Graduate Theological Union
The goal of this program is to promote the study and understanding of Christian worship as it is lived and expressed through the churches’ various traditions and cultures. It assumes that worship is at the heart of the theological enterprise, since it is both the primary context of the churches’ encounter with the mystery of the Triune God and a primary actualization of the ecclesial body.
Study in this area requires an interdisciplinary approach to liturgical studies that integrates the historical, theological, and social-scientific study of Christian ritual practice. This program is distinctive in its assumption that while liturgical history, liturgical theology, and ritual studies are unique fields of study, they are intrinsically related. While doctoral students may concentrate in one or another of these areas of scholarship, they will need to demonstrate competence in all three. Moreover, they are expected to pursue work in one or two related disciplines that further enables them to address both the multidimensionality of liturgical events themselves and the diverse socio-cultural contexts that have shaped historical and contemporary worship. For Ph.D. and Th.D. students, this means work in another area of the GTU doctoral program. In addition, Ph.D. students are expected to engage critically with a research discipline of the secular university either through course work, directed study, or previous degree work.
Core Doctoral Faculty
MICHAEL B. AUNE • PLTS (Liturgical and Historical Studies) • Liturgical theology/ies; Christology and liturgy; histories, theologies, practices of Lutheran worship; historical theology, especially the 19th century.
JOHN KLENTOS • GTU/PAOI (Orthodox Studies) • Orthodox history and theology; history and theology of Byzantine liturgy; Orthodox Christian spirituality.
LIZETTE LARSON-MILLER • CDSP (Liturgical Studies) • Sacramental theology; sacraments; liturgy & architecture; rites for the sick, dying & dead; liturgical history; early-medieval.
MARY E. McGANN, R.S.C.J. • FST (Liturgy and Music) • Ecology and liturgy; ritual studies in liturgical scholarship; women, spirituality, and worship; ethnography of ritual performance; inculturation and liturgy; African American sacred music and ritual.
RUTH A. MYERS • CDSP (Liturgics) • Christian initiation; liturgical theology and missiology; worship in the Episcopal Church and Anglican communion; liturgical year; inculturation of liturgy.
JENNIFER DAVIDSON • ABSW (Worship) • Free church worship; prayer in worship; worship and spirituality; postmodern worship; emerging/emergent worship; African American worship; multicultural worship; constructive theology.
EDUARDO FERNANDEZ, S.J. • JST (Pastoral Theology and Ministry) • Relationship between faith and culture; U.S. Hispanic theology and ministry; Hispanic religious expressions; celebration of sacraments in multicultural contexts Mexican history and the history of the southwest; relationship between art, spirituality, and inculturation.
PAUL JANOWIAK, S.J. • JST
LOUIS WEIL • CDSP (Liturgics) • Baptismal ecclesiology; modes of ministerial authority; rites of initiation, Eucharist, and Anglican Holy Orders.
Offered at ABSW, CDSP, FST, JST, PLTS, PSR, SKSM
This program seeks to promote the study/understanding of Christian worship as lived and expressed through the churches' various traditions and cultures. The program has several goals:
- to ground students in primary areas of liturgical scholarship, history and sources, theology of worship, Christian initiation; Eucharist, worship and culture;
- to introduce the tools of scholarship, research and writing;
- to provide opportunities to explore other areas of liturgical studies (theology, history, ritual studies), including one area of specialization; and
- to afford the possibility of study of their specific liturgical tradition(s).
The doctoral program in Liturgical Studies prepares students to do critical research in the historical evolution of Christian rites; to speak and think theologically about Christian ritual practice, both historical and contemporary; and to access the ritual strategies involved in particular liturgical events and ritual traditions. This will involve both familiarity with major figures, themes, and tasks in liturgiology, as well as an array of research skills including a critical use of primary sources, textual analysis, and conversance with a range of methods in the disciplines.
With these skills, students will be prepared to address both the scholarly and pastoral dimensions of Christian worship through teaching (university or seminary settings), writing, and/or pastoral leadership, serving churches at the local, regional, or national levels.
In addition to other GTU requirements for admission, students must hold a master’s degree in Liturgical Studies or the equivalent study in another degree program at the master’s level.
Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in one modern research language other than his or her native language. In addition, students are expected to show competence in any other language(s) necessary for their planned area of specialization. Language requirements should be met early in the residence period (and must be completed before the student begins the comprehensive examination process) so that the language can be used in course work and research.
Students are required to complete four foundational seminars, which are offered over a two-year period: Liturgical Methods Proseminar; one seminar in Liturgical History, either early and medieval or reformation and modern; the seminar in Liturgical Theology; and the seminar in Ritual Studies as Liturgical Studies. Beyond foundational seminars, students are required to develop further expertise in at least one of the three "interdisciplines" of liturgical studies, as well as to pursue work in one or more related disciplines. Therefore, students must: (1) complete additional course work in liturgical history, liturgical theology, and/or ritual studies; (2) take further course work in their related disciplines. The focus and extent of additional areas of study will be determined in consultation with the student’s academic advisor.
Courses frequently offered include: the history/theology of Eucharist; Liturgy of the Hours; Christian initiation; rites of sick, death, and dying; liturgy and culture; liturgical aesthetics; sacramental theology; liturgy and architecture; as well as current topics across an ecumenical spectrum of worship traditions.
After the first year of residence, each student will be evaluated annually by the faculty. At that time, the student may receive preliminary guidance regarding the remainder of his/her program, including the comprehensive examination process. The examination contains the following elements:
- Three timed, closed-book examinations (each four hours): one each in liturgical theology, liturgical history, and ritual studies. These examinations are based on bibliographies produced by the faculty, and supplemented by additional sources related to the student’s particular focus. These exams will demonstrate a) familiarity with major figures, themes, and tasks in liturgiology; b) the fruits of a student’s specific research in each area.
- A written exam in the student’s related discipline. This exam will be based on a bibliography similar to those described in #1 tailored to the student's related discipline(s). Specifics regarding this exam are negotiated through the student's advisor in conjunction with a faculty member of the appropriate GTU area for Th.D. students, and the outside reader or appropriate faculty member representing a research discipline of the university for Ph.D. students.
- Two essays that demonstrate the integration of the students’ areas of expertise. Each paper will be approximately 30 pages in length. These essays demonstrate a student’s ability to work within the interdisciplinarity of liturgical studies as well as to integrate method and insights of their related disciplines in pursuit of a specific research topic. For Ph.D. students, one essay must demonstrate the integration of a research discipline of the university into their work as liturgical scholars.
- An oral examination, covering the required bibliographies; the exams; and the essays produced by the student.
Within a few months of the successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, the student is expected to submit a first draft of their dissertation proposal to the area faculty.
Ph.D. students from other areas of study may pursue liturgical studies as an allied field by submitting a formal letter of application, signed by their advisor, to the Area Convenor prior to their completion of the necessary coursework.
This application will be considered by the faculty at an Area Meeting after which the student will be informed of the result. Allied field students can complete coursework requirements through one of two options: (1) focusing on one of the three sub-disciplines of the field (liturgical history, liturgical theology, ritual studies) by taking two courses in this area; or (2) taking the liturgical studies pro-seminar (offered each fall term) and one other course from any of the sub-disciplines. Students must take one written, closed-book examination in either liturgical history, liturgical history, liturgical theology, ritual studies as part of the Comprehensive Examination process of their particular area.