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Faculty of Theology

EAITE: Courses

Complete a Master or Doctoral Degree that focuses on theology and ecology

Taking Courses at the Institute

If you are a student at the Toronto School of Theology, simply register for your courses through your college and R.O.S.I. as you normally would. If you want these same courses to apply toward a certification in Theology and Ecology through the EAITE, then be sure to meet with the Director of the Institute prior to course registration in order to determine if your courses can serve this dual purpose. (See "Earning Certification in Theology and Ecology" below for more details.)
If you are not a student at the Toronto School of Theology but would be interested in taking one or some of the courses which explore matters of ecology, feminism, ethics, theology and the new paradigms, then contact the Director of the Institute to learn which courses might be of interest to you. You can then register for that course through one of the colleges of the Toronto School of Theology. Courses can be taken for credit or simply for audit.

Earning a Certificate in Theology & Ecology

Once a student is enrolled in any of the graduate programs at the Toronto School of Theology, he or she can apply to the Institute to establish a personal path toward completing a specialization in theology and ecology. Certain courses that satisfy the requirements of the student’s graduate programme can concurrently satisfy the requirements of the specialization in theology and ecology. These latter courses can be considered as Light Green, Intermediate Green and Dark Green courses.


Summary of Program Requirements

The types and number of light, intermediate, and dark green courses that the student would be required to take will depend on the graduate programme that she or he is completing. Please consult the Director of the Institute to ensure that your choices satisfy the requirements for a specialization in theology and ecology.

Course Requirements per Degree Program
Degree Program Issue
Light Green
Paradigm
Intermediate Green
Core
Dark Green
Cross Disciplinary
Dark Green
Thesis Required?
M.Div. 2 1 2 1 Optional
M.R.E. 2 1 2 1 Optional
M.T.S. 2 1 2 1 Optional
Th.M. n/a 1 3 1 Yes
Th.D. n/a 1 3 1 Yes
Ph.D. n/a 1 3 1 Yes

Course Descriptions - "Three Shades of Green"

Dark Green Courses
Either 3 or 4 " Dark Green " courses must be completed, depending on your degree programme. There are two kinds of “ dark green ” courses: core courses and cross-disciplinary courses.

  • Core Courses : These courses deal directly with eco-theology and might include a course in ecological ethics, eco-feminism, or Christian ethicists and ecology. Examples of core courses are:
    • SMT2943 - Introductory Seminar in Ecological Ethics;
    • SMT3370 / 6370 - Spirituality & Ecology: Integration and Implications
    • SMT3946 - Christian Ethicists and Ecology;
    • SMT3652/6652 – Theology, Ecology & the New Cosmology.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Courses : Cross-disciplinary courses deal with ecological studies or the engagement of the ecological crisis by other disciplines, and might include courses at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IES) or The Centre for Transformative Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), or other courses available through the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto. (Speak with the Director of the Institute for more details.)

PARADIGM or Intermediate Green Courses
At least 1 paradigm course must be completed, depending on your degree programme. These courses consider contemporary and/or previous paradigms and the ways that these worldviews have informed the behaviour of humans toward each other and the rest of the planet. They may, or may not, make specific reference to the ecological crisis. However, as with the light green courses, the professor welcomes the student's interest to make connections between these paradigms and the ecological crisis and/or its resolution. Such courses might also provide what can be called a constructive post-modern theology. Intermediate Green courses might include courses on religion and science, or process theology, theology and native peoples, or feminist theology. Examples would include:

  • SMT3602/6602 – New Voices in Theology
  • SMT3866/6866 – New Heaven /New Earth
  • SMT3968/6968 - Globalization, Social Justice and Eco-justice;
  • WYT2802 - Beyond Homelessness: Theology in a Postmodern World;
  • RGT3214/6214 – Spirituality and Culture;
  • EMT3605/6605 – Theology, Science and Suffering;
  • SMT5601 - Feminist Theology on Imaging God;
  • EMT5943 - Mapping of Women's Work in Theological Ethics;
  • TRT5948 - Critical Theory and Feminist Religious Thought.

There is a wide range of these courses to choose from in the University of Toronto and Toronto School of Theology course catalogues. The above list of courses is only a small sample of courses that can satisfy the paradigm course requirement for a specialization in theology and ecology. (Speak with the Director of the Institute for more details).

ISSUE or Light Green Courses
Basic Degree students must complete at least 2 issue courses. Issue or "Light Green" courses are not designed to consider the ecological crisis, eco-theology, or an ecological paradigm. Nevertheless, it is possible for these courses to satisfy the requirements for a light green or issues course if the following three conditions can be met:

  • The professor teaching the course welcomes the student's ecological interests.
  • The course material is apt for the pursuit of an eco-theological question.
  • The student's paper for the course considers an eco-theological question or issue.

For example, in a course on Christology, the student might explore new understandings of the "Cosmic Christ" (e.g., SMT2242 - Christology). Or in a course on Moral Theology, the student's essay might consider issues of eco-justice (e.g., SMT1904 - Fundamental Themes in Christian Ethics). Or in a course on creation and grace, the student might examine contemporary interest in creation theology (e.g., SMT2328 - Creation, Fall, Grace & Glory; or RGT2321 - Creation, Man/Woman, Sin). Or in a course on the Old Testament, the student's essay could consider how our understanding of the Book of Genesis or the Wisdom tradition informs our perspective of humanity’s place in creation (e.g., SMB1007 - Introduction to Old Testament; SMB2278 – Israel ’s Wisdom Tradition).
Virtually any theology course can, in a positive way, become a "green theology" course without creating extra demands on either the student or the professor. The student brings an ecological perspective to a course without expecting the course to be taught from an ecological perspective. A hospitable, collaborative, and ecologically sensitive arrangement ensues.
Samples of Course Descriptions

Introductory Seminar in Ecological Ethics (SMT2943) – Prof. Dennis Patrick O’Hara

The course will consider issues and documents that will help the student to develop an understanding of the ecological crisis and a theological response (both negative and positive) to it. Topics will include: the new cosmology; ecofeminism; the question of a human centred ethics; issues of economic, social, political, and gender justice; new insights in science and religion; and questions of human ecology. Short papers; adult learning process.

Spirituality and Ecology: Integration & Implications (SMT3370, SMT6370) – Prof. Dennis Patrick O’Hara

The course will postulate a contemporary understanding of spirituality emerging from a theological understanding of holism and the new cosmology in order to contribute to the student’s development of a spirituality for the 21 st century. Students will consider such topics as: Christianity’s understanding of spirituality & the world throughout its history; a cosmology of religions; deep ecology and deep ecumenicity; the sacredness of creation; mysticism and prayer; eco-spirituality; ecofeminism; the healing of nature and the healing of self. Evaluation is based on: class participation, reflection papers, integration paper, practical integration. Adult learning. BD students enrol in SMT3370HF. AD students enrol in SMT6370HF.
Theology, Ecology and the New Cosmology (SMT3652, SMT6652) – Prof. Dennis Patrick O’Hara

The new cosmology is radically shifting the way that we understand the story of creation, the history of the universe, and humanity’s place in both of these. It is providing a new context for understanding spirituality and theology. This course will use the works of Thomas Berry and eco-feminists to understand the new cosmology and its cultural and spiritual implications. Within this context, the course will then explore how we might reconsider our understanding of theological anthropology, sin and conversion, Christology, pneumatology, and eschatology using the works of contemporary eco-theologians. An adult learning process will be followed. AD students enrol in SMT6652HS.
Eco-theology And Eastern Spirituality ( SMT3805) – Prof. Jai Don Lee

Review of eco - theological trends – eco-spirituality, new cosmology, eco-Thomism, eco-feminism and eco-justice – in Christianity. Examination of spirituality of Asian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism through the Holy Scriptures and the writings of Asian thinkers and theologians. Exploration of how Eastern spirituality could motivate and enrich Christian eco-theology. Exploration of an integral and global spirituality which embraces both Western eco-theology and Eastern spirituality. Experience of “ body-mind-soul ” exercise in Eastern spirituality. There will be selected readings, reflection paper s , a class presentation and an integration paper in a seminar format.
An Introduction To Asian Theologies (SMT2603) – Prof. Jai Don Lee

Examination of Asian Inculturation Theology, Liberation Theology, Feminist Theology and Eco-theology, all of which have emerged in response to Asian issues: diverse religions and cultures; economic injustice; oppression of women; and ecological degradation. Discussions of the theological methodologies and claims of Asian theologians, such as Raimon Panikkar, Aloysius Pieris, Jung Young Lee, C. S. Song, and Vandana Shiva. Exploration of the related theological implications. There will be lectures, required readings, reflection papers, class member presentations and a research paper.
Christianity And World Religions ( SMT2800) – Prof. Jai Don Lee

Examination of origins and development of Christianity and world religions – Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Comparison of the key characteristics of each religion’s teachings . Exploration of the necessity and methodology of dialogue and collaboration between Christianity and world religions in order to overcome the crises ensuing.