Current Course Offerings

For a complete list of course offerings see the Degree Plans found in current and previous catalog's.

RSP-125 | The Wisdom of Benedict | 1 credit
The student will explore the integration of his/her spiritual, emotional and physical self using the Rule of Benedict as the primary guide. This course will allow the student to explore the heritage of Benedictine values and to discover its use as a guide for individual and communal life. Throughout the class there will be opportunities to share the common heritage of Catholic teachings and to explore how those teachings impact the development of an individual who is "fully human and fully alive."

RSP-126 | Critical Thinking and Ethical Leadership | 3 credits
This course aims at teaching students to be able to 1) identify, formulate and evaluate arguments, 2) identify the nature of ethics and how ethics impacts and is impacted by religion and human intuition, 3) construct a logically correct ethical argument, 4) identify the details of several contemporary moral controversies, and 5) understand the fundamental place critical thinking and ethics have in effective leadership. This course is a prerequisite for all courses in Philosophy.

RSP-150 | Introduction to Christianity | 3 credits
This introduction to Christian faith examines, in broad strokes, the development of Christian Scriptures as a faith community's account of its continuing experience of God; understanding and articulation of this God-experience through beliefs expressed in the Nicene creed; worship rituals for entering and deepening communion with the Christian community. Students will explore key aspects of Christian belief and practice that Catholic and major Protestant traditions hold in common as well as major areas of difference. This course is a pre-requisite for any other upper-level course in Religious Studies.

RSP-201 | Introduction to Philosophy | 3 credits
This course is a historical and critical introduction to Western philosophy through the study of classic and contemporary philosophers. Emphasis is placed on close textual reading, understanding philosophy in historical context, and using philosophy to reflect on experience and the search for truth.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-202 | Philosophy and Popular Culture | 3 credits
This course discusses such questions as: What is popular culture? Why should it be studied philosophically? What are the messages and themes that underlie popular culture as seen in music, television, movies, and computer games? This course will seek to answer these questions and others by using concepts drawn from philosophy.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-203 | Philosophy of Human Nature | 3 credits
Human beings are, as far as we know, unique in the universe in their abilities to reason and act. Human uniqueness and complexity has given arise to many different views about what humans are and how they fit into the universe. This course will explore and evaluate different answers to questions about human nature such as: do humans have free will? What is knowledge and what can we know? How does the mind relate to the body? Are we alone in the universe, or is there a God that created us? What is the meaning of life?
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-204 | Faith, Doubt and Reason | 3 credits
This course discusses such questions as: Is religious faith rational? Why should faith be studied philosophically? Are faith and doubt incompatible? Is religion dangerous? This course will seek to answer these questions and others by using concepts and methods of analysis drawn from the field of philosophy.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-230 | Biblical Studies | 3 credits
Using approaches of modern academic biblical study rather than literal interpretation, this course introduces students to contemporary methods and resources for interpreting the Bible. Students will survey major themes, concepts and symbols in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-250 | The Old Testament | 3 credits
This course explores the history and theology of the Old Testament Scriptures with a special focus on the history of Israel, the Israelites' developing image of God, the role of the prophet, the rise and fall of kings and the changing understanding of messiah. It will also investigate the role that wisdom literature played in the worship and identity of the Israelite people.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-251 | The New Testament | 3 credits
Introduction to the history, literature, interpretation, theology, and basic content of the New Testament. Attention will be given to the character, background, and central themes of the New Testament as a whole, and to the authorship, date, setting, theme, purpose, structure, and general content of its individual books. Important New Testament issues, events, and persons will also be highlighted.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-260 | Vatican Council II:Church in Transition | 3 credits
This course offers an introduction to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the twentieth council in the history of the Catholic Church. The Council has been called the most significant event in the history of western Christendom since the Protestant Reformation and prompted more change in the Catholic Church in ten years than had taken place in the previous hundred years. The course surveys the debates over how to interpret the documents promulgated by the Council and the changes that have been implemented since the Council.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-261 | Understanding the Catholic Faith | 3 credits
This course explores Catholicism by focusing on its sacramental and communal nature in order to understand what makes Catholic Christianity distinctive from Protestant Christianity. The objective of the course is not to argue that one form of Christianity is better than the other. Rather, it is to delve more deeply into the nature of Catholicism and how its sacramental worldview and communal nature shape its practices and traditions.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-270 | World Religions | 3 credits
This course studies the five major religions of the world with an emphasis on how those faith groups answer the following questions: What is the nature of God? What is the nature of humankind? What is the fundamental problem facing humanity? How is this problem of life overcome? What is gained by overcoming the problem? The course will use phenomenological, comparative religion and philosophy of religion approaches as its bases for answering these questions. The course will also look at other approaches to the study of religious ritual, practice and tradition.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-280 | Introduction to Theology | 3 credits
This course presents theology as a mode of faith seeking understanding. Students will examine in greater depth the experiences, beliefs and practices essential for Christian faith. Questions to be explored include: Who or what is God? What is the relationship of Jesus to God? What is revelation? What is meant by "grace," "sin," and "redemption?" Why should a Christian be concerned with the world in which we live?
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-301 | Catholic Moral Theology | 3 credits
Rather than viewing morality as external rules imposed upon the Christian, this course explores Christian morality as a matter of an interior conversion of heart accompanied by authentic and fruitful action. Through the exploration of personal experience and theological reflection, this course will examine contemporary Christian moral life through discussion and reading of the Catholic tradition. Among the topics examined are love, sin and the corporeal works of mercy.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-321 | Synoptic Gospels | 3 credits
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the earliest surviving accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. This course will provide a detailed examination of these texts, paying special attention to the distinctive portrait of Jesus that each gospel presents. Some topics of study will include (but are not limited to): various theories regarding the so-called "Synoptic Problem"; the relationship of the Synoptics to non-canonical texts; and a general introduction to critical methods in Gospel analysis such as literary, redaction, socio-historical, and tradition-critical.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-322 | Johannine Literature | 3 credits
A general introduction to the Gospel of John, I-II-III John, and the Book of Revelation from the perspective of contemporary Biblical scholarship, with special emphasis on the history, theology, Christology, and spirituality of Johannine Literature and its relevance today.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-324 | Exodus/Sinai Narratives | 3 credits
This course will aid the students in their knowledge of the content and interpretation of the Books of Exodus-Deuteronomy. These books, together with the book of Genesis, have traditionally been regarded as the Books of Moses. They contain the story of the escape from Egypt, the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai and the Wilderness Wanderings. There are a number of important themes that are still relevant to us today as Christians. We will explore these books with their themes and concepts as they might be applied to our lives as Christians.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-325 | Old Testament Prophets and Prophecy | 3 credits
This course provides an overview of the office of prophet in Israel. There will be an investigation of the role of Old Testament prophets with a presentation of the basic message of each of Israel's writing prophets. Attention will be given to the former prophets of the OT, with consideration of their audience and activities. Focus will be directed on the ethical dimension of the written prophetic message and its relevance in the modern world.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-330 | Jesus the Christ | 3 credits
The main purpose of this course is to enable students to formulate an intelligent and reflective response to the gospel question, "Who do you say that I am?" Major issues treated include: the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith; biblical Christology; heresies and councils; contemporary approaches to the ancient Christian belief that Jesus the Christ is fully human, fully divine.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-332 | Catholic Symbol and Sacrament | 3 credits
Against a background of human and Christian symbol and ritual, this course examines the scriptural bases, historical development, and contemporary theology and practice of seven ritual sacraments. The sacraments common to most Christians (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) receive major emphasis.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-334 | Christian Marriage and Family | 3 credits
This course is a theological reflective approach to Christian marriage and family as covenant and sacrament. Contemporary practice and experience will be explored through historical and theological background, preparing students to understand marriage and family in a Christian context. This course is recommended for persons in all states of life as well as those contemplating marriage.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-340 | Philosophical Ethics | 3 credits
This course explores how one morally ought to live. A few of the questions asked include: what is of fundamental moral value? What is happiness? What makes actions right and wrong? How can we know what is right and wrong? Is ethics objective? What are moral facets? Some of these questions are introduced and discussed in the Critical Thinking in Ethics course, however this class both goes into greater depth on those questions and explores other issues in moral theory and metaethics that are not discussed in the prerequisite.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-341 | Knowledge and Reality | 3 credits
Epistemology is the study of human knowledge, and metaphysics the study of the fundamental nature of the world. This course is structured around questions of perennial philosophical importance: How do you know you're not now dreaming? What is knowledge, and what kinds of knowledge can we have? What makes you the same person you were before going to sleep last night? Do people have free will? What is time? In examining these questions, we will interact with the ideas of philosophers from several different periods: ancient, early modern, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition, we will further develop our skills in the methods of philosophy, especially the construction and analysis of arguments.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-350 | Peace and Justice | 3 credits
Students will examine the statement that human existence in the world is communal. What is the best kind of community for human beings? What makes for justice and peace within ourselves, in society, in the world? How ought a person to act in order to fulfill the Lord's commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you"? Some of the Church's teachings on peace and justice will be studied.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-361 | History of Christianity | 3 credits
This course introduces the origins of Christianity and the subsequent history of the Christian church. The developments of doctrines, the rise of monasticism and the impact of Christianity on world history are emphasized.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-150

RSP-381 | History of Ancient & Medieval Philosophy | 3 credits
This course examines philosophy from its origins in ancient Greece into the Christian Middle Ages. Sources studied will be drawn from some of the most profound minds in history: the pre-Socratic philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Sextus Empiricus, St. Augustine, St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas. Many of the views and institutions of the contemporary western world are built on the ideas of these thinkers, so studying them will not only help us to find truth, but also help us to understand our world today.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-382 | History Modern & Contemporary Philosophy | 3 credits
This course examines the views of various philosophers from the Enlightenment through today. Figures studied include Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant and a selection of contemporary philosophers, for example: Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Moore, Quine, Kripke, Chisholm, Lewis. These philosophers have deeply influenced our understanding of science, God, political institutions, justice, love, knowledge, and the mind, amongst many other topics. So, studying them will not only help us to find truth, but also help us to understand our world today.
Prerequisite: Take RSP-126

RSP-422 | Drama in the Church | 3 credits
This course is an in-depth study of Christian drama during the Medieval Period. In addition, the course will explore contemporary practices and opportunities in drama ministry.

RSP-490 | Senior Research | 2 credits
Students majoring in RSP will complete a major project focusing on either research and scholarship or ministry activity. The project will be that is formally presented orally to RSP faculty and students. Minors in religious studies may take this seminar but are not required to do so. Prerequisite: Completion of at least 75% of course work for RSP major or minor