Science for Seminaries Resources

Curricular resources from the Science for Seminaries project have been developed by partner institutions and a series of educational science videos has been produced by AAAS for classroom use. Project resources are searchable by topic, resource type, ecclesial family, seminary, and core curriculum area. Use the filtering tool at right to explore the archive. For more information about curricular resources, please contact the school(s) that produced those resources.

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M.Div. Review

This course, taught by Russell Haitch at Bethany Theological Seminary, is the culmination of the M.Div. curriculum. It challenges students to pull together prior course work and ministry formation with a view toward future learning and ministry. Particular topics change from year to year, but four ongoing goals are perennial. The course is designed to help students to (a) integrate and (b) interpret prior and ongoing learning, while using various theories and demonstrating awareness of various contexts. The course also asks students to (c) communicate prior and ongoing learning in ways that are effective (i.e., clear, precise, persuasive, beautiful, etc.). Finally, the course invites students to (d) anticipate their future life, learning, and ministry, and to demonstrate this forward-looking view in their written and oral work.

  • Course Categories: Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Life Sciences
  • Seminaries: Bethany Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: M.Div. Review
  • Tags:
    human nature, genetic editing, human dignity, CRISPR

Ministry Across Generations

This course, taught by Russell Haitch at Bethany Theological Seminary, looks at Christian ministry across the lifespan. It aims to (a) increase understanding of the human lifespan by drawing upon insights from theology, psychology, and neuroscience; and (b) help student do ministerial activities and address spiritual issues pertaining to each stage of life. Most written assignments are geared toward practical activities of pastoral ministry. Students who are focused on nontraditional ministry, or on non-ministerial activities, are welcome to reconceive these assignments in consultation with the professor.

  • Course Categories: Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind
  • Seminaries: Bethany Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: Ministry Across Generations
  • Tags:
    neuroscience, psychology, brain health, dementia, alzheimers, brain development

Environmental Biblical Interpretation

The course, taught by Nancy Bowen at Bethany Theological Seminary, presupposes that students bring to the class concerns for justice, the environment and its care and stewardship, and the consequences of climate change. This course is not about determining whether the Bible demands an ethic of Earth care since “no issue can be resolved by appeal to the Bible.” How then, might we engage the biblical text in conversation with environmental issues and concerns? A guiding principle of this course is that our reading of the Bible should engage and be informed by modern understandings of environmental science, ecology, and evolution. As Brown asks, “What is it like to read the Bible in one hand and the journal Science in the other?” To that end, as an upper level Bible class, this course will focus on developing environmental hermeneutics and applying those as we engage biblical texts and their views of the environment. To use the language of Norman Habel, we will ask, ‘Is a “green’ reading of this text possible or does it remain ‘grey’?”

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment
  • Seminaries: Bethany Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: Environmental Biblical Interpretation
  • Tags:
    evolution, environmental science, ecology

Medical Ethics

The purpose of this course, taught by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, is to provide an introduction to the subject of biomedical ethics within the context of Roman Catholic theology and teaching. The course objectives are to prepare the student with: (1) a familiar knowledge and an understanding of the bioethical magisterium regarding many of the major medical-ethical issues affecting the ministry of priests; (2) specific knowledge of select bioethical life issues commonly faced in the context of the ministry of parish priests, hospital chaplains, and ethics committees; (3) firm knowledge of pastoral principles for the resolution of difficult questions. The material is presented through power-point-aided lectures, student research, class presentations and class participation.

  • Course Categories: Ethics
  • Science Topics: Health & Wellness, Life Sciences
  • Seminaries: Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
  • Syllabus: Biomedical Ethics
  • Tags:
    biomedical ethics, end of life, gender identity, sexuality

Introduction to Christian Theology

This course, taught by Anna Case-Winters and Linda Eastwood at McCormick Theological Seminary, is an introduction to Christian theology. The approach to theological inquiry is constructive, contextual, cross-cultural, conversational, and ecumenical. Attention is given to understanding basic church teachings (God, creation, humanity, Christ, Spirit, ‘last things’) in connection with contemporary issues affecting church and society. Plenary presentations and responses, small group discussion, reading, writing, and critical thinking with key texts, writing and revising a statement of faith, researching and writing a semester paper, and other special projects are included. Course materials and assignments will be posted in Moodle. Note: This course is being taught in both Spanish and English.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment
  • Seminaries: McCormick Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: Introduction to Christian Theology
  • Tags:
    creationism, cosmology, biotechnology, ecology, human enhancement

Introduction to Christian Ethics

This course is taught by Reggie Williams at McCormick Theological Seminary. The content that students encounter in a seminary education, and in daily life, is both formative and becomes part of future decision making processes. recognized as one braided strand rather than separate parts when we consider the questions that Christians ask, “what shall we do? How shall we live?” All of the disciplines of learning in the seminary context become tools for the discernment of the good life together in church and society, which in the theological academy is the study of Christian Ethics. In daily life we make efforts to integrate all of our learning, in faithfulness to our core convictions. In this introductory Christian Ethics course we will begin an engagement with those questions through analysis of the development of Christians who are shaped, body and mind, by core beliefs and practices, in order to explore the uniqueness of Christian Ethics in response to contemporary issues.

  • Course Categories: Ethics
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment, Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind, Physics and Cosmos
  • Seminaries: McCormick Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: Introduction to Christian Ethics
  • Tags:
    Church & Society, Christian Ethics, neuroscience, cosmology, ecology, end of life, sexuality, social and racial justice, human enhancement, stewardship, war

Reading and Leading in Context: Methods, Media, and Entrepreneurial Practices

This course is taught by David Hahn at Wartburg Theological Seminary. The congregation is a generative locus of theology. An essential focus of the course is helping students cultivate the capacity and develop the skills needed to generate a “thick description” of congregation and communal contexts for the sake of faithful, truthful, and effective evangelical public leadership. In order to do this, students will explore, and practice using tools and resources from congregational studies and deepen their awareness and facility with basic social scientific tools and skills for interpreting contexts and leading through change. In addition, attention will be given to deepening the capacity for cultural exegesis, thus becoming more culturally savvy pastoral leaders.

Spiritual Practices

This course, led by multiple small group leaders at Wartburg Theological Seminary, provides experiences and resources for faith development through plenary sessions, small groups (synchronous and asynchronous), reading a common text, meditating on the Scriptures, and communal and individual faith practices. Spiritual Practices explores classic and contemporary spiritual practices and fosters dwelling in God’s Word. The course models accountability and collegiality in small groups for building spiritual community.

  • Course Categories: Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Life Sciences
  • Seminaries: Wartburg Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: Spiritual Practices
  • Tags:
    transhumanism, psychology, technology, trauma

Lutheran Ethics

This course, taught by Craig Nessan at Wartburg Theological Seminary, examines the field of Christian ethics, paying attention to distinctively Lutheran themes. Presentations and readings examine how Lutheran theology shapes ethical reflection for the church in mission. How do the Word of God, law and gospel, sacraments, liturgy, reason, science, theology of the cross, Christian freedom, vocation, and two kingdoms teaching inform ethical deliberation? Analysis of ELCA social statements and case studies provide the basis for articulating ethical method. Special attention is given to role of science in making ethical arguments. We will consider how to give leadership so that congregations become communities of moral deliberation.

  • Course Categories: Ethics
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science
  • Seminaries: Wartburg Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: Lutheran Ethics
  • Tags:
    genetics, scientific method, theology and science, scientific process, healthcare

Texts and Traditions 3

This course, taught by Kimlyn J. Bender and Roger E. Olson at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, is study and analysis of the major texts and traditions of the church in the twentieth century with an emphasis upon the interaction of Christianity with contemporary culture and the student’s ability to read contemporary culture with a view toward ministry.

Texts and Traditions 3 is the third of a three-part sequence of courses that focus upon the history of the development of Christian thought through an examination of primary readings from the Christian tradition. The focus of this course is upon modern theology in the 19th and 20th centuries. The identity of the Church in light of the Gospel as well as its interaction with contemporary culture and the modern world are primary themes of this period that will be explored.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science
  • Seminaries: George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University
  • Syllabus: Texts and Traditions 3
  • Tags:
    theology and science


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In furtherance of the AAAS mission of advancing science in service to society, AAAS|DoSER’s role in the Science for Seminaries project is to support efforts to integrate science into seminary education. AAAS|DoSER does not advise on or endorse the theological content of the participating seminaries.