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New Course Descriptions

GREAT TEXTS COURSES-FALL 2014


Middle Ages: Desire and Intellect (GTX 3320)-Dr. Junius Johnson, MW 2:30-3:45 p.m.

The Middle Ages saw the emergence of a massive intellectual synthesis in which all aspects of the created world were understood in the light of their relationship to the divine. Nowhere is this more succinctly and beautifully presented than in Dante's great poem, The Divine Comedy. This semester we will allow Dante to be our guide, following his ascent through the heavens in Paradiso by reading Medieval texts that correspond to the various stages of his journey.Our path will take us through Arthurian romances, the poetry of Marie of France, the Song of Roland, and the two greatest theologians of the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, before arriving at the mystical heights of Bernard of Clairvaux.

Great Texts in the Origins of Science (GTX 3343)-Dr. Eric Martin, MW 4:00-5:15 p.m.

What makes some process or idea "scientific"? And if it is scientific, does that make it true? This class will investigate what is distinctive about the methods, philosophies, and institutions that arose in early modern Europe that we recognize today as "science." Central aspects of the new 17th century science included the adoption of experimentation and an understanding of nature as a machine that is governed by deterministic laws. Such approaches were very useful for certain modes of science but could not easily incorporate specifically human attributes like free will into its purview. We will ask what characterizes scientific inquiry, whether science has the ultimate authority to pronounce on matters of reality, and how religious world views were entwined in the beginnings of scientific thought.

Great Texts in Leadership: Creativity and Leadership, from Dante to Dan Brown (GTX 3350)-Dr. Sarah-Jane Murray, TR 11:00 a.m. -12:15 p.m.

Uncover the principles of great leadership exploring works of fiction, non fiction, and contemporary cinema. Wonder what the buzz is all about with creativity studies popping up across the academy? Here is your chance to find out, all while deepening your journey into the Greats. Students in this class will be able to select between traditional, business portfolio, and creative writing tracks. (Students will also have the opportunity to contribute to an NPR radio show in development.) Join the conversation and uncover the leader in you! Readings will include a selection of pre-modern, early-modern and contemporary texts.

Great Texts in Business: Wealth and Imagination (GTX 3351)-Dr. Scott Moore, MW 1:00-2:15 p.m.

In this course, we will read and discuss some of the great texts that address questions of business and commercial life. These texts may include historical and/or philosophical treatments of business, such as Adam Smith's Of the Wealth of Nations, Thomas More's Utopia, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, and Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, as well as literary treatments of business, such as Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Dickens's Hard Times, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Forster's Howard's End, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, or short stories by Flannery O'Connor, Franz Kafka, or Wendell Berry. This course fulfills the Humanities requirement for the B.B.A. and applies toward the literature requirement for the B.A.

Great Texts of the 18th & 19th Centuries: The Quest (GTX 4320)-Dr. Robert Miner, TR 9:30-10:45 a.m.

"What I really need is to get clear about what I must do... What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth that is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die" (Soren Kierkegaard, Journals). Will reading great authors of the 18th and 19th centuries do this for us? No: you must do your own seeking. Can they open up the search? Can they show us how to use reason for the search? Yes and yes. To expand and deepen our sense of the options, we shall read works of aphorism,storytelling, poetry, philosophy and theology. Our authors come from France (Voltaire, Flaubert, Baudelaire), Britain (Boswell, Blake, Eliot, Newman, Wilde), Germany (Lichtenberg, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche), Russia (Dostoevsky,Tolstoy), Denmark (Kierkegaard) and America (Emerson).

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