8 January 2018

Curriculum: Organising the World for Learning

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.

ICSD120307/220307 W18
Distance Education
Dr. Doug Blomberg
MWS, MA, PhD

4 January 2018

Imagining the Word with Ricoeur: Narrative, Action, and the Sacred in Ricoeur's Hermeneutic Phenomenology

This course will focus primarily on two essay collections by Paul Ricoeur: From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics, II, as well as Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. These collections cover (roughly) a period from the early 1970’s to the early 1990’s. Together, they form an excellent introduction to Ricoeur’s hermeneutical phenomenology, which he developed as an alternative to those theoretical options, such as psychoanalysis and semiotics, with which he struggled throughout the 1960’s.  In addition to exploring Ricoeur’s evolving thoughts on such topics as textual interpretation, action, imagination, revelation, and a religious imaginary, these essays will also serve seminar participants as an effective springboard into Ricoeur’s larger thematic works, such as Rule of Metaphor, Time and Narrative (Vols. I-III), Oneself as Another, or Memory, History, Forgetting. Beginning with From Text to Action, the seminar will explore the general shape of Ricoeur’s heremeneutical phenomenology, including such themes as text, action, explanation, understanding, ideology, and utopia. With this basic grasp of Ricoeur’s hermeneutical phenomenology in hand, we will go on to explore his understanding of the disclosive force of religious texts and uses of language in the anthology Figuring the Sacred. Among other things, Ricoeur there ponders how Christian communities might best face the task of appropriating a textual heritage from which time has distanced them, and concerning which they have lost a certain original naivety. This seminar will explore Ricoeur’s recommendation that Christians risk assuming a “second naivety” as they take up the responsibility of receiving and interpreting their religious tradition for a new generation. Imagining the world with Ricoeur, we will discuss how his recommendations on this score might help or hinder our effort to find meaning and inspiration amidst the crises and fragmentations that run through contemporary life.

ICS 220504 W18
Dr. Ron Kuipers
Thursdays 1:45pm-4:45pm
MA, PhD

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
Dr. Nik Ansell
Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm
(MWS, MA, PhD)

2 January 2018

Individuality in the Franciscan Thought of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham

This seminar will examine the doctrine of individuality developed by the Franciscan thinkers John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham and the configuration of their thought as one or another form of metaphysical “individualism.”  It does so historically against the backdrop of both Franciscan spirituality and the contested “Aristotelianism” of their university environment.  The seminar is both an illustration of the value in and a critical reappraisal of a problem-historical analysis of philosophy that centres upon philosophical accounts of our daily experience of both universality in the world, i.e., the fact that creatures come to us in kinds, and individuality, i.e., the fact that it is individual creatures that come to us in kinds.  

ICS 220404 W18
Dr. Robert Sweetman
Tuesdays 9:30am-12:30pm
MA, PhD