Theology

The Theology Department is ultimately inspired by the conception that sees the highest strata of the human soul and culture--the search and contemplation of truth--as the gradual and organic flourishing of reason, understood as a single potentiality that, rooted in sense-experience, memory and imagination, reaches its highest manifestations in the form of abstract concepts and its relations.

The study of theology, properly the study of God, is fundamental to the growth of all men. Ultimately it is the highest pursuit of the Truth, as God is Truth. It is the attempt to come to know Him who is the origin of all that is. Theology is therefore indispensable to the educational development of man.

All Theology courses at Benedictine are taught in accordance with the Catholic Diocese of Richmond Office of Catholic School’s Approved High School Theology Curriculum and the USCCB published Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework. These are available online in more detail at www.richmonddiocese.org and www.usccb.org.


What do we give our young men?

At Benedictine, we give our young men the tools necessary to begin this lifelong pursuit of the Truth. We begin with a yearlong fundamental examination of the Catholic catechism, including basic doctrines, morality, prayer, and virtue. We move through a year of Biblical and moral studies into a year's intensive study of Christology and ecclesiology, looking for absolutes in a relative world.

All of this leads to sound understanding, often through rational disagreement and development of thought and expression.

Finally, in our final year, we apply these principles to life beyond school, studying how to be faithful in college, how to be good husbands, fathers and citizens, and how to listen to God for that possible calling to the priesthood.

To accomplish this we challenge our young men to think, to consider, to contemplate and to discuss what they believe and what they are learning. We therefore focus on developing skills in logic, philosophy, writing, and reasoning.

Classical Study Learning

In terms of its practical consequences for learning, is that the imagination has fundamental and indispensable role as a mediator between what our senses tell us about the world and what our reason can understand of it.

Abstract concepts, the very tools of science and philosophy, even though based on experience, are not derived directly from it, but from a realm that lies in-between the things that we see, hear, smell, feel, and taste and the ethereal and dry world of ideas and their logical relations.

That realm, in which the many things of the world are summarized into symbols, comprises the entire territory of memory and imagination, with its whole population of stories, images, sounds, and myths that make up the world of the arts. In other words, if man did not have a symbol-making ability, he would never have a concept-forming ability.


Theology Course Offerings

Theology 9

Semester I - “The Revelation of Jesus Christ in Scripture” The purpose of this course is to give students a general knowledge and appreciation of the Sacred Scriptures. Through their study of the Bible they will come to encounter the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. In the course they will learn about the Bible, authored by God through Inspiration, and its value to people throughout the world. If they have not been taught this earlier, they will learn how to read the Bible and will become familiar with the major sections of the Bible and the books included in each section. The students will pay particular attention to the Gospels, where they may grow to know and love Jesus Christ more personally.

Semester II - “Who is Jesus Christ?” The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the mystery of Jesus Christ, the living Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. In this course students will understand that Jesus Christ is the ultimate Revelation to us from God. In learning who He is, the students will also learn who He calls them to be.

Credits: 1

Theology 10

Semester I - “The Mission of Jesus Christ (The Paschal Mystery)” The purpose of this course is to help students understand all that God has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Through this course of study, students will learn that for all eternity, God has planned for us to share eternal happiness with him, which is accomplished through the redemption Christ won for us. Students will learn that they share in this redemption only in and through Jesus Christ. They will also be introduced to what it means to be a disciple of Christ and what life as a disciple entails.

Semester II - “Life in Jesus Christ (Morality)” and “Theology of the Body Program for Teens” The purpose of this course is to help students understand that it is only through Christ that they can fully live out God’s plans for their lives. Students are to learn the moral concepts and precepts that govern the lives of Christ’s disciples.

Credits: 1

Theology 11

Semester I - Jesus Christ’s Mission Continues in the Church (Ecclesiology) The purpose of this course is to help the students understand that in and through the Church they encounter the living Jesus Christ. They will be introduced to the fact that the Church was founded by Christ through the Apostles and is sustained by him through the Holy Spirit. The students will come to know that the Church is the living Body of Christ today. This Body has both divine and human elements. In this course, students will learn not so much about events in the life of the Church but about the sacred nature of the Church.

Semester II - Sacraments as Privileged Encounters with Jesus Christ (Sacraments) The purpose of this course is to help students understand that they can encounter Christ today in a full and real way in and through the sacraments, and especially through the Eucharist. Students will examine each of the sacraments in detail so as to learn how they may encounter Christ throughout life.

Credits: 1

Theology 12

A year-long course in Catholic apologetics, students will be able to defend the teaching and belief of the Catholic faith in the areas of Theology of God, the Authority of the Catholic Church, the Sacraments of the Church, and the selected Moral teachings of the Church. Particular emphasis on the dangers of relativism will be faced, while building a strong and competent understanding of a full life within the Catholic Church. Students completing the course will have a working knowledge of the essential teachings of the Church. Students will complete a summer reading assignment (Mere Christianity) and regular readings throughout the year relevant to explaining and defending the faith. The course will move them through basic Christian and Catholic apologetics. Students should be able to defend any of the teachings of the Church from a Biblical, Catechetical, and Pastoral approach. Students will specifically work toward embracing the fullness of the Church’s teaching and achieve competence in explaining and, when necessary, defending the faith. This course will require a working knowledge of each of the sections. Along with regular on-going course work, each student will complete a year-long “capstone experience” project which will take a deeper look at one particular aspect of the Catholic Faith, culminating in a presentation and defense before peers and faculty.

Credits: 1

AP Art History

The AP Art History course explores such topics as the nature of art, its uses, its meanings, art making, and responses to art. Through investigations of diverse artistic traditions of cultures throughout history, with a particular emphasis on classical and Christian art history, the course fosters in-depth and holistic understanding of the history of art from a Christian perspective. Students learn to apply skills of visual, contextual, and comparative analysis to engage with a variety of art forms, constructing understanding of individual works and interconnections of art-making processes and products throughout history.

Prerequisites: Teacher approval.

Credits: 1