SCHEDULE A TOUR
Are you interested in pursuing a seminary degree at Union?
Visiting campus is a great way to learn more about Union and get a feel for our community. We’ve got a few options for your tour:
Summer tours are by appointment only. To schedule please email the Admissions team at email@example.com. Fall visits begin on September 6th.
Campus Visit: You may choose to visit either in the Morning or Afternoon. Morning visits begin at 8:45 a.m. and conclude at 2:00 p.m. Evening visits begin at 12:00 p.m. and conclude at 5:00 p.m. On a campus visit, you will:
Attend a class
We enjoy a world renowned faculty who live and breathe their academic passions, while both nurturing and challenging Union students. Each day they arrive to class with the utmost conviction in their spirit and reason. The Union Seminary classrooms are a space for discussion and discernment.
Scroll down below to see the classes offered during the campus visit. Please note that visitors may only sit in one class, so seating will be limited.
Fall 2018 Courses
- Introduction to Buddhist Meditation with Professor Greg Snyder
Through the examination of traditional Buddhist sutras and contemporary teachings, along with experiential engagement of meditative practices, this course explores how these practices support spiritual presence and community engagement. Students thoroughly investigate the relationship between embodiment, behavioral discipline and the cultivation of mind at the heart of Buddhist moral praxis, and how this informs our capacities for spiritual guidance.
- Revelation to John with Dr. Amy Meverden
Revelation is perhaps one of the most notorious and misunderstood books of the Bible. Given the violent warfare, natural disasters, beasts of empire, and ominous portents, the average readers of Revelation find themselves perplexed by its symbolism and at a loss for its contemporary relevance. This class seeks to “decode” Revelation through a prominent image that opens and closes the book and speaks directly to the abuses of empire and power: The Tree of Life. This course employs an empire-critical, visual-exegetical framework to Revelation in order to engage themes of power, ecology, and identity. We engage Revelation’s Roman imperial context and visual imagery while performing a close reading of the biblical text to produce contextual interpretations for a world in desperate need of hope and transformation.
(trigger warning: class topics incl. rape, war, human trafficking, etc.)
- Creation and Christology with Dr. Jason Wyman
The doctrines of creation and Christology have immediate, urgent relevance for the crises the world faces today, and are central to the Christian tradition. This course dives deeply into recent engagements with the doctrines of creation and christology, in a format that emphasizes historical perspective, critique/deconstruction, and subsequent construction. Rather than offer set doctrinal positions, this course emphasizes the dialogic construction of doctrinal content in contemporary theological conversations around creation and christology. We compare and contrast the propositions of specific theologians, as well as put the two doctrines in conversation. Theologians are all part of the discourse and community of constructive theology, and themes include feminism, womanism, race critical approaches, anti-colonial, and environmentalism/environmental justice, and the ways these overlap. The course culminates in a creative or constructive prose final project
- Teaching Theology and Religion with Dean Mary Boys, and Professor John Falcone
An exploration of the dynamics of teaching in communities of faith. Four components comprise the backbone of the course: conceptualizing teaching, exploring the literature on teaching, practicing teaching strategies in peer groups, and analyzing one’s own experience of teaching and of being taught.
- The History of Christianity Since Reformation with Dr. Daisy Machado
The main outlines of the history of Christianity from seventeenth-century Puritanism to the ecumenical movement, with emphasis on the experiences of United States churches in their immense diversity.
- Introduction to Empirical Psychology of Religion with Dr. James Jones
An overview of scientific psychological views of religious experience, from William James to contemporary neuroscience and cognitive psychology. This course focuses on the theories and methods employed in empirical psychology of religion, the strengths and weaknesses, and the theological implications of the findings.
- Religious Movements from the Margins: The Prosperity Gospel in the United States and the Global South with Dr. Daisy Machado
The United States religious landscape has been shaped by the powerful influence of what has become known as “prosperity gospel” or “prosperity theology”. However, prosperity theology surged in popularity in the 1980s with the rise of television evangelists who helped to shape and market United States Christianities to a nationwide audience of consumers. What is the history and place of the prosperity gospel in the United States religious landscape? How has it evolved and who has been its main proponents? What does this gospel look like in racial and ethnic communities and who are its main voices? This course examines the development of the prosperity gospel movement with special attention to the role played by gender and race in its development.
- African Religions in the Americas with Professor Sam Cruz
A critical analysis of the socio-historical settings of the development of each of the most widely practiced African based spiritual traditions/movements in the Americas. Students engage the African-based practices of Haitian Vodou, Santeria/Palo Monte, Rastafarianism, Espiritismo, Obeah, Candomble, Umbanda, as well as African religious influences in Protestant Christianity. We explore the ways in which these religious movements have been impacted by North and South American cultural and political conditions, and how they have impacted the cultural and political realities in turn. The transformations made by these religious practices in the diasporic communities in the United States are an underlying focus of this course.
- Process Theology with Professor John Thatamanil
This course provides an introduction to process philosophy and theology. The primary goal of this course is to enable students to consider critically the ongoing significance of process thought for contemporary constructive theology.
- The Qur’ān with Professor Jerusha Rhodes
This course aims to introduce students to the Qur’ān—the central touchstone in Islamic thought and practice—through intensive engagement with the text (in translation) and through exploration of the historical, practical and interpretative traditions surrounding the text. The course surveys historical origins and development, highlights the Qur’ān’s pervasive role in the daily lives, rituals and artistic expressions of Muslims, and examines Qur’ānic form, content, and interpretation.
- Foundations in Christian Theology with Professor Andrea White
The aim of this course is to provide a basic understanding of the nature of systematic theology as this discipline relates to contemporary social and political issues. Special attention is given to the emergence of liberal, orthodox, and neo-orthodox theologies in Europe and North America and to their impact on the rise of liberation theologies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the United States. Readings primarily cover twentieth and twenty-first-century sources.
- American Theological Liberalism with Professor Gary Dorrien
Study of the development of American liberal theology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, focusing on the Unitarian controversy, Transcendentalism, Horace Bushnell, early feminism, liberalism and racial justice, the social gospel, evangelical liberalism, personalism, and the Chicago school. Acquainting students with the modern historical, ethical, and theological tradition that is Union’s tradition, it is the first of two courses on American theological liberalism.
- Introduction to Old Testament with Professor David Carr
This course aims to introduce students to the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) within its historical and cultural environment, and to explore major issues in biblical interpretation. Students learn about the ancient Near Eastern world of which the Israelites were a part, examine the diverse social and religious concerns of the biblical writers, and consider multiple contemporary approaches to biblical texts.
- Fundamentals of Preaching with Professor Lisa Thompson
This course provides a basic introduction to the theology, ethics, and practice of Christian preaching. Participants explore the nature and purpose of preaching in relation to the interpretation of texts, culture, and community contexts. The course offers opportunities for students to hone the skills involved in effective sermon design and delivery.
- Object Lessons: Liturgy & Life with Professor Heather Elkins
This course engages in an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Christian worship through narrative, material culture, and sacramental theology. The relationship of select objects to ordinary use and liturgical life is traced as these object lessons reveal the human and the holy. The course includes presentations, lectures, chapel participation, small group research assignments, and the development of a teaching project.
- Religions in City with Professor Jerusha Rhodes
This course introduces the field of interreligious engagement through readings, site visits, spiritual practices, and self-reflection. It aims to cultivate understanding of the phenomenon of religious diversity, central questions and concerns that arise in relation to religious diversity, and prominent approaches to interreligious engagement.
- Exegetical Practicum: Miriam, Ruth & Nasty Women with Dr. Esther Hamori
This course teaches essential skills of exegeting biblical texts in a practice-oriented way. Both testaments and different genres are covered. While current theories of interpretation and the broad range of exegetical methods are briefly outlined, the focus is on the practical work of reading, analyzing, and understanding texts both on the literary level as well as in their socio-historic contexts.
- Phenomenology of Violence with Professor Andrea White
This course considers a phenomenological analysis of violence from the perspective of lived experience and probes the experience of violence as it is mediated by the body. A phenomenological analysis views violence as culturally constituted and never independent of its agents, recipients and observers. Violence must therefore be phenomenologically analyzed as it is suffered, inflicted and witnessed. It considers the brute fact of physical violence, and also symbolic and material forms of violence that defy articulation, and the invisible effects of violence. The course addresses violence as it pertains to black subjectivity, sexuality, biopolitics, disability, and surveillance. Readings include works in black studies, cultural studies, queer theory and critical theory, with special attention to recent literature in Afro-pessimism.
- Practice Self-Inquiry with Professor Greg Snyder
This course introduces students to self-inquiry practices from various religious traditions as well as nonreligious phenomenological thinkers. With a focus on methodology, students explore meditation, contemplation and discernment practices, highlighting differences and complements. The shared intention to clarify and expand our capacity to skillfully inquire into ourselves, allows students to unpack assumptions in our framing of subjective experience, how we locate the observer, the ground of awareness and, among other conventions, the relationships of self/other, mind/world, ground/phenomena and mundane/sacred in these practices.
- Introduction to Bible with Professor Brigette Kahl
This course offers a condensed introduction to the core texts, narrative trajectories, historical backgrounds and theological concerns of the Bible as the canonical book both of Christianity and Western civilization. Some key questions regarding the ethics of scriptural interpretation in the context of race, gender, class, ecology and an increasingly inter/nonreligious environment are discussed.
- Hildegard of Bingen with Rev. Dr. Jane Huber
This course explores the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century Abbess and prolific author. Students read Hildegard’s “Scivias” to study how she developed her comprehensive Christian Spirituality. Also studied is the illuminations of the “Scivias,” and students prepare a performance of Hildegard’s liturgical drama “Ordo Virtutum.” Readings include additional selections from Hildegard’s theological, scientific, musical, and poetic works and related Medieval source materials.
- Modern Anglican Theology with Professor Gary Dorrien
This course studies representative Anglican thinkers and movements from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Featured authors and movements include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the Oxford Movement, Frederick Denison Maurice, the Broad Church Movement, Anglican Socialism and anti-colonialism, Vida Scudder, William Temple, Michael Ramsey, John Macquarrie, Desmond Tutu, Kwok Pui-Lan, Sarah Coakley, Kelly Brown Douglas, and Rowan Williams.
- Intro to Old Testament with Professor David CarrThis course aims to introduce students to the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) within its historical and cultural environment, and to explore major issues in biblical interpretation. Students learn about the ancient Near Eastern world of which the Israelites were a part, examine the diverse social and religious concerns of the biblical writers, and consider multiple contemporary approaches to biblical texts.
- Freedom Church Theologies with Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy
The year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Poor People’s Campaign he was planning when he was killed. This was a movement of the poor across racial lines that Dr. King called an unsettling “freedom church of the poor”. This course explores King’s theology in relationship to the Poor People’s Campaign, including the themes of freedom, human dignity and salvation. The context for this exploration is the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival taking place across the nation in the spring and summer of 2018 and continuing into the fall. Students experience the unfolding of this movement, including an emphasis on its emerging theological and political themes and significance for future congregational and community organizing.
Walk Around the Campus
Built in 1910, our seminary sits in the heart of Morningside Heights. The tour will introduce visitors to the campus, the historic James Chapel, as well as Burke Library which houses one of the largest collection of theological publications in the western hemisphere.
Union Theological Seminary is a mostly wheelchair accessible campus with elevators, ramps, and automatic doors. For further information about accessibility, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 212-280-1556.
Attend a Chapel Service
Chapel is a cornerstone for spiritual and religious life at Union. Every Monday through Thursday at noon, members of our student body, faculty, staff and administration host chapel services which embrace and speak to the diversity at Union Theological Seminary.
With no set lectionary or guiding principles, no Chapel service is like any other. As Union Theological Seminary is committed to the work of interreligious engagement, each chapel is affirming and open to all.
Community lunch and conversation with current students
With nearly fifty-percent of the student body living off campus, community lunch is when the collective Union community can unwind, converse, and be in fellowship. During this time, visitors will get the opportunity to understand the essence of the seminary through conversation with current students.
Campus visits will be available Monday to Thursday through April. The Summer schedule will be updated in May.
Can’t do a full day?
Campus Tour: Short Tours last about 1.5 hours. Short tours include:
A Tour of campus and an opportunity to chat with students and the admissions staffTo schedule your tour, email us at email@example.com or call 212-280-1556
Interested in meeting a Union professor?
Feel free to reach out using the contact information found in our faculty directory.