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At JST, we study what we call "culturally contextual theology." 
Rather than separating context from academics, we are constantly bringing the two together. 

Our contexts are plural: the west coast marked the tech world, migration, climate change, rich cultural diversity, and spectacular environmental beauty; the Catholic church which forms us as professors, students, and people of faith; our vocations: as priests, scholastics, religious sisters, and lay people from all over the U.S. and the world; our ministries: in parishes, universities, social justice agencies, and much more.

We bring these contexts with us as we study the breadth and depth of theology, from Scripture and the history of Christianity; to systematic theology and ethics; to liturgy, sacraments, and spirituality. 
We also study the skills needed for ministry today—pastoral counseling, intercultural ministry, preaching, presiding, leadership, sacred space, administration, and community organizing.
Students are able to choose courses from JST, but also from the Graduate Theological Union, and the University of California, Berkeley. Students are encouraged to think about the academic part of their life at JST as a place to explore their theological questions, deepen their faith, and prepare for their future.

Book of Daniel: Court Tales & Visions

Focus on the Book of Daniel as a wisdom aand apocalyptic text, with a particular attention to its literary and theological themes as well as its colonial context.

Children of Sarah, Hagar & Mary

An exploration of scriptural stories, histories, and interreligious issues concerning women across the three great traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Concludes with a two week immersion experience in Jerusalem, Israel during the January intersession.

Literary Criticism of the Old Testament

A survey of literary criticism and literary methods used to study biblical texts. An examination of the application of literary methods to actual biblical texts.

OT Prophets 

An investigation of the historical, compositional, and literary dimensions of the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible including relevant outside readings and contemporary ministerial issues and challenges with which they intersect.

Paul in Context

A historical, theological, and contextual introduction to Paul's letters. Beyond ancient contexts, the course examines histories of the reception of Paul's letters and contemporary approaches to reading Paul today.

Pentateuch, Histories: Methods

A socio-historical and literary survey of the Pentateuch and Histories with attention to the effects of culture upon both the composition and reception of these writings in faith communities. Provides a foundation in critical methodologies and in the theory and practice of exegesis.

Wisdom in Ancient Israel

Exploration of the books of Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Ben Sira.


Mission, Church, and Cultures

Introduction to mission and world Christianity that surveys biblical, historical, cultural and theological resources for the theory and practice of mission, with particular emphasis on current concerns and perspectives.

Canon Law: Introduction & Marriage

An overview of the 1983 Code of Canon Law with emphasis on the pastoral application on the sacrament of marriage. The course studies in detail both the celebration of marriage as the law prescribes and the work of marriage tribunals when a marriage ends in divorce.

Celebrational Rites and Practice

Preparing for presbyteral ordination in the Roman Catholic Church with the principle rites of the Church’s liturgy. Its goal is to develop prayerful leaders of prayer and to develop in presiders the necessary skills for gathering the ecclesial body and celebrating the sacramental rites of the Church. Students will prepare and preside at rites and will also work together on larger liturgical rites. Small group gatherings outside of class for 1 ½ hours a week will enable more familiarity and personal critique.

Composing Sacred Spaces

The course provides historical background and practical tools for creating spaces--real and virtual--for retreats, meditation, and prayer.

Confessional Rites & Practice

Examination of the Roman Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation from its historical, theological, moral, pastoral, liturgical and canonical perspectives. The course is designed for those who will preside at the Sacrament of Reconciliation as presbyters.

Experiments Prayer/Meditation

Exploration of ways of prayer and meditation within the western Christian tradition and helping people notice and articulate their religious experience as a ground and test of their theological reflection.

Parish Administration

The course covers many practical topics related to serving as a pastor or pastoral associate in a Catholic parish. Specific topics are: “Strength Based Leadership” and leadership practices for building strong working teams; stewardship; human resource and employment basics; the diocesan Catholic school system; parish budgets and finance councils; parish pastoral councils and volunteers; and self-care.

Spiritual Direction Practicum

Focus on religious experience in spiritual direction for those engaged in or preparing for this ministry. This course enables participants to identify, articulate and develop religious experience.


Mariology in Dialogue

An exploration of the development of Mariology from its inception to the present, and a conversation with Hindu and Buddhist reflection on the divine feminine.

Vatican II

Study of the documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) with historical background. Focus on the theological content of the documents, their implementation, and current status of the issues.

Mission, Church, and Cultures

Introduction to mission and world Christianity that surveys biblical, historical, cultural and theological resources for the theory and practice of mission, with particular emphasis on current concerns and perspectives.

Mariology in Dialogue

An exploration of the development of Mariology from its inception to the present, and a conversation with Hindu and Buddhist reflection on the divine feminine.

Ecology and Liturgy

Exploration of the vital connection between human concern for the Earth community and worship of the living God. Special attention is given to the encyclical Laudato Si': On Care of Our Common Home, addressed to the global community in 2015 by Pope Francis.

Inculturation and Liturgy

Inculturation is a work of justice and liberation by which Christian communities grow into the richness of their mature identity. Focus given to issues of globalization, justice, popular religion, women, as well as community resilience and sustainability,

Liturgical Theology

A theological introduction to the actions, symbols, texts, and contexts of Christian liturgy. Particular attention is given to reflection on the Church’s worship as the arena of encounter with the Paschal Mystery of Christ and as a communal participation in the Trinitarian life.more course descriptions

Sacramental Theology

A systematic view of the nature of the sacraments, the sacramental economy as a way the Church understands created reality, the community of faith, the individual believer within that Body of Christ, and the seven sacraments. Particular attention devoted to the reform of Roman Catholic sacramental life that developed after Vatican II, as well as the emerging issues of cultural diversity and the unity of the Church in a global reality.

Sacraments in Latino Context

An inculturated approach to the theology, preparation and celebration of sacraments for a U.S. Church which is becoming predominantly Latino.

Theological Readings in Spanish

By providing select readings from such topics as Sacred Scripture, Christology, Ecclesiology, Mariology, and Sacraments, this course provides the student not only an opportunity to read theology in Spanish but also a chance to teach and preach in the same language.

Theology and Spirituality of Priesthood

Contemporary sacramental and ecclesial understanding of presbyteral orders including the biblical foundations for priesthood and some reflection on contemporary religious life in the Catholic Church.

Christology Ancient and Modern

An exploration of the development of Christology from the New Testament to the major councils, the medieval times, the Reformation, and contemporary debates including feminist/liberationist/black/Asian/Latin American approaches.

Cross-cultural Christologies

A cross-cultural approach to Christology which considers the social and cultural contexts of Euro-American, Latin American, African, and Asian Christians.

Foundations of Theology

Introduces the nature and function of theology through a systematic inquiry into the dynamics of faith and revelation, the role of scripture and tradition, the use of religious language and symbols, the genesis of doctrine, the operation of theological method, and the relationship of theology to praxis.

Introduction to Eschatology

Scriptural sources, patristic and medieval developments of theologies of “the last things” (death, judgment, heaven, hell, and purgatory, and the general resurrection) in addition to contemporary pastoral and social dimensions of eschatology in terms of liturgy, ecclesiology, and social justice.

Introducing Ecclesiology

An introduction to ecclesiology that surveys biblical, historical, cultural, and theological resources for the understanding of the Christian churches, with particular emphasis on ecumenical concerns and global perspectives.


Overview of the development of the theology of the Holy Spirit from its scriptural foundations, its patristic and medieval developments , and some modern pneumatological developments. Sacramental, ascetic, pastoral, and ecclesiological issues are considered.

Systematic Theology

A historical, critical, and pastoral approach to the study of Christian Systematic Theology. It examines the major subdisciplines of theology in their historical developments and interrelations with each other: the theology of revelation, trinitarian theology, Christology, ecclesiology, the theology of creation, eschatology, sacramental theology, and more.

Theological Anthropology

A foundational theological inquiry into self-understanding, including concepts of person, affectivity, sexuality, indiividuality, and community based on contemporary social and natural sciences.

Theology and Interfaith Dialog

Exploration of the various historical and contemporary approaches to the theology of religions and interreligious dialogue including the phenomenon of multiple religious identity and the implications for contemporary missiology.

Trinitarian Theology

An overview of the development of Trinitarian theology, from its gradual emergence in the early Christian period all the way to the present.



African Theological Ethics: Development and Issue

Exploration of the development of principles, methods, and theories of African theologies and ethics including the contribution of African Christianity to global Christianity from cultural, anthropological, ecological, Christological, and eschatological perspectives.

Christian Social Ethics

Study of contemporary Christians social thought, including both the major documents of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and the work of Christian ethicists who address social issues using the framework of CST.

Ethics of Social Reconciliation

A study of theological and ethical questions connected to social reconciliation in relation to themes of justice, liberation, mercy, forgiveness., and common ground.

Family Ethics

A course at the intersection of sexual ethics and social ethics that engages Christian thinking on sex, gender, marriage, family, and children.

Fundamental Moral Theology

Exploration of the relevant sources, traditions, categories, dynamics, and methods of Catholic theological ethics. Subjects include love, fundamental option, goodness, freedom, conscience, sin, moral agency, reason, and experience, moral acts, moral truth, moral rightness; law, natural law, and virtue.


Culture, Context & Lived Religion

An introduction to the concept of culture and its implications for theological study and pastoral ministry today. The course attends to theoretical concerns and to issues such as secularization, religious change, and the salience of religiosity in shaping people’s perceptions, identities and strategies of action.

Marian Art

Using a cross-disciplinary approach, this course examines the making, meaning, and reception of Marian images within the various social, religious, and cultural milieus from which they emerged.

Relgion & Social Theory

An introduction to important works in classical and contemporary social theory that enable to understand the complexities of contemporary religion. The course covers topics such as secularization; social conflict and change; identity theory; globalization; rational choice theory.

Relgion & Social Transformation

Focus on the efficacy of religious ideas and constituencies with respect to understand and challenge institutional power, engender civic discourse and engagement, and contribute to social activism.

Self, Sacred and The Secular

A study of the sacred and secular are inextricably understdood as entwined within everyday life, especially in terms of the ongoing project of identity construction.



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