Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Toledo

Introduction to Christian Belief (REL 2410)

Professor:  Richard R. Gaillardetz, Ph.D.
Scott Hall # 3004 (530-2055)

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the basic creedal commitments of Christianity, considering such concepts as creation and cosmology, notions of God, the place of Jesus Christ, sin, redemption, the church, the life of grace and eschatology. Christianity will be studied as a belief system that developed only gradually through history and which has been expressed within a number of different theological  and doctrinal frameworks.

Course Objectives

• To offer students a broad familiarity with Christian creedal commitments. 
• To help students grasp the rich intellectual diversity within Christianity regarding fundamental theological concepts.
• To provide students with a rudimentary grasp of key terms, concepts, historical events and persons sufficient to allow for a more in depth exploration of the Christian intellectual and theological tradition. 

Required Text:
McGrath, Alister E.  Theology:  The Basics. Oxford:  Blackwell, 2004.  ISBN:  1-4051-1425-8.

Course Assignments

• Students are expected to attend class.  Attendance will be recorded by way of a sign-in sheet that will be distributed at the beginning of class.  It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that they sign the sheet each class day.  Six absences will result in a two-step grade reduction (e.g., from ‘B+’ to ‘B-’) to the final course grade.  Ten absences will result in a grade of “F” for the course, since ten absences represents missing a full third of the course.  The only excused absences will be for 1) university sponsored events, 2) hospitalization or 3) death in the family.  I recognize that these exceptions exclude many important and worthwhile reasons for missing class including personal illness that does not require hospitalization or the illness of one’s children.  That is why students would be wise to hold some absences “in reserve” for those special situations. 
• Students are expected to do all the assigned reading.
• Students will write eight short one page focus papers in response to a set of questions that correspond to each chapter in the text.  These questions will be found in a handout provided at the beginning of class.  Students receive up to 5 points for each paper.  Any late submissions will receive a one point reduction.
• There will be a mid-term exam and a final exam.   Both will be comprised of a definitions section and short essay questions chosen from a list that students will be given at least two weeks in advance of the exam.    The terms and definitions are found at the end of the textbook. 

Grade Distribution

Focus Papers - 40 pts. (5 points each)
Mid-Term Exam - 25 pts.
Final Exam - 35 pts.

Last Updated: 8/8/17