Syllabus for Tucson

THEO 64214: Jesus and the Spiritual Life
Instructor: Dr. James DeFrancis Email: jdefranc@nd.edu
Location: Redemptorist Renewal Center, Tucson, Arizona Dates: December 27, 2013 – January 7, 2014
Course Description

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
-- John 8:31-32

From the very origins of the Christian tradition, theologians have sought the face of Jesus both through systematic theological reflection on the nature of Jesus’ person and saving work and through that encounter with the risen and ascended Jesus by prayer and discipleship commonly known as the Christian spiritual life. In this course, we will consider how these two aspects of Christology – the theological and the spiritual – have come together in the writings of some of the patristic and medieval Church’s most eminent theologians. In what ways, we will ask, does a particular theological account of Jesus’ person and saving work influence or shape devotion to him by prayer and discipleship? And, conversely, how do various forms of prayer and discipleship to Jesus influence or shape particular theological accounts of his person and work?

 

Students will be able to:

Goals of This Course

 

1. Engage in the discipline of theology as “faith seeking understanding” through critical reflection on the Christological writings of several theological masters.
2. Cultivate the skills of closely reading and critically interpreting patristic and medieval theological texts with an eye to audience, genre, structure and sources.
3. Consider and discuss how varied theological accounts of Christ’s person and saving work shape particular accounts of the spiritual life and vice versa.
4. Express their insights into this relationship in well-crafted and engaging writing.
5. Reflect on the significance of these classical Christological masterpieces for their own spiritual development and pastoral service in the Church today.

Required Texts

The following texts should be purchased in advance and brought to Tucson:

Christology of the Later Fathers, ed. Edward R. Hardy [ISBN: 978-0664241520] Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Steps of Humility and Pride [ISBN: 978-0879071158] Bonaventure: The Soul's Journey into God, the Tree of Life, the Life of St. Francis (The
Classics of Western Spirituality) [ISBN: 978-0872202009]

Electronic Texts

The following additional texts will be made available to students electronically, prior to the course. They should be printed out and brought to Tucson.

Arius, Letter to Eusebius, Letter to Alexander Athanasius, Against the Arians Book III Creed of Nicaea
Augustine, Second Exposition of Psalm 21 Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book I Creed of Chalcedon
Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter 190, Against the Errors of Peter Abelard
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 61 on the Song of Songs

Advanced Preparation

Due to the intensive nature of this two-week course, students are encouraged, though not required, to do some of the reading in advance. See the schedule of reading assignments below. In particular, students might want to read the materials for the first class session in advance.

Course Requirements

1. An in-class exam on material covered through Gregory of Nazianzus (20%).
2. A take-home final exam, distributed on the final day of class and due via email by Monday, January, 20 (30%).
3. A twelve-page paper due via email by Monday, March 3 (30%).
4. Class participation (20%).

Daily Schedule

For each day, we will use the following schedule. Sundays are free. Morning
• 9:00-10:15: Session 1
• 10:30-11:45: Session 2 Afternoon
• 1:00-2:15: Session 3
• 3:00-4:00: Office Hours

Friday, December 27:

Arrival at Redemptorist Renewal Center in Tuscon. No scheduled class.
 

Saturday, December 28:

READ: Arius, Letter to Eusebius, Letter to Alexander; Athanasius, Against the Arians
Book III; Creed of Nicaea

1. Introductions
2. The Trinitarian Controversy and the Council of Nicaea (1)
3. The Trinitarian Controversy and the Council of Nicaea (2)

Sunday, December 29

(No class)

Monday, December 30

READ: Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word, paragraphs 1-19 (Hardy, pp. 55-73)

1. Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word (1)
2. Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word (2)
3. Pastoral Discussion

Tuesday, December 31

READ: Gregory of Nazianzus, Third Theological Oration and Fifth Theological Oration
(Hardy, pp. 160-176, 194-214)

1. Gregory of Nazianzus, Third Theological Oration
2. Gregory of Nazianzus, Fifth Theological Oration
3. Pastoral Discussion

Wednesday, January 1

1. (No class)
2. (No class)
3. Midterm Exam

Thursday, January 2

READ: Augustine, Second Exposition of Psalm 21 and On Christian Doctrine, Book I; Creed of Chalcedon

1. Augustine, Expositions of the Psalms
2. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book I
3. Lecture: The Christological Controversy and the Council of Chalcedon

Friday, January 3

READ: Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Steps of Humility and Pride (entire)

1. Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Steps of Humility and Pride (1)
2. Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Steps of Humility and Pride (2)
3. Pastoral Discussion

Saturday, January 4

READ: Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter 190, Against the Errors of Peter Abelard and
Sermon 61 on the Song of Songs

1. Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter 190, Against the Errors of Peter Abelard
2. Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 61 on the Song of Songs
3. Pastoral Discussion

Sunday, January 5

(No class)

Monday, January 6

READ: Bonaventure, The Tree of Life (entire)

1. Bonaventure, The Tree of Life (1)
2. Bonaventure, The Tree of Life (2)
3. Conclusion

All are welcome to attend this course as degree seeking or non-degree seeking students. For further information please contact Hermalena Powell at 574-631-4256 or by email at hpowell@nd.edu .