USML | Topics for S.T.B Exam

Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.)

Topics for S.T.B Exam

The topics that are to be mastered in preparation for the S.T.B. examination are the following:

Biblical Studies & Homiletics 


1. The historical-critical method according to the official documents of the Church.

2. The authorship of the Pentateuch and implications regarding inspiration.

Johannine Literature

3. What are some of the major ways in which the Gospel of John differs from the synoptic gospels in its narrative, portrayal of Jesus, and its theological emphases?

4. What was going on in the Johannine community?

Introduction to St. Paul

5. The New Perspective on Paul: How does it contrast with the old perspective?

6. The background, structure, and major themes of 1 Thess, Gal, and Phil.

Synoptic Gospels

7. What do we find when we compare the Synoptic gospels? What is the best explanation for their relation ship?

8. What are some of the distinctive theological and literary features of each of the synoptic gospels?


9. Description of biblical prophecy and of the prophetic task

10. Why the historical critical method is essential for under standing accurately prophetic tasks.


11. Discuss the “ecumenical” aspect of Hebrew Wisdom literature; in what ways does it share forms and interests with the larger ancient near eastern world. 

12. Discuss the literary genres found in the Psalter, particularly Hymns of Praise, Laments and Psalms of Thanksgiving and Trust. How does the knowledge of a literary genre help in understanding the background of the psalms and their exegesis? How can in help in modern applications of these texts?                                 

Dogmatic Theology

Fundamental Theology

1. Catholic Approaches to Inspiration (especially Dei Verbum).

2. Scripture and Tradition (Trent and Vatican II) Doctrine of God

3. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one God and three distinct persons.

4. The relationships among the persons.

5. The "filioque."

6. The divine attributes.

7. Arguments for God’s existence

8. God and the problem of evil


9. The development of the dogma of the person of Christ in the responses of the first six ecumenical councils to doctrinal propositions on the relation of the divine and human natures of Christ.

10. The central concepts of Catholic soteriology: objective redemption, subjective redemption, solidarity, substitution, satisfaction; the satisfaction theory of Anselm as foundational theory and the Protestant theory of vicarious penal substitution as deviant development from Anselm.


11. The marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic, apostolic

12. The one Church of Christ subsisting in the Catholic Church

Sacraments of Initiation

13. The development of the Church's understanding of sacraments in general and the Seven Canonical sacraments.

14. The influence of twentieth century theology on the contemporary understanding of sacraments. 

Sacraments of Healing and Vocation

15. Ecclesial penance in the early Church and the developments beginning in the 6th century

16. The sacramental character received in Holy Orders Sacrament of Holy Orders

17. Name and describe the four pillars of priestly formation

18. The development of the Church’s doctrine on the Sacrament of Holy Orders from the Council of Trent to the present day

Theological Anthropology

19. God's creation of the universe and human beings (Creation and science; evolution; humanity in creating; humanity's imaging of God).

20. The entrance of sin in the world and its effect today (peccatum originale originans and peccatum originale originatum: the state of the doctrine in tradition and to day).

21. The human person as spirit and body.

22. Grace as a call to participation and growth in God's own life.

23. The justification of the sinner by grace (Council of Trent).

24. The priority of divine freedom over human free will (including the genuineness of human freedom).

Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue

25. The relationship of the Catholic Church to other churches and ecclesial communities

26 The theological status of non-Christian religions

Church History 

1. How has the interaction between the Church and State contributed to the development of the Church (institutionally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually) in history?

2. How has the concept of reform shaped the history of the Church?

3. How has Episcopal authority, but especially papal authority, developed and evolved in the Latin West? Reformation and Catholic Response

4. How was epistemology central to the lasting divisions of Christianity? 

5. How did the Catholic Church benefit from the various intellectual and religious movements of the Late Modern Church History

6. The social, political and religious issues that are back ground factors for ecumenical councils.

7. The reforms of the councils and the effects of the councils on the Catholic Church.

Moral Theology 

1. Objective morality and the natural law

2. The four sources of moral theology

3. The four cardinal and three theological virtues and op posing vices

4. The human person: dignity, freedom, human rights, the common good, economic justice

5. Artificial contraception, NFP, and the virtue of chastity

6. Sexual sins: pornography, masturbation, fornication, homosexual acts, adultery

7. Ordinary and extraordinary means in life saving medical treatment

8. The notes of conjugal love and the relationship of the conjugal act to conjugal love.

Spiritual Theology 

1. Definition of Holiness, the Four Marks of Apostolic Charity

2. Apatheia and the Triple Way

3.  The Stages of Prayer

4. Definitions of asceticism, mysticism, contemplation

Liturgy & Music

1. The Eucharist as source and summit of the Christian life

2. The theological elements of liturgy

3. The work of Christ in the Church’s liturgy.

4. Christ continues his saving work through the Church and the sacraments.


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