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Department of Theology

Theology majors learn crucial skills for thinking critically about the world, writing persuasively, problem-solving, and communicating effectively—valuable skills all employers seek. While some of our majors pursue graduate work in theology, other students go on to have meaningful and successful careers in a variety of fields.

Through studying theology, students are educated in the influence of religious belief on personal psychology and decision-making, while also learning and thinking about the role that ethics, morality, and spirituality have in our modern world.  Be it interpersonal connections, shaping of public policies, or the enrichment of culture and the arts in our society, the role of theology continues to have an inspirational role.

-Christina A. Astorga
Department Chair


Next Theology Event:

The Body of Christ’s Barbarian Limb: John Chrysostom’s Theology of Ethnic Diversity

November 1, 7:15 p.m., Franz Hall 120

In the late Roman world, a remarkable influx of Gothic immigrants into the empire ignited a theological debate over what it meant to be a Christian. The Goths were, in the eyes of many Romans, uncivilized barbarians and this prejudice was even pervasive among Christian leaders. How should these new foreigners be treated? Would conversion to Christianity enable them to assimilate into Roman society? Could they even become Christians at all? In this Theology Thursday presentation, we will explore how John Chrysostom, as bishop of Constantinople, challenged this ethnic prejudice and provocatively argued for a more inclusive faith.

Jon Stanfill, Ph.D., Fordham University, has taught at the University of Portland since 2016. He specializes in the history of Christianity in late antiquity (250-750 CE) and, more specifically, the life and works of Saint John Chrysostom, a fifth-century bishop of Constantinople. He is currently working on his first book, which examines the interplay between ethnicity, alterity, and religious identity in Chrysostom's efforts to promote the Christianization of the Goths. His research also encompasses the impact of climate change on the Goths in the fourth century, which has been most recently published in the Journal of Late Antiquity.