Theology for all

What happens then when gifted theologians place themselves in service of people who are not pursuing a career in ministry but are asking deep questions, are open-minded, and are willing to read and engage intellectual material? Come and see! The Christian theological tradition is much less monotonous and stable than it may look from the outside. It has influenced for good and ill the history of the West to such a point that learning about it, aside from denominational constraints, can be utterly fascinating. Be ready to be challenged. Be ready to be surprised.

These seminar classes are topic-focused (as opposed to a survey course) and are geared to help the individual's search for meaning. Most classes meet four or five times for at least two hours.

Course topics 2020: Sexuality & Divine Desire, Women in the Bible, Atonement.


Seminar-format. Course fee ($100) does not include required texts. Some scholarships available.

(School of) Duccio, Crucifixion (ca.1315)

Manchester Art Gallery

Atonement, Violence, and the Cross of Jesus

March 14; April 25; May 23; June 27

9:00 am - 11:30 am


There is no doubt that the cross has shaped people’ s lives in positive ways – liberating them in ways they never thought possible and revealing a vision of love and compassion that gives hope in situations of suffering. For other people, the cross can be oppressive in that it serves to justify pattern of abuse through upholding silent suffering as redemptive or because it has been used as a symbol of racist or nationalist aggression. Indeed, one person may hold conflicting images of the cross that speak to different aspects of one’s experience – Marit Trelstad

Should Christians substitute the image of the cross in their churches with that of the empty tomb in the garden? And why should we focus on the last three horrible days of his life, rather than on the whole of it: his teachings, his healings, his defiance to the power of the Empire? This class examines the historical construction of the doctrine of atonement (i.e. the notion that Jesus Christ saves humanity through his death on the cross) not simply to justify its demise, but rather to explore the possibility of reframing it in non-violent and non exclusionary ways.

Required textbook: M. Trelstad (ed.), CrossExaminations: Readings of the Meaning of the Cross Today, Ausburg 2006.

Fee: $100; textbook not included but may be purchased at the Center for Spirituality.

Dates: March 14; April 25; May 23; June 27.

Room: Library