Instructor: David N. Scott, MTS, Ph.D.

Introduction to the Course

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Course Details

Course Description

Understandings of Christ and salvation in Christian theology.


Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Imaginatively engage the content of Christian theology by carefully examining its classical and contemporary content, tasks, and methods; most specifically, with regard to doctrines and traditions concerning the figure of Jesus Christ, such as soteriology, the virgin birth, and the resurrection.
  2. Identify and explain issues shaping current debate about the person, work, and relevance of Jesus Christ as both a religious and historical figure.
  3. Consider the alternatives to a proposed Christology and recognize when the theological questions or commitments under consideration may need to be restated or even rejected.
  4. Address effectively the pragmatic and moral implications of adopting a particular Christology.
  1. Demonstrate competence concerning specialized theological vocabulary.
  2. Articulate a critical and carefully reasoned Christological statement of one's own with sensitivity to its systematic connections to other doctrines.
  3. Understand and characterize theological perspectives other than one's own with accuracy and generosity.

Course Requirements (At a Glance)

Attendance/Participation       25%
Discussion Starter                   10%
Book Review                            25%
Constructive Proposal            40%


Course Requirements (Detailed Descriptions)

Class Participation and Attendance (25% of grade):  The discipline of theology is not merely a study of the history of certain ideas.  More importantly, it is an ongoing conversation among persons who are commonly committed to addressing theological problems and questions about what it means to live faithfully in the context of day-to-day life.  For that reason, active engagement in online discussions and full attendance during Gathering Days are two essential components of this course. Both the quality and depth of theological conversation depend heavily on the voices involved.  Students should enter into online discussions and come to in-class sessions having read all the assigned readings for that day and having thoughtfully considered the key ideas and arguments presented in those readings. For more on what makes a proper contribution to class discussion, see "Policies on Academic and Collegial Integrity."

            The evaluation of a student’s weekly contributions to online discussion forums includes a quantitative requirement. In a typical week, a student ought to contribute at least 3 posts to the current forum, the first reacting to a classmate’s Discussion Starter (see the section below for details) and the others simply being organic and engaged comments or questions. Students are encouraged to post more than this if they would like. The quantitative requirement is just a minimal threshold meant to keep all students active in the course on a weekly basis. Each first post is worth 5 points, and both subsequent posts are worth 2.5 points. In most instances, a post that is on topic and on time will receive full points. The “Course Rhythm” section of the syllabus provides further instructions concerning the basic mechanics of online conversations.


Discussion Starter (10% of grade):  Before the end of the quarter, each student will contribute one Discussion Starter post. Beginning in Week 2, the Discussion Starters will be the parent posts for our threads of conversation. These more substantial contributions (500-650 words in length) require the student to interpret and analyze one of the assigned readings more closely than one may be able to do in a typical week. An effective Discussion Starter both focuses and stimulates class discussion of that week’s material. The instructor will evaluate these posts according to how well the student performs the following tasks:



As part of the process of organizing these contributions, students should use the electronic sign-up sheet on Canvas at their earliest convenience.
NOTE: There will be no Discussion Starters in Weeks 1, 5, or 6.


Book Review (25% of grade):  In addition to the 4 common texts required for this course, students must choose a fifth text (Farley, Joh, Schults, or Tanner) which they will engage largely on their own. Students should use the electronic sign-up sheet on Canvas at their earliest convenience. Proper engagement of the selected text will involve the completion of two tasks:


Be very specific here – do not just say “I could preach a sermon on it” but tell me specifically what you would do, where you would do it, who you would do it with or for, what your intentions would be, what your ideal outcome would be, etc. Will this proposal work in real life? How can you “flesh it out”?

If you think the author is on the right track but missed something, what would you fill in? How would you make this a stronger theological statement, and/or apply it to other issues and/or populations? How would you fit this Christology together with other theological doctrines or themes?


Students do not need to engage resources beyond their selected text in order to complete this assignment. However, they may choose to do so (e.g. looking at the author’s other publications or journal reviews of the book). Any additional resources must be cited properly using an established style. Full bibliographic information must be provided in either a footnote or a works cited page.


The written report must be submitted by 11:59pm MT (1:59 am ET) on Monday, November 5th.


Constructive Proposal on Christology (40% of grade):  The culminating project of this course is a short paper in which the student provides a carefully reasoned statement of one's personal Christology.  This project will be completed in two stages:


This statement must be submitted by 11:59 pm MT (1:59 am ET) on Monday, September 24th.


The final draft must be submitted by 11:59 pm MT (1:59 am ET) on Wednesday, November 21st.



In addition to the information provided under "Policies & Services" (see Canvas menu to the left), students should be aware of the following policies, which are specific to my courses.

Policy on Late Assignments
Written Documents: An assignment submitted after its stated deadline will incur a penalty of 5% the assignment’s total value for each 24-hour period it is late. If the instructor does not receive the assignment within 72 hours of its deadline, it will receive no points.

Forum Posts: A Discussion Starter posted after the Monday deadline will incur a penalty of 10% the assignment’s total value. If a Discussion Starter still has not been posted within 24 hours of its deadline, it will receive no points.
If a student does not make the first discussion post by the Thursday night deadline, one point will be deducted from the student’s weekly discussion grade for each day the post is late.


Policies on Academic and Collegial Integrity

All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity, as published in the Masters Student Handbook. Any detected plagiarism or cheating on an assignment will result in an automatic penalty of an "F" for that assignment. All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Core Values.

Proper online and in-class participation consists of contributions that facilitate the stated objectives for this course.  The purpose of our learning community is to equip each student to articulate a theological perspective and to demonstrate understanding and generosity toward each of our peers, not in the absence of disagreement and passion, but in the midst of them.  Accomplishing this purpose demands that all students do their best to discipline themselves concerning the content, frequency, and spirit of what they say:


Required Texts (The texts that are available as ebooks are linked below):

Tyron L Inbody. The Many Faces of Christology. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002.

Kyle Roberts. A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2017.

Don Schweitzer. Contemporary Christologies: A Fortress Introduction. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.

Amos Yong. Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007. (**Note: for this ebook use your Iliff login credentials, even though the login screen will be a DU screen**)

Also choose one of the following texts (see Book Review assignment description):

Wendy Farley. Gathering Those Driven Away: A Theology of Incarnation. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2011.  (**Note: this ebook may be accessed by only three users at a time; please close your browser when finished so that others may use this text**)

Wonhee Anne Joh. Heart of the Cross: A Postcolonial Christology. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.

LeRon Schults. Christology and Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008.

Kathryn Tanner. Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001.

*All other assigned readings will be made available through Canvas.*


Recommended Resources

While each of these texts is part of the Ira J. Taylor Library reference collection, students are encouraged to acquire a personal copy of at least one.

Justo L. González.  Essential Theological Terms.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.

Donald K. McKim. Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, 2nd Edition.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014.

Ian A. McFarland, et al., eds.  The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Donald W. Musser and Joseph L. Price, eds.  New and Enlarged Handbook of Christian Theology. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2003.


NOTE: The contents of this schedule are subject to change


Week 1 – Introductions and Beginnings

Week 2 – Considerations of History, Tradition, and Revelation

Week 3 – A Liberal/Conservative Divide?

Week 4 – A Closer Look at Soteriology

Week 5 - Gathering Days

Room: Iliff Hall 301
October 11th - The Implications of Human Suffering and Abuse for Soteriology

October 12th - GROUP PRESENTATIONS on Book Review Texts

Week 6 – Queering Christology

Week 7 – A Closer Look at Gender in Christology

Week 8 – Redemption through the Lens of Disability

Week 9 – Challenges of Religious Pluralism

Week 10 – Ends and Endings
NOTE: Discussion forum closes Friday, November 16, the official end of Fall classes


Constructive Proposal on Christology Due by 11:59 pm MT (1:59 am ET) on Wednesday, November 21st.

Syllabus as a Word Document
Final Draft

Sign-Up Sheets

Instructions: Once you have chosen your Discussion Starter topic, enter your name in the appropriate field (assuming, of course, that field is still open).  I have further divided the sign-up options into "Assigned Readings" to help ensure that the topic of each week receives sufficient treatment in our discussions.  NOTE: There are no Discussion Starters in Weeks 1, 5, and 6.  

Since I have set this page up in a Wiki format, students may edit their entries as needed.  That having been said, please edit this page only as much as is necessary and, although it should go without saying, do not alter other persons' entries. 

Each student has signed up in the chart below as of 9/13/2018.  For this reason, I have turned off the "Edit" function. 


Week Topic Assigned Reading Student Presenter
2 History, Tradition & Revelation Many Faces, Ch. 1 E. Darlene Smith
Many Faces, Ch. 2 Deb Metcalf 
Schweitzer, Ch. 1 Jamie Schwoerer
3 A Liberal/Conservative Divide? Many Faces, Ch. 3 Jordan Derhammer
Many Faces, Ch. 4 Jon Hughes
Schweitzer, Ch. 2 Mark Johnson
4 A Closer Look at Soteriology Lowe Kari Niedermaier
Haight (The Resurrection) Zach Bechtold
7 A Closer Look at Gender in Christology Many Faces, Ch. 5 Jennifer Essary
Kwok Stephanie Seth
Crawford Seth O'Kegley
8 Redemption through the Lens of Disability Yong, Ch. 6: Creation Tiffanie Lyon
Yong, Ch. 7: Church
Yong, Ch. 8: Salvation Lindsey Jeavons
9 Challenges of Religious Pluralism Many Faces, Ch. 8 Paul Grossman
Schweitzer, Ch. 5
F. Schussler-Fiorenza Terresa Newport
10 Ends and Endings Schweitzer, Conclusion Liza Stoltz Hanson
Yong, Ch. 9: Eschatology Beth Menhusen


Instructions: Once you have chosen a book to review, enter your name in the appropriate field below (assuming, of course, an open field is still available).  No more than 5 students may review the same text, so be sure to "call dibs" on your preferred option at your earliest convenience.  

Since I have set this page up in a Wiki format, students may edit their entries as needed.  That having been said, please edit this page only as much as is necessary and, although it should go without saying, do not alter another person's entry.

Each student has selected a text to review as of 9/13/2018.  For this reason, I have turned off the "Edit" function. 


Author Book Title Student Reviewer
Wendy Farley Gathering Those Driven Away Deb Metcalf 
Lindsey Jeavons
Liza Stoltz Hanson
Terresa Newport
Stephanie Seth
Wonhee Anne Joh Heart of the Cross Paul Grossman
Beth Menhusen
E. Darlene Smith
Kari Niedermaier
F. LeRon Schults Christology and Science Tiffanie Lyon
  Jennifer Essary
  Mark Johnson
  Zach Bechtold
  Jordan Derhammer
Kathryn Tanner Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity Jamie Schwoerer
Jon Hughes
Seth O'Kegley


Course Rhythm

In my experience, providing students a clear rhythm for a typical class week helps them plan their time in the course more easily. Keep yourself to a regular rhythm as suits your schedule to avoid getting lost. Let me know if you have questions.

Monday Night : The module for the current week becomes fully available at 6 pm MT (8 pm ET). The module will include an introductory video by the instructor. The remarks in this video are intended to help frame and inform class discussion.
Discussion forums also open at this time. Starting in Week 2, Discussion Starters are due by 11:59 pm MT (1:59 am ET) . (See the Discussion Starter assignment description and sign-up sheet on Canvas.) While all students will have access to the discussion forum at this time, only students providing a Discussion Starters should post before Tuesday. Conversation will benefit from waiting until all that week’s Discussion Starters have been posted.
The deadline for all other written assignments in the course will be 11:59 pm MT (1:59 am ET) on a Monday night. (See Course Calendar for details.)

Tuesday Morning : The week's discussion forum is officially open to all students. There will be only one discussion forum in a typical week (Weeks 1 and 5 being the exceptions). Students should watch the instructor’s video introduction to the module and read all Discussion Starters before making their first posts.

Thursday Night : Each student’s first discussion post is due by 11:59 pm MT (1:59 am ET) . This should be a 150-to-250-word response to one of that week’s Discussion Starters. Strong posts will directly address the content of a Discussion Starter, responding to its exposition of an assigned reading and/or attempting to answer the question(s) it poses. Students should not feel the pressure to make these posts mini-essays in their own right; they should simply be relevant and meaningful statements in an academic conversation. Also, posts may exceed the upper limit stated here. However, keep in mind that the longer a post runs, the more likely it is to put off classmates.

Friday : Having given students ample opportunity to engage one another first, the instructor will read all posts made up to that point and contribute as necessary.

Sunday Night : All other discussion posts are due by 11:59 pm MT (1:59 am ET) , when that week’s forum closes. Each student must provide at least two additional responses per forum (three total) - no length limits. This is a bare minimum requirement; even more posts across any or all of the forum’s threads are encouraged. The only posts that will be marked down are those that are late (see Late Policy) or stray too far afield in their content (also see Policies on Academic and Collegial Integrity).

Monday Afternoon: Weekly round-up. After reading over the weekend’s posts, the instructor will post a response video in that week’s module. This response will summarize key points raised during discussion and revisit ideas from the readings that may deserve further attention. Students should watch this video before moving on to the next week’s module or forum. The course rhythm starts over later that evening.

Week 5 Exception (Gathering Days)
There will be no online discussion forums during the week of October 8th. There will still be assigned readings, but the work we do with that material will take place in on-campus sessions on October 11 th and 12 th . Our assigned room is Iliff Hall 301.

Having read this description of the Course Rhythm, do you have a question or concern? Share it here .

Sep 14, 2018FriWeek 1 First Post Reminderdue by 05:59AM
Sep 14, 2018FriWeek 1: Self-Introductiondue by 05:59AM
Sep 15, 2018SatSign-Up Sheetsdue by 05:59AM
Sep 17, 2018MonWeek 1: A Complicated Pregnancydue by 05:59AM
Sep 21, 2018FriWeek 2 First Post Reminderdue by 05:59AM
Sep 24, 2018MonWeek 2: History, Tradition, and Revelationdue by 05:59AM
Sep 25, 2018TueConstructive Proposal - Preliminary Statementdue by 05:59AM
Sep 28, 2018FriWeek 3 First Post Reminderdue by 05:59AM
Oct 01, 2018MonWeek 3: A Liberal/Conservative Divide?due by 05:59AM
Oct 05, 2018FriWeek 4 First Post Reminderdue by 05:59AM
Oct 08, 2018MonWeek 4: A Closer Look at Soteriologydue by 05:59AM
Oct 11, 2018ThuWeek 5 Gathering Days Reminderdue by 07:00PM
Oct 12, 2018FriBook Review - Group Presentationdue by 06:00PM
Oct 19, 2018FriWeek 6 First Post Reminderdue by 05:59AM
Oct 22, 2018MonWeek 6: Queering Christologydue by 05:59AM
Oct 26, 2018FriWeek 7 First Post Reminderdue by 05:59AM
Oct 29, 2018MonWeek 7: A Closer Look at Gender in Christologydue by 05:59AM
Nov 02, 2018FriWeek 8 First Post Reminderdue by 05:59AM
Nov 05, 2018MonWeek 8: Redemption through the Lens of Disabilitydue by 06:59AM
Nov 06, 2018TueBook Review - Written Reportdue by 06:59AM
Nov 09, 2018FriWeek 9 First Post Reminderdue by 06:59AM
Nov 12, 2018MonWeek 9: Challenges of Religious Pluralismdue by 06:59AM
Nov 16, 2018FriWeek 10 First Post Reminderdue by 06:59AM
Nov 17, 2018SatWeek 10: Ends and Endingsdue by 06:59AM
Nov 22, 2018ThuConstructive Proposal - Final Draftdue by 06:59AM