Religious Studies

Follow your passion for Religion

Religion begins with a desire to understand the purpose of existence; theologies argue that certain reasons for existence are unique and true. At Loras, majors in Religious Studies and Theology examine religious history and culture as well as Christian theology, scripture and moral reasoning to expand their worldviews and reflect on the complexities of religions and spirituality in the modern world.

Students who major or double-major in Religious Studies are some of the most active students at Loras, and are the most likely to study abroad and participate in service trips both nationally and internationally. An additional benefit is that through our experiential education, 98% of all Religious Studies majors find jobs related to their course of study.

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LORAS COLLEGE OFFERS DIVERSE STUDY ABROAD OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL STUDENTS

All Loras students, no matter their major, have the opportunity to live and study in another country. Loras College sponsors study abroad semesters in Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and Spain, along with a broad range of short-term study travel options such as Belize, China, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico,and Peru.

Loras College is globally connected to provide students unique learning experiences around the world. Whether students are looking to enhance their foreign language skills or simply to immerse themselves in a different culture, the Center for Experiential Learning helps students identify international programs that best match their learning goals. International study broadens perspectives, enhances self-confidence and strengthens adaptability. Studying abroad also makes graduates more attractive to potential employers and graduate schools. Study abroad experiences are life-changing.

“While studying at the University of Pretoria I was fortunate to have the ability to take classes that Loras couldn’t’ offer. The sustainability focused classes I took at UP allowed me to fulfill a passion of mine and have shaped my biological thesis to be sustainably driven—vermicomposting.” — Tom Blacklock, South Africa

“The life-long learning experiences that come about while being abroad will never be fully understood unless you take the opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and experience life in another country. If I had to sum up how my experience in Spain changed me, it would be that I am more self-confident, more globally aware, and I am now yearning to learn about and connect with people from all over the world.” –Jessica Welp, Spain

“Now is truly the best time to take advantage of these experiences! Being able to go abroad for schooling allows you to have opportunities that you would not have as a tourist, so don’t rely on the thought, ‘Well, I could always go there in the future.’ Go!!”
— Brittany Seyller, India

Visit our Study Abroad page for additional information.

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RELIGIOUS STUDIES STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Because our majors are at the forefront of issues related to social justice, Religious Studies students engage in their major cursework and the community immediately. They are eligible for scholarships, have opportunity to present at national conferences and are highly encouraged to engage in life-changing internships.

Scholarships

Catholic Social Teaching, they tend to be winners of the annual Valder Scholarship, which provides students with stipends to serve in a Catholic organization dedicated to addressing problems of social justice. In addition, students use their research to deliver papers and presentations at conferences like the Great Plains Undergraduate Theology Conference.

The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Scholarship Program, made possible by a generous $15-million donation from Paul (’60) and Frances Breitbach,is a unique and vibrant four-year experience. Its goal is to challenge and engage the whole student, helping you to develop academically, spiritually, personally and socially while learning what it means to be a Catholic thinker and leader in today’s modern world.

Courses

Typical first year course could include:

  • REL 112: Introduction to Religious Studies and Theology
  • REL 113: Introduction to the Bible
  • REL 210: World Religions
  • REL 213: Foundations of Ministry

Internships available

Religious Studies students participate in internship programs offered through the Center for Experiential Learning. Many internship opportunities are available in the Dubuque Community, nation wide and internationally. Our Center for Experiencial Learning is key in assisting students in helping students with internships.

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PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS

Founded by Matthias Loras, Archbishop of the Dubuque Diocese, Loras College has ties to the Archdiocese that stretch back—well into the nineteenth-century. That long relationship has meant that the College has had many successful partnerships with the Archdiocese, working closely with Archdiocesan offices to meet a number of needs and educate several generations of religious leaders.

Today faculty from Loras College serve the Archdiocese as priests, chaplains, committee members, speakers, and Directors of Archdiocesan offices. In addition to those many individual commitments, faculty also are committed to provided academic programming to an emerging generation of lay leaders.

Loras has also sponsored summer Institutes in Liturgical Studies and Parish Leadership.

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LORAS PREPARES YOU FOR SUCCESS IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Theology argues that the claims of one particular tradition are true, and perhaps unique. At Loras, that tradition is Christianity, as practiced in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Religious Studies majors here take courses in studies of the Bible, moral/ethical behavior and systematic theology (systems of thought that are based on Christian revelation). They benefit from a faculty that teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, and from a library that has outstanding resources—both paper and electronic.

Thanks to these resources, all Religious Studies majors who have sought to continue their educations in graduate programs have been accepted by accredited institutions.

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Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes – Religious Studies and Theology
1. Students are able to explain and reflect critically on important elements of religious tradition(s) using key facts, definitions, and vocabulary.
2. Students are able to apply basic methods of research such as the ability to access, gather, and organize information from primary sources.
3. Students are able to identify different theological approaches to key concepts, themes, and practices of religious life.
4. Students are able to use theology to interpret religious beliefs and practices within the contemporary world.
Major Requirements

RELIGIOUS STUDIES AND THEOLOGY
Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social & Cultural Studies
Richard Anderson, Ph.D., Chair
rick.anderson@loras.edu
563.588.7177

The religious studies and theology program emphasizes three areas of study: theological studies, biblical studies, and moral studies. Students are encouraged to take courses in the 200s between their second and fifth semesters, and courses in the 300s between their sixth and eighth semesters. 400 level courses are designed for majors only.

Requirements for the major in Religious Studies (B.A.):

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.REL-112: An Introduction to Theology and Religious Studies 3
2 L.REL-301: Foundations of Ethics 3
3 L.REL-399: Religious Studies & Theology Process Writing 1
Select one from Req 4
4 L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament 3
4 L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA 3
Select one from Req 5 (Theological Studies)
5 L.REL-115: Introduction to Peace and Justice 3
5 L.REL-210: World Religions 3
5 L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Space 3
5 L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry 3
5 L.REL-214: Islam in America 3
5 L.REL-216: Catholic Church in Latin America 3
5 L.REL-235: Science, Faith, and Knowledge 3
5 L.REL-260: Communication for Communion-AC 3
5 L.REL-261: Christ and Culture-AC 3
5 L.REL-262: Little Less than a God-AC 3
5 L.REL-263: Martyrs, Mendicants and Masterpieces-AC 3
5 L.CTL-274: All for one-AI (*only if clustered with CTL-277) 3
5 L.REL-316: Pilgrims in Their Own Land-AI 3
5 L.REL-318: Councils Creeds and Culture-AC 3
5 L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI 3
5 L.REL-325: Roman Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology & Practice 3
5 L.REL-335/CTL-277: Belief, Unbelief & the Good Life-AV 3
5 L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage 3
Select one from Req 6 (Biblical Studies)
6 L.REL-113: Introduction to the Bible 3
6 L.REL-239: Jesus and the Gospels 3
6 L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament; if not taken above 3
6 L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA; if not taken above 3
6 L.REL-310: Biblical Prophets-AC 3
6 L.REL-350: Bible and Literature 3
6 L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul 3
Select one from Req 7 (Moral Studies)
7 L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teachings 3
7 L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV 3
7 L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV 3
7 L.REL-348: Social Justice Practicum 3
8 Additional L.REL Elective 3
9 Additional L.REL Elective 3
10 Additional L.REL Elective 3
11 Additional L.REL Elective 3
Select one from Req 12 (Capstone)
12 L.REL-491: Thesis Writing 3
12 L.REL-493: Practicum in Parish Ministry 3
34 total required credits

*Majors must enroll in the section of L.LIB-305 offered to CTL students unless they have a second major that embeds the Portfolio (PJ) general education requirement.

Majors wishing to graduate with a concentration of coursework in the area of ministry must complete the major including the following eight courses:

  1. REL-112: Intro to Theology and Religious Studies
  2. REL-213: Foundations for Ministry
  3. REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament OR
    L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA
  4. REL-301: Foundations of Ethics
  5. REL-271: Catholic Social Teaching
  6. REL-239: Jesus and the Gospels OR
    L.REL 350: Bible and Literature
  7. REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI OR
    L.REL 318: Councils, Creeds, and Culture
  8. REL-493: Practicum for Parish Ministry

Requirements for the minor in Religious Studies:

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.REL-112: An Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies 3
Select one from Req 2
2 L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament 3
2 L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA 3
3 L.REL-301: Foundations of Ethics 3
4 Additional L.REL Elective 3
5 Additional L.REL Elective 3
6 Additional L.REL Elective 3
18 total required credits

BIBLICAL STUDIES
L.REL-113: Introduction to the Bible
L.REL-239: Jesus & the Gospels
L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament
L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA
L.REL-310: Biblical Prophets-AC
L.REL-350: Bible & Literature
L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul

MORAL STUDIES
L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teachings
L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV
L.REL-301: Foundations of Ethics
L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV
L.REL-348: Social Justice Practicum

SPECIAL, ADVANCED AND INDEPENDENT STUDIES
L.REL-295: Topics
L.REL-395: Topics
L.REL-397: Independent Study: Arranged Course
L.REL-398: Independent Study: Empirical Research
L.REL-399: Religious Studies & Theology Process Writing
L.REL-491: Thesis Writing
L.REL-493: Practicum in Parish Ministry
L.REL-498: Independent Study: Directed Readings

THEOLOGICAL STUDIES
L.REL-112: Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies
L.REL-115: Introduction to Peace and Justice
L.REL-210: World Religions
L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Spaces
L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry
L.REL-214: Islam in America
L.REL-216: The Catholic Church in Latin America
L.REL-235: Science, Faith, and Knowledge (cross-listed as L.PHI-235)
L.REL-260: Communication for Communion (cross-listed as L.CTL 260)
L.REL-262: Little Less Than a God (cross-listed as L.CTL 262)
L.REL-263: Martyrs, Mendicants and Masterpieces (cross-listed as L.CTL 263)
L.REL-261: Christ & Culture-AC
L.CTL-274: All for One-AI (*only if clustered with CTL-277)
L.REL-316: Pilgrims in Their Own Land-AI
L.REL-318: Councils, Creeds & Culture-AC
L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI
L.REL-325: Roman Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology & Practice-AA
L.REL-355/CTL-277: Belief, Unbelief & the Good Life-AV
L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage

Course Descriptions

L.REL-112: Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies

How do the arts, social and physical sciences, philosophy, and daily human life raise religious questions about meaning, truth, values, faith, identity, community and mystery? How does Christian theology respond to these questions? This class helps students better understand both the questions and the answers. 3 credits.

L.REL-113: Introduction to the Bible

An introduction to the methodology and importance of biblical studies, which includes a survey of the history and theology of the Old and New Testaments. 3 credits.

L.REL-115: Introduction to Peace and Justice

This course serves as an introduction to peace and justice studies.  It is the foundational course for students intending to minor in Peace and Justice.  In this course we will examine the critical concepts, methods, and challenges facing individuals who aspire to help bring peace to persons whose lives are marked by injustice.  The course will provide a foundational exploration of social justice concepts, issues, and remedies thereby developing the necessary analytical tools and information to assess injustice and inequality and to suggest changes that need to be made to better these situations.  3 credits.

L.REL-210: World Religions: An Introduction

An introductory study of the great world religions, particularly Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The class invites students to compare and contrast the search for meaning that defines each tradition. 3 credits.

L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Spaces

How are individuals formed by the physical spaces that surround them? How do the spaces in which Roman Catholics worship inform their understanding of the Church and God? How can substantially different understandings of the Church and God be reconciled within a single church? And how might these differences not simply be overcome, but embraced? This course involves travel to a variety of Catholic churches and the analysis of the theological function of those spaces that emerges according to their form. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry

Frederick Buechner described vocation as the intersection of one’s deep joy with the world’s deep needs. This course explores theological frameworks for ministry and the ministerial needs of the church today. In addition, the course engages students in theological reflection aimed at discernment and development of the personal skills necessary for effective ministry. 3 credits.

L.REL-214: Islam in America

This is an in-depth study course that examines the history of Islam in the United States, with particular attention given to a period that begins at the end of the nineteenth century and continues into the contemporary period. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-216: The Catholic Church in Latin America

This study travel course covers the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America and the current issues it faces. The course will primarily focus on Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, liberation theology, and the contemporary period. For part of the course, students will travel to Peru and experience historical reminders of the Catholic Church’s past, but also experience first-hand the issues facing the Church in Latin America today. Prerequisites: L.LIB-130 or L.LIB-135. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-235:  Science, Faith, and Knowledge

This course will provide an interdisciplinary theoretical and practical introduction to scientific literacy in the natural, human, and behavioral sciences. It aims to assists students in the construction of intellectual frameworks based in sound reason with which to consider the dynamic relationships among empirical scientific research, philosophical commitments, and theological beliefs. Students will be challenged to engage and assess scientific data as well as critically reflect on its practical, personal, and pastoral applications. This course is cross-listed as L.PHI-235. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.PHI) that a student registers for and completes. 3 credits.

L.REL-239: Jesus & the Gospels

A critical study of the content of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, as well as their literary, historical, social, and theological contexts. We will compare and contrast their portraits of Jesus, their messages for ancient Christians, and their relevance for modern readers. 3 credits.

L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament

This course introduces students to the different kinds of writing in the Old Testament, to the different methods for interpreting that writing, and to the historical sequence of events that lent it meaning.  Students will be asked to think reflectively about how the material they read in the Old Testament relates to the world today.  3 credits.

L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA

The New Testament is comprised of the foundational documents of Christian faith.  This course surveys these writings as literature that is crafted to communicate God’s revelation and to shape the faith and action of Christian communities.  Exegesis will be employed to interpret the New Testament texts as literature in historical context and to think critically about the texts’ meaning for our present context.

Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-260:  Communication for Communion-AC

In diverse ways throughout its history the Roman Catholic Church has sought to create a culture of communion.  This communion has many aspects including the union of the human and the sacred; the union of church members with each other; and the union of the church with the broader world.  In order to critically examine this culture and its changing expressions over time, this course compares the means and content of the church’s communication in the Italian Renaissance with that of modern/postmodern periods.  This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-260. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-261: Christ & Culture-AC

Jesus of Nazareth has been the most important figure in western culture for twenty centuries. This course examines his legacy by negotiating themes of continuity and change in a wide range of cultural artifacts, from symbols and images to historical accounts and fictional narratives. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-262:  Little Less Than a God-AC

This J-Term travel course to Italy focuses on religious conceptions of the human person across time and place. It will offer a comparative analysis of distinct perspectives on the human person as expressed by Christians of different eras, locations, and theological perspectives, as well as the cultures in which Christianity is rooted. By studying the cultural histories, theological perspectives, and works of art and architecture, students will encounter the diverse influences that have given shape to the self-understandings and religious imaginations of Western Christians today. This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-262. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-263: Martyrs, Mendicants & Masterpieces-AC

The course is a January term study abroad opportunity in Italy. The course focuses on the culture of pre-Constantinian Christian Rome, medieval Franciscan Assisi, and Renaissance Florence. We will study the customs and artifacts of each period to determine how they affected the development of Christian thought and practice. We will examine how cultural traditions formed and changed, and how these traditions affected social organization, religion, and everyday life. This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-263. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-264:  Catholicism Encounters Modernity-AC

This course will investigate attributes of the cultural landscape, from the time of the French Revolution until the present, which influenced the Catholic Church’s self-understanding and its articulation of its relationship to the wider world.  We will explore the customs, rules, and language that shaped the Catholic Church’s internal discourse and influenced its exchange with the world outside its boundaries.  We will visit sites in Paris, Lyon, and Rome that provide insight into the Church’s posture toward modernity throughout the 19th, 20th, and early 21st centuries. This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-264. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teachings

This course will examine those official documents of the Catholic Church, spanning from Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) to the present, that make up Catholic Social Teaching. This course will study CST’s guiding principles, how the modern popes and the Second Vatican Council applied them to the social, political, and economic problems of our time, and what continuing relevance they have for Catholics and all persons of goodwill. 3 credits.

L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV

This course will examine the Catholic Church’s official teachings on sexual morality, looking both to traditional formulations and to more recent ways of thinking about issues of sexual morality. It will also examine some contrary positions proposed by Catholics and non-Catholics. The course will also consider human sexuality, marriage, and family life as paths for growth in the Christian spiritual life. Prerequisites: LIB-100, LIB-105, LIB-110, and at least one course from LIB-130, LIB-135, or LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-301: Foundations of Ethics

This course will examine the basic questions of morality and the answers that have been developed within the Western philosophical and Christian theological traditions. Important historical and contemporary primary source material will be examined. This course is cross-listed as PHI 301. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.PHI or L.REL) that a student registers for and completes. Course not available to first year students. 3 credits.

L.REL-310: Biblical Prophets-AC

In this course, we study Biblical prophecy as an ancient cultural tradition and we examine the ways historical events shaped the words and deeds associated with this tradition.  In order to gain a more thorough understanding of how complex Biblical prophecy is, we apply different methods of Biblical interpretation to prophetic books of the Bible and we relate our findings to the world today.  Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB­130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-316: Pilgrims in Their Own Land-AI

Explore the religious traditions, communities, beliefs, and practices that together constitute “religion” in the United States. During the semester, students compare and contrast traditions and relate these traditions to their own lives. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB­130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-318: Councils, Creeds & Culture-AC

This course will examine three periods in the course of Christian history: (a) the time of the “Christological councils” (325-451), (b) the time of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and (c) the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-present), to investigate the formation of Christian doctrine, the interaction between social/cultural manifestations and Christian faith, and the interaction between politics and Christian religion. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI

The Christian theological enterprise involves the study of Scripture, past theological work, contemporary culture, and other disciplines which engage the believer. But above all, theology must engage the life of the community in which an individual’s faith is mediated, nurtured, and developed the sacramental life of the Church. How do we understand Christian faith from the past and present celebration of the sacraments? Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB­220. 3 credits.

L.REL-325: Roman Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology & Practice-AA

This course explores the artistic nature of Roman Catholic liturgy by focusing on one of its most recognizable artistic elements, liturgical music. Liturgical music is vital because it fundamentally impacts the experience of worship; by extension, it directs the theological vision that is developed by the liturgy itself. Students will explore the ways in which liturgy and liturgical music enrich, shape, and express the Christian spirit. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB­220. 3 credits.

L.REL-335: Belief, Unbelief & the Good Life-AV

The course examines arguments for and against the existence of God and studies how these arguments affect a comprehension of the moral life and the value of human behavior. The course will begin with a study of “virtue ethics” and will use this ethical theory as a basis for dialogue with the ethics of the non-Christian belief systems of Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. Students will develop the tools to make ethical decisions about critical issues facing the human community. This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-277. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV

This course will look at the intersection of faith and public policy debate, as well as the basic principles that shape the Catholic Church’s positions on public issues. It will examine different sides of important public issues such as abortion, immigration, and the war on terror, as well as how Catholic principles relate to these issues. Prerequisites: LIB-100, LIB-105, LIB-110, and at least one course from LIB-130, LIB-135, or LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-348: Social Justice Practicum

Students in this course will engage in approved volunteer work and integrate their experiences and research into the study of Catholic social thought and the theology of liberation. 3 credits.

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L.REL-350: Bible & Literature

No religious tradition survives without the help of writers who celebrate, challenge, and even transform its beliefs and practices. This course reads Biblical writings for their beauty and artistry and then examines how the Bible has inspired others to compose poetry, fiction, and drama. 3 credits.

L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul

Using a seminar format, this course studies the letters of St. Paul in the order in which they were written, to facilitate an understanding of the author’s theological development in terms of the changing problems he faced. We pay attention to the literary form of the public letter in Paul’s day, his own use of that form, the people and positions he found himself arguing against, and his emerging theological synthesis. 3 credits.

L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage

An examination of defining characteristics of Catholicism, and their manifestation in theology, spirituality, philosophy, history, economics, politics, literature, film and the arts. An integrative course for the Catholic Studies minor. 3 credits.

L.REL-399:  Religious Studies and Theology Process Writing

Students in the class will work individually, collaboratively, and with an advisor, to refine their research methods and formal writing.  Throughout the semester they will substantively revise a previously written essay from one of their Religious Studies and Theology classes.  This course, offered on a pass/fail basis, will help prepare students to write their Senior Capstone: Thesis or Practicum.  Junior Religious Studies and Theology majors only1 credit.

L.REL-491: Thesis Writing

Review of theological research, the identification, use, and citation of sources, and the composition and writing of the thesis paper. The thesis is part of the portfolio required for religious studies majors. Open only to seniors. 3 credits.

L.REL-493: Practicum for Parish Ministry

Background information and provisions for field experience in various practical aspects of parish ministry, especially parish operation and religious education techniques. Open only to seniors. 6 credits.

RELATED COURSES: Catholic Studies, Philosophy

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields:

  • Director of Religious Education
  • Youth Minister
  • Campus Minister
  • Social Worker
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Educator
Loras College Department Staff

Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Moral Theology
563.588.7308 | Jacob.Kohlhaas@loras.edu

Dr. Kohlhaas received his Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University where his dissertation considered contemporary Catholic theological accounts of parenthood and the nature of kinship within the Christian tradition. He received his M.A. in Doctrine, with a minor in History, at Catholic Theological Union where his thesis compared and contrasted developments in Catholic and Lutheran perspectives on human sexuality since the mid-twentieth century. Dr. Kohlhaas teaches courses on Christian morality and the Catholic moral tradition including Introduction to Christian Values, Issues in Christian Ethics, Christian Sexual Morality and Catholic Social Teaching as well as Introduction to Theology and Religious Studies and Social Justice Today. Dr. Kohlhaas’ research centers on questions of Theological Anthropology, particularly the moral aspects of the human need and capacity for relationships. This has led to specific research in the areas of sexual ethics, family ethics, environmental ethics, and theologies of children and parenthood.

Amanda Osheim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Director of Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7506 | Amanda.Osheim@loras.edu

Dr. Osheim received her doctorate in systematic theology from Boston College. Her courses include Introduction to Religious Studies and Theology; Foundations for Ministry; God’s Literature; Empowered Catholic Women, The Four Marks, and Communication for Communion. Dr. Osheim’s particular interest is ecclesiology, which is the study of the church’s identity and mission. She also collaborates with the Archdiocese of Dubuque to develop programs that meet the growing need for lay leadership in parishes.

Her research focuses on discernment of the Holy Spirit within the church; development of church doctrine and practice; and the evolving role of lay ministers in the church’s life. Dr. Osheim is an editor and contributor at DailyTheology.org. Other recent publications include: “On Our Pilgrim Way [Responses to ‘Evangelii Gaudium’].” America: The National Catholic Review vol.210 no. 1 (January 6-13, 2014) http://americamagazine.org/issue/joy-world; “Theology: serving the conversation.” C21 Resources, Fall 2013, p. 37. http://issuu.com/church21c/docs/2013_fall_resource_guide_final_web_; “The Local Church in Dialogue: Toward an Orthopraxis of Reception.” In Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church. Kevin J. Ahern, ed. Orbis Books, 2012.

David Pitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sacramental & Moral Theology
563.588.7324 | David.Pitt@loras.edu

Dr. Pitt is trained as a liturgical historian and as a liturgical musician. His Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) is from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he researched the reform of the rite for adult initiation in the Roman Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. His M.A. in Liturgical Music (Organ Performance and Composition) is from St. John’s University, Minnesota. These academic interests guide his teaching and his research, motivating him to investigate areas in which the Tradition of the Church might inform and direct contemporary pastoral practice. He co-edited A Living Tradition: Essays on the Intersection of Liturgical History and Pastoral Practice (Liturgical Press, 2012). Author of over 45 essays, article, and book reviews, he has especially focused on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the liturgical year, issues in the performance of liturgical music, and the music of Olivier Messiaen. Pitt held the 2013-2014 John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Thought, during which time he was researching the history of Eucharistic praying. Pitt is actively involved in liturgical music ministry, currently serving as Organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church. He has led pastoral workshops and given organ concerts and recitals across the United States and in Canada.

Rev. Douglas Wathier, S.T.D.
Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Theology
Director of Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7013 | Douglas.Wathier@loras.edu

Fr. Wathier received S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with an emphasis on the transmission of revelation and the act of faith. He teaches courses in the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, including Character and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; The Once and Future Church; The Displaced Person: Human Dignity and Human Rights; Councils, Creeds and Culture; Belief and Unbelief and the Good Life; and Leadership Seminar for Social Justice. He also teaches christology and ecclesiology in the graduate program, offers J-term courses with travel in Germany and Italy. Fr. Wathier is the Director of the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, and serves as an instructor in the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Deacon Formation Program.

Fr. Wathier’s academic interests include Catholic Identity in Higher Education. He has been invited to give presentations about this topic at Arizona State University and Fordham University. He also has given a presentation about the reception of revelation and the clerical abuse scandal at Georgetown University.

John Waldmeir
Professor of Religious Studies
563.588.7966 | John.Waldmeir@loras.edu

Dr. Waldmeir teaches courses on religion and culture, sacred scripture, and world religions. A member of the Loras faculty for sixteen years, he has published four books, most recently Cathedrals of Bone, The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature. A fifth book on the contemporary Catholic Church in Ireland, is forthcoming. He has held the annual John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Studies twice at Loras, and recently won the Cardinal Newman Award for outstanding campus teaching and leadership.