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MASTER OF THEOLOGY ADVANCED COMPETENCY FOR FAITHFUL INTERPRETATION
Class Type
16-week courses, 100% Online
Start Date
September 1, 2021
Accreditation
0
Credit Hours
0
Weeks

Agora University is offering a Master of Theology (M.Th.) in Orthodox Theology. Candidates for the M.Th. must successfully complete the first three terms of Graduate courses in Orthodox Theology

The candidate will then start research under the guidance of an advisor. The candidate will be expected to submit a research thesis of about 14,000 words in one term.

The MTh program is 36 credit hours (27 Courses + 9 Thesis). The program is tailored to young professionals who have busy schedules yet are able to dedicate 10 to 15 hours of reading and writing per week

The program is designed to engage with roots of Eastern Christianity and make them relevant to our contemporary challenges. For full-time students, the program of study is 3 courses per term for 3 terms.

For part-time students, the program of study is 2 courses per term for 5 terms. Each course is 16 weeks and requires an average of 2 research papers.

The M.Th. program is designed to offer a general introduction to Oriental Orthodox theology through the introductory graduate level study of church history, dogmatics, scripture, patristics, spirituality and liturgics. In addition to three semesters of academic study, students are afforded the opportunity to write a master thesis in a specialized area of study.

The MTh program outcomes are intended to prepare students to:

  • Demonstrate a broad familiarity with Orthodox theology and history as expressed by the Orthodox Christian faith and tradition.
  • Articulate a holistic understanding of the Orthodox religious heritage.
  • Think theologically and critically about the Orthodox Christian tradition both historically and within contemporary church and society.
  • Communicate coherently, effectively, and persuasively in writing.
  • Construct in a thesis a coherent, sustained theological argument in an area of specialized study.

COURSES OFFERED

Master of Theology courses are research-based, involving regular meetings with the professor for guidance and evaluation. The guided research and reading is adapted to the specific goals of each student.

COURSE LIST

This course explores an introductory discussion of the nature of theology. The aim of this course is to highlight the two-fold nature of theology both as an encounter of the human soul/heart and an expression of the human mind. Basic and fundamental themes and concepts of Orthodox theology will be discussed. Various sources, resources, and methodologies will be discussed to show the inner- coherence of theological loci and their relevance to everyday life.

This course provides a survey of the history of the Christian Church from an Orthodox perspective from the coming of our Lord to the Council of Chalcedon (451). Topics to be covered include the Apostolic period, the Early Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils, and the development of the Church’s ecclesiology noting the beginnings of East-West divergences.

Here the student is introduced to the subject of Liturgical theology, Liturgical science and traditions. The readings emphasize the integral character of Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist constituting together the beginning of the Christian life. Also, it emphasizes the understanding of sacrament or mystery as an action of the Church, rather than a “private” rite. The course also focuses on the sacraments of penance, unction, marriage, and holy orders as well as on the liturgical services of Vespers, Matins, and the Eucharistic liturgy. It focuses on how the prayer of the Church transfigures the life of the Christian.

This course provides a survey of the Old Testament within the context of Orthodox Christian theology as well as modern biblical criticism. The course content is divided into three parts, each focusing on different aspects of Old Testament studies: Part 1 focuses on the introduction to Old Testament studies as they are presented in the modern era; Part 2 is a (re)reading of the major portions of the Old Testament in light of the modern scholarly conversation; Part 3 looks at Byznato-Chalcedonian approach to the Old Testament in the modern era as a dialogue partner with our own Orthodox tradition within the non-Chalcedonian communion.

Council of Chalcedon to the present day by tracing key historical events and themes to gain a better understanding of the Oriental Orthodox Christian tradition and its legacy in the Middle Eastern religious mosaic. The examination of this trajectory provides an opportunity to delve into the Oriental Orthodox viewpoint of Christian history. Participants analyze historical themes in order to strengthen their knowledge of and develop an appreciation for this tradition.

A survey of the New Testament, this course covers the life and redemptive work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the early development of the Church through the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles. Readings outside of scripture set the historical background for the reading of the primary texts.

The purpose of this course is to help the student understand the basics of pastoral care, with an emphasis on “foundations,” covering both theories and types of personalities and various methods in pastoral care. It will also help the student to discern the most important elements of the Spiritual life in the Eastern Christian experience. The course will highlight the importance of prayer and encounter as a key to theology and the different aspects of spiritual life.

This course surveys the Church Fathers of the East and the West. Despite the emphasis of the course on the Fathers who wrote in Greek and Latin, it will touch on the Fathers who wrote on other languages like Syriac, Coptic, and Arabic. This Course also introduces the student to the historical context of the various Church Fathers. It also aims to give biographic information about those Fathers, their writings, how their thoughts were shaped, and what contributed to their formation. It then explores the literature of the various Fathers, the specific characteristics of each of them, and the contribution of the literature on the overall Christian thought that was preserved by the Church. Introducing the Patristic literature would require us to be introduced to the heretical teachings that urged the Fathers to confront them by their orthodox teachings.

This course explores the theological evolution of Christian Mission with particular emphasis on Orthodox theology of mission. It provides an account of multiple ranges of biblical, theological, and liturgical perspectives of the theology of mission. By analyzing the works of Orthodox mission theologians, the course explains the relevance of the Orthodox mission theology in today’s global and local contexts. It furnishes relevant missional narratives from various historical contexts for illustrating the Orthodox mission practices. The course also examines the salient features of mission theology in other Christian traditions to encourage a more comprehensive understanding of the theology of Orthodox Christian mission.

Students will research, write and submit their 14,000-word Master thesis under the guidance of a supervisor from the Faculty. The University will assign a second reader. Typically, students have six months to complete and submit the dissertation.

The Master’s thesis concludes the Master’s program. The preparation and supervision of the thesis both take place during the last term. Initially, students will develop a research question for their thesis with feedback from fellow students. For this purpose, they will decide on a research method and topic that corresponds with their Master’s specialization and they will develop this into a preliminary draft. The next step is to find a supervisor with expertise in the chosen subject or the chosen research method. Students complete these steps individually. The Master’s thesis is completed at the end of the last semester.

FACULTY

Our faculty in the Master of Theology program have decades of professional experience as scholars in their fields of expertise, and they are committed to helping students become excellent researchers and teachers.

Fr. Andreas Andreopoulos, Ph.D.

Visiting Professor of Church History

Brian Butcher, Ph.D.

Visiting Professor of Liturgical Theology and Early Christianity

Emmanuel Gergis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Dogmatics and Systematic Theology

Mary Ghattas, Ph.D. (ABD)

Assistant Professor of Church History and Coptic Studies

Fr. Mebratu Gebru, Ph.D.

Visiting Professor of Liturgical Theology

Michael Wingert, Ph.D.

Dean of Holy Transfiguration College & Associate Professor of Old Testament and Syriac Studies

Michael Armanyous, M.D.

Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spirituality