ancient Iran. Studies sacred writings of theses religions with emphasis on topics such as deities and divine powers, rituals of birth and death, gender studies, and the relationships between ancient faith traditions and the emergence of monotheism.

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 functions in human life, and its various forms and manifestations. The perspectives of influential theorists of religion centuries will be studied.

TRS 270 Religion in America     3 CR
Examines the historical factors responsible for distinctive trends in American religion and identifies common threads that run through the religious history of America from the Puritans to today.

TRS 271 Celtic Religious Traditions     3 CR
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. Study of the religious function of social institutions; gods, goddesses, and ruling powers; holy places; feasting and sacrifice; spirits and ancestors; and the other world. Also considered is the role of women in these traditions and the continuation of “myth” in modern Ireland.

TRS 272 Religion in Contemporary Ireland     3 CR
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 twenty-first-century Ireland.

TRS 273 Religion & Sexuality     3 CR
Examines the relationship between religion and sexuality in various world religions. Topics include asceticism versus eroticism, defining normality and deviance, sex as a means to challenge or maintain the social order, and religious responses to the changing sexual morality in contemporary Western society.

TRS 276 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.

TRS 277 Christian-Jewish Relations     3 CR
Examines the historical and theological relationship between Judaism and Christianity over the centuries. Attention is paid to the recent positive strides in interreligious understanding since Second Vatican Council.

TRS 284 Cults, Sects, & 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 290 Foundational Topics in Religion     3 CR
Designates new or occasional courses that present the opportunity to study a major era, theme, or set of thinkers in theology or religious studies, at the foundational level. Consult the current course schedule for available topics.

TRS 299 Special Topics in Theology & Religious Studies     3 CR
Designates new or occasional courses that may or may not become part of the department’s permanent offerings. Courses capitalize on a timely topic, a faculty member’s particular interest, an experimental alternative to existing courses, etc. Prerequisites established by the department as appropriate for the specific course. Course title is shown on the student’s transcript. Consult the current course schedule for available topics and prerequisites.

TRS 301 Death & Resurrection of Jesus     3 CR
Traces the development of the traditions of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus as they are found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 302 The Historical Jesus     3 CR
Investigates what can be known of the historical Jesus—the form of his teaching, his message, his actions—through a proper methodological examination of the sources. Jesus and his followers are understood in the context of the history, cultural, and religion of his day. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

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

TRS 304 New Testament Ethics     3 CR
An examination of the ethical teachings found in the New Testament and their legacy. Prerequisite: One 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 historical-critical study of the Bible, and consideration of the Catholic Church’s contemporary methods for study and interpretation of Scripture. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

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

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

TRS 322 The Christian Trinity     3 CR
Examines 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: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 323 Theology & the Human Person     3 CR
Investigates theological conception of the human person in light of Christian revelation and asks: In what way is a person like God? What do we mean by human nature, sin, grace, and free will? Can the traditional Christian and the modern scientific notions of humanity be reconciled? Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 324 Death, the Future, & Eternity     3 CR
Investigates the varied aspects of Christian eschatology—that is, 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: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 325 Faith & Science     3 CR
Explores history and interaction between Catholic theology and science in the medieval, modern, and contemporary era. The interaction is studied in the context of such topics as cosmology, evolution, ecology, and technology. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 328 Contemporary Protestant Thought     3 CR
Some of the most important Protestant theologians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Kierkegaard, Schleiermacher, Barth, and Tillich. Prerequisite: One 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 Te Ching, the Hindu Upanishads, Zohar and other Kabbalistic texts, the poets of Sufism, and Christian mystics from the history of Christianity. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course 

TRS 331 Monks, Hermits, & Warriors    3 CR
Introduces the dimension of Christian faith often termed “the religious life.” Studies the historical development of monasticism in the West and its various manifestations from late antiquity to the modern era. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 332 Medieval Theology     3 CR
A critical examination of central doctrines of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as they developed during the Middle Ages. This course analyzes particular modalities of theological expression such as mysticism, sacred art/architecture, and women’s visionary writings. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 333 Women in Celtic Christianity     3 CR
Examines the complex encounter between women and the diverse traditions of Celtic spirituality. Historical scope of the course runs from pre-Christian traditions to contemporary times with emphasis on primary texts. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 334 Catherine & Teresa     3 CR
Catherine of Siena (14th cen.) and Teresa of Avila (16th cen.) are esteemed for enriching the life of the Catholic Church with their theological writings and their distinctive spiritual gifts. Explores the significant contributions of both women in the context of their respective historical and religious milieus, as well as their Dominican and Carmelite spiritualties. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 335 Spiritual Teachers & Thinkers     3 CR
Explores the representative spiritual writings of a specific religious teacher from the history of the world’s religions. Examples of such spiritual teachers include Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, George Fox, Teresa of Avila, Ibn al’Arabi, and Martin Buber. Consult instructor for relevant topic. Prerequisite: One 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: One 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: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 338 Theology & Ethics of Death & Dying     3 CR
Explores cultural, religious, philosophical, scientific, medical, and literary perceptions of death, dying, and grief. Develops theological and ethical frameworks to guide care and communication in end-of-life situations. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 340 Bioethics: Religious Approaches     3 CR
Using methods and principles of biomedical ethics, explores several ethical issues in medical practice and healthcare policy. Frameworks employed include religious/ ethical perspectives in Christianity and some other religious traditions, as well as philosophical and social theories. Topics may include euthanasia, reproductive technologies, confidentiality, human subjects, and allocation of healthcare resources. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 341 Religion, War, & Peace     3 CR
An examination of ethical attitudes toward war and peace embraced by Christianity, Islam, and other religions. Just war theory and pacifism are applied to contemporary problems of violence. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 342 Human Rights     3 CR
Investigates philosophical and religious theories of human rights, the modern history of rights, and ways to implement a human rights agenda. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 343 Philanthropy as Moral Action     3 CR
Presents the ethics, theology, and political philosophy undergirding philanthropy. Provides an opportunity to develop skills of social entrepreneurship by studying or volunteering in local nonprofits. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 344 Virtue Ethics     3 CR
The study of moral character. Course investigates the philosophy and theology of virtue throughout history; the value of the social and natural sciences for understanding virtue; and the social dimensions of virtue. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 345 Religion & the Environment     3 CR
Examines how religion has shaped humanity’s relationship with nature and explores various religious and ethical responses to contemporary ecological problems. The course also attends to Christianity, which is criticized by some environmentalists but has also given rise to its own environmentalist movement. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 361 Women in Islam     3 CR
This course examines the theological, anthropological and cultural encounter between women and Islam from an historical as well as contemporary perspective. Dismissing polemics and grounding study on writings by and about Muslim women across the full scope of the Islamic world, the course will explore particularly how Muslim women have realized their faith and engaged in patterns of religious practice. Prerequisite: One 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: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 363 Pilgrimage & Sacred Journeys     3 CR
Introduces the religious ritual activity of pilgrimage, a spiritually inspired journey in time and over space. The concept is studied in several religions and from several methodological angles that occur in many religious traditions. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 364 Death & Dying in the World Religions     3 CR
All religious traditions have regarded the process of dying and the result of bodily death as significant events—as natural but also sacred states of being that impart to earthly life its deepest meaning and value. Course explores religious beliefs about and practices developed around human dying, death, and any subsequent conditions of existence. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 370 Interreligious Dialogue     3 CR
Presents how various religions see the task of dialogue and cooperation between their members and people of other faiths and of no faith. Considers effective practices for interreligious dialogue. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 372 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: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 373 Religion, Health, & 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: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 381 American Evangelicalism     3 CR
History and character of evangelicalism, a distinctive variety of Protestant Christianity that has had a major influence on the U.S. Topics include fundamentalism, impact on major social movements, and the political influence of evangelicals today. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 382 North American Christianities     3 CR
Examines several American Protestant Christian movements that proposed new scriptures and new understandings of Christianity—for instance, the Shakers, Mormons, and Spiritualists. Asks how Christianity has adapted to cultural changes in areas such as work, education, family life, and healthcare. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 383 Holocaust: Genocide & Religion     3 CR
Analysis of the Holocaust and other twentieth century genocides (Rwanda, Bosnia) with a focus on religion as a dimension of the causes of genocide. Assesses degrees of accountability for genocide among religious populations, both lay and clerical. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 384/385 Elementary Ecclesiastical Latin I and II     3 CR
Provides foundation in the vocabulary, morphology, and grammar of Latin as used in Catholic Church documents and liturgies. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

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

TRS 387 Religion in Film    3 CR
Explores the religious dimensions of a wide range of films, many of which are screened in class and then discussed. The course considers both subject matter and style/techniques. Prerequisite: One 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: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 389 Art & the Sacred    3 CR
Introduces students to some of the world’s great religions through the agency of art, architecture, sculpture, music, and other artistic modes. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 391 Religious Topics in Beauty     3 CR
Designates new or occasional courses that present the opportunity to study the theme of the search for beauty. Consult the current course schedule for available topics. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 392 Religious Topics in Freedom and Equality    3 CR
Designates new or occasional courses that present the opportunity to study the theme of freedom, equality and the common good. Consult the current course schedule for available topics. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 393 Religious Topics in Wellness     3 CR
Designates new or occasional courses that present the opportunity to study the theme of wellness and well-being. Consult the current course schedule for available topics. Prerequisite: One 3-credit TRS course

TRS 397 Internship in Religion    1–3 CR
Offers an opportunity for qualified Theology and Religious Studies majors to gain practical experience in an area to which the discipline applies. Internships are arranged in advance of the semester in which they are to be taken. Prerequisite: Permission of Theology and Religious Studies faculty

TRS 399 Major Capstone     3 CR
A topical seminar, drawing upon skills and content developed in the Theology and Religious Studies major. The student will write and defend a major research project. For TRS majors only