Mission, Ecumenics, and History of Religions (MEHR)
MEHR integrates the fields of Mission (history and theology), Ecumenics (history and theology), and History of Religions to promote the interdisciplinary study of Christianity as a cross-cultural, global phenomenon. Capitalizing on the Seminary’s diverse resources, MEHR nurtures a broad perspective on Christianity’s historical and contemporary expansion and expression throughout the world, including representative theologies emanating both from the global South and North. Additionally, MEHR pays special attention to the ecumenical interrelations of the global Christian communion as well as to its interactions with believers from other faith communities. As a whole, MEHR provides a rigorous scholarly foundation for a multifaceted study of world Christianity.
Students are expected to complete eight seminars during two years of residence. These seminars will include at least one from each of the three major fields in the program: Mission, Ecumenics, and History of Religions. The remaining seminars may draw on courses in the M.Div. program (with enhanced requirements) that have a bearing on the student’s area of concentration. The program may be rounded out by doctoral seminars offered elsewhere in the Seminary or at the University. The resulting program will be tailored individually by the candidate in consultation with her or his residence committee. The candidate is expected to participate in the monthly Colloquium for Ph.D. students and faculty conducted by the Department of History and Ecumenics.
Candidates are expected to develop an area of dissertation research during their period of residence. The candidate’s residence committee will provide advice and formal guidelines.
Following the two-year period of residence, the candidate will take a series of comprehensive examinations. Passing these examinations qualifies the candidate to submit her or his dissertation proposal and to begin concentrated work on the dissertation. Methods and specific contents of the exams will be negotiated with the residence committee. There will be a total of four comprehensive examinations:
1. History of Mission and Ecumenics
2. Theology of Mission and Ecumenics
3. Theory and methodology for the History of Religions in relation to one particular religious tradition, or with special application to interreligious dialogue, comparative theology, or theology of religions
4. Social Science theory and methodology for the study of world Christianity
Examinations must include at least one from each of the three program areas (exams 1 through 3). However, in lieu of an examination in Social Science theory and methodology, or in addition to it, students may consider submitting an essay indicative of a major theme or topic that might be treated in a post-defense dissertation.
Submission of Dissertation Proposal
Following successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, the candidate is expected to submit a dissertation proposal to the Ph.D. Studies Committee for approval. Guidance will be provided by the candidate’s residence committee.