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.
We will read: Plato, Euthyphro, Laws X; Aristotle De Anima; Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound; Genesis, Exodus, and Matthew; Augustine, Confessions XI–XII; Aquinas, Summa Theologica I Q. 1, II-II QQ. 1–3; Dante, Divine Comedy Paradise; Hobbes, Leviathan I.12, II.31, III; Montaigne, Essays (selections); Milton, Paradise Lost I–III; Pascal, Pensées III–IV; Locke, Concerning Toleration, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding IV, XVIII–XIX; Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding X–XI; Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov VI; Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents I–II, New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis Lecture 35.
- Teacher: Jan Bentz