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 and Helena Hoogstad



World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies

The World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies course serves as a touchstone for the Master of Worldview Studies program as a whole, providing students with an overview of the program, an initial set of frameworks and tools for finding their way through the program, and a selection of readings (about 1,250 pages) that will prime students for reflecting on six inter-related wayfinding questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? What do I believe? What do I love? What opportunities and constraints do I face in my particular context? What am I to do with my life?

The course will take a hybrid format, with six bi-weekly in-person classroom sessions as well as weekly structured interactive online forum discussions in response to reading assignments. In-Person sessions will be September 27, October 11, October 25, November 15, and November 29

Hybrid Online/In-Person
ICSD 132505/232505 F17
Dr. Gideon Strauss


Vocational Wayfinding

Study ONLINE in Continuing Education or Degree Credit mode.

“What am I to do with my life?” “Who am I?” There appears to be an inextricable connection between the work that we do and our sense of who we are. As the poet David Whyte has suggested, work is for all of us a pilgrimage of identity. It is not, however, a pilgrimage for which any of us are provided with a GPS device, allowing us to navigate in straight lines with comfortable certainty towards clear career objectives that cohere in obvious ways with an immutable sense of our identity. Instead, this pilgrimage is more like the experience of Polynesian sailors, who traversed the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean with the help of the stars, memory, and close attention to the patterns of the waves on the surface of the ocean as these reflected features of the ocean (including far-off islands). Polynesian wayfinding was a way of navigating that required alert improvisation and frequent reorientation from within a perpetually shifting context. Our vocational pilgrimages require of us to find our way in a similar manner.

In this course we will explore particular practices, frameworks, and tools, by means of which we can engage in vocational wayfinding. Prompted by our readings we will consider some of the relationships between work and identity: How does my work prompt my discovery of my sense of self? How do I try out possible selves in relation to whatever in the world is calling me toward particular kinds of work? What am I to do with my life? We will give close attention to those passages in our lives (in particular young adulthood and the middle passage of life) when both our work contexts and our experience of our identity are most obviously in flux. In addition, we will consider how to contribute skilful leadership and insightful mentoring to others as they engage in their own vocational wayfinding, particularly in the contexts of the workplace and educational institutions.

Vocational Wayfinding is a two-part course that will equip participants to navigate the work-life journey. The first six-week module will focus more on frameworks for digging into the meaning of our work-life journeys, and will include a discussion of David Whyte’s book Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. The second six-week module will focus more on practical tools for figuring out how to go about the next phase of our careers, and will include a discussion of Herminia Ibarra’s book Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career.

As a credit course Vocational Wayfinding is part of our Wayfinding Master of Worldview Studies program and is a credit level course for MWS, MA and PhD programs. The tuition fee in this mode is $900 for both modules.

As a continuing education course Vocational Wayfinding is oriented towards professional and personal development and has no particular academic prerequisites. It can be taken individually or as part of a small discussion group in your church or school with prices ranging from $150 to $500 (depending on the number of modules and options you choose).

Click here for more details and registration information.

ICSD 132502/232502 F17
Dr. Gideon Strauss
(MWS, MA, PhD)


First Module: Week of Sept. 18 - Oct. 23
Second Module: Week of Nov. 6 - Dec. 12

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


13 September 2017

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.

ICSD 1108AC F17
Instructor: Dr. Nik Ansell
Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:30 pm



The Divine (at) Risk: Open Theism, Classical 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 F17
Dr. Nik Ansell
Thursdays 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 


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 F17
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Tuesdays 1:45pm-4:45pm

Draft syllabus, final version TBA

11 September 2017

Religion, Life and 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 F17
ICT3702HF L0101 / ICT6702HF L0101
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Monday 6:00pm – 9:00pm
(MWS, MA, PhD)