Spring 2024, Mondays and Wednesdays 12:20 (Section G) and 1:45 (Section H) in Reinbolt 201
Dr. Todd Hanneken, firstname.lastname@example.org, 210-431-8050
Office hours in Zoom (https://stmarytx.zoom.us/my/thanneken) and Reinbolt 303a, Mondays through Thursdays, 11:00am–12:00pm and 3:20-4:20pm and by appointment through RattlerNavigate, email, or Canvas messaging.
This course provides an introduction to the academic study of theology in Christian traditions, engaged with other traditions. The course introduces students to fundamental ideas, terminology, cultural contexts, literature, and texts that hand down human questions and understandings of God and what it means to be God’s people. This course fulfills the core requirement for a first theology course. Dr. Hanneken’s sections in particular explore the enduring questions of the Jewish and Christian traditions, from ancient Israel to the world today. The variety of views will be explored in their historical contexts. We will also explore the variety of ways in which we go about asking questions and seeking meaning.
Todd R. Hanneken, Theological Questions (Atla Open Press 81; Chicago: Atla, 2022). https://thanneken.github.io/TheologicalQuestions/
Please budget about $20 or a trip to a public library to acquire a travel guide for the travel project.
By the end of the course the student should be able to:
Quizzes: The quizzes are designed to gauge comprehension, analysis, and retention of readings and lectures. There is emphasis on learning from mistakes, so there will be opportunities to answer questions again (or modified versions). Whenever you don’t know something, go back to your notes or the reading to identify what you misunderstood and how to avoid making a similar mistake again. Quizzes can be rescheduled if missing the regular time is unavoidable and the quiz is rescheduled as soon as possible, no later than when the quiz is reviewed in class. For planned absences this generally means taking the quiz earlier than the scheduled time. Quizzes must be taken in the classroom unless alternative arrangements are made.
Exams: The midterm and final exams will be cumulative and will focus on retention, comprehension, and synthesis of points from the quizzes.
Presentation: Each student will make one ten-minute presentation on a topic drawing from a religious tradition other than Christianity. See the Presentation Rubric for expectations and grading scale. The topics are randomly assigned. Switching topics is allowed, but extensions will not be possible. See the Presentation List for assignments, dates, and a brief description of each topic. Note that the presenter should meet with the instructor a week in advance of the presentation.
Travel Plan to Visit a Sacred Space: Students will plan a trip to visit a sacred space. Research will include the variety of beliefs about the history and nature of that space, as well as practical matters of planning travel to a foreign culture. The assignment will be separated into five stages, each of which will culminate in a written submission in Canvas. Each assignment should be one’s own ideas and own words with quotation marks for words that are not one’s own and citations for ideas that are not one’s own. Students may be expected to explain and discuss ideas presented as their own. Plagiarizing from artificial intelligence is no different from plagiarizing from human intelligence.
All university policies apply to this course, including the following.
This course adheres to the University grading scale.
This course adheres to University academic policies and procedures.
This course adheres to the policies for academic dishonesty and misconduct, as described in the Student Code of Conduct.
This course adheres to the University attendance policy.
This course adheres to the University diversity statement. St. Mary’s University embodies the Marianist spirit of educating the heart and mind. The University draws on the example of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Society of Mary, to create an environment that lets students thrive and where diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential. The intersectionality of our diverse experiences and characteristics are valued in all spaces within our community. Thus, we all must be committed to building an inclusive learning environment that values the individual experiences of every student in this course and where each has an opportunity to learn, engage in dialogue, question, and contribute to their fullest potential.
This course adheres to the policies for study days and final exams.
There will be two study days, Wednesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 2, during which students prepare for final exams.
Classes do not meet during Study Days.
All major reports and assignments should be scheduled to be completed before Study Days.
Study Days are not to be used as dates on which papers are to be turned in, examinations are to be given, quizzes are to be scheduled, mandatory review sessions are to be held, or for any other class-related activities, other than office hours.
Faculty may conduct voluntary review sessions at which no new material is presented on these days.
The only exception to the study day policy is for Thursday night classes- Thursday night final exams are scheduled on day-two of Study Days (May 2).
Final exams will be held on Friday, May 3 and Monday-Wednesday, May 6-8.
The final exam schedule can be found at
St. Mary’s University is committed to providing a safe, equitable, and fair environment where students can pursue academic excellence. Policies and procedures have been developed to foster and sustain such an environment and apply to all courses offered at the university. Students need to be aware of these policies and procedures, which can be found at https://www.stmarytx.edu/policies/.
Please become familiar with these important policies and procedures, which include:
This course adheres to the University Disability Statement. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act, Student Accessibility Services is the designated office responsible for coordinating all accommodations and services for students with disabilities at St. Mary’s University. St. Mary’s University supports equal access of qualifying individuals with documented disabilities to all educational opportunities, programs, services and activities. If you have a documented disability, or a condition which may impact your performance and want to request disability-related accommodations, you must first register with the Office of Student Accessibility Services, located in the Student Counseling Center (in the Center for Life Directions Building) in room 139. Please stop by the Student Accessibility Services Office, call 210-431-5080 or email email@example.com to set up an appointment to meet with the Student Accessibility Services staff.
This course adheres to all emergency adaptations declared by the University.
Travel Project Stage 1 due noon
Reading: Theological Questions 2.3 If there is only one God and that god is good, how does evil exist?
Presentation: The Four Noble Truths
Presentation: Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
Screen notes: Theodicy
Reading: Theological Questions 3.6 How should God’s people live their daily lives?
Presentation: 5 Pillars of Islam
Screen notes: Early Jewish and Christian Practice
Screen notes: Travel to Sacred Space Project
Reading: Theological Questions 4.1 What changed when the Roman Empire went from persecuting to endorsing Christianity?
Presentation: Early Caliphates
Screen notes: Christology
Reading: Theological Questions 4.3 What is our relationship to the Jewish scriptures and people?
Presentation: Muhammed and the Jews of Mecca and Medina
Screen notes: Supersessionism and Pluralism
Travel Project Stage 3 due noon
Reading: Theological Questions 5.1 What changed with the Renaissance leading to the Reformation?
Presentation: Sunni and Shi'i
Screen notes: Who were the Protestant Reformers?
Reading: Theological Questions 5.4 The practice of the Christian faith and individual conscience
Screen notes: Individualism and Collectivism
Travel Project Stage 4 due noon
Reading: Theological Questions 6.1 The historical context of 20th century Christian theology
Presentation: Karl Marx
Screen notes: Major Documents of Vatican II
Reading: Theological Questions 6.3 How is Christian faith relevant to the poor and oppressed today?
Presentation: Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam
Screen notes: Liberation
Reading: Theological Questions 6.4 How should Christians practice their faith in the 20th and 21st centuries?
Screen notes: Natural Law
Presentation: Abortion in Other Religions
Travel Project Stage 5 due noon
Day and time announced by Registrar, Bring midterms