This Systematics course is taught by Davenant Teaching Fellow Ryan Hurd, and will run from April 12 through June 18. The syllabus is available here.
This course articulates the fundamentals of method and procedure in systematics, in the area of doctrine of God. As such, the course handles what is absolutely common and assumed to actually saying anything at all of God, both with respect to his essence/attributes and the Trinity. In short, the course deals with what one needs to know as a prerequisite in order to speak God in the theological science.
This course articulates systematics on the locus de deo uno (the divine essence and attributes), with focus on what are often called the “communicable” attributes, such as goodness, wisdom, and others of this sort. The course aims to give the student some understanding of these divine perfections, in the vein of the orthodox tradition particularly as it has been expounded in the Latin West (a tradition frequently called today “classical Christian theism”). For this reason the course is a systematic presentation of these divine attributes injected with extensive historical ressourcement. Main topics will include: intellect and knowledge, life, will and love, justice, mercy; however, it is expected that exploration of these names will provide principles for dealing with any other names in this line. Through this course the student will obtain insight into the orthodox boundaries and methodological sensitivities involved with these questions as well as the breadth of the tradition on supplied answers, particularly as it occurs in the Reformed orthodox of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Care will be taken to equip the students with operating principles of good method when it comes to doctrine of God, so as to enable them to labor through other divine attributes and speak well of God generally in the practice of divine praise, in the spirit of St. Augustine: “What are You to me? Have mercy, that I may speak.”
Course readings will be in English. The primary text is the relevant questions in Thomas Aquinas’s ST I (qq 14–21), which will broadly serve as grist for the lectures. However, lectures will take care to pull from the high medievals (e.g., Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Capreolus, Denis the Carthusian), the neoscholastics (e.g., Cajetan, Ferrara, Banez, Zumel, Vasquez), and of course some of the best of the Reformed orthodox (e.g. Voetius, Polanus, Mastricht, Danaeus, Musculus, Maccovius, De Moor). The result will be a thorough exposition of the above attributes that deals with our contemporary scene on these questions primarily by a positive presentation of a carefully developed orthodoxy, which does not neglect a healthy irenicism.
NB: this current course is the “second” part of God: Essence and Attributes, the first of which covered the “metaphysical” or “incommunicable” names; however, this course is fully stand-alone, and Essence and Attributes: Incommunicable Names is not its prerequisite. Further, Dv in future we will proceed to topics covered under providence and predestination (ST I qq 22–23).