14 January 2013

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, 5 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 this 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.

ICSD130509/230509 W13
Instructor: Chris Allers


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.

ICSD1108AC/2108AC W13
Instructor: Jeffrey Hocking


8 January 2013

Rhetoric as Philosophy from Isocrates to the Age of Abelard and Heloise

This seminar examines the ancient and medieval discipline of rhetoric and its practitioners’ claim that it represented a properly philosophical discourse.   It does so in terms of a selection of texts drawn from the works of Isocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero,  Augustine, Abelard and Heloise.   In the process, it explores the relationship between affectivity and discursive validity with a view to the effect such a focus has on our understanding of Greek and Latin philosophy, patristic and medieval theology and their intertwined history.

ICS220407 W13
Dr. Robert (Bob) Sweetman
Tuesdays 9:30am-12:30pm


7 January 2013

Truth and Authenticity: Heidegger’s Being and Time

Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time proposes a holistic conception of truth that can reconnect epistemology with cultural practices and social institutions. Yet his conception seems to make personal or communal “authenticity” the key to attaining truth. This seminar develops a constructive critique of Heidegger’s conception of truth by examining its internal logic and its hermeneutical role.

ICS220706 W13
Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart
Mondays 9:30am-12:30pm


4 January 2013

Thinking The World Of God: Religious Language Beyond Onto/theology

How can the language of creation adequately reveal God if the God of creation transcends creation? This perennial question has most often been approached within an analogical view of language which presupposes an ontotheological view of the God/world relationship. Attentive to the influence of the Great Chain of Being on this view of (language for) the divine, we shall also examine whether there has ever been a viable alternative. Is it possible to see transcendence and immanence not as attributes of God and creation, respectively, but as facets of creation and thus creational revelation?

ICS220808 W13
Dr. Nik Ansell
Fridays 9:30am-12:30pm


3 January 2013

Pragmatism and Religion: Dewey, Rorty, and Stout

How does pragmatism's central tenet, which states that the meaning and worth of ideas lies in their practical consequences, comport with religious forms of life and the understandings of morality they fund?  Does pragmatism's suspicion regarding traditional “supernaturalist” theologies leave any space to think alternatively about God and the human relationship with God?   What role do pragmatists see for religion in a democratic society, if any?  In addressing these questions, this seminar will focus on the work of John Dewey, Richard Rorty, and Jeffrey Stout.

ICS120501/220501 W13
Dr. Ron Kuipers
Wednesdays 9:30am-12:30pm


2 January 2013

IDS: What Is This Thing Called Religion? Spiritual Difference, Secular Critique, and Human Maturity

Our attitudes and approaches towards interfaith dialogue are fundamentally shaped by our understanding of the nature of religion. Is religion primarily a mater of faith, of beliefs, or of praxis? If religions are multi-dimensional phenomena, are some dimensions more important than others? Is religious commitment an authentic and indispensable facet of what it means to be fully human or a sign of inauthenticity and/or malformation? How might a distinction between true faith and false faith relate to a distinction between mature faith and immature faith? Is the category of 'quasi-religion' helpful? Do all religious (or would-be secular) positions have inclusive, exclusive, and pluralistic characteristics? Can human flourishing function as a criterion for evaluating different religious traditions? Can we formulate a vision of human maturity outside of a religious or quasi-religious tradition? In allowing questions such as the above to multiply and interact, we will explore the possibility that any viable model of religion that can help us find our way in a religiously complex and diverse world must resist premature reductionism and must be aware of the self-referential nature and implications of its investigations. 

ICS 2400AC W13
Thursdays 5:00pm-8:00pm
(MA, PhD)