13 January 2014

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. This online course employs an extensive Study Guide, a book, book chapters and journal articles, with an online discussion forum and Skype/telephone conferencing. Participation in the forum and a professionally-oriented research paper will provide the basis for evaluation.

ICSD 120306/220306 W14
Distance Education
Instructor: Dr. Doug Blomberg


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 W14

Distance Education
Instructor: Jeffrey Hocking

10 January 2014

The Nature (and Grace) of Modern Theology

This course will explore the work of seminal Protestant and Catholic theologians associated with the re-shaping of ‘modern’ theology in the twentieth century. Our focus will be on the ‘nature-grace’ relationship—understood as the distinction and connection that theologians posit or discern between ‘divine’ and ‘human’ power, freedom, and desire. The famous debate between Karl Barth and Emil Brunner (Natural Theology, ET, 1948), and the more recent discussions of Leonardo Boff (Liberating Grace, ET, 1979) and Stephen Duffy (The Graced Horizon: Nature and Grace in Modern Catholic Thought, 1992) will stimulate our own contemporary reflections on the ‘covenantal’ nature of reality and the spirituality of existence. Participants will engage key readings in a seminar setting.

ICS220802 W14
Dr. Nik Ansell
Fridays 9:30am-12:30pm


9 January 2014

Art, Religion, and Theology

The course will explore significant ways that Christians have theologized the arts, artistry and art culture in Eastern and Western Christendom. 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. Students will be evaluated on class participation, seminar presentations, and a research paper on an approved topic. The methodology used in the course will be a mix of lecture and class discussion on assigned readings.

ICS120102 W14
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Thursdays 7:00pm-10:00pm


Ricoeur, Language & the Sacred

This course will focus on two of Ricoeur’s essay collections, From Text to Action and Figuring the Sacred. Students will explore the general shape of Ricoeur’s heremeneutical phenomenology, including such themes as textual interpretation, action, explanation, understanding, ideology, and utopia. From there, the course will focus on Ricoeur’s thoughts concerning the disclosive force of religious texts in particular, including his understanding of the way Christian communities might best face the task of appropriating a textual heritage from which time has distanced them, and concerning which they may have lost a certain original naivety. Imagining the world with Ricoeur, we will discuss how his recommendations contribute to our effort to find meaning and inspiration amidst the crises and fragmentations that run through contemporary life.

ICS220504 W14
Dr. Ron Kuipers
Thursdays 1:45pm-4:45pm


8 January 2014

IDS: Philosophy and Education: The Formation of Persons

Philosophy has often been construed as more than an intellectual undertaking: Pierre Hadot, among others, considers it as a way of life or a spiritual exercise. It is thus a process of formation, a concern with (self-)education. This may often be an implicit theme for philosophers, in their concern for the meaning of humanness and the proper goals of life, and the nature of the larger world and our relations with it (how we come to know and value being primary interests). Whereas these matters are of evident significance for conceptions of education, since early times philosophers have also reflected explicitly on the conduct of institutionalised and informal education, long before specialist philosophers of education emerged as a distinct guild.

Education is itself forming in(to) a way of life and educational practitioners have from time to time reflected philosophically on it. Paulo Freire is one prominent example, his influential ruminations being rooted in the very practical – and as he emphasises, also political – project of helping oppressed people achieve literacy. Obviously, Isocrates, Socrates and many other philosophers since were also teachers first and foremost. Like philosophy, education is similarly concerned with preparing people to live a particular kind of life, thus depending on the ways in which life’s primary purposes are construed.

This course will thus include philosophical reflections that emerge from both starting points.

We will explore the parallels and intersections between philosophy and education, by examining influential texts on education by those usually renowned as philosophers in the general sense (Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft) and those known more for their focus on education (Castiglione, Freire, Noddings).

Most of the authors we will study assume a form of Christian faith. We will be particularly interested in the ways all authors see their fundamental convictions playing out in the context of education, and how well these convictions and implications comport with participants’ understandings of a biblically-informed perspective on the purpose of life and correlative conceptions of the educational task.

ICS2400AC W14
Convenor: Dr. Doug Blomberg
Wednesdays 9:30am-12:30pm


7 January 2014

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 was 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.

ICS220106 W14
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Tuesdays 1:30pm-4:30pm