Theology | Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School

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Theology

The Theology Department of Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School assists in development and education of the soul, the heart, the mind, and the body of our students. As a Catholic institution, our mission is rooted in centuries of experience and tradition that is based on the life and message of Jesus Christ.

Tending to your developing values and needs, the theology curriculum includes a variety of religious experiences and courses that reflect the traditions of the Church and real life. Our community is invigorated by yours and your peers' unique faith traditions. The study of Scripture, World Religions, Catholic Social Justice, the Church and Its Traditions, Faith in Film and Literature (to name a few), are some of the courses in our strong academic portfolio. Teachers encourage and challenge you to incorporate your faith into your daily life. Our goal is to help you uncover for yourself the invitation to God’s love in your life and to assist you in accepting an invitation to understand your faith more deeply.

Four years (40 units) of theology are required for graduation.  Unless otherwise noted, no theology courses are UC-approved. 

Available Courses in 2018-19

Understanding Catholic Christianity
Semester Course; 5 Units

This foundational course, required for all freshmen, provides a common base upon which all future religion courses build. It provides an introduction to Catholic Christian beliefs and practices based on scripture and tradition. It includes a clear and integrated discussion of adolescent sexual development and of the present challenges students face in achieving identity in the context of Catholic Christian morality. Understanding that not all students are Roman Catholics, it is the goal of the course that each student achieves a competent understanding of Roman Catholicism and a substantial vocabulary to speak to matters of faith, spirituality, and the heart. Strategies employed in this course include lecture; large and small group discussions; individual and cooperative learning experiences; student presentations; research projects; assigned readings; reflective activities; and meditative prayer experiences.

This course is required of all freshman students. There are no pre-requisites associated with this course.

Hebrew Scriptures
Semester Course; 5 Units

The Hebrew Scriptures course charts a path in understanding the roots of faith found in the story of the Hebrew people and their covenant relationship with God. The Hebrew Scriptures represent a library of material that reveals the will and action of God throughout human history. From the beginning of its compilation, the Hebrew Scriptures have provided a benchmark of God’s salvific plan for humanity. The Hebrew Scriptures course illuminates God’s hand in inspiring the characters of faith that are found in the stories of the Hebrew Scriptures. These stories provide boundaries of moral codes that exist to this day. The bridge between the divine and the human are found in the advent message of hope that manifests in the person of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. Knowing the story of the Hebrew people and their relationship with God throughout history is paramount in living a faith-filled life.

This course is required of all freshman students. There are no pre-requisites associated with this course.

Christian Scriptures
Semester Course; 5 Units

At the heart of the New Testament is the person of Jesus Christ. This course addresses many scholastic traditions that make up the study and interpretation of the New Testament. The course also delves into the important questions: “Who is Jesus?” and “Why bother knowing Him?” The course will clarify both the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith to better appreciate Jesus’ influence in the past, the present, and the future. This Christological component of the curriculum highlights important Catholic Teachings regarding Jesus of Nazareth.

This course is required of all sophomore students. Students must have earned a passing grade in the previous year’s Theology courses in order to take this course.

The Church and Its Tradition
Semester Course; 5 Units

This is an overview of the history of Western Christianity.  In this course, the student will explore the core beliefs, doctrines, rituals, and customs of the Roman Catholic Church and their development over time.   Students will begin with an overview of the powerful civilizations that greatly influenced the Apostolic Church.  Christianity’s Jewish roots, its Greek philosophical and historical groundwork, and the great Roman Empire will begin our journey.  Specific writings and Church documents will serve as a springboard for discussion of the development of basic doctrine and sacraments within the historical context.  As students gain an exposure and appreciation of Christians from other eras they can better understand the current challenges of Christian living.  Catholic themes such as prayer (and its different styles), scripture, spirituality, the lives of the Christian saints, and martyrdom will be discussed within the context of an expanding church.  Central Catholic figures such as St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle, John Henry Newman, and St. Theresa of Calcutta will be researched and analyzed to understand their contributions to the fabric of Catholic history.

This course is required of all sophomore students.  Students must have earned a passing grade in the previous year’s Theology courses in order to take this course.

Christian Morality
Semester Course; 5 Units

This course is intended to guide students through an understanding of the Christian response to God through the way we live our lives. By evaluating the purpose of their lives, students deepen values and work to develop virtues. Solving moral dilemmas, investigating Church teachings, and critically analyzing specific controversial moral issues in our contemporary society help guide students to integrate their lives and actively advocate truth, goodness, and character development.

This course is required of all junior students. Students must have earned passing grades in the previous year’s Theology courses in order to take this course.

Philosophy of Good and Evil
Semester Course; 5 Units

This course introduces students to the wisdom of theology, philosophy, and the art of composing logical arguments. Students will be exposed to the ongoing conversations proposed by great minds such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and Kant. At semester end, students will have gained significant insight into the manner which brilliant thinkers, both Christian and non-Christian, seek to answer humanity’s eternal questions.  Additionally, students will be able to identify fallacies commonly used in formal arguments.

This course is required of all junior students and available to any senior student. Students must have earned passing grades in the previous year’s Theology courses in order
to take this course. This course is UC­ approved as a college­preparatory elective (“g”) course.

Religious Themes in Film and Literature
Semester Course; 5 Units

This course explores both religion and religious themes in the Catholic Christian tradition through the media of literature and film. This exploration offers students a unique way to search for religious meaning. Film and literature provide us with information, questions, choices, and challenging ideas that cause us to examine our faith, values, and the presence of God in our lives. This course explores specific themes of faith and spirituality using film and literature appropriate to these themes.

This course is available to any senior student. Students must have earned passing grades in their previous year’s Theology courses in order to take this course.

World Religions
Semester Course; 5 Units

Our world is a religious world.  Nowhere on earth can one escape humanity’s search for some sort of higher power.  On every continent, humanity has looked to find answers to questions like:  “Who am I?”   “What am I doing here?”, “Is there something bigger than what I see, feel or experience?”, and “What happens after life?”  The world’s religions attempt to answer these questions and give meaning to the existence of life as humans experience it.  From a Roman Catholic perspective, the course on World’s Religions surveys some of the great religious traditions and explores their theistic and non-theistic insights.  The course focuses on major world religions by presenting the characteristic elements of each.  The religions will be viewed each as living bodies that develop and evolve.  Students will analyze these religions from the context of origins and history, theology, and sacred writings.  Discussion will focus not only on what other religions say or write in books but on how adherents to their faith tradition live out their faith.  This course seeks an appreciation and understanding of the major world religions.

This course is available to any senior student.  Students must have earned passing grades in their previous year’s Theology courses in order to take this course.  This course is UC-approved as a college-preparatory elective (“g”) course.

Faith In Action
Semester Course; 5 Units

This semester-long (5 unit) course is required of all senior students. Students must have earned passing grades in their previous year’s Theology courses in order to take this course.

This capstone course represents the culminating experience of the core theology curriculum at SJND. The course is conducted as a seminar where students will be guided through the process of developing and implementing an individual senior capstone project, as they simultaneously explore social justice issues including ageism, global poverty, militarism and environmental concerns. Students will do in-depth research on a social justice issue of their choice, offer a proposal based on their research, then perform direct service in the community related to this issue, in an effort to lessen the effects of the chosen social justice issue. Students will develop skills for effective communication that will enable them to make presentations on their findings from their research and field experience to the broader community.

Faculty and Staff

Teaches: Christian Scriptures