PH512: CHRISTIANITY AND WESTERN THOUGHT. Michael Beals.
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: This course will be comprised of 30 hours of class time including lectures, large-group discussions and small-group interaction.
Allen, Diogenes. Philosophy for Understanding Theology. 2d ed. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780664231804
Allen, Diogenes and Eric O. Springsted, eds. Primary Readings in Philosophy for Understanding Theology. Louisville: Gracewing (Westminster/John Knox), 1992. ISBN: 9780852442296
de Beauvoir, Simone. The Ethics of Ambiguity. New York: Citadel, 2000. ISBN: 9780806501604
Kierkegaard, Soren. Fear and Trembling. New York: Penguin Books, 1986. ISBN: 9780140444490
Murdoch, Iris. The Sovereignty of Good. New York: Routledge: 2002. ISBN: 9780415253994
Murphy, Nancey. Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism: How Modern and Postmodern Philosophy Set the Theological Agenda. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press, 1996. ISBN: 9781563381768
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
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. In-class integration exercises (20%).
2. A philosopher's notebook based on the course reading that is designed to facilitate the effective assimilation of the variety of principles and paradigms considered in this course (35%).
3. A research paper (45%).
RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Meets M.Div core in Philosophy; MAT/MATBS/MAPM/MACL: “PHIL”
FINAL EXAMINATION: None.
This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification.