IS 540 – Reading the Torah in the Church Today This course is a narrative exegetical approach to the pentateuchal books of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) for the Christian faith. The primary point of the course is not for the professor to expound an interpretation or interpretations of these books of the Torah, but for you to learn and practice critical exegetical skills for understanding and elucidating narrative texts within these books of Torah for your own edification and the edification of congregants. You will engage and practice exegetical skills, including those related to narrative criticism, source criticism, and form criticism that will aid you in drawing out meaning (exegeting) narratives in the pentateuchal books of the Torah Prerequisite: IS 520 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Faculty
IS 541 – Reading the Prophets in the Church Today
This course provides a broad overview of the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible, with a particular focus on the book of Isaiah. The course examines literary genres or forms that appear in prophetic texts; sets these books in their ancient social, economic, political, literary, and religious contexts; and asks how their messages are relevant to the life and witness of the church today.Prerequisite: IS 520 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Richard Lowery
IS 542 – Reading the Deuteronomistic History in the Church Today
This course will cover Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings which tell the story of Israel’s Life in the Land. Traditionally viewed as Historical Books (Christianity) or Former Prophets (Judaism) these books are often understood collectively as The Deuteronomistic History by biblical scholars. The extended narrative depicts a flawed “Golden Age” during which a landless people gains control of a vast territory with the help of God. The story peaks when David and Solomon unite God’s people to control the entire “Promised Land.” At the center of the land is the Temple. By the end of the story, the people are once again landless, exiled to the land of their captors, and the Temple has been destroyed. The narrative is filled with well-known characters: Joshua and Deborah, Samson and Delilah, Saul and David, Bathsheba and Solomon, Elijah and Elisha, Ahab and Jezebel. Students will learn the importance of these narratives, both as a narrative framework for understanding the Hebrew Bible, and as foundational stories for the New Testament.Prerequisite: IS 520 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. John Hull
IS 553 – Preparing to Help the Church Read the New Testament for Today
The purpose of this class is to introduce you to the basic political and religious background of the New Testament, with the goal being to prepare you to do detailed study of the texts. This course intends to introduce information about the life circumstances of the time of Jesus and the early church so that you will be able to understand these texts more clearly by setting them in their own context. This will enable you to use the New Testament in legitimate and meaningful ways in your congregations and help you hear the word of God and be given a basis for faithful living. Since the Bible is the central text of the Christian tradition, a thorough knowledge of it is essential for being a good leader. Listening for the voice of God through disciplined study and examination of the text is also an important spiritual discipline that should be an important part of your ministry.Prerequisite: IS 520 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 554 – The Gospels as Resources for the Church This course will examine the Gospels carefully. The course enables students to discern what kinds of writings are found in the Gospels and what we should expect to find in them. Reflection upon how the Gospels are related to one another and how they are used in recent discussions of the historical Jesus will be included. The course will also examine each Gospel in some detail, looking for what the writer of each wanted readers to think about Jesus, God, and the world. This will help us think about what they say to the church today. Prerequisite: IS 520 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 556 – Pauline Letters as Resources for the Church This course will set each Pauline letter in its original setting, noticing how each is a pastoral and theological response to the social, spiritual, and theological questions and problems that had arisen in the church to which he writes. It will examine how he interprets the gospels in ways that address that church’s concerns and shows them how to be faithful to God and the gospel in the pluralistic society of the first century. The course also explores ways to appropriate these texts for the church today, as we think about how our spiritual and religious concerns have some analogies with theirs, and how Paul’s responses to these questions do and do not give us guidance in today’s church. Prerequisite: IS 520 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 560 – Exegesis for the Church This course will teach the techniques of historical-critical exegesis. We will look at the methods that help readers of the Bible come to understand what the text meant in its original setting. It also explores the way that these results can be appropriated for the church today so that the Bible can help lead the churches beliefs and practices. Prerequisite: 3 Hours of Required IS Credits Credit: 2.0 (Offered During On-Campus Intensives) Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 570 – Creation and Science This course examines the two main biblical creation stories in their ancient Near Eastern contexts and asks how they relate to modern scientific research about the origins and development of the universe and the emergence and evolution of life on earth. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. Richard Lowery
IS 571 – The Book of Ezekiel This course module is a brief seven part literary analysis of the Book of Ezekiel with the intent of pastoral application(s) of certain literary material in the Book for the Christian faith. The course includes exposure to Christian interpretations and doctrines toward key literary features in the Book. The course envisions the Book of Ezekiel as having direct significance, meaning, and instruction for Christians in the light of the New Testament and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this course, the Book of Ezekiel will be brought into lively discussion for theological reflection in the Church. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Faculty
IS 572 -The Catholic Epistles This course will set each of the Catholic Epistles and Hebrews into their original contexts so we may understand them more clearly. We will see how each is a pastoral and theological response to the social, spiritual, and theological questions and problems that had arisen in the church to which the author writes. We will examine how each interprets the gospel in ways that address that church’s concerns and shows them how to be faithful to God and the gospel in the pluralistic society of the first century. We will also explores ways to appropriate these texts for the church today, as we think about how our spiritual and religious concerns have some analogies with theirs, and how their responses to the questions of their churches do and do not give us guidance in today’s church. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 573 – Ruth and Jonah This course focuses on the short narratives of Ruth and Jonah. The settings for these four-chapter stories are in the past of ancient Israel. Ruth begins “in the days when the judges ruled.” Jonah tells of a prophet charged by God to go to the Assyrian city of Nineveh, apparently during the time of the Israelite monarchy. It is likely, however, that these narratives address issues of a much later date. In any case, they both take unconventional approaches to traditional issues. In the case of Ruth, the heroines form an unlikely alliance between a Judean and a Moabite. As for Jonah, although the book is found in the prophets, it is unlike any other prophetic book. The story explores the nature of God’s forgiveness and punishment. Both narratives will be explored in depth and students will learn to read the stories in new ways that may be appropriated for teaching and preaching in congregations. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. John Hull
IS 574 – Paul and Women This course will explore what Paul and those who wrote in his name said about women in leadership roles in the church. We will also give attention to how one appropriates Scripture for the church today. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 575 – The Book of Amos This course focuses on exegesis of the Book of Amos. Amos is considered the earliest of the so-called “writing prophets” or, perhaps better, the earliest prophetic book. The opening sentence indicates Amos addresses Israel in the eighth century BCE. Subsequent prophetic books predict disaster for Israel and Judah as the Mesopotamian powers encroach. However, Amos, writing in a period of relative prosperity announced the End of Israel. The course will emphasize learning exegetical skills as well as discovering the message of Amos. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. John Hull
IS 576 – Reading the Bible in the Black Church This course is a brief exploration into the vitality, witness, and proclamation of the Bible in the contemporary Black Church.
- The course emphasizes past and contemporary(1) appropriation (2) use, (3) confessional roles of the Bible in the Black Church.
- The course introduces African American (Black) biblical interpretation (hermeneutics) and contemporary trends in African American biblical interpretation.
- The course gives attention to the concerns and perspectives of womanist biblical interpretation for the contemporary Black Church.
- The course explores contemporary forms of proclamation in the Black Church.
- The course probes contemporary challenges to the historic prophetic and pastoral roles of the Black Church.
Sola fide, sola gratia, solo Christ, sola Scriptura, soli Deo gloria ([Salvation comes by] faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, [and] Scripture only, [to the] glory to God only).Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Faculty
IS 577 – The Book of Exodus TBA Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Faculty
IS 578 – Ezra-Nehemiah This course module is primarily a literary analysis and pastoral application of the text of Ezra-Nehemiah for the Christian faith. The course envisions this text as a literary recital of the history of Ancient Judah grounded in socio-historical details of the restoration of what became post-exilic Judah or what is often termed the Persian period Yehud. This period of Judean history as reflected in the literary strategies and stories of restoration in the text of Ezra-Nehemiah warrants Christian attention because the biblical text, inclusive of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and New Testament, suggests that this period of Judean history is determinative in shaping the religious experiences that gave rise to the text of Ezra-Nehemiah and this text’s later use as scripture. In this course, the text of Ezra-Nehemiah will be brought into lively discussion for literary and theological reflection. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Faculty
IS 579 – Womanist Hermeneutics and Black Church Theology This course is examines womanist biblical interpretation as a reading perspective that privileges the artifacts, traditions, experiences, and concerns of ‘black’ and or nonwhite women and their communities and in relation to the broader society and world. We will also discuss the interrelationship between womanist biblical interpretation and black and womanist theologies as well as their contributions and dialogic relationships with the black church Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Mitzi Smith
IS 580 – Reading the Hebrew Bible During Advent This course emphasizes three areas. First, it examines a selection of texts from the Hebrew Bible that are read during Advent. Second, it leads students in reading critically the familiar Nativity Stories in the Gospels. In the reading we pay particular attention to the way these texts make use of the Hebrew Bible. Students learn to investigate historical context and theological meaning. Third, the course helps students think about what it means to be readers of biblical texts and helps them read these texts from new perspectives. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. John Hull
IS 581 – Reading the Hebrew Bible in the Broader Religious and Civic Community This course considers issues related to the use of the Hebrew Bible in the “public square” as a source for ethical and political dialogue. The first half of the course will focus on the Bible as a political document, examining the Bible’s diverse and nuanced views of political life and the public/political dimensions of faith. The course starts with the inherently political view of the nature and vocation of human beings in the Bible’s first creation story. It then takes a whirlwind tour of key, sometimes contradictory understandings of the roles and responsibilities of government (symbolically focused in the office of “the king”) in the Hebrew Bible. In the third week, we will shift to the contemporary American context and explore the contours of the “wall of separation” between religion and government crafted over two centuries by a series of Supreme Court interpretations of the First Amendment. Students will read and discuss the most important pertinent rulings of the last 70 years and discuss how “the separation of church and state” in America affects our use of the Bible in the broader civic context. The course will conclude with an examination of an international movement that has gained steam since 9/11. The “Scriptural Reasoning” movement brings Jews, Christians, and Muslims together to read and comment on one another’s Scriptures from their own faith perspectives. Though originally centered on the three “Abrahamic” faiths, people from other traditions — religious and “non-religious” (such as Marxism) — have joined the movement’s “tents of meeting,” as a revolutionary act of hope that our differences can strengthen us all, that a shared dream of future justice, harmony, and peace can be realized in part in the here-and-now. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. Richard Lowery
IS 582 – Reading the Gospels in Advent This course discusses the meaning of Advent and the meaning of Lectionary texts for the particular year in which the course is taught. It gives attention to the meaning of these texts in their settings within the Gospels and their meanings as texts read within the season of Advent. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 583 – Reading the Bible in Lent This course discusses the meaning of Lent and the meaning of the Lectionary texts for the particular year in which the course is taught. It gives attention to the meaning of these texts in their literary and historical settings and their meanings as texts read within the season of Lent. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 584-1 – Reading Colossians This course will explore the Letter to the Colossians. In addition to examining its historical setting and literary forms, we will see what it continues to say to the church. We will look at its affirmations about Christ and the church and at its demands for the Christian life. We will see a church struggling to understand and live out the faith in a pluralistic and non-Christian world. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 584-2 – Philippians Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 0.5 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 585 – Revelation This course will begin a study of the Book of Revelation. It will do so by introducing the literary form and theological outlook of Apocalyptic. Only after we understand this movement and its literature will we be able to read Revelation with clarity. We will look at the matters of a Critical Introduction for Revelation. We will work through the text of this fascinating book, exploring how its message can speak to the church and world today. Prerequisite: IS 520 and IS 560 Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 590 – IS Competency Exercise *Please refer to section 7.1.6-7.1.8 of the Student Handbook* Prerequisite: Completed All 500-level IS Required Coursework Credit: 1.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 629 – Shalom: Building the Beloved Community in a Culture of Fear This course examines biblical shalom as a conceptual frame for moral reflection. Often translated as “peace,” shalom carries a much richer meaning. It describes completeness, wholeness, the harmonious balance of diverse, interdependent, complementary forces. Shalom describes a well-functioning network of mutual support that promotes the common good. Shalom is justice, a way of life fundamentally shaped by the moral perspective of Leviticus 19: “you must love your neighbor as yourself” and “you must treat the immigrant in your midst as you treat a fellow citizen — you must love the immigrant among you as you love yourself!” Shalom is the ethical core of the daily disciplines of Torah, the political and economic critiques of the prophets, and the healing ministry and gospel proclamation of Jesus. It is, therefore, a deeply practical spiritual discipline, a way of life grounded in a transformative Sacred presence, revealed most clearly in the ongoing struggle to liberate slaves, to heal the sick, to bring abundant life to the poor and vulnerable. The course examines the social, economic, and political contexts out of which biblical shalom emerged and asks how, if at all, this key biblical concept should inform our faith practice and political engagement today. It views two critical issues in our national and international life through the lens of shalom: the legacy of racism and white supremacy in America and the urgent crisis of global warming. Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Richard Lowery
IS 670 – A Troubled Church and What It Can Teach Us: Exegesis of I Corinthians Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 671 – In Its Own Voice: Interpreting the Hebrew Bible In Social and Cultural Context The Bible is so central to the life of the church that for many of its readers it is a familiar document, and so we forget that reading the Bible is a cross-cultural experience. The passages of the Hebrew Bible were spoken and written to be understood in cultures and societies quite different from our own, and so in order to hear the Hebrew Bible in its own voice, its own idiom, we must understand something of the cultures and societies within which it was created. In this course students will add to their knowledge of the cultures and societies in and for which the Hebrew Bible was created, and further develop their skill in using that knowledge to interpret the Bible for 21st century American culture and society. Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Faculty
IS 672 – The Gospel of Mark This course will engage in a detailed study of the Gospel of Mark. We will examine the text in its historical context, but also note the ways Mark creates a narrative through which he wants the readers to come to a proper understanding of Jesus and of life in the Kingdom of God. We will further look for ways this text speaks to the church today. The course will require students to continue to hone their skills in using Scripture in the church. Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 673 – Sex and Work In the Hebrew Bible This course examines the diverse attitudes toward labor and sexuality, gender roles, and family in the Hebrew Bible. Students will engage in critical analysis of biblical texts that describe the nature, purpose, and proper constraints of human labor and sexuality, within the broader cultural and economic contexts of the ancient world. The course will examine the close connection between economic production, family structure, and sexual ethics in the Hebrew Bible. We will ask how these ancient understandings of production and reproduction might speak to the church today, and, in the process, explore principles of biblical interpretation. The central question we will explore is this: how should these ancient texts be used as an authoritative source for moral discernment in the church today? Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Richard Lowery
IS 674 – Stories, Speeches, Poems The primary goal of this course is the development of skills in literately, culturally and historically informed interpretation of passages from the Hebrew Bible for the purpose of illuminating the meaning of contemporary life experience. The course will be primarily oriented towards developing students’ skills at being the producers of interpretations of Biblical texts for themselves and others, rather than consumers of interpretations produced by others. Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Faculty
IS 675 – Pauline Sites in Greece & Turkey Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
IS 676 – Flourishing Together: Creation and the Human Community This course takes a close look at biblical themes of social justice and care for creation through the ethical lens of the Earth Charter, an international declaration of principles for sustainable development. Launched in 2000, the Earth Charter initiative builds on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to advance the goals of ecological protection, eradicating poverty, building democracy, and promoting human rights. With these concerns as our guide, we will explore images and themes in the Hebrew Bible that highlight the moral responsibility of the human community to care for each other and for the earth; that illustrate the tight connection between social justice and the flourishing of the land; and that sketch in bold, broad strokes the vision of a future world of peace and shared prosperity. We will ask how these ancient and modern texts can help the church reflect theologically and act morally in the era of global warming. Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Richard Lowery
IS 677 – Biblical Perspectives on War in the Age of Terror and Drone Warfare
This course examines biblical perspectives on war as the national boundaries of Africa and the Middle East drawn by 19th and 20th Century Western colonial powers in the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 and the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1915-1916 break down and various parties in those regions resort to the tactics of terror. We will consider various factors in the current turmoil, including the impact of climate change on conflict and the forced dislocation of millions, particularly in the Middle East. We will examine modern laws of war and recent trends in international humanitarian law and place them in conversation with biblical stories and legal codes that address moral issues related to war and taking human life. In the process, we will reflect on principles of interpretation we should apply as we use or choose not to use biblical texts for moral reflection today. We will reflect theologically on the emphasis in current American military strategy on “targeted killing” by weaponized drones and consider the spiritual impact on soldiers, CIA operators, and civilian contractors who conduct war in this changed environment.Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Richard Lowery
IS 678 – Romans
This course will be an in depth study of Paul’s letter to the Romans. We will work to see how his argument works, what theological assertions he makes and how he uses them. We will also think about how what Paul says to the Romans should speak to the church today.Prerequisite: Successful completion of a competency exercise and 60% of the IS 500-level work. Credit: 2.0 Instructor: Dr. Jerry Sumney
♦ Updated 03/29/21