Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

9/25 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: God-Talk and Public Leadership

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professor’s bio.

This week’s course is: “God-Talk and Public Leadership.”

 

Derek Woodard-Lehman, who teaches God-Talk and Public Leadership at PTS.

Dr. Derek Woodard-Lehman is the instructor for God-Talk and Public Leadership at PTS.

About God-Talk and Public Leadership

During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be engaging with public discourse about God in the class “God-Talk and Public Leadership” with Dr. Derek Woodard-Lehman. This course is open to students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theology (MTS) degree program.

This course will explore the intersection of Christian God-talk and public leadership within electoral politics, civic discourse, and social movements in the U.S. It will do so by drawing on a range of theological, philosophical, sociological, historical, and journalistic resources. This will enable students to assess the uses and misuses of religious rhetoric in public life as those uses shape concrete practices of Christian discipleship and democratic citizenship. The course will pay particular attention to dynamics of domination and liberation in African American struggles for racial justice from Abolition to Black Lives Matter.

By the end of the course, students will be able to interpret the Bible as Scripture in order to develop norms and principles for discipleship and citizenship. They will reflect on Scripture and tradition as resources for the public witness and social ministry of the Church. Students will also articulate Christian commitments in ways that are contextually sensitive and locally accountable to multiple publics, especially their own congregational and civic communities. Finally, they will reflect on their vocational formation and identity with respect to their roles as social, political, and moral leaders in their congregational and civic communities.

Assignments include required readings, classroom participation, two short essays concerned with textual and contextual analysis, and a final paper or project. The texts for this course will be Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies & the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas; Effective Organizing for Congregational Renewal by Michael Gecan; Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America by Wesley Hogan; Aldon Morris’s The Origins of the Black Civil Rights Movement: Communities Organizing for Change; and Barbara Ransby’s Ella Baker & the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. Additional readings will be provided to students.

 

About the Instructor

Dr. Derek Woodard-Lehman is lecturer in theology and ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. After studying at Messiah College, he received an M.A. from Geneva College, an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. A senior fellow of The Louisville Institute, he has previously taught at Lutheran Theological Seminary and the University of Otago in New Zealand. He has published many book chapters and journal articles about such topics as nonviolence, race, and Barthian theology and ethics. He speaks and lectures frequently at conferences, colleges, and churches.

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9/18 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: Greek Grammar I

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professor’s bio.

This week’s course is: “Greek Grammar I.”

 

Dr. Tucker Ferda, instructor of Greek Grammar I.
About Greek Grammar I

During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be learning about ancient Greek with Dr. Tucker Ferda in Greek Grammar class. This course fulfills a requirement for the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree and is also open to students in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) and Master of Theology (MTS) degree programs.

This course will introduce students to the basics of biblical Greek and to the tools necessary for translating and interpreting New Testament Greek texts. Students will start with the Greek alphabet and learn the rudiments of grammar and syntax. They will learn basic vocabulary and develop the ability to parse and to translate simple sentences from the New Testament.

By the end of the course, students will have mastered specific elements of ancient Greek vocabulary and grammar that are common in the New Testament. They will be able to translate some Greek passages from their textbook and from the New Testament itself. For many such Greek passages, they will be able to evaluate the authors’ grammatical and syntactical choices.

The required textbook for this course is S.M. Baugh’s A New Testament Greek Primer, 3rd edition. Course assignments will include frequent homework exercises in the textbook, weekly quizzes, and two exams.

 

About the Instructor

Dr. Tucker Ferda is assistant professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He previously served at PTS as visiting assistant professor and instructor. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also served as teaching fellow. In 2015, he was named a Regional Scholar of the Society of Biblical Literature, an award which “recognizes and promotes outstanding entry-level scholars.” In addition to teaching Greek Grammar, Dr. Ferda has expertise in a wide range of areas, including the Gospels, the life of Jesus, the Old Testament in the New, the history of biblical interpretation, Hellenistic Jewish literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the theological interpretation of Scripture. He is a frequent presenter at regional and national SBL meetings, and he has published more than a dozen articles in biblical studies journals.

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9/11 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: Justice and Pastoral Care

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professor’s bio.

This week’s course is: Justice and Pastoral Care.

Leanna Fuller teaches PTS students.

Professor Leanna Fuller teaches MDiv, MA, and Doctor of Ministry students at Pittsburgh Seminary.

About Justice and Pastoral Care

During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be learning about the connection between justice and caring practices with the Rev. Dr. Leanna Fuller in the class “Justice and Pastoral Care.” This course fulfills a requirement for the Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry and is open to students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), and Master of Theology (MTS) degree programs.

This course will explore the communal, intercultural, and systemic contexts of caring practices and the links between justice-making and pastoral care. Students will consider the ways in which communal dynamics such as injustice, exclusion, and conflict may shape individual experiences of suffering, both in congregations and in the communities of which they are a part.

By the end of the course, students will be able to articulate an understanding of pastoral care as a form of ministry that is situated within complex organizational and cultural systems—and narrate how this understanding challenges, supplements, or transforms their prior ideas about the nature of pastoral care. They will integrate insights from the course material with reflections on their own pastoral care experiences, with particular attention to the contexts of these ministry experiences. Finally, they will be able to describe their own emerging understanding of the proper relationship between practices of justice-making and practices of pastoral care.

Assignments will include required reading, classroom participation, reflection papers, blog posts, a public theology assignment, and a final integrative assignment. The texts for the course include but are not limited to Leah Gunning Francis’ Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community; M. Jan Holton’s Longing for Home: Forced Displacement and Postures of Hospitality; Emmanuel Y. Lartey’s In Living Color: An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Care and Counseling; Injustice and the Care of Souls: Taking Oppression Seriously in Pastoral Care, edited by Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook and Karen B. Montagno; and Chanequa Walker-Barnes’s Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength.

 

About the Instructor

A graduate of Vanderbilt University (Ph.D.), Vanderbilt Divinity School (M.Div.), and Furman University (B.A.), the Rev. Dr. Leanna Fuller is in her element when teaching about caring ministry. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, her most recent book is titled When Christ’s Body is Broken: Anxiety, Identity, and Conflict in Congregations (Wipf and Stock, 2016). Dr. Fuller has earned numerous fellowships, awards, and honors. She researches and writes about church conflict, and her book uses two case studies to examine the issue toward constructive outcomes. Fuller advises pastors to develop an intentional plan for dealing with congregational conflict—before the conflict arises! Some of the first steps, she says, include acknowledging that anxiety will be present in such circumstances and that the more serious the conflict, the more time it will take to resolve it constructively.

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