The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South

Core Courses

CHHT 511 Church History I: From the Formation of the Church to the Reformation

[3]

This course focuses on the patristic and medieval periods. It concentrates on the narrative history of the church with emphasis on doctrinal developments, major theological controversies, heresies, missionary expansion, and the development of distinctive church institutions.

CHHT 512 Church History II: From the Reformation to the Present

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This course focuses on the Reformation period as well as on developments to the present. It concentrates on the Caroline Divines, the Evangelical Revival, the Tractarians, Christian Socialism, and the expansion of Anglicanism.

LTCM 511 The History of Christian Worship

[3]

This course introduces students to the history of Christian ritual activity. It is historically driven but topically organized. Students acquire a basic knowledge of the history of Christian worship and will develop the skills of thinking critically and historically about liturgy.

Electives

ANGL 539 The Anglican Tradition of Reason: Butler, Newman, and Farrer

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This course will examine the theological and philosophical aspects of an important tradition spanning three centuries of English Anglicanism. Focusing on the writings of three definitive figures who drew upon and shaped this tradition, we will examine Joseph Butler in the eighteenth century, John Henry Newman in the nineteenth century, and Austin Farrer in the twentieth century. All three were noted preachers and scholars, as well as original thinkers and devout churchmen; the works we read will represent these different modes and concerns of their writing. We will also examine the historical context in both church and society during their respective periods, and consider the significance and implications of this “tradition of reason” for Anglican theology today

BIBL 592 N. T. Theology: The Rise of Early Christian Beliefs & Practices (also THEO & CHHT)

[3]

This course examines the rise of early Christian beliefs and moral practices. The time frame is the first century and early second century, when orthodoxy and orthopraxy were not only hotly debated but when a relatively wide range of viable options was still in play. The course seeks to appreciate the work of the earliest Christian communities in theological and moral problem solving. The class will be conducted as a proseminar and students will be called upon to lead class discussions on assigned readings as indicated in the course schedule. Students will write a final 15- to 20-page paper on an approved topic.

 

CHHT 501 Episcopal Church History

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This is a study of the Episcopal Church in the United States from 1607 until the present. It will focus on both the theology and history of the Episcopal Church. The course will stress understanding that which is distinctive about the Episcopal Church.

CHHT 531 American Church History, 1607-2000

Staff [3]

This course focuses on the important religious movements in the United States, the authoritative figures and writings associated with them, and the major denominations. The purpose of the course is to study the history of Christianity in the United States in order to understand the present American religious context.

CHHT 532 United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity I

Staff [3]

To examine the formative events, persons, issues, and movements in the Methodist traditions that originated and developed in England and America: This will include an appreciation of the social, cultural and religious contexts that have made Methodism a part of the global and ecumenical Christian community. We shall also consider the various historical influences that have shaped the Christian witness of Methodist clergy and laity in the ministry and mission of the church.

To seek an understanding of United Methodist doctrine and theology: We shall begin with John Wesley and the sources on which he drew in the Anglican, Puritan, and Pietist traditions. We shall then proceed to the primacy, universality, and transforming power of grace that governs personal and social responsibility in the United Methodist tradition, and examine the extent to which this draws from and provides a distinctive contribution to contemporary theological perspectives.

To explore the development of United Methodist polity from a historical and theological perspective, and its implications for the mission and ministry of the Church of today: This will require a detailed examination of the nature and purpose of connectionalism and itinerancy for ministry. An understanding of the annual conference as the basic unit of The United Methodist Church will also lead us to examine the concomitant structural expressions of ordained and lay ministry.

CHHT 539 Augustine of Hippo: Self and Society

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This course is a seminar engaging two of Augustine’s civilization-altering books: The Confessions and The City of God. Augustine’s assessment of the cultures in which he was raised and their inadequacy for sustaining human life, and his exposition of a radical alternative in the life of the Trinity, raises acute political and social as well as personal issues. The primary focus of the course will be a close literary and theological reading of major portions of Augustine’s text in translation (students who read Latin will be encouraged to work with the original). Secondary readings — biographical, sociopolitical, theological, and feminist — will help widen and sharpen the questions brought to the text. Two papers required.

CHHT 540 Classic Texts of the English Reformation

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The English Reformation of the sixteenth century generated authoritative printed documents that came to have continuing authority or influence among later Anglicans, documents such as the “Thirty-Nine Articles” and “The Book of Common Prayer.” This course will study several of those documents closely in their historical context. It will not analyze the English Reformation as a social and political process of religious change, but rather to consider the foundational statements of English Protestantism, which have had (at least nominal) continuing authority among Anglicans.

CHHT 542 United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity II

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A continuation of UMC History, Polity and Doctrine I (CHHT 532).

CHHT 543 Christian Origins

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This course introduces students to the tumultuous first three-hundred years of the Christian church, from its origins as a small apocalyptically-minded Jewish reform movement, through its centuries-long struggle to define and assert itself in a pervasively hostile "pagan" environment, to its eventual establishment as an imperial church complete with canon and creed, and an increasingly influential cadre of powerful bishops.  A theme running throughout the course will be the surprising variety that existed among these early Christ believers, as well as the significant challenges this diversity posed for developing orthodoxy.

CHHT 545 Reformation to Revolution: Religion and Politics in Early Modern England

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This seminar examines political and religious change in England in the tumultuous sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a period marked by religious schism, two revolutions, and a failed experiment in republican government.  Topics include reformation of church and government, patterns of rebellion and political instability, puritan culture, and the shaping of domestic life.

CHHT 550 Classics of the Christian Journey

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This is a course of readings in Christian spirituality that share the motif of “journey” or “pilgrimage.” The readings, which are all primary sources, come from many ages and places in the church. They are highly diverse, though related by their profound Christianity and their use of the biblical motif of “journey” or “pilgrimage.” The readings change each year the course is offered. Recent versions have selected among Ignatius of Antioch, Perpetua, Origen, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Ephrem of Edessa, Bernard of Clairvaux, Dante, Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther, Teresa of Avila, John Bunyan, George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, and Dorothy Day.

This is not a course that directly takes the instructor’s or the student’s own spiritual life as a primary text. It does expect that the work of assessment, appropriation, and criticism go on in the context of courteous shared reflection and commitment to prayer. The course centers on the readings, which are exclusively primary texts.

CHHT 551 Anglican History from the Reformation to the Windsor Report

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Beginning with the Reformation, this course traces the origins and the development of Anglicanism.  Focusing on the Church of England, it will consider the events and ideas that shaped Anglicanism, especially the Reformers, the Deists, the Evangelical revival, the Oxford Movement and Anglo-Catholicism, the Social Gospel and the Anglican Communion.

LTCM 511 The History of Christian Worship

[3]

This course introduces students to the history of Christian ritual activity. It is historically driven but topically organized. Students acquire a basic knowledge of the history of Christian worship and will develop the skills of thinking critically and historically about liturgy.

LTCM 536/HIST 370 Ritual and Worship in the Long English Reformation

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This course examines the role of ritual and worship in the religious history of England, ca. 1530 to ca. 1700. It studies the transformation of a traditional religion based on rituals into a religious system based as much on word as on rite. The course draws connections between these religious changes and the larger political, social, and cultural contexts in which they occurred. Students engage in weekly readings and discussion and prepare a research paper.

LTCM 539 Medieval Liturgy

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This course addresses the ritual life of the medieval church, covering the development of liturgical texts, liturgical practices and performance, para-liturgical practices, and popular piety. Students study the riches of medieval religious practices, including the mass, penance, and Corpus Christi festivities, as well as unofficial activities such as lay persons “shoplifting” the consecrated host for their own use after Mass.

MNST 555 Classics of Medieval Spirituality and Spirituality

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Most classic texts of Christian spirituality are actually works of spiritual guidance. Rooted in a profound experience of God, they move from prayer to pastoral art, seeking to guide others in the ways of grace through the written word. Over the centuries, Christians in a variety of circumstances have continued to draw wisdom and insight from these spiritual mentors of the past. Through a close reading of primary texts by authors such as Benedict of Nursia, Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred of Rievaulx, Francis of Assisi, Clare of Assisi, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, and Julian of Norwich, we sample some of the diverse schools of Western Christian spirituality from the sixth through the fourteenth centuries. The course examines perennial tensions in spiritual theology such as the affirmative and negative ways, contemplation and service, liberty and discipline. While reading these authors critically and in their own historical context, we also explore how their teaching might inform our prayer, theological vision, pastoral oversight, and spiritual counsel.