Institute of Theology

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Bth Course Descriptions

A. Department of Holy Scriptures

BIBL 200 A Guided Reading of The Bible                                                                                                         

                                Credits:  1                            Hours: 30

This is a pass/fail workshop in which the candidates are required to read the Bible and discuss its contents with the instructor and their classmates as a requirement for joining the B.Th. program. During this workshop, the students will discover the special characteristics of each section in both the Old and New Testament as an introduction into the academic study of the Bible.

Prerequisites: None

GREE 200 Introduction to New Testament Greek                                                 

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 60

In this course, students learn the fundamentals of New Testament Greek grammar. Lessons are based on the most common vocabulary and syntax of the New Testament, particularly as they occur in the Gospel of Mark. At the end of this course, students will be able to read narrative sentences with the occasional help of a dictionary. Furthermore, this course introduces the students in the parsing principles of ancient languages, and shows the role of linguistic analysis in the exegetical work.

Prerequisites: None

HEBR 200 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew

                                Credits  : 3                           Hours    : 60

The Old Testament is a collection of books, which were edited over a long period of time. This has led to changes in its language accompanying the process of editing. Scholars believe that the language of the Old Testament is close to the late period of the kingdom. We do not know with precision when the Hebrews ceased to speak this language and adopted other ones.

This course offers a detailed study of biblical Hebrew grammar, its vocabulary, and grammatical peculiarities, in a way that would enable the students to acquire a working knowledge of the language.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 201 Introduction to the New Testament

                                Credits: 3                                Hours:45

This course begins with a survey of the political and social world, as well as of both Jewish and non-Jewish religious-world of New Testament times.

Later, the course focuses on the nature and origin of the New Testament, and on how the first Christian books were written, preserved, and gathered with a detailed introduction to the text of the New Testament, and the history of its Canon. Then, the course offers an overview of the Methods of interpretation (hermeneutics). An important section of the course deals with problems related to the Gospels such as: The Gospels Genre, the Synoptic Problem, the “Q” source.

Finally, the course deals with questions peculiar to each Gospel, and to the book of Acts as well, such as the Sources, authorship, locale or community involved, date of writing, and other issues and problems for reflection. Finally, the course touches upon the issue of St Paul’s life and his writings.

THEO 202 Introduction to the Old Testament

                                Credits  : 3                                           Hours    : 45

This is an Introduction to the background and history of the Old Testament. It offers a survey on the circumstances of the redaction of each book, its main theories, as well as to its structure, content and role within the Old Testament. Other issues are also raised, such as the History of the formation and transmission of the book as a whole. The students are introduced to the dynamics governing the rise and development of traditions, and to the different literary forms and their functions.

Prerequisites : None

THEO 211 NEW TESTAMENT EXEGESIS: SYNOPTIC GOSPELS AND ACTS   

                                Credits: 4                             Hours: 60

In this course, students interpret a selection of texts from the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Acts. Students will approach the Gospels of Mark and Matthew together with the Lucan diptych in a synchronic and narrative reading that aims to discover the most relevant theological teachings given by each Evangelist. During the exegetical work, the student will deal with the latest results of modern biblical research, and will consult, when necessary, the classical exegetical works of the Church Fathers. A linguistic analysis will be applied on the original Greek text.

Prerequisites: Greek GREE 200; Introduction to the Old Testament THEO 202; Introduction to the New Testament THEO 201

 THEO 212 New Testament Exegesis: Pauline Corpus

                                Credits: 3                            Hours: 45

This course offers an exegesis of selected passages from the Pauline Corpus, with the purpose of highlighting the main theological issues raised in the Corpus as a whole. The historical and present complicated debates of Low and High Criticism are within the scope of this course. It also traces the development in perspectives resulting from the changing circumstances that necessitated the writing of the epistles.

Prerequisites: THEO 201, GREE 200, THEO 230 & THEO 231

THEO 213 Johannine Literature

                                Credits: 3                            Hours: 45

This course offers an exegesis of selected passages from Johannine Literature, chosen in sequence to highlight some central theological issues raised in the fourth Gospel. The historical and present debates about issues on composition, sources, sacramentalism, and other important issues, are within the scope of this course. Besides, the course provides a brief introduction to the apocalyptic literature and a commentary on selected readings from the Book of Revelation.

Prerequisites: Introduction to the New Testament (THEO 201), NT Greek I & II (LG 201 & 202)

THEO 220 Old Testament Exegesis: The Pentateuch and the Historical Writings

                                                Credits  : 3                           Hours    : 45

In this course, the student reads the Pentateuch and the Historical Books synchronically, in order to discover the correlation existent in these volumes and their narrative axis, to which all the episodes and speeches are related. During the course, the student is stimulated to approach the Torah as a part of the Divine Revelation that addresses Christians today, and to find out the close relationship between the Torah and the Gospel. This course also aims at enabling the student to use modern exegetical methods, and to deal with the differences of form and contents in the Masoretic, as well as in the Greek text of the Septuagint.

Prerequisites: Hebrew HEBR 200; Greek GREE 200; Introduction to the Old Testament THEO 202.

THEO 221 Old Testament Exegesis: The Prophets

                                                Credits  : 3                           Hours: 45

This course is an analysis of the biblical prophetic movement. It follows the canonical order of the prophetical books. It offers an exploration of the perspective of the authors, by selecting passages from the major and minor prophets, representing the prophetical line, and discussing various themes, such as the Word of God, the Prophetical calls, kingship, priesthood, the temple, the law, judgment, etc…

Prerequisites: Hebrew HEBR 200; Greek GREE 200; Introduction to the Old Testament THEO 202.

THEO 222 Old Testament Exegesis: Psalms and Wisdom Books

                                                Credits  : 3                           Hours    : 45

This course offers a deepened study of the Psalms and Wisdom literature. Students are introduced to the main characteristics of the different groups of Psalms, such as the messianic ones, those which are centered on the kingship of Yahweh, and the historical ones. Basic issues such as the concept of kingship, and the relationship between history and liturgy, are dealt with. Questions arising from the study of the Wisdom literature are also discussed, including those of the meaning and the scope of wisdom, and the function of this group of books, as a part of the Old Testament, and as a preparation for the New Testament.

Prerequisites: Hebrew HEBR 200; Greek GREE 200; Introduction to the Old Testament THEO 202.

B. Department of Systematic Theology

THEO 203 Introduction to Christian Doctrine

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45                            

This introductory course aims to clarify the status of doctrine in the Church, through clearing up the concept of Christian dogma, and specifying the resources and references of dogmatic study and research. It also concentrates on the issue of the authority of doctrine and the dynamism of creativity in its language. It also offers ideas of the relationship of Christian theology within philosophy, science, and human culture.

 Prerequisites: None

THEO 230 The Mystery of the Holy Trinity and Creation

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45                            

This course aims at enabling the student to obtain a methodological knowledge of the theological issues related to the Christian concept of God, the sources of distinction between the created and the uncreated, and the history of the formulation of the dogma of the Holy Trinity. It specifies what is related to the mystery of divine economy, and touches upon the debates that surround the issue of the knowledge of God, as well as the criticism that followed in the Christian world.

Prerequisites: THEO203.

THEO 231 Christ and Redemption

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45                            

This course aims at highlighting the theological topics and issues related to the historic and theological frames for the development of Christology. It deals with the economy of salvation through Christ, as well as the teaching about the Mother of God and the intercession of Saints. The course also discusses the theology of icons. 

Prerequisites: THEO 203, THEO 230

THEO 232 Church, Salvation and Eschatology

                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 45                            

This course aims at enabling the student to obtain a methodological knowledge concerning the theological topics and issues related to the nature and life of the Church. It also covers the sacramental life of the Church, the means to realize salvation, and the concept of Christian Eschatology, whether realized in the life of the Church, or hoped for.

Prerequisites: THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231.

THEO 233 An Overview on Contemporary Theology

                                Credits: 1.5                                         Hours: 23

The course surveys the different trends in theology during the twentieth century. It develops an understanding of the intellectual needs and challenges which faced Orthodox Theology through its dialogue with contemporary culture, and evaluates the efforts of prominent theologians in their attempt to provide a Christian testimony, in an age of constant changes.

Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.

THEO 234 The Ecumenical Activity of the Church

                                                Credits: 1.5                                         Hours: 23

The course aims at shedding light on the reality and procedure of Christian ecumenical activity in general, and the approach of the Orthodox Church to ecumenical issues in particular. It surveys the history of the ecumenical movement, its official organizations, its major trends, and the crystallization of visions and agendas. The course focuses on the Antiochian contribution in the Ecumenical encounters.

Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.

THEO 235 Christian Ethics

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course is an introduction to the ethical Christian experience. The focus will be on the analysis of the nature, structure, and function of Christian ethics: teleology, criteriology, and standards, with an emphasis on the Biblical and patristic roots of Christian Ethics. 

Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.

THEO 236 Contemporary Apologetic Theology                                           

                                                Credits: 1.5                         Hours: 23

This course surveys different sectarian tendencies, which are encountered in the pastoral reality of the Church. It aims at equipping the future leaders of the Church with the necessary tools, in order to protect their flock from foreign trends of thought and religious ideologies that would threaten the integrity of their faith.

Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.

THEO 237 Orthodox Theology and Hermeneutics

                                                Credits: 1.5                                         Hours:23
This course addresses the question of how, and within which epistemological framework, Orthodox theology deals with hermeneutics. After a short introduction into hermeneutics in ancient Greek thought, several patristic texts (Origen, Diodorus of Tarsus, etc.) are paradigmatically examined.
On the basis of two contemporary texts, an attempt is made to answer the question of how Orthodox theologians today meet the challenges raised by modern hermeneutics.

Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.

C. Department of History and Patrology

THEO 240 General Church History

                                Credits: 4                                             Hours: 60 (Yearly)

This course is divided into two parts: the first deals with the history of the Church from the beginning through the 11th century. In addition to studying the theological, cultural, and political backgrounds within which arose in the Church, the course also examines the major events, such as the Synods and the different heresies, which emerged in the course of history. The second part deals with Church history after the Great Schism, with a special emphasis on the Western Churches, including the Protestant Reformation. The course deals as well with the situation of the Eastern Churches after the fall of Constantinople and the rise of the Ottoman Empire.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 255 Church Fathers I

                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 45

This course presents a view on the position of the fathers in the mind, and the life of the Church. It also presents the frameworks, in which the Church’s Theology emerged and developed, in addition to all the issues that occupied the Church over the first three centuries. It also deals with researching the fathers’ contributions in Church issues. Additionally, it addresses the backgrounds of several fathers, and how his contribution was influenced by these backgrounds, and their status in the life of the Church.  Prerequisites: GREE200.

 

THEO 256 Church Fathers II

                                Credits:3                              Hours:45

This course tackles the works and theology of the Church Fathers, starting from the fourth century until the fourteenth century. It studies the works of main figures, such as St Athanasius the Great, the Cappadocian Fathers, St Maximus the Confessor, as well as others Students will learn how to read and analyze their works within their historical context, and how to reflect their methods on today’s theology.

Prerequisites: THEO240, THEO 255, GREE200

THEO 257 Antiochian Church Fathers

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course deals with achievements of the Antiochian Church Fathers, such as St Ignatius of Antioch, St Ephrem the Syriac, St John of Damascus and others, whose works played a substantial role in the elaboration and the clarification of Christian theology.

Prerequisites: THEO240, THEO 255, THEO256, GREE200

THEO 262 History of the Church of Antioch

                                Credits: 4                                             Hours: 60 (Yearly)

This course investigates the history of the Antiochian Church, and studies its achievement as well as its role in the development of ecclesiastical thought. Antiochian monasticism, along with its major players, will be studied thoroughly, as well as the role of Antioch in the Ecumenical Councils.  

Prerequisites: THEO240.

D. Department of Practical Theology

THEO 200 Introduction to Orthodox Spirituality

This course consists of a series of lectures given, which introduce new students to the basics of the spiritual life in the Orthodox Church.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 204 Introduction to Liturgy

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course introduces the student to the basics of the various Orthodox liturgical services. The student learns how to use the Typicon for the correct ordering of the services.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 205 Introduction to Pastoral Care

                                Credits: 3                             Hours:45
This course is an introduction to pastoral theology and ministry. It discusses the scriptural, historical, and patristic background of care in a parish setting. It deals with three main interrelated issues, as they are experienced in the Antiochian Church today: pastoral care, priesthood, and parish life.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 206 Church Music 1

                                Credits: 4                             Hours: 90 (Yearly)

This course is an introduction to Byzantine Music. Students learn the basics of reading Byzantine neumes and keys in addition to practical training.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 271 Sacramental Life in Christ

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course investigates the history and development of the Christian sacraments. It shows the various changes, which the forms of sacraments underwent until they reached their current state, as celebrated in the Orthodox Church following the Byzantine rite.

Prerequisites: THEO204

THEO 272 Church Music 2

                                                Credits: 4                             Hours: 90 (Yearly)           

In this course, the student learns the various tones in Byzantine music. He is instructed on applying the tones to the sacred hymns. Each Tone and its variations will be studied thoroughly.

Prerequisites: THEO206

THEO 273 Church Music 3

                                                Credits: 4                             Hours: 90 (Yearly)

This course deals extensively with the basics of writing music, in addition to the chanting techniques, which deacons and priests should utilize during the liturgy.

Prerequisites: THEO204 , THEO272

THEO 274 Sources of Liturgical Studies

                                                Credits: 3                             Hours:45

This course introduces the student to the ancient sources of the Liturgical forms of the Orthodox Church. It examines Biblical texts, as well as patristic works, which are used as a basis for liturgical hymns.

Prerequisites: THEO204, THEO271.

THEO 277  Teleturgics

                                                Credits: 2                             Hours:30
This course introduces the student to the performance of the liturgical services, especially of baptisms and weddings according to the the Antiochian Church rubrics.

THEO 279 Liturgical Art

                                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 45

This course looks at the sources and the development of Christian art, as well as its theological meanings, and the relationship between it and other branches of Theology.

THEO 280 Communication and Negotiation Skills                                              

Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

The course enables the student to acquire communication skills needed in his pastoral service.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 281 Counseling and Management

                                Credits: 3                              Hours: 45

This course deals with two subjects. First, pastoral counseling theories, psychotherapy, and issues in the ministry of reconciliation and confession. Second, the leadership role of the priest, as well as an introduction to structures and methods of parish administration.

THEO 282 Christian Education

Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course shows the students a holistic vision, which instills faithfulness in Christ throughout their life in the Church. Since the students at the institute are, in general, future pastors, they are invited to be aware of all issues related to education, and must be qualified to study the content of an educational program, discuss it, and to be able to criticize any educational paradigm by showing its positive and negative aspects. They should also be able to critically approach texts in order to see whether they are related to their pastoral purposes.

Prerequisites: Level of Third Year

THEO 283 Canon Law 1

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course introduces the student to Canon Law, its development throughout history, as well as to their interpretation by the Church.

Prerequisites: None

 

THEO 284 Canon Law 2

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course first concentrates on the Canon Law in the Church of Antioch. In addition, it deals with canons regarding marriage and divorce, as they are used in the Antiochian Church today.

Prerequisites: THEO 282

THEO 286 Homiletics

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course prepares the student for his preaching ministry, based on the Holy Scripture and Tradition, using a clear, structured, directed, systematic style. It studies the sermon-making process, and effective delivery techniques. It is followed by a practicum during the Institute’s Church services.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Pastoral Care THEO 205

THEO 287 Social & Family Care                                                           

                                Credits: 3               Hours: 45

This course examines the work of diakonia and philanthropia in the Orthodox Church on the basis of Scripture, history, and Church Fathers. It discusses the challenges of social care offered to persons with special social, psychological, and health needs. It also presents ways for family care with a special emphasis on living a Christ-centered healthy marriage and family relationships. 

Prerequisites: Introduction to Pastoral Care THEO 205

THEO 288 Pastoral Training I

                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 90

This pastoral training is directed and evaluated in coordination with a parish priest. It aims at encouraging the students to apply their pastoral theoretical knowledge to a parish setting, accompanying the priest in the responsibilities of his daily life and its challenges.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Pastoral Care THEO 205

THEO 289 Pastoral Training II

                                                Credits: 3                                             Hours:90
This training aims at encouraging the students to apply their theoretical knowledge to social work in hospitals, elderly homes, prisons, and with people who have special needs..

Prerequisites: Introduction to Pastoral Care THEO 205; Social Pastoral Care THEO 286

E. Department of Philosophy and Languages

ARAB 201 Arabic Language

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

The students learn, in this course, the necessary techniques of writing, reading, and using correct expression in sermons and speeches.

Prerequisites: None

 

ENGL 101T English Language 101

                                Credits: 5                             Hours: 75

This course focuses on training students to communicate in an academic environment using the English language. Emphasis is placed on the production of paragraphs, short essays, comprehension, and an analysis of both oral and written texts.

Prerequisites: TOEFL score between 527 and 570

ENGL 102T English Language 102

                                Credits: 5                             Hours: 75

This course deals with English ecclesiastical texts such as the writings of the Fathers, as well as writings from contemporary theologians. The aim is to teach Theology students to learn theological language in English. 

Prerequisites: 101T

METH 200 Methodology of Research                           

Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course aims at helping the students acquire necessary techniques and methods to write academic research following the guidelines of the University of Balamand. They also learn how to discover limits of text, define problems, and form hypotheses.

Prerequisites: None 

PHIL 201T Ancient Philosophy

                                Credits: 3                             Hours:45

The course offers a deepened study of the ancient Greek Philosophy, starting with pre-Socratic philosophers and moving on through Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and ending with Plotinus. The objective of the course is to provide the student with the general introduction to philosophy, its major concepts, problems, and an overview of the basic ideas of the great philosophers.

Prerequisites: None

PHIL 202 Medieval Philosophy

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course offers a deepened study of Scholastic philosophy in the West. It begins with an analysis of the ways in which the early Fathers of the Church accommodated theology with Greek philosophical heritage. The course deals also with the writings of Augustine, Thomas of Aquinas, and other Scholastics, and studies them in the light of faith and reason. It also discusses the philosophy of Averroes.

Prerequisites: PHIL 201

PHIL 204 Philosophy of Religion                      

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course is a rational investigation of religious issues such as: What is religion?, the existence of God, religious experiences, miracles, evil, morality, and afterlife. Other issues to be treated include: religious pluralism, dialogue, tolerance, religion and politics, religion and science, atheism, and teaching religion. Some theories of knowledge pertaining to religion, especially Empiricism, Logical Positivism, and Language Analysis, are to be discussed, with an attempt to arrive at an alternative epistemology, more suitable to the nature of belief and religious experience. The systematic approach of the course will be coupled, when necessary, with significant historical references both to religion and philosophy. Some desired outcomes of this course are the following: providing students of theology with a solid philosophical knowledge, developing their capacity of critical thinking, and enabling them to defend convincingly the various theological issues.

Prerequisites: PHIL 201, PHIL 202.

THEO 289 Final Project

                                Credits: 3

The student should show, through his final project, which should be chosen from one the main theological disciplines, his ability to use the various theological techniques and methods, which he has acquired throughout his studies, and reflect them in his research.

 

THEO 292 Sociology of Religion

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course offers an introduction to the basic principles of the sociology of religion, its curricula, and its relationship with the human sciences. It introduces the students to some of the techniques of sociological studies. It also explores ways to make sociological studies more relevant to the Church’s pastoral work. Special attention will be directed towards the study of the Church of Antioch in its social context. 

 

 

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Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology
The University of Balamand

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Tel: 00961 (0) 6 930 305 - Fax: 00961 (0) 6 930 304
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