Trinity College

Methodology and Resources for Theological Studies

Course Code: 
Last Offered: 
Summer 2018
Next Offered: 
Summer 2022

Carrying out graduate-level research and writing in theology covers a broad range of skills in the articulation of a problem or issue, the formulation of research questions and hypotheses, the gathering and assessment of material, the arrangement of ideas and material into a coherent outline and the timely writing and revision of the results of research and reflection according to acceptable academic standards and format. Academic skills acquired in other disciplines may or may not be useful to theological research and writing but, in any case, need to be adapted to the specific requirements of theological studies.

The main goal of this course is thus to strengthen student ability to carry out graduate-level studies and research in theology. This will be accomplished through the acquisition of methodological and other skills for the planning, development and finalization of graduate academic requirements (essays, book reports, exams), and familiarization with the range of resources, both written and digital (databases and internet), available for theological studies, including dogmatic/systematic theology, history, patristics, spirituality, hagiography, Biblical studies and liturgy.

The course emphasizes acquiring “hands-on” experience through practical exercises and assignments, with close guidance and correction of work by the instructor. As a broad substantive theme, the course will focus on the origins of Christian theology of the early centuries leading up to the Council of Nicea in 325. Several exercises and assignments will be structured around this basic theme. We will use as a general text John Behr’s book The Way to Nicea (Formation of Christian Theology, Volume I).

Since much of the course draws on digital and internet resources, students must have ready access to a computer and to internet and have an e-mail address which they consult regularly. Students must be familiar with a word processing software (PC or Mac) and with internet navigation.

Grading for the course will be based on practical exercises and assignments during the course, a book report and a written essay.

The course will not cover improvement of basic grammar and spelling, although the course can be used as an opportunity to do so. References to online resources for testing and improving grammar and spelling skills are contained in the Course Reader.