In the spirit of providing opportunities for real-time interaction within our learning community, I am going to host my online office hours as weekly zoom meetings. My intent is that this online space will be more like a coffee hour than anything else - a place where students can synchronously engage myself and one another in an informal setting. Taking advantage of this opportunity is completely elective. Questions about our course, theology, or other academic topics will always be welcome but never required. I encourage everyone who's interested to fill your preferred receptacle with your beverage of choice, boot up, log on, and join the conversation.
I will host these meetings in my personal meeting room on Tuesdays from 4-5pm MT and Thursdays from 9-10am MT. To access it, use this link [removed on 6/5/2020]:
I am also happy to have Zoom meetings with students one-on-one at other times throughout the week. If you would like such a meeting, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can arrange a more private conversation..)
Understandings of Christ and salvation in Christian theology.
Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:
Course Requirements (At a Glance)
25% - Class Participation
10% - Discussion Starter
30% - Book Review Project
35% - Constructive Proposal
Course Requirements (Detailed Descriptions)
Class Participation (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 Gathering Days activities 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 Classroom 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 apiece. 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.
Week 5 Exception: Because the COVID-19 event has made the traditional on-campus sessions of Gathering Days impossible, the assigned reading for Week 5 will be discussed online, but in a slightly different manner than in a typical week. Instead of a Discussion Starter, the instructor will provide the prompt for the discussion forum in conjunction with a video lecture on the material. Students will be expected to provide a roughly 250-word response to the prompt, earning 10 points if that post is properly on topic and made on time. This post will be due by 11:59pm MT on Sunday, April 26th. This is the only week of the term in which replies are encouraged by not required.
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.
To repeat, you will submit your Discussion Starter as a parent post in the corresponding discussion forum, not as a separate document. When evaluating your presentation, I will used the rubric found on the Discussion Starter assignment page.
Book Review Project (30% of grade): In addition to the 4 common texts required for this course, students must choose a fifth text (Farley, Joh, McFarland, or Shults). Students should use the corresponding sign-up sheet on Canvas at their earliest convenience. Each text is a recently published, book-length discussion of Christology that includes the author’s own constructive theological proposal on the subject. Proper engagement of the selected text will involve the completion of four interrelated assignments:
Be very specific here – do not just say “I could preach a sermon on it” but detail 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 Chicago 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 on Monday, May 4th.
Click here to access the Written Report assignment page. This is where you will submit your document.
Constructive Proposal on Christology (35% 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 on Tuesday, April 14th.
Click here to access the Preliminary Statement assignment page. This is where you will submit your document.
The final draft must be submitted by 11:59 pm MT on Monday, June 1st.
Graduating students must submit it by 11:59 pm MT on Tuesday, May 26th.
Click here to access the Final Draft assignment page. This is where you will submit your document.
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 Afternoon/Evening: The academic week begins and all items in its corresponding module will be made available no later than 6 pm MT. The first item is each module is an introductory video by the instructor. The primary function of these videos will be to frame class discussion, set up key themes and ideas in readings, and provide additional remarks on upcoming assignments. Their content will likely also include a summary of salient points from the preceding week's discussion. Students can expects videos to run for 10-30 minutes, depending on the material covered in a given week.
Discussion forums also open at this time. Starting in Week 2, Discussion Starters are due by 11:59 pm MT. (See assignment description and group sign-up sheets.) While all students will have access to the discussion forum at this time, only students providing a Discussion Starter should post before Tuesday. Conversation will benefit from waiting until all that week’s Discussion Starters have been posted (assuming, of course, that all presentations are posted on time).
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 Evening: Each student’s first discussion post is due by 11:59 pm MT. 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 a question 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, it is a rule of thumb that the longer a post runs, the more likely it is that other students may only skim it or skip it altogether.
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 Evening: All other discussion posts are due by 11:59 pm MT, when that week’s forum closes. Each student must provide at least two additional responses per forum - 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 Morning/Afternoon: After reading over the weekend’s posts, the instructor will provide one last round of responses and assess participation scores. When circumstances all, the instructor may begin providing these responses during the weekend itself. Students are welcome to continue posting in the forum after the Sunday deadline, but they should keep in mind that such a post may go unread by other participants. The course rhythm starts over once all elements of the following week's module become available on Monday afternoon/evening.
Week 5 Exception
Because the COVID-19 event has made the traditional on-campus sessions of Gathering Days impossible, course activities in Week 5 will consist of a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online assignments. See the detailed descriptions of Class Participation and the Book Review Project for more information.
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 it is over 24 hours late it will incur a second 10% penalty. If a Discussion Starter still has not been posted within 48 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.
If a student does not make the required second and/or third posts before the Sunday night deadline, one point will be deducted from the student's weekly discussion grade for each of those posts that is late.
Posts made more than 24 hours after the Sunday night deadline will not receive credit.
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: To access 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.
Ian A. McFarland. The Word Made Flesh: A Theology of the Incarnation. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2020. (**Note: To access this ebook, use your Iliff login credentials, even though the login screen will be a DU screen.**)
F. LeRon Shults. Christology and Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co., 2008.
*All other assigned readings will be made available through Canvas.*
Note: The Ira J. Taylor Library reference collection includes each of these texts.
Patrick W. Carey and Joseph T. Leinhard, eds. Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000
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 & Revelation
DISCUSSION STARTERS BEGIN
Week 3 – A Liberal/Conservative Divide?
Week 4 – Social Location & Christology: Gender as a Case Study
PRELIMINARY STATEMENTS ON CHRISTOLOGY DUE
Week 5 – Social Location & Christology: A Queer Christology
GROUP PRESENTATIONS & CONSULTATIONS
Week 6 – Diving Deep into Constructive Christologies
BOOK REVIEWS DUE
Week 7 – Human Suffering & Soteriology
Week 8 – Social Location & Soteriology: Disability as a Case Study
Week 9 – Challenges of Religious Pluralism
Week 10 – Ends & Endings
NOTE: Discussion forum closes Friday, May 29th, the official end of Spring classes
Constructive Proposal on Christology Due by 11:59pm MT on Monday, June 1st
Graduating students must submit it by 11:59 pm MT on Tuesday, May 26th.
Note: Now that the deadline to sign up has passed, the edit function on this page has been turned off.
|Week||Topic||Assigned Reading||Student Presenter|
|2||History, Tradition & Revelation||Many Faces, Ch. 1 or 2||Jan Shannon|
|Schweitzer, Ch. 1||Dave Sauer|
|3||A Liberal/Conservative Divide?||Many Faces, Ch. 3||Andrew Gamblin|
|Many Faces, Ch. 4||Jenn McCullough|
|Schweitzer, Ch. 2||Terri Bowen|
|4||Social Location & Christology: Gender||Many Faces, Ch. 5||LeAnn Robine|
|Kwok or Crawford||Deb Dahlke|
|7||Human Suffering & Soteriology||Many Faces, Ch. 6||Jonathan Drummond|
|Schweitzer, Ch. 3 or 4||changyoun Lee|
|8||Social Location & Soteriology: Disability||Yong, Ch. 6 or Ch. 7||Courtney VonLindern|
|Yong, Ch. 8|
|9||Challenges of Religious Pluralism||Many Faces, Ch. 8||Melissa Pluss|
|Schweitzer, Ch. 5||Tim Brown|
|10||Ends and Endings||Yong, Ch. 9: Eschatology||Emily Nagle|
|Author||Book Title||Student Reviewer|
|Wendy Farley||Gathering Those Driven Away||Deb Dahlke|
|Wonhee Anne Joh||Heart of the Cross||Jenn McCullough|
|Ian McFarland||The Word Made Flesh||Andrew Gamblin|
|F. LeRon Shults||Christology and Science||Dave Sauer|
|Mar 27, 2020||Fri||Week 1 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|Mar 30, 2020||Mon||Sign-Up Sheets||due by 05:59AM|
|Mar 30, 2020||Mon||Week 1: A Complicated Pregnancy||due by 05:59AM|
|Mar 30, 2020||Mon||Week 1: Self-Introduction||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 03, 2020||Fri||Week 2 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 06, 2020||Mon||Week 2: History, Tradition, and Revelation||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 10, 2020||Fri||Week 3 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 14, 2020||Tue||Week 3: A Liberal/Conservative Divide?||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 15, 2020||Wed||Constructive Proposal - Preliminary Statement||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 17, 2020||Fri||Week 4 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 20, 2020||Mon||Week 4: Social Location & Christology: Gender||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 21, 2020||Tue||Week 5 Activities Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|Apr 21, 2020||Tue||Book Review - Group Consultation||due by 11:00PM|
|Apr 22, 2020||Wed||Book Review - Group Presentation||due by 03:00PM|
|Apr 27, 2020||Mon||Week 5: Bohache on Queer Christology||due by 05:59AM|
|May 05, 2020||Tue||Book Review - Written Report||due by 05:59AM|
|May 08, 2020||Fri||Week 7 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|May 11, 2020||Mon||Week 7: Human Suffering & Soteriology||due by 05:59AM|
|May 15, 2020||Fri||Week 8 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|May 18, 2020||Mon||Week 8: Social Location & Soteriology: Disability||due by 05:59AM|
|May 22, 2020||Fri||Week 9 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|May 25, 2020||Mon||Week 9: Challenges of Religious Pluralism||due by 05:59AM|
|May 27, 2020||Wed||Final Assignment - Graduating Students Deadline||due by 05:59AM|
|May 29, 2020||Fri||Week 10 First Post Reminder||due by 05:59AM|
|May 30, 2020||Sat||Week 10: Ends and Endings||due by 05:59AM|
|Jun 02, 2020||Tue||Constructive Proposal - Final Draft||due by 05:59AM|