M.Litt in Classical Protestantism

Our M.Litt in Classical Protestantism program is a two-year course of study that could serve as an alternative to an M.A.R. program at a seminary, a qualification for Christian secondary-school or adult education teachers, or a strong launch-pad into graduate study. An M.Litt is generally equivalent to an M.A.; however, possession of a completed B.A. is not a prerequisite for admission if the student can provide other evidence of strong academic aptitude.

It requires students to take the following courses:

– Two residential intensive courses at Davenant House during the Summer Term: How to Read the Bible and the World (Year 1), A Protestant Christendom? (Year 2): 12 credits total

– Five Davenant Foundations Core courses (Natural Law and Scriptural Authority, God and Creation, and The Reformation and the Modern World, Approaches to Defending the Faith, Cultivating the Human): 10 credits total

– Final Integrative Paper (10,000 words, supervised by faculty mentor): 2 credits

– Six Dogmatics courses: 12 credits total

– Six Bible courses: 12 credits total

– Six Church History OR Philosophy electives: 12 credits total

– Three Latin courses (Intro to Theological Latin I, II, and III, unless you have prior Latin experience): 6 credits total  (Note: for the 2020-21 year, Davenant Language courses are still on a semester, rather than trimester system. This year’s courses each count for 3 credits)

– Three Koine Greek courses OR three Biblical Hebrew courses OR three assorted electives: 6 credits total (Note: for the 2020-21 year, Davenant Language courses are still on a semester, rather than trimester system. This year’s courses each count for 3 credits)

– Residential Discipleship Week at Davenant House scheduled at a time convenient for you for one-on-one mentoring and directed study.

– (Optional) Residential Intensive Latin or Greek course during Summer Term: 6 credits

The total cost of the program for full-time students is just $7,868, including full room and board at two 2-week Residential Intensive courses.

Become a Davenant Scholar

Students completing this M.Litt in Classical Protestantism will receive the title of Davenant Scholar and be invited to participate in a Davenant Scholars’ Retreat at Davenant House at the end of their program of study. They will also be offered the opportunity to publish a polished version of their Integrated Paper in a Davenant publication.

Davenant Scholars proceeding on to further graduate study will be eligible for a Davenant Fellowship: a $4,000 scholarship upon completion of an M.A., or a $8,000 scholarship upon completion of a Ph.D. In other words, Davenant Scholars completing the M.Litt and later completing a Ph.D will receive their entire tuition for the M.Litt program credited back to them.

Full-time or Part-Time?

Full-time basis at Davenant Hall is considered at least four courses per term (with five courses per term on average being required to complete the M.Litt degree in two years). Full-time students pay only $199 per course, a rate that represents a 33% discount from what part-time students pay for for-credit courses. Full-time students can also pay $995 per term in advance, or $275 per month spread over the course of the year.

Alternately, if you are enrolled at Davenant Hall as a degree-seeking student, you can simply participate on a part-time basis, purchasing courses at $299 per course, and applying these credits to your degree, so long as you fulfill all degree requirements within five years of matriculation.

Davenant Foundations Core Courses

All students enrolled in the M.Litt program must complete all five Davenant Foundations Core courses, as well as two Summer Residential Intensive courses at Davenant House, and an integrated paper.

Natural Law and Scriptural Authority:
Although Protestants are familiar with the classical Protestant insistence on the doctrine of sola Scriptura, they are less familiar with the equally important teaching of the Reformers that God reveals himself through the “two books” of Scripture and nature. As Paul teaches in Romans 1 and 2, God has revealed enough of his nature to render us “without excuse” and given us a moral law “written on our hearts.” In an age that is in rebellion not merely against Scripture but against nature, it is urgent for us to recover both, and to understand a right how each serves to illuminate the other, and to help us walk faithfully in the midst of uncertainty.

Philosophy for Theology:
What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? Quite a lot, it turns out. This course will introduce students to the philosophical grammar that God’s people have found useful throughout the ages in grasping the content of their faith. The road between philosophy and theology has been a two-way street from the earliest days of the church, and we will give close attention to this traffic between philosophical and theological projects. From ancient to contemporary man, the saints (taking their cue from God’s special revelation) have always both creatively appropriated and boldly corrected the understanding of those around them. Any students who want to know their way around the historic Christian tradition need to be familiar with the concepts and categories that have arisen in the midst of this long exchange. While this course will be weighted toward a broad survey of scholastic metaphysics, anthropology, and ethics, we will also consider other ancient and modern trends that have helped to illuminate the Christian faith. 

The Reformation and the Modern World:
Once upon a time, Protestants liked to take credit for the glories of the modern world: freedom, prosperity, civilization. As attitudes on modernity have soured, many have been quick to turn the narrative around and blame Protestantism for the licentiousness, greed, and exploitation that we see around us. Influential books by Catholic scholars have told a tale of a Reformation that disenchanted the cosmos, banished beauty and sacraments, and opened the door for rampant individualism. What is the true story? This course will offer students a fuller perspective on why the Reformation was necessary, what aspects of Christendom it did and did not seek to change, and the lasting legacy it left, both good and ill, for the world we live in today.

Approaches to Defending the Faith: There are as many arguments for the Christian faith as there are Christians to believe them. In this course, we take a rhetorical approach to defending the faith. While we give pride of place and deference to the classical school of apologetics, the actual apologetical encounter is fundamentally an encounter between whole persons. And it is all the tools of persuasion which coalesce to persuade one’s interlocutor. This course functions to train Christians to learn how to cultivate all these tools (and habits of soul) in themselves in order that they might bre more effective witnesses for the Lord in their own community. The major apologetical schools will be surveyed, and their strengths and weaknesses discussed.

Philosophy as a Way of Life:
It might seem that the project of philosophy belongs to specialists. Philosophy in its inception, however, was understood to be a way of life, a comprehensive program that required the awakening of the whole person living a whole life. In this course, we seek to recover this approach to the philosophical enterprise, asking what it means to live philosophically. In the end, pursuing truth and avoiding error cannot finally be separated from walking in the way of Christ through which we experience the friendship of God. Taking up this pilgrimage, we learn to see how the divine Logos threads the whole of creation to our very own selves, lives, communities, and stories. In this, our jolly spirit of inquiry cultivates both a humility of heart and a boldness of search.

Residential Intensive: How to Read the Bible and the World:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” but only the beginning. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and often with a fair number of Bible quotations mixed in. To cultivate true wisdom, we need to know both how to read Scripture rightly, and to read the world around us rightly, so that we can faithfully and accurately apply the Word of God to our own challenging circumstances. In this residential intensive course, you will learn to read the Scriptures as more than merely a plan of salvation or a set of precepts, but as a roadmap to the cosmos and a narrative of God’s action in the world. You will also learn what it means to discern the order of creation, and sort through the complex testimony of science, history, and philosophy in order to read the world skillfully.

Residential Intensive: A Protestant Christendom?:
Protestantism has been one of the chief causes and the chief beneficiaries of the separation of church and state. Most of us appreciate the religious liberty we enjoy today, but recognize its increasing instability. Moreover, we struggle to articulate the proper relationship of faith to public life. Is there a such thing as Christian lawmaking? If not, how do we relate to the long heritage of Christendom, the millennium and a half of close cooperation between church and state? In this residential intensive course, you will become better acquainted with the long debate over the relationship of spiritual and political authority, the Reformation’s decisive contributions to this debate, and the rich heritage of Protestant social and political thought, and will be encouraged to creatively apply this heritage to the challenges of our own day.

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.

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.

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.

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.