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RST-312-20, Sin and Grace (FA13)

INSTRUCTOR:  Dr. Brian Berry

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME:  SEM/SAT/12:00-2:45PM, 09/07/2013-12/14/2013

CONTENT: 

This course is a study of the Christian doctrines of human nature, original sin and grace from biblical, historical and contemporary theological perspectives. Following initial discussion of our postmodern context and a method for doing theology, the first part    of the course will treat the biblical witness to human nature, original sin and grace, followed by traditional interpretations from the patristic, medieval, reformation and modern periods.  The second part of the course will then consider contemporary reinterpretations of these doctrines from individual and social perspectives. Special attention will be given throughout to the origins of the theology of human nature, original sin and grace in religious experience and the challenges for reinterpretation presented by global human suffering and cultural and religious pluralism.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:  This course is designed to enable students:

1. To appreciate the origins of the Christian doctrines of human nature, original sin and grace in human religious experience;

2. To recognize the historically conditioned and religiously symbolic character of these

doctrines; and

3. To understand the importance of reinterpreting these doctrines so that they remain

meaningful in our postmodern context.

METHODS:

1. Focused readings

2. Weekly short papers

3. Class discussions

4. Lectures

REQUIREMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS:

1. Attendance at class and active participation (10%)

2. Eight one-page papers (50%)

3. A midterm and a final exam (40%)

REQUIRED TEXT(S) OR MATERIALS:

1. Gonzalez, Michelle A. Created in God’s Image: An Introduction to Feminist Theological Anthropology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007. ISBN 9781570756979.

2. Wiley, Tatha. Original Sin: Origins, Developments, Contemporary Meanings. New York: Paulist, 2002. ISBN 0809141280.

3. Haight, Roger. The Experience and Language of Grace. Ramsey, NJ: Paulist, 1979.

ISBN 0809122006.

READINGS AND/OR ASSIGNMENTS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO FIRST CLASS:

1. Gonzalez, Created in God’s Image, ix-xxv.

2. Wiley, Original Sin, 1-9.

3. Haight, The Experience and Language of Grace, 1-13, 22-23.