15 January 2018

Curriculum: Organising the World for Learning

Curriculum is the selection and organisation of experience for pedagogical purposes. The criteria that determine what is selected and how it is organised articulate fundamental values about the nature of the world and our calling in it. This course will encourage critical evaluation of the criteria that are commonly employed and of how the curriculum can be shaped to better reflect a Christian worldview. Curriculum is conceived not as a static collection of materials, but as a dynamic plan that directs the learning process and governs the organically developing relationship between teachers and learners. Teachers are curriculum workers, charged with reflective responsibility as they conduct themselves in their profession. Whether adopting and adapting an externally prescribed curriculum or designing a curriculum from its inception, Christian teachers have a responsibility to ensure that the curriculum reflects a biblical worldview, in structure as well as in content, and that learners are invited to respond from their hearts in obedience to the call of God in Christ, Scripture and creation.

ICSD120307/220307 W18
Distance Education
Dr. Doug Blomberg / Joonyong Um


4 January 2018

Imagining the Word with Ricoeur: Narrative, Action, and the Sacred in Ricoeur's Hermeneutic Phenomenology

This course will focus primarily on two essay collections by Paul Ricoeur: From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics, II, as well as Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. These collections cover (roughly) a period from the early 1970’s to the early 1990’s. Together, they form an excellent introduction to Ricoeur’s hermeneutical phenomenology, which he developed as an alternative to those theoretical options, such as psychoanalysis and semiotics, with which he struggled throughout the 1960’s.  In addition to exploring Ricoeur’s evolving thoughts on such topics as textual interpretation, action, imagination, revelation, and a religious imaginary, these essays will also serve seminar participants as an effective springboard into Ricoeur’s larger thematic works, such as Rule of Metaphor, Time and Narrative (Vols. I-III), Oneself as Another, or Memory, History, Forgetting. Beginning with From Text to Action, the seminar will explore the general shape of Ricoeur’s heremeneutical phenomenology, including such themes as text, action, explanation, understanding, ideology, and utopia. With this basic grasp of Ricoeur’s hermeneutical phenomenology in hand, we will go on to explore his understanding of the disclosive force of religious texts and uses of language in the anthology Figuring the Sacred. Among other things, Ricoeur there ponders how Christian communities might best face the task of appropriating a textual heritage from which time has distanced them, and concerning which they have lost a certain original naivety. This seminar will explore Ricoeur’s recommendation that Christians risk assuming a “second naivety” as they take up the responsibility of receiving and interpreting their religious tradition for a new generation. Imagining the world with Ricoeur, we will discuss how his recommendations on this score might help or hinder our effort to find meaning and inspiration amidst the crises and fragmentations that run through contemporary life.

ICS 220504 W18
Dr. Ron Kuipers
Thursdays 1:45pm-4:45pm

Birthpangs of the New Creation: Judgment unto Salvation in the Book of Revelation

In our culture, “apocalypse” typically refers to a cataclysmic, catastrophic ending, real or imagined. Often this meaning, in which fear eclipses hope, is traced back to the biblical tradition. But what if the book from which we derive the term, i.e. the “Apocalypse”—or “Revelation”—of John, refers less to the end of the world than to a transition between the two Ages? What if that transition is characterized as double-edged: as both “the death throes of the old world order” and “the birthpangs of the new creation”?  Attentive to the nature of apocalyptic discourse, this course will seek to develop a key area of systematic theology by exploring the topics of death, judgment, heaven, and hell—the ‘four last things’ of traditional eschatology—as they are portrayed in the book of Revelation. In allowing intertexual and intratextual webs of meaning to emerge, we will pay special attention to the way in which Old Testament echoes, together with the book’s own symbolic coherence and narrative logic, can open up new avenues for exegesis, and for theological reflection.  The topic of Final Judgment will be a special focus. How is this to be conceived in the light of the apocalyptic transition? If the first reference to Babylon in the biblical canon, the Babel narrative of Gen 11, refers to a judgment that does not bring history to an end but opens it up once again to the dissemination motif of Gen 1:28, is it possible to detect a parallel “judgment unto salvation” theme in the final book of the New Testament? Our discussions will explore the interface between biblical studies, the “theological interpretation of Scripture,” and contemporary eschatology. Familiarity with New Testament Greek is an advantage but is not a prerequisite.

ICS 120809/220809 W18
Dr. Nik Ansell
Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm
(MWS, MA, PhD)

2 January 2018

Individuality in the Franciscan Thought of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham

This seminar will examine the doctrine of individuality developed by the Franciscan thinkers John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham and the configuration of their thought as one or another form of metaphysical “individualism.”  It does so historically against the backdrop of both Franciscan spirituality and the contested “Aristotelianism” of their university environment.  The seminar is both an illustration of the value in and a critical reappraisal of a problem-historical analysis of philosophy that centres upon philosophical accounts of our daily experience of both universality in the world, i.e., the fact that creatures come to us in kinds, and individuality, i.e., the fact that it is individual creatures that come to us in kinds.  

ICS 220404 W18
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Tuesdays 9:30am-12:30pm

18 September 2017

Wisdom and Schooling

This course explores a biblical understanding of wisdom as an alternative to the theory into practice paradigm, which has dominated the way in which schooling is conducted at virtually all levels. According to the theory/practice story, schooling is the process by which theoretical insight and abstract academic understanding lay the foundations for an abundant life. The Christian gospel proclaims, however, that walking in the way of Jesus is truth and life. The challenge to the Christian school and the Christian teacher is how to be in the world of schooling while not being of it. The implications of a wisdom perspective for schooling in general will be considered; however, as learning and the curriculum are the foci of other courses, this course attends more closely to issues related to teaching.

ICSD 120306/220306 F17
Distance Education
Instructor: Dr. Doug Blomberg and Helena Hoogstad



World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies

The World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies course serves as a touchstone for the Master of Worldview Studies program as a whole, providing students with an overview of the program, an initial set of frameworks and tools for finding their way through the program, and a selection of readings (about 1,250 pages) that will prime students for reflecting on six inter-related wayfinding questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? What do I believe? What do I love? What opportunities and constraints do I face in my particular context? What am I to do with my life?

The course will take a hybrid format, with six bi-weekly in-person classroom sessions as well as weekly structured interactive online forum discussions in response to reading assignments. In-Person sessions will be September 27, October 11, October 25, November 15, and November 29

Hybrid Online/In-Person
ICSD 132505/232505 F17
Dr. Gideon Strauss


Vocational Wayfinding

Study ONLINE in Continuing Education or Degree Credit mode.

“What am I to do with my life?” “Who am I?” There appears to be an inextricable connection between the work that we do and our sense of who we are. As the poet David Whyte has suggested, work is for all of us a pilgrimage of identity. It is not, however, a pilgrimage for which any of us are provided with a GPS device, allowing us to navigate in straight lines with comfortable certainty towards clear career objectives that cohere in obvious ways with an immutable sense of our identity. Instead, this pilgrimage is more like the experience of Polynesian sailors, who traversed the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean with the help of the stars, memory, and close attention to the patterns of the waves on the surface of the ocean as these reflected features of the ocean (including far-off islands). Polynesian wayfinding was a way of navigating that required alert improvisation and frequent reorientation from within a perpetually shifting context. Our vocational pilgrimages require of us to find our way in a similar manner.

In this course we will explore particular practices, frameworks, and tools, by means of which we can engage in vocational wayfinding. Prompted by our readings we will consider some of the relationships between work and identity: How does my work prompt my discovery of my sense of self? How do I try out possible selves in relation to whatever in the world is calling me toward particular kinds of work? What am I to do with my life? We will give close attention to those passages in our lives (in particular young adulthood and the middle passage of life) when both our work contexts and our experience of our identity are most obviously in flux. In addition, we will consider how to contribute skilful leadership and insightful mentoring to others as they engage in their own vocational wayfinding, particularly in the contexts of the workplace and educational institutions.

Vocational Wayfinding is a two-part course that will equip participants to navigate the work-life journey. The first six-week module will focus more on frameworks for digging into the meaning of our work-life journeys, and will include a discussion of David Whyte’s book Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. The second six-week module will focus more on practical tools for figuring out how to go about the next phase of our careers, and will include a discussion of Herminia Ibarra’s book Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career.

As a credit course Vocational Wayfinding is part of our Wayfinding Master of Worldview Studies program and is a credit level course for MWS, MA and PhD programs. The tuition fee in this mode is $900 for both modules.

As a continuing education course Vocational Wayfinding is oriented towards professional and personal development and has no particular academic prerequisites. It can be taken individually or as part of a small discussion group in your church or school with prices ranging from $150 to $500 (depending on the number of modules and options you choose).

Click here for more details and registration information.

ICSD 132502/232502 F17
Dr. Gideon Strauss
(MWS, MA, PhD)


First Module: Week of Sept. 18 - Oct. 23
Second Module: Week of Nov. 6 - Dec. 12

14 September 2017

Wittgenstein: Language & the Philosophy of Religion

Wittgenstein’s philosophy continues to generate a great deal of interest, and his name is frequently cited in connection with new developments in theology and the philosophy of religion. Via an exploration of the various accounts of language and meaning he presents in both his early and later work, this course will focus on his thought as it relates to religious belief and commitment in particular. Beginning with the enigmatic Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus, we will examine how Wittgenstein’s understanding of language and meaning developed over the course of his career. In doing so, we will pay special attention to the implications that Wittgenstein’s thoughts about language have for specifically religious uses of language. Beyond this exploration, however, we will also explore the existential motivations of the man, Wittgenstein, himself. What was the character of his peculiar fascination with religion and the religious? What might have prompted him to proclaim that “‘Wisdom is grey.’ Life on the other hand and religion are full of colour”? This last question cannot be answered unless one attends to Wittgenstein’s fiery and enigmatic personality, over and above his rather cold and technical philosophy.

ICS 120503/220503 F17
Dr. Ron Kuipers
Thursdays 1:45pm-4:45pm


13 September 2017

Biblical Foundations

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 F17
Instructor: Dr. Nik Ansell
Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:30 pm