This Systematics/Philosophy course will be taught by Dr. Joseph Minich, and will run from April 11th to June 17th 2022. The syllabus is available here.
Many who are persuaded of the basic moral and metaphysical picture of Christianity (e.g. the necessity of monotheism, or the existence of natural law) feel less intellectually assured of the aspects of the Creed which are the most distinctively Christian. A Christian philosophy is acceptable; a Christian theology, not so much. But this situation isn’t acceptable to Christians whose love for God is most ignited precisely by those distinctives.
How, then, can Christians proceed in such situations? By acknowledging that, although philosophy has long served as handmaiden to theology, she cannot remain unchanged by her mistress. Christian thinkers have long sought to present the Christian creed, with all its distinctives, as part of a total understanding of reality, and of our life in this world–which is to say, as a philosophy. They argue that the world, “looked at” in the light of Christian claims, is actually illuminated rather than obscured. Of course, other religious communities and philosophical systems make similar claims for themselves.
In this course, we will survey the traditional loci of a dogmatic theology (God, creation, man, sin, Jesus, salvation, Spirit, eschatology), but the goal is not primarily to explicate the Christian doctrine. Rather, it is to (a) locate precisely where it is distinctive from other faiths and philosophies, and (b) find how these clarified distinctives illuminate the “everyday” and common world. In short, this course seeks to understand how Christian theological understanding can serve the cause of philosophical reflection and comparative philosophy/religion.
Students of this course will go away with a clear picture of the distinctive claims Christianity makes about reality, and will be equipped to take conversations about reality forward with those not yet convinced of the Christian account of life, the universe, and everything.
Dr. Joseph Minich (Ph.D. The University of Texas at Dallas) is a Teaching Fellow with The Davenant Institute, and a co-host of the Pilgrim Faith podcast along with Davenant Teaching Fellow, Dale Sternberg. He is the author of Enduring Divine Absence and a frequent contributor to Modern Reformation. He lives in Garland, Tx, with his wife and four children.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.
This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.