Upcoming courses

Student Sophia Austiin and professor Safwat Marzouk, PhDWant to explore seminary study?

At AMBS, students may take up to two courses for credit without having been admitted to one of our degree or certificate programs, with a limit of one course per term.

If you are not an admitted student at AMBS and not enrolled at another seminary, college or university, your first AMBS course for credit is 50 percent off regular tuition rates. (Grebel and CMU students, see this exception.) 

There’s still time to register for courses that begin in September! Due to the pandemic, most of our campus courses will be meeting via videoconference this semester.

Semester One, 2020–21

Sept. 1 – Dec. 11, 2020
Tuition due: Aug. 24, 2020

The courses listed below are entry-level courses without prerequisites. See also courses with prerequisites and courses for admitted students only.

COVID-19 update: During Semester One there will not be any regular face-to-face courses. See our COVID-19 Update Center for information on changes we have made to the delivery format for courses in light of the pandemic. Many courses will meet via videoconference and will be available from a distance; inquire with [email protected].

Interested in auditing? Semester One videoconference courses may be open to auditors; consult the Academic Dean. See also FAQ: Auditing courses.

Questions? Contact the Registrar’s Office, or download the current course list and block schedule for details.

Online courses

For asynchronous online courses, students can do their weekly online coursework at different times that suit their individual schedules and needs. (Some courses may require synchronous learning sessions during which students need to be online at the same time; this is noted in the course information.) All course activities are mediated through an online course management system (Moodle). Students interact with professors and peers through course discussion boards, email, video chats, Google Hangouts or other means. Please note: Online courses cannot be audited.

Three credit hours — David Cramer, PhD

What Christians perceive to be God’s will makes a difference in the way we think about violence and war. Taking a longitudinal view, this course examines the historical development of Christian perspectives on violence and peace from the second century onward. We will examine how various views emerged and evolved, with attention to the contexts that gave rise to them. Special attention will be given to Jesus’s ministry, the emergence of pacifism, perspectives on just war theory, the evolution of peace concerns in diverse cultural settings, and possibilities for thinking beyond the just war-pacifism binary today.

Three credit hours — Jamie Pitts, PhD

Since the Middle Ages, Christian theology has been conceived of as an interconnected network of “loci” or focal points. Of the many loci, Christian Theology 1 covers God and the Trinity, creation and fall, sin and evil, the person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation, the nature of human persons, revelation, and scripture. Discussions of theological method are treated especially in relation to these last two loci. We will study closely a major Anabaptist interpretation of the loci from McClendon and compare this with liberation, evangelical, and ecumenical approaches.

Four credit hours — Drew Strait, PhD

In this course, students will learn the Greek and Hebrew alphabets and how to use study aids and research tools. They also will be oriented to basic exegetical methodologies using the original biblical languages. Using print resources and computer-assisted Bible study programs, students will cultivate skills needed when studying the Bible in preparation for preaching and teaching in the congregation. Students should anticipate purchasing specialized texts or software that can be used beyond the completion of the course.

Two credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin

With the Bible as primary textbook and prayer as primary practice, this class explores the intersection between text and formation for both individuals and groups. What does scripture-saturated personal and corporate prayer look like? How might we pray scripture through memory, movement, and music, either by ourselves or in small groups, Sunday school classes, spiritual friendships, and family life? Over the course of a semester, we will experience and experiment with a variety of ways of praying and sinking deeply into scripture as well as leading others in doing so.

Campus courses available via videoconference

Videoconference courses are campus courses that will meet via videoconference during posted class times due to the pandemic. Students will need to be available to participate during the weekly course time(s). Courses that are normally listed as “blended” are included as videoconference courses below since all students will attend via videoconference. See also our COVID-19 Update Center.

Students who would like to audit a videoconference course should consult with the Academic Dean

Four credit hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Tues and Fri, 8:30–10:40 a.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

This is the basic course in the Old Testament exegesis sequence. It prepares students for exegesis by providing (1) a working knowledge of Hebrew grammar; (2) the ability to read Hebrew narrative; and (3) an introduction to the process of exegesis. This course is a prerequisite for Old Testament exegesis courses.

Three credit hours — Jamie Pitts, PhD — Tues, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

Since the Middle Ages, Christian theology has been conceived of as an interconnected network of “loci” or focal points. Of the many loci, Christian Theology 1 covers God and the Trinity, creation and fall, sin and evil, the person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation, the nature of human persons, revelation, and scripture. Discussions of theological method are treated especially in relation to these last two loci. We will study closely a major Anabaptist interpretation of the loci from McClendon and compare this with liberation, evangelical, and ecumenical approaches.

Three credit hours — Susannah Larry, PhD — Thurs, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

Sexualized violence remains a salient problem in our society even as it is also reflected in our sacred scriptures. Frequently, biblical texts representing violence (and their interpretations) are a source of trauma for survivors of sexual violence. This course aims to bend the trajectory of these texts’ interpretation away from deeper wounding. While the subject matter of this course remains difficult, the goal will be to move towards a “hermeneutics of reclamation,” in which the trauma represented in the Bible can be read as the witness to survivors’ testimony.

Three credit hours — Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD — Tues, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

This course serves three purposes: 1) to combine various subfields of practical theology by bringing into focus questions related to advocacy theologies, applied theology, and spiritual theology; 2) to introduce students to the biblical, theological, and spiritual core of theological education at AMBS; and 3) to introduce students to missional theology in Mennonite perspective. The course is organized around a basic question: What is the center/meaning/goal of the gospel? Developing a reply to this query with any depth of meaning requires us to use critical, appreciative, reflective, and confessional approaches as we articulate our posture. In other words, integrating peace theology, missiology, and ecclesiology, we will determine what is central to the Christian church’s identity and purpose and how we know if we are being faithful to this calling.

Four credit hours — Drew Strait, PhD — Fri, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

This course will read the Gospel of Mark in community with an eye toward animating its call to discipleship. As the architect of gospel literature, Mark the Evangelist inspired a media revolution as he wrote the Jesus story into history. Now widely understood as the first canonical gospel written, Mark’s blueprint of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection influenced subsequent gospels and generations of Christians to take up their cross and subversively follow Jesus on “the way.” Through a close reading of the text, we will drill down into the first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman world of Jesus and his first followers. The course serves as a historical and theological introduction to Mark’s Gospel, with special care for how this text speaks to the world today.

Two credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin — Tues, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

Competent ministerial identity and practice are rooted in self- and other- awareness, theologically and biblically grounded reflection on human becoming, and a balanced and healthy spirituality. At the service of competence and flourishing in current or future ministry, this course has two goals: 1) to strengthen students’ understanding of practical theology as a content area and their skill in applying it as a methodology; and 2) to allow students to demonstrate growing personal and spiritual maturity. Class activities and assignments focus on putting human development and Christian formation frameworks into conversation with each other in an interdisciplinary way; thinking theologically and in culturally nuanced ways about human development and Christian formation; reflecting on the ways past issues and experiences can chart a way forward and/or hinder human development and Christian formation for self and others; and exploring the ways spiritual practices foster human development and Christian formation.

Three credit hours — Susannah Larry, PhD — Tues, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

Genesis is the first book in the biblical canon, and it has stood at the center of multiple cultural conflicts. This course examines these origin and ancestral stories of ancient Israel and interprets their significance for the Church and world today. Particular focus will be given to questions of ethnicity, gender, family, creation, and violence and reconciliation in Genesis.

Three credit hours — Janna Hunter-Bowman, PhD — Thurs, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

This course introduces students to the growing discipline of peace studies through the lens of peacebuilding, an integrated framework of academic study and practice. It guides students through key texts from peace research as well as cultural studies, religious studies, interventions from peacebuilding practice, and theologies that shape transformative approaches to peacebuilding. Students will have the opportunity to do substantial research in the areas covered by the course or to devise multidimensional and interdisciplinary peacebuilding approaches through case study.

One credit hour — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Fri, 12:30–1:20 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused much suffering and grief around the world. The pandemic has altered the life of the church as a community of faith gathered around the word and the sacraments. In response to the uncertainty and disorientation that this pandemic has caused, Christians turned to the Bible in order to find a sense of meaning and orientation in the midst of this chaos. This colloquium seeks to provide an opportunity for students to reflect on biblical hermeneutics and theologies that have surfaced in response to the pandemic. Topics that will be covered include: chaos and creation; oppression and plagues; suffering and mystery; chaos as opposing to God's intentions for creation; spiritual practices such as prayers, trust, lament, and repentance; church in exile; leadership in crisis; transforming social and economic relations; stories of encounters with Jesus and God in houses and quarantine. Students must register to receive credit; other students may attend without registering.

One credit hour — Leah Thomas, PhD — Thursdays, Sept. 10 – Oct. 23, 6:30–8:30 p.m. ET via videoconference — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

In this time marked by the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have experienced the separation of our bodies from other bodies. This reality, however, has also invited increased reflection on the importance of bodies in the church and the world. This class seeks to explore the link between spirituality and our material bodies, towards being more attentive to the ways in which Christian spirituality is practiced in and through embodiment. Readings will invite engagement on the relationship between embodiment and spirituality, particularly as this relates to dynamics of gender, race, sexuality and situations of abuse. The class will include a commitment to engage in (and reflect upon) personal and communal embodied spiritual practices such as ritual, breathing, singing, contemplation, movement (such as walking and yoga) and Restitutio Divina (a combination of Lectio Divina, Visio Divina and techniques from a psychological theory known as somatic experiencing).

Three credit hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Thurs, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

Although the Bible is familiar to the majority of Christians, a close study of its texts in their historical contexts takes readers on a new journey through the strange world of the Bible. In the first part of Strange New World of the Bible 1, students will delve deeply into the texts and contexts of the Old Testament and will be introduced to major events that have shaped its texts and theologies. They will study closely texts from the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings, and they will get acquainted with the genres of narrative, law, history, and wisdom of the Old Testament and the ancient Near East. This class integrates historical, literary, cultural, and theological approaches to studying the Bible in order to equip students with the tools to interpret the Bible in its historical, literary, and theological contexts so that they can proclaim the Bible’s witness to God’s mission in the world.

Three credit hours — Malinda Elizabeth Berry, PhD — Fri, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

How should Christians respond to violence, health care, and creation care issues? What choices face us regarding sexuality and systemic racism? Using a case studies approach to deepen students’ ability to think ethically, this course also outlines several major approaches to ethics from a Christian stance: social ethics, duty ethics, consequentialist ethics, and virtue ethics. Working from an Anabaptist-Mennonite framework called “shalom political theology,” students will also integrate the various forms of ethical reasoning and reflection with three theological motifs: scriptural authority, Christology, and ecclesiology.

One credit hour — Janna Hunter-Bowman, PhD — Weds, 12–1 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

This colloquium is for students in the MATPS program and other degree programs who are interested in peace and justice issues related to the church’s witness, peacebuilding, and interaction with other religions. It provides a setting for sharing information and assessing aspects of church engagement and for encouraging the integration of discernment, action, reflection, and evaluation. Semester One is an engaged learning seminar with local partners; trainings are included. Semester Two consists primarily of presentations and discussions. Students must register to receive credit; other students may attend without registering.