Faculty of Arts 

Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

Course Description

RELS 101 Introduction to Theology(Cr. 3)

The course introduces students to the main areas of Christian theology. It encourages thinking in theology which does not separate theory and practice, nor academic and internalized theology. It also introduces students to the study of religion and to the methodology of such a study.  It provides a basic knowledge and understanding of the specific characteristics of the major world religious to the philosophy of religion, it provides basis for theology and religious studies.


RELS 102  Foundations in Philosophy  (Cr. 3)

The course introduces students to Greek philosophy and its development in Arab and European philosophies.  It examines the main currents of thought regarding the Christian faith through a historical outline of philosophical thinking from the Middle Ages to the present day.  It discusses the relation of the Christian faith to philosophical positions and contemporary  problems.


RELS 104 The Old Testament1 (Cr. 3)

This introduction familiarizes the student with the Old Testament. It presents the historical and cultural background of the Old Testament as well as methods of interpretation. The course then focuses on the reading of the four parts of the Old Testament – the Pentateuch, the Historical Books, the Wisdom Books and the Prophets – emphasizing the coherency of the Old Testament as a primary witness to the history of salvation.


RELS 200 Synoptic Gospels (Cr. 4)                                         

This course offers a careful reading of the Synoptic Gospel and discusses the different methods of Biblical criticism today.  These are: critical-historical and literary methods, psychological and sociological approaches, philosophical and theological methods. This course ensures that students understand the relationship between the one Gospel and the four expressions of it.  It explores some of the major themes of the Gospels and the particular perspective of each Gospel writer in his time.


RELS 206 Liturgy (Cr. 3)

This course explores the origin and meaning of the central Christian rituals which are rooted in and expressive of the nature of the human person and the nature and purpose of the Christian community. It provides the foundations for answering questions on  symbols and rituals,  sacraments, sacred space and time.  It discusses contemporary issues such as baptism of infants, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, mixed marriages and re-baptism, etc..


RELS 207 Catechetic and Old Testament (Cr. 3)                                   

This course focuses on questions, of creation, sin and violence, the history of salvation, the election of Abraham to the Jewish people, the Messianic promises, the covenants, and the role of prophecy and prayer. The course aims at helping the religious educators to deal with contemporary problems raised by the Scriptures.


RELS 208 Old TestamentII (Cr. 3)

This course will help the student continue his/her discovery of the Old Testament, building on the course “Introduction to the Old Testament”. Three specific issues will be dealt with in the reading of the Old Testament. The first issue is that of the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament and the fundamental unity of the Christian Bible. Finally, a third issue will be the contemporary debate about reading the Old Testament within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (understanding the Old Testament categories of election, covenant and land).


RELS 209 Ethics I (Moral Theology)  (Cr. 3)   

This course explores the nature of morality from a Christian perspective. It provides a basic introduction to the study of Christian ethics. It discusses the vital questions which shape the Christian meaning of life, i.e. human conscience, liberty, behavior, the teachings of the church on marriage, the family and medical ethics.


Rels 214  School Dynamics (Cr. 3)                                               

This course aims to provide students with necessary information and abilities for creating a positive atmosphere inside the classroom. This is to promote the student’s ability to cooperate with others, and to face, confidently, the requirements of life. Consequently, this course answers the following questions: which elements do we need to promote for the development of the students personalities? How are we do this?


RELS 215  Christian Education in the Mission of the Church (Cr. 3)

This course aims to define the importance of Christian education in the general mission of the Church, and to clarify its nature, specifications, aims and goals, duties, means and instruments, and the organizational structures related to these. It seeks to relate Christian education with the education program of the school in general and the Christian school in particular. It aims to evaluate the   different aspects of this educational reality in order to better specify new needs and obstacles. This course also studies the place of Christian education within the educational policy of the Palestinian Ministry of Education.   


RELS 220 Christian Doctrine (Cr. 4)                                      

This course introduces the students to the major truths of Christian teaching on God, creation, revelation, redemption, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the sacraments, Mary, and eschatology.


Rels 221 Church History I (Cr. 3)

East and West until 1400 A.D. This course aims to give students an understanding of the development of Christianity as it rooted itself in the Mediterranean world. It considers the interaction of ideas and particular historical settings in relation to the spread of Christianity. It investigates the events which shaped Christian life in the first fifteen centuries and examines Christian self-identity.


RELS 222 ChristianSpirituality (Cr. 2)

This course deals with the nature and definition of the spiritual life. Emphasis will be placed on an understanding of God as personal and one with whom a personal relationship is possible. Examples will be studied from the Bible, e.g. Abraham, Mary, and the Apostles. Also living in the spirit as presented by Paul will be of central concern. The challenge for spirituality in today’s world will be explored and the students will be challenged to develop a contemporary personal spirituality.


RELS 226   Arab Christian Patristics (Cr. 2)

The course aims at presenting the rich heritage of Arab Christian literature which began in the eighth century in Palestine.  It reflects on the process of Arabization of theology in the Muslim context and reviews several of the original theological compositions that were written in Arabic.


RELS 227  The Holy Land (History and Archeology) (Cr. 3)           

This course enables the students to know the Holy Places in connection with the Bible in order to include this experience in their lives and in their religious teaching. This course includes an introduction to the spirituality of the Holy Land its geography its monuments, its traditions by means of excursions to the Holy Places  in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Galilee.


RELS 274  Curriculum Formation (Cr. 2)

This course is concerned with developing the skills of the students to form curricula for catechesis in schools and parishes. The course focuses is on the General and specific educational goals and how practically to achieve them, by choosing and organizing subject matter, method, audio-visual means of presentation and activities according to age groups.  


RELS 300  Cultural Religious Studies (Cr. 3)                                            

This is a University required course taken by students who choose it in their fourth year. It focuses on the three major religions in the area: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It presents their history, beliefs, moral precepts, feasts and rituals in view of reaching a deeper and unbiased appreciation of their roles in contemporary society.

This course is not required for students majoring in religious Studies.


RELS 301  The Johannine Writings  (Cr. 3)                                       

The course involves a careful reading of John's Gospel, and assesses the contribution of the Fourth Gospel to the development of Christian thought. It examines the Johannine Letters and the Book of Revelation with special attention to the teachings of these works and the contexts in which they were composed.


RELS 302  Islam: Faith and Practice (Cr. 2)                                            

This course aims at developing the students’understanding Islam.  It helps students to explore the dimensions of Islam, especially the ritual and ethical dimensions.  As a contemporary and historic phenomenon.


RELS 304 Church History II (East & West from 1500 until Today)  (Cr. 2)

This course addresses the major historical and theological questions raised by certainperiods after the Reform. It provides a framework of information about the events, personalities and movements associated with Christian theology in those periods, and it promotes a critical knowledge of the literature available on the relationship between Christian thought and practice, and the cultural history of the period.


RELS 305  St.Paul’s Writings  (Cr. 3)

The course promotes an understanding of the contribution of Paul to Christianity. It enables students to appreciate the nature of Paul’s sense of his apostolic authority, and to evaluate the significance of the epistolary communication between Paul and the recipients of the Letters.


RELS 306  Judaism (History, Faith and Practice) (Cr. 2)

This course aims to introduce the student to the Jewish religion to discover its many dimensions in rituals and  ethics, the historical development of Judaism from the Biblical period to the present day.  It will focus on basic issues in Jewish religious faith and practice as well as contemporary questions.


RELS 307  Ethics II (Special Problems)  (Cr. 2)                                

This course aims at presenting special contemporary social ethical problems in personal and professional life, on both local and international levels. It explains the Church's social teachings it helps students deal with the complex relations between the general background and ethical principles on the one hand and vital truths in contemporary life in various different cultural areas on the other hand. These vital truths are: society, human rights, social Justice, right of ownership, state and authority, its rights and obligations, concepts of war and peace. At the end it gives an idea about the three theological virtues.     


RELS 308  Catechetic and New Testament (Cr. 3)                                   

This course aims at dealing with contemporary problems in the New Testament from the View point of the following subjects: Jesus, Paul, Jad John as religious educations, adapting their teaching to different background and hopes. Thus it deal with issues of faith and reason, methods of interpretation, respect for church tradition and community building.  


RELS 311  The Educational Triangle: The Parish, the Family and the School  (Cr. 3)  

This course aims to deepen religious education in the three basic areas of Christian life: the parish, the family and the school. It studies the capabilities of each of these areas, defines their specifications, limits, and how they complement one another, by working together in coordination. It also aims to do research on other areas of religious education, such as Sunday schools, associations, and movements.


RELS 312   The Religious Educator (Cr.3)    

This course aims to demonstrate the role of the Church as a whole in the process of religious education, and to clarify the various roles of those concerned: bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay people. It concentrates especially on the religious educator: his or her identity, qualifications, spirituality and role in the Church. This course aims at enabling the educators to perceive themselves in their specific roles and missions in the Church and the community. It also intends to develop their human, spiritual and ecclesial character so that they can take greater responsibility in this vital area as teachers, educators and witnesses.


RELS 380: Religious Education and Different StagesofLife (Cr. 3)

This course aims to study the development theory. It focuses on the characteristics of human development in the different stages of life from (childhood to youth). It analyses the elements of religious experienceand its expressions problems during these various stages. Observations inside classrooms compose one third of this course. Students will be asked to work at projects with the supervision of the teacher, to keep the students to develop through the various stages.


RELS 401  Christology  (Cr. 4)

This course aims at presenting the history of Christian understanding of Christ, through the issues underlying the major Christological councils, down to the problems and insights of contemporary Christology. It helps students to be aware of the diversity of opinion in contemporary Christologies against the background of the authoritative positions on Christ taken by the Church.  It aims at helping the student to develop tools of analysis for evaluating different approaches to Christ, and to explore aspects of contemporary and traditional Christologies which relate to personal and social experience.


RELS 403  Selected Topics  (Cr. 3)                                                           

Major students are required to do a dissertation in their fourth year. A student pursues a topic in Religious Studies under guided supervision. Evaluation is on a study of 5,000 words.  The precise area to be investigated is arrived at by consultation between the student and an appropriate tutor. The students present their final work before thr teacher and class for discussion abd evaluation.


RELS 405  Foundations in Pastoral Theology (Cr. 2)   

The course introduces students to the basic theory, principles and attitudes necessary for effective pastoral ministry within an appropriate theological framework. The students lesson how of how social, economic and cultural factors affect the practice of ministry. This course aims at exploring the dynamic interaction between the church pastoral work and the problems of social justice, and the related moral issues and spiritualty.


RELS 406  The Church (Cr. 3)                                                              

This course aims at exploring the various stages of the self-understanding of the Christian Church, as expressed by the different churches that we know today. It aims at helping the student to reflect critically on the relation between Christ and the Church, which he has sent into the world to preach and witness to the Kingdom of God. The course presents, from an ecumenical perspective, selected issues of ecclesiology that have a strong influence on the modern world and contemporary regional society. The course is concerned with local, regional and international initiatives and commitments in the ecumenical movement.


RELS 408 : The Content of the Religious Education (Cr. 3)

This course aims to study the content of the religion  curricula available in the area with regard to doctrine Liturgy and moral issues. The basic doctrinal content is our faith in Jesus Christ, and haw we live our moral lives according to his teaching, as we celebrate him in our liturgy. The course corresponds to the curricula as agreed upon by the ecumenical committee and the Palestinian Ministry of Education

Bethlehem University Foundation
Email: dc@bethlehem.edu
Phone: +1-202-526-6097
Fax: +1-202-526-6096
Washington, DC USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
E-mail: info@bethlehem.edu
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine

Follow us

Subscribe to our eNewsletter   Follow us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our YouTube channel   View our Flickr Photostream