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Sophomore Seminar Syllabus Fall 2013

COURSE INSTRUCTIONS

Sophomore Seminar

Christian Studies 231

(2 hours credit, TR 9:25-10:40; C-10)

 

Dr. Ray Van Neste

Fall 2013

Office: Jennings 341 

Tel.: 5532

Email: rvannest@uu.edu

I. COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course is designed to introduce the Christian studies major both to the field of Christian studies and to the goals and character of the department of Christian studies at Union University.  The course introduces and describes the field of Christian studies, attends to skill development in both writing and research in the field, and explores issues related to personal and professional preparation for Christian ministry. CHR 231 is a pre- or co-requisite for all upper-level courses in the Christian studies major.

II. COURSE OBJECTIVES

A.              To develop an understanding of the academic discipline of Christian studies, especially as it is understood at Union University.

B.        To become familiar with the faculty members in the department of Christian studies as Union and through that awareness to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of Christian studies as a discipline.

C.        To gain a growing sense of the theological landscape of contemporary Christian studiesand North American Christianity and to develop greater clarity related to one’s own theological perspective.

D.              To learn how to relate to peers as colleagues, fellow learners, and partners in God’s Kingdom-building work.

E.         To progress in the verbal and written communication skills fundamental for effective performance in ministry and in Christian studies.

F.               To grow in the research skills needed for effective performance in Christian             studies.

G.        To attain growing clarity concerning personal calling and vocation with reference to both the local and universal Church.

H.        To achieve personal growth in the spiritual and moral disciplines and behaviors that undergird and sustain a life in Christian ministry.

III. TEXTBOOKS AND ASSIGNED READING

A.        The required texts are as follows:

Lasch, Christopher, Plain Style: A Guide to Written English. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

Nichols, Stephen J, ed. Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions and Advice to Young Converts. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R.

Thielicke, Helmut. A Little Exercise for Young Theologians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962.

Alexander, Patrick H. & Shirley Decker-Lucke, ed. The SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies. ISBN-13: 978-1565634879

Warfield, B B. Religious Life of Theological Students. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R.

 

Witsius, Herman. On the Character of a True Theologian.

http://books.google.com/books?id=MVQAAAAAYAAJ&dq=witsius%20character%20theologian&lr&pg=PA158#v=onepage&q=witsius%20character%20theologian&f=false

B.        Further reading will be given throughout the semester.  Many are listed below with hyperlinks. Other items will be handed out in class or via email.

You are responsible for reading assigned material before coming to class. Your attention to this reading will be measured and evaluated in a variety of ways.

IV. METHOD OF EVALUATION

A. Your grade for the term will be determined as follows:

Integrative Essay        (30%)

Turabian Exercise      (20%)

Bibliography               (20%)

Church Essay              (20%)

Reading Analyses       (10%)

B.              Assignments

1.     Reading Analysis- For each assigned reading the student will bring to class an analysis (at least one page typed) answering the following questions:

a.      Why did I have you read this specific item?

b.     Briefly summarize the argument.

c.      Critique/interaction

d.     One question for our discussion.  The question can probe the argument of the author, challenge ideas, or pursue ways in which one might appropriate the lesson.  The question should demonstrate  thought, understanding, and care.  The question should be e-mailed to Mr. Michael Garrett (jmgarrett@uu.edu) by 8 a.m. on the day of class.

2.     Integrative Essay- Write a 3-4 page essay discussing your approach to your calling as a theological student and the integration of scholarship and spirituality.  Interact (at least) with Lewis, Thielicke, Warfield, Trueman, Fields, Eliff, Witsius and Watts. Specifically answer the following questions:

a) Why should one pursue the life of the mind?

b) What challenges might one face in pursuing academic theological study and trying to cultivate devotion?

c) Are academic study and spiritual life entirely separate spheres?  In other words should one expect the two to interrelate with each other?

d) What will your approach be to integrating spiritual life and academics?

THE Integrative Essay WILL BE DUE OCTOBER 29

3.     Bibliographic Resources and Footnote Citations Exercise.  Select a subject in either the discipline of Systematic Theology, New Testament, or Church History, and construct a bibliography of 20 non-duplicated works in the field.  Your bibliography should include books, subject-specific encyclopedias and dictionaries, academic journals, and other significant works. Write a two page exercise with correct usages of the following elements from the SBL Handbook of Style: at least three footnotes, a block quotation, a regular quotation, page numbers, ellipses, and a title page. There is a Student Supplement to the SBL Handbook available: http://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/SBLHSrevised2_09.pdf.

                                       

THE BIBLIOGRAPHY/ CITATIONS EXERCISE WILL BE DUE ON OCTOBER 8

4.     Church Ministry Essay.  Based upon your reading of Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church and your notes from the classroom lectures and activities, write a 3-4 page essay reflecting on the Christian church and your future role within it.  Address the following issues.

 

a.      What elements make a Christian church a faithful, biblical body of believers?

b.     What is the nature and purpose of the Christian ministry?

c.      How do Christian ministers build up the church?

d.     How do you envision your future role within the local church?  Specifically, how do you sense your calling with respect to the church?

I will grade for content, interaction with material and proper formatting.

THE CHURCH MINISTRY ESSAY WILL BE DUE ON NOVEMBER 19

V.              ATTENDANCE POLICY

Regular attendance is required for the successful completion of the course.  More than three absences will constitute a failing grade for the course.  Excused absences will be permitted for emergency situations or official university business.  The professor reserves the right to determine the validity of all non-university approved absences.   No student can receive credit for this course with 5 or more absences for any reason.

VI.            LATE PAPER POLICY

Late papers will receive a penalty of one letter grade per day late.  Excuses will not be granted, save in the cases of bereavement, and other emergency situations.  Extensions will not be given for university related business.  The word to remember is: PLAN AHEAD!!

VII.          TECHNOLOGY IN CLASSROOM

A.    Cell phones/Pagers: Cell phones and pagers should be switched off (not “vibrate”) unless the student has a real, pressing need to receive an anticipated call during class.  Students who believe they have such a need should contact me prior to class and explain the nature of their need.  I will make a decision regarding whether to allow the student to maintain an active cell phone/pager based upon the nature of the student’s expressed need.

Cell phone conversations, if allowed, must be taken outside the classroom when class is in session.

  1. Laptop Computers will not be allowed in this class. 
  2. Audio/Video Recording- Any recording of the class must have permission from the professor.

VIII.        CONTINUITY OF INSTRUCTION

In the event that this course is no longer able to meet face-to-face, students should await an email from the professor with further instructions.  UU email will be considered the primary means of communication.

Change in class schedule may be made in the semester via UU email from the professor.  Students are expected to check UU email regularly.


IX.            COURSE SCHEDULE

August 20       Introduction to Course, Syllabus Overview, Getting to Know You

22        Getting to Know the School of Theology and Missions Faculty: Part One; Read Ethos Statement- http://www.uu.edu/programs/theology/ethos.cfm

                       

            27        Getting to Know the School of Theology and Missions Faculty: Part Two

29        Understanding Union’s School of Theology and Missions and Its Context in the Broader Christian World

Sept     3          Discussion of C. S. Lewis, “Learning in War Time”

http://bradleyggreen.com/attachments/Lewis.Learning%20in%20War-Time.pdf

5          Discussion of Jaroslav Pelikan, “A Portrait of the Christian as a Young Intellectual”

            http:\www.valpo.edu\cresset\Pelikan\Pelikan_June_1961.html

Patrick Henry Reardon, Sacred Grammar

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-04-014-v

Steven Guthrie, “The Song-Shaped Soul”

http://www.case.edu.au/images/uploads/CASE_23_Magazine_The_song_shaped_soul.pdf

10        Becoming a Reader

Discussion of John Piper, ‘Thoughts on Reading,’ ‘Brothers, Fight for your Life’; Richard Baxter, ‘Advice on Reading’; ‘On the Bookshelf’;

C.S. Lewis, ‘On the Reading of Old Books’;’Should We Read Jonathan Edwards? (all provided)

            12        Using the Library for Theological Studies: Part One

            Reference Works, Books, and Academic Journals

                        Reading/ Writing Assignment: William Safire Speech (provided)

 

17        The Tools of Learning

            Discussion of Jim Elliff, ‘An Argument for Learning’

 http://www.ccwtoday.org/article/an-argument-for-learning/

Dorothy Sayers, ‘The Lost Tools of Learning’

http://bradleyggreen.com/attachments/The%20Lost%20Tools%20of%20Learning.pdf

Ray Ortlund, ‘Why We Study the Biblical Languages’ (provided)

19        Using the Library for Theological Studies: Part Two

                        Catalogs and Databases

SELECTION OF SUBJECT FOR BIBLIOGRAPHY/ CITATIONS EXERCISE DUE – E-MAIL MR. GARRETT jmgarrett@uu.edu

            24        Stewardship of the Mind

Discussion of Isaac Watts, ‘Improvement of the Mind’

http://www.eng.auburn.edu/~sjreeves/cm/improve.html

Oct      1          Citations and Bibliographies

BRING YOUR SBL HANDBOOK & SUPPLEMENT TO CLASS!

http://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/SBLHSrevised2_09.pdf

            8          Plain Style (BRING YOUR BOOK TO CLASS!)

Discussion of Christopher Lasch, Plain Style

CITATION / BIBLIOGRAPHY ASSIGNMENT DUE

15        Integrating Devotional and Academic Life: Part One

Discussion of Helmut Thielicke, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians

            22        Integrating Devotional and Academic Life: Part Two

Discussion of Carl Trueman “On the Importance of Being Earnest” http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_earnest_trueman.html;

B.B.Warfield, The Religious Life of Theological Students;

John Newton, Letter (provided)

29        Integrating Devotional and Academic Life: Part Three

Discussion of Herman Witsius, On the Character of a True Theologian;

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions

INTEGRATIVE ESSAY DUE

Nov     5          Campus & Community Day

 

            12        The Christian Faith and the Intellectual Quest

            Discussion of Leland Ryken, “The Student’s Calling” (provided)

Reading/ Writing Assignment: Critique Bohs’ editorial (provided)

 

            19        In the Service of the Church

Discussion of Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

http://www.lvcchurch.org/Resources/9marks.pdf

CHURCH MINISTRY ESSAY DUE

 

            26        Thanksgiving Holiday

 

Dec      3          The Moral Imagination

Discussion of Vigen Guroian, “Of Weeds & Fairy Tales: The Idylls, Idols & Devils That Corrupt the Moral Imagination”

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-04-034-f

R. J. Snell, “Making Men without Chests: The Intellectual Life and Moral Imagination”

http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1380

Russell Kirk, “Civilization Without Religion?”

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=06-01-005-f

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