Modern Protestant and Catholic thought since the nineteenth century: Kierkegaard, Barth, Bultmann, Rahner, Lonergan, and other major figures. Recommended: RELIG 301.
This course will offer an overview of some of the principal trends in both Protestant and Catholic theology in the 20th century, focusing on responses to the challenge of the rise of scientific method in the area of scholarly historiography and its impact on theological methodology and interpretation theory. We will begin with Marcus Borg, The God We Never Knew, as an introduction to developing ways of thinking about what might be meant by the word "God" in religion and in theological discourse. After that we will consider the ways theologians have responded to the challenge of reading the Bible in the light of critical historiography and with an awareness of the implications of modern cognitional theory. We will begin this by going back to the beginning of the 20th century with excerpts from Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, and Rudolf Bultmann's mid-century response to Schweitzer's emphasis on the eschatological worldview in the New Testament. After that we will study the reflections on theological methodology of Bernard Lonergan and David Tracy and on interpretation theory of a Catholic feminist scholar, Sandra Schneiders. We will finish by seeing the ways these principles have been applied to textual interpretation by Walter Bruegemann and N.T. Wright.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lectures, with questions encouraged.
Students will do best if they have some background in modern intellectual history. Especially recommended is RELIG 301, Religious Thought Since the Middle Ages.
Class assignments and grading
There will be a mid-term exam and a final. Students who wish to take the course for "W" credit may do so by writing a term paper of approximately 10-15 pages, but this is in addition to the exams, not in place of them.
Basis on which Grades are Assigned: The grade will be base entirely on the exams, except for those taking the course for "W" credit, in which case the exams will count 70% and the paper 30%.