Lecturer from an SSQ II Conference

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Recent Past Courses

Spring 2010

ST5104 Time and Eternity
Dr. Robert John Russell and Dr. Ted Peters (CTNS/GTU)
Thursdays 2:10-5:00pm, Hedo Conference Room

In this advanced M.A./doctoral seminar we will study the topic of "time and eternity" through selected readings in historical and contemporary sources within philosophical and systematic theology. We will focus in particular on the debate between eternity as unending time (everlastingness), eternity as timelessness, and eternity as the 'supra-temporal' source of time within the theological understanding of eternity in the doctrines of God, creation and eschatology. In the first half of the course we will survey the debate using brief selections from the writings of Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, Anselm, Descartes, Newton, Kant, Schleiermacher, Barth, Rahner, Tillich, Moltmann, Swinburne, Whitehead and Hartshorne. We will then turn to the implications of twentieth century physics (particularly special relativity), cosmology and mathematics for reconstructing the debate on time and eternity, and we will explore ways in which such a new understanding of time and eternity might play a fruitful role in research science. To do so we will study current work by Ted Peters and by Robert John Russell, whose focus is on the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg.

Fall 2009

STPT 4600 Christian Theology and Natural Science (course flier)
Dr. Robert John Russell (GTU/CTNS)
Thursdays 2:10-5:00pm, Hedco Conference Room

In this advanced M.Div./M.A. course, we will examine principal Christian doctrines in light of the natural sciences and the philosophy of science.  The main theological topics include method, God, revelation, creation and providence, theological anthropology (imago dei), sin and natural evil, Christ and salvation, and eschatology.  Feminist perspectives on science and religion, some inter-religious dialogue and some issues in ethics and technology are included.  Scientific areas include Big Bang, inflationary and quantum cosmologies, quantum physics, relativity, thermodynamics, chaos theory, evolutionary and molecular biology / genetics, and the cognitive and neurosciences.

The course will help students preparing for Christian ministry or for doctoral theological studies introduce the natural sciences into their professional formation.  A background in Christian theology is required; a background in science is recommended but not required.

ST 4827 (UCB ER 290) Religion, Science and the Ecological Crisis (course flier)
Richard B. Norgaard and Daniel R. Smith
Monday 2-5 pm, 203 Wheeler, UC Berkeley

At UC Berkeley this fall, students of environmental science and other disciplines are interacting with theologians from neighboring Graduate Theological Union (GTU) to explore the issues and challenges associated with our ecological crisis, especially the moral implications of climate change.  "Religion, Science and the Ecological Crisis" is an innovative graduate seminar sponsored by CTNS and taught by Richard Norgaard, Professor of Energy and Resources at UCB, and an ecological economist by training, and Dan Smith, Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. candidate in systematic theology at the GTU.  The goal of the course is to consider religion and science in terms of ecology - how both disciplines have been culprits in our current environmental crisis, and how they can each contribute to a solution across disciplines.  The topics range from the history of science and technology to the biblical and theological concept of nature; from how language communities acquire and negotiate knowledge to how the university culture contributes to this social malady, and how economics is purported as a quasi religion, and is used to mitigate the claims of "unreasonable" environmentalists.  Professor Norgaard approaches these problems from a postmodern perspective, seeking to construct new social contracts among diverse knowledge communities - in this case science and religion - that move public policy toward sustainability.  Pastor Smith's theological approach approximates that of Jürgen Moltmann and Ted Peters, seeking on the basis of hope in God's future a concept of nature and an ecological ethics that contributes to sustainability.  This is a message for the church as well as the academy.  The students assembled will be practicing what both teachers hope can be a model for future dialogue and work across disciplines and worldviews, contributing to our environmental common good.

Fall 2008

STHS 5111-01 History of Theology: 1914-1965
Dr. George Griener (JSTB)/ Dr. Robert John Russell. (GTU/CTNS)
3.00 Units, Thursdays, 2:10 - 5:00 pm. Mudd 206.

This seminar explores major Protestant and Roman Catholic theologians from World War I to Vatican II. The class focuses on key figures and movements from theological, political, philosophical, and cultural perspectives. The course is required for Systematic and Philosophical Theology doctoral students and is open to master's level students in the final year of their programs with Faculty permission.

STSP 4870-01 Creation and Cosmology
Dr. Ted Peters (PLTS)/ Dr. Carl Pennypacker (UCB)/ Dr. Nathan Hallanger (CTNS)
3.00 units
Tuesdays, 2:10 - 5:00 pm JSTB 216, beginning September 2.

Within the field of "Theology and Science," this course will combine physical cosmology with the Christian understanding of the world as God's creation. It will include active exploration and measurement of the universe: its origin and future with special attention to Big Bang cosmology and the evolution of life both terrestrial and extraterrestrial. Astrophysics and astrobiology will be placed into creative interaction with theological concerns for creation, anthropology, and eschatology. The inherent spiritual dimensions of outer space will be analyzed in conjunction with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). This course is aimed primarily at MDiv students to enhance their preaching and teaching ministries. Evaluation: Class participation and a term paper.

STHS 4840: The Soul and the Social Order
Dr. Ted Peters / Dr. Patricia Codron / Gaymon Bennett (PLTS)
Fridays, 2:10-5:00 pm, Mudd 206.

A seminar study of ancient and contemporary discussions of the human subject understood as the soul along with the relationship of the soul to the social order. Special attention will be given to the Bible, Plato, Aristotle, Gregory of Nyssa, Thomas Aquinas, Eric Voegelin, Michel Foucault, and Nancey Murphy. This course is appropriate for doctoral students as well as M.Div. or M.A. students ready for advanced work in the fields of systematic theology or spirituality.

Spring 2008

ST5930. Evolution, Evil, and Eschatology
Thursdays, 2:10 to 5:00 pm
Dr. Ted Peters (PLTS/GTU), Dr. Robert John Russell (CTNS/PLTS), Gaymon Bennett (CTNS/PLTS),
Dr. Martinez Hewlett (CTNS/DSPT).

This advanced seminar will focus on one of the key issues at the frontier of "Theology and Science" today: the relation between biological evolution and theological reflection. Specifically, the problem of natural evil as a phenomenon in the pre-human world will be examined in light of natural theodicy and in light of the Christian hope for eschatological New Creation.  The course begins with a review of the neo-Darwinian model of biological evolution combined with an analysis of Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology. Darwinian interpretations of predation, extinction, and genetic determinism will be interrogated, asking whether human moral evil is rooted in pre-human natural evil. A theological response to these issues and questions will be framed in terms of an eschatology that is robust enough to respond to natural theodicy.

This seminar is aimed at masters and doctoral students in Systematic Theology, Ethics, or Christian Spirituality, as well as UCB students in the sciences.  Some background reading in the evolution controversy will be presupposed.

Fall 2007

ST4600, Christian Theology and Natural Science
Tuesdays, 2:10 to 5:00 pm
Dr. Robert John Russell and Nathan Hallanger

In this advanced M.Div./M.A. course, we will examine principal Christian doctrines in light of the natural sciences and the philosophy of science.  Theological topics include method, God, revelation, creation and providence, theological anthropology (imago dei), sin and moral / natural evil, Christ and salvation, and eschatology.  Scientific areas include Big Bang, inflationary and quantum cosmologies, quantum physics, relativity, thermodynamics, chaos theory, evolutionary and molecular biology / genetics, and the cognitive and neurosciences.

The course will help students preparing for Christian ministry or for doctoral theological studies introduce the natural sciences into their professional formation.  A background in Christian theology is required; a background in science is recommended.

Spring 2007

ST 4366, Tillich and Pannenberg
Thursdays, 2:10 to 5:00pm
Dr. Patricia Codron (PLTS), Dr. Ted Peters (CNTS/PLTS), and Dr. Robert John Russell (CTNS/GTU)

This seminar will provide a study in comparative systematic theologies. We will read critically and compare the two multi-volume works in Systematic Theology authored by Paul Tillich and Wolfhart Pannenberg. This course will be of value especially to students preparing for the General Comprehensive Examination in systematic theology as well as other students wishing to gain a better grasp of these two important thinkers. Student responsibilities include regular class attendance, contribution to discussion, teaching leadership, a brief expository paper, and a term paper.

Fall 2006

ST5900, Advanced Seminar in Theology & Science
Thursdays, 2:10 to 5:00pm
Dr. Robert John Russell (CTNS/GTU)


In this doctoral level/ upper level M. A. seminar, we will read major new works in the interdisciplinary field of Christian theology and the natural sciences. The focus will be on the Peter / Hewlett 2006 J. K. Russell Fellowship Conference and the Festschrift for Bob Russell ( God's Action in Nature's World ). A strong background in theology is recommended.

Spring 2006

STSP 4600, Christian Theology and Natural Science
Thursdays, 12:40
Dr. Robert John Russell and R. Daren Erisman (CTNS/GTU)


Robert Russell and R. Daren. Erisman and are co-teaching a course designed for middle to upper level MDiv/MA students that have some background in theology and who are seeking to familiarize themselves with the issues between the natural sciences and theology. A major goal of this course is for theological students to garner a greater comfort with and appreciation for the sciences and for the scientific community, particularly as scientists are involved in the life of the church.

Fall 2005

STPS 5950, Theology, the Person & Neuroscience
Tuesdays, 12:40-3:30
Dr. Mark Graves and Dr. Robert Russell (GTU/CTNS)

This advanced MA/PhD seminar focuses on our growing understanding of the relationship between theological anthropology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. It provides the student a background in neuroscience; a mediating framework based on cognitive science to explore the connections between theology and neuroscience; and opportunities to participate in new scholarship in the relation between theology and neuroscience. Topics examined in the course may include cognitive, affective, and social neuroscience; religious experience, theological anthropology, neuroethics, and imago Dei; narrative and contemplative psychology; philosophy of mind and pragmatism; artificial intelligence and systems modeling; concepts and metaphor in language; and consciousness and emergence.

Affiliated Courses

Graduate Theological Union (GTU) Summer Session 2005

STSS 0447, The Evolution Controversy
July 25-August 5
M-Th: 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fr: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Dr. Ted Peters(CTNS/PLTS) and Dr. Martinez Hewlett (DSPT)

This advanced seminar in theology will map the sometimes vitriolic controversy over Darwinian evolutionary theory. The following positions will be examined: Darwinian biology, Social Darwinism, Eugenics, Fundamentalism, Scientific Creationism, the neo-Darwinian synthesis, Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, Intelligent Design, and Theistic Evolution. Theology students, parish clergy, high school science teachers, and university scholars will be introduced to an empathic understanding of the contending perspectives and be encouraged to develop their own non-combative approach to the controversy.

The faculty team includes Ted Peters, Professor of Systematic Theology at PLTS, plus Martinez Hewlett, Professor Biology in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Medical School at the University of Arizona and adjunct at DSPT. They are co-authors of a new book, Evolution from Creation to New Creation (Abindgon 2003).
For more information, visit the web site at: www.gtuss.org.

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