Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Spring 2012 Course Load

As I do at the start of each semester, I have shared below the courses I am taking this spring, with whom, and the respective book lists. I am especially excited about this semester, as three of my four classes are directed readings focusing on theological texts that are either crucial to know or ones I have not read before. In related news, I may not be coming up for air until spring break, given the reading requirements. We'll see.

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Medieval Christology and Atonement Theory (Junius Johnson)

There are two guiding questions for this course: 1) What, according to Scholastic theology, is the work that human salvation requires Christ to accomplish, and 2) what sort of person must he be in order to accomplish that work? This course will examine the answers of thinkers from Anselm (1033-1109) to Luther (1483-1546) on these questions.
  • Anselm, Basic Writings
  • Bonaventure, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum
  • John Dillenberger, ed., Martin Luther: Selections from his Writings
  • Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
  • Damian McElrath, ed., Franciscan Christology
  • Eugene R. Fairweather, ed., A Scholastic Miscellany: Anselm to Ockham
Readings in Patristic Trinitarian Theology (Christopher Beeley)

This course focuses on four decisive patristic figures in fourth-century trinitarian theology: the Cappadocians -- Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus -- and Augustine of Hippo. We will be reading both primary and secondary texts the better to understand these foundational theologians, the particularities of their reflections on and conceptions of the Trinity, and more generally the trinitarian faith itself in its early formulation.
  • Khaled Anatolios, Retrieving Nicaea
  • Augustine of Hippo, De Trinitate
  • Lewis Ayres, Augustine and the Trinity
  • Christopher Beeley, Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God
  • Basil the Great, Against Eunomius
  • Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit
  • Gregory of Nazianzus, Select Orations
  • Gregory of Nazianzus, Theological Orations
  • Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius
Readings in Historical Theology (Miroslav Volf)

This course, like the next one, is in service to preparation for comprehensive exams, both on the horizon and farther down the line. We will be reading a large number of smaller, discrete texts from important thinkers in three eras -- patristic, medieval, and reformation -- regarding four loci: biblical interpretation, faith and reason, Christology, and politics and society.
  • Patristic: Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Diodore of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Gregory of Nazianzus, Augustine of Hippo, Cyril of Alexandria, Leo the Great, Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus
  • Medieval: John Cassian, Gregory the Great, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hugh of St. Victor, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Lyra, John of Salisbury, William of Ockham, John Wyclif
  • Reformation: Martin Luther, John Calvin, Cornelius a Lapide, Johann Gerhard, Desiderius Erasmus, Francisco de Vitoria, radical reformers
Readings in Systematic Theology (Kathryn Tanner)

This course, like that above, is aimed at filling gaps and providing space for reading texts which will come up in our comprehensive exam on contemporary theology (i.e., post-Kant); unlike it, though, we are reading multiple works in full from only about a dozen or so influential figures. The three areas organizing the texts and concerns of the course are: theological methodology, the nature and interpretation of Scripture, and ecclesiology.
  • Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/1; I/2
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Sanctorum Communio
  • William Cavanaugh, Torture and Eucharist; Theopolitical Imagination; Being Consumed; Migrations of the Holy (selections)
  • Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis (selections)
  • Hans Frei, The Identity of Jesus Christ; The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative
  • Nicholas Healy, Church, World, and the Christian Life
  • David Kelsey, Proving Doctrine; Eccentric Existence (Chapter 3B)
  • George Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine
  • Gerhard Lohfink, Does God Need the Church?
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith
  • Kathryn Tanner, Theories of Culture
  • Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine
  • John Webster, Holy Scripture; Word and Church; Confessing God


  1. 1. My jealousy is pretty much boundless after reading what courses you're taking, and also what you're reading for them.
    2. De Trinitate!! Feel free to rip off all my brilliant insights from when we read that for Asiedu, haha.

  2. Looks like we had somewhat similar lists for 20th century stuff, McFarland also had me read Lossky, Zizolous, and Staniloe (the last of which I ended up writing on in the exam).

  3. All three of which would add an important dimension to your ecclesiology readings.

  4. Thanks for the recommendations. We read Staniloae in our seminar together last semester, helpfully, but Lossky and Zizioulas would be great additions. As I've already read Cavanaugh's work (my peers in the course haven't) perhaps I'll read those two E.O. thinkers on my own instead.

    1. When do you add heavier classes like: spanish, chemistry, and accounting? I thought Yale was supposed to be challenging.

      Good luck, I wouldn't even know where to start with that list. I know you will do well and will have plenty of great thoughts to share.

  5. A very rich semester in a very rich program. Best wishes, Brad.