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Theology

DEPARTMENT PHILOSOPHY

Theology at Episcopal is an academic discipline that exposes students to the Judeo-Christian heritage that undergirds Western civilization. It also teaches the analytic skills that allow one to wrestle with the human quest for meaning as a lifetime venture. Through exposure to classical as well as contemporary attempts to discern meaning in the midst of chaos, students find models for coping with the essential questions of life.

In class discussions and papers, they practice thinking for themselves. Although various religious and philosophic traditions are empathetically studied and systematically analyzed (especially in the senior electives), the courses and faculty, for reasons of tradition as well as commitment, approach the material primarily from a Western Christian perspective.

REQUIREMENTS

Entering ninth and 10th graders must take Biblical Theology (one-half credit) by the end of their 10th grade year. During the 12th grade year, seniors select a semester elective (one-half credit) offered by the Theology Department to complete the full credit required. Exceptions may be given for students taking four years of orchestra or choir. Biblical Theology may then be “bumped” to the first semester of the 12th grade with no additional senior theology required. Seniors taking six year long academic courses may also take one of the following courses for theology credit: Good and Evil in Literature or Greek.
  • Greek 1

    This elective course provides an introduction to ancient Greek and the history, culture and literature of ancient Greece. No previous knowledge of Greek or Latin is assumed, though students interested should have some experience in the study of another language. This course does not fulfill the language requirement at EHS. Meets Senior Theology Requirement. (One Credit)
  • Greek 2

    In Greek 2, students will focus their energy almost entirely on language, using the Athenaze series as a primary resource. Using the storyline of this text, we will consolidate our grasp of the history and culture of 5th century BCE in Greece. This course does not fulfill the language requirement at EHS. Meets Senior Theology Requirement. (One-Half Credit)
  • Biblical Theology

    This course surveys the Christian Bible: Old and New Testaments. It examines the biblical history of Israel and its religious development, and studies the life and teachings of Jesus and the early church’s view of his importance through an in-depth study of one of the gospels. Further study includes the Acts of the Apostles and selected readings from the Pauline epistles. (One-half credit)
  • Environmental Theology: Rooted through Spirituality

    This course will provide a deep study into the Bible and how a developed environmental theology undergirds ideas of community, justice, and the Kingdom of God/Heaven from (literally) the first to last pages of scripture. By incorporating secondary texts from a diverse group of authors, we will see how environmental theology has been at the forefront of justice issues, none so stark as the intersection of climate change and racial and economic justice. The course will engage in significant outdoor time, developing mindfulness practices and allowing the students to embody the relationships being learned about in the classroom. (One-half credit)
  • Judaism, Anti-Semitism, & Roots of Genocide

    This course provides a deep study of Judaism while examining the development of global antisemitism and genocide. Using the lenses of philosophy, history, anthropology, and religious studies, students engage with material through multiple media resources. The course also makes use of digital resources and outreach programs from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 6th and I, Beth El, and the Anti-Defamation League. (One-half credit)
  • Religious Thought in Music

    This course provides students with a broad overview of sacred music and explores foundational issues in religious aesthetics. Students are exposed to several great masterworks of Western sacred music as well as representative works from Eastern and African traditions. Students attend live performances and study music in its historical and philosophical context in an effort to move towards a greater understanding of our faith and its cultural artistic heritage. No prior musical experience required. Meets either Arts or Theology requirement. (One-half Credit)
  • Rule of Life

    This course explores what has led some of the deepest religious thinkers in history to leave their busy lives behind, find barren places, and seek out the true meaning behind their lives. Whether it is Abraham from the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus in the New Testament, the forest monks in Hinduism, Siddhartha Gautama in India, desert mothers and fathers in 3rd century Egypt, or ancient and modern day monastics, humans have taken time and created tools of examination to discern their life’s path. These tools help them to intentionally order their lives according to their beliefs. These tools were created to ask the deeper questions: What matters to you most? How does your life connect to that value? What keeps you from connecting to what you value? (One-half credit)
  • Senior Biblical Theology

    This senior only course surveys themes in the Christian Bible: Old and New Testaments. It examines the biblical history of Israel and its religious development, and studies the life and teachings of Jesus and the early church’s view of his importance. It covers themes of holiness, justice, prophecy, theodicy, wisdom, and mission. The course is only for seniors who have not yet taken Biblical Theology. (One-half credit)
  • World Religions

    This class is designed to introduce students to five world religions and to develop the ability to analytically and thoughtfully study belief systems. We will also be looking into the future of religious thought, and some contemporary questions that have arisen in today’s world. Our main areas of study will include Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (One-half credit)

Department Faculty