Spring 2018 Courses

Upper Level Courses

Early Modern Age (GTX 3321)
Dr. Ralph Wood, MW 2:30-3:45 p.m.

This course explores the first centuries of modernity, with an emphasis not only on those who created it but also on those who resisted it and offered powerful alternatives. These are the books that, in many ways, made the world that we live in. Texts will include: Bartolomé de las Casas, The Destruction of the Indies; John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress; William Shakespeare, King Lear; Blaise Pascal, Pensées; Selections from John Calvin and Martin Luther; John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration; Saint Thomas More, Selected Writings; English Metaphysical and Recusant poets: John Donne, George Herbert, Robert Southwell

Great Texts by Women (GTX 3330)
Dr. Lynne Hinojosa, TR 11:00-12:15 p.m.

In this course we will read texts from across the centuries written by women. We will focus on how these women writers interpreted, questioned, and contributed ideas within four often overlapping realms: the intellectual tradition and the concept of virtue; the church and the pursuit of holiness; art and the concept of beauty; and politics and the gender norms of society. Texts will include: Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Catherine of Siena’s Dialogues, Simone Weil’s Gravity and Grace, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, and world poetry by various contemporary female poets.

Masterworks in Art (GTX 3340.01/02)
Dr. David Jeffrey, TR 9:30-10:45 a.m.

A survey of selected (mostly Western) masterworks of art –chiefly painting but with diversionary expeditions into sculpture and architecture—from the classical public art of Greece and Rome to the more personalistic (and sometimes nihilist) art of late 20th C North America and Europe. Special attention to biblical and Christian iconography.

Great Texts in the Twentieth Century (GTX 4321)
Dr. Barry Harvey, TR 2:00-3:15 p.m.

Life and Love in the Ruins – The twentieth century was the most violent and hate-filled in human history to date. The unabashed optimism that accompanied its beginnings was quickly shattered by two world wars and innumerable regional conflicts, fascist and communist tyranny, genocide on an unimaginable scale, economic depression, segregation, apartheid, social fragmentation, and ecological devastation, just to mention a few lowlights. In spite of the bloodshed and destruction, however, there were some still seeking to discern signs of life in the midst of the animosity and destruction. Read from among such noted authors as Max Weber, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Toni Morrison, Sigmund Freud, Elie Wiesel, Walker Percy, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, Alasdair MacIntyre and P.D. James as they nurture the spark of hope left dampened by the events of the time.

Dante and Italian Renaissance (GTX 4330)
Dr. Sarah-Jane Murray, TR 3:30-4:45 p.m.

This class takes a deep-dive into Dante's Purgatorio, canto by canto, as well as a selection of contemporary materials and modern inheritors of the Divine Comedy. Discover a Celtic vision of the underworld in St. Patrick's Purgatory. Journey through key myths drawn from Ovid and retold by Dante's contemporaries. Rethink the influence of Dante on C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader and on Camus's Fall. Most importantly, encounter the qualities and characteristics that make Dante one of the greatest storytellers of all time.

Great Texts in Modern Science (GTX 4341)
Dr. Eric Martin, MW 1:00-2:15 p.m.

This is a class on the philosophy and history of science, with a special emphasis on some of modern science’s influential primary texts, such as Darwin’s Origin of Species. Students will learn the foundational content and context of several lineages of natural sciences through engagement with historical texts. This will provide familiarity with multiple aspects of modern sciences, and will set the stage for the latter part of the class, which involves theoretical reflection on the nature of those sciences more generally. Do natural sciences provide any sort of unified or coherent world picture? If so, what kind? What is the role of human beings in that picture, and what are the possibilities for religious belief, free will, or ethical commitment? Is there a particular scientific method, or a multiplicity of ways of knowing about the world? Science is indisputably a central facet of modernity; this class will equip students with analytical tools needed to better understand the sciences, their history, and their role in society.

Great Texts Capstone (GTX 4343)
Dr. William Weaver, TR 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Embodied Intellectual Virtue – Combining discussion of theoretical treatments with examples from fiction, this course will examine the virtues scientia (understanding), prudentia (practical wisdom), and sapientia (wisdom). What makes these modes of knowing lovely to us? What does it mean to embody the intellectual virtues? What practices are conducive to developing them?

Get Beyond Slogans: Study Great Texts