With a growing number of seminary students pursuing part-time study, The General Theological Seminary is taking steps to make it possible for those who have commitments away from the Close, such as jobs, also to take courses. In the Easter 2014 semester, the seminary’s faculty will be getting up early, staying into the night, and teaching digitally, in order to welcome students to theological education in new ways.
Early Morning: Medieval Eucharist, Romans, Interpretation of the New Testament
General Seminary is rearranging its morning schedule to begin classes earlier in order to allow students to take a morning class, then continue on to daytime commitments. Morning classes will end by 10:00 a.m., to be followed by a chapel service for those who also would like to participate in the seminary’s worship life. On Tuesdays, the seminary’s new Church History Professor, Andrew Irving, will offer Body and Blood: Eucharist in the Middle Ages, examining how the Eucharist shaped the daily religious and social lives of medieval Christians. Or students may wish to take English Exegesis of Romans, with Adjunct Professor Jeremy Bakker, which will acquaint students with Paul’s letter to the Romans, its contents, purpose, and place within the broader Pauline corpus. For students who can be on the Close twice a week, Academic Dean Deirdre Good is offering, on Mondays and Wednesdays, Interpretation of the New Testament, that will provide participants with opportunities to develop exegetical skills available from the explosion of interpretive methods (historical, literary, rhetorical, narrative, reader-response, social-scientific, structuralist, and cross-cultural hermeneutics).
Evening: Byzantine Spirituality, Barnabas Principle, Anglican Church Today, Pastoral Instruction in the Early Church, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Relations
Evenings will be especially rich at General Seminary in the spring, with several new courses being offered.
On Monday evenings, Prof. Clair McPherson will offer Icons and Saints: Byzantine Spirituality, a comprehensive introduction to the history and ethos of the Orthodox Church.
On Wednesday evenings, the Seminary’s new systematics professor, Josh Davis, in The Church of the Holy Spirit: The Anglican Vision Today, will explore the doctrine of the Church in the Anglican heritage, paying close attention to baptismal ecclesiology. Returning to General Seminary, Distinguished Visiting Professor C.K. Robertson, in The Barnabas Principle, will use the character of Barnabas from the book of Acts as a model for an innovative, holistic approach to Church leadership, addressing such topics as newcomer retention and recruitment, leadership development, community outreach, visionary budgeting, and financial stewardship.
On Thursday evenings, Prof. Irving, in Teaching Christianity: Pastoral Instruction in the Early Church, will explore the pedagogy of Early Church leaders. How did they teach enquirers, encourage those happy to be catechumens but reluctant to be baptized, and deepen the faith of the newly baptized? And Professor Emeritus J. Robert Wright will teach The Orthodox Churches of the East and Their Ecumenical Relations with the Anglican Communion, a highlight of which will be a visit of the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem to the seminary on February 6.
Online Only: Churches for Common Prayer
For students who cannot travel to General Seminary for classes, Prof. Patrick Malloy will offer a special course on liturgy and church architecture only online. In Churches for Common Prayer, on Wednesday afternoons (Eastern time), students will learn how to “read” church buildings, especially the shape and arrangement of their liturgical elements and consider what kinds of liturgical spaces are consonant with The Episcopal Church’s Prayer Book. Malloy is a recent winner of a Religious Art & Architecture award by the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA), part of The American Institute of Architects, for his leadership of a liturgical renovation of Grace Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania (see story).
Intensive: Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina (sacred reading) is a foundational Christian spiritual discipline. In this three-day course, taught by Adjunct Professor Jonathan Linman, March 12-13, students will be introduced to the history and theology of lectio divina, engage in practice to deepen their own encounters with sacred texts, and learn the art of leading lectio divina groups in various ministerial settings.
To learn more about all of General Seminary’s upcoming courses, including learning opportunities in Spring 2014, click here.