8 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
MWS, MA, PhD

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
MA, PhD

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 W15
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
MA, PhD

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 

MWS, MA, PhD

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
MWS, MA, PhD

13 September 2017

The Divine (at) Risk: Open Theism, Clasical Theism and Beyond

Did God take a risk in creating the world?  How are divine and human freedom related?  Can we confess God’s sovereignty in the face of evil?  This course will explore the different ways in which the God of history is viewed by advocates and critics of “Open Theism.”  Our examination will stimulate our own reflections on how we might best understand and, indeed, imagine God’s love, knowledge and power.

ICS 120803/220803 F15
Dr. Nik Ansell
Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm

(MWS, MA, PhD)

12 September 2017

Matter, Body and Gender in the Thought of Hildegard of Bingen, Bernardus Sylvestris, Alan of Lille and Thomas Aquinas

This seminar explores the themes of matter, body and gender in selected works of Hildegard of Bingen, Bernardus Sylvestris, Alan of Lille and Thomas Aquinas.  It explores the use of myth or religious story within the construction of theoretical understanding.  It does so in terms of the “story of origin” as it comes to expression within the Latin Christian world of the twelfth century in schooled creation poems and in contrast to the thematization of creation in the contemporary monastic discourse of Hildegard of Bingen and in the scholastic thematizations of the next century represented by Thomas Aquinas. 

ICS 220403 F17
Dr. Robert Sweetman 
Tuesdays 9:30am-12:30pm 
MA, PhD

With/Out Reason: Art and Imagination in the Western Tradition

 In everyday language, imagination is something we associate with human creativity as it gets expressed in all areas of knowledge and across all disciplines. Yet, underlying this association is the enduring notion that the imagination utilizes thought processes more germane to the arts than to the sciences. Through an examination of key texts, this course will explore the special relationship of the arts to the concept of the imagination in the history of Western thought. It will also consider the implications this relationship has had for art’s role in the areas of theology and ethics, areas where reason has been thought to fail in providing adequate knowledge.

ICS220106 W14
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Tuesdays 1:45pm-4:45pm
MA, PhD