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This interdisciplinary course begins exploration of the relations between [Catholic Christian] faith and culture exhibited through works of imagination and intellect drawn from the New Testament through medieval periods. As part of the M.A. program core curriculum, the course focuses on the multifaceted Catholic tradition but includes perspectives from Christians of other denominations and non-Christians selected to show the dialogue between Catholic thought and other cultural views and accomplishments. Primary attention will be given to works of literature, music, and art, with some attention to philosophical and theological works selected especially for their contributions to articulating insights concerning the relationship between faith and culture.
Augustine began writing City of God in 413 AD. His intention was to defend the Catholic church against its pagan critics, who held Christianity responsible for the sack of Rome by the Goths in 410. By the time he had finished, more than a decade later, Augustine’s work had grown into a complex engagement of the entirety of pagan Roman thought and culture through a masterful interweaving of Scripture and the foundational works of pagan Roman culture. This course will consist of a close reading of the whole of City of God, with particular focus on this interweaving of political, historical, philosophical, and theological themes that have made Augustine’s work second only to the Bible in the shaping of Western Christianity.
In the introduction to his book on the virtues, Romano Guardini writes: “There is one thing that Plato’s philosophy has made clear once and for all; he showed that absolute values exist, that these can be known and, therefore, that there is such a thing as truth. He likewise showed that these values are summed up in the majesty of that which we call “the Good”, which is identical with the divine and that its realization leads man to the perfection of life freedom and beauty.”
Such is the task of education – the formation of our vital powers and strivings, our inner world and outward surroundings. In short, it involves a formation and tuning of conscience within the antiphonal relation between nature and grace: to the Good,
True, and Beautiful – the fabric from which nature is woven – and to Christ who wove it and who is our destiny.
To help us reflect upon this task, we will draw upon a range of Guardini’s writings, including Conscience; Freedom, Grace, & Destiny; selections from The World and the Person; The Lord; Learning the Virtues; The Church and the Catholic; and The Spirit of the Liturgy.
This course explores the history, philosophy, and theology of PreK-12 Catholic education in the United States over the past 100 years. The course aims to help students understand the challenges PreK-12 Catholic schools face with respect to their mission and culture. Students will be exposed to the philosophical and theological foundations upon which Catholic schools have been built, the changes within church and society that have affected Catholic PreK-12 education, and the future of Catholic PreK-12 education. Discussions and assignments will focus on creative solutions to mission and culture challenges facing Catholic schools today.