Dr. Vigen Guroian has served as Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, Professor of Theology at Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland, and has also served on the faculty of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Seminary in Baltimore. He is the author of Rallying the Really Human ThingsTending the Heart of Virtue, and Incarnate Love. In this five-week seminar, students will read and discuss five of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.

Joseph Pearce offers a five-week seminar on some of the greatest and most influential poetry ever written. It will include in-depth line-by-line expositions of two "difficult" poems, one by Hopkins and the other by T. S. Eliot, as well as surveys of some of the most significant Romantic poetry and war poetry. The poets studied will include Hopkins, Eliot, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Chesterton, Owen and Sassoon.

What is the point of a poem? And what happens when ideas and images meet with time and place in the mind of a poet? Is this moment of value only to the poet as a private possession? Or are those times and places themselves enhanced by becoming springboards for works of art? In this course we will make a sojourn into Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot’s cycle of poems completed during World War II and well after his conversion to Christianity, not only to discover how the poems came to be composed but, more largely, to explore the confluence of familiar strains of human experience, from religious faith to history to landscapes to hiking to eating to drinking to music, and see how poetry that arises out of speculation on all of these can heighten our senses of the real and the possible and the eternal. We should all have a little poetry in us, so together we will wrestle—and lounge—with T.S. Eliot, an Olympian of the craft.

In this brief five-week seminar, we will introduce some of the most important primary sources from early Christianity (up to Boethius d. 524).  In this rapid survey we will use these primary texts as starting points to discuss the broad developments of the church in its first six centuries, including the teaching and practice of the primitive church, the early persecutions and martyrs, the numerous heresies that troubled the Church, and the final ascendency of Christian civilization in the centuries after Constantine.

In the first week, we will read several short works from the "apostolic age," including the letters of Clement and Ignatius, and the anonymous works Letter to Diognetus and the Martyrdom of Polycarp.  In the second week we will read from the period of the "apologists," including selections from Justin Martyr (First Apology) and Tertulian (Apology).  In the third week, we will learn about a number of controversies that troubled the early church, focusing on the anti-Arian writing of Athanasius (On the Incarnation) and Gregory of Nazianzus (Five Theological Orations).  In the fourth week, we will learn about the conversion of the Roman Empire from Constantine to the death of Augustine, reading selections from Augustine's Confessions (Books 7 and 8).  In the fifth week, we will consider the transition to the middle ages as Christianity becomes fully ascendent, reading Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy.

All of these texts except the Consolation of Philosophy can be found in the two series edited by Philip Schaff: Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF) and Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF).  These are widely available as sets, but if you want to buy single volumes you will only need ANF vols. 1 (apostolic fathers) and 3 (Tertulian), and NPNF first series vol. 1 (Augustine's Confessions) and second series vols. 4 (Athanasius) and 7 (Gregory of Nazianzus).  The ANF and NPNF are out of copy-write so they are available for free as eBooks in several places such as on Kindle or available on the web at NewAdvent.org/fathers.  Boethius will need to be purchased separately.  I will use the Penguin Classics translation by Victor Watts (ISBN 0140447806).

Instructor: Dan Sheffler
Term: January 5-May 4
Class Time: Tuesday, 7-9

A study in the classic texts of political philosophy, addressing the questions faced by both ancient people and people today: What are the ends of political life? What is the best form of government to serve these ends? What is the proper relation between government and the individual, and between government and religion? Authors covered include Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, the Old and New Testaments, Tacitus, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, William Shakespeare, Montesquieu, Rousseau, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Hegel, and John Stuart Mill.

In the end, all questions are theological.  Pagans and Christians, atheists and saints have all shaped every aspect of the Great Conversation by the way they think (or don't think) about God.  In this course, we will try to develop an appreciation for the broad sweep of this history beginning with the Greeks, moving to the Christian middle ages, and ending in modernity.  This class will not be a course in Christian systematic theology as you might expect to find at a seminary.  Instead, we will be reading broadly from literature, drama, philosophy, epic, and scripture in order to learn how mankind has thought about God, eternity, the soul, ultimate meaning, and worship.

Instructors: Dr. Dan Sheffler Rev. David Charlton, Thomas Cothran, Jerry Salyer
Term: January 5-May 4
Class Time: Wednesday, 7-9

Instructor: Professor Carol Reynolds
Term: January 5-May 4
Class Time: Monday, 7-9

Using masterworks of Romantic/Early Modern literature, we will explore together two archetypal themes: the conflict between Good and Evil; and man’s struggle to find meaning.  Goethe’s rollicking , earth-shattering play Faust, Part I (1808) will set the frame for us. Then, we will proceed through Gogol’s ironic (and prophetic) short story The Nose (1836), Dostoevsky’s probing novel The Brother’s Karamazov (1880), Tolstoy’s incomparable novel Anna Karenina (1878), and conclude with Chekhov’s searing play The Cherry Orchard (1903).