Thiel College

Course Offerings


HIST 262/REL 160: Religion in the United States
3 CH   /  WIC

A topical study of the historical phenomena of religions in the United States with primary emphasis on Christianity and some attention to other U.S religions, especially Judaism. The study includes general background of each religion with subsequent U.S. developments presented through such phenomena as revivalism, immigration, liberal theories and social emphases. (P: REL 120)

REL 110: Introduction to Religion
3 CH   /  WIC

To introduce students to the study of religion, the language of religion, the person of religion and the community of religion.

REL 120: Interpreting the Jewish and Christian Scriptures
3 CH   /  Offered Every Semester   /  WIC

An introductory course to the Scriptures of the Jewish and Christian traditions. The writings of the Old and New Testaments are surveyed, utilizing literary and historical criticism. Students will be exposed to major questions raised in interpreting the Bible in the 21st century. A prerequisite to all other courses in religion. (P: INDS 115)

REL 125: Introduction to Theology
3 CH   /  WIC

An introductory course to Christian theology. Various systematic presentations of Christian beliefs are examined in order to appreciate the plurality of approaches to reinterpreting Christian doctrine in the modern world. (P: REL 120)

REL 130: Introduction to Ministry
3 CH

This course provides an examination of historic and contemporary understandings of the nature, function and practice of ministry in various traditions of the Christian church. The course is intended to help students with a general interest in religion understand the relationship between ministry and religious community; and to help students with a specific interest in preparing for ministry understand the expectations and responsibilities before them.

REL 140: History of Christianity
3 CH   /  WIC

An historical study of Christianity concentrating on its major teachings, practices and institutional forms from its origin to the present day. (P: REL 120)

REL 160: Religion in the United States
3 CH   /  WIC

A topical study of the historical phenomena of religions in the U.S. with primary emphasis on Christianity, and some attention to other U.S. religions especially Judaism. The study includes general background of each religion with subsequent U.S. developments presented through such phenomena as revivalism, immigration, liberal theories and social emphases. (P: REL 120)

REL 170: African Religion
3 CH

This introductory course of African religion will examine the theology of indigenous African tribes to ascertain the core of their belief systems. Learning about African traditional religion through Africa's rich cultural heritage, the writings of African and African-American theologians, and interactive experiences, students will be helped to bridge the historical and theological gap between the African and African-American experience.

REL 180: Christian Worship
3 CH

Christian Worship introduces students to the academic methods and techniques used by scholars in the study of Christian worship practices and what the results of that study are, particularly in recent years. The course is ecumenical in focus and seeks to free students from preconceived notions about religions ritual while developing the students' powers of observation and analysis. The course focuses on ritual practices of the Christian faith and on texts and sources which are available in English translation.

REL 190: World Religions
3 CH   /  WIC

A study of the thought, history and practice of the major contemporary religions of the world, focusing especially on Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, as well as Chinese, Japanese and African religions. These will be compared with each other and with Christianity and Judaism with a view to better understanding the religious dimension of human life. (P: REL 120)

REL 200: Contemporary Ethical Issues
3 CH   /  WIC

Different methods of Christian ethics are examined in relation to current social issues in the areas of sexual relationships, bio-medical advances, economic order, political liberation and environmental survival. (P: REL 120)

REL 205: Mentoring in Youth Ministry
1 CH

An introductory course to basic elements of youth ministry. Experiential learning about youth ministry will take place as time is spent as a participant in a youth ministry program.

REL 210: Religion and the Sciences
3 CH   /  WIC

This interdisciplinary seminar will investigate how religion and science have related and should relate to one another. The aim of the course is to present a comprehensive survey, comprehending both the historical developments of the relation and the current prospects for interaction and dialogue. The course will emphasize the relation between the natural sciences (especially the physical and biological sciences) and Western religion (especially Christianity) while at the same time recognizing diversity, especially at the level of philosophical and religious commitment.

REL 215: Intermediate New Testament Greek I
Credit Hours Vary

In this course students will read selections from the New Testament, Septuagint or extra-canonical Greek writings in their original language. Questions about the transmission of the text and its theological implications will be discussed. Along the way, we will review the basic vocabulary, grammar and syntax learned in REL /GREK 150 and 151.

REL 220: Women in Jewish and Christian Traditions
3 CH   /  WIC

This course introduces women and religion as a discipline within the academic study of religion. Students engage in review, analysis and discussion of representative literature in the history, theology and spirituality of women in Jewish and Christian traditions. (P: REL 120)

REL 230: Philosophy of Religion
3 CH   /  WIC

Deals with philosophical reflection upon such questions as the nature of religion, the concept of God, the problem of evil, the religious dimension of human experience, the justification of religious claims and the character of religious language. Explored in relation to these matters are the thoughts of representative figures from skepticism, existentialism and pragmatism. (P: REL 120)

REL 240: African American Religion in the United States
3 CH   /  WIC

Investigates the history of black religion from its African roots through the period of slave trade to the experience to blacks in the United States over the past two centuries.

REL 250: Psychology of Religion
3 CH   /  WIC

An examination of the relationship between religious belief and experience and the psychological make-up and functioning of persons. (P: REL 120)

REL 260: Religion, Science Fiction and Popular Culture
3 CH   /  WIC

Science fiction remains a powerful vehicle for ideas in popular culture and has the highest religious content of any popular genre. The course examines science fiction to uncover understandings of religion in popular culture. By reading best-selling novels, examining films and television shows, and reading scholars' examinations of religious themes in science fiction, students will learn to identify how religious themes are used, manipulated and promulgated in popular culture. Course topics will include the history of science fiction; the role and significance of aliens; apocalypse and utopias; modernist critiques of religion; and postmodern attitudes toward religion.

REL 270: Judaism
3 CH

An exploration of Judaism from its biblical origins to the present day. Particular attention is given to Jewish history and the meanings of festivals and "life-cycle" events. Additional topics may include biblical monotheism and its impact on Western civilization, strategies for Jewish survival throughout history, the implications of the Holocaust, and the impact of feminism on contemporary Jewish life.

REL 280: World Christianity
3 CH   /  WIC

Christianity's center of gravity has shifted from the West to the traditionally non-Christian, non-Western Global South where the majority of the world's Christians now live. This course explores the rise of world Christianity. It examines the diversity of practices within the movement and the theological articulations characteristic of world Christianity. (P: REL 140 or REL 155 or HIST 180 and a basic knowledge of the history of Christianity and/or Christian beliefs.)

REL 290: Luther and His Legacy
3 CH   /  WIC

An examination of the theological writings of Luther, the immediate context that influenced him and the rich legacy of theological reflection that he has evoked.

REL 320: Special Project
1-4 CH

An opportunity for students not qualifying for independent study to do individualized study in any of the various fields in religion. The study may not duplicate any other departmental course offering. Departmental approval for the project is required. (P: REL 120)

REL 330: Readings in Religious Studies
2 CH

A reading program based on a bibliography that includes material in the area of the history of religious studies deemed essential to supplement and integrate the normal course work in order to provide the student with a comprehensive understanding in the field of religion. Required of religion majors. (P: REL 120)

REL 340: Readings in Theology
2 CH

A reading program based on a bibliography which includes material in the areas of theological ethics and systematics deemed essential to supplement and integrate the normal course work in order to provide the student with a comprehensive understanding in the field of religion. Required of religion majors. (P: REL 120)

REL 350: Religion and Film
3 CH

This is a course in the critical appreciation of film as an artistic genre and the way that film has the unique capacity to be a vehicle for the understanding of religious concepts and practices. Theological concepts, practices and beliefs are articulated creatively in artistic, as well as doctrinal forms. In studying film a genre is introduced that does not necessarily identify itself as a religious medium and an attempt is made to understand indirectly what religious truth claims say directly. To do this, basic principles of film criticism and theological reflection will be used as tools for understanding assorted religious concepts and practices.

REL 352: Currents in Late Modern Theology
3 CH   /  WIC

Contemporary currents in theology from the death of God movement and process theism of the 1960s to hermeneutical and deconstructionist theologies of the 1980s are investigated. The investigation proceeds through an analysis of various attempts to articulate the meaning and truth of God in the postmodern situation of relativism and pluralism. (P: REL 120)

REL 370: Foundations of Youth Ministry
4 CH

This course is designed to introduce students to the theological and practical dimensions of youth ministry. It explores the promises and challenges of contemporary American youth culture in considering recent research on the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers, examining current models of youth ministry within and across various Christian denominations, analyzing issues related to ministry in general, demonstrating and practicing a model of spiritual formation, and helping future youth ministers to think theologically about the role of youth ministry in the formation of Christian character.

REL 380: Cooperative Education
Credit Hours Vary

REL 382: Foundations of Parish Education
4 CH

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic theory of parish education. It also has a field work component that provides practical experience and fulfills the required supervised field training for parish education majors. (P: REL 152)

REL 390: Independent Study
1-4 CH

Independent study will enable students to work individually on a project or a reading program designed for their specific interests. Students of senior standing who meet the qualifications outlined elsewhere in the catalog may, with the consent of the instructor, register for this course.

REL 392: Liberation Theology in a Latin American Context
1-6 CH   /  WIC

The writings, ideas and dynamics of liberation theology are explored with an eye on the Peruvian situation in a seminar which culminates in a three-week immersion experience during which students and faculty encounter the lived praxis of liberation theology among the people of Peru.

REL 413: Selected Topics
3 CH

In this course a selected topic in the field or religion or theology is taught. Courses previously have been offered on such selected topics as Jesus, female images of the divine, the spirit of life and Augustine and Aquinas. Prerequisites, if any, will be included in the course announcements.

REL/GREK 150/151: Introduction to Greek Language Skills
6 CH

A basic course designed to give students a knowledge of the structure of the Greek language and begin preparing them for the reading of Greek literature. The primary emphasis is on Koine (New Testament) Greek.