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Religious Curriculum

Theoretical and practical


The aim of all courses is to foster self-consciousness in an individual’s response to the world in which he or she lives. The necessity for a comprehensive context to the human struggle led to the creation of a series of theological and cultural courses, known as the Basic Curriculum, which was presented in the Global Academy. Each course usually has five sessions with a lecture and seminar or workshop in each.  Team teaching is the method of presentation with a strong emphasis on group participation.


or Religious Studies I


Religious Studies I focuses on the basic spirit questions in the post-modern world: problems ofauthentic self-understanding, decision­ making, vocational significance, human relations and creative participation in civiliza­tion. Rational Objective: To study the shifts that have occurred in the 20th century understanding of the meaning of humanness. ExistentialAim: To enable participants to think through for themselves who they are and how they can involve themselves in the present age. (Note: 1972 records indicate that 400,000 people in North America had participated in RS-I and 3,000 outside North America.)


Theoretical Courses



A study in the theology of the Christian Church fathers in the milieus of their eras. Writings by church leaders who responded to changing times are scrutinized for their Christian thought which sustained community during the ancient, medieval and modern periods. Rational Objective: To expose the timelessness of the Word in historical metaphors and to dramatize the faithful response of the Church. Existential Aim: To elicit the decision to live in radical dialogue with the theological wisdom and the revolutionary engagement of the early Church. The original outlines for each lecture are here.

17th- 19th Centuries


Seminar:  “The Spirit of Bondage and of Adoption” by John Wesley

14th – 16th Centuries


Seminar:  “A Treatise on Christian Liberty” by Martin Luther

10th – 13th Centuries


Seminar:  “On the Laws” by Thomas Aquinas

2nd – 9th Centuries


Seminar:  “The Two Cities” by St. Augustine



A study of the witness of the Word in history made by the early Christian community. The perspectives that John, the Synoptic writers and Paul present toward the event of Jesus Christ are examined, together with the basic cultural heritage of Greek, Hebraic and Gnostic lifestyles. Rational Objective: To deepen the contemporary grounding of the gospel through exposing the radicality of the early Christian writings. Existential Aim: To appraise 20th-century Gnosticism and stoicism and to beckon participants to the joyous abandonment of life in the Word. The original outlines for the four lectures are here.

Seminar: “Dialog and Encounter” by Gealy


“The Event and the Story” by John Knox

Seminar: “Fourth Gospel: Prolog” by Hoskyns

Seminar: “Death and Resurrection” by Hobbs

Seminar: “Faith” by Rudolph Bultmann



A study of the understanding of God as known to the people of Israel. The life stance taken in the wisdom writings, the prophetic pronounce­ments and the covenant law of the Old Testament are probed in the context of the historical background of the ancient world. Rational Objective: To grasp the covenant of the faithful people with God acting in history and to understand the characteristics of an obedient response. Existential Aim: To be seized by the radical demand of obedience to God. The original outlines of the four lectures are here.

Seminar:  “Exodus and Covenant” by Anderson

Seminar: “Fear and Fascination” by Terrien

Seminar: “Israels Charismatic Leaders” by Eichrodt

Seminar:  “Myth: In the Beginnings” by Napier



Practical Courses


An analysis of the new image of the Church as mission in history. The interrelatedness of the parish, local congregation, and cadre are examined in depth. Practical models are forged in workshops on witnessing and justing love, worship, study and enabling discipline. Rational Objective: To bring clarity to the ultimate purpose of the Church, i.e., to increase love of God, neighbor and self. Existential Aim: To deepen the resolve of the Church to bear the weight of fully loving God and neighbor. The original outlines of the four lectures are here.

Seminar:  “Purpose of the Church” by H.R. Niebuhr



Seminar:  “Community” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer



An analysis of the people of God in history as they are manifested in Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, nationalism, communism and humanism. Papers explore issues and dilemmas of spirit leaders in the universal human community. Rational Objective: To understand how religions can work on the issues facing the universal people of God. Existential Aim: To struggle with the problems of sociologically organizing the people of God. The original outlines of the four lectures are here.

Seminar:  “Christ and the World” by World Council of Churches

Seminar: “The People of God” by Walter M. Abbott

Seminar: “Marxism and Christianity” by Machovec




WORLD RELIGIONS:  An analysis of the basic human images by which people live out their distinct cultural inheritance. The articulated visions of cultural leaders in civilization today are analyzed in order to reveal the unique gifts of Africa, the Far East, Sub-Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the West. Rational Objective: To understand the objective reality of human life as a meaningful journey . Existential Aim: To experience one’s own life as a journey of fulfillment. The original outlines of the four lectures for World Religions are here.



UR IMAGES (Advanced Course): An analysis of the profound response to life viewed through the primal images and depth experiences of the different people of the Earth . (The word “UR” comes from the mythology surrounding a city in ancient Sumer known for its cultural diversity.)  Rational Objective: To share methods for describing profound consciousness and build images that form a basis of future mythology. Existential Aim: To experience honoring and celebrating the diversity of cultures in this global village.

Lecture: African Culture, by Joe Slicker, GRA’67 and 4×4


Seminar:  “African Road to Socialism” by Senghor


Other resources:

Lecture:  Latin American Culture, by Gene Marshall, GRA’67 and ITI Script,.  

          Lecture 4×4 ITI, 1975  (printing)


Seminar:  “Mexican Masks” by Octavio Paz


Additional Resources:

Lecture: Eastern CultureITI script and and talk 4×4 outline (talk 4×4 for printing)


Seminar:  “The Chinese” by Wilfred C. Smith and seminar script (‘academy, 1983)


Other resources:

Lecture:  India


Seminar:  “The Religion of Man” by R. Tagore


Other talks and resources:

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Islam Religion, Global Research Assembly 1974