INTRODUCTION TO THEOLOGY:
Theology is faith seeking understanding (St. Anselm). In this introductory module we will explore this statement by asking such questions as: What is faith? How is the human person a seeker? How are faith and reason (understanding) connected? The etymology of the term theology has to do with theos (God) and logos (discourse). Hence theology is discourse about God. But it is also a discourse about the human person (anthropology) made in the image and likeness of God (imago Dei) and his or her call to communion with God (spirituality). Taking the human person and his/her acts adequately considered as its cornerstone, the module seeks to develop a Christian ethic within the contours sketched by dogmatic theology (G. Meilander and W. Werpehowski). The module, moreover, aims to present theology in an integrated way that reflects on the unity of faith and morality in the life of the Christian in the church. The importance of the Bible as a foundational source for Christian conversion and its connecting the drive to goodness and the call to holiness will also be explored.
Two modules are covered in Systematic Theology
Module 1: God, Revelation, Jesus Christ
the search of humankind for God
the search of God for humankind
the Old Testament revelation of God
the New Testament revelation of God in Christ and the Holy Spirit
From Revelation to Christology:
The Passion, Death and Resurrection as the nucleus of New Testament Christology
Great Christological Councils
Jesus Crucified and Forsaken as the Face of God for Today
Suggested introductory Reading:
The Second Vatican Council, The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine
Revelation, Dei Verbum.
Gerald OCollins, Christology, Oxford University Press, 1995.
Module 2: The Church and Its Sacraments
This module aims to introduce students to the theological understanding of the Church as it emerges in Scripture and as it unfolds in the course of history. Particular attention is given to the ecclesial vision of Vatican II and the work of contemporary theologians. The module also examines the sacraments of the Catholic tradition.
Suggested introductory reading:
Raymond Brown, The Churches the Apostles left behind, NY: Paulist Press, 1984
Francis OSullivan, The Church we believe in, NY: Paulist Press, 1988
Philippe Béguerie, and Claude Duchesneau, How to Understand the Sacraments, London: SCM Press, 1991.
Two modules are taught in Moral Theology
Module 1: Bioethics
respect for life
euthanasia and the right to die
the problem and use of embryonic stem cells
bioethics and civil law
Module 2: Catholic Social Teaching
is there a common good?
what is social justice?
natural law and human rights
religion, morality and law
morality and public policy
morality in public life
-morality and ecology
Three modules are taught in Scripture
Module 1: The Bible and Its World
Which Bible? Texts and Canons
The Geographical Context: From Fertile Crescent to Eastern Mediterranean
The Historical Context: From Sumerian City States to the Roman Empire
The religious Context: From Israelite Religion to Judaism
Old Testament / Hebrew Bible: A Broad Survey
New Testament: A Broad Survey
Ways of Reading: An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics
Ways of Telling: An Introduction to Biblical Narrative
Reception of the Scriptures: The Bible in Western Art
Barton, John, ed, The Biblical World, 2 vols, London: Routledge, 2002, [220,61 BAR]
Coogan, Michael, The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey Grand Rapids, Mich,: Baker Academic, 2009, [220,61 POW]
Module 2: The Old Testament
The Abraham Story: Call, Covenant and Akedah
The Moses Story 1: Call, Revelation of the Divine Name and Passover
The Moses Story 2: Exodus, Decalogue and Covenant
The David Story: Anointing, Covenant, Sin and Forgiveness
The Prophetic Legacy 1: Amos and Justice
The Prophetic Legacy 2: Isaiah and Hopes for the Davidic Line
The Prophetic Legacy 3: Jeremiah and the Fall of Jerusalem
The Prophetic Legacy 4: Second-Isaiah and the Figure of the Servant
Psalms: Original Contexts and Christian Rereading
Boadt, L, Reading the Old Testament, New York: Paulist, 1984, [220,61 BOA]
Charpentier, E, How to Read the Old Testament, London: SCM, 1982.
Collins, JJ, A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998.
Module 3: The New Testament
Paul: Pastor and Letter Writer
Galatians: Pauls response to a Crisis Situation
Romans: Paul the Theologian
What is a Gospel? Marks Creative Writing
Twenty-First Century Questions to First Century Gospels
Parables and Riddles of the Kingdom
Marks Passion Narrative
Pontius Pilate: A Character in all Four Gospels
The Miracles in the Gospel of Matthew
FOUNDATIONS OF WORSHIP
This section will begin by exploring the questions: why celebrate? why do human persons need to ritualise? Some basic concepts from the disciplines of anthropology, ritual studies and liturgical studies will be introduced. Topics: What is human ritual? Its role in constructing a community of meaning. Myth, Symbol, Rite. Time and its experience. Space and Music. Ritual and Culture. Why do we celebrate?
1.Foundations in Religious Education / Catechetics
The first aim of the course is to provide an introduction to contemporary understandings of religious education. To this end, terms such as religious education, catechesis, religious formation, and religious instruction will be explored. Contemporary approaches to religious education will also be examined. Particular attention will be paid to how the core process of catechesis is understood today.
The second concern of the course is to propose foundations for a participatory and empowering approach to religious education: The Shared Christian Praxis Approach. Participants will be invited to use this approach as a rich resource for the teaching of religion in many contexts such as the secondary school.
2. Church History
To introduce the key features of the early Christian Church
To introduce the key themes, events, personalities and sources in the early Church
To introduce the key features of the Early Modern Catholicism in Ireland
To introduce students to key themes, events and personalities in the Catholic Church in Ireland 1500-1922
The birth of the Jesus Movement
The expansion of Christianity in the early centuries
The Councils of Jerusalem and Nicaea
The Reformation and Counter Reformation in Ireland
Interpretation of the 19th century experience of the Catholic Church.
3. World Religions
The aims of this module are to introduce students to a range of world religions; to equip them with a framework for analyzing other religions; to examine relationships between world religions; and to provide students with an entry point to further study of world religions.
This module will examine Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Dharmic Religions (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism), and Religions of East Asia.
4.Philosophy of Religion and Secular Belief Systems
The aim of this module is to use the resources of philosophy in order to think meaningfully about religion, and to critique secular belief systems.