Summer 2010

FSW - Phoenix

PH512 (Cohort)



DESCRIPTION: This course provides a survey introduction to the philosophical concepts and currents of the Western intellectual tradition and their influences on theological developments throughout the history of the Christian church. The impact of ancient Greek philosophies on theological reflection in the early and medieval churches will be examined. The diversity of modern and postmodern philosophies will also be considered for their roles in shaping Christian theology from the Reformation to the present.


SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: The aim of this course is to connect students to the core elements of the Western philosophical landscape and to help them make the connection between that landscape and the contours of Christian theology and practice. As a component of ministry preparation, students will be equipped to understand the philosophical underpinnings of various forms of Christian theological articulation and to engage the intellectual currents at work when ministering in Western cultural contexts.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon the successful completion of this course, students will have (1) developed a conceptual schematic for understanding the narrative unity of the history of philosophy from pre-Socratic thought to postmodern philosophical diversity; (2) explored how historical theological formulations are contextualized by the cultural and intellectual milieus in which they emerged; (3) cultivated principal skills of critical thinking and philosophical articulation for reflection, discussion and academic writing; and (4) nurtured the capacity for confident, informed and redemptive interaction with persons advocating a diverse range of philosophical perspectives.


COURSE FORMAT: Meets from July 8-15.

July 8 + 9 from 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM;

July 10, 12-15 from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM.

Class sessions will include lectures, large-group discussions and small-group interaction.



Allen, Diogenes. Philosophy for Understanding Theology. 2d ed. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2007.

ISBN: 0664231802

Allen, Diogenes and Eric O. Springsted, eds. Primary Readings in Philosophy for Understanding Theology. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992. ISBN 0852442297

Kierkegaard, Soren. Fear and Trembling. New York: Penguin Books, 1986. ISBN 0140444491

Murphy, Nancey. Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism: How Modern and Postmodern Philosophy Set the Theological Agenda. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press, 1996. ISBN 1563381761

Wollstonecraft, Mary, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 2d ed. Edited by Carol H. Poston. New York: W.W. Norton, 1988. ISBN 0393955729



Brown, Colin. Philosophy and the Christian Faith: A Historical Sketch from the Middle Ages to the Present Day. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1980. ISBN: 0877847126

Frost, S. E., Jr. Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers. New York: Anchor Books, 1989. ISBN: 038503007X

Pojman, Louis P. Classics of Philosophy. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN: 0195148932

Stumpf, Samuel Enoch and James Fieser. Socrates to Sartre and Beyond: A History of Philosophy. Boston: McGraw-Hill Humanities, 2007. ISBN: 007329618X

Wilkens, Steve and Alan G. Padgett. Christianity and Western Thought, Volume 2: Faith and Reason in the 19th Century. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000. ISBN: 0830817530



Students will produce:

1.     A five page, pre-class written assignment based on Diogenes Allen, Philosophy for Understanding Theology, 2d ed., due on the first day of class (20%).

2.     A philosopher’s notebook based on the course reading that is designed to facilitate the effective integration of the variety of principles and paradigms considered in this course (35%).

3.     A 12-15 page research paper (45%).






This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification.