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Liberation Syllabus

Liberation Syllabus

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Published by bspahr

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Published by: bspahr on Sep 29, 2007
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2.321 20
Century Theologies of Liberation
Mondays, 1:30 – 4:10 pmOffice Hours: by appointmentDr. Kristin Johnston Largen
 Typically when we hear or read the word “theology,” what is implied isthat which has come down to us through the mainstream WesternEuropean tradition, primarily constituted by [dead] white men. Anyother” theology is just that: appropriate and applicable for certainsegments of the population, but not universal the way traditionaltheology is. This continuing misconception about the context andcontent of “real” systematic theology is no longer tenable. Therefore,this course seeks to educate future public ministers on the importanceof recognizing the influence of social location on any expression of systematic theology, and the need to be open to the insights of theologies done by those in very different locations from oneself. Inthis way, this course addresses the following objective of the Master of Divinity Degree as stated in the Gettysburg Catalog: “Relate theirdenominational heritage to a mission context in the 21
century.”Further, it also addresses one of the goals of the historical-theologicalstudies department: “Understand and evaluate the plural forms of Christian identity, particularly the Lutheran tradition, and relate thattradition to other ecumenical and religious perspectives.”
Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the students should be able to:1) Define and describe each specific theology covered in this course2) Relate each different theology to the practice of public ministry3) Engage each of the required texts with depth and understanding4) Clearly express sophisticated theological reasoning in both writtenand oral communication
Strategies for achieving course objectives
Students will be expected to meet the following courserequirements:
Required Reading:
 The students are expected to read all assigned readingscarefully. The assigned reading consists of the followingbooks:
“Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to theLove of God,” Simone Weil[www.chosunjournal.com/weil.html]–
[This essay is to beread before the first day of class]
 A Theology of Liberation,
Gustavo Gutierrez
Sexism & God-Talk,
Rosemary Radford Ruether
 A Black Theology of Liberation,
 James Cone
Sisters in the Wilderness,
Delores Williams
Caminemos con Jesus,
Roberto Goizueta
Super, Natural Christians,
Sallie McFague
Class Attendance & Preparation:
Students are expected to attend class regularly, listen tolectures attentively and take notes, and actively engage in allclass discussions. Repeated absences will be reflected in thestudent’s final grade.
In this class, and in this seminary, we respect the rulesof inclusivity, as stated in the academic catalog, pages13-14. Please note that written work that does notconform to these standards will be returned for a re-write; and in the classroom, we will practice referringto both human beings and God in ways that arerespectful of personhood and inclusive in terms of gender, race and class.
Class Assignments:
 Timely completion of all assignments is expected of all students.Late workmay or may not be accepted, at the instructor’s discretion. Areduction in thegrade should be expected for late work.
Book Evaluations
Of the books assigned, the student is required to do a shorttheological analysis of 
four of the six requiredtextbooks [the student can choose which four]
, whichwill consist of the following. First, the student willsummarize the book – the main objectives of the author,the thesis, the structure of the chapters, etc. This shouldtake roughly 2 pages. Then, the student will engage aparticular argument/statement/truth claim of the author,
and offer her/his analysis of it. This should take roughly 4pages. The student will bring this paper to class on thedue date assigned, and will use it as a basis for groupdiscussions on the books. The papers then will be turnedin to the instructor, and each of these short papers willcount 10% toward the final course grade.
Final Theological Analysis
 The final paper in the class will consist of a constructiveanalysis of one of the different theologies of liberationdiscussed in class as it relates to one’s public ministry. Thepaper should be organized as follows. First, the studentshould demonstrate a knowledge of the particular theologyunder discussion by defining it and summarizing its keycharacteristics. This should take roughly 3-4 pages of thepaper. The bulk of the paper, then, should be devoted todiscussing how this particular theology is relevant for one’spublic ministry; that is, how it might positively inform thethinking and praxis of the Church today. This could includeideas that challenge traditional Lutheran theology [orPresbyterian, Assemblies of God, Methodist, etc.] and alsothose that help us to see things in a positive new light. This paper should be roughly 10 pages in length, withproper footnotes/endnotes, and a bibliography. The paperis due the final day of class, where each student willpresent a summation of his/her analysis.
Dialog Review
One of the long-term goals of this course is to inspireinterest and enthusiasm for systematic theology that willcontinue on into the student’s public ministry. Oneexcellent means of developing and sustaining such interestis through the reading of quality theological journals. Tothat end, one of the course requirements is a short reviewof any major journal article from the past three years from
. This review should be no more than 2-3 pages,and simply summarize the article read, including the mainpoints of the author, and conclude with a short response bythe student. This assignment is due on the last day of class, but may be submitted at any point in the semester.
Book Evaluations: 40% [each book worth 10%]
 Theological Analysis: 40%
Class attendance & participation: 10%
Dialogue Review: 10%

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