Monday, January 11, 2010

Spring 2010 Course Descriptions

I am teaching two courses this Spring semester, both fun and challenging.

The first class, CT200: Person and Work of Jesus Christ aka Christ, Between the Alien and the Human. If you've ever asked: Hmm, I wonder what does the movie District 9—set in South Africa and is about an alien species stranded on Earth—have to do with Jesus' identity, the intellectual life, and Christian ministry today?" (and of course, you've asked just this question :-), then this is the course for you.

Along with viewing this movie, we'll be reading some interesting stuff. Here's a sample: a little of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth; some patristic and medieval stuff (a little Athanasius and Anselm); some Harlem Renaissance literature for its critical christological angles (alá Countee Culleen, Langston Hughes, and W. E. B. Du Bois), and some stuff on feminist christology (Rosemary Radford Ruether and Schüssler Fiorenza).

Join me. Like I said, it'll be a fun and challenging class that tries to think Christ in the 21st century present.

The second class, CT285: Theology in the 20th Century. With the first decade of the already momentous 21st century concluded (it started and ended in NYC, with 9/11 and the global challenge of terrorism and with Wall Street and the global crisis of capitalism), we may now be positioned to begin taking some stock of what, theologically considered, the 20th century was about, and therefore what lay ahead, again theologically considered, for the 21st century. Assessing the 20th century from the angle of theology is what this course is all about. We will lodge theology in the 20th century inside of the problem of political theology in the modern world, or as I also like to say, inside of the problem of "pastoral imagination" and "pastoral power".

I plan to teach this course in three cycles: 1. The Crisis of Modern Theology (covers the first half of the 20th century; this is the cycle for this Spring 2010 semester); 2. Towards a Theology of the '60s (covers 1950s, 1960s, 1970s; I plan to teach this later this year in the Fall 2010 semester); and 3. Medieval Modernity, or Late-Modern Theology (covers the 1980s to the Present; I plan to teach this in the Spring 2011).

Here's a quick breakdown of the organization of the class for this semester, which covers the first part of the 20th century, with the key texts that will anchor each section:

Part I: Modern Political Theology: An Overview
Part II: The Story of the 19th Century: A Revisionary Theological Tale
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher's Speeches on Religion (purchase)
  • Excerpts from Adolph von Harnack's What is Christianity (purchase not required)
Part III: The 20th Century: W. E. B. Du Bois, Karl Barth & the Problem of Religion
Part IV: Towards a Theological Account of the 20th Century
I've set this class up to tell a story (the 20th century as a theological story), to uncover a mystery (the logic driving this story, a logic that has been at the center of modern theology's malformation), and to point the way forward for a theologically engaged Christian social imagination in the 21st century.

Join me in the journey. It will be promises to be fun and challenging.