Cultural/Historical Study of Religions
In the West, Hinduism has usually been characterized as the religion grounded in the Vedas and related texts, based on a cyclic/cosmic world-view, and aimed at the liberation of the human spirit from these cycles. This understanding of the vast religious and spiritual culture of India is more superficial than untrue. Both ""religion"" and the name ""Hinduism"" are terms invented in the ethnocentric context of Europe and Christianity and in the historical phase of European colonialism. The great vitality of India's many ways of worshiping the Absolute and understanding/remedying the human condition can be seen in the presence and influence of the most beloved sacred text of India, the Bhagavad-Gita, in the spiritual self-understanding and practice of Westerners during the last two centuries. This intensive course will give students the opportunity to read the 18 chapters of the Gita, examine some scholarly reflection on its historical roots and influence, and reflect on four modern commentaries: those of Mahatma Gandhi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Prabhupada, and the Christian monk Bede Griffiths. This course, which is open to students in all GTU programs, fulfills the requirement for credits in inter-religious dialogue for JST M.Div. students. The point of departure for the course will be the ecclesial nature of interreligious dialogue (see Vatican II, Nostra Aetate); students will examine, in a critical/faithful reading, the documents of the Catholic magisterium regarding Asian religions and spiritual practices. Students will also recognize the interplay between faith and culture in addressing the theological and pastoral issues that emerge from Christian contact with Hinduism in Western cultural contexts. Students will be invited to share, and reflect upon, their own interreligious connections. Lecture/Discussion. One-page reflection for each class meeting except the first, plus a final paper. Class meets daily, 1/6/14-1/17/14, from 11:00am-3:00pm in JST 217.
This seminar introduces students to a section of II Temple Jewish texts (from the OT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha). Focus will be on texts which appear to be ""rewriting"" Scriptures, especially from the Torah/Pentateuch. Traditions that cluster around/relate to biblical characters (Adam and Eve, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Rebekah, Dinah, Levi, Moses, Hannah, Joseph, etc) will receive primary attention. Doctoral students preparing for Comprehensive Examinations may propose other texts for study in the seminar. Seminar style. Evaluation by means of: regular seminar participation, 2 book reviews, seminar presentation, research paper (18-25 pages). [PIN code required; 10 max enrollment]
This seminar introduces students to a section of II Temple Jewish texts (from the OT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha). Focus will be on texts which appear to be ""rewriting"" Scriptures, especially from the Torah/Pentateuch. Traditions that cluster around/relate to biblical characters (Adam and Eve, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Rebekah, Dinah, Levi, Moses, Hannah, Joseph, etc.) will receive primary attention. Doctoral students preparing for Comprehensive Examinations may propose other texts for study in the seminar. Seminar style. Evaluation by means of: regular seminar participation, 2 book reviews, seminar presentation, research paper (18-25 pages).[PIN code required; 10 max enrollment]
This lecture/seminar course addresses the heterogeneity and the complexities of the cultures and faith traditions of Asia and Oceania. Students will learn advanced skills for ministry in cross-cultural contexts with cultural sensitivity and deeper theological critique within each of faith communities and among different Asian and Oceania communities. We will focus on the rich content and its relation to the praxis of various traditions for inter and intra religious dialogue. Guest faculty will make presentations on different faith traditions. Certain class sessions will be conducted as immersion experiences to different ethno-religious communities and cross-cultural/interfaith settings in the San Francisco Bay area. These immersion experiences will be an important contextual learning and students are expected to participate in all these immersions. A final research paper on students own faith tradition in relation to the other traditions of Asian and Oceania is required by the end of the semester. This class is opened to GTU MA students and other members of affiliated schools. [Introductory knowledge of Asian and Oceanic faith traditions is helpful but not required; Faculty Consent required; Auditors excluded]
The first sessions of the course will explore the developments of Christology in the early centuries of the church, evaluating how Patristic Christological speculation understood the theme of Christ's embodiment. We shall then examine the extent to which the classical understanding of incarnation is questioned by the different construals of embodiment we find in devotional Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism. Students will also be invited to reflect on the presence of female incarnations in Hinduism/Buddhism and on the possible impact of the phenomenon on inter-religious dialogue. We will then discuss how insights from Hindu/Buddhist speculative reflection could help us develop new contextual Christologies for the Asian continent. Students training for the priesthood are encouraged to reflect on the implications of the readings for contemporary missiology. The course is geared primarily towards MA, MDiv and STL students. [PIN code required]
THEOLOGY AND SCIENCE: CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM This course will introduce issues at the interface between religious faith and the theology that expresses it, and the sciences that study the universe we inhabit. Science asks how the world works; theology asks about meaning, purpose, and value. Course traces this relationship in Christian history, and probes questions including: (1) faith and biological evolution, (2) Genesis, cosmology and the far future, (3) genetics, neuroscience, and the ""soul,"" (4) the problem of suffering and theodicy, (5) sin, redemption, and salvation, (6) science in interreligious discussion, and (7) theology for a sustainable future. Class equips students to lead scientifically literate congregations in vital discussions. [15 max enrollment]