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The Postmodern Catholic

Introduction to Catholicism

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Sacred Paths
Homeworks and Outline: Sacred Paths
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Reading Guide Questions Taoism
Homeworks: and Outline: Introduction to Catholicism
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Islam Notes

Iona Preparatory School

Religious Studies Department

Religion I: Introduction to Catholicism & the Hebrew Scriptures

Teacher: Mr. Mark King


 First Semester: Introduction to Catholicism


First Semester


Required Texts

Course Overview

  • The first semester of the freshman year course lays the foundation for the four-year sequence in Religious Studies.  The primary objective of this semester is to introduce students to the basic tenets of Roman Catholicism.  This semester concentrates on the core beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church and as such, will engage in a survey of both catechetical and non-catechetical forms of religious education. 
  • However, following in the spirit of Vatican II, as spelled out in its documents Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Gadium et Spes: The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, and Nostra Aetate, the Council’s Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, this course will seek to engage the wider contemporary world, including other religions.  This will begin in the second semester when we look at Hebrew Scripture.
  • This course will engage in an academic, critically reflective religious education that has the further aim of understanding the nature of religion itself and resists an inward looking, sectarian faith that ignores the reality and value of other religious traditions.
  • While the course textbook will be a valuable and essential source of authentic Catholic teaching and belief, it will be critically engaged and contrasted with other reading sources that will be handed out throughout the semester.
  • It is suggested that to exclusively restrict one’s Catholic identity to Catholic doctrinal beliefs and not to be open to the wisdom of other religious traditions, is no longer adequate for a religiously pluralistic, postmodern world.


Course Objectives


Encourage critical, reflective thinking on the Catholic tradition and its relevance to your present experiences.


Develop basic academic skills such as critical reading, outlining, note-taking, and writing.

  •  Help students develop a better sense of the relationship between their religious beliefs and their sense of social responsibility
  • Help students analyze ideas critically and intelligently


Second Semester


Hebrew Scriptures

Required Texts

  • Pastva, Loretta, Called by the Father: The Hebrew Scriptures, Benziger Publishing Company, 1992.
  • The New American Bible
  • Computer disk for journaling


Course Overview


As some often forget, Jesus was a practicing Jew who did not reject Jewish Scripture and teachings.  He simply re-interpreted them.  The material offered in the second semester of Religion I will focus on the roots of Christianity through the study of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).

  • Students will learn about the people, historical events, rituals, cultural beliefs, and literary genres of a large portion of the Hebrew Scriptures.  The primary intent here is to understand the basis of Salvation History.  As such, students will receive sound education in the basic tools of scriptural analysis.
  • The themes of covenant and human frailty will be examined as students are exposed to Israel’s development as a nation and a people called by YHWH.  These themes, along with the theme of Exodus, will be regularly applied to the Roman Catholic Church today as it struggles to adapt to new situations in the 21st century.


Course Outline

         Unit One: The Bible; Purpose and divisions of the Bible;  How to read; The use of metaphor and symbol;  Critical approach

         Unit Two: Origins and Stories; Four traditions; Myths and Etiologies; Ancient Hebrew Cosmology; Story of Creation; Free will and the Fall of Humanity

         Unit Three: The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Moses and Exodus; The Promised Land; The Judges; David and Solomon; Prophets.






























Note: Since this is a sponsored site, Mr. King is not responsible for the ads posted.




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D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton