19 September 2011

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.

[Note: This is a distance course]

ICSD 120306/220306 F11
Dr. Doug Blomberg
MWS, MA, PhD

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16 September 2011

Religion, Life & Society: Reformational Philosophy

An exploration of central issues in philosophy, as addressed by Herman Dooyeweerd, Dirk Vollenhoven, and the “Amsterdam School” of neoCalvinian thought. The course tests the relevance of this tradition for recent developments in Western philosophy. Special attention is given to critiques of foundationalism, metaphysics, and modernity within reformational philosophy and in other schools of thought.

ICS 1107AC/2107AC F11
Dr. Robert (Bob) Sweetman
Fridays 9:30am-12:30pm
MWS, MA, PhD

Syllabus

15 September 2011

Person, Family and Society

This course will reflect on the nature of the social world in a way that emerges from and is integrally linked with Christian faith. Challenging the common view that individuals are fully independent and self-made, we will look at the different kinds of communities that define us, in both restrictive and enabling ways: family, political society, religious community, and groups formed on the basis of other kinds of shared identities. We will look at the way in which we emerge as individuals only through these primary identifications, and at the conflicted way in which our individuality is essentially an attempt to understand and even overcome them. We will also explore the tensions that arise between these various communities and their claims upon us—between family and social membership, between religious community and political membership, between formal legal identity and concrete group identification, and so on. The course includes readings from diverse philosophical, religious, literary, and social-scientific texts. It aims to develop an existentially and philosophically rich Christian sensitivity to the complexity of the social relationships that shape us and make claims on us.

ICS 130609 F11
Dr. Shannon Hoff
Thursdays 1:30pm-4:30pm
MWS

Syllabus

Christian Theologies of Art

The course will explore significant ways that Christians have theologized the arts, artistry and art culture. The course will compare the varieties of theologies that have emerged from within the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions. The study will involve looking at paintings, icons, altarpieces, and socially and culturally engaged works of art as well as pertinent theological writings.

ICS 120102/220102 F11
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Thursdays 9:30am-12:30pm
MWS, MA, PhD

Syllabus

Reconsidering Kant's Aesthetics

> CANCELLED <

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-a-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 F11
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Thursdays 9:30am-12:30pm
MA, PhD

13 September 2011

Liberal Theory and Its Critics

Much of the work in contemporary political philosophy is devoted to the debate between liberals and communitarians, who are divided on the question of the priority of the right or the good. We will familiarize ourselves with this debate, and then address the important challenges to liberal political philosophy coming from philosophy of religion, critical theory, feminist philosophy, and post-structuralism.

ICS 220601 F11
Dr. Shannon Hoff
Tuesdays 1:30-4:30pm
MA, PhD

Syllabus

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. In so doing, it explores the value of historiographical plotting of philosophical, theological and spiritual ideas at the insection of perduring literary and thought tradition(s) and current intellectual vogue. Texts: Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae; Hildegard of Bingen, Liber divinorum operum; Alan of Lille, De planctu naturae; Bernardus Sylvestris, Cosmographia.

ICS 220403 F11
Dr. Robert (Bob) Sweetman
Tuesdays 9:30am-12:30pm
MA, PhD

Syllabus

12 September 2011

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.

ICS 1108AC/2108AC F11
Dr. Jim Olthuis
Mondays 7:00-10:00pm
MWS, MA, PhD

Syllabi

Paradoxes of Progress: Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action

Contemporary struggles over globalization echo debates about modernization in the previous two centuries. How should we understand philosophical theories of progress and the sociocultural changes these theories address? By what criteria should supposed improvements in society be judged? The seminar pursues these questions through a study of J├╝rgen Habermas's The Theory of Communicative Action.

ICS 220704 F11
Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart
Mondays 12:00 – 3:00pm
MA, PhD

Syllabus

14 January 2011

God Inc: Christology/Humanity/Incarnation

Christology is (at) the heart of Christian Theology as a whole. Jesus, as God in flesh and blood, faces us with the true relationship between God and creation. In that light, how can we make sense of the "two natures" of the "second person" of the Trinity today? In revealing (his) divinity, does Christ (also) reveal our humanity?

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

This seminar 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 in which reason has been thought to fail in providing adequate knowledge.

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13 January 2011

Religion, Critical Theory, and Habermas

While maintaining a stance of "methodical atheism," Habermas' work also exhibits a positive appreciation for many dimensions of the Judeo-Christian religious heritage, especially its moral and ethical dimensions. Habermas' critical appreciation of religious tradition is in continuity with his "Frankfurt School" forebears, who took religion to be integral to modern social and cultural evolution. Religion must be studied, they felt, because it can both display forms of pathological socialization and yet be a resource for a critique of, and eventual emancipation from, such a repressive reality. After exploring key writings of the first generation of critical theorists on the social relevance of religion, the seminar will culminate in an in-depth study of Jurgen Habermas' contribution to this discussion.

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The Self and Its Others

This course explores the notion that subjectivity is not merely given but produced through an encounter with society, language, and other selves, and explores the ethical and political consequences of this possibility. We will examine the construction of ethnic, religious, racial, and gendered difference, the forces that have constituted them as "other" instead of "same," and the consequences this has for the construction of the self and its obligations and responsibilities. We will set up the theoretical issues by reading Kant, Sophocles, Hegel, and Levinas, but will focus especially on readings from Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, Luce Irigaray, and Gayatri Spivak.

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12 January 2011

IDS: Art, Religion, Education, and Justice: The Christian Philosophy of Nicholas Wolterstorff

This course examines four central themes in the Christian philosophy of Nicholas Wolterstorff. It examines the interconnections to be found among these themes and their respective contributions to the project of Christian Philosophy as conceived and practiced by one of the most wide-ranging and successful English speaking philosophers to come out of the world of Reformed Christianity.

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11 January 2011

The Rational Individual and the Social Contract: Hobbes and Locke, Rousseau and Marx

(Formerly: Classic Themes in Political Philosophy: the Social Contract)

The notion that society is based on a fundamental pact or a contract among citizens is a very old idea in political philosophy. That society is founded in agreement is an idea especially powerfully developed in early modern philosophy, which has had a significant impact on existing laws and political institutions. In this course we will look at the way this idea is developed and challenged in a number of classical authors: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx.

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Spiritual Exercises as Christian Philosophy from Augustine to Bonaventure

CANCELLED

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 that begins in Augustine's own work and finds its medieval high point in Bonaventure. It explores the effect on our understanding of philosophy, theology and their history of identifying as properly theoretical cognitive operations that do not have logical validity as their end and horizon.

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10 January 2011

Christianity and Ecological Crisis

"The attitudes to save the environment should be imbued with a vision of the sacred." --David Suzuki at the Global Forum of the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 4 June, 1992

Critics often blame Christian culture, and sometimes rightly, for either ignoring or contributing to the global ecological crisis. This course will examine some Christian responses to the ecological crisis that contest that characterization. These include claims that the responsibility for the global ecological crisis is complex and multifaceted as well as arguments that Christianity can resist and undo the attitudes that helped create the crisis. We shall explore agrarian essays, ecological theology, and international initiatives on ecological activities. We may also visit a farm whose inhabitants integrate their faith and their lifestyle. In this discussion-intensive seminar, participants will consider what role Christian faith can and should play in a strong environmental ethic.

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Curriculum: Organising the World for Learning

[This is a distance education course.]

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.

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