Theo 133: Introduction to Theology

TLU’s course catalog describes Intro to Theology this way:

An examination of basic affirmations of the Christian faith. Attention is given to the origin and development of key theological concepts. Emphasis is placed upon the contemporary significance of theological reflection.

However, everyone in the department teaches Intro to Theology a little differently.  My course places a lot of emphasis on the Bible and the unfolding biblical history.  I teach the course this way because I believe theological reflection grows out of the historical experience of God’s relationship with humanity.  Relationships develop over time.  The longer you know someone, the better you get to know them; the better you understand who they really are.  Something similar is going on in the Bible with God.  As the biblical people accumulate more experience of God’s way of dealing with them, they come to know God better.  I’m sympathetic with an “evolutionary” or “developmental” approach to reading the Bible, and those sympathies shape the way I teach Intro to Theology.  Download a recent syllabus

Theo 231 E: Moral Problems in Theological Perspective

TLU’s course catalog describes Moral Problems in Theological Perspective this way:

A survey of contemporary moral problems viewed from theological perspective. Students will learn how theological commitments shape moral judgments and an understanding of the moral life. Topics covered will be selected from the following: human sexuality, just war theory, theories of justice and human rights, the death penalty, medical ethics, business ethics, the nature and meaning of work.

This is a course in applied ethics.  That means we focus on the kinds of practical moral issues that are frequently debated in society; things like the ethics of war and the use of armed force, questions about human sexuality, issues in medical ethics, and so on.  The topics change from year to year, depending on what’s going on in the world.  You might call this my “Ethics for Everyman” course.  It’s designed for people who are interested in ethical questions, but who don’t want to take upper level courses in moral theology or philosophy.  Of course, students who want to take my upper level courses are welcome to take this one, too!  Download a recent syllabus

Phil 333: History of Philosophical Ethics

TLU’s course catalog describes History of Philosophical Ethics this way:

A survey of central figures and issues in the history of Western philosophical ethics. Attention is given to the historical development of philosophical ideas.  Figures are selected from among the following: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, Freud.

I think this may be the most difficult class I offer at TLU, and probably my favorite.  We cover a lot of important thinkers, and we touch upon a lot of classic questions in the history of moral philosophy.  If you lie up awake at night worried about the relationship between virtuous character and just deeds, or if you wonder whether justice is best measured by good consequences or the respect afforded individuals, or if you don’t understand why people do bad things when they know they shouldn’t, or if you’re not even sure there is such a thing as a morality – well, this is the course for you!  If you’re not worried about these kinds of questions but think you ought to be, then the course is also recommended.  Download a recent syllabus


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