Institute of Theology

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Bth Course Descriptions

A. Biblical Studies

BIBL 200 A GUIDED READING OF THE BIBLE                                                                                                         

                                Credits:  1                            Hours: 45

This is a pass/fail workshop in which the candidates are required to read the Bible and discuss its contents with the instructor and their classmates as a requirement for joining the B.Th. program. During this workshop, the students will discover the special characteristics of each section in both the Old and New Testament as an introduction into the academic study of the Bible.

Prerequisites: None

GREE 201 NEW TESTAMENT GREEK I                                                

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 45

In this course, students learn the fundamentals of New Testament Greek grammar. Lessons are based on the most common vocabulary and syntax of the New Testament, particularly as they occur in the Gospel of Mark. At the end of this course, students will be able to read narrative sentences with the occasional help of a dictionary. Furthermore, this course introduces the students in the parsing principles of ancient languages, and shows the role of linguistic analysis in the exegetical work.

Prerequisites: None

GREE 202 NEW TESTAMENT GREEK II                                                

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 45

The students continue the program of studying the grammar (morphology), syntax, and vocabulary (semantics). They are introduced to more complex forms of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, and prepositions. Here,
more of the infinitives, participles and prepositions are introduced. Other syntactic forms are also tackled, such as coordinate and subordinate phrases, the syntactic use of the cases of the nouns, and the use of the verb aspect and tenses, especially the present, the past, and the perfect. Special attention is given to the syntax of infinitives, participles and the subjunctive. The students also delve into studying various forms of Greek irregular verbs. On a practical level, the students solve exercises covering a larger section of New Testament texts. They apply the principles of parsing, basic principles of syntactic analysis and vocabulary, so as to come out with a reasonable and logical translation of some narrative lines and paragraphs of the New Testament. All this aims for a better exegesis of texts and forms a rigorous prerequisite for the exegetical courses of the New Testament.

Prerequisites: GREE 201

GREE 203 NEW TESTAMENT GREEK III                                                

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

The students will be able to use tools for translation, translate advanced passages from the Greek New Testament, LXX, and Church Fathers into Arabic or English, and show awareness of recent scholarly discussion of Koine Greek throughout the course. They will also be able to demonstrate competence in understanding intermediate- advanced Koine / ancient Greek syntax and acquiring intermediate-advanced vocabulary for Greek. The course offers an in-depth study of the syntax of cases, nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and prepositions in addition to the material already covered in Greek I and II. It also covers the use and non-use of articles, aspect, tense, voice, mood, infinitives, participles of verbs, and the syntax of clauses, such as independent, subordinate, conditional, volitional, and conjunctions. All of these are reflected practically through the translation of a selection of advanced texts from the New Testament, the Old Testament, in addition to some Patristic exegetical and rhetorical texts as those found in Saints Ignatius, Polycarpus, Origenes, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, the two Gregories, John of Damascus, and Gregory of Palamas. This course helps make the students ready to indulge in studies of Ancient Christian Greek Text on the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree levels.

Prerequisites: GREE 201, GREE202

HEBR 200 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew

                                Credits  : 3                           Hours: 45

The Old Testament is a collection of books, which were edited over a long period of time. This has led to changes in its language accompanying the process of editing. Scholars believe that the language of the Old Testament is close to the late period of the kingdom. We do not know with precision when the Hebrews ceased to speak this language and adopted other ones. This course offers a detailed study of biblical Hebrew grammar, its vocabulary, and grammatical peculiarities, in a way that would enable the students to acquire a working knowledge of the language.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 201 Introduction to the New Testament

                                Credits: 4                                Hours:60

This course begins with a survey of the political and social world, as well as of both Jewish and non-Jewish religious-world of New Testament times. Later, the course focuses on the nature and origin of the New Testament, and on how the first Christian books were written, preserved, and gathered with a detailed introduction to the text of the New Testament, and the history of its Canon. Then, the course offers an overview of the Methods of interpretation (hermeneutics). An important section of the course deals with problems related to the Gospels such as: The Gospels Genre, the Synoptic Problem, the “Q” source.

Finally, the course deals with questions peculiar to each Gospel, and to the book of Acts as well, such as the Sources, authorship, locale or community involved, date of writing, and other issues and problems for reflection. Finally, the course touches upon the issue of St Paul’s life and his writings.

 Prerequisites: None

THEO 202 Introduction to the Old Testament

                                Credits  : 3                                           Hours    : 45

This is an Introduction to the background and history of the Old Testament. It offers a survey on the circumstances of the redaction of each book, its main theories, as well as to its structure, content and role within the Old Testament. Other issues are also raised, such as the History of the formation and transmission of the book as a whole. The students are introduced to the dynamics governing the rise and development of traditions, and to the different literary forms and their functions.

Prerequisites : None


                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

In this course, the students approach the first three canonical Gospels in a guided and synoptic exegetical work of their most outstanding pericopes. The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark and Luke are read from a synchronic and narrative approach in order to get acquainted with the theological topics proposed in the different literary forms of Christ’s sayings and in the stories of his salvific deeds from the day of his birth until the day of his resurrection and ascension to heaven. While interpreting, the students learn the most important modern theories of historical-linguistic critical research, not without reviewing the ancient classical interpretations of Christian tradition.

Prerequisites: GREE 201, THEO 201, THEO 202.

 THEO 212 New Testament Exegesis: Pauline Corpus

                                Credits: 4                            Hours: 60

This course offers an exegesis of selected passages from the Pauline Corpus, with the purpose of highlighting the main theological issues raised in the Corpus as a whole. The historical and present complicated debates of Low and High Criticism are within the scope of this course. It also traces the development in perspectives resulting from the changing circumstances that necessitated the writing of the epistles.

Prerequisites: THEO 201, GREE 200, THEO 230, THEO 231

THEO 213 New Testament Exegesis: Johannine Literature

                                Credits: 2                            Hours: 30

This course offers an exegesis of selected passages from Johannine Literature, chosen in sequence to highlight some central theological issues raised in the fourth Gospel. The historical and present debates about issues on composition, sources, sacramentalism, and other important issues, are within the scope of this course. 

Prerequisites: THEO 201, GREE 201, GREE 202.

Theo 214 New Testament Exegesis: The Books of Acts and Revelation

                                Credits: 2                            Hours: 30

In this course, the students approach the Book of Acts of the Apostles and the Revelation of John in a guided exegetical work of their most outstanding pericopes. Acts of the Apostles is read from a synchronic and narrative approach, in order to get acquainted with its most prominent theological topics such as the role of the disciples in the Church after the Resurrection of the Lord and their first kerygmatic sermons and deeds. Furthermore, this course provides a brief introduction to the Biblical apocalyptic literature, in addition to an expository treatment of selected pericopes from the Book of Revelation that reflect the theology of this extraordinary final book of the New Testament canon. While interpreting, students enrich their know-how in applying the modern theories of historical-linguistic critical research, not without reviewing the ancient classical interpretations of Christian tradition.

Prerequisites: GREE 201, THEO 201, THEO 202, THEO 213.

THEO 220 Old Testament Exegesis: The Pentateuch and the Historical Writings

                                                Credits  : 3                           Hours    : 45

In this course, the student reads the Pentateuch and the Historical Books synchronically, in order to discover the correlation existent in these volumes and their narrative axis, to which all the episodes and speeches are related. During the course, the student is stimulated to approach the Torah as a part of the Divine Revelation that addresses Christians today, and to find out the close relationship between the Torah and the Gospel. This course also aims at enabling the student to use modern exegetical methods, and to deal with the differences of form and contents in the Masoretic, as well as in the Greek text of the Septuagint.

Prerequisites: HEBR 200, GREE 201, THEO 202.

THEO 221 Old Testament Exegesis: The Prophets

                                                Credits  : 3                           Hours: 45

This course is an analysis of the biblical prophetic movement. It follows the canonical order of the prophetical books. It offers an exploration of the perspective of the authors, by selecting passages from the major and minor prophets, representing the prophetical line, and discussing various themes, such as the Word of God, the Prophetical calls, kingship, priesthood, the temple, the law, judgment, etc…

Prerequisites: HEBR 200, GREE 201, THEO 202.

THEO 222 Old Testament Exegesis: Psalms and Wisdom Books

                                                Credits  : 3                           Hours    : 45

This course offers a deepened study of the Psalms and Wisdom literature. Students are introduced to the main characteristics of the different groups of Psalms, such as the messianic ones, those which are centered on the kingship of Yahweh, and the historical ones. Basic issues such as the concept of kingship, and the relationship between history and liturgy, are dealt with. Questions arising from the study of the Wisdom literature are also discussed, including those of the meaning and the scope of wisdom, and the function of this group of books, as a part of the Old Testament, and as a preparation for the New Testament.

Prerequisites: HEBR 200, GREE 201, THEO 202.


B. Dogmatic Theology

THEO 203 Introduction to Christian Doctrine

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45                            

This introductory course aims to clarify the status of doctrine in the Church, through clearing up the concept of Christian dogma, and specifying the resources and references of dogmatic study and research. It also concentrates on the issue of the authority of doctrine and the dynamism of creativity in its language. It also offers ideas of the relationship of Christian theology within philosophy, science, and human culture.

 Prerequisites: None

THEO 230 The Mystery of the Holy Trinity and Creation

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45                            

This course aims at enabling the student to obtain a methodological knowledge of the theological issues related to the Christian concept of God, the sources of distinction between the created and the uncreated, and the history of the formulation of the dogma of the Holy Trinity. It specifies what is related to the mystery of divine economy, and touches upon the debates that surround the issue of the knowledge of God, as well as the criticism that followed in the Christian world.

Prerequisites: THEO203.

THEO 231 Christ and Redemption

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45                            

This course aims at highlighting the theological topics and issues related to the historic and theological frames for the development of Christology. It deals with the economy of salvation through Christ, as well as the teaching about the Mother of God and the intercession of Saints. The course also discusses the theology of icons. 

Prerequisites: THEO 203, THEO 230

THEO 232 Church, Salvation and Eschatology

                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 45                            

This course aims at enabling the student to obtain a methodological knowledge concerning the theological topics and issues related to the nature and life of the Church. It also covers the sacramental life of the Church, the means to realize salvation, and the concept of Christian Eschatology, whether realized in the life of the Church, or hoped for.

Prerequisites: THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231.

THEO 233 An Overview on Contemporary Theology

                                Credits: 2                                         Hours: 30

The course surveys the different trends in theology during the twentieth century. It develops an understanding of the intellectual needs and challenges which faced Orthodox Theology through its dialogue with contemporary culture, and evaluates the efforts of prominent theologians in their attempt to provide a Christian testimony, in an age of constant changes.

Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.

THEO 234 The Ecumenical Activity of the Church and Contemporary APOLOGETIC THEOLOGY

                                                Credits: 3                                         Hours: 45

The course aims at shedding light on the reality and procedure of Christian ecumenical activity in general, and the approach of the Orthodox Church to ecumenical issues in particular. It surveys the history of the ecumenical movement, its official organizations, its major trends, and the crystallization of visions and agendas. The course focuses on the Antiochian contribution in the Ecumenical encounters.
In its contemporary apologetic part, it surveys different heretical groups and sectarian tendencies, which are encountered in the pastoral reality of the Church. It aims at equipping the future leaders of the Church with the necessary tools, in order to protect their flock from foreign trends of thought and religious ideologies that would threaten the integrity of their faith.

Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.

THEO 235 Christian Ethics

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course has two main parts. The first part is about the social conditions and their theories. The second part is an introduction to the ethical Christian experience. The focus will be on the analysis of the nature, structure, and function of Christian ethics: teleology, criteriology, and standards, with an emphasis on the Biblical and patristic roots of Christian Ethics.
Prerequisites:  THEO 203, THEO 230, THEO 231, THEO 232.


C. History and Patrology

THEO 240 General Church History

                                Credits: 4                                             Hours: 60

This course is divided into two parts: the first deals with the history of the Church from the beginning through the 11th century. In addition to studying the theological, cultural, and political backgrounds within which arose in the Church, the course also examines the major events, such as the Synods and the different heresies, which emerged in the course of history. The second part deals with Church history after the Great Schism, with a special emphasis on the Western Churches, including the Protestant Reformation. The course deals as well with the situation of the Eastern Churches after the fall of Constantinople and the rise of the Ottoman Empire.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 241 History and Philosophy of Religions

                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 45

This course investigates religious issues such as: the definition of religion, the existence of God, religious experiences, miracles, evil, morality, and afterlife. Other treated issues include: religious pluralism, dialogue, tolerance, religion and politics, religion and science, atheism, and teaching religion. Some theories of knowledge pertaining to religion, especially Empiricism, Logical Positivism, and Language Analysis are also discussed, with an attempt to arrive at an alternative epistemology, more suitable to the nature of belief and religious experience. It also covers the study of various religions, their inception, and development, sources, doctrines, and worship forms. The religions studied are Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Zarathustra, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, comparing them, and their differences, while seeking to understand religious identity. 

Prerequisites: PHIL 201T, PHIL 202T.


                                Credits: 1                                             Hours: 15

This course aims to present the sources and genres of the early Christian and Byzantine hagiography and the basic terminology of hagiography. It offers a detailed account of the most prominent writers of hagiographical texts and the most important milestones of hagiography in the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine periods. It also examines the ‘choruses’ of the saints, their ‘boldness’ and their intercessions with God. It approaches miracles from a theological perspective and examines the respective collections. It explores the theological establishment of the honor of the saints and the sacred relics, as well as the history and the contemporary canonical procedure for the canonization of new saints. Finally, it provides a historical outline of the church calendar. 


                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 45

This course presents a view on the position of the fathers in the mind, and the life of the Church. It also presents the frameworks, in which the Church’s Theology emerged and developed, in addition to all the issues that occupied the Church over the first three centuries. It also deals with researching the fathers’ contributions in Church issues. Additionally, it addresses the backgrounds of several fathers, and how his contribution was influenced by these backgrounds, and their status in the life of the Church.  

Prerequisites: GREE 201.


THEO 256 Church Fathers II

                                Credits:3                              Hours:45

This course tackles the works and theology of the Church Fathers, starting from the fourth century until the fourteenth century. It studies the works of main figures, such as St Athanasius the Great, the Cappadocian Fathers, St Maximus the Confessor, as well as others Students will learn how to read and analyze their works within their historical context, and how to reflect their methods on today’s theology.

Prerequisites: THEO 240, THEO 255, GREE 201

THEO 257 Antiochian Fathers and Writers

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course deals with achievements of the Antiochian Church Fathers, such as St Ignatius of Antioch, St Ephrem the Syriac, St John of Damascus and others, whose works played a substantial role in the elaboration and the clarification of Christian theology.

Prerequisites: THEO240, THEO 255, THEO256, GREE201

THEO 262 History of the Church of Antioch

                                Credits: 3                                             Hours: 45

This course investigates the history of the Antiochian Church, and studies its achievement as well as its role in the development of ecclesiastical thought. Antiochian monasticism, along with its major players, will be studied thoroughly, as well as the role of Antioch in the Ecumenical Councils.  

Prerequisites: THEO240.


D. Church Music

THEO 206 Church Music 1

                                Credits: 4                             Hours: 90

This course is an introduction to Byzantine Music. Students learn the basics of reading Byzantine notes and keys in addition to practical training.

Prerequisites: None


THEO 207 Ecclesiastical Chant for Beginners

                                                Credits: 1                             Hours: 30 

In this course, the students learn some basic musical notations with practical examples preparing them to the historical and practical introduction of Ecclesiastical (Byzantine) Music.

Prerequisites: None


THEO 272 Church Music 2

                                                Credits: 4                             Hours: 90            

In this course, the student learns the various tones in Byzantine music. He is instructed on applying the tones to the sacred hymns. Each Tone and its variations will be studied thoroughly.

Prerequisites: THEO 206

THEO 273 Church Music 3

                                                Credits: 4                             Hours: 90

This course deals extensively with the basics of writing music, in addition to the chanting techniques, which deacons and priests should utilize during the liturgy.

Prerequisites: THEO 206 , THEO 272


E. Practical Theology

THEO 200 Introduction To Spiritual Life

                                                                            Hours: 45

This course consists of a series of lectures given, which introduce new students to the basics of the spiritual life in the Orthodox Church.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 204 Introduction to Liturgy

                                Credits: 1                             Hours: 30

This course introduces the student to the characteristics and dimensions of liturgy in the Orthodox Church, description of the liturgical books and vestments and church building, in addition to explanation of the daily liturgical services.

Prerequisites: None

THEO 205 Introduction To Pastoral Care

                                Credits: 2                             Hours:45
This course is an introduction to pastoral theology and ministry. It discusses the scriptural, historical, and patristic background of care in a parish setting. It deals with three main interrelated issues, as they are experienced in the Antiochian Church today: pastoral care, priesthood, and parish life.

Prerequisites: None


THEO 209 Introduction To Canon Law

                                Credits: 2                             Hours:30

This course introduces the student to Canon Law, its development throughout history, as well as to their interpretation by the Church. It also presents aspects of the Canon Law in the Church of Antioch as applied today.

Prerequisites: None


THEO 271 Sacramental Life in Christ

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course investigates the history and development of the Christian sacraments. It shows the various changes, which the forms of sacraments underwent until they reached their current state, as celebrated in the Orthodox Church following the Byzantine rite.

Prerequisites: THEO204


THEO 274 Liturgical Sources

                                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course introduces the student to the ancient sources of the Liturgical forms of the Orthodox Church. It examines Biblical texts, as well as patristic works, which are used as a basis for liturgical hymns.

Prerequisites: THEO204, THEO271.


Theo 276 Introduction to Typicon

                                                Credits: 1                             Hours: 45

The student learns how to use the Typicon for the correct ordering of the services. The main component of this course is the practical training and the use of various liturgical books. 

Prerequisites: None


THEO 277 Teleturgics

                                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course is a practicum for the student preparing himself for the ministry of the priesthood in terms of the priestly performance of sacraments such as Baptism, Wedding, Divine Liturgy, and other prayers of the church.

Prerequisites: THEO 276.

THEO 279 Liturgical Art

                                                Credits: 2                            Hours: 30

This course looks at the sources and the development of Christian art, as well as its theological meanings, and the relationship between it and other branches of Theology.

Prerequisites: None


THEO 281 Counseling and Church Management

                                              Credits: 2                              Hours: 30

This course deals with two subjects. First, pastoral counseling theories, psychotherapy, and issues in the ministry of reconciliation and confession. Second, the leadership role of the priest, as well as an introduction to structures and methods of parish administration.


THEO 282 Christian Education

                                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course shows the students a holistic vision, which instills faithfulness in Christ throughout their life in the Church. Since the students at the institute are, in general, future pastors, they are invited to be aware of all issues related to education, and must be qualified to study the content of an educational program, discuss it, and to be able to criticize any educational paradigm by showing its positive and negative aspects. They should also be able to critically approach texts in order to see whether they are related to their pastoral purposes.

Prerequisites: Level of Third Year



                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course prepares the student for his preaching ministry, based on the Holy Scripture and Tradition, using a clear, structured, directed, systematic style. It studies the sermon-making process, and effective delivery techniques. It is followed by a practicum during the Institute’s Church services.

Prerequisites: THEO 205


THEO 286 Social and Family Care                                                            

                                Credits: 3               Hours: 45

This course examines the work of diakonia and philanthropia in the Orthodox Church on the basis of Scripture, history, and Church Fathers. It discusses the challenges of social care offered to persons with special social, psychological, and health needs. It also presents ways for family care with a special emphasis on living a Christ-centered healthy marriage and family relationships. 

Prerequisites: ITHEO 205



                                Credits: 2                                             Hours: 50

This pastoral training is directed and evaluated in coordination with a parish priest. It aims at encouraging the students to apply their pastoral theoretical knowledge to a parish setting, accompanying the priest in the responsibilities of his daily life and its challenges.

Prerequisites: THEO 205



                                                Credits: 2                                             Hours: 50
This training aims at encouraging the students to apply their theoretical knowledge to social work in hospitals, elderly homes, prisons, and with people who have special needs..

Prerequisites: THEO 205, THEO 286



                                Credits: 2                                             Hours: 30

This course is grounded in the Canonical Tradition of the Church and the Bylaws of the Patriarchate of Antioch. It looks into the principles and causes of the Antiochian laws’ formation, and the spirit in which they need to be applied in various circumstances. It also gives an evaluation of the canonical experience of the Church of Antioch and how the canonical practice can better serve the church.

Prerequisites: THEO 209.



                                Credits: 2                                             Hours: 30

This course prepares the students for this important task of family legal related issues in their pastoral work. It is a legal study connected with issues of spiritual life for married and single alike. It studies how spiritual laws work together with the requirements of civil laws, as in article 28 on the principles of procedure laws. It reviews the work of spiritual courts and their administration, challenges, and solutions, according the spirit of the Antiochian Orthodox tradition.

Prerequisites: None


E. Philosophy and Languages

ARAB 201T Arabic Language II

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

The students learn, in this course, the necessary techniques of writing, reading, and using correct expression in sermons and speeches.

Prerequisites: None


ARAB 202T Arab Humanities I

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course offers a range of readings from the Arab humanities literature, and especially the modern references. The readings are distributed as follows: history, philosophy, social science, literary criticism, story, poetry, etc.

Prerequisites: None

METH 200 Methodology of Research                           

                                Credits: 2                             Hours: 30

This course aims at helping the students acquire necessary techniques and methods to write academic research following the guidelines of the University of Balamand. They also learn how to discover limits of text, define problems, and form hypotheses.

Prerequisites: None 


PHIL 201T Ancient Philosophy

                                Credits: 3                             Hours:45

The course offers a deepened study of the ancient Greek Philosophy, starting with pre-Socratic philosophers and moving on through Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and ending with Plotinus. The objective of the course is to provide the student with the general introduction to philosophy, its major concepts, problems, and an overview of the basic ideas of the great philosophers.

Prerequisites: None


PHIL 202T Medieval and Modern Philosophy

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course offers a deepened study of Scholastic philosophy in the West. It begins with an analysis of the ways in which the early Fathers of the Church accommodated theology with Greek philosophical heritage. The course deals also with the writings of Augustine, Thomas of Aquinas, and other Scholastics, and studies them in the light of faith and reason. It also discusses the philosophy of Averroes.

Prerequisites: PHIL 201T


THEO 294 Introduction to Islam and Christian-Muslim Dialogue

                                Credits: 3                             Hours: 45

This course offers an overview of the tenants of Islam, its inception, main sources, development in history and main figures, based on the texts of the Quran. It also reviews the many rounds of the Christian-Muslim dialogue that occured from the spread of Islam till today. The course relies on participation of Islamic figures, inviting them to present the Islamic doctrine, and various trends and sects as they view them, in order to prevent offering any biased view of this religion.

Prerequisites: None

Contact us
Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology
The University of Balamand

Address: Monastery of Balamand, PO Box 100, Tripoli, Lebanon
Tel: 00961 (0) 6 930 305 - Fax: 00961 (0) 6 930 304
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