BACKGROUND

Over the past seven years, the Davenant Institute has established itself as an intellectual leader in confessional Protestant resourcement, demonstrating a dedication to retrieving both the depth and breadth of the Reformational heritage and in order to nurture Christian wisdom in the contemporary church. Over that time, we have built a robust network of scholars, pastors, and teachers committed to “translating” the wisdom of the church’s past to speak to the needs of the present. For five years now, we have run a rigorous and successful program on online language instruction, The Davenant Latin Institute (now Davenant Language Institute) aimed at equipping new translators of the tradition. During the 2019-20 academic year, we began to leverage our growing network to offer simple online courses low on frills but rich in substance, under the brand Davenant Hall. Davenant Hall offers theological education framed not as mere instruction, but as a relation of master and apprentice in the search for wisdom.

We now aim to expand the vision of Davenant Hall to meet the growing needs of the Christian educational landscape today, offering a robust foundation of theological literacy and Christian wisdom that will equip students to flourish in seminary or graduate school, as well as offering additional theological formation to young pastors and leaders seeking a low-cost alternative to seminary enrollment. Over one or two years of mostly online study, along with residential intensives and discipleship weeks, students will receive formation in the key pillars of Protestant wisdom and language skills, along with deep dives into key topics of biblical theology, systematic theology, church history, philosophy, and ethics.

DISTINCTIVES

While covering some of the same bases as an undergraduate Bible degree or the first couple years of an M.Div, our program will be distinctive in both form and content. In terms of form, our deep-dive, modular approach sets us apart from many introductory-level programs in theological education. Many intro courses often seek to provide complete but cursory 30,000-ft. overviews of the terrain of Scripture, dogmatics, and church history, overviews that are likely to leave a student a bit dazed and confused, and little of which they are likely to retain. Instead, we think it is crucial for students to start off by acquiring the skills of close reading of texts, and deep wrestling with specific questions, which can serve as entry points through which they will gain an appreciation of larger issues and debates. The narrower focus of these courses will also help students to gain an appreciation of the depth of particular theological questions and equip them with the virtues of wisdom and humility which will serve them well as they tackle other questions later. In other words, our program aims to equip students with the intellectual virtues that will make them effective lifelong learners and the communication skills that will enable them to share wisdom with others. To this end, assessment will be focused primarily around class participation, comprehensive oral final exams, and term papers.

Although the bulk of the instruction will be carried out online, a centerpiece of the certificate and degree programs will be the residential component. Degree-seeking students will be required to participate in one two-week residential intensive course each summer at Davenant House, our study and retreat center in upstate South Carolina. These residential courses will follow a daily rhythm of worship, fellowship, labor, reading, discussion, and reflection, providing an opportunity to delve deep into key themes of Christian wisdom and discuss together how to apply them to our lives. All students will also be encouraged (and students in the M.Litt will be required) to spend at least one “Davenant Discipleship Week” at Davenant House as well. This will be a time of spiritual direction, Scripture reading, and quiet reflection under the leadership of our Davenant House directors, Michael and Lynette Hughes. It will provide an opportunity to grow spiritually and meditate on how to integrate the learning of the past year.

In terms of content, our program will continue to maintain our focus at Davenant on recovering the theological vision of the Protestant Reformation. This vision is committed to the primacy of Scripture and the freedom of the Christian conscience, while at the same time cultivating a disciplined use of reason, an appreciation for the role of order and authority in the Christian life, and an understanding of freedom that is always oriented toward the demands of edification and the pursuit of the common good. A magisterial Protestantism attentively readsboth the book of nature and the book of Scripture, carefully studies both the historic creeds of the church and the insights of fresh biblical exegesis, and prudently applies Christian wisdom to the “three estates,” the domain of commonwealth, church, and family.

EXAMPLES OF PAST COURSES

Note: All of these courses were offered in the previous format (1 hr/wk., no graded coursework)

Academic Calendar

MICHAELMAS TERM (9/28 – 12/11, 2020)

Natural Law and Scriptural Authority (Core)

Reading the Gospels with Wisdom (Bible)

God: Essence and Attributes, I (Dogmatics)

Beauty Beyond Being: An Introduction to Natural Theology (Dogmatics/Philosophy)

Plato: Then and Now (Philosophy)

Strangers and Pilgrims: Reading the Apostolic Fathers (Church History)

Boethius and the Consolation of Philosophy (Elective/Philosophy)

 

HILARY TERM (1/11 – 3/20, 2021)

Registration opens 11/1/20

God and Creation (Core)

Exodus and the Shape of Biblical Narrative (Bible)

Essence and Attributes of God, II (Dogmatics)

The Doctrine of Salvation in Revivalism and its Critics (Dogmatics)

Aristotle: Then and Now (Philosophy)

The Way of Reform: Church Councils Before Luther (Church History)

 

TRINITY TERM (4/5 – 6/11, 2021)

Courses TBD

 

SUMMER TERM (7/19 – 8/13, 2021)

Residential Intensives at Davenant House

FAQs

Do I need to be a graduate student or seminarian to participate?

No, in fact, you do not need to currently belong to an academic institution at all. Undergraduate students, pastors, teachers, and independent scholars are welcome as well.

How is the current program different from the 2019-20 Davenant Hall?

If you participated in (or considered participating in) a Davenant Hall course during the 2019-20 academic year, you will notice a few key differences: 1) Classes are now 2 hrs./wk. instead of 1 hr./wk.; (2) Whereas in past, all students were what we are now calling “Auditors,” we now have a for-credit option which involves graded coursework; (3) All classes will now be offered through an online learning management system.

Some things have not changed, though: our focus is still on keeping bells and whistles to a minimum, keeping the cost to you extremely low, and bringing you the very best instructors to serve as guides and companions on your journey into wisdom.

Do I need to apply?

If you want to participate as a degree-seeking student in either our Certificate or M.Litt program, then yes, you do, although the application process is very straightforward. Apply here for the Certificate, here for the M.Litt. If you are participating as an auditor or just want to take individual classes for credit now (which could later be applied to the Certificate or M.Litt), then no, you can just register for individual courses.

Are there any prerequisites?

Not generally, although certain individual classes may require certain other classes as prerequisites. All classes are open to students 18 years old and above who are capable of deep reading, charitable engagement, and coherent writing (though of course students will be expected to grow in these skills through participation).

What is the time commitment?

The standard format for all online courses will be 10 weeks, 2 hrs/wk. Credit-seeking students should plan on spending roughly 4 hrs./wk. on average outside of class for each online course. Full-time students should plan on enrolling on five classes each term (no less than four, no more than six).

How do the live classes work?

All of our live classes use industry-leading videoconferencing software, either Zoom or Google Meets. Recordings of each class session, including any “whiteboards” or screen-shares, will be made available for students who were unable to make a particular class meeting.

Does it matter what time zone I am in?

It is important that for-credit students be able to participate in most of the live classes, although auditors may participate via recordings only if desired. It is our goal to schedule live class times that will fit within normal waking hours for all enrolled students, wherever they live on the globe, though obviously the times will be more convenient for some than others. After the registration deadline, students will be polled to determine suitable class meeting times, and the time that works best for all participants will be selected. If the resulting time does not work for you, you will have the option of (a) switching to auditor and watching recordings, (b) switching to a different course, (c) receiving a full refund.

How do the residential courses work?

Residential intensive courses will run for two weeks in the summer and should be considered full-time commitments during. Davenant Discipleship Weeks will be scheduled with each student during either the Christmas break or the period between the end of Trinity Term and the Residential Intensives.

Is there a drop/add date?

We will not normally be allowing students to join one of the classes after the registration deadlines for each course. Students needing to drop a class within the first three weeks can have their tuition 100% credited toward a subsequent course.

Are scholarships available?

At present, no. We have made an effort to price these classes at rock-bottom levels, so that cost will not be an obstacle to most students. Moreover, students who complete the M.Litt will be eligible for generous scholarships from the Davenant Institute toward future graduate study.

Is your program currently accredited?

Davenant Hall is not currently accredited by any outside agency, although we believe our courses and our program as a whole conform to high standards of professional qualification, academic rigor, and student assessment. As the program grows and becomes more well-established, we plan to build relationships with other academic institutions to have our courses and degrees recognized for transfer credit or advanced standing.

Can I receive credit toward a degree at another institution?

Our program is brand-new, but the Davenant Institute has excellent relationships with numerous institutions of higher education, at the undergraduate, graduate, and seminary levels, and will be working over the coming year to establish transfer-credit arrangements with such institutions. If you would like to inquire about the possibility of such an arrangement with your current institution, please contact Colin Redemer, our Provost, at [email protected]

How do Davenant Hall courses relate to Davenant Language Institute courses?

Students pursuing the M.Litt will be required to take Davenant Language courses as par of fulfilling their degree requirements; Certificate students are encouraged to do so as electives. Currently, Davenant Language courses are 15-week, 3-hour courses, while Davenant Hall courses are 10-week, 2-hour courses. Beginning Fall 2021, we expect to have Davenant Language courses fully integrated into the new Davenant Hall framework.

See more about our language offerings here.