25 November 2020

Transforming the World: The Role of a Christian Educator

Transforming the World is a course for instructional leaders as they consider their role as a Christian educator. We will consider our context as Christians as we are called to be transformers of society and culture by seeking justice and righteousness for those who are marginalized and disenfranchised. In this course we will consider constructivism, a dominant educational theory in the twenty-first century, through the lens of scripture and investigate the assumptions that it makes. We will explore our calling as Christian educators to transform culture in our schools, local community, and the world. 

This course seeks to help Christian educators find clarity in answers to the following questions: 

  1. Context - Who am I called to be as a Christian educator?

  2. Constructivism - How does constructivism inform my practice?

  3. Culture - What role does education play in creating culture?


ICSD 260006 W21*
Dr. Edith van der Boom
Blended (Online Asynchronous/Synchronous)

(MA-EL)

Syllabus


*Subject to approval by the ICS Senate

Capitalism(s) in the West: Intellectual History, Core Institutions, and Architectonic Critique

This course explores the intellectual history of and thematizes the current core politico-economic concepts and institutions under the umbrella of capitalism and brings the Reformational architectonic critique to bear thereon. The concept and terminology of capitalism remain contested by critics and proponents. The seminar will explore the conceptual characteristics and institutional dimensions of capitalism and aims to distinguish - both historically and conceptually - merchant capitalism, plantation capitalism, industrial capitalism, and finance capitalism, to name but a few of the prominent forms. The aim is to develop a Christian critical view of the constitutive and normative foundations of such concepts and forms in capitalism as market, property, exchange, value, profit, transnational corporations, and the like.


Dr. Michael DeMoor, and Samir Gassanov
ICS 243101 W21
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Thursdays, 11am - 2pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention UT/TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

24 November 2020

God/Sex/Word/Flesh: Gender, Theology, and the Body

How is our agenda for theology related to our gender? Is “God” a male word? Is the “Word made Flesh” a male God? Does the experience of women change how God is (made) known? Is sexuality—are sexualities—embraced by the resurrection? Attentive to the work of feminist theologians, biblical scholars, and philosophers, we will attempt to develop an “embodied” theology open to the biblical vision that God will be “all in all.”

In addition to engaging several well-established works of theoretical and textual liberation (by Rosemary Radford Ruether, Phyllis Trible, Susan Bordo, and others), participants in this iteration of God/Sex/Word/Flesh will also have the opportunity to respond to a recent fictional or autobiographical contribution to the discussion, such as Naomi Alderman’s The Power or Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness.


Dr. Nik Ansell
ICS 220804 W21
ICT5220HS L0101 / L9101*
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Thursdays, 5 - 8pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: you have to contact the ICS Registrar to complete your registration. 

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.


Dr. Bob Sweetman
ICS 1107AC / 2107AC W21
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Mondays, 8pm - 11pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

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 represents 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 as an implication of the cultural intent of philosophy, i.e., whether historical philosophies are best thought of as a speculative sciences, arts of right living, or whether they call out to be thought of in other terms altogether.


Dr. Bob Sweetman
ICS 220407 W21
ICH5720HS L0101 / L9101*
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Tuesdays, 2 - 5pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: you have to contact the ICS Registrar to complete your registration. 

IDS: Meaning/Being/Knowing

“Meaning is the being of all that has been created and the nature even of our selfhood.” With these enigmatic words, which form part of the introduction to his magisterial New Critique of Theoretical Thought, the neo-Calvinist philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd signals his intention to de-centre the central concern of Ontology by relativizing (which is to say thoroughly relating) the philosophical notion of Being to Meaning, even to the point of (re-)defining creation’s being as meaning—all in the conviction that this will enable us to engage in (rather than circumvent or supersede) the work of Ontology (and thus Epistemology) in a truly systematic, integrally Christian, way. Although it might seem as though Dooyeweerd is merely substituting one metaphysical idea for another, his reference to the nature of our selfhood here indicates that, for all its theoretical import for Philosophical Anthropology, this highly suggestive proposal also has profound implications for how we might both appreciate and pull upon our deepest (religious) self-knowledge, which takes shape before the face of God as we face the world. To do the work of Ontology well—to gain genuine insight into the “nature of things” and to identify the contours and coherence of the world’s general structures without undermining investigation or denaturing experience—will require that we also draw upon a pre-theoretical form of Knowing, and a spiritual grounding and hope, that will always precede and exceed our understanding.


Drs. Nik Ansell, Ron Kuipers, Bob Sweetman
ICS 2400AC W21
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Wednesdays, 10am - 1pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus

Deeper Learning: From Wonder to Inquiry to Action

Deeper Learning is a course for instructional leaders. It explores learning as a journey from wonder to inquiry to action. This course seeks to help Christian educators develop Deeper Learning within the context of:  

    1. A celebration of the learner - What it means to be created in God’s image? 

    2. A mindfulness towards learning design - How does curriculum, instruction and assessment inspire us to live out our lives as Kingdom Ambassadors who are intentional about character formation and loving our neighbours?  

    3. A responsiveness to culture - How do we embody our mission in every aspect of school life and live it out in God’s world?

(Source: Deeper Learning in Christian Schools: Playing our Part in God’s Story; cace.org) 


ICSD 260004 W21*
Dr. Edith van der Boom
Blended (Online Asynchronous/Synchronous)

(MA-EL)

Syllabus


*NOTE: Approved for Area 3 of the CSTC

How to Finance a Vision: Setting Direction and Managing Change within Financial Limitations

How to Finance a Vision is a course for new and aspiring principals and leadership teams. The course provides frameworks and tools for leadership in making the connections between the vision of a school, the budgeting process, and fundraising. 

The course starts with an introduction to Henri Nouwen’s spirituality of fundraising. It continues with an introduction to the basic financial documents that a principal should be able to read and to the Canadian Revenue Agency documents relevant to schools. It explores the art of communicating the story told by school budgets as a necessary element of fundraising. It concludes with the processes necessary to gain competency in working with both school boards and staffs (with an emphasis on financial and advancement staff) on the financial aspects of school management.

How to Finance a Vision is a remote learning course consisting of three synchronous discussions and three virtual school visits using online video and thirteen weeks of asynchronous online interaction. 


ICSD 260007 W21
Dr. Gideon Strauss
Blended (Online Asynchronous/Synchronous)

(MA-EL)

Syllabus

Body, Language, Power: The Question of the Human in 20th Century French Philosophy

Following the groundbreaking phenomenological insights of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, philosophers in France in the 20th century developed a uniquely existential phenomenology that emphasizes our concrete experience as subjects situated in a world of meaning. This course studies key representatives of this tradition, focusing on the ways that our experience as human beings is defined by our relations to other people, our embodiment, and our concerns about freedom and authenticity. We will explore the challenge that philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Frantz Fanon pose to the familiar image of the human as primarily rational, individual, and autonomous, and we will work towards developing instead a “relational” understanding of the human being as characterized by desire and as cultivated in socio-political contexts. We will also trace the development of existential phenomenology toward the critique of “the subject” in works by Julia Kristeva and Michel Foucault, exploring the ways that human beings are produced in systems of language and power, while at the same time capable of reinventing or “revolting” against these systems. 


Dr. Andrew Tebbutt
ICS 220608 W21
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Wednesdays, 2 - 5pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention UT/TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

10 November 2020

God of Solidarity: Liberation Theology as Social Movement (Intensive)

In the latter half of the 20th century, a wave of liberation movements swept across the globe as colonized and exploited people undertook seismic struggles for self-determination. These movements had a profound influence not only on global politics, but also on intellectual trends and the political left, for whom “the masses” took on new significance and previous orthodoxies seemed out of step with the times. Theology was no exception, and from the 1970s on Christian theology would not only reinterpret itself through the lens of liberation around the world, but would also become a primary organizing force in the struggle for liberation.

While liberation theology is often studied for its doctrinal content, it is irreducibly social, historical, and political, emerging from and accountable to people’s movements. As a result, liberation theology was also severely disciplined by ecclesial and political power brokers. In this class, we will consider liberation theology in historical perspective, examining its relationship to a revolution in global Christianity and revolutions in various political contexts. We will also consider the papacy of Pope Francis, looking at the rehabilitation of several liberation theologians since 2013, with an eye toward the future and legacy of liberation theology in the 21st century.


All-online (NOTE dates changed: November 10 - December 17, 2020)

ICSD 132904 F20
Dean Dettloff
Remote (Online Synchronous)

(MWS)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

17 September 2020

Facing the Darkness: The (Human) Nature of Evil

In this interdisciplinary theology seminar, we shall probe the origin and nature of evil by engaging key biblical, philosophical, psychological, and anthropological resources. Central to our discussions will be a sapiential (wisdom-oriented) re-reading of the Fall narrative of Genesis 3–4, set against the backdrop of the good, yet largely wild, creation of Genesis 1–2. In addition to surveying a variety of contemporary theodicies read up against the challenge offered by both “protest atheism” and the biblical lament literature (especially the book of Job), we shall also pay special attention to the correlation between victim and agent in the ongoing dynamics to “original sin” and to the concomitant role of fear in the construction of culture. In attending to evil’s (arguably) anthropocentric origin as a key to its present nature—which will prompt us to revisit our understanding of the primordial conditions of possibility along with the largely overlooked biblical connections between the Satan and the absolutization (and denaturing) of Justice—we shall also look ahead, via pondering the relationship between law and grace, to the promise of a (divine and human) judgment unto salvation. 

Key words: conditions of possibility, the demonic, free-will defense, idolatry, innocent suffering, Job, justice, mercy, natural evil, the serpent, theodicy, wisdom

Dr. Nik Ansell
ICS 120801 / 220801 F20
ICT3352HF / ICT6352HF L0101*
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Thursdays, 2 - 5pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: you have to contact the ICS Registrar to complete your registration. 

The Aesthetics of Compassion

The emotion of “pity” (eleos) or “compassion” is at the heart of Athenian tragedy, the great forbear of Western tragic drama. For Aristotle, creating feelings of pity and fear in an audience was thought to provoke a catharsis of those emotions that enabled a positive moderation of our passionate natures. But, as George Steiner has observed, the subject matter of tragedy places those emotions in a register beyond the ordinary. As fundamental human responses to extraordinary human suffering, they signal the “core of dynamic negativity” that underwrites authentic tragedy. Raising the problem of human pain and fragility in the face of circumstances potentially beyond human control, representations of human suffering have a metaphysical and, more particularly, theological dimension that has long provoked philosophical interest in the dynamics of tragic drama. In this course, we will examine the interface between philosophy and works of tragic drama as that interface pertains to the psychology and aesthetics of compassion. Looking to such writers as Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Augustine, Dante, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Friedrich Nietzsche and Simone Weil, we will investigate the place of compassion in Western philosophy and theology and the roles that art and imagination have played in the stimulation of compassionate response. 


Dr. Rebekah Smick
ICS 120104 / 220104 F20
ICH5751HF L0101*
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Thursdays, 10am - 1pm

(MWS, MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: you have to contact the ICS Registrar to complete your registration. 

16 September 2020

Hermeneutics and Deconstruction

Against the background of Heidegger's Being and Time, this seminar will contrast Gadamerian "Hermeneutics" and   Derridean "Deconstruction." Attention will then focus on Derridean John D. Caputo's 2019 Cross and Cosmos as an exercise in reading-with as rabbi/poet.

Dr. Jim Olthuis
ICS 120901 / 220901 F20
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Wednesdays, 10am - 1pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

15 September 2020

Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Genealogical Approach to the History of Philosophy

This seminar examines that philosophical approach to the history of philosophy that travels under the name of “genealogy”.  It does so in terms of selected texts of the tradition’s to major figures: its founder, Friederich Nietzsche and the presently ubiquitous Michel Foucault.  It examines the role that genealogical study of the history of philosophy has in the philosophical construction of its practitioners and what they think is truly first and deepest in the history they so study.

Dr. Bob Sweetman
ICS 120406 / 220406 F20
ICH5710HF L0101*
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Tuesdays, 10am - 1pm

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: you have to contact the ICS Registrar to complete your registration. 

14 September 2020

Biblical Foundations: Narrative, Wisdom, and the Art of Interpretation

How can we read and experience the Scriptures as the Word of Life in the midst of an Academy that believes the biblical witness will restrict human freedom and thwart our maturity? How may we pursue biblical wisdom as we “re-think the world” when our Christian traditions seem convinced that biblical truth may be disconnected from—or simply applied to—the most pressing and perplexing issues of our time? 

This course will explore the Bible—from Genesis to Revelation—as the ongoing story of and for God and all God’s creatures, paying special attention to the way in which humanity’s attempt to find its way is interwoven with the story of the Divine presence and with the wisdom and promise of creation-new creation. In asking whether and how the biblical story may find its future in our ongoing narratives, we will attempt to identify which hermeneutical methods and sensitivities might help us discern its significance for present day life, including the academic enterprise. 

If Jesus is the Living Word at the heart of Scripture, does that change our understanding of where biblical truth is coming from and where it is going? Does the Bible have an implicit, sapiential pedagogy that we have misconstrued? Can the familiar Reformed themes of creation and covenant, election and eschaton speak to us in new, reformational ways? These are some of the questions we shall explore together as we reintroduce ourselves to the biblical writings.

Keywords: apocalyptic, biblical authority, Christocentric, covenant, creation-fall-redemption, grace and law, hermeneutics, intertextuality, narrative, new heavens/new earth, wisdom

Dr. Nik Ansell
ICS 1108AC / 2108AC F20
ICB2010HF L0101*
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Mondays, 8 - 11pm

(MWS, MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: you have to contact the ICS Registrar to complete your registration. 

The Observant Participant: Applying Research Craft to Professional Practice

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” (Simone Weil)


“Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love.” (Simone Weil) 


How do I avoid becoming the proverbial practitioner who, instead of earning ten years of experience, repeats one year of experience ten times over? How do I make sense of my own experience as a practitioner and how do I learn from my experience? How do I learn from the experience of other practitioners? How do I give attention to what matters most? 


In this course we will consider these kinds of questions. We will draw on the critical reflective practices of other practitioners, we will equip ourselves with the methodological tools of qualitative researchers, and we will cultivate an attitude of attentiveness informed by the approach to practice taken by phenomenologists—becoming philosophically skilful students of our own lived human experience. Doing this course together, we will become more observant participants in our lifeworlds and strengthen our capacity as reflective practitioners in our professions and in our scholarship. 


While the focus of this course is on applying research craft to professional practice, the course is also an introduction to graduate level qualitative research and to key perspectives from phenomenological philosophy. 



This version of the course will take a hybrid format, with three Zoom sessions, weekly structured interactive online forum discussions in response to reading assignments, and the workshopping of a paper. The Zoom sessions will take place on Thursdays, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (September 17, October 15, and November 19). There will be no assignments due during ICS’s reading week, October 26-30. For participants doing the course for credit all outstanding work will be due by no later than January 29, 2021.


ICSDH 132501 / 232501 F20

Dr. Gideon Strauss
Hybrid (Online Asynchronous/Synchronous)

(MA-EL, MWS)

Syllabus

17 August 2020

Finding Joy in Learning

Finding Joy in Learning is the launch course for the MA in Educational Leadership (MA-EL) program of the Institute for Christian Studies. The course will provide you with a vocational vision of Christian educational innovation and leadership. You will be coached through your plan for working through the program as a whole. The course will start you on the path toward your MA-EL Project by helping you identify and articulate your project interest.

This version of the course will take a hybrid format, consisting of three 90-minute Zoom sessions during the week of August 17, participation in the Online Odyssey in Project Based Learning (PBL) offered by The Christian Teacher Academy on August 25-27, structured interactive online forum discussions in response to readings and other assignments over a period of twelve weeks, and individual meetings with MA-EL instructors.


All-online (TBD)

ICSDH 260001 S20
Drs. Gideon Strauss, Edith van der Boom
Hybrid (Online Asynchronous/Synchronous)

(MA-EL)

Syllabus

Lead From Where You Are: Making a Difference in the Face of Tough Problems, Big Questions, and Organizational Politics

Leadership is not about personality, authority, position, influence, or power as such. Leadership is an art, a craft, a practice, to which everyone is called sometime or other, in widely different situations. Leadership can be practiced with varying degrees of authority, from any position, at varying scales of influence, and with varying access to different sources of power.

The kind of leadership that we will learn and practice in this course has to do with diagnosing and addressing the toughest problems experienced by organizations, communities, institutions, and societies. This kind of leadership demands political skill: the skill to discern the overt and covert concerns and interests, agendas, and alliances within the organizations, institutions, and societies we serve, and to give each their due while not failing to pursue the common good.

We will learn a leadership language, try out a set of tools and frameworks, and workshop our fresh insights and skills.


All-online (August 17-21, 2020)

ICSD 132504 S20
Dr. Gideon Strauss
Distance (Online)

(MA-EL, MWS)

Syllabus

16 July 2020

Art, Religion, and Theology (ART)

CANCELLED

ART in Orvieto is an advanced summer studies program in art, religion, and theology located in Orvieto, Italy, a magnificent hill town 90 minutes north of Rome. The program offers an ecumenical exploration of Christian understandings of the arts. It provides a three weeks residency designed for artists, graduate students in relevant fields, and other adult learners interested in engaging the intersection of art, religion, and theology.

For further details, please see the dedicated ART in Orvieto webpage.

Art, Religion, and Theology: Theologies of Art in the Christian Tradition
ICS AiO 120102 S20
ICH3350HS L4101 / ICH6350HS L4101*
Dr. Rebekah Smick

Experiential Learning in Faith and the Arts: Artists' Workshop
ICS AiO1501/2501VAA S20
ICP3851HS / ICP6851HS 0101*
Dr. Rebekah Smick, David Holt

Experiential Learning in Faith and the Arts: Writers' Workshop
ICS AiO 1501WA S20
ICP3861HS / ICP6861HS 0102*
Dr. Rebekah Smick, John Terpstra

Intensive, In-Person
Location: Orvieto, Italy (July 16 - August 6, 2020)

(MWS, MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*TST students have to register with ICS Registrar to complete registration

CANCELLED

7 July 2020

Set the Prisoners Free: Christianity and Prison Abolition (Intensive)

“He has sent me to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

--Luke 4:18

Jesus’s Gospel is a message of freedom. Liberation from bondage permeates the biblical narrative as a driving theme, with Jesus quoting Isaiah as he announces the Spirit of the Lord is upon him to proclaim release to the prisoners and to let the oppressed go free.

Yet the United States of America, a country that many Christians call home, has the highest incarceration rate of any country on the planet. By some estimates, although the US has only 5% of the world’s population, it contains over 20% of the world’s prison population. People of color, especially Black Americans, are disproportionately incarcerated, making up nearly 40% of the US prison population despite being 13% of the population as a whole. In Canada, another country with deep Christian origins, Indigenous people make up 46% of incarcerated youth and only 8% of Canada’s population.

Mass incarceration and its ties to systemic racism have prompted a radical movement for not only prison reform, but the abolition of prisons altogether. Such a proposal raises many questions. What would a world without prisons look like? How should communities deal with injustices? What are the causes of crime, and how might justice be done without the prison? In this thirteen week online class, we will explore how Christianity both funds the ideology of mass incarceration and a spirit of prison abolition, asking what it would mean to proclaim release to the prisoners today.


All-online (NOTE dates changed: July 14 - August 20, 2020)

ICSD 132903 S20
Dean Dettloff
Distance (Online)

(MWS)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

16 June 2020

Faith in Art: Spirituality and Lived Experience (Intensive)

This course explores the various ways in which art and faith can intersect by comparing two
important strands within theological aesthetics, the first focussing on art as a bridge to the
spiritual and transcendence, the other on the way art articulates human lived experience.
Students will explore what different traditions can learn from each other with a view towards
developing a better understanding of the nature of art and the role of faith in religious and
non-religious artistic practices.


All-online (June 16 - July 23, 2020)

Dr. Adrienne Dengerink-Chaplin
ICSD 131201 S20
Distance (Online)

(MWS, MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*Attention TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

2 June 2020

World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies (Intensive)

Ubi amor, ibi oculus. 

(Roughly: Where there is love, there is seeing.)

An ancient saying, 
passed along by Josef Pieper and Richard Mouw

My hope is that you will experience World-viewing as a feast, an affirmative and transformative learning experience in which we will: consider and reconsider our deepest commitments and convictions; explore how we humans make sense of our lives, find our way in our world, and make culture; and, strengthen our capacities—within our vocations—for accompanying others in their world-viewing and way-finding and culture-making.

What do I love, desire, care about? What is the world we live in, and what do I believe about it? Who am I? Where do I belong—who are my people, and what are we to one another? What opportunities and constraints do I face in my particular context? What am I to do with my life? What is my vocation, my calling? What is my craft, how do I hone it, and how does the honing of my craft relate to my crafting of my self? How do I address these big questions in relation to the people whom I serve through my vocation?

World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies serves as a touchstone course for the ICS Master of Worldview Studies (MWS) program as a whole, providing us as participants with a set of frameworks and tools and a selection of readings for exploring these kinds of questions. The course also introduces participants to the Christian worldview tradition out of which the Institute for Christian Studies emerges.


All-online (June 2 - July 9, 2020)

ICSD 132505/232505 S20
Dr. Gideon Strauss
Distance (Online)

(MWS)



*Attention TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.

12 May 2020

Evil, Resistance, and Judgment: Hannah Arendt and Religious Critique (Distance)

This seminar explores Hannah Arendt’s reflections on the themes of evil, resistance, and judgment, especially as these are shaped by her experience reporting for The New Yorker at the 1961 war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann (first published in book form in 1963 under the title Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil). In this book, Arendt claims to have observed a new face of evil, banality, which she describes as a refusal to ‘think’ that robs our moral imagination of the ability to see things from another’s point of view. At the same time, the book offers an intriguing analysis of human power and the possibility of resisting seemingly inexorable evil forces.

Before launching into Eichmann in Jerusalem, the course will begin with an examination of Arendt’s assessment of the human condition “between past and future,” or her description of the space of human action and possibility between a past that is never past, and a future that is yet to be written. In light of this context, we will then turn to Eichmann in Jerusalem, in order to assess how her experience of witnessing that trial altered her understanding of the human condition. Toward the end of the course, we will turn to Arendt’s last (and uncompleted) reflections on judgment as that ‘faculty’ which might yet help us think and act in unprecedented social and political situations where traditional wisdom has collapsed and universal rules have proved incapable of providing moral guidance.

Throughout the course, one of our guiding concerns will be to ask what members of specifically religious communities might learn from Arendt’s reflections (a question Arendt does not herself explicitly ask): Are faith communities prone to fostering ideological formations that inhibit their members’ capacity to engage in the kind of thinking that Arendt says is a necessary condition of our ability to judge? How do the beliefs and actions of different religious communities contribute to the ability of their members to become effective judges of a world that is shared and constituted by a plurality of persons who are members of different communities? How might Arendt’s insights help religious adherents rediscover the spiritual and intellectual resources of their traditions that could awaken hope and reveal novel possibility for resistance and action?

All-online (May 12 - June 18, 2020)

Register no later than May 11, 2020, by emailing Elizabet Aras, Registrar.

ICSD 220502 S20
ICT6735HS L0101*
Drs. Ron Kuipers, Andrew Tebbutt
Intensive, Distance (Online) 

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*TST students have to register with ICS Registrar to complete registration and pay tuition.

13 January 2020

Leadership in Context (Reformational Philosophy Applied)

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. Together these critiques provide a cosmic background to thinking about the cultural work of schooling, of pedagogy, and of leadership in classroom and schooling.

All-online 13 weeks (January 13 - April 9, 2020)

ICSD 1107AC / 2107AC W20
Dr. Bob Sweetman, and Samir Gassanov
Distance (Online)

(MA-EL)

Syllabus

Set the Prisoners Free: Christianity and Prison Abolition

“He has sent me to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

--Luke 4:18

Jesus’s Gospel is a message of freedom. Liberation from bondage permeates the biblical narrative as a driving theme, with Jesus quoting Isaiah as he announces the Spirit of the Lord is upon him to proclaim release to the prisoners and to let the oppressed go free.

Yet the United States of America, a country that many Christians call home, has the highest incarceration rate of any country on the planet. By some estimates, although the US has only 5% of the world’s population, it contains over 20% of the world’s prison population. People of color, especially Black Americans, are disproportionately incarcerated, making up nearly 40% of the US prison population despite being 13% of the population as a whole. In Canada, another country with deep Christian origins, Indigenous people make up 46% of incarcerated youth and only 8% of Canada’s population.

Mass incarceration and its ties to systemic racism have prompted a radical movement for not only prison reform, but the abolition of prisons altogether. Such a proposal raises many questions. What would a world without prisons look like? How should communities deal with injustices? What are the causes of crime, and how might justice be done without the prison? In this thirteen week online class, we will explore how Christianity both funds the ideology of mass incarceration and a spirit of prison abolition, asking what it would mean to proclaim release to the prisoners today.

All-online 13 weeks (January 20 - April 19, 2020)

ICSD 132903 W20
Dean Dettloff
Distance (Online)

(MWS)

Syllabus

9 January 2020

Spiritual Exercise as Christian Philosophy from Augustine to Bonaventure

CANCELLED

This seminar examines the notion of spiritual exercise as it evolved in Hellenic and Hellenistic philosophy to understand the emergence of ‘Christian philosophy’ as a cultural project within the Augustinian tradition of theology and spirituality, a tradition that begins in Augustine’s own writings and can be said to find its medieval high point in the work of St. Bonaventure.

ICS 220402 W20
ICH5017HS L0101*
Dr. Bob Sweetman
Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Location: ICS Learning Studio, Knox College

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*TST students have to register with ICS Registrar to complete registration. ICS reserves the right to decline late registrations due to limited space.

CANCELLED

8 January 2020

God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology

How does the biblical portrayal of Jesus relate to the narrative movement(s) of the Hebrew Bible? To what extent do the OT themes of exile and return, old age and new age, help deepen our understanding of the birth and crucifixion of the Messiah? If we worship Jesus, are we to worship his humanity as well as his divinity? Does Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, who is a named presence in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament only in the Book of Daniel, indicate that her conception of Jesus is to be read apocalyptically? Is it significant that Elizabeth initially greets Mary with words otherwise associated with Jael and Judith? These are some of the exegetical and theological questions we will consider in this engagement with issues at the edge, and at the heart, of contemporary Christology. Conversation partners will include: James Dunn (Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?), Jane Schaberg (The Illegitimacy of Jesus), and N.T. Wright (The Day the Revolution Began).

ICS 240811 W20
ICT3201HS L0101 / ICT6201HS L0101*
Dr. Nik Ansell
Wednesdays, 5:45pm – 8:45pm
Location: ICS Learning Studio, Knox College

(MWS, MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*TST students have to register with ICS Registrar to complete registration. ICS reserves the right to decline late registrations due to limited space.

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 W20
ICH 3761HS L0101 / ICH6761 HS L0101*
Dr. Rebekah Smick
Wednesdays, 1:45pm - 4:45pm
Location: ICS Learning Studio, Knox College
(MA, PhD)

Syllabus


*TST students have to register with ICS Registrar to complete registration. ICS reserves the right to decline late registrations due to limited space.

7 January 2020

Foundations and Implications of Phenomenology

This course will look at the philosophical foundations of, and contemporary issues in, phenomenology. We will explore key features of the phenomenological method—including the reduction, the bracketing of the ‘natural attitude,’ the first-person methodology, intentionality, and givenness. We will also look at how the current conversations on these questions have implications for fields as diverse as psychology, religious studies, sociology, music, and more.

ICSD 223001 W20
Dr. Neal DeRoo
Tuesdays, 7pm - 10pm
Hybrid (Video)
(MA, PhD)

Syllabus

IDS: Naming the Divine Within and Without

With close attention to seminal, pre-modern Christian thinkers such as Pseudo-Dionysius and Thomas Aquinas and in close conversation with contemporary scholars such as Clouser, Cupitt, McFague, Moltmann, and Rorty, along with key resources from the arts, literature, and popular culture, this course will explore some of the ways in which a traditional understanding of transcendence and immanence, rooted in the extremely influential notion of the analogia entis, has been maintained, modified, challenged, and reconceived since the advent of: the “linguistic turn,” the much-heralded “end of metaphysics,” and the alleged peril (and promise!) of a “post-truth” era. Is there a biblically oriented way of departing from (the ghost of) Perfect Being notions in theology and philosophy? Can we develop a view of transcendence and immanence that is not overly tied to spatial metaphors (“transcendence and beyond”)? Is mysticism the antidote to metaphysics? What grounds our privileged, centring, or root metaphors? Might a post-or-non-realist view of truth help us reconnect with our faith, and vice-versa? Are there key non-academic (re)sources that can speak to us as we negotiate these and other questions?

ICS 2400AC W20
Drs. Nik Ansell, Robert (Bob) Sweetman
Tuesdays, 1:45pm - 4:45pm
Location: ICS Learning Studio, Knox College

(MA, PhD)

Syllabus

6 January 2020

Biblical Foundations (Distance)

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/2108AC W20
Dr. Nik Ansell, and Jeffrey Hocking
Distance (Online)

(MWS, MA-EL)

Syllabus