15 July 2020

Art, Religion, and Theology (ART)

ART in Orvieto is an advanced summer studies program in art, religion, and theology located in Orvieto, Italy, a magnificent hill town 90 minutes north of Rome. The program offers an ecumenical exploration of Christian understandings of the arts. It provides a three weeks residency designed for artists, graduate students in relevant fields, and other adult learners interested in engaging the intersection of art, religion, and theology.

For further details, please see the dedicated ART in Orvieto webpage.

Art, Religion, and Theology: Theologies of Art in the Christian Tradition
ICS AiO 120102 S20
ICH3350HS L4101 / ICH6350HS L4101
Dr. Rebekah Smick

ART in Orvieto: Visual Artists Workshop
ICS AiO1501/2501VAA S20
Dr. Rebekah Smick, David Holt

(MWS, MA, PhD)


1 May 2020

Community, Faith, and Judgment: Hannah Arendt and Religious Critique

This seminar explores Hannah Arendt’s reflections on judgment, especially as these were shaped by her experience reporting for The New Yorker at the 1961 war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann. After exploring the issues Arendt raises in Eichmann in Jerusalem, and before turning to her most mature reflections on the theme of judgment in particular, we will examine Arendt's understanding of the human situation "between past and future" in the essay collection that bears the same name. These essays will help contextualize Arendt's last (and uncompleted) reflections on judgment as that 'faculty' which might yet help us think and act in unprecedented social and political situations where traditional wisdom has collapsed and universal rules have proved incapable of providing moral guidance. Arendt asks how we can come to understand our time, with its unprecedented crimes, and thereby reconcile ourselves to (without condoning) our past and present. Such understanding is essential, she says, if we are to be able to take up the possibility of an alternative future path amidst the various crises of culture, tradition, and authority that characterize modern existence. This exploration will finally lead us to Arendt's latest thoughts concerning judging specifically, a subject which she intended to form the subject matter of her third, uncompleted, volume of The Life of the Mind. In looking at the material collected in the volume Responsibility and Judgment, we will also ask what members of specifically religious communities might learn from Arendt's reflections (a question Arendt does not herself ask): Are faith communities prone to fostering ideological formations that inhibit their members' capacity to engage in the kind of thinking that Arendt says is a necessary condition of our ability to judge? Should members of faith communities be held responsible for engaging (or failing to engage) in the task of critical self-reflection? How do the beliefs and actions of different religious communities contribute to the ability of their members to become effective judges of a world that is shared and constituted by a plurality of persons who are members of different communities? How might Arendt's insights help religious adherents rediscover the spiritual and intellectual resources of their traditions that could awaken hope and reveal novel possibility for action?

ICS 220502 S20
Dr. Ron Kuipers
Dates TBA (Intensive)
Location: TBA

(MA, PhD)


9 January 2020

God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology

How does the biblical portrayal of Jesus relate to the narrative movement(s) of the Hebrew Bible? To what extent do the OT themes of exile and return, old age and new age, help deepen our understanding of the birth and crucifixion of the Messiah? If we worship Jesus, are we to worship his humanity as well as his divinity? Does Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, who is a named presence in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament only in the Book of Daniel, indicate that her conception of Jesus is to be read apocalyptically? Is it significant that Elizabeth initially greets Mary with words otherwise associated with Jael and Judith? These are some of the exegetical and theological questions we will consider in this engagement with issues at the edge, and at the heart, of contemporary Christology. Conversation partners will include: James Dunn (Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?), Jane Schaberg (The Illegitimacy of Jesus), and N.T. Wright (The Day the Revolution Began).

ICS 240811 W20
ICT3201HS L0101 / ICT6201HS L0101
Dr. Nik Ansell
Thursdays, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Classroom 2, Knox College

(MWS, MA, PhD)


Spiritual Exercise as Christian Philosophy from Augustine to Bonaventure

This seminar examines the notion of spiritual exercise as it evolved in Hellenic and Hellenistic philosophy to understand the emergence of ‘Christian philosophy’ as a cultural project within the Augustinian tradition of theology and spirituality, a tradition that begins in Augustine’s own writings and can be said to find its medieval high point in the work of St. Bonaventure.

ICS 220402 W20
Dr. Bob Sweetman
Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Location: Classroom 2, Knox College

(MA, PhD)


8 January 2020

Reconsidering Kant’s Aesthetics

Until recently, it was customary to regard Kant as the thinker who gave definitive form to the notion of aesthetic judgment and who succeeded in explaining why aesthetic experience is something essentially distinct from other kinds of experience. The postmodern rejection of the practice of aesthetic theory, however, has done much to undermine Kant’s position vis-à-vis the arts. This course aims to re-examine Kant’s aesthetic theory from the vantage point of the art theoretical literature that preceded it. In an effort to better understand Kant’s contribution to the history of thought about art, it will seek to contextualize such “Kantian” themes as judgment, taste, genius, beauty, sublimity and purposiveness. It will also consider to what degree our understanding of Kant has been shaped by later modernist assumptions about the character of his contribution.

ICS 220107 W20
ICH 3761HS L0101 / ICH6761 HS L0101
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Wednesdays, 1:45pm - 4:45pm
Location: ICS Boardroom, Knox College
(MA, PhD)


7 January 2020

Foundations and Implications of Phenomenology

This course will look at the philosophical foundations of, and contemporary issues in, phenomenology. We will explore key features of the phenomenological method—including the reduction, the bracketing of the ‘natural attitude,’ the first-person methodology, intentionality, and givenness. We will also look at how the current conversations on these questions have implications for fields as diverse as psychology, religious studies, sociology, music, and more.

Dr. Neal DeRoo


Course Description TBA

ICS 2400AC W20
Drs. Nik Ansell, Robert (Bob) Sweetman
Tuesdays, 1:45pm - 4:45pm
Location: ICS Learning Studio, Knox College

(MA, PhD)


6 January 2020

Biblical Foundations (Distance)

This course will explore the Bible as the ongoing story of and for God and creation, paying special attention to the way in which God's story is intertwined with that of humanity and the world. In asking whether and in what way the Bible is also our story, we will attempt to identify which hermeneutical methods might help us discern its significance for present day life, including the academic enterprise.

ICSD 1108AC/2108AC W20
ICB2010HS L6101
Dr. Nik Ansell, Jeffrey Hocking
Distance (Online)



12 September 2019

Beauty: Theology, Ethics, or Aesthetics?

Is beauty simply “in the eye of the beholder” or is it something more? Is it a way to God, a moral precept, or the specific locus for a unique kind of pleasure? This course examines a variety of subjective and objective views of beauty in the history of Western philosophy and theology from antiquity to the present (e.g. in the thought of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Weil, Barth, and Balthasar). It will also consider the implications of these views of beauty for the production of the visual arts, music, and literary culture in Western religion and society.

ICS 220105 F19
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Thursdays, 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Classroom 2, Knox College

(MA, PhD)