This introductory course will examine the soteriological foundations of Christian dogma. The class will explore divine revelation, the mystery of the Triune God, creation and man, the person of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the nature and mission of the Church, the Church’s eschatological dimension, and the Church’s ethos as it encounters our civilization and relates its doctrinal beliefs to the world.
This course will concentrate on the texts and doctrines of the pre-Nicene Fathers, from the death of the apostles to Nicaea I and its aftermath. This course will provide an overview of both the theological thought of the Fathers of the Church (patristics in the strict sense) and their life and writings (patrology). The rich ethnic and cultural diversity of early Christian thought will be highlighted through study of primary sources.
This course presents students with a study of the thought of Gregory Palamas concerning grace and theosis. Topics covered will include: created vs. uncreated grace, the issue of God’s simplicity (in terms of Palamas’s distinction between God’s essence and energies), the role of philosophy in Byzantine theology, and contemporary comparisons of Palamism with Western thought. Students will engage with primary source material from Palamas as well as texts drawn from various forms of “Palamism.” While the course’s primary focus falls within dogmatic theology, it will consider these topics in connection with their importance in moral and spiritual theology.
A history and evaluation of liturgical development, with the focus is on the Eastern Churches, with some comparisons to the West. A definition of renewal, the Constantinian reform, the Studite influence, the Neo-Sabbaite synthesis, the invention of printing, the Niconian reform (Russia), the consolidation of the traditional form and the Eastern Catholic responses, modern attempts at renewal: the Russian Synod (1917), the Greek Zoe movement, and movements in the various churches since Vatican II (second half of the twentieth-early twenty-first centuries).
This introductory course uses reading assignments, lectures, and class discussions to introduce students to the foundational themes of the spiritual life in the Catholic Tradition with special attention to the distinctive teachings of the Greek Fathers and the Eastern Christian traditions that flowed from them. By the end of the semester, students should be able:
To explain the major concepts and themes common to the Catholic tradition of
To describe in a general way the major concepts and themes found in patristic and
early monastic writings.
To begin to articulate, in a non-polemical way, the elements of a distinctively
Byzantine Christian description of the spiritual life.
To identify the Johannine and Pauline scriptural roots of the Byzantine doctrine of