Skip Navigation
 
 

Systematic Theology


SYST 501 Revelation, Faith, and Theology (3)
This course in fundamental theology, which doubles as an introduction to systematic theology, begins with a first look at the relations that obtain among Revelation, faith, and theology. It then examines in greater detail these themes in the opposite order. First, the nature, content, methods,and history of Catholic theology as a particularly intellectual response to faith is presented. Second, faith itself is examined as the primary human response to God's personal revelation as it is present in the individual and within the Church. Finally, the sources, interpretation, transmission, and development of Revelation are elucidated. For this reason, the course, after a brief introduction, treats in turn the theology of theology, the theology of faith, and the theology of Revelation. In this way all of the classical themes of fundamental theology are addressed: Scripture and Tradition, canonicity and inspiration, creed and dogma, and Church and Magisterium. Required for the S.T.B., M.Div., and M.A. (theology) degree programs.

SYST 502 Theology of the Tri-personal God (3)
This course familiarizes students with magisterial teaching about the Holy Trinity, and the historical doctrinal errors this teaching seeks to correct. Using texts from Joseph Ratzinger (as was at publication of course materials), St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Bl. John Henry Newman the course will explore various Scriptural and theological explanations of the Church's doctrine on the Trinity. Next, this course examines speculations in Trinitarian theology from Karl Rahne, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and other contemporary trends in light of previous course material. Finally, we will briefly survey some catechetical tools and methods for teaching the doctrine of the Trinity. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs.

SYST 604 Sacraments: Baptism and Confirmation (3)
A study of the nature of sacramentality, and of the sacraments in general, and their relationship to Christ and the church. Baptism and Confirmation as initiation into the church: their biblical sources, historical and liturgical development, and contemporary questions, including catechetical considerations. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs, and for the Systematic Theology concentrators in the M.A. (theology) degree program.

SYST 605 Grace I: Protology and Anthropology (3)
This course, which may also be entitles the Theology of Creation and the Human Person, employs historical, textual, and above all systematic approaches to investigate the overarching mysteries of creation and the human person as well as the ancillary teachings these mysteries imply: creation from God, the created order, providence, the human person as image of God, the sexual distinction, the original state, the relation of nature to grace, the Fall and its consequences, evil and sin, and the natural desire for God. St. Thomas Aquinas (whose presentations of these issues are available for embracing later insights of Catholic tradition, human reason, and personal experience) serves as master guide for organizing the various dimensions of these mysteries into a coherent whole. Required for the S.T.B., M.Div. and M.A. (theology) degree programs.

SYST 606 Grace II: Grace and the Theological Virtues (3)
This course studies the mystery of grace and its God-directed expressions in the graced human responses of faith, hope, and love. Both method and content, always rooted in Scripture, follow the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas which, coordinated with earlier and later insights of the Catholic tradition and human reason, serve to organize the various mysteries of grace into a coherent whole. Certain preliminary issues introduce the mystery of grace, which is addressed in questions concerning the Old and New Laws, necessity, nature, kinds, causes and effects of grace, the new life of grace offered by Jesus Christ, the relation of uncreated to created grace, the relation of grace to the sacraments, and the divine indwelling. St. Thomas' teachings are also consulted for an in-depth study of the three theological virtues as the supernatural habits that enable one to live the graced life. The divine indwelling, the infused moral virtues, ad the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are briefly introduced in this context. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs.

SYST 704 Holy Orders (3)
An historical and systematic study of Orders: the Scripture texts, patristic sources and later development of dogma. Development and theology of the three degrees of the sacrament of Orders, and emphasis on the ordained’s configuration to Christ, the Head and Shepherd of the church, in his triple office of priest, teacher and pastor. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs.

SYST 705 Christology and Soteriology (3)
The central mystery of the Christian faith is Christ: who he is and what he has done for us. The first aspect of the mystery is studied in Christology in the proper sense; the second aspect is studied in the part of Christology called Soteriology or Theology of Redemption. A systematic approach to Christology guides this course's review of key historical moments in the Church's theological elucidation of the mystery of Christ and his salvific work. After the nature and method of the discipline is introduced, classical Christology is examined from the perspectives of a Catholic reading of Sacred Scripture, its development in the controversies, councils, and Fathers of the early Church, and St. Thomas Aquinas's synthesis in the Summa Theologiae's first tract on Christ. The problems that arose in the modern period are then identified ad critically addressed, and a brief look at contemporary approaches to Christology is undertaken. Christology proper concludes with a synthesis that attempts to offer the best Catholic thinking in terms of method and content with an eye toward outlining an adequate Christology for the future. Soteriology begins with introductory lectures that situate the discipline and provide a general overview of the questions to be addressed. Its career is photographed at key historical moments: emergence from the pages of Sacred Scripture, major developments in the Patristic period, the sharpened articulations of the medieval period, particularly those for St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas. and the Reformation teachings. Finally, contemporary developments and questions are approached through the teachings of John Paul II. The course concludes by attempting an adequate Soteriology that does justice to redemption as ontology, liberation, reconciliation, satisfaction, and redemptive love. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs, and for Systematic Theology concentrators in the M.A. (theology) degree program.

SYST 707 Ecclesiology I (3)
This course will analyze the origin, nature, and mission of the mystery of the Church. There is a particular focus on the preparation for the church in the Old Testament and on the establishment of the Church by Christ and the holy Spirit. The course examines the essence and structure of the Church as the sacrament of salvation and the eschatological goal of the Church - union with the Trinity. In general, the course highlights the ecclesiological teaching of Vatican Council II and its subsequent development in Magisterial teaching. There will be a special emphasis on the marks of the Church of Christ: Unity, Apostolicity, Catholicity, and Holiness. The Universal Call to Holiness will be presented as the blueprint for Christian living in each of the Christian states of life. Finally, with Lumen Gentium VIII as guide, the Church's Marian doctrine and spirituality will be presented in a Christological and Ecclesiotypical format. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs, and for Systematic Theology concentrators in the M.A. (theology) degree program.

SYST 801 Sacraments of Healing: Penance and Anointing(2)
An historical and theological study of the development of the sacraments of Anointing of the Sick and Penance. A thorough look at the rites for the celebration of these two sacraments and pastoral practicum sessions. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs. Ordination candidates also take ORDN 802 The Good Confessor (a penance practicum/0 credit).

SYST 802 Holy Eucharist (2)
An historical and systematic study of the Eucharist: the Scripture texts, patristic sources, theological development and contemporary conciliar and papal teaching, as well as a presentation of the appropriate Canons on the Eucharist from the Code of Canon Law. Emphasis on the Eucharist under four aspects: memorial sacrifice, sacramental presence, sign of unity, and eschatological banquet. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs. Ordination candidates also take LITY 802 Mass Practicum/1 credit.

SYST 803 Ecclesiology II (3)
The first portion of this class offers a theological and pastoral course on the foundation, principles, goals and practice of ecumenism and missionary activity in the church today. The course studies the major magisterial documents related to ecumenism and missiology, the major inter-religious dialogues, ecumenical dialogues, the various forms of ecumenical cooperation, and missionary work. The second portion of the course will consider the immediate and final eschatology, death, judgment, purgatory, heaven and hell in the context of their ecclesiological dimensions. Required for the S.T.B. and M.Div. degree programs.

Elective Courses

M.A. (Theology) degree candidates concentrating in Systematic Theology, concomitant with the elective requirement, take an additional one-credit directed research course for inclusion in the Research Projects Portfolio required for the degree.

SYST 906 Themes in Systematic Theology (2)
This course will afford the opportunity for concentrators in Systematic Theology to study one specialized topic, or several interrelated topics, which are treated more generally in one of the core courses of Systematic Theology (Trinity, Christology, Ecclesiology, Grace, Creation and Man, Sacraments) in much greater depth, using primary resources (the writings of great theologians past and present). This course can be taken for credit more than once as long as the topic studied varies. Recent offerings have included: Evangelization and Conversion (spring 2011); Gifts and Charisms of the Holy Spirit (fall 2012/fall 2010); and St. John of the Cross and the Eucharist (spring 2012).

SYST 907 Readings in Soteriology (2)
A study of Patristic texts and Medieval and Modern theologies of redemption, of the various ways in which the Fathers, Doctors, and other great theologians have understood the redemptive significance of the Mission of Jesus Christ and the salvific power of His life, death, resurrection, and exaltation; in short, of what it means when the Church confesses Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the World.

SYST 911 Mariology: Selected Questions (2)
This course provides a historical survey of modern Marian theology, examining 20th century development of Catholic theology of Mary in light of the Second Vatican Council. Contemporary systematic developments will be presented in an integrated fashion, with focus on Mary in her relation to, and her role in, the mystery of Christ and the church. This course can be taken for credit more than once as long as the topic studied varies. Required for the S.T.B. program. Recent offerings have included: Mariology (fall 2011); Mariology in the Writings of the Fathers of the Church (fall 2009); and Mary in the History of Salvation (fall 2007).

SYST 916  Great Theologians (2)
An in-depth study of the thought of a single great theologian or a theological theme as it is developed in a series of theologians over time, including such figures as St. Augustine, St. Anselm, Newman, DeLubac, Congar, Rahner and von Balthasar. This course can be taken for credit more than once as long as the topic studied varies. Recent offerings have included: The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI (spring 2013); Hans Urs von Balthazar; and The Theology of Ratzinger and von Balthazar (fall 2009).

SYST 917 Introduction to Patristics (2)
This course provides an introduction to the theological thought of the Fathers of the church, the historical context of their teaching, and the contribution of their teaching as privileged witnessed to the handing on of God’s revelation through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

SYST 920 Thomistic Seminar (3)
An in-depth study of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, including such topics as "The Nature of Theology," "Questions of Trinitarian Theology," etc. Prerequisite: basic Latin. Required for the S.T.B. degree program, and along with the concomitant research project may fulfill an elective requirement for Systematic Theology concentrators in the M.A. (theology) degree program. Recent topics have included: Knowing and Loving (spring 2013); and The Nature of Theology (spring 2012).

 
16300 Old Emmitsburg Road | Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Map & Directions | admissions@msmary.edu | 301-447-6122
Frederick Campus | 5350 Spectrum Drive | Frederick, MD 21703
Map & Directions | inquiry@msmary.edu | 301-682-8315