OCST01 Biblical Foundations of Spiritual Theology
Professor: RICHARD FRANCIS DSOUZA
Spiritual Theology is founded on and inspired by the triune God revealed in the Sacred Scripture. This revelation of God as the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer is complete in Jesus Christ and in the coming of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the spiritual life of every baptized Christian has always been and should be Christ-centered, lived in the Spirit. For Christ is the exemplar and efficient cause of Christian holiness. Hence, Spiritual Theology is not an ascetic discipline but has its foundation in the Sacred Scripture.
This course aims to introduce to the students the foundational scriptural themes of Spiritual Theology. In doing so it seeks to underscore the spiritual dimension of God’s plan of salvation of humankind which is expounded in the entire Bible both in the Old Testament (OT) and in the New Testament (NT). Thereby it seeks to help the students to discover and value the richness of the human vocation of being created in the image and likeness of God to the new and renewed status of being the redeemed children of God through Jesus Christ and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
- Introduction to the Biblical dimension of Spiritual Theology in light of the OT and the NT.
- “Torah/Pentateuch” (election – redemption – sanctification – direction – instruction) as the foundation for Spiritual Theology.
- “Nevi’im” (Prophets) and “Ketuvim” (writings), while proceeding from the “Torah”, reveal the vertical and the horizontal dimension of Spiritual Theology, respectively.
- The fundamental themes that constitute the spirituality of the OT (creation, fall, promise, liberation, covenant, etc.).
- Jesus Christ is the center and the source of Spiritual Theology. In him the “Law and the Prophets find fulfillment (cf. Lk 2:44). For Jesus is the beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega) in whom the Father has revealed everything (cf. Rev 22:13; Heb 1:1-2).
- The Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John) while expounding Jesus’ life, words, and deeds also present the four stages of Christian journey towards spiritual maturity (catechetical – ecclesial – missionary – contemplative, respectively).
- The Holy Spirit who led the early Christian community with the dynamic, sanctifying, and enduring presence continues to lead every baptized Christian towards the spiritual maturity to live the life in Christ to the full.
- Mary, the Mother of God is a perfect model of Christian spirituality, a disciple par excellence who listened to the word of God – contemplated – and practiced (cf. Lk 2:19; 11,28).
- Aumann, J., Spiritual Theology, London – New York, 2006.
- Barr, J., The Concept of Biblical Theology: An Old Testament Perspective, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1999.
- Beale, G. K., The New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI 2011.
- Bowe, B. E., Biblical Foundations of Spirituality: Touching a Finger to the Flame, Lanham, 2017.
- Guthrie, D., New Testament Theology, Inter-Varsity Press, Illinois, 1981.
- Harrington, W.J., “Biblical Spirituality – Hope”, Proceedings of the Irish Biblical Association 25 (2002) 133-149.
- Larsen, D.L., Biblical Spirituality: The Real Connection between the Bible and Life, Grand Rapids, MI 2001.
- Schneiders, S.M., “Biblical Spirituality”, Interpretation 70 (2016) 417-430.
- Stinton, D.B., “Mary of Nazareth: Exemplar of Biblical Spirituality”, Priscilla Papers 12 (1998) 1-14.
- Whelan, M.D., Living Strings: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality, Ridgefield, Connecticut 1994.