Pontifical School of Theology

Bachelor of Arts in Theology

151 credits
For students entering the program at the Sophomore level
(holders of a recognized Baccalaureate or Freshman diploma - equivalent to 30 credits)


Common Core
PHI458Contemporary philosophy I : The phenomenology
3 credits
The main objective of this course is to study phenomenological thought in two particular ways. The first one analyzes the principles of phenomenology, in the manner elaborated by Edmund Husserl. The second one brings to light the numerous manifestations of the phenomenological practice and its particular development by the French phenomenological school, which is essentially represented by M. Merleau­Ponty, J. Derrida, E. Levinas, M. Henry and J.­L. Marion.
PHI210Greek Philosophy
3 credits
This course is divided into two parts: the first part examines pre­Socratic sources that give students the proper tools to acquire philosophical thinking in their quest for the nature of things, and in their attempt to unveil both natural and human phenomena. It thus includes the main schools of thought such as the School of Miletus (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes), the Pythagorean school (Pythagoras), the Ionian school (Heraclitus), the Eleatic school (Parmenides), as well as the Sophists. The second part deals with Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
3 credits
Having originated within the context of biblical interpretation, hermeneutics was freed from its dogmatic and institutional limits to become a discipline that mediated and reconciled stylistics, trans­linguistics, word­for­word linguistics and dissertation analysis, as well as a reading of the world as text. It is the restoration and disclosure of meaning that interprets and identifies the significance of the written and spoken word. The course traces the journey that this discipline has made from Schleiermacher to Ricoeur, as well as Dilthey, Heidegger, Gadamer, Szondi, Jaussand and Appel.
PHI201Introduction to Philosophy
3 credits
The course will introduce students to philosophical thinking and practice. It will cover, on the one hand, the main philosophical currents, highlighting their specificity and their creative input and, on the other hand, the most representative authors in the history of philosophical thought. In an effort not to separate these themes and the fundamental questions of mankind, the course attempts to show the relationship that develops between the aforementioned notions, with the aim of addressing their impact on certain world views that constantly interpolate us within contemporary societies.
PSY201Introduction to Psychology
3 credits
This introductory course is also enrolled in general education as a prerequisite for students who will pursue psychology training. This course will provide students with the basic concepts in psychology and will facilitate their access to knowledge during their academic curriculum. It includes the following objectives: understanding psychology from a historical and a theoretical perspective (Gestalt, phenomenological, experimental, scientific, psychoanalytic and cognitive, etc.); understanding the various fields of psychology (clinical, experimental, developmental, educational, social, etc.) and the different methods used (experimental, clinical, psychometric, projective, etc.); providing an appropriate approach to personality issues - basic needs, affective and emotional (feelings, emotions), intellectual (cognition, memory) and social (social influence).
SOC201Introduction to Sociology
3 credits
This course provides a basic knowledge of general sociology: a) it presents an overview of the context of event­emergence of sociology on the basis of the main founders and focuses on the methodological perspectives and applied sociological methods and techniques; b) it focuses on the key principles of social themes, which description and definition have fueled the many debates that are changing this discipline within the vast corpus of scientific knowledge. This course provides the students with general sociology elements, sensitizes their "sociological perspective" and develops critical reflection on various social issues.
PHI420Logic and Philosophy of Knowledge
3 credits
This course initially outlines a perspective of language as an object of study that shows how much of the philosophy of the twentieth century developed as a "philosophy of language" (Analytic Philosophy). Secondly it deals with the general theoretical framework of the argument as a discursive act, based on the theory of acts of language (speech acts), that the two philosophers Longshaw John Austin and, later, John Searle paved the way for. Thirdly, general issues related to logic are discussed, and are treated by the induction and deduction master concepts - truth and validity. A brief discussion is given on the methods and endorsements of formalization. The formal approach is exemplified, when it comes to conducting the analysis and evaluation of simple deductive arguments, called syllogism.
PHI301Medieval Philosophy
3 credits
This course is designed to analyze the highlights of the thought of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart. We seek, from the analysis of the Augustinian singular experience of truth, to understand in depth the issues relating to the problem of knowledge, the metaphysics of inner experience, the self­certainty based on the truth of God inherent in our interiority, temporality and eternity and the unitive and tripartite constitution of the same soul to the constitution of the Trinitarian life in God. We will study, starting from a critical reading of the writings of St. Thomas, the themes related to the receipt of Thomistic Aristotelian heritage, the question of creation and the evidence of the existence of God, the question of analogy and the problem of knowledge. A contemporary reading of the mystic Meister Eckhart, which largely contributed to the emergence of German philosophical speculation, will be analyzed as well. The research will, at this level, tackle Eckhart’s unitive structure of knowledge and life, that animates the vital relationship between God and man.
3 credits
The purpose of this course is to present a reflection on metaphysics and its relation to primitive philosophy, which discusses, for example, "The science of Being as Being." It is divided into three areas. The first focuses on Aristotelian metaphysics. The second reflects upon the problems of the world, the soul and God, from the analysis of two antithetical philosophers, Leibniz and Spinoza. The third examines the different theories of the nineteenth and twentieth century, taking an in­depth look into the philosophies which were eager to put an end to metaphysics; philosophies which are attributed to Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Habermas.
PHI333Modern Philosophy
3 credits
The students will be introduced to two great philosophical currents, both stemming from the works of Francis Bacon, rationalism (Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza) and empiricism (Locke, Condillac, Hume), leading to Kant’s philosophy of knowledge ­ critical rationalism.
PHI447Moral and Political Philosophy
3 credits
The course aims to consider a reflection on the foundations and the meaning of democracy, in order to find the place of morality in politics; knowing that the two concepts "moral" and "politics" are written mostly in separation rather than in conjunction. This is how we can understand the great debates relative to moral and political philosophy, from the ancient Greeks ­ particularly those of Plato and Aristotle ­ until modern or contemporary times. Starting with an approach to these two concepts, the course is essentially questioning, on one hand, the need for the interaction of these two areas of morality and politics, and also that of their separation. Students will analyze in-depth the answer to these questions by drawing on texts of classical and modern philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Max Weber, Hannah Arendt and Julien Freund, who have pondered this topical issue.
PHI327Philosophical Anthropology
3 credits
The question “What Is Man?” is at the heart of philosophical questioning. Starting from the anthropocentrism need of philosophy, the course firstly explores the meaning of the question about the essence of man through its history, the challenges imposed by the cyborg, the computational world or gender theory (Gehlen, Leach, Butler, Blumenberg, etc.). The course questions the difficulties of defining the human being through current changes by building on the thinkers of classical humanism and post­humanism. Secondly, the course presents the basic categories of philosophical anthropology and offers a thorough analysis of the being­in­relation (or the human being-in­relationships) and discussion of political, social and cultural implications, with reference to contemporary thinkers of otherness (Levinas, Buber, Marion, etc.)
MTR222University Working Methodology
3 credits
This course will provide first year students in humanities with essential methods for the preparation of their work during the years of study at the University. These methods are common to all material and address different levels, ranging from exercises promoting correct educational attitudes in the introduction to the methods of work, the investigation of a text, and finally, to the mastery of speech essential to establish exchange with others, orally and in writing, and to assert with confidence and autonomy. In addition, the objectives of this course will address data essential for the design, drafting and the realization of research work.
THEO205Biblical Greek
3 credits
The course helps students learn New Testament Greek by teaching them the necessary linguistic foundations. The gradual approach aims to teach a translation method allowing to understand biblical texts. Based on Bible texts, the course covers the Greek alphabet and its distinctive features (diphthongs, accents), the cases in the Greek language (nominative, vocative, genitive, dative, and accusative), the article, nouns, prepositions, adjectives, and pronouns, along with verbs and verb tenses.

The objectives of the course include:
  • to familiarize students with the Greek text of the New Testament.
  • to teach students how to read a biblical text.
  • to acquire a basic vocabulary for translating a New Testament text.
  • to be able to understand Greek syntax.
THEO202Biblical Hebrew
3 credits
The aim of this course is to help students in their second year of theology (undergraduate studies) to read, translate, and parse texts from the Hebrew Bible in preparation for biblical exegesis. The course is based on the study of Hebrew grammar (morphology and syntax) using selected full texts from the Bible.
In the first level, Hebrew I, grammar is limited to morphology and noun properties, whereas in the second level, Hebrew II, grammar focuses on verbs. Practical exercises are given in class to deepen the students’ grammatical knowledge and enrich their vocabulary.
3 credits
This course aims to analyze the stakes and consequences of these advances for mankind, promote interdisciplinary research, and explore the main ethical issues raised by medical practice, striving to illustrate theory with practical examples. Philosophical and theological reflection is required to avoid basing behavior on purely scientific factors or on any specific circumstances.
The course analyzes the position of the Catholic Church, which appreciates and encourages biomedical research when it aims to prevent and cure disease, alleviate suffering, and promote human well-being, and which is not blind to the dramatic complexity of painful human situations.
THEO418Canon Law I: Institutions
2 credits
This course covers several topics, including the rights and duties of believers in Christ, of churches with special rights and how to belong to them and preserve their rites. It also deals with issues related to: the patriarchal vicariate, the patriarchal synod, the authority of the patriarch and synods outside the patriarchal realm; the patriarchal church and its synod; churches, episcopal presidia, metropolitan churches, other independent churches and churches with special rights, dioceses and bishops, the election of episcopal bishops, their rights and duties, auxiliaries and auxiliary bishops, the vacancy or incapacity of the apostolic president, auxiliary organs of the diocese; the diocesan diocese, which consists of the procurator general and private deputies, in addition to the parish pastoral council and clerks, the parish councilors, the parish council and advanced priests, parishioners, shepherds and their assistants, hexarchies and exarchs, and, finally, the conference of presbyterian presidents of several independent churches.
THEO424Canon Law II: Persons
2 credits
Under the title “persons” (323-583), the Canon Law II course covers three categories of Christian believers: the clergy (323-398), laypeople (410-583), and hermits and other monks and members of institutes of consecrated life (410-583). It begins by discussing the legal status of each of these three categories to better understand their rights and duties. The aim of this course is to study the organization of relations at administrative and pastoral levels, and to understand monastic organizations and their relations with the Church hierarchy, particularly with relation to caring for the souls of the faithful. To serve this objective, this course presents new perspectives for better cooperation among the three categories of Christian believers for the greater good of the Church.
THEO430Canon Law III: Marriage
2 credits
This course aims to enable students to read and understand a legal text, specifically on marriage, also strengthening their ability to prepare couples ahead of marriage and advise them over their married life and, eventually, in the challenging times following a potential separation.
THEO435Catholic Letters
1 credits
After a general introduction on Catholic letters and their introduction into Church canon, this course tackles the eight Catholic letters, presenting for each of them the author, recipients, place and date of writing, and literary affinity with other biblical and non-biblical writings. Special emphasis is placed on their individual doctrinal and theological significance.
The course uses a pragmatic, communication-based approach to study selected texts.
Far from merely passing this course with a good grade, the aim is to introduce students to biblical hermeneutics by proposing a “pragmatic” approach to exegesis, allowing for a new perception of reality, and appealing to their moral action.
THEO431Christian Anthropology
3 credits
Christian archeology is a multi-disciplinary science, the aim of which is to discover and study buried monuments and treasures related to the Christian faith. These monuments and treasures can be places of worship (such as baptisteries, churches, monasteries, cemeteries, or catacombs), liturgical objects or instruments (tools, vestments, furniture, minor arts). The objective of this field is to restore and preserve them for future generations (museology).
This requires knowledge of scriptural sources (paleography and epigraphy) and familiarity with the various visual religious representations in the fields of architecture, painting (iconography and sacred images), sculpture (such as ceramics, marble, and alabaster), metallurgy (such as mints), and various Instrumentum Domesticum from the early Christian era to the contemporary world.
This global vision of Christian archeology encompasses the main traditions (habits and customs) and rituals of Western and Eastern Christians. The course aims to take a closer look at the various monumental and minor artefacts found in the excavations of various Christian places of worship and used in liturgical celebrations and daily life.
THEO232Christology and Soteriology
3 credits
Starting with the Bible as a given norm and basis for any Christological thinking, Christology deals with the original experience of New Testament communities that Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God and Lord, taking into account the full extent of the New Testament’s witness to Christ, with its manner of relating the historical Jesus before the Resurrection to the risen Christ.
Then, as Christology creatively receives Christological dogmas, the dogmatic decisions of the major Church councils are a starting point for an ever-deeper knowledge of the mystery of Christ. Moreover, this course examines the contemporary Christological trends underlying any thinking about faith today and broadens into the modern Christian message.
By translating Christology into soteriology, the course demonstrates that personal communion with Jesus, through faith and following, realizes man’s aspiration to salvation. Whether in life or in death, Jesus is the only way to the Father. The various parts of the course always start from a basic text (biblical, patristic, or contemporary) to draw out the main ideas, initiate a short debate, and reach a practical conclusion.
THEO473Church in the Modern Age
2 credits
This course is an essay, or rather an attempt or historical approach to examining a prosperous and critical era of Church history, namely the modern time, spanning the 16th to the 20th century. This approach to a period that undeniably shaped the current structure of the Church is grounded in scientific, thematic, and sometimes event-based prospects.
The study of modern and contemporary history is full of lessons and experiences and remains a necessary tool today to understand the present in the context of the past and build a future based on solid experience or, to put it differently, on a collective historical consciousness.

THEO425Eastern Spirituality
3 credits
Human participation in the life of the Holy Trinity is at the heart of the Christian faith. Based on biblical and spiritual tradition, this course aims to deepen this statement, highlighting the essential dimensions of Christian spiritual life: experiential, Trinitarian, ecclesial, dynamic (journey towards union with God, stages of spiritual growth), and presenting key schools of Christian spirituality.
3 credits
This course aims to function as an initiation to Catholic ecclesiology as ultimately expressed in the documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), particularly in the dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium. In many ways, this constitution is an essential source of renewal for Catholic ecclesiology in keeping with the Bible and the undivided tradition of the Church.
At a time when the ecclesial dimension of the Christian mystery is progressively being replaced by an individualistic approach to faith in Jesus Christ, the main objective is to rediscover the nature and mission of the Church in God’s salvation plan based on an interpretation of Catholic ecclesiology, specifically as outlined in the Second Vatican Council’s Lumen Gentium.
THEO221Ecumenism and Ecumenist Dialogue
2 credits
Paragraph 10 of the Second Vatican Council Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio emphasizes the importance of teaching theology with due regard for the ecumenical point of view and underscores the ecumenical formation of future priests and missionaries. This course outlines the theological foundations of unity and gives an overview of the doctrinal history of the efforts made to restore unity in the wake of the various divisions over the centuries.
The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the theological foundations and historical issues related to the unity of the Church. Students are introduced to the doctrinal history, birth, and development of the Ecumenical Movement, as well as to the World Council of Churches and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, particularly the Decree on Ecumenism. The aim is to help our future priests acquire an ecumenical spirit at the service of the Church in the East.
3 credits
Eschatology now occupies a central place in theology. Even theology itself has become eschatological. Christian eschatology, writes Rahner, is “the doctrine of man as a being open to the absolute future, to God himself”, with the essential precision that what is at stake is “the future of man in all his dimensions”, both “as a unique, irreducible individual” (individual eschatology) and “as a member of a community” (collective eschatology). It is clear, as Laubier notes, that “eschatology is a question for everyone”, even though it has become, in Balthasar’s words, “the cornerstone of theology” since theology itself has become eschatological. This is why Barth went as far as to assert that “A Christianity that is not wholly eschatology and nothing but eschatology has absolutely nothing to do with Christ”. For Barth, “eschatology is a fundamental dimension for a correct understanding of the Christian mystery”. Nevertheless, as Birmelé points out, eschatology must be cautious, aware of its limitations, coherent, and at the same time imbued with a sense of pastoral concern.
Students are encouraged to explore different areas of eschatology through a systematic approach based on theological phenomenology. This working method involves questioning the truth of our hope, a truth grounded in the mystery of the Holy Trinity’s eternal love, which – according to Balthasar – “is so made in its very essence that its night, in the excess of its light, can only be glorified by adoration”.
THEO451Family Ethics, Sexuality, and Marriage
3 credits
In the light of the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, especially numbers 47-52 dedicated to the “nobility of marriage and the family”, the Catholic Church pays particular attention to the reality and challenges of marriage and the family. This is evidenced by Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968) and John Paul II’s series of Wednesday catechesis and his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981), as well as by the various documents of the Pontifical Council for the Family on issues proper to married and family life, the two Synods of Bishops (2014-2015) and Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (2016). All these events bear witness to the interest and concern shown by the Church in its mission with families. The pastoral character of these events is well highlighted by Pope Francis, who – while not neglecting the need to always announce the truth about marriage and the family – emphasizes the need to understand reality, to be open to difficult situations, and to abstain from easy, hasty judgments.
This long-term pastoral process is “difficult and complex”, yet necessary to help families walk with the Church amid their difficulties and conflicts.
This course is divided into three parts: marital ethics, sexual ethics, and family ethics, reflecting this pastoral approach with a view to raising awareness of the reality and the pastoral task before us.
THEO251Fundamental Moral Theology
3 credits
This course in fundamental moral theology deals with Christian action within a rational approach, drawing together Scriptures, tradition, the Magisterium, and human sciences in a contemporary context.
The course covers:
  • Biblical perspectives on moral theology.
  • the creative evolution of moral theology.
  • the fundamental principles of moral theology: freedom, responsibility, the will, good and evil in actions, conscience, the law, sin, conversion, salvation and revelation, and beatitude as the purpose of all Christian action.
  • the encyclical Veritatis Splendor and the document of the International Theological Commission on Natural Law.
  • new perspectives for moral reflection.
  • concrete examples to illustrate and enlighten reflection.
THEO220Fundamental Theology
3 credits
This introduction to theological study examines the foundations of Christianism, divine revelation, and faith. The course starts by explaining what theology is per se. Following a historical overview, it defines the nature, methods, purpose, and scope of reflection of theology, describing the various theological disciplines and focusing particularly on fundamental and dogmatic theology. Next, the course emphasizes Revelation, faith, and the study of the main theological concepts, including God’s Word, the living Tradition, and Church Magisterium, among others.
THEO373History of the Church in the Middle Ages
2 credits
The Middle Ages lie between antiquity and modern times, spanning almost a thousand years. During this extended period, the Church sought to unite the various peoples emerging in the West to form a united Europe. Enjoying a dynamic and youthful period with the Merovingians, its missionary activity was costly but fruitful.
The Church helped the Carolingians restore the Holy Roman Empire and create a “state” populated by Christians only to suffer the ravages of feudalism and the Reichkirche system between the 9th and 11th centuries, before liberating itself with the Gregorian Reform.
Finally, the Church attempted to oversee Europe’s expansion, particularly during the Crusades, but failed to restore unity with the Orthodox East.
THEO273History of the Church: Antiquity
2 credits
This course describes the development of the ecclesiological and dogmatic foundations of Church life in the first 8 centuries, as well as the emergence of the Byzantine, Eastern and Latin Church communities. Rather than merely presenting a list of dates and events, the course aims to help students grasp the major historical currents and dynamics at work during the period in question.
THEO485Human and Theological Virtues
3 credits
Today’s world is dominated by individualism and relativism, which lead human beings to seek their own personal good independently of the common good, thus alienating them from their fundamental vocation to love. It is therefore urgent to rediscover the teaching of virtue to ensure the proper development of the human conscience. This essential education enables students to distinguish between the real good associated with the realization of their call to love, and the love that translates into good. This course in fundamental moral theology aims to respond to this urgent need. Starting from the definition of virtue as “a habitual and firm disposition to discern and do good”, it strives to highlight the importance of these virtues, according to their nature and dynamics, for the realization of this fundamental human vocation to love. While explaining the difference and complementarity between theological virtues and human virtues, the course suggests ways of acquiring them and allowing them to guide daily human action.
THEO323Introduction to Liturgy and Sacraments
2 credits
Following the Second Vatican Council and the Sacrosanctum Concilium constitution, this course explores the meaning of liturgy as the prayer of Christ and of the Church, with a view to understanding its inner significance to better live it or bring it to life. It focuses on the ritual and symbolic language of the liturgy to grasp its importance and its repercussions on our life experience.
The course also draws on the history of the liturgy, particularly in the early centuries and the Church Fathers’ period, as well as on the roots of liturgy in the living tradition of the Church. Starting with the liturgical movement, it helps understand the focal issues of the Vatican II reform.
By tackling some of today’s more sensitive notions, such as the relationship with the sacred, the relationship with liturgical norms, or even the place of different cultures, the course delves deeper into how liturgy sanctifies time on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis.
THEO213Introduction to the Bible
3 credits
The main objective of this course is to learn about the events constituting the history of salvation in their respective context (geographical, social, historical, religious…), to discover how this history reached us orally and in writing, and to understand why it was set in a definitive canon.
THEO312Johannine Corpus
3 credits
This course is an introduction to the Johannine corpus, with particular emphasis on the 4th Gospel. It focuses on the texts as such, as well as on the various contexts in which they were written. To illustrate these testimonies of faith, the excerpts studied are placed in the historical context of their development and analyzed using the narrative and rhetorical strategies employed by the authors of a body of literature that is both communal and personal.
2 credits
This course outlines to students the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. At the behest of the Second Vatican Council and supreme pontiffs, it contemplates Mary “in the mystery of Christ and the Church”, emphasizing her relationship with her Son, her unique contribution to salvation, and her exemplary presence as an active force within the Church.
Students gain a knowledge of Church doctrine regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, allowing them to discern the difference between authentic and erroneous devotion to her and the truth underlying the various forms of distortion plaguing this doctrine by excess or by default. More importantly, the course indicates the way forward to contemplate and understand the supreme beauty of the glorious Mother of Christ.
THEO336Patrology of the Eastern Churches
3 credits
A return to the roots: to a certain extent, this expression summarizes the content of this course, which acts as an introduction to the thinking and theology of Eastern Church Fathers between the 1st and 8th century. The lectures focus on key fathers of the Church, using texts as documentation.
THEO411Pauline Corpus
3 credits
After an introduction dedicated to methodological issues, the aim of the course is to bring to light the sources, originality, coherence, and evolutions of Paul’s thought within the framework of his Letters.
THEO211Pentateuch and Historical Books
3 credits
This course examines the main themes of the Pentateuch and the historical books, drawing on other cultures (epic Mesopotamian poems) and disciplines (history and archeology). The texts are studied based on the narrative approach using the close reading method and the historical-critical approach.
The course aims, among others, to explain the various traditions found in the Pentateuch and historical books (the JEPD theory) and provide the tools needed to study any biblical text using the previously mentioned methods.
THEO412Psalms and Wisdom Scriptures
3 credits
Biblical wisdom is the art of knowing how to live and act in accordance with God’s will. It is born of reflection on the great problems of life and asks divine revelation about them. The course studies selected texts from the Psalms and wisdom books, with a view to gaining an understanding of this wisdom.
Intended as a primary aid to the critical study of biblical wisdom, this course seeks to identify its essential characteristics and highlight its fundamental biblical themes.
THEO225Sacraments I: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist
3 credits
This course aims to help first-year theology students acquire a taste for sacramental theology with the initiation Sacraments referred to in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “laying the foundations of every Christian life.” (CCC §1212). It focuses on two specific sacraments that constitute the gateway to Church life: baptism and confirmation, in addition to the Eucharist, which will be subsequently covered in detail in a dedicated course.
A detailed introduction develops the novelty of Christian initiation and its effects in the life of each baptized individual and is divided into five parts that cover the various stages of this initiation throughout history. Being a true journey, Christian initiation is not limited to an outward appearance. Rather, it is a true rite of passage requiring, in turn, an effective transformation of identity. Students are urged early on to grasp the importance of the free and commitment-laden decision of each believer who chooses to follow Christ.
Throughout this course, first-year theology students are familiarized with a specific theological vocabulary grounded in the Bible, especially the New Testament, the Church Fathers, and Magisterium. At the end of the course, they are able to understand the evolution of Christian formulation not only to retrace the history of these Sacraments, but also to discover though this journey the face of God, to refer to his divine Word, to have an enjoyable experience of the Church, to gain a broader understanding of the paschal mystery and Crucifixion as the foundation of Christian faith, and to expand the horizons of any Christian life to a new outlook renewed in Jesus Christ with eschatology as an ultimate aim.
Based on the ecclesial, theological, and ecumenical context characteristic of our school in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the course emphasizes the two major Church traditions in the East and the West, relying on the Catholic Church’s journey of faith and how Christian initiation is lived today. This stresses the importance of discovering or rediscovering the significance of preparing this initiation period on the theological and pastoral levels.
THEO305Sacraments II: Penitence, Anointing of the Sick, and Priesthood
3 credits
In the past, the faithful preferred to call the anointing of the sick “extreme unction”, as this sacrament was only administered to the dying. Practices have since evolved and another, more pastoral and lenient practice is now preferred by administering this sacrament to the sick and the elderly before they are on their “death bed”.
Today, in response to the pastoral needs of an ever-increasing number of sick people in our contemporary society, believers genuinely expect the Church to provide them with the grace of relief, attention, comfort, and moral and spiritual support in their illness.
However, the fact that anointing is no longer associated with the imminence of death has opened the way for new pastoral challenges, as some ask whether anointing is still related to death or whether it would be more appropriate to present it as a sacrament for illness in general, rather than for mortal illness. What is at stake eschatologically in this anointing? What is the true place of the body in the practice of this anointing? What is the place of grace and healing? The anointing of the sick remains a theological knot for the 21st century.
For this and many other reasons, this course begins with an analysis of the New Testament foundation for the practice of anointing the sick in the early Church, especially based on the Letter of Saint James (5: 14-15ff). This Scripture-based approach is then followed by a study of the history of the anointing process, both in the East and in the West. Students discover how theologians have interpreted Church praxis to understand its meaning. Concluding with an essential look at the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI, this approach allows for a fresh look at the meaning given by the Church to the “dehumanizing” aspects within the Body of Christ, namely sickness, suffering, and evil.
THEO351Social Ethics
3 credits
The field of social ethics encompasses all aspects of relations between members of the same society and between different societies. As a broad branch of moral theology, it covers a wide range of themes: How should we act, as believers, in the various sectors of social life? What moral values should we adopt to guide our behavior, reactions, and initiatives, among others, in society? How should we behave when faced with several alternatives? Which choice best reflects God’s will, as expressed in Sacred Scripture and tradition? The dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God, human rights, work as the key to the social issue, the universal destination of goods, the environment, the economy, peace (and wars in its various forms), politics (authority, the common good, democracy, the role of the State, its responsibilities and limits), and the place of the family in the social doctrine of the Church, among others.
The approach adopted is to reflect on man’s existence in society in the light of faith and ecclesial tradition, with a view to examining their conformity or divergence with the Gospel’s teaching on man.
The value of this course lies in the fact that it enables future priests to develop a pastoral strategy, providing guidelines for Christian behavior.
THEO212Synoptics and Acts of the Apostles
3 credits
This course covers the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, noting that the latter is the first volume of a work completed by the Acts of the Apostles, which must be studied to better understand the thinking of the third evangelist. Following a brief introduction to the synoptic issue and the adoption of the modified theory of the two documents, the course provides an overview of the Gospel according to Mark.
It then introduces the Gospel according to Matthew and studies the texts of its first two chapters, covering the narrative sections with particular focus on the five speeches of this gospel. Studying the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles is of particular importance, since both books were written by this same synoptic evangelist. The course offers a brief presentation of Luke’s main themes before presenting his whole works and highlighting the unity between his two books.
The critical reading of the synoptic books points to the key literary and theological characteristics of each evangelist. The method used in this synchronous approach is the critique of composition, a feature specific to the critique of the author’s writing with a view to discovering his theological thinking.
THEO331The Holy Trinity
3 credits
The Holy Trinity is a mystery, the mystery of the living God who is One and Triune: Father, Son, and Spirit. This Trinitarian confession is the Christian hallmark of discourse on God. The specificity of the Christian faith is rightly expressed in the paradoxical and problematic appellation of Trinitarian monotheism. If belief in the one and triune God cannot be interpreted as a break with Jewish monotheism, then how can divine unity and uniqueness be thought of in coherence with the entirety of biblical revelation? If God’s unfathomability makes him immune to the rationalist reductions that would like to capture his essence, is it possible to give an account of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit other than in a credo quia absurdum? These questions involve biblical theology, the history of dogma, systematic theology, and patristic theology. Following an introduction designed to show the place of Trinitarian theology in Christian dogmatics as a whole and a preliminary chapter dealing with Christian monotheism, the course is divided into four parts: biblical, historical, patristic, and systematic. The purpose is to explore the ever-actual “sites” of Trinitarian theology on their own grounds.
THEO311The Prophets
3 credits
The course consists of an introduction to the prophetic movement, one of the major theological currents in the biblical tradition. Beginning with an in-depth examination of the key features of the prophet’s personality and activity, as revealed in the texts, the course examines the various prophet books, focusing on excerpts chosen to illustrate the different prophetic literary genres. Far from being exhaustive, the course aims to help students acquire a certain familiarity with prophetic language and thinking.
THEO375Currents of Spirituality (Between West and East)
1 credits
THEO322Dimension Church Missionaries (EVANGELII GAUDIUM)
1 credits
This course aims to study the mission of the Church, with an emphasis on its missionary transformation as a Church on the move and pastoral work in transformation. In addition, the course will address the crisis of community involvement, particularly modern world challenges and the temptations facing pastoral workers. The focus, however, will be on the proclamation of the Gospel, homilies, and how to prepare for preaching. The course will also address the social dimension of evangelization, particularly the social and community repercussions of the kerygma, the social integration of the poor, the common good and social peace, and social dialogue as a contribution to peace.
THEO275History of the Ecumenist Movement
1 credits
THEO270Interreligious Dialogue
1 credits
3 credits
This course provides theology students with a general knowledge of the other main religion in Lebanon. Focusing first on Islamic religious books, including the Quran, Quranic interpretations, and the life of the prophet Mohammad (Seerah), it moves on to analysis based on recent scientific studies on the emergence of Islam and the revelation of the Quran. The objective is to offer students basic and accurate information on Islam to support a scientific and accurate Christian-Muslim dialogue.
THEO235Latin Language and Culture
3 credits
PHI326Philosophy of Nature
3 credits
This course starts by outlining an ontological approach to nature as an object of philosophical study for pre-Socratic philosophers and the ancient Greeks in general, as well as its development and meaning in modern times, evolving from an essentialist representation to a mechanistic view, and finally to a dynamic representation.
Next, the focus shifts to nature as an environment. Are there one or several conceptions of nature today? What values are derived from each conception? In this regard, key concepts, such as biodiversity, ecology, and ecosystem, introduce students to epistemological questions about the environmental sciences. This is followed by an ethical examination of the environment, based on the various models of relationship between human beings and nature-environment, namely biocentrism, anthropocentrism, and the sustainable development model. Key notions are developed within these models, such as utilitarianism, the philosophy of human rights, deep ecology, and the intrinsic value of nature.
THEO313Saint Ephrem
1 credits
THEO317Saint Jacob of Serugh
1 credits
1 credits
THEO240Syriac Language and Culture
3 credits
THEO370The Holy Spirit Among Priests
1 credits
THEO 465Theology of St. Thomas
2 credits
“Nothing but you, Lord.” (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
Searching for God remains a form of rational asceticism supported by faith, lived in an action that adheres to the Gospel and is nourished by the Sacraments. Following in the footsteps of the “Doctor Angelicus” means responding to what Saint Paul VI once said: “All of us who are faithful sons and daughters of the Church can and must be his disciples, at least to some extent!” This papal invitation sums up the reference to Saint Thomas Aquinas in philosophy and theology, as recommended by the Church, particularly in the Second Vatican Council and subsequently in the new Apostolic Constitution (Veritatis Gaudium) on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties.
Alongside the course on the philosophy of Saint Thomas, regarded by himself as the “handmaiden of theology”, this course follows in Thomistic footsteps, focusing on the Summa Theologiae, starting with the search for God and culminating in the meaning of the beatific vision of God himself.
Seminar Capstone
THEO490ADe Universa Exam
3 credits
1. The De Universa jury is composed of three members teaching respectively biblical theology, dogmatic/sacramental theology, and moral theology.
2. The ordinary session of the De Universa exam is usually held at the end of the last semester of the fifth year.
3. Any student who has not validated all the credits required to obtain the canonical baccalaureate is not entitled to sit for the ordinary session of the De Universa exam.
4. Each student must take the one-hour De Universa exam before a jury. They are required to give an explanatory, comprehensive, global, and logical oral presentation on the required theme (with a supporting outline if they so wish), and to answer questions on the theme as such or on the general theological knowledge which they are presumed to have already acquired.
5. The student reports to the school secretariat 48 hours ahead of the exam date to randomly draw a subject. Each subject is made up of three parts: biblical, dogmatic, and moral (with the option of drawing three subjects and choosing one).
6. The grade required to pass this exam is 70/100.
7. Any student who has taken this exam and scored less than 70/100, and who wishes to obtain the Canonical Baccalaureate in Theology, has the right to take this exam again, for one time only, in May of the following year. In this case, they must register with the school in the Spring Semester.


The Canonical bachelor degree in Theology is a five-year basic program. It aims to impart a solid philosophical education, which is a necessary propaedeutic for theological studies, and to offer an organic exposition of the whole of Catholic doctrine, covering a coordinated presentation of all the disciplines, along with an introduction to theological scientific methodology.

Program Educational Objectives

1. Graduates will acquire a deep understanding of the entire catholic doctrine grounded in divine revelation, which allows them to gain nourishment for their own spiritual life, and to announce and safeguard it in the exercise of the ministry.
2. Graduates will acquire a personal theological synthesis, a mastery of the method of scientific research and thus be able to explain sacred doctrine appropriately.
3. Graduates will be ready to fulfill pastoral ministry and other functions in the Church, especially in the administration of a parish, in catechetical and homiletic skills, in divine worship, and particularly the celebration of the sacraments.

Student Learning Outcomes

a. Ability to understand major philosophical systems, especially those which exercise a greater influence in the region, and to discern what is proven to be true therein and detect the roots of errors and refute them.
b. Ability to understand the characteristics of the contemporary mind, and enter into dialogue with men and women of today.
c. Ability to read the Holy Scriptures in their original languages.
d. Ability to explain biblical texts according to a valid method of exegesis and in the light of a comprehensive view of the whole of Sacred Scripture.
e. Ability to announce in a suitable way the teaching of the Gospel and of the doctrine of the Catholic Church to the people of today in a manner adapted to their understanding.
f. Ability to exercise a pastoral ministry in the Church.
g. Ability to understand doctrine of non-Catholic Churches and non-Christian religions and enter into dialogue with them.
h. Ability to examine theological questions by their own appropriate research and with scientific methodology.
i. Ability to go on to the second cycle and pursue higher theological studies.
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Tel.: (+961) 9 600 000
Fax : (+961) 9 600 100
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