12 January 2015

Leadership: Vision and Mission

This course is designed to enable participants to understand, develop and encourage faithful leadership in Christian schools. School leaders are a vital link in the translation of parents’ hopes and priorities into the life of classrooms. The vision of Christian schooling that leaders seek to sustain, is not simply their own, but that of the supporting community. This is both exciting and challenging. Where does the vision come from? What are the components of an educational vision? How is a vision articulated? How does a vision inform the educational agenda? How does a vision grow and flourish through generations of parents, teachers and students?

Christian schools have developed a variety of management structures to support their vision for Christ-centred education. This course gives participants the opportunity to examine these structures critically in the light of:
  • the school’s and their own educational focus and values
  • the need to nurture Christian community
  • the need to sustain a dynamic vision for Christian schooling.
ICSD120301/220302 W15
ICP3443HS L6101 / ICP6443HS L6101
Instructor: Dr. Doug Blomberg / Dr. Clinton Stockwell
(MWS, MA, PhD)


Liberating Theologies: Talking about God in the Context of Social (In)Justice

This course will focus on the way our attention to the poor, oppressed, and marginalized influences the way we talk about God. The content is practically focused, recognizing that while not all are interested in the language used by academic theology, most desire to reflect on the ways that theological concepts influence social and economic relationships. This class will explore the way theological tenets and practical action meet in the face of poverty and inequality. This goal will be accomplished through interaction with the centering text, Leonardo Boff’s When Theology Listens to the Poor. Course readings will also include contemporary works on the topic as well as selections from the biblical narrative. Together, these readings will challenge us to question how compassion, justice, and mercy are demonstrated in our theologizing as well as in our ethical action.

ICSD 132001 W15
Instructor: Jeffrey Hocking


9 January 2015

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
ICT37XXHS L0101 / ICT67XXHS L0101
Dr. Nik Ansell
Fridays 9:30am-12:30pm
(MA, PhD)


8 January 2015

“To the Unknown God”: Paul and Some Philosophers

This course explores the current fascination with the writings of Paul among non-Christian thinkers engaged in the study of political theology. How has this turn to Paul changed secular thinking on political matters? How has the work of these philosophers affected the Christian understanding of scripture?

ICS 220510 W15
ICT5764HS L0101
Dr. Ron Kuipers
Thursdays 1:30-4:30pm
(MA, PhD)


Grace as an Aesthetic Concept

For much of the Western art tradition, the concept of grace has been an important critical concept for its ability to capture the often elusive quality of artistic affect. Often referred to as the “je ne sais quoi” of art - that something extra that cannot be explained – grace even supplanted beauty for many writers (from Giorgio Vasari to Friedrich Schiller) as the highest artistic ideal. Often missing from modern analyses of the concept, however, are its theological foundations. This seminar style course will exam the concept of grace within its theological, philosophical, literary, and art theoretical contexts in an effort to understand both its historical significance and its potential usefulness for the philosophy of art today. We will look at a variety of texts (e.g. from Plato, Cicero, the Pseudo-Dionysius, Dante, John Calvin, Alexander Pope, Friedrich Schiller, Martin Heidegger) as well as works of art for which grace is an important and defining aesthetic concept.

ICS 220103 W15
ICH3758HS L0101 / ICH6758HS L0101
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Thursdays 9:30am-12:30pm
(MWS, MA, PhD)


7 January 2015

The Radical Theopoetics of John D. Caputo

This seminar will explore John D. Caputo’s theopoetics at the interface between deconstruction and the religion as an alternative to both classical theism and classical atheism.

Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00pm
Dr. Jim Olthuis
ICS 150907/250907 W15


IDS: Aristotle’s Political Philosophy at the Crossroads of Ethics and History

This course examines the intimate relationship between Aristotle’s Nichomachean and Eudemian Ethics, his historical/reflective account the Constitution of Athens, and his Politics.  We will use Aristotle’s own interdisciplinarity to examine how it has served to inspire and challenge modern political-theoretical understandings of human communal life marked by sharp bifurcations between public and private, fact and value, political and ethical, systematic and historical. We will end by asking investigate what and how our reading of the  two Ethics, the Constitutions and Politics can serve or challenge a faithful Christian political witness in the context of contemporary Western political culture.

ICS140411/240411 W15
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:30pm
(MA, PhD)


6 January 2015

Reconsidering Kant’s Aesthetics

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-à-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 W15
ICH 3761HS L0101 / ICH6761 HS L0101
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Tuesdays 1:30-4:30pm
(MA, PhD)


Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart and Women’s Spirituality

This seminar examines Meister Eckhart’s mystical discourse and its conceptual configuration as a ‘contradictory monism’ against the backdrop of the “Dionysian” tradition of Albert the Great (and Thomas Aquinas) and the current efflorenscence of women’s mysticism represented by Marguerite Porete.

ICS 220409 W15
ICH5155HS L0101
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Mondays 1:30-4:30pm
(MA, PhD)


Faithful Thinking and World Orientation: Augustine, Aquinas, Dooyeweerd, Olthuis

This course is designed to examine four examples of Christian thinking about God, self and world within a religiously heterogenous imaginative and thought world.  The effort to think integrally within and about such a world is a throughline to be followed from any point in the ongoing tradition of Christian thought.  The character of the world changes inexorably but its religious heterogeneity both imaginatively and conceptually is reaffirmed in and through all such changes.  What it means to think in accord with one’s faith, to think faithfully, then, will change as the world in which such thinking takes place changes, but the task of negotiating faithfulness in the context of imaginative and conceptual heterogeneity continues to challenge, bless and curse by turns.  Augustine, Aquinas, Dooyeweerd and Olthuis illustrate both the challenge and opportunity of such an enterprise within the context of ancient Roman, high medieval, high modern and postmodern imaginative and conceptual contexts, respectively.

ICS130405/230405 W15
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Tuesdays, 9:30am-12:30pm
 (MWS, MA, PhD)