David A Newheiser
Postdoctoral Fellow — Ph.D., 2012, University of Chicago
Jefferson Center Postdoctoral Fellow
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CTI 335 • History Of Christian Philos
TTH 200pm-330pm GEA 114
(also listed as
PHL 354 )
History of Christian Philosophy
From its advent, Christian thought has had to reckon with hope. In keeping with its Jewish roots, Christianity is oriented by divine promises, but their fulfillment remains unrealized. Although Christians claim that the Christ has come, they await his coming again; although they pursue intimacy with God, its consummation remains to come. This class examines the way this delay affects Christian reflection upon a series of philosophical problems: the nature of faith, the orientation of love, the limits of reason, the demands of responsibility, and the relation between religion and politics.
Christian reflection on the future begins with the eschatological preaching of Jesus of Nazareth. Where Paul’s letters and the Apocalypse of John reveal the strain placed on early Christian communities by the delayed arrival of Christ’s kingdom, early Christian thinkers addressed this difficulty in light of the epistemological and metaphysical preoccupations of Greek philosophy. Origen of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, and Dionysius the Areopagite are in various ways preoccupied by the relation between time and rationality; drawing upon them, Thomas Aquinas later articulates an account of hope that centers upon its ethical implications. In contrast to Thomistic circumspection, Joachim of Fiore develops florid apocalyptic predictions that informed - directly, some say - the secularized messianism of Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx. Whereas post-Enlightenment philosophy trenchantly questions the viability of faith, Karl Barth and Jacques Derrida place hope at the center of their attempts to recover a Christianity in and for the modern world. Echoing this development, hope becomes a powerful force for political change with Martin Luther King, Gustavo Gutiérrez, and Barack Obama; their efforts offer an argument of a different kind for the continuing importance of Christian faith.
In tracing this trajectory, this class will reflect through the lens of hope upon some central themes of classic Christian thought - especially concerning what we can know and how we should live.
PQ: Upper-Division Standing
Readings to include:
Barack Obama, "A More Perfect Union"
any NSRV study Bible
Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses
Dionysius the Areopagite, The Divine Names
Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion
Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on the Virtues
Immanuel Kant, Kant, “The End of All Things”
Condorcet, “An Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind”
Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right
Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans
Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation
Jacques Derrida, Rogues
3 papers - 60%
Regular reading responses - 20%
Participation - 20%
CTI 304 • The Bible And Its Interpreters
MWF 1000am-1100am CLA 0.106
(also listed as
R S 315 )
* The instructor for this couse will be David Newheiser
Throughout their history Jews and Christians have looked to biblical texts for guidance, but the Bible has other readers as well. For 2,000 years Western philosophy and literature have drawn upon biblical motifs in a dizzying range of contexts. We will reflect upon these diverse styles of interpretation in order to ask where the Bible is from, what it is for, and what it means.
We will begin by reading select texts from the Hebrew and Christian scriptures as carefully as we can. We will then examine modern authors such as Erasmus, Spinoza, and Bultmann who argue that the Bible must be read in light of the historical origin of each biblical text. Next we will turn to the symbolic interpretations that emerged from the early Christian confrontation with Judaism, exemplified by Philo, Origen, and Paul of Tarsus. This tradition informed the medieval rumination on scripture described by Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Aquinas; we will compare their approach to the literalism of Protestant Reformers such as Luther and Hooker. Finally, we will consider the secularization of biblical interpretation in modern art and politics.
20% participation; 30% exams; 50% papers
The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Oxford University Press, 2010)