CSC Course Catalog


Below is a list of all classes offered by the Christian Studies Center. Please note that not all classes are available during all sessions.

To see a list of courses organized by date and find downloadable syllabi, see our
CSC Course Schedule.

All classes at the Christian Studies Center are three credit hours. Credits earned from the CSC can be used to fulfill major/minor or general educational requirements.


C. S. Lewis and the Oxford Circle (ENG 423)

C. S. Lewis and the Oxford Circle (ENG 423)

Instructor: Daniel Strait, Devin Brown, Philip Tallon

Course Description:
ENG 423 (3) C. S. Lewis and the Oxford Circle
A study of literature inspired by a Christian vision of life. This course focuses primarily on the writings of C.S. Lewis and secondarily on the Oxford Circle of writers with whom he was associated.

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Mere Christianity.  The Great Divorce.  Descent into Hell.  The Lord of the Rings.  These and other works arose from a close group of Oxford friends who gathered weekly over the course of several decades.  This course examines these authors' seminal works (with primary emphasis given to C. S. Lewis) and how their writings continue to shape culture and thought.  Students will have an opportunity to discuss Christian themes as they emerge from the course readings. Special attention will also be given to literary criticism with regard to the form and presentation of the writings.  Students can expect to become conversant in texts by C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, and Charles Williams.  Additionally, students will be encouraged to further develop their own distinct writing styles, with particular focus given to clarity and creativity in the expression of ideas.

Christian Theology (TH 300)

Christian Theology (TH 300)
     
Instructor: Philip Tallon

Course Description:
An exploration of the Christian Faith from the perspective of biblical, historical, and systematic theology. This course includes emphases on the essentials of Wesleyan thought and contemporary ethical issues.

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What do Christians believe, and why do they believe it?  This course aims to examine the basics of the Christian Faith.  Major topics to be discussed include the Trinity, the nature of God, the person and work of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and views of scripture.  We will also discuss the basic elements of Christian thought, utilizing the sources of scripture, reason, tradition and religious experience.

Church and State: A Historical Exploration (HIS 393)

Seminar: Church and State: A Historical Exploration (HIS 393)

Instructor: Instructor TBA

Course Description:
HIS 393 (1-3) Seminar—Designated special-interest classes, seminars, or field experiences supervised by faculty, with appropriate course requirements. Credit may be given more than once.

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The purpose of this course is to help students acquire a broad knowledge of the history of Christianity’s relations with the state and with the varieties of Christian political thought, from the time of the New Testament to the present.  This story can be told in three phases. First is the age of marginality and persecution, when Christianity was a prohibited cult in a pagan empire.  Second is the age of Christendom, a period of alliance between Church and State, when there were occasional episodes of tensions between the two, but a more basic harmony between them. And third is the period in which the modern nation state took shape, secular governments were formed, and Christianity lost its hold on the center of culture.  In each period, Christians struggled to understand the relationship between divine rule and human government, the relationship between sacred and secular authority, and the Christian understanding of political justice.

Faith and Film (PHL 393)

Seminar: Faith and Film (PHL 393)
 
Instructor: Philip Tallon

Course Description:
PHL 393 (1-3) Seminar—Selects a significant issue, theme, problem, or thinker for intensive and rigorous study. Conducted in seminar style; a major paper is required.

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Filmmakers may be the most influential educators in our 21st century world.  Whether it's a romantic comedy or an Oscar-winning drama, movies are a vehicle for communicating ideas.  Millions of people sit down every day to live in these worlds of cinematic creation.  The viewpoints and beliefs expressed by filmmakers are often so subtly stated and beautifully presented that a soft form of persuasion takes place, quite frequently unbeknownst to the passive viewer. Faith and Film seeks to openly discuss movies as an artistic and storytelling medium exploring how cinema opens up conversation on a variety of thought-provoking subjects.  What is the meaning of life?  Why is there suffering in the world?  Is morality whatever an individual wants to make of it?  This course includes reading about theology and film, as well as viewing a range of relevant movies.  After taking this course, students will be better able to enjoy films as works of art and critically engage with the ideas movies convey.

History of Christianity (HIS 321)

History of Christianity (HIS 321)

Instructor: Instructor TBA

Course Description:
HIS 321 (3) History of Christianity—A study of the growth of the Christian Church from the Council of Nicea to the present with emphasis on the formation of orthodoxy and its interrelation to surrounding society.

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For the last 2000 years, Western Civilization has been fundamentally shaped by Christianity. The history of Christianity has brought innovations to the world unsurpassed by any other movement.  The abolition of the slave trade.  Hospitals.  Freedom of religion. Universities. Yet at times Christianity also has a sordid past.  The Spanish Inquistion.  Internal schisms. Ethically awry institutions. This class looks at the major themes, events and trends of Christianity from its inception to the present day.  The contributions and shortcomings in the Christian movement are examined through the major periods of history: the Classical World, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment era and the present day.

Introduction to Communication (COM 150)

Introduction to Communication (COM 150)

Instructor: Robert Coleman

Course Description:
COM 150 (3) Introduction to Communication—An exploration of the communication field with emphasis on various strands of communication study such as interpersonal; small group; media; and the preparation, composition, and presentation of public speeches. Examines the central role of communication in our society, our culture, and our individual identities, and also our role as critical evaluators of the messages we receive.

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Communication is a notoriously tricky art to master, and improvement takes time and practice.  This course will explore the nature of communication as well as give students an opportunity to write and deliver a variety of public presentations. This course is structurally designed as a routine Introduction to Communication course.  What makes this course unique is that student presentations are encouraged to be at the intersection of religion and public life.  Religion is an important aspect of our world.  Learning how to constructively communicate about religious ideas is necessary for effective relationships in our diverse 21st-century world.

Philosophy of C. S. Lewis (PHL 251)

Philosophy of C. S. Lewis (PHL 251)

Instructor: Jerry Walls, Philip Tallon

Course Description:
A study of the philosophical works of Lewis dealing with arguments for the existence of God based on human rationality, the problem of suffering, objective truth, and moral law.  This course also addresses philosophical themes in the Narnia Chronicles and Lewis’ thought in relation to popular culture.  

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C. S. Lewis was one of the most influential Christian thinkers, apologists, storytellers and popular theologians of the 20th century. Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and The Chronicles of Narnia still sell millions of copies each year. As he journeyed from atheism to Christianity Lewis encountered many objections to the Christian faith. After several years of wrestling with various ideas and debating with his fellow Oxford scholars Lewis himself became a Christian. Through his writings he has influenced millions of people worldwide.  Lewis's wide-ranging pen offered insight into a variety of subjects. Human nature.  The existence of God. Ethics. Literary criticism.  Students who take this course will exit having read broadly through C. S. Lewis's works and a better understanding of the depth of Christian thought.

Philosophy of Religion (PHL 361)

Philosophy of Religion/Aplogetics (PHL 361)

Instructor: Jerry Walls, Kevin Kinghorn

Course Description:
PHL 361 (3) Philosophy of Religion—Surveys the classic topics in the field, such as the theistic arguments, the problem of evil, miracles, religious language, and the divine attributes. Also considers alternative approaches to the subject, such as fideism, natural theology, and Reformed epistemology.

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Christians have been pressed to articulate their beliefs to an inquiring world for 2,000 years.  Christianity claims that God exists.  On what basis? Christians say God interacts with the world through miracles.  How?  And Christians continue to orient their lives around a man whose followers claimed he returned from the dead.  Is there any proof?  These are the types of questions Philosophy of Religion attempts to answer.  Students will engage with an assortment of writings by philosophers from a variety of backgrounds - ancient and modern, theists and atheists.  Augustine.  Hume.  Pascal. Nietzsche.  By the end of this course students will be better equipped to thoughtfully engage with the Christian intellectual tradition as it seeks to answer many of life's most pressing questions.

Understanding the New Testament (NT 100)

Understanding the New Testament (NT 100)

Instructor: Jonathan Pennington, Mark Trump

Course Description:
NT 100 (3) Understanding the New Testament—New Testament literature understood in the light of its historical contexts, its literary forms, and its diversity and unity of theological ideas.

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The 27 books and letters compiled in the New Testament are almost unquestionably the most influential collection of writings in literary history.  One of the key components in unraveling the intricate meaning of the text is to have a clear idea of the world out of which these writings emerged.  Who wrote them?  Why were they written?  What were the original authors trying to convey?  Students will examine the New Testament with an eye toward understanding the authors and their original audience, including the culture that surrounded them.  These foundations will give students a greater capacity to study and apply the writings of the New Testament in light of its major ideas, images and themes.

Women in the New Testament (NT 393)

Seminar: Women in the New Testament (NT 393)

Instructor: Ben Witherington III

Course Description:
This course will examine the functions and roles that women assumed in the early church from A.D. 33 until the Council of Nicea. This course will also examine the views concerning women by various New Testament writers including Paul and the evangelists of the Gospels.

More Information:
In many social contexts throughout world history women have been seen as subservient to men.  Christians across the centuries have held different views on the role of women in the home, church and society at large.  Even in our current cultural milieu this topic generates much debate both inside and outside the church.  This course centers upon the enormously influential writings of the New Testament, using these documents as the primary source material for the Christian understanding of the role of women.  Women in the New Testament will examine texts from several New Testament writers as well as secondary literature that discusses various ways of interpreting these passages.  After taking this class students will be more familiar with the understanding of women's value and roles in the New Testament world and, moreover, how this should influence their thinking in the 21st century world.
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