Academics
Departments and Curriculum

Theology and Religious Studies


The Holderness Theology & Religious Studies Department promotes a pedagogical partnership between a student's academic learning and personal reflection in the pursuit of meaningful engagement with religious traditions. In addition to the historical and critical examination of material from primary and secondary sources in religious studies, all coursework also contains a self-reflective component designed to cultivate thinking on spiritual themes. Topics relate to spiritual dimensions of life that are often universal to human experience. This provides an opportunity for students to explore and develop themselves spiritually, even as they grow intellectually in their understanding of major religious traditions.

The World Religions course is a semester course which provides an introductory overview of the history, beliefs, practices, and contemporary manifestations of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

The Theological Ethics course is an upper level semester course designed to engender and promote in students the academic and rhetorical tools of robust theological and ethical thinking on contemporary problems.

Students are required to take one course in the Theology & Religious Studies Department in order to graduate.


Spirituality at Holderness

“Any student can purposefully experience a Holderness education through a spiritual lens. By participating in chapel, studying theology, ethics, and world religions in the classroom, serving in the job program, serving in the community, participating in vestry—even through the grace we say at dinner—a young person can cultivate a meaning-oriented and thoughtful spiritual journey.”
–Richard Weymouth, Holderness Chaplain


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Theology and Religious Studies Course Descriptions

  • World Religions

    The one-semester World Religions course cultivates students' cultural and analytical reasoning, expands their capacities for empathy and creative imagination, develops their reflective and moral sensibilities, and builds foundational knowledge of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

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  • Ethics

    This course introduces students to a variety of ethical strategies from both philosophical and theological sources. Students investigate the theoretical underpinnings and the practical applications of ethical systems through case studies, class discussion, and debate. Students will reflect on their own communities of formation and explore and develop their own tools for moral reasoning. The course culminates with independent research on a pressing moral problem of the student's choosing. Students will present the case to the class, solicit peer review, and write a final position paper that demonstrates the learning goals of research, logical thinking, and effective argumentation.

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  • Advanced English Seminar: The Bible as Literature

    Do you have a Bible on your shelf somewhere but you’ve never really read it? Did you know the Bible is more of a library than a book? Are the readings in chapel a total mystery to you? Have you ever encountered a biblical reference in another book and wished you knew more? Are you or a loved one named after a figure in the Bible but know little about the namesake? Do you ever wonder how and why the Bible animates historical and contemporary political speech and action? Do you ever wonder what are some of the biblical sources that undergird Western theories of law and justice? Do you appreciate great writing? Do you wish someday to be able to call yourself well-read?

    The Bible as Literature is an upper-level semester course which provides an additional choice for students seeking to satisfy the graduation requirement in Theology & Religious Studies.  Cross-listed with the English dept, the course is listed as ENG on the transcript.

    METHOD: The course provides an introduction to the Judeo-Christian canon of biblical texts as works of sacred literature and rhetoric.  Students will explore the range of biblical genres through a survey of its historical, prophetic, poetic, sophistic, liturgical, gospel, and apocalyptic literatures.  With analysis of character, plot, form, literary devices, and redaction, they will learn to decipher and defend their own interpretive and rhetorical choices as biblical readers.

    Order Your Textbook(s)

    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.

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Faculty

  • Photo of Joshua Hill
    Joshua Hill
    Theology and Religious Studies Chair & Chaplain
    (603) 779-5274
    Yale Divinity School - M Div
    Emory & Henry College - BA
    Princeton Theological Seminary - Certificate in Youth & Theology
    Bio
  • Photo of Conor O'Meara
    Conor O'Meara
    History and Theology & Religion Faculty
    (603) 779-5327
    Fairfield University - BA
    Boston College High School
    Bio

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Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245

MAIL P.O. Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
PHONE (603) 536-1257
EMAIL info@holderness.org