Program Goals

Hermeneutical competence:

Our graduates will be able to apply a range of skills in the interpretation of biblical and other religious literature.

    • They will employ close reading skills with regard to primary sources: observation; inquiry; attention to genre, context, intertextuality, and literary influence; awareness of their own assumptions and cultural biases; awareness of audience(s) and effect on readers.
    • They will display judicious use of scholarly resources (e.g., language tools, commentaries, monographs, journals, dictionaries, encyclopedias, electronic databases, library holdings, inter-library loan, web-based tools). They will acknowledge dependence and influence through appropriate notes and bibliography.
    • They will appropriate a range of critical methodologies (e.g., historical, literary, textual, rhetorical, socio-cultural), draw on insights across the range of relevant disciplines (e.g., linguistics; anthropology; sociology; philosophy; archaeology), and recognize the insights and pitfalls of various ideological approaches (e.g., post-colonial, feminist, Marxist).

Theological judgment:

Our graduates will understand the fundamental claims and logic of the Christian faith, appreciate the development of Christian theological traditions over time, and be able to think theologically.

    • They will faithfully interpret texts including the Bible and other primary sources in the worldwide Christian tradition.
    • They will fairly evaluate the theological claims of secondary sources and current voices within and outside the Christian tradition.
    • They will thoughtfully address intellectual and practical issues involving both narrowly theological matters and concerns in other disciplines.
    • They will be acquainted with, and increasingly formed in, the practices that Christian theology serves including worship, fellowship, mission, study (especially of the Bible), and ethical conduct.

Ecclesial engagement:

Our graduates will be marked by a passionate commitment to the Christian church and its mission.

    • They will increasingly recognize connections between personal faith, scholarly inquiry, and the shared life of God’s people in the world past and present.
    • They will sense no conflict between rigorous intellectual inquiry, faithful service, and passionate worship.
    • They will establish lifelong disciplines marked by theological reflection, Christ-like compassion, and robust engagement in the public square.