Academics
With world-renowned teachers and alumni, CTS is the global leader in transformational religious studies. We offer several Masters and Doctoral degrees, including Masters in Divinity, Sacred Theology and Religious Leadership.
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About Our Program

Key Faculty

Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva, Ph.D. is the Herman E. Schaalman Chair in Jewish Studies and the current director of our Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies. She teaches courses that focus on Judaism as well as comparative studies, looking at the intersections of scriptural interpretation, culture and ethics.

Dr. Rami Nashashibi begins a full-time visiting faculty appointment at CTS in the Fall of 2014, teaching Muslim Studies, Social Transformation and Sociology of Religion. He also serves as Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network.

Dr. Bo Myung Seo is Associate Professor of Theology and Cultural Criticism. He teaches Global Sensitivity in Ministry, and a variety of courses that address Asian religious perspectives in conversation with Christianity.

Dr. Julia Speller, a scholar of the American religious history and culture, teaches several courses that concentrate on multiple faith perspectives, including: Religion in North America; Martin, Malcolm and Civil Religion; and Women and Religion in the U.S.: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Rev. Dr. JoAnne Marie Terrell is Associate Professor of Ethics, Theology and the Arts. Courses that touch upon the interreligious field include: Theological and Ethical Perspectives on AIDS; Augustine, Niebuhr and Malcolm X; and The Black Church and the Nation of Islam.

Rev. Dr. Susan B. Thistlethwaite is Professor of Theology and immediate past President. She teaches Religion in North America, Interreligious Engagement (with Professors Nasashibi and Mikva), and courses on Just Peace from an interfaith perspective. She is the editor of, and contributing author to, Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Perspectives on Peace and War.

History

Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) has been on the cutting edge of theological education since its inception in 1855. As a progressive institution affiliated with the United Church of Christ, CTS has consistently sought to integrate a theological presence in the pursuit of social justice by working with multiple Christian ministries and wider faith communities.

In the mid-1960s, renowned Hebrew Bible scholar André LaCocque joined the faculty at CTS; he launched a doctoral program in comparative religious studies to train a new generation of academics who recognize that one cannot understand early Christianity without an understanding of Judaism as well. He often co-taught with Rabbi Herman Schaalman, a prominent Chicago religious leader and activist. The principle that religious leaders need to understand traditions other than their own is now embedded in our master degree programs as well.

Responding to the urgent and ongoing need to advance mutual respect and cooperation across religious difference, Dr. LaCocque established a Center for Jewish-Christian Studies which coordinated a series of groundbreaking conferences. Among the first to recognize the importance of including Islam in the conversation among the “peoples of the book,” the expanded Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies (JCIS) now sponsors a broad range of lectures, symposia, holy day celebrations, worship, workshops, film series and social justice projects nurturing deep learning and engagement among Muslims, Christians and Jews.

Our student body represents more than forty different faith traditions, perspectives and denominations. In 2009, we became the only free-standing Protestant seminary to endow a chair in Jewish Studies, now occupied by Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva, Ph.D. Dr. Rami Nashashibi joins us full-time in Fall 2014 as Visiting Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Sociology, deepening our commitment to multifaith education and engagement. Our ECOmmunity initiative actively recruits Jews, Muslims and Christians to study together as a cohort in our Master of Arts in Religious Leadership program. Rooted in our scriptures and historical development, we also radically engage our diverse religious traditions as they blossom in a new age, partners in the sacred work of transforming our society toward justice and mercy.