THEOLOGY & FRANCISCAN STUDIES (THFS)

THFS-101 THE WAY OF FRANCIS & CLARE (3 Credits)

This course is intended to introduce students to the Franciscan roots that underlie the mission and values of St. Bonaventure University. After familiarizing themselves with the social and cultural context that shaped Francis and Clare of Assisi, students will examine their lives, values and spirituality, and then study how these achieved systematic theological expression in the thought of St. Bonaventure. Students will then connect and apply key Franciscan insights to contemporary concerns.

THFS-104 THE WAY OF FRANCIS & CLARE HONORS (3 Credits)

This course is designed for students in the honors Program. It achieves the same objectives and satisfies the same requirements as does THFS 101 "The Way of Fracis and Clare". An honors section is distinguished from a regular section by more than just the addition of an extra paper. At the discretion of the instructor, Honors courses typically do one or more of the following: cover additional topics, cover topics in more depth, and/or require additional scholarly assignments as compared to a regular section.

THFS-203 ISLAM: RELIGION & CULTURE (3 Credits)

This course examines the world's second largest religion according to its three major dimensions, namely, Islam (practices), Iman (faith), and Ihsan (integration and expression), as well as a historical dimension. Topics include the social and religious climate in pre-Islamic Arabia and the eastern Mediterranean, the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the history of the Islamic community, and the beliefs, practices, and spirituality of Islam. The culture of Islam, as expressed by the arts, will also be examined. Contemporary social and political issues that face the international Muslim community are also considered.

THFS-230 FAITH AND DOUBT (3 Credits)

Modern secular culture has raised many questions for religious faith. Traditional views of God have been challenged from a variety of directions, and the idea that one should submit one's life to a higher power runs counter to contemporary ideas about human freedom and psychological well-being. This course will examine recent critiques of belief in God and the nature of faith in order to clarify what might be required of an intelligent faith in God today.

THFS-235 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY (3 Credits)

Building upon THFS 101, this course examines classic topics in Catholic theology in further historical and conceptual depth. The specific contribution of Franciscan theologians to Catholic theology will be highlighted. Recent writings in theology will be considered.

Prerequisite(s): Take THFS-101

THFS-245 CHRISTIAN ETHICS (3 Credits)

What does it mean to think and live as a Christian in today's world? How does one decide? This course will explore some of the answers that Christian thinkers have given to such questions. The investigation will include an examination of selected moral and theological problems such as abortion, poverty, war and racism.

THFS-252 CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY (3 Credits)

Judaism, Christianity and Islam share a common spiritual heritage, but each religion has developed its own unique understanding of the way humans should approach and experience God. This course examines the mystical traditions and practices of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as expressed in their Scriptures and the writings of later spiritual leaders.

THFS-261 JESUS THROUGH THE CENTURIES (3 Credits)

Jesus of Nazareth is not only the theological center of the Christian faith, but also the pivotal figure in the history of Western civilization. Debates over who he was and what he sought to accomplish have engaged the best minds of generations, and conflicts over these questions have divided nations and led to bloodshed. This course will explore the diverse and sometimes opposing views that Christians have held about Jesus over the centuries.

THFS-263 SACRAMENTS (3 Credits)

What is a sacrament? Why are sacraments so important in the spiritual life of the church? This course examines the theological basis of the sacramental system and presents a survey of the sacraments as celebrated in Christian churches. Included in the course is a study of symbols, rituals and the psychosocial dynamics of sacramental celebration.

THFS-264 AMERICAN CATHOLICISM (3 Credits)

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious institution in America. Yet for much of its history the American Catholic community has struggled to find its place in a predominantly Protestant (and often hostile) culture. This course offers an overview of the theological and historical development of American Catholicism as a specific expression of the Roman Catholic Church that has been molded in a unique way by American culture.

THFS-265 GLOBAL CATHOLICISM (3 Credits)

This course explores the different forms that the Catholic church has taken as it has adapted to diverse cultures around the world and attempts to unpack the idea of "catholicity" for our contemporary time. It introduces the student to a variety of issues facing Catholic Christians that arise in the contemporary context of globalization. Contemporary sensitivity to the categories of culture, identity, and location is responsible for a vital creativity evident in contributions by various current Catholic thinkers and theologians.

THFS-266 FRANCISCAN THEOLOGY FOR TODAY (3 Credits)

Is Franciscan Theology still relevant today? The course will examine such Franciscan theologians as Alexander of Hales, Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Peter John Olivi and others in comparison with modern and contemporary theology and philosophy to answer the following questions from a Franciscan perspective: Is theology a true science? How do we prove God's existence? What is the role of the senses and the arts in becoming aware of God? How does the human mind reflect God? How does the will relate to the intellect? How should humans relate to one another socio-economically? What is God and how is God related to the physical world? How does the Trinity make any sense? Why do we need a mystical journey as well as rational?

THFS-270 INTRO TO THE BIBLE (3 Credits)

The Bible is a collection of books that both Jews and Christians honor as sacred Scripture, though in different ways. This course will introduce students to the historical, literary, and theological dimensions of the Bible as it bas been understood by modern academic scholars and by Jews and Christians over the centuries.

THFS-271 UNDERSTANDING THE OLD TESTAMENT (3 Credits)

The collection of books that Christians call the "Old Testament," the first part of the Christian Bible, is also the sacred scripture of Judaism. It originated, however, before either of these religions, as a written reflection of the religious beliefs, practices, and ideals of a particular group of people in ancient Israel whom both Jews and Christians claim as their intellectual and spiritual ancestors. This course will explore the contents and message of these books in relation to their historical, literary, and theological contexts as both sacred literature of ancient Israel and canonical scriptures of Judaism and Christianity.

THFS-272 UNDERSTANDING THE NEW TESTAMENT (3 Credits)

The collection of books that Christians call the "New Testament," is the most important part of the Bible for Christians. It was written during the early decades of the Christian movement and serves as our principal source for information about the life and ministry of Jesus and the early history of the Christian church, including the rise of Christian theology. This course will investigate the contents and messages of the 27 books of the New Testament in relation to their historical, literary, and theological contexts in both the early Christian commnity and later Christian interpretations.

THFS-299 SPECIAL TOPICS (3 Credits)

An intensive study of a topic or issue not usually addressed in other courses offered by the department. The topic of the course will be advertised in the course schedule prior to the semester when it is offered. The course may be taken more than once provided the content has changed.

THFS-299A BONAVENTURE, LIFE & WRITINGS (3 Credits)

An intensive study of a topic or issue not usually addressed in other courses offered by the department. The topic of the course will be advertised in the course schedule prior to the semester when it is offered. The course may be taken more than once provided the content has changed.

THFS-307 CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM REL: PAST, PRES, FUT (3 Credits)

This course examines the historical, social and theological dimensions of Christian-Muslim relations from the advent of Islam to the current day. The first part of the course addresses questions such as: How have Christians and Muslims viewed each others' faiths over the centuries? To what extent have their relations been characterized by harmony and cooperation, or by strife and discord? How have these relations changed and why? In the second part, we examine contemporary theological questions, perspectives, and debates arising from this historical interaction. We will also address inter-religious dialogue in the United States, and the future of Christian-Muslim relations.

THFS-324 RELIGION AND RACE (3 Credits)

Religion has played a key role in the development and support of racist beliefs, attitudes and institutions in the Western world. But religion has also been a powerful tool for combating racism. This course will examine both sides of this troubling aspect of the Western religious history, with special attention to groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Black Muslims that explicitly link race and religion. Substantial attention will also be given to current scientific and sociological thinking on the subject of the race.

THFS-325 THEOLOGY AND ART (3 Credits)

The arts have been an important channel of religious expression from the ancient cave dwellers to the present. This course examines the role played by the arts in the Christian tradition and the modern secular world. The first part of the course focuses on the varied uses of music, painting, sculpture, etc., in the life and liturgy of the church, including theological interpretations on the role of art in liturgy. The second part examines the spiritual power of contemporary secular forms of art.

THFS-333 CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE (3 Credits)

A study of sexuality, spirituality and the sacrament of marriage. Utilizing experiential and historical data and a Catholic and Franciscan theological perspective, we will explore myths, realities and meanings of eros, sexuality, relational dynamics, intimacy, pornography, beauty, dating, marriage, sex, divorce, annulment, conflict resolution, commitment, parenting and spirituality. To achieve this goal, required reading, critical reflection and active class participation are essential.

THFS-340 ETHICAL LEADERSHIP:FRANCISCAN VALUES (3 Credits)

This course focuses on a healthy world, economy and our responsibility for it. It begins with the economic financial crisis of 2007-2008 and looks at the social, cultural, economic and psychological factors along with the ethical lapses that led up to it. This course then presents the major contributions that Franciscan thinkers have made to the way we can understand, accept and humanize the modern market economy. Franciscan principles and practices for a more social economy will provide students with the ethical insights and practical tools they will need in the workplace to balance freedom and responsiblity, profit-making and solidarity, the care of creation and the common good.

THFS-345 CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT (3 Credits)

The course will introduce students to what has been called the greatest secret of the Catholic Church- its social teaching. Students will begin by exploring the historical and religious origins of the basic principles of Catholic Social Thought-the sacredness of human life, and the dignity of the human person. They will learn how that teaching has been articulated in Church documents, and has found expression in the Church and in secular movements. Ultimately, the course is not just another academic offering, but an integral part of the mission of the University. It is a key component of the University's response to the Church's call for a fuller integration of the Church's social tradition into the mainstream of Catholic education. The course will help demonstrate the University's commitment to human life, human dignity, and human rights.

Prerequisite(s): Take CLAR-106 CLAR-107

THFS-348 HEALTH, FAITH & ETHICS (3 Credits)

This course introduces students to and acquaints them with the ways in which religious convictions and practices shape understandings of health and wholeness and, concomitantly, how health care should be administered to all in a just, right and equitable manner as people created in God's image. Questions of social justice and allocation of limited resources, especially to vulnerable populations like the elderly and the poor are considered. Specific ethical issues are treated within the purview of a spiritual/religious vision of human beings.

THFS-359 FRANCISCAN SPIRITUALITY (3 Credits)

The Franciscan movement has given rise to a distinctive spirituality, a whole way of approaching life. This course will first focus on the religious experience of Francis and Clare of Assisi as seen in their life choices and writings. We will examine their distinctive vision of God, creation, and human relationships, and the ways these insights were developed by later authors. Then, key features of the "life according to Gospel" which they fashioned will be examined, and finally, we will bring Franciscan spirituality to bear on issues in contemporary society.

Prerequisite(s): CLAR-207 OR FS/THEO-101

THFS-359T STY IN SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS (3 Credits)

An intensive study of a particular issue or thinker in historic or contemporary spirituality. The topic of the course will be advertised in the course schedule prior to the semester when it is offered. The course may be taken more than once provided the content has changed.

THFS-360 EARLY HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE REFORMATION (3 Credits)

For much of the last 2,000 years, the history of Western civilization has been framed around the history of the Christian church. This course surveys the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Fathers to the Modern Era. Attention will be given to the social, institutional and intellectual aspects of the Christian faith.

THFS-362 FRANCIS & FRANC. TRADITION (3 Credits)

The spiritual movement initiated by Francis of Assisi has played a key role in the spiritual and intellectual life of the Catholic church from the Middle Ages to the present. This course will examine the life of St. Francis and his impact on the church and the world. The course will also look at some of the great Franciscan scholars like St. Bonaventure in order to explore the influence and applications of Franciscanism to the modern world.

THFS-399 SPECIAL TOPICS (3 Credits)

As intensive study of a topic or issue not usually addressed in other courses offered by the department. The topic of the course will be advertised in the course schedule prior to the semester when it is offered. The course may be taken again provided the content has changed.

THFS-399A SP TOP: HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY: REFORMATION TO PRESENT (3 Credits)

As intensive study of a topic or issue not usually addressed in other courses offered by the department. The topic of the course will be advertised in the course schedule prior to the semester when it is offered. The course may be taken again provided the content has changed.

THFS-490 IND.STY:READINGS IN THEOLOGY (1-6 Credits)

Under the guidance of a professor, the student will pursue an advanced research project that involves significant reading and writing.

THFS-498 SEMINAR IN THEOLOGY (3 Credits)

An integrative capstone course for theology majors and minors. The course will explore a particular topic, theme, issue or author from a variety of theological perspectives. The topic of course will be advertised in the course schedule prior to the semester when it is offered. The course is required of all senior theology majors.