Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief. The Theology program encourages students to develop a critical approach to the problems and challenges facing modern society. The Master of Theological Studies is a two-year (60 cr.) second-entry program, (that is, it requires a BA or its equivalent for admission but no prior theological training). As such, it is a general degree in theological education whose purpose is to provide students a basic understanding of theological disciplines in view of further studies in theology, or for general educational purposes. It also prepares students to do upper-level graduate study in subsequent years. For example, those who graduate with an M.T.S. are eligible to apply to the M.A., in Theology, a program in advanced theological research.
A summative exercise is required at the end of the degree, comprising either a comprehensive examination or a major research paper.
What you’ll learn
The M.T.S. is a general theological degree that is recognized by the Association of Theological Schools and has a wide appeal to mature students. The program provides a strong formation for students looking to develop a critical understanding of the heritage of the Christian tradition and its contributions to contemporary society and culture through dialogue and service.
Students will gain a broad, general knowledge of the Catholic theological tradition and the plurality of its expression, with the possibility of attaining a focused knowledge in a specific discipline or interdisciplinary theme. They will learn to think theologically through the acquisition of knowledge from across various theological disciplines, perspectives and methods. They will be prepared for service both within the church and society at large.
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Compulsory Courses: 27 credits
Optional Courses: 15 credits
1. Three Credits from each category:
(a) Foundations for Dialogue with People of Other Faiths (3 cr.)
(b) Contextual Issues in Church and Theology (3 cr.)
(c) Summative Exercise (3 cr.)
2. Six Credits from:
(a) Divine Self-Disclosure: The Foundation of Christian Hope (6 cr.)
Elective Courses: 18 credits
Students may choose elective courses from among those offered within the basic degree programs in theology. With the approval of the Faculty of Theology, they may also choose from among course offerings in Human Sciences (Philosophy, Conflict Studies, Social Communication, etc.) in order to pursue a theological theme from an interdisciplinary perspective. Those anticipating further theological studies in advanced degree programs are urged to consider the study of Latin, biblical Greek or biblical Hebrew in order to study texts in their original language.
Dialogue as co-constitution of humans thanks to religious faith. Prerequisites and challenges involved in interreligious dialogue: in-depth dimension of faith; necessity of self-criticism; hermeneutic of religious convictions. Orthodoxy and orthopraxis. Harmony, conflict and end of religions.
Revelation, and our access to it. The Trinitarian nature of Revelation. Interaction of Logos and Spirit in the process of Holy Tradition. Scripture within and above Tradition. The sources of Tradition: Bible, Councils, Creeds, Fathers, Liturgy, Icons, etc. Tradition vs. traditionalism. Questions of theological method.
A general survey of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches of the East, with attention to the history as well as the theological, liturgical and spiritual traditions of ecclesiological considerations: Church as an image of the Trinity; Church as communion of eucharistic communities; Church as eschatological reality. Pentarchy and Papacy; The conciliar process "sobornost".
Introduction to the great faith traditions of the world understood from a Christian faith perspective; the influence of demographic and cultural shifts on religious identities and diversity; interactions with other faith communities.
Patristic approaches to Scripture. Literal and non-literal exegesis. Allegory, theoria, typology. Alexandrian and Antiochene schools. Scripture in Byzantine worship. Contemporary Orthodox authors.
Study of the interaction between the Eastern Churches and other world religions over the centuries. Issues in the life of the Church today which arise out of this encounter.
A survey of moral thought in modern Eastern Christian authors and ecclesiastical pronouncements in the areas of both personal and social morality, with special attention to emerging thought in the areas of bioethics, sexual ethics, and a response to social, political, and technological changes in the world today.
The human person before God. Creation, fall, and salvation in their anthropological and cosmological aspects, as well as an examination of understanding of the Church, according to the ancient and modern exponents of the tradition of the Christian East.
Inculturation of the Gospel: the cultures of the Mediterranean basin and their Christianization. Growing diversity in the Church. Doctrinal, liturgical and politico-social issues involved in the estrangement of the East and West. Schisms and their healing. Unionistic activity. Modern ecumenism and East-West relations.
The sacramental foundations. Major trends. Contemplation and praxis. Forms of holiness.
Essence and Energies in God. God as Three and One. Christ as Divine and Human. The procession and activity of the Holy Spirit.
An overview of the distinctive sources, history, spirit and methods of Eastern Christian ethics, past and present.
Icons and image theory in Byzantine Christology and anthropology. Theology of icons, theology in icons. Use of icons in worship and personal prayer.
The Holy Mysteries in the Byzantine tradition. Historical, theological and practical considerations. The Seven Sacraments and the issue of other sacraments. Sacramentality of the world and the Church.
The interrelationship and convergence of various divisions of theology. Critical considerations concerning theological method.
Prerequisite: 30 cr. theology.
Christian faith in a world of religious pluralism; church and state; freedom of religion; differing approaches to the secularity and secularism. Dialogue between faith and science, faith and atheism.
The research paper, approximately 40 pages in length, will be evaluated by both the supervisor, who must be from the student's research field, and another professor from the Faculty of Theology.
MASTER OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES (60 credits)
This recommended course sequence can be modified depending on Saint Paul University's annual course offering or a student's choices.
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