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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The Church’s Worship

Course Rationale

Liturgy is the most vivid, palpable, and central means by which God speaks the Gospel to the gathered Body of Christ. In this fundamental act of divine self-revelation, God encounters and shapes us by the preached and sacramental Word, In this fundamental act of the Christian community, we offer our prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, and commit ourselves to being Christ’s body in the world. The focus of the course is therefore on history, theology, and pastoral care as they come together in preparing for and leading corporate worship. A course of this nature cannot cover all the bases implied in the title, nor all the situations which will arise in a student’s ministry, but will be concerned to develop the ability to prepare and lead worship and the capacity to make the mature judgments necessary to meet a varied future.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind
  • Seminaries: Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  • Syllabus: The Church's Worship
  • Tags:
    neuroscience, pastoral theology, pastoral care, liturgy, counseling, brain and mind, general theology, church worship

Science in Christian Life: Conflict, Cooperation, Integration

Course Description

This course, taught by Leonard M. Hummel at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, employs the activities of the Spring Academy Week to enable students to explore key issues in science for the practice of ministry. Among the happenings of that week on which students may choose to focus are: lectures and workshops on “Faith, Science and Action” through the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania; a retreat sponsored by TEY for high school students on science and Christian Life; Preaching Perspectives on “Preaching & Science in a Time of Creation-Crisis;” many exciting guest lecturers; many interesting workshops relevant to congregational leadership and science; and interesting movies/some food. A great way to focus on the activities of SAW, receive course credit and learn much for ministry. 1.5 credits.

  • Course Categories: Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science, Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind, Physics and Cosmos
  • Seminaries: Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  • Syllabus: Science in Christian Life: Conflict, Cooperation, Integration
  • Tags:
    evolution, neuroscience, pastoral theology, Intelligent Design, Doctrine of Creation, mainline protestant, science in christian life

Self, Sacred, and the Secular

Course Description

Despite the oft-voiced conceit that religious traditions are largely immutable, it is now abundantly clear that religious believers today do not access and live out those traditions as did their forebears of even a generation or two earlier. At the same time, despite the continuing popularity of unduly confident versions of the so-called “secularization thesis,” it is also clear that modern societies remain overwhelmingly (albeit differently) religious. The purpose of this course, taught by Jerome Baggett at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, is to assist students in analytically surmounting such “either/or” conceptualizations and thus arrive at a more nuanced understanding of how the sacred and secular are inextricably entwined within everyday life, especially in terms of the ongoing project of identity construction.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science
  • Seminaries: Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
  • Syllabus: Self, Sacred, and the Secular
  • Tags:
    human identity, psychology, sociology of religion, catholic, orthodox, self sacred and the secular, history and philosophy of science

Religion and Cultural Analysis

Course Description

The purpose of this course, taught by Jerome Baggett at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, is to introduce students to the much-discussed (but less often understood) concept of culture and its implications for the study of contemporary religion. After attending to more theoretical concerns, we will investigate the manner in which a nuanced construal of culture is essential for better understanding such things as secularization, ideological subcultures, religious change, and the salience of religiosity in forging ethnic and racial identities. By attending to these (and other) topics, students should acquire the theoretical and methodological tools necessary for becoming more sophisticated observers of religion as it is actually lived out in the United States and elsewhere.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science, Life Sciences
  • Seminaries: Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
  • Syllabus: Religion and Cultural Analysis
  • Tags:
    theology, pastoral theology, sociology of religion, science and religion, catholic, orthodox, history and philosophy of science

Philosophy of Religion

Course Description

This course, taught by Frederick L. Ware at Howard University School of Divinity, is an introduction to the discipline and method of philosophy and the relationship of philosophy to the study of religion. Through a reading of classical and contemporary sources, the course examines definitions of religion and issues such as God’s existence, attributes, and relationship to and action in the physical world, the nature and significance of religious experience and its potential as a medium for truth and knowledge, the problem of evil, humans as persons having minds and souls, life after death, the relation of religion to morality, and the relationship of religion to science.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science, Life Sciences, Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind, Physics and Cosmos
  • Seminaries: Howard University School of Divinity
  • Syllabus: Philosophy of Religion
  • Tags:
    neuroscience, cosmology, Doctrine of Creation, Philosophy of Religion, genetic editing, epistemology, mainline protestant, history and philosophy of science

Systematic Theology II

Course Description

This course, taught by Frederick L. Ware at Howard University School of Divinity, examines the nature and method of theological discourse. Various theological perspectives on doctrines of Christian faith will be treated critically and systematically. Major doctrines (or themes) will include God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Creation, Theological Anthropology, Sin and Salvation, Church and Its Mission and Ministry, Sacraments, Eschatology, Theology of Religions, and Religious Belief and the Natural Sciences. Students are required to construct a personal Credo, based on their presumed mastery of theological sources and methodology. Prerequisite: THEO 305 Systematic Theology I or its equivalent.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science, Physics and Cosmos
  • Seminaries: Howard University School of Divinity
  • Syllabus: Systematic Theology II
  • Tags:
    evolution, Darwinism, theology, church doctrine, eschayology, theological anthropology, mainline protestant, natural sciences, theology of religions, major doctrines

Prophetic Ministry

Course Description

The biblical model of the prophet is both frequently invoked and poorly interpret-ed. While the church continues to declare that the prophet “speaks for God,” it often limits such speech to pronouncements circumscribed by tradition. At the level of social justice, an emphasis on deconstruction and critique with a failure to offer a constructive vision for a just order further circumscribes definitions of the prophetic. Whether limited to ministries of justice, regular preaching, or charismatic utterance, the “prophet” suffers from a myopic understanding that fails to do justice to the richness of the biblical tradi-tion.

This course, taught by Harold Dean Trulear at Howard University School of Divinity, is designed to mine said richness, drawing on more fully orbed un-derstandings of the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, proper nuancing of prophetic work detailed in the New Testament, and the African American struggle for racial justice. The latter should not be taken to mean that we will not consider issues of gender, ethnicity and economics. Rather these will figure prominently in our discussions when we consider what it means to be the Kingdom of God on earth.

  • Course Categories: Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Life Sciences
  • Seminaries: Howard University School of Divinity
  • Syllabus: Prophetic Ministry
  • Tags:
    pastoral theology, health, genetics, genomics, science and religion, mainline protestant, life sciences, prophetic ministry

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

This course, taught by John Ahn at Howard University School of Divinity, has 5 learning outcomes: (1) to ascertain and articulate a working knowledge of the contents of the Hebrew Bible (2) to demonstrate knowledge of the cultural and religious development of ancient Israel (3) to analyze classical and especially contemporary approaches to interpreting the HB, (4) to demonstrate and exegete the HB/OT illuminating liberative and oppressive aspects of texts in light of African and African American faith communities and traditions, and (5) to be introduced to paleoclimatology and application to the Hebrew Bible study.

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment
  • Seminaries: Howard University School of Divinity
  • Syllabus: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
  • Tags:
    climate change, paleoclimatology, Hebrew Bible, science and religion, mainline protestant, biblical studies

The Spirituality of the Psalms

Course Description

This course, taught by David Bosworth at the Catholic University of America, is a study of the Psalms including close attention to selected psalms and the structure of the Psalter as a whole. It also involves examination of the interpretation and use of psalms in worship and liturgy.

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science, Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind
  • Seminaries: Catholic University of America
  • Syllabus: The Spirituality of the Psalms
  • Tags:
    neuroscience, theology, psychology, spirituality, science and religion, catholic, orthodox, spirituality of the psalms

Science, Religion, and the End of the World

The sciences and the Christian tradition provide narratives about the end of the world. But how do these narratives relate? How do we evaluate them independently, and in comparison? What are the implications of the narratives for the way we live and think today, a time before the end of the world? This course, taught by Chris De Pree, a professor of astrophysics from Agnes Scott College, and Mark Douglas, a professor of religious ethics from Columbia Theological Seminary, takes up those critical questions and provides students with opportunities to study widely, think critically, and learn respectfully in a cross-disciplinary setting. To encourage imaginative thinking, sources of study for the course will be a combination of speculative fiction novels, movies, and selections from other books and articles (to be made available in a course packet).

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies, General Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science, Physics and Cosmos
  • Seminaries: Columbia Theological Seminary
  • Syllabus: Science, Religion, and the End of the World
  • Tags:
    cosmology, eschayology, astrophysics, theodicy, mainline protestant, history and philosophy of science, end of the world


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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.