CTS is the home of several centers of focused study on specific topics. The centers offer course tracks for participating students, research opportunities, and host community-wide programming to raise awareness and educate the seminary community. Follow the links below to learn more about each center and how they can enrich your seminary education.
The Center for the Study of Black Faith and Life:
The Center for the Study of Black Faith and Life (CSBFL), founded in 2007, is the first Center within a denominational seminary to seek connection with the larger Black Faith community inclusive of a variety of Black religions. The CSBFL is dedicated to inspiring and encouraging religious leaders committed to addressing the forces of oppression and dehumanization that plague the African American community and the world.
C. Shelby Rooks Lecture
Named for the first African-American to serve as president of a predominately white theological school, the C. Shelby Rooks lecture launches a series of programs, open to the community, that invites individuals and communities, lay, clergy, and scholars to engage in religious and theological reflection on issues relevant to African-American faith, freedom, and justice. Join us as we work to complete the work begun by C. Shelby Rooks. Learn more about the C. Shelby Rooks Lecture.
Degree & Non Degree Programs Concentrations
The CSBFL participates in ministerial and professional formation by offering Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy degree concentrations in the Study of Black Faith and Life. All degree candidates are required to take TEC 390- Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life. The number of electives required to fulfill the concentration requirements are determined by degree program.
As a CSBFL candidate, you are free to negotiate topic foci for work to be submitted when taking core courses, but such negotiations will not constitute fulfillment of the number of elective courses required for a degree concentration in the Study of Black Faith and Life. In addition to the courses offered at CTS, a candidate may work toward the fulfillment of elective requirements by taking ACTS courses pre-approved by the CSBFL director.
To earn a concentration in the Study of Black Faith and Life, degree candidates have the following requirements:
- M.Div.: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and seven (7) CSBFL electives.
- STM: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and three (3) CSBFL electives.
- Ph.D.: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and an approved Program of Study.
- Certificate in Theological Studies: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and four (4) CSBFL electives.
Affiliated Faculty of the CSBFL are scholars with expertise in the full range of religious studies and theological disciplines and have a fundamental commitment to research and reflection upon all aspects of African and African American life. They support the Mission, Vision, and Commitment Statements of the CSBFL, which is dedicated to nurturing and mentoring a new generation of activists who will engage in ministries of liberation and justice. They are available to consult with and offer thesis direction to Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy students who are committed to earning a degree with a concentration in Black Faith and Life. On occasion, a CSBFL Affiliated Faculty may be invited by Chicago Theological Seminary to guest lecture, teach a course as an Adjunct Faculty, write and evaluate a comprehensive exam, and/or examine a Ph.D. dissertation.
RH 480 - Martin, Malcolm, and Civil Religion
This course will explore the structures and parameters of civil religion in America by studying responses to its presence and influence found in the speeches, articles and addresses of significant Americans.
RH 481 - African American Religious History
This course will survey the history and development of the variety of religious experiences of African Americans from 17th to 21st centuries.
Theology, Ethics, and Culture
TEC 306 - African American Religion, Theology, and Spirituality
Course will explore the religious beliefs of African Americans, with attention on the spirit of accommodation that has inspired works of freedom and justice. Topics: retention of African religions and symbols, the Black Church, nationalism, and Africentrism.
TEC 413 - The Theology of the Body
Theodore Jennings or JoAnne Terrell
How has Christianity come to be associated with the denigration of the body? What are resources in tradition for a theological re- appropriation and celebration of the body?
TEC 415 - Feminist Theologies in Multicultural Context
Intro to norms, historical developments, challenges of tradition, social location, white privilege, experience, ideas of divinity, post- Christian and post-colonial critiques in contemporary feminist theology. Emphasizes critical evaluation/theological construction.
TEC 416 - Feminist/Womanist Theory and Hermeneutics (HS 516)
We will examine some feminist and womanist strategies for understanding and thinking critically about intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class with an eye toward their impact on ministry, social action, and public theology.
TEC 437 - Psychology of the Oppressed and Liberation Theologies (HS 537) Lee Butler Course will consider the experiences of race, class, and gender oppression. Phenomenological positions will be critiqued psychologically to understand liberative theological motivations. Works from Latin American, womanist, feminist, and black theology.
TEC 486 - The Black Church & the Nation of Islam
Analyzes love and rage as rhetorical theological imperatives as responses of the church and the Nation of Islam to systemic racism and political disfranchisement of African Americans. Examines the role of women in each institution.
TEC 495 - Dialogue Among Religions
Bo Myung Seo
The course will investigate the possibility of interreligious dialogues and their practical consequences.
TEC 504 - Augustine, Niebuhr, & Malcolm X
We will review the ideas of these three highly influential thinkers about the nature of sin in human existence and those qualities of human beings requiring redemption, giving special attention to the theme of sin as pride and sensuality.
TEC 510 - Womanist and Feminist Christologies
A seminar examining servanthood vs. surrogacy, the Black Christ and the historical Jesus Christ and Christa and atonement and abuse.
TEC 540 - Theology and Cultural Analysis (HS 540)
Bo Myung Seo
The course will first examine different theologies of culture in terms of how they see the relation between theology and culture and then examine different ways of reading the contemporary Western culture theologically.
TEC 570 - Ritual, Sacred Space and Healing (HS 570)
An examination of the role of ritual leadership in healing. Both religion and psychotherapy will be examined. Victor Turner's work will be considered.
TEC 580 - The (De)construction of Homophobia
A critical history of the construction of homophobia within Christendom and an analysis of concomitant deformations in doctrine and church life lays the foundation for counter- homophobic practice.
TEC 591 - Approaching Islam Laurel Schneider This seminar will provide an introduction to another Islam through selective study of sacred texts and theologies in order to build understanding as a basis for interreligious dialogue.
CM 307 - Africentric Christian Education
This course will explore the historical, theological, biblical and pedagogical foundations of Africentric Christian education and the implications they have on ministry in African American congregations.
CM 335 - African-American Pastoral Psychology
We will consider the African American approach to human nature, personality, theory and key concepts. Biblical texts will be woven with the psychological theories to encourage a pastoral approach to psychotherapy.
CM 400 - Preaching and Pastoral Care
This course will focus upon the sermonic communication of God's love and hope in times of crisis. Students will be challenged to develop homiletical skills, ministerial sensitivity, and a vision of congregational life.
Chicago Theological Seminary is committed to building bridges across difference in an intercultural, multifaith world. Recognizing the urgent need for religious leaders who are knowledgeable about their neighbors of different faiths, the Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies (JCIS) supports education, engagement, dialogue and social justice collaboration among the "peoples of the book." We safeguard the dignity of difference, and make space for difficult conversations.
Communities are ecosystems. JCIS was recently awarded a major grant from the LUCE Foundation for our ECOmmunity project. Find out about this cutting-edge program that explores the intersections of sustainability, interreligious engagement, social transformation and theological education.
JCIS offers a wide variety of public programs to explore religious diversity and deepen understanding.
If you have questions, comments or want to get involved in this important work, contact Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva, Director of JCIS and Herman E. Schaalman Chair in Jewish Studies.
The Center for the Study of Korean Christianity:
The Center for the Study of Korean Christianity (CSKC) is a research and outreach institute founded to promote the study of Korean Christianity and its theology in America. The Center is particularly interested in the progressive tradition that has struggled with the Korean-ness of Christianity in Korea. Through various activities, including translation, research, publication, and lectures, the Center provides a space for the continued study of Korean Christianity, makes available English resources to study Korean theology, and provides support for the churches that are interested in Korean Christianity.
The LGBTQ Religious Studies Center at Chicago Theological Seminary:
Established in January 2006 with the generous support of the Gill Foundation and several anonymous donors, the LGBTQ Religious Studies Center is a theological think tank and resource for activists. By bringing together academics and activists who are deeply involved with moving towards greater justice, the Center encourages new conversations and offers new hope. The Center continues its work with the generous support of the ARCUS Foundation.
The Gilberto Castañeda Scholarship was established in 1994 in memory of Gilberto Castañeda, the “adopted” son of Dr. Theodore Jennings and Rev. Ronna Case. This award honors outstanding, openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students at Chicago Theological Seminary. It is an expression of the seminary’s commitment to transform congregations from places of hostility and alienation to communities of hospitality and empowerment. Learn more about the history of the Gilberto Castañeda Lecture.
Institute for Spirituality & Wellness:
The Institute for Spirituality and Wellness (ISW) seeks to renew and rebuild on the legacy of Anton Boisen who was a pioneering figure in spirituality and wellness.
Clergy and congregations know that there is a direct and positive connection between God, faith and health. But up until recently, mainstream science and medicine has focused on the human as machine, confident that the future of health and healing lay in increasingly sophisticated technology and medication. Today, however, the tide is turning. Some of the most cutting-edge research is being done in the area of spirituality and health. Since the 1990s, there has been a wide range of new scientific research that shows a direct link between health and spirituality-based practices like prayer, meditation, forgiveness, altruism, and compassion.
The purpose of this group is to explore and promote the connection between spirituality and health.