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Theological Studies


Students in the Theological Studies area must complete 3325: Nineteenth Century Theology and 3327: Contemporary Theology. They must also take 3908: Seminar in Systematic Theology during each of their first two years of course work.


Students concentrating in the Theological Studies area must demonstrate proficiency in two languages of research, as indicated in the general guidelines for the Graduate Department of Religion. In the area of Theological Studies, these languages are normally chosen from among German, French or Spanish. Should the student's area of intended research warrant it, he or she may petition the area faculty to count Latin or Greek as one of the two languages.


The Theological Studies area requires the satisfactory completion of five Ph.D. qualifying examinations. They are: History of Christian Theology; Contemporary Readings in the Nature and Tasks of Theology (a.k.a. "Methods"); Doctrines; Minor Area; and Dissertation Area Research. The last two of these involve individual negotiation between student and faculty. The first three are fixed in form, and involve standardized reading lists, which are specified below.

Exam One: History of Christian Theology (Beginnings to 1965)

A. Ancient (read all)

  • Justin Martyr                  First Apology
  • Origen                            On First Principles
  • Athanasius                    On the Incarnation of the Word
  • Gregory of Nyssa         Great Catechetical Treatise
  • Gregory of Nazianzus  Five Theological Orations
  • Augustine                      Confessions, Enchiridion, Spirit and Letter, On the Trinity (8-15)
  • Pseudo-Dionysius        The Divine Names and The Mystical Theology
  • Maximus Confessor     Selected Writings

B. Medieval / Reformation (read Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and select one other author)

  • Anselm                        Proslogion and Cur Deus Homo
  • Bonaventure               Breviloquium
  • Thomas Aquinas        Summa Theologiae
                                         Ia [qq1-13, 43-5]
                                         IaIIae [qq109-14], IIaIIae [qq1-2, 23]
                                         IIIa [qq1, 60, 62, 64]
  • Meister Eckhart          Commentary on John (Prologue)
                                        German Sermons
  • Julian of Norwich        Showings
  • Nicholas of Cusa       On Learned Ignorance
  • Martin Luther               Heidelberg Disputation
                                        Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper (Parts I and III)
                                        Brief Instruction on Gospels
                                        Prefaces to OT and NT
                                        Two Kinds of Righteousness
                                        Bondage of the Will (Introduction, Part VI and Conclusion)
                                        Babylonian Captivity (Part I)
                                        Freedom of a Christian
  • John Calvin                 Institutes (1559)
                                       Bk I [i-iii, vi-vii, ix, xv-xviii]
                                       Bk II [i, ii.12-18, iii.3-10, v.14-15, vi, ix, xvi, xvii]
                                       Bk III [i, ii, xi, xiv.10-12, xv, xix, xxii]
                                       Bk IV [i-ii, viii, ix.8-13, xiv, xv.14-17, xvii.1-16, 33,
                                       xvii.13-17, xx]
  • Teresa of Avila         The Interior Castle

C. Early Modern (read Hume and three others)

  • René Descartes         Meditations on First Philosophy [not including objections]
  • Blaise Pascal              Pensées
  • John Locke                  Reasonableness of Christianity
  • Gottfried Leibniz          Theodicy
  • Jonathan Edwards        Two Dissertations
  • John Wesley                Outler selection (Library of Prot Thought) and "A Plain Account"
  • Gotthold Lessing          Theological Writings
  • David Hume                 Dialogues on Natural Religion
                                         Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Sections X & XI)


D. Nineteenth Century (read Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Troeltsch and two others)

  • Immanuel Kant                       Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
                                                    Critique of Practical Reason
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher       The Christian Faith
                                                       Introduction (paras 1-31)
                                                       Part I (paras 32-41, 46-51, 57-58)
                                                       Part II/1 (paras 62-72, 75-82)
                                                       Part II/2 (paras 86-95, 100-2, 106-7, 109, 113-27,
                                                       148-9, 164-72)
  • G. W. F. Hegel                        Phenomenology of Spirit (Preface and Introduction)                                                                                                                 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (Parts I & III)
  • Søren Kierkegaard                  Philosophical Fragments
                                                    The Sickness Unto Death
  • John Henry Newman              Fifteen Oxford Sermons
  • Horace Bushnell                      God in Christ
  • Albrecht Ritschl                       Three Essays
  • Wilhelm Herrmann                  The Communion of the Christian with God
  • Martin Kähler                           So-Called Historical Jesus and the Historic, Biblical Christ
  • Adolf von Harnack                   What is Christianity
  • Alfred Loisy                             The Gospel and the Church
  • Maurice Blondel                       Letter on Apologetics
                                                     History and Dogma
  • Ernst Troeltsch                      “Historical and Dogmatic Method in Theology”, “What
                                                    Does ‘Essence of Christianity’ Mean?”, “Half a Century of                                                                                                     Theology: A Review”, “The Significance of the Historical                                                                                                          Existence of Jesus for Faith”, “The Dogmatics of the                                                                                                              History-of-Religions School”, “The Essence of the Modern                                                                                                    Spirit”, “On the Possibility of a Liberal Christianity”

E. Twentieth Century (read Barth, Rahner and two others)

  • Karl Barth                              “Fate and Idea in Theology”, “The Humanity of God”,
                                                   “Concluding Postscript on Schleiermacher”,
                                                   Church Dogmatics I/1, plus sections 57 and 58 from IV/1
  • Rudolf Bultmann                    NT and Mythology and Other Basic Writings
  • Paul Tillich                             Systematic Theology [Vols. 1 and 2]
  • H. Richard Niebuhr                Meaning of Revelation
                                                    Radical Monotheism and Western Culture
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer                Creation and Fall and Christ the Center and Ethics
  • Karl Rahner                             Foundations of Christian Faith
                                                    Gerald McCool (ed.), A Rahner Reader
  • Henri de Lubac                       Mystery of the Supernatural
  • Vladimir Lossky,                     Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar        Seeing the Form (Glory of the Lord, vol. I)


Exam II: Contemporary Readings in the Nature and Tasks of Theology

  • Clodovis Boff,                                              Theology and Praxis
  • John Cobb, Jr and David Ray Griffin,          Process Theology
  • Francis X. Clooney,                                    Hindu God, Christian God
  • Ingolf Dalferth,                                             Theology and Philosophy
  • Sheila Greeve Davaney,                            Pragmatic Historicism
  • Gustavo Gutiérrez,                                      A Theology of Liberation 2nd ed.
  • Edward Farley,                                            Ecclesial Reflection
  • Hans Frei,                                                    Types of Christian Theology
  • Dwight Hopkins,                                         Introduction To Black Theology Of Liberation
  • Elizabeth Johnson,                                     She Who Is [Parts One and Two]
  • Gareth Jones,                                              Critical Theology
  • Serene Jones,                                             Feminist Theology: Cartographies of Grace
  • David Kamitsuka,                                       Theology and Contemporary Culture
  • Gordon Kaufman,                                       In Face of Mystery [Part One]
  • David Kelsey,                                              Uses of Scripture in Recent Theology
  • Paul Knitter,                                                  Introducing Theologies of Religion
  • Paul Lakeland,                                            Postmodernity
  • Nicholas Lash,                                            Theology on Dover Beach and Theology on the Way to Emmaus
  • George Lindbeck,                                       The Nature of Doctrine
  • Bernard Lonergan,                                     Method in Theology
  • Andrew Louth,                                             Discerning the Mystery
  • Sallie McFague,                                          Metaphorical Theology
  • John Milbank,                                              Theology and Social Theory
  • Stephanie Y. Mitchem,                               Introducing Womanist Theology
  • Jürgen Moltmann,                                       Experiences in Theological Thinking
  • Schubert Ogden,                                         On Theology
  • Wolfhart Pannenberg,                                Theology and the Philosophy of Science
  • Kathryn Tanner,                                           Theories of Culture
  • Mark Kline Taylor,                                        Remembering Esperanza
  • David Tracy,                                                 The Analogical Imagination
  • Maurice Wiles,                                             The Remaking of Christian Doctrine
  • Rowan Williams,                                        On Christian Theology [Prologue & Chaps 1-4] plus
                                                                           additional essay: "Doctrinal Criticism: Some Questions"

III: Doctrines (Select Three Doctrines for your Examination)

A. Christology

Aulén, Gustaf. Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement.
            New York: Macmillan, 1951.

Boff, Leonardo. Jesus Christ Liberator: A Critical Christology for Our Time. Maryknoll,
            N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1978.

Brunner, Emil. The Mediator. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1947.

Cobb, John B. Christ in a Pluralistic Age. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975.

Cone, James H. A Black Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1986.

Grant, Jacquelyn. White Women's Christ and Black Women's Jesus: Feminist Christology
              and Womanist Response. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1989.

Griffin, David Ray. Process Christology. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1973.

Haight, Roger. Jesus Symbol of God. Orbis, 2000.

Jenson, Robert W. Systematic Theology, Vol 1 New York: Oxford University Press 1997.

Johnson, Elizabeth. Consider Jesus. New York: Crossroad, 1990.

Jüngel, Eberhard. God as the Mystery of the World. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,

Kasper, Walter. Jesus the Christ. New York: Paulist Press, 1976.

Moltmann, Jürgen. The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions.
             Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

Ogden, Schubert Miles. The Point of Christology. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Jesus, God and Man. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1977.

Sobrino, Jon. Christology at the Crossroads: A Latin American Approach

Sölle, Dorothee. Christ the Representative: An Essay in Theology after the "Death of
             God". London: S.C.M. Press, 1967.

Tanner, Kathryn. Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology.Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001.

von Balthazar, Hans Urs. Theo-Drama, vol. III

Wildman, Wesley. Fidelity with Plausibility: Modest Christologies in the Twentieth
            Century. Albany: SUNY Press, 1998.

Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972.

B. Ecclesiology

Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. Faith and Order Paper No. 111.Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982.

Doyle, Dennis. Communion Ecclesiology: Visions and Versions. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis,

Dulles, Avery. Models of the Church. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974.

Evans, G. R. The Church and the Churches: Toward an Ecumenical Ecclesiology. New
           York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Haight, Roger. Christian Community in History Vo. 2. (New York: Continuum, 2005), pp. 291-495.

Gunton, Colin and Daniel Hardy, eds. On Being the Church: Essays on Christian
           Community. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1989.

Healy, Nicholas M. Church, World and the Christian Life: Practical-Prophetic
           Ecclesiology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Hütter, Reinhard. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. Grand Rapids:
           Eerdmans, 2000.

Moltmann, Jürgen. The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic
           Ecclesiology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

Russell, Letty M. Church in the Round. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1993.

Schillebeeckx, Edward. Church: The Human Story of God. New York: Crossroad, 1990.

Segundo, Juan Luis. The Community Called Church. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1973.

Suchocki, Marjorie Hewitt. God Christ Church: A Practical Guide to Process Theology,

Volf, Miroslav. After Our Likeness: The Church in the Image of the Trinity. Grand
           Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Watson, N. K. Introducing Feminist Ecclesiology. New York: Continuum, 2002.

Zizioulas, John D. Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church.
           Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985.

C. Eschatology

Balthasar, Hans Urs von. Theology of History New York,: Sheed and Ward, 1963.

Barth, Karl. The Epistle to the Romans. 1921 rev. ed. London: Oxford U. Press, 1968.

Bultmann, Rudolf. History and Eschatology: The Presence of Eternity New York: Harper
            & Brothers, 1957.

Fiddes, Paul S. The Promised End. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.

Keller, Catherine. Apocalypse Now and Then: A Feminist Guide to the End of the World
            Boston: Beacon Press, 1996.

Moltmann, Jürgen. The Coming God. Tr. Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis: Fortress Press,

_____. Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian
            Eschatology. London: SCM Press, 1967.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology, vol. 3 Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

_____. Basic Questions in Theology I. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970.

Peters, Ted. God the World's Future, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.

Polkinghorne, John and Michael Welker, eds., The End of the World and the Ends of
            God. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2000.

Sauter, Gerhard. What Dare We Hope? Reconsidering Eschatology. Harrisburg, PA:
            Trinity Press International, 1999.

Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus. New York: Macmillan, 1961.

Schwarz, Hans. Eschatology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.

Weiss, Johannes. Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Philadelphia: Fortress
             Press, 1971.

Williams, Rowan. Resurrection. Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse, 1994.

D. Doctrine of God (Trinity and Creation)

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. III/1 (§41, subsections 2 & 3)

Boff, Leonardo. Trinity and Society. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1988.

Bulgakov, Sergius. The Bride of the Lamb, Part I

Cobb, John B. Christian Natural Theology.

Cone, James. God of the Oppressed (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1975, 1997).

Farley, Edward. Divine Empathy. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996.

Gunton, Colin. The One, the Three, and the Many: God, Creation, and the Culture of
             Modernity. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1993.

Johnson, Elizabeth A. She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological
            Discourse. New York: Crossroads, 1992.

Jüngel, Eberhard. God as the Mystery of the World.Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983.

Kaufman, Gordon. Theological Imagination: Constructing the Concept of God (1981).

Keller, Catherine. Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming. New York: Routledge, 2003.

LaCugna, Catherine Mowry. God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life. San Francisco:
           Harper Collins, 1991.

Marion, God Without Being. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

McFague, Sallie. Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age. Philadelphia:
           Fortress, 1987.

Moltmann, Jürgen. The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.

_____. God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985.

Lash, Nicholas. Easter in Ordinary. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology. Vol. 1.

Rahner, Karl. The Trinity. New York: Herder & Herder, 1997.

Tanner, Kathryn. God and Creation in Christian Theology: Tyranny or Empowerment?

Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology Vol. 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951.

Delores Williams, Sisters In The Wilderness: The Challenge Of Womanist God-Talk 
           (Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 1993).

Zizioulas, John D. Being as Communion (1985).

E. Anthropology/Soteriology

Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics III/2.

Cone, James. God of the Oppressed New York: The Seabury Press, 1975.

Coakley, Sarah. Powers and Submissions. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.

Comblin, Joseph. Retrieving the Human: A Christian Anthropology (1990).

Farley, Edward. Good and Evil: Interpreting a Human Condition (1990).

Heim, S. Mark. The Depth of Riches: A Trinitarian Theology of Religious Ends (Grand
            Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001).

Hopkins, Dwight N. Down, up, and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology.
            Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.

Jones, Serene. Feminist Theory and Christian Theology: Cartographies of Grace
            Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002.

Keller, Catherine. From a Broken Web: Separation, Sexism, and Self (1986)

McFadyen, Alistair I. The Call to Personhood: A Christian Theory of the Individual in
           Social Relationships (1990).

Milbank, John. Being Reconciled: Ontology and Pardon (New York: Routledge, 2003).

Niebuhr, Reinhold. The Nature and Destiny of Man, 2 vols. (1951)

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Anthropology in Theological Perspective. Philadelphia:
           Westminster Press, 1985.

Pauw, Amy Plantinga and Serene Jones, eds. Feminist and Womanist Essays in Reformed
           Dogmatics. Louisville:Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.

Ray, Darby. Deceiving the Devil: Atonement, Abuse and Ransom.Cleveland: Pilgrim
           Press, 1998.

Ricoeur, Paul. Oneself as Another (1992)

Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology Vol. II Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951.

F. Pneumatology

Buckley, James J. and David S. Yeago, eds. Knowing the Triune God: The Work of the Spirit
            in the Practices of the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.

Bulgakov, Sergius. The Comforter. Eerdmans, 2004.

Congar, Yves. I Believe in the Holy Spirit.

Del Colle, Ralph. Christ and the Spirit 1994.

Hodgson, Peter. Winds of the Spirit: A Constructive Christian Theology. Minneapolis:
           Fortress, 1994).

McIntyre, John. The Shape of Pneumatology: Studies in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

Moltmann, Jürgen. The Spirit of Life. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology. Vol. 3. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Rahner, Karl. Spirit in the World.New York: Herder and Herder, 1968.

Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology Vol. 3.

Victorin-Vangerud. The Raging Hearth: Spirit in the Household of God. Chalice Press,

Wallace, Mark. Fragments of the Spirit: Nature, Violence, and the Renewal of Creation.
            Trinity Press International, 2002.

Welker, Michael. God the Spirit. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.

G.  Sacraments

Berger, Teresa. Women’s Ways of Worship: Gender Analysis and Liturgical History. Collegeville
                  Pueblo Books, 1999.

Bradshaw, Paul and Maxwell Johnson. The Eucharistic Liturgies: Their Evolution and Interpretation.
                 Collegeville: Pueblo Books, 2012.

 Bradshaw, Paul. The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship, rev. ed. New York: Oxford
                  University Press, 2002.

Chauvet, Louis-Marie. Symbol and Sacrament: A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian

Existence, trans. Patrick Madigan and Madeleine Beaumont. Collegeville: Pueblo Books, 1995.

 Collins, Mary. Worship: Renewal to Practice, Parts 1 & 2, pp. 3-132. Washington, DC: The Pastoral
                  Press, 1987.

Cooke, Bernard. The Distancing of God: The Ambiguity of Symbol in History and Theology.
                  Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

__________. Sacraments & Sacramentality, rev. ed. Mystic: Twenty-Third Publications, 1994.

 Costen, Melva. African American Christian Worship, 2nd ed. Nashville: Abington Press, 2007.

 Hoffman, Lawrence. Beyond the Text: A Holistic Approach to Liturgy, Jewish Literature & Culture.
                    Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

 Johnson, Maxwell. The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation, rev. ed.
                    Collegeville: Pueblo Books, 2007.

 __________. Sacraments and Worship: The Sources of Christian Theology. Louisville: Westminster
                     John Knox Press, 2012.

 Lathrop, Gordon. Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

Morrill, Bruce. Anamnesis as Dangerous Memory: Political and Liturgical Theology in Dialogue.
                     Collegeville: Pueblo Books, 2000.

 __________. Divine Worship and Human Healing: Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and Death.
                     Collegeville: Pueblo Books, 2009.

Power, David N. Sacrament: The Language of God’s Giving. New York: Crossroad, 1998.

 Rahner, Karl. The Church and the Sacraments, trans. W.J. O’Hara. Quaestiones Disputate 9.
                      Freiburg: Herder, 1963.

Ramshaw, Gail. Reviving Sacred Speech: The Meaning of Liturgical Language. Akron: OSL, 2000.

 Ross, Susan. Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology. New York: Continuum,

 Schillebeeckx, Edward. Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter with God. New York: Sheed & Ward,

 Schmemann, Alexander. For the Life of the World: Sacraments & Orthodoxy. Crestwood: St
                        Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1973.

 __________. Introduction to Liturgical Theology, trans. Ashleigh Moorehouse. Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s
                         Seminary Press, 1966.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. Eucharist & Eschatology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

 Yarnold, Edward. The Awe-Inspiring Rites of Initiation, rev. ed. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1994.

 NOTE: This description of requirements supplements The Bulletin of Vanderbilt University Graduate School and "The Guidelines of the Graduate Department of Religion." Students are expected to meet all of the common requirements of the graduate program as described in those publications.

Students in Theological Studies are eligible for fellowships in Theology and Practice.