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Unformatted text preview: Fuller Theological Seminary Church History 501
Fall Quarter 2006
John L. Thompson, Instructor | Course Syllabus | Assignments | Lectures & Readings | Disclaimer Notice In Acrobat Reader, click to return to top of document NOTICE
This file contains the syllabus, lecture & assignment schedule, and other materials for a course regularly taught at Fuller Theological Seminary. All rights to this material are reserved. If you are enrolled in this class, you may use and retain a copy of this file in electronic and printed form. If you are reviewing this material from the Fuller Theological Seminary website, you have permission to browse the contents but not to retain an electronic copy nor to print a paper copy. If you have any questions about the course or would like to make further use of these materials, feel free to contact the instructor. John L. Thompson
Professor of Historical Theology and Gaylen & Susan Byker Professor of Reformed Theology CH 501: Patristic Theology
INSTRUCTOR: OFFICE: OFFICE HOURS: HOME PHONE: WEBSITE: Fall Quarter 2006 John L. Thompson INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org 211 Payton Hall FTS Box O OFFICE PHONE: (626) 584-5457 11:00-Noon, Mondays & Wednesdays By appointment Tuesdays, 1-3. (818) 790-2906; please call between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. http://www.fuller.edu/sot/faculty/thompson_ john
204 Payton 200 Taylor FTS box ___
[no FTS box] SECRETARY: Mark Baker-Wright ASSISTANTS: Maria Doerfler Rachel Grassley Michael Hensley Rebecca King-Cerling Josh Whitler FTS box 517 FTS box 90 (626) 584-5235 (626) 304-3701 (626) 794-5265 (310) 622-5899 (626) 798-0793 (626) 298-0736 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com DESCRIPTION: A survey of the teachings of the early church as those teachings were shaped by crisis and conflict within the church and by dialogue and competition with late ancient culture. The period addressed covers through Augustine in the West and the Council of Chalcedon in the East. COURSE OBJECTIVES / LEARNING OUTCOMES: There are four objectives to this course. First, that students become familiar with central theological doctrines and developments in the patristic era, particularly those that contributed to the church's early catholic identity, the formation of the ecumenical creeds, and the Augustinian character of the Western church. Second, that students gain an understanding of the theological controversies of the early church from diverse points of view, including the perspectives of the original participants and those of historians today. Third, that students practice the close reading of selected primary sources in order to analyze and faithfully articulate the theological arguments of a historical text. Fourth, that students reflect on the perennial nature of the doctrinal controversies that shaped Christian identity in this period as these doctrines and practices have engendered contemporary Christian diversity and ecumenical conversation. RELEVANCE FOR MINISTRY: By introducing a significant body of theological and historical data, the course seeks to lead students to a broader perspective on their own ecclesiastical traditions, beliefs, and practices, as well as to a sympathetic appreciation for the unity and diversity of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church of which they are a part. Intensive work in primary sources will help students to acquire an improved facility in the analysis of theological arguments and an increased ability to articulate the meaning of the Christian faith in its historical development -- skills that will also benefit the student's reading, understanding, and exposition of Scripture itself. FORMAT: Lecture and discussion, with small group sessions for discussing assigned paper topics. REQUIRED READING: The following texts will be read in their entirety, or nearly so. Note that the readings assigned for a given lecture should be brought to that class session to facilitate discussion (Hall excepted); a modern translation of the Bible may also prove useful in class. Hall, Stuart G. Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church. Eerdmans, 1991. L In consultation with instructor, students may substitute Gonzlez, Kelly, Pelikan, Placher, or Seeberg (below) in place of Hall. Hardy, Edward R., ed. Christology of the Later Fathers. Westminster, 1954. Norris, R. A., ed. The Christological Controversy. Fortress, 1980. Pine-Coffin, R. S., tr. Saint Augustine: Confessions. Penguin, 1961. Richardson, Cyril C., ed. Early Christian Fathers. Macmillan, 1970. Photocopies of the following required readings are found in the course syllabus: "The Hymn of the Pearl," from the (Gnostic) Acts of Thomas, in Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion (Boston: Beacon, 1963), pp. 113-16. "The Apocalypse of Peter," in James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988), pp. 372-78. Cyprian of Carthage, "On the Unity of the Church," in Ante-Nicene Fathers 5:421-29. Plotinus, "Ennead 1.6: On Beauty," in Elmer O'Brien, The Essential Plotinus (Hackett, 1975), pp. 33-44. Pelagius, "Letter to Demetrias," in J. Patout Burns, Theological Anthropology (Fortress, 1981), pp. 39-55. "The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas," in Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:699-706. RECOMMENDED READING: Cross, F. L. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Third Edition. Oxford, 1997. Di Berardino, Angelo. Encyclopedia of the Early Church. 2 vols. Oxford, 1992. Gonzlez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought. Abingdon, 1986. Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines. Harper & Row, 1978. Muller, Richard A. Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms. Baker, 1985. Pelikan, J. The Christian Tradition, Vol. 1: Emergence of Catholic Tradition (100-600). Chicago, 1971. Placher, William C. A History of Christian Theology. Westminster, 1983. Seeberg, Reinhold. The History of Doctrines. Baker, 1979. ASSIGNMENTS: 1. Assigned readings, to be completed as preparation for both lectures and discussion. Although attendance and class participation normally do not figure into the student's final grade as a percentage, such factors may come into play in cases of flagrant absenteeism or when resolving borderline grades. Preparation for lectures is crucial to the student's performance and to the health of the class as a community of learners. Details of readings and lectures are found below, on the 2006 Assignment Schedule. 2. Three directed essays (4-5 pages each) on assigned topics, drawing on selections from primary source readings (= 60% of final grade). Precisely what I want from these papers is discussed in the syllabus, along with what letter grades mean on these assignments and what you have to do to earn them. Each essay also has a prospectus that describes specific pages to be read and questions to be addressed. These essays will address Irenaeus and Gnosticism, due the third week; the Christology of Apollinaris & Theodore, due week six; and Augustine and Pelagius, due the ninth week. 3. One quiz, short essay (= 0% of final grade). Once during the term, a practice quiz will be administered and discussed. The purpose of this quiz is to offer a "warm-up" for the final, so that students may know the instructor's expectations more accurately and adjust study patterns accordingly. 4. Comprehensive final examination, objective and short essay (= 40% of final grade). Please note, however, that the weighting of the final at 40% has one exception clause, namely, that the student must pass the final exam in order to pass the course. If you want to do well on this exam, be sure to attend the lectures and read my advice on how to prepare for the final exam now. All students (especially those who are taking this course on a CR/NC basis) should note that all assignments must be completed in good faith for credit to be granted for the course. Late submissions of work are penalized heavily, as I explain in my lateness policy, below. CH 501: PATRISTIC THEOLOGY
Lecture and Assignment Schedule
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th, 2006 1. INTRODUCTION TO COURSE & SYLLABUS 2. THE STATE OF DOCTRINE IN THE N.T. "What I Want From Your CH 501 Essays," in syllabus (=S), 6 pp. MONDAY, OCTOBER 2nd, 2006 4. APOLOGISTS & ANTI-APOLOGISTS Hall 1 & 5, pp. 1-15, 48-56 Richardson, pp. 225-37, 242-89 24 61 6 Fall Quarter, 2006
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th, 2006 3. "EARLY CATHOLICISM" & IGNATIUS Hall 2-3, pp. 16-35 Richardson, 74-80, 87-93, 98-116, 161-66, 171-79
U 20 48
74 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4th, 2006 5. GNOSTICISM Hall 4, pp. 36-47 S Apocalypse of Peter, pp. 372-78 S Hymn of the Pearl, 4 pp.
U 12 7 4
108 MONDAY, OCTOBER 9th, 2006 6. IRENAEUS & THE RULE OF FAITH Hall 6, pp. 57-66 Richardson, pp. 343-97 Norris, pp. 49-60 MONDAY, OCTOBER 16th, 2006 7. TERTULLIAN & MONARCHIANISM Hall 7, pp. 67-73 Norris, pp. 61-72 MONDAY, OCTOBER 23rd, 2006 10. ARIUS, ATHANASIUS, & NICEA Hall 13, pp. 121-136 Norris, pp. 82-101 Hardy, pp. 329-40, 43-51, 55-79, 95-110 16 20 62 7 12 10 55 12 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11th, 2006 ESSAY #1 DUE AT BEGINNING OF CLASS 6. IRENAEUS (lecture continued) U 77 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18th, 2006 L PRACTICE QUIZ today!
(else 15 Nov) 9. ORIGEN'S AMBIVALENT LEGACY Hall 10-11, pp. 95-111 Norris, pp. 1-32, 73-81 17 41
U 77 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25th, 2006 11. TRINITARIAN ISSUES . . . . . . TO CONSTANTINOPLE U
abbreviations: Hall Hardy Norris Richardson = = = = = 98 S Doctrine & Practice in the Early Church, by Stuart G. Hall Christology of the Later Fathers, ed. Edward R. Hardy The Christological Controversy, ed. Richard A. Norris Early Christian Fathers, ed. Cyril C. Richardson Scans or photocopies in syllabus / course packet / cd-rom CH 501: PATRISTIC THEOLOGY
Lecture and Assignment Schedule
MONDAY, OCTOBER 30 , 2006 12. THE CAPPADOCIAN FATHERS 14a. ALEXANDRIA & ANTIOCH: A SUMMARY Hall 14-16, pp. 137-172 Hardy, pp. 160-76, 215-24, 256-67, 341-45 MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6 , 2006 14b. CHRISTOLOGICAL ISSUES . . . TO CHALCEDON 15. CHRISTIANITY EAST & WEST Hall 20-21, pp. 211-236 Norris, pp. 123-59 Hardy, pp. 346-54, 375-85 MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13th, 2006 17. AUGUSTINE & THE DONATIST CRISIS: RE-DEFINING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 26 37 20
th th Fall Quarter, 2006
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1st, 2006 ESSAY #2 DUE AT BEGINNING OF CLASS 13. APOLLINARIS & THEODORE . . . 36 44 Norris, pp. 103-22 S Theodore, On the Nicene Creed, 3 pp.
U 20 3
103 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 , 2006 16. TERTULLIAN & CYPRIAN ON THE CHURCH Hall 8-9, 12; pp. 74-94, 112-120 S Cyprian, Unity of Church, pp. 421-29 30 18 th WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15th, 2006 18. PLATONISM & AUGUSTINE'S "CONVERSIONS" 9. ORIGEN'S HERMENEUTICAL LEGACY Hall 19, pp. 191-210 S Plotinus, "Beauty," pp. 33-44
U 20 12
32 MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20th, 2006 19. AUGUSTINE & PELAGIANISM S Pelagius, To Demetrias, pp. 39-55 Augustine, Confessions I-X, pp. 21-252 MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27th, 2006 20. AUGUSTINE, SEX, MARRIAGE, & WOMEN [Review Augustine's Confessions] Hall 17-18, pp. 173-190 S "Perpetua & Felicitas," pp. 699-706 18 14 17 232 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd, 2006 ESSAY #3 DUE AT BEGINNING OF CLASS 19. AUGUSTINE & PELAGIANISM (continued) U 249 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29th, 2006 21. NATURE & GRACE AFTER AUGUSTINE S Synod of Orange (outlines, p. 21a) Hall 22, pp. 237-246
U 1 10
43 FINAL EXAM: MONDAY, December 4th, 8 am total course reading = 992 Please note that lecture topics rarely fit neatly within the time periods represented by the boxes above! Treat these dates and topics as approximate and expect a few topics or sections of lectures to be moved occasionally. WHAT I WANT FROM YOUR DIRECTED ESSAYS FOR CH 501 PATRISTIC THEOLOGY A Short Course in Reading and Writing with Precision
John L. Thompson No student wants to spend a weekend (much less a month or more!) toiling away on an essay, only to be told when the professor returns it that "that really wasn't what I wanted." To spare you such waste of time, along with the anxiety that goes with it, as well as to spare myself having to read essays that, however sincere, miss the mark I'd hoped they'd hit, I offer you here my best advice for fulfilling this part of the course requirements. In this brief essay about essays, there are three areas that need some comment: the format of your essay, its style and organization, and its content. I. ESSAY FORMAT By "format," I simply mean those requirements for an acceptable essay which are peculiar to this course; for example, length. Nothing of what I say here should appear surprising or earthshaking, but if you will observe these suggestions, you'll make the task of reading and commenting on your work less strenuous. Please follow these six rules: 1. All essays should be typed and double-spaced (not triple-spaced or space-and-a-half). 2. Use a traditional font and set the font size to 12 points. 3. Leave one-inch margins on both the right and left, so I'll have room for comments. 4. How long? Back when typewriters came in two sizes (pica and elite), I would have told you to write about 5 pages. Figuring 250 to 300 words per page, that would work out to an essay of up to 1500 words. In this day of proportional and scalable fonts, page counts are highly unpredictable guides. At the old (typewriter) standard of 26 lines per page, a 12-point Roman font can fit 400 words on a page, while an 11-point font yields about 460 words. I suggest you aim for the "spirit" of five pages, that is, about 1800 words. If you exceed that by more than 20% or if your essay runs over to a seventh page, your grade may suffer, since it's not fair for you to indulge in verbosity when others have had to discipline their prose. I'm well aware that it's harder to write a short essay than a long one, but that is precisely the point: your paper will be better for having been pruned. While it's quite possible to fulfill the assignment in fewer pages, if your essay runs out of gas on page two, I suggest you spend more time pondering the questions assigned or, perhaps, talk with your classmates or your instructor. 5. While we're on the topic of length, please don't forget to number your pages! 6. Lastly, please just staple or clip your paper together. Plastic binders are spiffy, but they're a pain to deal with when you're trying to write comments. Also, as an insurance policy, never submit an original of which you have no copy, whether a photocopy, a pencil draft, or a backed-up file. Occasionally papers disappear in campus mail and in other ways, but you remain responsible to provide a back-up in such circumstances. -1- II. MATTERS OF STYLE & ORGANIZATION In speaking of style, I'm not concerned about whether you submit your essays on paper with a designer watermark, but about the presentation of your findings in a manner that is appealing and persuasive to the reader. Two aspects of your presentation call for comment: style and organization. First of all, good style involves attending to the details of your presentation that the reader ought to be able to take for granted. Among such details are grammar and spelling (including typographical errors). It is extremely distracting and often confusing to read an essay filled with grammatical and spelling errors. If you know your grammar or spelling is unreliable, have your roommate or spouse or significant other proofread your draft. For spelling problems alone, allow me to refer you to a handy reference guide: Webster's Word Divider. Mine cost about $6.00 and correctly spells and divides (for hyphenation) 45,000 words, which is more than you're apt to use in one essay. Most students these days use word-processing software, but it is amazing to me how few use the spell-checker! Indeed, some word-processors can even check grammar with a fair degree of accuracy, so there is less excuse than ever for a sloppy presentation. Another "detail" of presentation concerns how you document your argument. If you quote, paraphrase, or even allude to specific arguments or passages in the documents on which your essay is based, you must give a page reference. It is rare that I fault a student for too many page citations! Indeed, if you find you have few page references in your essay, your argument is probably not based closely enough on the text at hand (more on this in the next section). Normally, such references should be footnoted in full, but for this class I'd prefer that you simply put page references in parentheses, like this: (137) or this: (98, 104). If there's any doubt as to which work you're drawing on, use some simple code, such as (P-45), where "P" stands for Pelagius's "Letter to Demetrias," as translated by J. Patout Burns in Theological Anthropology -- a copy of which is found in the course packet. This is surely the easiest way to footnote, and I expect you to use it! A final stylistic concern pertains to the use of inclusive language. Fuller Seminary has an "official" inclusive language policy, and I expect you to abide by it. This means you should avoid exclusively masculine pronouns when your point pertains to both men and women. But let me make two qualifications here. First, I know that this is a new idea for many students, and I know that it takes some practice to write elegantly and inclusively. So please make an effort, and if you need some coaching (or if you just want to talk about the policy), feel free to ask for help. Second, in a course where you are using and even quoting historical sources, it is not appropriate for you to change the gender of pronouns in another's work. Admittedly, it is often the case that an inclusive term in Latin or Greek has been translated as "he" (etc.) in the so-called "generic" sense, but unless you have verified this in an original-language edition, you should not presume to change it. In other words, your writing should be inclusive, but please don't casually rewrite your sources! Beyond these details of style there lies a larger concern for your presentation, namely, the overall organization of your essay -- or, rather, the organization of the observations, thoughts, insights, and reasoned arguments that are your essay. All essays should have three distinguishable parts: the introduction, the body of the essay, and a conclusion. The introduction is crucial, for it lays the foundation for all that follows. But what goes into a good introduction? Two ingredients. First, it is essential that an essay have a clear, well-formulated purpose, and it is equally imperative that you communicate this purpose to your reader at the outset of the essay. In all essays assigned for this course, the statement of purpose should be a virtual paraphrase of the question that constitutes both the assignment and the title of the essay. But how will you go about answering the question(s) assigned? What aspects of the question will you address
-2- first (and why), second (and why), and so on? These two ingredients -- a statement of the essay's purpose and a roadmap or outline of its plan of attack -- comprise a good introductory paragraph. Once you've got the essay outlined in your introduction, the body of the essay should follow that outline. Having disclosed your plan of attack, keep your plan in mind as you write and keep your reader informed of where you are in your argument. Devices such as numbering your paragraphs ("Second, . . .") or using subtitles are helpful signposts for the weary reader! (You've probably guessed by now that this essay on essays is attempting to model such devices.) Don't worry that these devices will make your style "wooden." Believe me, clarity is rarely wasted on a reader! The conclusion should summarize your argument so as to leave the reader with the sense that you've achieved your purpose. This final paragraph should be neither labored nor abrupt. Just tell the reader what your findings have shown. Here's an example:
Augustine's frequent use of "beauty" as a name for God supports the conclusion that he saw close parallels between the neoplatonic quest for beauty and Christian's quest for Christ, God, or the Logos. However, other explicit statements in the Confessions show that Augustine acknowledged several crucial differences between Christianity and neoplatonism, namely, . . . [etc.]. Sometimes it helps to write everything but the conclusion, then explain your findings to someone (roommate, spouse, significant other) who is not familiar with the issues. Such a discussion -- at any stage of reading and writing -- may clarify what the key issues and conclusions really are. III. ABOUT THE CONTENT OF YOUR ESSAY We come now to the most important part of your essay: its content. The essays assigned for this course are by no means research papers in the usual sense. That is to say, you're not being asked to compile the opinions of experts on a given question, then sort these opinions out and offer your own. Rather, the essays are to be "expositions" of a specific problem based on a limited amount of primary reading. It is the primary goal of these essays to encourage you to engage an author intensively on the basis of the author's text. Hence, it will always be crucial that you bear in mind this question: What does the text say? Every essay should bear an "exegetical" character (much as if you were exegeting scripture itself), in that the author's text is the final authority. Your task, then, is simply to answer the question assigned (paying attention to the terms and implications of the question) on the basis of the text assigned -- not on the basis of any secondary readings or authorities. Here it is especially important that you distinguish between the primary and secondary material in your textbooks! My own experience with student essays leads me to offer you here a brief excursus on this distinction. Secondary literature, for the record, consists of commentary on other authors' work. Stuart G. Hall's book is secondary literature. So is Cyril C. Richardson's introduction to Irenaeus on pp. 343-57 of Early Christian Fathers. So, for that matter, are the essays you will write for this course. Literature is considered "secondary" if it is not itself the main subject of the inquiry. I'm asking you to write (e.g.) about the theology of Irenaeus, not about Cyril Richardson's comments on Irenaeus -- despite the fact both are bound together in one book. (If I had assigned you to write on Richardson's biases as a historian, then his introductions would be the primary text, and Irenaeus would be virtually out of the picture.) The point is for you to study the original author. In the course of your own reading, you may find the secondary literature to be correct (or maybe incorrect) in its reading of the primary text. -3- Almost all of the primary sources I've assigned (that is, the material written by ancient authors) are preceded by this "secondary" material, namely, introductory material written by the modern editor whose name also appears on the book's title page. You're free to use such introductions (including Hall and Richardson) to sharpen your own perception of what's going on in the primary text, but if you cannot document your insights from the primary text itself, you've missed the point of the assignment. Note also that while I prefer you to cite your primary texts parenthetically, e.g. (P-45), if you feel that you simply can't resist citing the introductory material at some point, such citations must follow regular footnote form and clearly identify the modern editor or historian as the source of the insight.1 Mind you, citations of secondary authorities usually detract from this sort of assignment, since I'll inevitably write in the margin, "Fine, but where do you see this in the primary text?" or "Can you prove this from the primary text?" It is important, then, that you not treat secondary literature as if it were primary literature. It is more important still, however, that you not treat secondary literature as if it were your own composition. I am not at all pleased when I read phrases, sentences, and sometimes whole paragraphs that are lifted (often with no significant changes) from these secondary authors and editors. If you use another author in any way, you must give him or her credit with a footnote in full. And if you're quoting even a brief phrase, you must put the author's words in quotation marks, in addition to giving a full footnote. To mislead your reader (me!) into thinking that what someone else has said is really your own composition is (a) destructive to the purpose of the exercise; (b) plagiarism; (c) dishonest; (d) a short route to a failing grade; and (e) all of the above. A good solution to the problem is to read the introductory (secondary) material, then set it aside. Use the primary text to prove your argument. I don't hold you accountable in these essays for insights that cannot be gleaned from the primary text, so don't worry if you don't sound as erudite as Cyril Richardson! Just be faithful to the primary text. If you simply must refer to the secondary literature, remember two things: (1) don't do it to impress me; (2) do use a full reference, in standard form, at the bottom of the page or at the end of the essay. Let us return to our main subject: the content of your essay. In answering the question assigned, your best bet is to spend some time analyzing the question -- even before you read the document -- in order to determine what the answer might look like. Break the question down into its components, into sub-questions. Try reversing the question. If you're trying to understand the basis for Irenaeus's rejection of Gnostic doctrines, you might also ask what grounds he appeals to in advancing the validity of his own doctrines. Keep all such questions in mind as you read the author's text and mark your margins accordingly. In addition, look for key terms and concepts, synonyms of key terms and concepts, frequently used terms, etc. Ask yourself as you read, "What's 1 So if you wanted, say, to quote Stuart Hall's account of Apollinaris's Christology (rather than quoting or paraphrasing Apollinaris yourself!), you should cite the full bibliographic data in a footnote. Similarly, if you're citing Irenaeus's own work (i.e., the primary text), a parenthesis in the body of the text (ECF 381) will do; but if you cite Richardson's introduction, you must provide full bibliographic data in a footnote. Proper examples for Hall and Richardson follow the present footnote as note 2 and note 3. If you find that you are unclear on correct footnote form, let me refer you to Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, (5th ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 310 pp., $9.95. This little book should fit nicely on your shelf next to Webster's Word Divider! 2 Stuart G. Hall, Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), pp. 15456. Cyril C. Richardson, Introduction to Irenaeus, Against Heresies, in Early Christian Fathers (New York: Macmillan, 1970), p. 346.
-4- 3 this author worried about?" That is to say (e.g., in the case of Irenaeus), where does Irenaeus seem most threatened by Gnostic claims? On the other hand (again, "reversing" the question), which Gnostic doctrines, if any, is Irenaeus willing to affirm -- and how? In setting forth your analysis of the question or problem, it is crucial to understand the distinction between an assertion and an argument -- and this distinction is crucial whether the "argument" at stake is your author's or your own. One key difference between an argument and an assertion is that an argument actually "goes" someplace, while an assertion just sits there. Similarly, an argument is more than a pile of evidence. Indeed, the only way to make your evidence of any value to the reader is for you to show how your supposed evidence logically supports or warrants a chain of reasoning that leads to the claim you wish the reader to accept. Please do not ask the reader to supply missing pieces of your argument, and please do not presume that "anyone" can see something that you've actually left unstated, however obvious it may seem to you. In other words, make the structure of the argument as explicit as you can, and attend to the presuppositions on which the argument is grounded. Your role in reading should be that of detective as you search for relevant facts and ferret out their interconnections. Then, as you compose your essay, your role changes to that of lawyer as you present your findings in an organized and persuasive manner, doing your best to re-present your author's thought in all its complexity. It may be that you find (or think you find) tensions, weaknesses, or even contradictions in a text. Don't be too quick to fault the author's logic or presentation when the problem may actually be in your own hasty reading. If you do find such problems in the text, you certainly should report on them if they pertain to your inquiry. Indeed, if you think you see places where an author is torn between two arguments or two agendas, by all means report your observation and document it with concise excerpts or references. You needn't "resolve" or "fix" the tensions in an author, though you may wish to offer an informed analysis of why the author felt constrained to hold on to both parts of a seeming or potential contradiction or paradox. Whatever you find, make your case with exquisite care and precise documentation -- again, as a lawyer would, bearing in mind that the jury (me) will be initially inclined to regard the author as innocent of your charges. Don't shoot from the hip! The one role I'm not asking you to assume is that of judge, at least insofar as that would involve patronizing or condemning your author for failing to grasp the sort of insights "that all Christians today would find elementary." That doesn't mean you shouldn't call attention to weaknesses or tensions or implications (whether curious or profound) of an author's argument or presentation, but I will expect you to argue for the validity of such observations on the basis of the author's text. Perhaps you will find it helpful to proceed on the analogy of exegeting a passage from Paul. Suppose you were assigned to write an essay on "What is Paul's understanding of `the law' in his epistle to the Romans?" You might rush off to find "the answer" in a commentary or in a dictionary of theology (= secondary literature!), but a better approach would be to read Romans yourself, first of all underlining every occurrence of "law," then noting the context in which each occurrence of the word is found and how that context serves to define what Paul means by "law" in various texts. You will soon observe that "law" bears a number of different definitions within Romans. Try analyzing, for example, the 23 occurrences of "law" found in Romans 7 alone! The point of this analogy is that a good "historical" exegesis will follow the same procedures that you should use in exegeting scripture, so that your argument will be based not on opinion, not on an outside authority, not on a stereotype or on a superficial reading, but on the solid evidence of the text itself. -5- In presenting your case, do not fail to marshal as much evidence as you possibly can from the documents assigned. These are short papers, so there is not much room for lengthy quotations. Instead, paraphrase or quote key phrases -- and document the page where you found the phrase or idea. If the idea, argument, or phrase is used in several places, put the additional page numbers in the parentheses as well, as (55, 66, 71). And heed this warning: it's easy to string quotes together to fill five pages, but your verbatim quotation is worthless if you haven't shown in your own words that you have understood and digested the significance of the passage cited. SO, IN CONCLUSION . . . It is my sincere hope that this brief narrative will help you to be less intimidated as you approach the task of reading (and writing about) the ideas of individuals who lie so many years distant. It is also my hope that you will re-read this essay periodically, and that you will not hesitate to seek personal help when beset with writer's block -- or reader's block! By way of conclusion, let me encapsulate my advice. As to format, the essay should consist of about 5 pages, printed double-spaced in a conventional 12-point font. Leave room for comments in your margins, number your pages, don't bother with fancy folders, and keep a copy of everything you hand in. As to the essay's style, good proofreading -- whether your own or that of a friend or your software -- will help ensure that your grammar, spelling, etc. clarify your arguments rather than obscure them. Spend time crafting your essay's outline and introduction with care, and the balance of your essay will follow with greater ease. Use signposts to direct the reader through the body of the essay, then look back with the reader over the ground you've covered. Lastly, as to content: In Karl Barth's farewell to his students at the University of Bonn shortly before his deportation from Nazi Germany, his closing statement was, "Exegesis, exegesis, and more exegesis!"4 Let this be the watchword of all your historical reading and writing as well: Exegete the text. Let the text speak. Give your authors the fairest hearing and the most diligent advocacy that you possibly can. See Eberhard Busch, Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiographical Texts (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), p. 259.
rev. 9/06 4 -6- CH 501: PROSPECTUS for DIRECTED ESSAY #1
On the basis of the readings listed below, answer these three questions: (1) What is the content of the Gnostic "gospel" or "good news" as it is [about 1 page] expressed in the Hymn of the Pearl? (2) What motifs do you find in the Hymn which could be seen as a faithful embodiment of the biblical gospel? [about 2 pages] (3) What arguments does Irenaeus use to refute the Gnostic "gospel" and their claim to be the true ("biblical") Christians? [2 pages] READINGS FOR ESSAY #1: "The Hymn of the Pearl," from the (Gnostic) Acts of Thomas, in Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion (Boston: Beacon, 1963), pp. 113-16. Excerpts from Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Books 1, 3, and 5 (pp. 358-97 in Cyril C. Richardson, Early Christian Fathers). Excerpts from Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Books 3 and 5 (pp. 49-60 in Richard A. Norris, The Christological Controversy). Assorted class handouts on Gnosticism. SOME PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS: In writing any essay, it is crucial that you understand the question before you try to formulate an answer. If you are still unclear about what is required after reading this prospectus, please ask your instructor for further clarification. The first question (above) is not really complicated, but it hinges on your knowing (and communicating to your reader) what you mean by "gospel." A gospel is, simply, "good news," but good news makes sense only if one first understands why it is good and why it is news. Thus, any "gospel" may be presented in three parts: an affirmation of the original good state of human beings, an explanation of how that state was disrupted, and the glad tidings of how that original state may now be restored. In biblical terms, these three parts correspond to creation, fall, and redemption. You will probably find some similar arrangement portrayed in the Hymn. In analyzing the Hymn as a "gospel," please bear in mind that you are not being asked to find the Christian gospel in the Hymn -- as if you were being asked to believe that this Gnostic story were fundamentally orthodox! The concept of "gospel" here could be applied as an analytic tool to any religion or world-view, insofar as every world-view exists to provide an answer to life's questions. To a Gnostic, then, the answer which is implied in the Hymn would surely have been "good news," however much Christians of the day may have disagreed. In addition, in seeking to understand the "good news" that the Hymn presents, you need not worry over what the symbolic meaning of the various figures may be. The form and content of the Hymn's "good news" is really the same whether you read the story literally or as a cosmic allegory! So far as the narrator (and protagonist) of the story is concerned, then, what is the good news that this Gnostic document proclaims? If the first question asks what the gospel is according to Gnosticism, the second question asks about the similarities between Gnosticism and what we would call apostolic or biblical Christianity. If a heresy were utterly different from Christianity, no one could confuse that heresy with the genuine article. But heresies generally distort only part of the truth. The second question asks you to identify those elements of the Gnostic message which most closely resemble Christianity. It is quite likely that, had a second-century Christian heard someone tell the story of the Pearl, he or she might have said, "Gee, that Hymn sounds a lot like what the Bible teaches!" Your task is to take note of the various images or teachings of scripture which might lead a Christian to make such a statement. Here you should draw on your own knowledge of scripture, though you may also find some of the class handouts of use. In seeking points of similarity, you may find some subtle discrepancies between the Hymn and the New Testament; you are free to comment on these, but please don't digress into lengthy polemics. In short, your comparison (in question two) should seek to provide a plausible basis for understanding what at first glance might strike you as beyond understanding -- namely, how it was possible for the Gnostics to pass themselves and their doctrines off as both "biblical" and "apostolic." Obviously, Irenaeus was not among those "taken in" by Gnostic claims to a superior authority or revelation. The third question asks you to identify and explain the arguments which (Irenaeus thinks) refute the Gnostics' claim to apostolic and biblical authority. Be careful here -- an argument is more than a mere observation, opinion, or proof-text! I am less interested here in which scriptures Irenaeus cites than in the overall role the scriptures play in his refutation of Gnostic claims. Indeed, as Irenaeus argues, the Gnostics' appeal to scripture ultimately undermines their claim to apostolic authority -- why? Similarly, while Irenaeus frequently complains about the diversity of Gnostic teachings, his complaint is not of itself an argument. Rather, that complaint points to and supports his argument that the Church has a better claim to apostolic authority than the Gnostics have. In discussing the various arguments you find (however many or few!), you should tell your reader how Irenaeus's arguments work, and why they constitute an effective counter-argument against Gnostic claims. One of the striking features of this debate is that both the Gnostics and the Christians made the very same claim to be the "real" Christians. Second-century congregations would properly wonder, "Who's right? Who's wrong?" And so Irenaeus surely would have such people in mind in seeking both to destroy Gnostic arguments and to advance Christian claims. In looking for his arguments, you may find it helpful to note the contrast he draws between "the real Church" (see ECF 362) and the Gnostics. In particular, what does the church have (that the Gnostics lack and can never obtain) which makes it and it alone the authentic bearer of apostolic Christianity? You might also look for Gnostic arguments which Irenaeus explicitly rejects (for example, he rejects their assertion that the four gospels represent what the apostles taught before they attained perfect knowledge [ECF 370]) in order to locate Irenaeus's counter-arguments. As you will see, one of Irenaeus's most effective strategies is to refute the Gnostics on their own terms. CH 501: PROSPECTUS for DIRECTED ESSAY #2
On the basis of the readings listed below, answer these two sets of questions on the Christologies of Apollinaris and Theodore: [23 pages each] (1) According to Apollinaris, what does John 1:14 mean? In other words, (a) Precisely what did the Logos assume from human nature? (b) How (or what) does that contribute to our salvation? and (c) How is Christ both "divine and human" and "one person"? (2) According to Theodore, what does John 1:14 mean? In other words, (a) Precisely how is the Logos joined to humanity in Christ? (b) How (or what) does that contribute to our salvation? and (c) How is Christ both "divine and human" and "one person"? READINGS FOR ESSAY #2: Apollinaris of Laodicea, "Fragments," pp. 107111 in Richard A. Norris, Jr., The Christological Controversy. Apollinaris of Laodicea, assorted fragments, etc., from R. A. Norris, Jr., Manhood and Christ: A Study in the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963), pp. 112120. (attached to this prospectus) Theodore of Mopsuestia, "Fragments from On the Incarnation," pp. 113122 in Richard A. Norris, Jr., The Christological Controversy. Theodore of Mopsuestia, "Fifth Lecture on the Nicene Creed," from A. Mingana, ed., Commentary of Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Nicene Creed (Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons, 1932), pp. 5461. (3 pp., photocopy in syllabus) SOME PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS: In writing any essay, it is crucial that you understand the question before you try to formulate an answer. If you are still unclear about what is required after reading this prospectus, please ask your instructor for further clarification. The present essay asks you to consider two fourth-century theologians who disagreed violently with one another, and the fact that they are so opposed to one another may help you understand them. Note, however, that although Theodore explicitly directs a polemic against Apollinaris (especially in the lecture on the Nicene Creed), in the documents you will read, Apollinaris was actually writing not so much against Theodore but against Arius (whose Christology failed to acknowledge the full divinity of the Son). John 1:14 reads, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." This verse is a cornerstone for the doctrine of the incarnation. It was universally taken by the Church Fathers as proof of Christ's identity as both divine and human. Moreover, most fourth-century fathers would have agreed with the maxim of Athanasius that "God became human that we might become divine." Beyond this, however, the mid-fourth century found no clear-cut consensus as to what it meant for the divine Word to be joined with a human being in the man Jesus. The first sub-question (a) highlights one major difference between these two theologians. In explaining the significance of John 1:14, Apollinaris will spend much effort analyzing the concept of "flesh" in order to show precisely what component of human nature the flesh comprises and why Christ had to bear this particular component (". . . became flesh"). Your task, then, is to discover what Apollinaris means by "flesh." One word of caution: As Norris explains (on p. 22), Apollinaris can use "soul" to designate both the rational soul (which may also be termed "spirit": see fragments #26, 28, 129) and also the irrational or animal soul (which is not intellective but animates the body or flesh: see fragments #22 & 25). Both "kinds" of soul are found in most humans, but only one kind was in Christ! Theodore, for his part, interprets John 1:14 in terms of its second clause (". . . and dwelt among us"), arguing that the concept of "indwelling" tells us how the divine and human are united. Your task is to discover what Theodore means by "indwelling." (As you will see, Theodore helpfully tells us also what indwelling is not!) Generally, if you can figure out how a fourth-century theologian unites the divine and human in Christ, you will also have found the key to his soteriology -- and this is what sub-question (b) is about. Given that Apollinaris thinks the Word had to assume human flesh, what is it about flesh that requires this dramatic measure? Or, perhaps, what is it about the human soul or spirit that makes union with the divine nature unworkable? On the other hand, how does Theodore picture the relation between God and Christ? Does "indwelling" provide an analogy between what God does for the earthly Christ and what Christ does for us in salvation (and in the Christian life)? Why does Theodore find "indwelling" to be a better basis for soteriology than the proposals of Apollinaris? The final sub-question (c) simply repeats a question posed by the church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries. Both Apollinaris and Theodore were accused by later theologians of having established an insufficient basis for the divine-human union. Specifically, by denying that Christ had a human soul (or spirit), Apollinaris was accused of having missed the point of the incarnation. Theodore, on the other hand, was accused of having a doctrine of "two sons" -- that is, of not uniting the divine and human closely enough. As far as you can tell from the documents at hand, explain how and why Apollinaris (and, then, Theodore) thinks he has adequately joined the two natures, such that Christ may be termed both divine and human. A SPECIAL NOTE ON THE READING FOR (AND DOCUMENTATION OF) ESSAY #2: The reading for this essay numbers fewer than twenty pages, but the "fragments" of Apollinaris and Theodore tend to pack a lot of content and significance into a small space. This means you will need to read with great care -- probably several times -- paying close attention to the terminology used. Don't overlook Norris's own introduction to these writers in your course text! In documenting these fragments, it will be helpful both to you and to your reader if you give not only the number of the page from which you have derived a given insight, but also the fragment number. You are free to abbreviate Apollinaris as "A" and Theodore as "T", so that a reference to Fragment #45 on p. 109 of Norris could be listed as (A-109, #45). The photocopied excerpt from Theodore's lecture on the Nicene Creed should be cited by the paragraph numbers I have supplied, as: (T-55.13). A SUPPLEMENT TO THE PROSPECTUS FOR DIRECTED ESSAY #2:
In looking over the readings assigned for this essay, you will notice that I have not assigned the following section from your course textbook: Apollinaris of Laodicea, "On the Union in Christ of the Body with the Godhead," pp. 103107 in Richard A. Norris, The Christological Controversy. In the past, students have found these pages rather difficult to understand, so I have stopped requiring students to incorporate it into the reading for the essay. Instead, I suggest you wrestle with the fragments of Apollinaris and write your response on that basis alone. After you feel you have a fair grasp of his Christology (and anthropology), you may then wish to read this material -- or maybe not! In either case (and for the record), much of Apollinaris's concern in that section is to show how the union of "parts" in Christ is analogous to the union of "parts" in human beings; 5 on p. 104 is one of the clearer paragraphs which make this point. In seeking to give you as many "handles" as possible by which to grasp the thought of Apollinaris, I have reprinted below a few other fragments and excerpts from Apollinaris which I think you will find helpful. These excerpts are all culled from R. A. Norris, Jr., Manhood and Christ: A Study in the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), pp. 112120. MORE FRAGMENTS FROM APOLLINARIS:
FRAGMENT 116: "[Christ's] flesh vivifies us through the Deity which is substantially bound together with it. For it is the Divine which vivifies: so then the flesh is divine because it is conjoined with God. And this flesh it is which saves, while we are saved [by] sharing in it as food." FRAGMENT 150: "If . . . every intellect rules itself, being moved naturally by its own will, it is impossible that two (intellects), willing things which are mutually inconsistent, should exist together in one and the same subject." FRAGMENT 151: ". . . the divine Intellect is self-moving and perfectly consistent in its motions, for it is immutable. Human intellect, however, is indeed self-moving; but [it is] not consistent in its motions, for it is mutable." FROM ANACEPHALAIOSIS 1011: "Every human being has a conflict between flesh and spirit. But Christ does not. . . . Every human being mortifies the flesh in order to be perfected in virtue. But Christ does not. . . ." FROM ANACEPHALAIOSIS 29: "The flesh of God is an instrument of life adapted . . . to the divine purposes. . . . Being subjected to passions as is fitting for the flesh, it overcomes them because it is God's flesh." THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA: FIFTH LECTURE ON THE NICENE CREED from A. Mingana, Commentary of Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Nicene Creed, Woodbrooke Studies 5 (Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons, 1932), pp. 54-61. 54.35: The Marcionites and the Manicheans, together with the followers of Valentinus and the rest of the heretics who were affected with a like malady, say that our Lord did not assume any of our natures, either of the body or the soul, but that He was a phantasm. . . . 55.13: The partisans of Arius and Eunomius,1 however, say that He assumed a body but not a soul, and that the nature of the Godhead took the place of the soul. . . . Lo, if the Godhead had replaced the soul, He would not have been hungry or thirsty, nor would he have been tired or been in need of food. All these things befall the body because of its weakness, as the soul is not able to satisfy its wants, but does for it only those things that belong to itself according to the nature given to it by God. The soul is in need of a body which is perfect in everything that deals with its sustenance, and if something is missing in it, not only is this same soul unable to help it but it will itself be overcome by the weakness of the body, and will be compelled to leave it against its own will [i.e., at death]. . . . 56.1: If, however, Divine nature was sufficient for all these things . . . it would have been superfluous to assume a body at all, as the Godhead was able to perform all its acts. This, however, was not the will of God, who indeed wished to put on and raise the fallen man who is composed of a body and of an immortal and rational soul, so that "as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, so also the free gift and the grace of God by the righteousness of one man might abound unto many" [Rom. 5:12, 15, 17]. As death was by man, so also the resurrection from the dead [will be] by man, because "as we all die in Adam, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" [1 Cor. 15:22], as the blessed Paul testifies. 56.14: Therefore it was necessary that He should assume not only the body but also the immortal and rational soul; [for] not only the death of the body had to cease, but also that of the soul, which is sin. Since . . . sin entered the world through man, and death entered through sin, it was necessary that sin which was the cause of death should have first been abolished, and then the abolition of death would have followed by itself. If sin were not abolished, we would have by necessity remained in mortality, and we would have sinned in our mutability; and when we sin, we are under punishment, and consequently the power of death will by necessity remain. 56.25: It was, therefore, necessary that sin should have first been abolished, as after its abolition there would be no entry for death. It is indeed clear that the strength of the sin has its origin in the will of the soul. In the case of Adam also it was his soul which first accepted the advice of error and not his body, because it was not his body that Satan persuaded to yield to him, to forsake God and believe that his helper was a deceiver, in his desire for higher things; and in following the advice of
1 From what follows, it is clear that Theodore is referring not to Arius or Arian theology, but to Apollinaris. (A deliberate misrepresentation?) Theodore of Mopsuestia Fifth Lecture on the Nicene Creed page 2 Satan he transgressed the commandment of God and chose for himself those things which were contrary to the commandment of God. It was not his body that had to know these things but his soul, which, on the promise of higher things, yielded and accepted the advice of the deceiver and lost the good things that it possessed. Therefore it was necessary that Christ should assume not only the body but also the soul. . . . 57.6: It would be possible to save the body from death and corruption if we first made the soul immutable and delivered it from the passions of sin, so that by acquiring immutability we would also obtain deliverance from sin. The abolition of death would then be effected by the abolition of sin, and after the abolition of death it would be possible that our body should remain without dissolution and corruption. 57.11: If the soul had sinned only in those things that befall it from the passions of the body, it would perhaps have been sufficient for our Lord to have assumed only the body in order to deliver [the soul] from sin. Many, however, and of different kinds are the iniquities and sins that are born of the soul. The first [sin] through which it shows its association with Satan is that of pride. . . . Consequently it is clearly evident that the soul was greatly in need to be delivered from sins and be saved also from the passions of the body which overcome it by the power that the latter adequately possesses. 57.26: The blessed Paul bears witness to our words when he counts the evils [in Rom 1:28-31] to which men were drawn, to which they degraded themselves, and from which Christ came into the world to deliver them. . . . The majority of [these evils] are not born of the passions of the body but exclusively of the will of the soul. Indeed, wickedness, maliciousness, debate, deceit, envy and malignity, together with pride, boasting, invention of evil things, disobedience to parents . . . -- all these are clearly from the soul. 58.3: It is with justice, therefore, that our Lord assumed the soul so that it should be first delivered from sin and be transferred to immutability by the grace of God through which it overcomes also the passions of the body. When sin is abolished from every place and has no more entry into the soul which has become immutable, every kind of condemnation will rightly be abolished and death also will perish. The body will thus remain immune from death because it has received participation in immortality. The blessed Paul confirms this in saying: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, for the law of life in Christ Jesus has made you free from the law of sin and death" [Rom. 8:1f]. 58.14: He said that all the sentence of death [cf. 2 Cor 1:9], together with all condemnation, has been removed to those who believed in Christ, because they became alien to the way of mortality and received the Spirit and immortality, and with it they assumed immutability and became completely free from sin and mortality. It is, therefore, great madness not to believe that Christ assumed the soul; and he would even be madder who would say that He did not assume human mind, because such a one would imply that He either did not assume the soul or that He did assume the soul not of man but an irrational one akin to that of animals and beasts. Theodore of Mopsuestia Fifth Lecture on the Nicene Creed page 3 58.24: Human soul differs only from that of animals in the fact that the latter has no distinct person2 of the soul except in the [material] composition of the animal.3 [An animal's soul] has no separate existence and is not believed to survive the [animal's] death. This is the reason why what is called the soul of the animal, which is said to reside in its blood, perishes when the blood is shed; and it is the soul that was believed to reside in the person and in the movements of the animal before its death. 59.1: The soul of men, however, is not like this, but it resides in its own person2 and is much higher than the body, as the body is mortal and acquires its life from the soul and dies and perishes whenever the soul happens to leave it. As to the soul, when it goes out it remains and does not perish but lasts forever in its own person2 because it is immortal and is incapable of receiving any injury in its nature from men. When [Christ] said: "Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul" [Mt. 10:28], He clearly showed that the body is capable of death because it is mortal, but that the soul will remain immortal because it cannot be injured by men in its nature. . . . 59.22: Because of all this our blessed Fathers [i.e., at Nicea] warned us and said: He was incarnate and became a man, so that we should believe that the one who was assumed and in whom God the Word dwelt was a complete man, perfect in everything that belongs to human nature, and composed of a mortal body and a rational soul, because it is for man and for his salvation that He came down from heaven. . . . 61.2: If He suffered death according to the law of men, because He had no sin He rose from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and became worthy of a new life in which the wishes of the soul are immutable, and He made the body immortal and incorruptible. In this He made us all participants in His promises, and as an earnest of His promises He gave us the first-fruits of the Spirit so that we might possess a faith without doubts concerning future things. . . . 61.12: We also expect to be immortal and incorruptible at the resurrection from the dead when there will be no entry for sin into us. . . . When we have risen from the dead immortal and incorruptible and our nature has received immutability, we shall be unable to sin, and when we have been freed from sin we shall not need the law. Indeed, what is the need of the law for a nature which is freed from sin and which has no inclination towards evil? 2 That is, "individuation, existence." The word in Syriac is kenma, which probably translates the Greek hypostasis. . 3 That is, an animal has a soul only so long as the animal lives; since its soul is irrational and has no hypostasis, the soul dissipates at the death of the body. CH 501: PROSPECTUS for DIRECTED ESSAY #3
On the basis of the readings listed below, answer these questions: (1) How does Pelagius characterize salvation and the Christian life? What roles are played by Christ, grace, nature, or free will? (2) How does Augustine characterize salvation and the Christian life? What roles are played by Christ, grace, nature, or free will? (3) How might Augustine counter the assertions of Pelagius? How might Pelagius counter the assertions of Augustine? READINGS FOR ESSAY #3: Pelagius, "Letter to Demetrias," in J. Patout Burns, Theological Anthropology (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981), pp. 39-55 [photocopy in syllabus]. Augustine, Confessions, Books 1-10 (pp. 21-252 in Penguin edition). SOME PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS: In writing any essay, it is crucial that you understand the question before you try to formulate an answer. If you are still unclear about what is required after reading this prospectus, please ask your instructor for further clarification. There are many questions which could be addressed in the writing of this essay. In general, I would like you to consider the crucial theological differences between Augustine and Pelagius. These include, most obviously, the question as to how we are saved -- that is, who initiates salvation, what is entailed, what do we contribute, what might hinder us along the way, and (somewhat more abstractly) what does salvation as a process or as a state "look" like? But there is another, related dimension to this consideration of soteriology, namely, Who is Christ, and what does Christ do? You may find it helpful (either in your reading or in your writing) to fall back on the analysis we employed in studying the Gnostics, wherein we sought to summarize and formulate the "good news" under the three headings of creation ("God's original intention"), fall ("bad news"), and redemption ("good news"). As you read these documents, bear in mind that the Confessions were published long before Pelagius arrived on the scene of Roman and North African Christianity. Consequently, Pelagius had Augustine at a disadvantage, in that he had Augustine's work at his disposal and was free to exploit the unguarded statements in the Confessions. In fact, Augustine's first awareness of Pelagius may have been as a "critical reviewer" of Augustine's controversial and "best-selling" autobiography. For sometime in the early years of the fifth century, Pelagius is known to have taken great offense at words found in the tenth book of the Confessions : "Give me strength, O Lord, so that I may do all things. Give me the grace to do as you command, and command me to do what you will!"1 In context, this is a tender passage, truly a confession, for Augustine did not write this work with polemic intent. Indeed, it is unlikely that Augustine could have anticipated Pelagius's position or arguments in order to defend himself in advance. Augustine probably knew something of Pelagius's ascetic reputation from their common friends or from when he passed through North Africa after the sack of Rome. But Augustine's defense mechanism did not fully kick in until some of the Christians in Carthage began echoing the theology of Pelagius around the year 411. And then the lid blew off. Despite the degree of chronological mismatch between Pelagius's letter to Demetrias in 413 and Augustine's autobiography (written 397-401), it is likely that some anticipations of Augustine's mature anti-Pelagian position can be found in the Confessions. By the same token, part of Pelagius's letter may well be intended as a rebuke to what he saw as the "whiny" theology of Augustine and his ilk, and Pelagius may well have seen the cause he pleaded to Demetrias as no less than a struggle for her soul. In contrasting these two fifth-century Latin theologians, issues worth considering here would include their respective analyses of the structure of human nature, the significance and effect of the fall, the nature and significance of human will and willing, the definition and workings of "habit," the significance of good works, etc. Some of these same issues may well reveal presuppositions which the two men shared. Identify such "common ground" wherever you can. *** As to the form and organization of your essay, you may find it helpful to re-read my instructions and suggestions in "What I Want From Your Church History Essays" at this point in the term. As regards the documentation of this essay, since you are only utilizing two documents for this exercise, you may feel free to abbreviate references to Pelagius as "P" (with the page number from the Burns translation). References to the Confessions may be given simply as "A" with the page number, but please also list book and chapter if you are not using the Penguin edition. 1. Confessions 10.31, but see also 10.29 and 10.37 (pp. 233, 236, and 245 in the Penguin edition). what letter grades mean in my courses
(particularly on the directed essays) and what you have to do to earn them
John L. Thompson Fuller Theological Seminary CH 501 503 505 One of the most recent developments in the faculty's assessment and review of courses taught at Fuller Theological Seminary has been the move to help students understand how specific grades are assigned. To that end, I'm placing in your hands the guidelines that I've long used to help my assistants identify an essay's strengths or weaknesses so that they can pass that diagnosis along to you in ways designed to foster improvement. Writing is hard work. But writing is also an effective way to force your thoughts to take shape. When you write thoughts down, you put them in a fixed and public form that can be read and examined by others. In order to write well, you have to think well about what you read, and that means you will have to read (and re-read) with care. If you've read my little treatise, "What I Want from Your Directed Essays," you'll know that my goal is for you read primary texts and articulate the author's views with clarity and precision -- to which I might also add fairness, which I think these terms imply. These are all habits worth cultivating, not only for the sake of your writing (which itself can shape your speaking, teaching, preaching, and even counseling) but also for the sake of your listening skills. Precision means you have noticed and explained the finer distinctions on which an author's argument often turns. It may also mean that you recognize which arguments are more central than others, or that you have seen and described the interconnections and implications of the author's arguments. Clarity is related to precision. It means that your paraphrases or explanations of the text lead the reader to understand the author more clearly, without a shift in focus. Note that long quotations are no substitute for your own digest of what an author is saying, because quoting an author does not demonstrate that you yourself have understood the text. Fairness doesn't mean you agree with your author, nor that you cover up tensions you may observe in an author's argument. Instead, it means you act as the author's spokesperson, keeping faith by not treating the text with prejudice, condescension, or "attitude." Most of your grade rests on whether your essay embodies these qualities, but the grade is also affected by the way your mechanics and argumentation contribute to clarity and precision. That is to say, a clear and cogent outline strengthens the essay, even as it is crucial that you show how your observations and analysis derive from specific textual references. There is, of course, no such thing as a perfect essay. Nonetheless, "excellent" essays will display most of these qualities most of the time and will thus fall somewhere in the A range. "Good" essays will display these qualities well enough to represent the basic shape of an author's text and views with fairness and accuracy, and will thus fall in the B range. Every student essay begins at the mark of B, which is my default setting, insofar as it is my hope and expectation that every essay will display a basic and accurate grasp of the material. An essays moves up from this starting-point to the degree that it adds greater precision and clarity; down, if it misreads or distorts the text or simply fails to answer the question. An addendum on the actual marks (comments) on your essay My teaching assistants and I will do our best to give you feedback on your essay in a way that is meant to "coach" you towards better writing -- towards greater clarity and precision. Here are the sorts of remarks you can expect to see on your essays, depending on what sort of coaching we think is appropriate: A A EXCELLENT Excellent, but ... you could have clarified ___, or pushed for more detail on ___, or explained the relationship between ___ and ___, or added some consideration of ___. Very good on all the basic positions / arguments / features. You could push your essay further by addressing [A guidelines]. GOOD: a competent / adequate grasp of the basic positions / arguments / features. You could push your essay further by addressing [A guidelines]. Good on many / most of the basic positions / arguments / features ... but some important points were omitted / muddled / unclear / erroneous. A commendable EFFORT or initial ATTEMPT to grasp the arguments of the author, but there are serious omissions / unclarities / flaws / mistakes / problems and/or there are mechanical / linguistic flaws that render parts of the paper and its arguments difficult to follow. Same as C+, but judgment pertains not just to parts of the essay but to most of it. It looks like you've read the assigned material, but you have not adequately grasped or represented crucial aspects of the question and/or the author(s) assigned, namely, ___; OR , you've done something that was not asked for instead of the assigned essay. It is not clear that you have read the material, OR it is hard to tell that you have grasped either the assigned question or the arguments of the author(s), OR your essay has committed some form of plagiarism. B+ B B C+ C C F At the end of the day, if you are unhappy with your grade, your first recourse should be to study the comments on your paper and take them seriously. You can consult with me if you wish, but you might also take advantage of the Writing Center here at Fuller Seminary. Please be assured that I know that many students find these essays difficult! I do have a high standard for your writing, but it is only because I want you to use words well in your service of the gospel. In any age, alas, the Christian church has rarely suffered from too much careful thinking or too much thoughtfulness in its public expression. My goal in these assignments is to help you raise that standard and so become a better theologian. t has always struck me as inappropriate that a student's paper be marked down for lateness if the lateness is due to circumstances which could not be controlled or anticipated. The essays for this course, however, are not merely exercises to be performed in solitude; rather, they form the basis for some in-class discussion, and they also lay a foundation for my own lecture on the topic. To write the essay yet miss the class discussion and lecture (because you were at home, typing your essay) diminishes the value of the assignment. To write or submit the essay after we have discussed the subject in class is simply unfair to your classmates, who had no such advantage. (It is also unfair to your instructor and your teaching assistants. We do our very best to grade and return the essays to you before you write the next assignment; late essays make this much harder. Moreover, if you have ever graded essays, you will know that grading a single essay apart from a batch of essays takes twice as long and is more subjective than grading it alongside its peers.) I So, concerning essay assignments, this is my policy: 1. Papers are due at the beginning of the class period for which they are assigned. This means both you and your paper are expected to be in class at 8:00 a.m. In practice, I usually won't collect papers until after the morning prayer, so you might have ten minutes or so of what is often called "grace." But don't count on it. 2. Papers submitted after 8:10 or so -- but still on the morning the assignment was due -- will be accepted, but the paper will be penalized by half a grade point, regardless of circumstances, unless you contacted the instructor and made such an arrangement in advance of the deadline. 3. Papers submitted after noon on the day assigned will be accepted up to one week late, though such papers will be penalized by one full grade point, regardless of circumstances, unless you contacted the instructor and made such an arrangement in advance of the deadline. 4. Papers submitted more than a week after the due date will not be given credit and the score for the essay will be computed as a zero. Students may pass the course with one missed essay, assuming other work is satisfactorily completed and submitted in timely fashion, but two essays scored as a zero will constitute grounds for a failing grade. I am well aware that you have obligations outside this course, and I know that emergencies arise. If you inform me of such circumstances in advance, I will do my best to advise and accommodate your circumstances. But I urge you to think of these assignments as you would a sermon for Sunday morning, or an airplane reservation. The best sermon is of little value if the preacher shows up at noon. Likewise, if you arrive late for a plane, I doubt that the ticket agent will be much moved by a plea that "I didn't know it would take me so long to pack!" 5. Finally, all students (and particularly those who are taking this course on a CR/NC basis) are advised that I expect all assignments to be completed in good faith for credit to be granted for the course. Incompletes are not granted except in cases of severe illness or family emergency. Poor planning, church duties, and other coursework are not considered grounds for granting incompletes. Please spare me the grief of having to impose grade penalties. Don't leave your essays to the last minute, always back up your files, and "just say no" to schedule conflicts. If your life begins to fall apart during the course of this term, please don't wait until finals week to let me know! How to study for the final exam in CH 501 503 505
As taught by me (Prof. John Thompson), the historical theology sequence at Fuller Theological Seminary seeks to survey the development of doctrine in the church from the first through the twentieth centuries. However, even though we cover a lot of data, you should have no trouble on the exam if you study regularly and with a strategy in mind. Here are some suggestions: First, recognize that the exam will test most heavily on lecture material, followed by primary sources. Secondary readings (e.g. Stuart G. Hall) are intended to supplement lectures and to support your readings of primary sources. Because some students (by permission) substitute other secondary readings, don't expect to be tested on the peculiarities of Hall. Second, since lecture material is most crucial, you should commit yourself not only to attend the lectures and take notes, but also to review your notes after each lecture -- even ten minutes' reflection will help! As you look over the outlines, the supporting quotations, and your notes from any given lecture, try to apply one or more of these strategies: Although a lecture may fill as much as four classroom hours, virtually every lecture still has but one or two major points to make. Using the outlines provided (as well as my in-class comments), try to identify the main points. Frankly, there are not really more than a handful of good essay questions that one might ask; try making up a question, then answer it. In almost every lecture it is necessary to draw distinctions on the way to explaining a doctrine or argument. These distinctions usually get codified as technical terms. There are rarely even half a dozen per lecture; often these terms (or pairs of terms) appear on the outline. Pay attention to them! They are terrific "hooks" on which to hang information, and they might show up on the exam just as they appear on an outline, as terms to identify. But they might also be "imbedded" in a quotation, either implicitly or explicitly; or they might form one of the "building blocks" for an answer to a longer essay question. If you learn these terms well, you can adapt your knowledge to a variety of questions. Pay special attention also to the quotations discussed in the course of the lecture. (Some of these are in the syllabus; others are drawn from the required reading.) Just as the directed essays for the course ask you to explain a document, so on the final exam you should explain the content of a quotation by interpreting what the quote actually says -- not by rehearsing what you may have memorized about its author. Bear in mind, too, that over the entire term we will not be reading (or quoting) from all that many authors. If you make a list, you'll see that there are probably fewer than twenty writers, and even these are focused on rather specific topics. Finally, bear in mind that my exams feature lots of choice. Usually I ask students to write essays on four questions out of twenty-five or more. This means you can probably pick your way around areas of ignorance, provided you have some awareness of where you're strong and where you're weak. I want to test you at your strongest points, not trap you with tricks. In other words, it's better to know some things well than to know everything superficially. Take time when you begin the exam to choose your questions with care, then map out your answers. Remember that in your final exam, as with all assignments in my courses, the first measure of your answers will always be their clarity -- clarity of understanding and clarity of presentation. If you need help in attaining such clarity before the exam, by all means let me know. -- j.l.t. At the November 2001 meeting of the faculty of the School of Theology, it was voted to include this statement as part of every course syllabus. Please read it now. If there is anything you do not understand, contact your instructor as soon as possible, for you will be held to these standards. Academic Integrity Commitment
At the beginning of this course we, as faculty and students, reaffirm our commitment to be beyond reproach in our academic work as a reflection of Christian character. We commit to honesty in all aspects of our work. We seek to establish a community that values serious intellectual engagement and personal faithfulness more highly than grades, degrees, or publications. Students are expected to review and understand the commitments to academic integrity as printed in the Student Handbook and the Seminary catalogue. Some infractions can be addressed by personal confrontation and corrective counsel. The following violations of these commitments will be firmly addressed formally: Submitting the same work in whole or in part in more than one course without the permission of the professor(s); Submitting as one's own work paper(s) obtained from another source; Plagiarism, i.e., large and/or multiple unattributed quotations or paraphrases of ideas from published or unpublished sources; Unpermitted collaboration in preparing assignments; Cheating on exams by any means; Aiding another student on papers and tests in violation of these commitments. Any of these violations will result in a failing grade on the assignment and possibly in the course, and will be reported to the Academic Integrity Group (see below), which may impose further sanctions in accordance with the Academic Integrity Policy. Evidence of repeated violations will result in a formal disciplinary process. (For the full statement on Academic Integrity, see The Student Handbook and/or The Student Handbook: Extended Education, current editions.) CH 501: PATRISTIC THEOLOGY Fall Quarter, 2006 John L. Thompson, Instructor This survey requests your address and phone numbers in case I need to contact you; the other questions are designed to help me become better acquainted with you. All information will be kept confidential and you are free to leave any or all questions blank. I would also appreciate it if you would take time now, before you turn in this survey, to read the academic integrity commitment (on the back of this sheet or on the previous page) Thank you! and, after you have read it, check this box: `. NAME:_____________________________________ HOME PHONE: ( _____ ) _____-___________ ADDRESS:__________________________________ WORK PHONE: ( _____ ) _____-___________ FTS CITY:_______________________________________ STATE:__________ ZIP:___________________ UNDERGRADUATE MAJOR & YEAR OF GRADUATION:__________________________________ DENOMINATIONAL BACKGROUND / AFFILIATION:_____________________________________ PRESENT OCCUPATION:________________________________________________________________ DEGREE PROGRAM AT FULLER:_______________________________________________________ CAREER GOAL and/or WHY ARE YOU TAKING THIS COURSE? ____________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ HOW MANY OTHER COURSES HAVE YOU TAKEN AT FULLER OR IN EXTENSION? ________ WHAT OTHER CHURCH HISTORY or THEOLOGY COURSES HAVE YOU TAKEN? ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT COURSES IN RELIGION or PHILOSOPHY HAVE YOU HAD (at Fuller or elsewhere)? ________________________________________________________________________________________ HOW FAMILIAR ARE YOU WITH THE BIBLE (i.e. how much of it have you read, how often, etc.)? ________________________________________________________________________________________ ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? (ESL? E-mail address?) ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ...
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