Dates: Tuesdays, February 7 – March 14 (No Class February 28)
Length of course: 5 weeks
Time: Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Eastern
Textbook: None; all readings provided by the instructor
The Church Fathers engaged critically with the philosophical schools of the Greco-Roman world while simultaneously appropriating many of its key terms, ideas, and frameworks into their theological writings. As a result, despite Fathers sometimes issuing warnings against adopting pagan philosophical systems, or even decrying the philosophers’ teachings as false wisdom, many aspects of classical philosophy have become embedded in Orthodox Christian theology.
This course is designed to introduce students to this philosophical inheritance, with an eye toward preparing them for further theological or philosophical study. Potential topics include: substance and accident; nature, form, and matter; essence, hypostasis, and person; soul, body, and immortality; virtues and the passions; freedom, will, and choice; creation; and Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Students will read and discuss selections from philosophical sources (such as Plato and Aristotle) and/or patristic sources (such as St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Augustine, and St. John of Damascus).
Above: The Great Meteoron Monastery, Greece
Students are required to have an electronic journal that contains all of their notes for every content assignment in the course. There is a required minimum of one paragraph of notes per hour spent on a content assignment. The journal will be submitted in the Lesson Five Quiz when the course is completed.
Each week, students will perform a casual interview that relates to the content they are studying. A student can interview the same person as often as they want, and ideally, your interviewee is a person that is familiar with the current content you are studying. Students will submit a summary of their interviews at the end of the course.