Syllabi 2010-2015

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2010-2015

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    Democracy and Diversity
    (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015) Shadd, Philip; Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics, Institute for Christian Studies; Chaplin, Jonathan
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    Charles Taylor and the Religious Imaginary
    (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015) Kuipers, Ronald A.; Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics, Institute for Christian Studies
    The notion of a "social imaginary"—the way people come to understand their social surroundings by way of images, stories, and legends—plays a key role in Charles Taylor's thought, including his magnum opus, A Secular Age. In this intellectual tour de force, Taylor attempts to trace the historical development of Western secularism as we experience it today. In doing so, he challenges the "subtraction story" which he sees animating the social imaginary of today's typical secularist. According to this story, the emergence of secularism in the West follows a linear trajectory, along which humanity slowly sheds the irrational accretions of myth, religion, and the sacred, in order to uncover a rational core of free thought and autonomous science, which may now flourish without the constraints of heteronomous religious authority. In challenging this story, Taylor offers an intriguing new understanding of Western secularism, as well as tantalizing suggestions concerning the continued social relevance a religious imaginary might have in "a secular age." This seminar will be devoted to an in-depth study of this major work, which in its relatively brief life has already become a landmark text in both the philosophy of religion as well as secularization theory. Through this study, seminar participants will also consider what role Taylor's Roman Catholic religious commitment plays in his thought, as well as the role a religiously-informed "social imaginary" might play in a pluralized global society that is deeply impacted by, but also largely at odds with, the particular social imaginary of Western modernity.
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    ART in Orvieto Summer Intensive
    (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-01) Smick, Rebekah; Gordon College. Studio for Art, Faith and History; Institute for Christian Studies; Roorda, Paul; Terpstra, John
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    Religion and Philosophy at the Extremes of Human Experience
    (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-01) Kirby, Joseph; Institute for Christian Studies
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    Faithful Thinking and World Orientation: Augustine, Aquinas, Dooyeweerd, Olthuis
    (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-01) Sweetman, Robert; Institute for Christian Studies
    This course is designed to examine four examples of Christian thinking about God, self and world within a religiously heterogeneous imaginative and thought world. The effort to think integrally within and about such a world is a throughline to be followed from any point in the ongoing tradition of Christian thought. The character of the world changes inexorably but its religious heterogeneity both imaginatively and conceptually is reaffirmed in and through all such changes. What it means to think in accord with one's faith, to think faithfully, then, will change as the world in which such thinking takes place changes, but the task of negotiating faithfulness in the context of imaginative and conceptual heterogeneity continues to challenge, bless and curse by turns. Augustine, Aquinas, Dooyeweerd and Olthuis illustrate both the challenge and opportunity of such an enterprise within the context of ancient Roman, high medieval, high modern and postmodern imaginative and conceptual contexts, respectively.
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