Academic Programs 


Fall 2008
Course Websites & Syllabi

Visit the following web pages for information on course meeting dates, faculty, and the syllabus.


Mental Health: An Islamic Perspective (AM-653) NEW View Syllabus
ONLINE, Will begin November 10, 2008 and run through January 30, 2009

This course will familiarize students with the basic concepts of mental illness to facilitate their communication with multidisciplinary teams including both health and mental health professionals, and help them to gain an awareness of the cultural factors particular to the Muslim community. Students will obtain skills including when to make referrals and how to approaching individuals in a mental health treatment context. Hamada Hamid, Adjunct Professor of Arts of Ministry and Fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He is co-author of the forthcoming “Treating Muslims: An Interdisciplinary Primer”


Understanding Christianity: Rumor and Reality (DI-500 ) NEW
Thursdays from 1:15 to 4:15 p.m., beginning Sept. 11 View Syllabus
(10 weeks)

This course is an introduction to the Christian faith, intended for those from other traditions. While global Christianity through the centuries has been expressed in many institutional forms and with diverse beliefs, there are also many beliefs, doctrines and practices that are shared throughout the Christian tradition. The course will focus on those shared elements and enter into the world of Christianity through texts, audio-visual materials, discussion, reflection and analysis. The course seeks to provide students with an understanding of the core beliefs, doctrines and practices of the Christian tradition, including: Creation, Sin, Incarnation, Salvation, the Cross, the Trinity, Eucharist (Communion), Resurrection and the Afterlife. The Rev. Molly F. James, Adjunct Instructor of Theology and Ethics and Associate Pastor, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex

Dialogue in a World of Difference (MA-530) (Required) View Syllabus
Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m., beginning Sept. 15 (10 weeks)

A required course for all students enrolled in the Master of Arts degree program. Students and faculty in a collegial setting will explore in depth the principles and the practice of dialogue in a pluralistic world through dialogical listening and cross-cultural conversations in a context of diversity. Goals of the course include the development of listening and communication skills in multi-cultural contexts; fostering an understanding of one another through information sharing and community building action; and learning how to discuss potentially divisive issues constructively and without animosity.This course is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.Heidi Hadsell, Professor of Social Ethics and President of the Seminary; Ingrid Mattson, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations; and David Roozen, Professor of Religion and Society


D.Min. Colleague Seminar I, Part I (DM-710 ) (Required) View Syllabus
D.Min. Schedule: Starts with mandatory retreat from Sunday, Sept. 14 to Tuesday, Sept. 16, followed by Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 6, Oct. 27, Nov. 17, and Dec. 8

The purpose of the two-year Colleague Seminar is to explore the reflective practice of ministry in an atmosphere of personal and professional sharing, eventually producing a set of analytical and theological papers as background for the Ministry Project. The goal of this first semester seminar is to ground the practice of ministry in an understanding of its contextual and organizational realities and their theological significance. Students will be introduced to various field research tools and learn to reflect theologically on the insights gathered through their use. Required of first-year D.Min. students. James Nieman, Professor of Practical Theology

D.Min. Colleague Seminar II, Part I (DM-720 ) (Required)
D.Min. Schedule: Starts with mandatory retreat from Sunday, Sept. 14 to Tuesday, Sept. 16, followed by Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 6, Oct. 27, Nov. 17, and Dec. 8

In pursuing further the training in congregational studies that began in the first year Colleague Seminar, we will explore ways of reflecting theologically on your congregation, or your ministry setting, and your practice of ministry within it. This will involve examining both classic and constructive approaches to theology. It will also involve paying close attention to personal experience and to the broader cultural environment as sources of theological insight. The culmination of this fall semester course will be a paper in which the students will work out a theology for ministry that genuinely reflects the manner in which they practice it. Kelton Cobb, Professor of Theology and Ethics

Ministry Project Colloquium (DM-795) (NON-CREDIT)
D. Min. Schedule: Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 15, Oct. 27 and Dec. 8

Students who have successfully completed Colleague Seminars I and II and at least four of the six elective courses may enroll in the Ministry Project Colloquium. The Colloquium will provide a supportive environment for the preparation of ministry project proposals, the execution of ministry projects, and the writing of ministry project final reports. Highly recommended but not required. F. Maner Tyson, Facilitator, and Pastor, Waterbury Baptist Church


The Theology and Ethics of the Niebuhr Brothers* (ET-649) NEW
Wednesdays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 10

This course will examine the works of Reinhold Niebuhr and H. Richard Niebuhr, arguably the most influential American Protestant theologians over the last hundred years. Their impact continues to be felt in theology, social ethics, and sociology of religion. Having been formed under nearly identical personal, historical, and religious conditions, but embarking upon divergent paths in their theological and ethical reflections, differences that occasionally erupted into public debates, studying the two of them in tandem is an opportunity to think through the complexities of the church and its role in society over the course of the 20th century. Heidi Gehman, Faculty Associate in Theology and Ethics


The Early Church* (HI-550) View Syllabus
Thursdays from 7 to 9:20 p.m., beginning Sept. 11

This course will trace the growth and development of Christianity from its earliest beginnings in the first century to the great councils of the fourth and fifth centuries, stopping en route to examine selected texts from the New Testament, early Christian and Roman documents, the writings of the Fathers and the earliest creeds, ranging from the Gospels and St. Paul to Ignatius, Justin, Origen, Basil, Augustine, and Nicea. The course will focus on emergent Christian thought, the nature of God and Christ, the Bible, Church and sacraments, sin and grace, the relation of church and state, and the Christian way of life, toward the goal of gaining keener insight into issues of religion and faith today. Wayne Rollins, Adjunct Professor of Scripture

Writing Congregational Histories (HI-645) NEW View Syllabus
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 28, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9

Many who are members of religious communities have discovered what interesting histories they possess. But many congregations have neither an intentionally written history nor one that is available and up to date. This course will offer concrete help to those who are either interested in writing the history of their congregation or those engaged in that process. Individual projects will be discussed and building blocks and critical questions necessary to the completion of any project will be offered. Writing congregational histories can be a daunting task, but the rewards are great. Examples of successful projects will be given, as well as important reading assignments. The Rev. Dr. Ralph Ahlberg, Adjunct Professor of History and Minister Emeritus, Round Hill Community Church, Greenwich, CT

Shi`i Islam* (HI-651) NEW
Tuesdays from 7 to 9:20 p.m. beginning Sept. 9

This course will be based on the assumption that Islam is both a belief system and a world civilization. Therefore, all movements, sects and schools of thought will be treated as an integral part of Islam, broadly understood. The course will introduce Shi’ism as a general phenomenon within Muslim history, but will concentrate on Twelver Imami Shi’ism, as it is the most developed and influential Shi’ite legal school (madhhab). We will study Shi’ism in Muslim history from its beginning to the present. We will examine both primary texts and secondary literature. Mahmoud Ayoub, Faculty Associate in Shi’ite Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

Arabic Bibliographic Resources* (HI-652) NEW
Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m. beginning Sept. 10

The focus of this class is the rich "tabaqat" literature of classical Islam. Beginning with Ibn Sa'd in the second century of Islam, Muslim scholars compiled extensive collections of biographies of scholars, experts and notables in specific cities or in particular fields of thought. These collections are invaluable resources for the study of any field of classical Islamic thought -- Qur'an, hadith, and Islamic theology and law -- as well as for the study of the history of Islam and its institutions. Prerequisite: Third-year Arabic or its equivalent. Ingrid Mattson, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

Islam in Contemporary Western Europe* (HI-696) View Syllabus
Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m. beginning Sept. 9

This course considers mainly present day realities of Muslims in Western Europe with references to the historical, political, and social road to the current situation. After a general overview on Muslim communities in the Old Continent, some case studies will be analyzed. Classes will be focused on Islam in France, the UK, Germany and Italy, using published and unpublished materials, videos and with the participation of guest speakers. Comparisons with the situation in the US will be made frequently, and students will be encouraged to use their own experiences in a rational and controlled environment. The course is not intended exclusively as an occasion for students to get academic knowledge, but as a chance to discuss, to compare ideas, to engage in a serious and respectful dialogue with classmates, instructors and guest speakers. Davide Tacchini, Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies


Introduction to New Testament Greek, Part I (LG-561) view syllabus
Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m., beginning Sept. 9

The focus of this introductory course, which assumes no prior knowledge of the Greek language, is on the basic grammar and vocabulary of New Testament Greek. Students will begin reading selected passages of the New Testament. Edward F. Duffy, Adjunct Professor of New Testament and Minister of the First Presbyterian Church, Fairfield, CT

Readings in the Greek New Testament, Part I (LG-661) View Syllabus
Tuesdays from 2:00-4:20 p.m. beginning September 9.

This intermediate level course is designed to enable students to read the New Testament in Greek, concentrating on grammar and vocabulary. Prerequisite: LG-562 Introduction to New Testament Greek, Part II or permission of the instructor. Edward F. Duffy, Adjunct Professor of New Testament and Minister, the First Presbyterian Church, Fairfield, CT

Introduction to Arabic Phonology and Script (LG-580)
Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m., beginning Sept. 10

Students will master the writing system of standard Arabic, as well as the sounds of the language. A basic vocabulary of over 100 words will be learned, and at the end of the term students will be able to engage in short, simple conversations. Both Levantine and Egyptian pronunciation will be covered. Assumes no prior knowledge of Arabic. Dr. Shadee Elmasry, Adjunct Instructor of Islamic Studies

Intermediate Arabic, Part I (LG-650) View Syllabus
beginning September 10

This course is designed for participants to consolidate their knowledge of Arabic. Prerequisite: LG-581 or permission of the instructor. Steven Blackburn, Faculty Associate in Semitic Scriptures


Ph.D. Research Skills Preparation (PHD-699)
Three day-long retreats; dates to be determined

Exclusively required for the Transition Year students, this course provides a comprehensive survey of the academic expectations involved in a Ph.D. Students will be required to find relevant Ph.D. dissertations and offer a critique of the quality; in addition faculty will make presentations on time management, note taking, and doctoral level arguments. Faculty

Research Methodology and Scholarly Development I (PHD-700)
Thursdays from 1:15 to 4:15 p.m., beginning Sept. 11

This year long course is limited to students admitted to the Ph.D. program. It will provide students with the tools for doctoral level research and opportunities for collegial interaction. The following topics will be included: a) Introduction to Research Skills; b) Using a Library Effectively; c) Logical Thinking; d) Quantitative and Qualitative Data; e) Writing Articles, Book Proposals, and Reviews; f) Developing a Career in Scholarship; and g) Theories of Religious Studies. Faculty


Hebrew Bible Survey I* (SC-519) View Syllabus
Wednesdays from 7 to 9:20 p.m., beginning Sept. 10

An introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, this course will apply historical-critical methods of study to develop a framework for understanding the origins of the texts and the relationship of the texts to one another. Attention will be given to contemporary theories of biblical interpretation. Survey I will cover the materials in the Torah and Prophets (Genesis-Kings). Uriah Kim, Professor of Hebrew Bible

Readings in Yusuf (Surah 12)* (SC-624 ) NEW View Syllabus
Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m., beginning Sept. 11

The Qur’anic story of Yusuf is the longest continuous narrative of a prophetic figure in Islamic scripture. The story will be read in the original, analyzed, and discussed to develop linguistic facility in the grammar and vocabulary of classical Arabic, including reading the text out loud. Students will deepen their appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of the Qur’an in the original. Class participation will aid in understanding Qur’anic teachings through a direct encounter with the text and by a consideration of some of Yusuf’s points of contact with the story as found in the Book of Genesis. Finally, the class will aid students in preparing for the task of reading classical and modern Qur’anic commentary in the original Arabic. Prerequisite: LG-651 Intermediate Arabic Part II or permission of the instructor. Steven Blackburn, Faculty Associate in Semitic Scriptures

Reading the New Testament Through the Eyes of the Oppressed* (SC-632) View Syllabus
Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m., beginning Sept. 11

This course in New Testament hermeneutics - the art of interpretation - will focus on recent developments in African American, Latino and feminist readings of the Bible. In particular, we will explore how Black and Latin American liberation theology movements have read the New Testament as well as feminist, womanist (African American women's) and mujerista (Latina) perspectives. Recent applications of post-modern and postcolonial theory to New Testament interpretation also will be explored, especially as they relate to issues of the poor and the marginalized. Efrain Agosto, Professor of New Testament

Reading the Story of David for Our Time* (SC-637) View Syllabus
Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 10 (10 weeks)

King David as depicted in the David story (I Samuel 16 to I Kings 2) invokes awe and adoration on one hand and profound sympathy on the other and has captured the imagination and heart of a countless number of people over the years. But David was also a Machiavellian man of “loyalty” and sword who utilized his men, his wives and even God to achieve his goals. This course will not try to validate one image over the other; instead it will examine some features in David that are relevant and worthy to be imagined and practiced by individuals and communities of our time. The course material will be organized into twelve episodes or lessons so that the students can adapt it for bible study lessons and sermons. Uriah Kim, Professor of Hebrew Bible

The Relevance of Biblical Women* (SC-653) View Syllabus
Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., beginning Sept. 10 (10 weeks)

Women of the Bible seem so remote – mired in anonymity, buried in a text – yet their relevance is astonishing when seen through a different lens. Step inside their stories to receive fresh insights into issues we wrestle with today. You will be surprised at how much we can learn from an ancient sisterhood. Miriam Therese Winter, Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality

Readings in Pauline Theology and Ministry (SC-740)
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on September 16 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 28, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9

This advanced course in Pauline studies will explore recent scholarship in Pauline theology and its implication for ministry and religious leadership today. The course begins with a review of the current state of Pauline studies, including a re-reading of Paul's letters and general material on Pauline literature and theology. Then we will proceed to intensive reading and reflection on several recent studies on Pauline theology, including on such topics as gospel, law, Christ, Spirit, freedom, authority and ministry. Presentations by both professor and students, as well as broad ranging discussion of these will highlight the course as we will read Pauline theology from the perspective of faith and practice today. Efrain Agosto, Professor of New Testament

Theology (TH)

Introduction to Black Theology* (TH-526)
Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m., beginning Sept. 9

This course will examine the human condition in light of God's liberating activity. Liberation theology, womanist theology, and the theologies of oppressed peoples will be explored as a method of investigating, explicating, and critiquing religious thought. Benjamin K. Watts, Faculty Associate in the Arts of Ministry and Senior Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, New London

Introduction to Islamic Theology* (TH-553) View Syllabus
Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m., beginning Oct. 1 (10 weeks)

This course explores the content and structure of Islamic belief, as elaborated by Muslim classical thinkers (7th-15th centuries), in relation to a selection of representative texts. The Introduction questions the nature and modalities of theology in Islam. The History studies the origins and growth of the science of Kalâm in its interaction with the other major religious disciplines of Sunnism -- exegesis, Prophetic tradition, jurisprudence, sects, Sufism and philosophy (falsafa). The Creed is then analyzed more theoretically in its major components: the lordship and divinity of God, the mediation of the Messenger, the servitude and ethics of the believers. Society offers a last avenue for enquiry, in so far as it was shaped by particular theological doctrines. The Way/Law (sharî‘a), power, love, innovation, and alterity -- religious or other -- are among the topics envisaged. No knowledge of Arabic is required for this course. Some background information about the religion of Islam would be useful. Bibliographical references will be provided. Yahya Michot, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

Pluralistic Monotheism and the Abrahamic Faiths (TH-636 ) NEW
Mondays from 6 to 8:20 p.m., beginning Sept. 15 View Syllabus

This course will explore theological questions posed by religious plurality, especially the diversity among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. If God is One, how can different understandings of that Oneness be valid? Could the One Lord of nature and history have chosen to covenant with different faith communities? And if different communities are, in fact, “chosen” by God through Divine election and revelation, can they come to see themselves as spiritual allies, rather than adversarial rivals for God’s favor? Finally, how would a multiplicity of covenants enhance the prospects for the “messianic” transformation of history that our various traditions anticipate? The primary lens for this exploration will be Jewish tradition, with readings from the Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic and medieval texts, and contemporary writers examined for insights. Guest facilitators will be invited to address these questions, drawing on perspectives from Christianity and Islam. Yehezkel Landau, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations

Theology of Popular Culture (TH-642) View Syllabus
Thursdays from 7 to 9:20 p.m., beginning Sept. 11

This course will explore various theological and religious meanings that are carried in popular culture, and specifically in phenomena that are not ordinarily thought of as religious. Through reading several “theologians of culture,” we will examine contemporary novels, films, music, television, and tourism with the intent of developing ways to discern transcendent longings, anxieties, and visions of good and evil that operate below the surface of our common cultural life in the U.S. Kelton Cobb, Professor of Theology and Ethics

Theology of the Wesleys and its Wider Religious Impact* (TH-672) NEW
ONLINE, Monday, Sept. 8 through Thursday, Dec. 18 View Syllabus

John and Charles Wesley were theologians and religious leaders who expressed their convictions by creating a vibrant popular movement – Wesleyan Methodism. Methodism has grown into a worldwide communion that now claims more than 75 million members in more than 130 countries. There is also a host of religious movements influenced by “Wesleyanism,” including Pentecostalism, which is now larger and more diverse than Methodism. This course will examine some of the sermons of John Wesley and the theologically rich hymns penned by Charles Wesley, in order to understand the theological significance and enduring appeal of their work. We will also sample current expressions of Wesleyan theology and ministry found in a variety of religious movements, attempting to assess their relationship to the theology of the Wesley brothers. Brian Clark, Adjunct Professor of Theology

Fundamentals of Worship: Practice and Theology* (WS-500) NEW
Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m., beginning Sept. 10 View Syllabus

What is Christian worship, and how is it effectively and meaningfully led? This course will explore the theological underpinnings of the community gathered for worship, study the elements of regular and special services (including baptism, marriage and funeral), and provide practical guidance for developing worship experiences appropriate to both congregation and leader. The Revs. Jonathan Lee and Donna Manocchio, Adjunct Professors of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality and Pastors at Rocky Hill Congregational Church

Women’s Leadership Institute* (WS-553) (6 credits)
Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 26-27; October 24-25; November 21-22; and December 19-20

This yearlong course in leadership and applied spirituality rooted in women’s experience and from a feminist perspective meets monthly from September through May. Students interested in joining next year’s class should contact the Admissions Office at 860-509-9512. Miriam Therese Winter, Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality and Director, Women’s Leadership Institute



Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500