Theology & Religious Studies

Religion and theology are fascinating topics that merit vigorous and ongoing exploration. We welcome you to join us as we study some of life's deepest and most interesting questions!

 

            The discipline of Theology approaches religion from the perspective of faith, inviting students from all faiths and none to explore and wrestle with some of the perennial questions that believers and non-believers ask:  Is there a God?  How can we know God?  Can we proclaim that “God is love” in light of the Holocaust?  And ultimately, how should we then live?  The discipline of Religious Studies, more theoretical and anthropological than Theology (with its normative nature and focus on the divine and transcendent), uses the tools and methods of various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences to analyze religious phenomena and discover how they create meaning for persons and cultures. Religious Studies explores how religion interacts with other important dimensions of human life, such as politics, economics, and social constructions of race and gender.  While many scholars draw clear lines between the disciplines of Theology and Religious Studies, at Saint Mary’s College they are drawn together in a fruitful dialogue about religion as a – perhaps the – fundamental dimension of human life: vital, pervasive, and richly complex.

            The Department of Theology & Religious Studies offers courses that systematically and critically analyze a wide range of theological perspectives and ethical questions that are central in the formation of religious identity. As an integral part of the Catholic mission of Saint Mary's College, we provide students with an opportunity to explore many facets of the Christian tradition: biblically, historically, theologically, ethically, and aesthetically. We offer courses in a wide array of world religions, especially since, in our increasingly diverse nation and our ever more global world, it is crucial that responsible citizens and future leaders understand the ideologies and faiths of their neighbors and dialogue partners.  We explore the myriad and pervasive dimensions of the phenomenon of religion in culture, particularly courses that focus on the intersections of religion and the critical issues of gender, race, and economics.  And, as an Hispanic Serving Institution, we offer courses that explore dimensions of Latinx religious experience and spirituality.

            The exploration of these essential questions occupies an important place in a liberal arts education, training students in the skills necessary to think for themselves, to challenge preconceived notions, and to remain open to learning from the perspectives of others. As part of our Lasallian heritage and our understanding of what it means to be a person in light of God's love and grace, revealed especially in the person of Jesus Christ, we join with the Christian Brothers in being concerned for the whole person, integrating faith and service, and fostering an existential commitment to the common good, solidarity, and a preferential option for our most vulnerable and marginalized sisters and brothers.

Explore our course offerings and get to know our faculty!