The Christianity Department curriculum is designed to achieve the following goals:
1. To develop in students a knowledge of and appreciation for the Christian tradition in particular and religion in general;
2. To expose students to the breadth and depth of theological inquiry through biblical studies, Christian history, Christian theology, and Christian ethics;
3. To sharpen students’ abilities to think logically, to read critically, to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and to act compassionately;
4. To afford students the opportunity to study the Christian tradition within the context of a liberal arts education so as to enhance personal and professional growth;
5. To assure that students have an adequate academic experience to pursue graduate theological education and future professional studies. Christianity Major
A major in Christianity consists of a minimum of 30 semester hours, including the following:
1. "Old Testament" and "New Testament"
2. "Theological Research and Writing," which is recommended for the sophomore year
3. Four courses to be taken from the following:
a. one course in biblical studies
b. one course in historical studies
c. one course in theological studies
d. one course in ethical studies
4. Two colloquia:
a. CHR 385: Junior Colloquium
b. CHR 485: Senior Colloquium
5. Six additional Christianity hours
A major must have a minimum of 18 hours in courses numbered 300 and above. Christianity Minor
A minor consists of 15 semester hours, including "Old Testament" and "New Testament" and nine additional semester hours, six of which must be numbered 300 or above. Departmental Honors
Majors may attain Departmental Honors by fulfilling the following requirements:
- attain a grade point average of 3.75 or above in the major;
- complete the research and writing of a thesis under the direction of a member of the Christianity faculty, and have the thesis judged by a committee of the Christianity faculty (if the thesis merits recognition, 3 hours credit will be given for CHR 420);
- pass an oral examination by a committee of at least three members of the Christianity faculty.
CHR 101. Old Testament (3 hours)
An introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the Old Testament.
CHR 150. New Testament (3 hours)
An introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the New Testament.
CHR 210. History of Christianity (3 hours)
An introduction to developments in Christian history from the first century to the present.
CHR 250. Theological Research and Writing (3 hours)
An introduction to basic theological vocabulary, bibliography, library resources, and research methodologies with a rigorous emphasis on improving writing skills.
CHR 300. Introduction to Christian Theology (3 hours)
An introduction to the major topics in Christian theology. Issues explored include the nature of theological language and theological methods, the concept of revelation, the character of God, the character of humankind, the reality of sin, the significance of Jesus the Christ, the identity of the church, and the shape of Christian hope.
CHR 302. Biblical Interpretation (3 hours)
A study of the principles and methods by which the Bible is interpreted.
CHR 305. Old Testament Prophets (3 hours)
Prerequisite: CHR 101
A study of the prophets of the Old Testament, including the nature and history of the prophetic movement in Israel and the messages of selected prophets. Emphasis will be given to Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Second Isaiah.
CHR 310. Jesus (3 hours)
Prerequisite: CHR 150
An investigation of the Gospels’ portraits of Jesus in the light of other ancient literature, the world of Jesus, and scholarship about the Jesus of history.
CHR 315. Paul (3 hours)
Prerequisite: CHR 150
A study of the life and thought of Paul based on Acts and the letters of Paul in their literary, historical, social, and religious contexts.
CHR 320. New Testament Theology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: CHR 150
An introduction to New Testament theology, with emphasis on such themes as the Kingdom of God, the person and work of Jesus, and the nature of the church.
CHR 325. Contemporary Christian Theology (3 hours)
A survey of Christian theology since the 1960s with reference to earlier theology. Attention will be given to secular theology, process theology, Latin American liberation theology, black theology, feminist theology, evangelical theology, narrative theology, and theology of hope.
CHR 330. Approaches to Christian Ethics (3 hours)
An exploration of Christian ethics that focuses on classic texts drawn from a broad range of church history. Although the course will deal with some specific moral issues, the focus will be on how thinkers have used insights from the Bible, theology, philosophy, the sciences, and human experience to address a range of questions that may include: What does it mean to be moral? Why be moral? How do we know what is moral? How do we become moral? How can we make responsible decisions?
CHR 335. Christian Ethics In America (3 hours)
An exploration of Christian ethics that focuses on the implications of Christian faith for life in civil and political society in the United States. The course will engage readings in Christian ethics since the 1960s that address a variety of issues that may include character, race, economic justice, the environment, family/ marriage, gender, sexuality, the professions, politics, and violence. The course may also require participation in service-learning opportunities.
CHR 350.World Religions (3 hours)
An introduction to the thought and practice of the major world religions.
CHR 353. Religious Groups in America (3 hours)
An examination of the history, theology, and numerical status of various religious groups in contemporary America with primary focus on Christian denominations.
CHR 363.Women and Christianity (3 hours)
Prerequisite: CHR 101 or CHR 150, and WGS 180 or permission of the instructor.
A biblical, historical, and theological examination of the role of women within the Christian tradition.
CHR 365. The Baptist Tradition (3 hours)
A study of the Baptist identity and its free-church character in the light of Baptist history.
CHR 370. History of Christian Theology (3 hours)
A study of the major Christian thinkers and the impact of their ideas in the development of Christian theology.
CHR 380. Biblical Hebrew (4 hours)
An extensive introduction to biblical Hebrew, covering grammar, vocabulary, and readings from the Old Testament. The schedule includes a one-hour per week laboratory session. This course does not count toward credit in foreign languages.
CHR 385. Junior Colloquium (1 hour)
Prerequisites: junior status and declaration of a major in the department.
A course of readings and discussion based upon topics selected by members of the department and essays prepared by senior-level majors in the department.
CHR 400. Supervised Independent Reading (1-3 hours)
An intensive study of a topic in religion, limited in scope, for the purpose of developing a bibliography, concentrated reading, and tutorial discussion with the instructor.
CHR 410. Seminar on Selected Topics in Religion (1-3 hours)
An in-depth investigation of a significant topic in religion not available through other departmental offerings.
CHR 420. Directed Independent Research (3 hours)
Prerequisites: junior or senior status and departmental approval.
Requirements include selection of a problem area or project, survey of relevant literature, research, and formal report of findings.
CHR 485. Senior Colloquium (2 hours)
Prerequisites: senior status and declaration of a major in the department.
A course of readings and discussion based upon topics selected by members of the department and essays prepared by senior-level majors in the department. Each senior enrolled will prepare an essay under the direction of a member of the department and present the essay to the class.