Religious Studies

The Religious Studies curriculum is a crucial part of Jesuit education at Prep. While the Jesuit worldview is distinctly Catholic, its methodology is aimed at helping all students, regardless of their faith background, find truth, and develop a personal relationship with God.

While requiring an equal level of academic rigor as other courses, the Theology department helps students prepare for and reflect on their retreat and service experiences, and celebration of school liturgies.

Theology I: Ignatius Loyola, Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Testament

The first section of this course is aimed at introducing the students to the basics of Catholic belief, especially the history and spirituality of the Society of Jesus. Students learn about St. Ignatius of Loyola, as well as other important Jesuits, Ignatian Spirituality, and the vocabulary particular to the Society.

The second section of this course is an introduction to the Bible. Students examine the Bible’s formation, history, content, and relevance for both the ancient and contemporary audiences. Most people are familiar with the stories of Adam and Eve, the Exodus, or David and Goliath; but students in this course examine these texts with an eye towards who wrote the stories, why they were written, how they have been redacted, and why they still matter today. The study of the Christian Testament will examine the source, authorship, cultural and historical context, differing Christologies of the Synoptic Gospels; explore the major themes and methods of Jesus’ public ministry; and read the whole of Mark’s gospel. The goal is to move beyond mere familiarity with the biblical stories towards a critical appropriation of the historical, literary, and contemporary contexts of the Bible (1 credit)

Theology II: Christian Testament and The Church in History

Sophomore Theology is a two-semester course divided into a study of the New Testament and Church History. The first semester continues the students’ freshmen study of the Gospels with a special emphasis on Matthew, Luke, and John. The distinctive Christologies within each Gospel are thoroughly analyzed in light of the historical context of first century Judaism. In the second semester we continue an historical – critical approach to events and teaching of the Church throughout its long history. A special emphasis is given to the writings of St. Paul, the issues related to the Nicene Creed, the rise of scholasticism, the theologies present in the Protestant Reformation, and issues related to the modern church. In both semesters we will be using an Ignatian paradigm to explore who Jesus is, what is his call and how do we respond to this call. (1 credit)

Theology III: Christian Ethics, Personal and Social: The Virtuous Man in the Public Arena

It was the desire of Ignatius Loyola that the Jesuit school educate the virtuous man who would be active in the public arena. Toward this end, Junior Theology is a yearlong course in Christian Ethics, Personal and Social. In the first semester we will examine what it means to be virtuous by drawing on the Classical philosophical traditions, the Doctors of the Church, and the Scriptures as well as the modern thought that has advanced it. In the second semester we will examine through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching the cultural, social, and legal structures that constitute the local and global public arena to better understand the demands of a faith that does justice. (1 credit)

Theology IV (Fall Semester): World Religions

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the major religious traditions that exist today and uncover what they have to teach us about ourselves and the challenges we face living in the 21st century. These are the “Wisdom Traditions” that have been with us for thousands of years, shaping our culture, history, humanity, and divinity. In keeping with the Jesuit axiom – “Find God in all things” – we will investigate the intricacies of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism in hopes of growing in both understanding and compassion. (0.5 credit)

Theology IV (Spring Semester): Christian Spirituality for the 21st Century: To be Contemplatives in Action

This required course for seniors seeks to examine the Christian spiritual tradition in both theory and practice. Ignatian Spirituality and other forms of the Christian spiritual tradition will be explored and practiced in an effort to see clearly the connection between contemplation and action. There will be a strong experiential component to this course to expose students to the actual lived practice of prayer in the Christian tradition and its call to service in the world. Additionally, this course will explore how the Catholic imagination shapes one’s worldview that is in line with both the need to contemplate and act according to the Gospels. (0.5 credit)

Ignatian Seminar (Spring Semester)

For seniors who exhibit interest and facility with discernment, an advanced course in Ignatian Spirituality is available. Over a semester, students work closely with a spiritual director in performing part of the 19th annotation of The Spiritual Exercises. The extent to which the retreat is finished depends upon the individual student's openness to the work of the Spirit. Seniors are invited to apply to this program at the conclusion of the fall semester. Department approval is required and limited based on the availability of retreat directors.


Mrs. Marianne Gallagher

Mr. Dan Bowen

Mr. Kevin Buckley, Chair

Mr. Bill Haardt

Dr. Damon McGraw

Mr. Christopher Russell

Mr. Julius Tangwe

Mr. Bradley Boyle