FSW – Phoenix
DESCRIPTION: This course presents a historical survey of the piety and devotional practices of the four Christian traditions: Eastern Orthodox, Celtic, Roman Catholic and Protestant. “Spirituality” is understood to encompass both the inward activity of the various spiritual disciplines as well as the outward activity of social involvement (see Matthew 6:6 and James 1:27). Through extensive use of primary source material, this course will examine and reflect upon the thought and piety of a number of important figures from Christian history, including St. Antony, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther, John Calvin, George Herbert, Jeremy Taylor and John Wesley.
LEARNING OUTCOMES: This course has four principal objectives. Students should: (1) develop a basic factual and thematic knowledge of the history and practice of Christian spirituality; (2) secure a basic competence in the interpretation of various traditions of Christian spirituality; (3) learn to evaluate various issues relevant to the history and practice of Christian spirituality; (4) possess the ability critically and sympathetically to appreciate the breadth, unity and diversity of the history of Christian spirituality.
RELEVANCE FOR MINISTRY: Christians in different ages, traditions and cultures have understood spirituality in different terms, and the disciplines of piety have varied as dramatically as theology. Through a comparative historical method, this course will foster critical discernment regarding the nature of Christian spirituality. It will also aim to encourage understanding and empathy for other traditions of piety and devotion, as well as a deeper commitment to one’s own.
COURSE FORMAT: The course will meet over ten weeks for a total of 30 hours. Class time will be devoted to lectures, questions and answers, and classroom discussion. Adequate breaks will be provided.
REQUIRED READING: (approx. 1583 pages total: ±200 from Mursell; ±1383 from a selection of primary sources).
• Gordon Mursell, ed., The Story of Christian Spirituality (Fortress Press, 2001). [±200 pp.] ISBN: 0800632893.
• St. Athanasius, The Life of Antony (Paulist Press, 1980). [110 pp.] ISBN: 0809122952.
• Oliver Davies, ed., Celtic Spirituality (Paulist Press, 2000). [±120 pp.] ISBN: 0809138948.
• St. Augustine, Confessions (Oxford, 1998). [280 pp.] ISBN: 0192833723.
• St. Benedict, The Rule of Saint Benedict (Vintage Spiritual Classics, 1998). [70 pp.] ISBN: 037570017X.
• St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi (Vintage, 1998). [116 pp.] ISBN: 1602065780.
• Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love (Penguin Classics, 1998). [193 pp.] ISBN: 0140446737.
• Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian (handout). [14 pp.]. (OR Luther’s Spirituality in Classics of Western Spiritualist Series (Paulist Press)
• John Calvin, The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life (Baker, 2004). [94 pp.] ISBN: 0801065283.
• George Herbert, A Priest to the Temple, or, The Country Parson His Character, and Rule of Holy Life (Paulist Press, 1981). [71 pp.] ISBN: 0809122987.
• Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living, Holy Dying (handout). [4 pp.]
• John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Beacon Hill, 1966). [111 pp.] ISBN: 0834101580.
• John R. Tyson, ed., Invitation to Christian Spirituality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).
• Gordon S. Wakefield, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (Philadelphia, 1983).
• Keith Beasley-Topliffe, ed., The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation (2003).
• E. A. Livingstone, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed. (Oxford, 1997).
(1) Required reading. (Approximately 1583 pages of secondary and primary reading; student’s reading log required.)
(2) Class attendance and participation. (33% of final grade).
(3) Research papers. Two, 5-7-page research papers addressing any topic (with the approval of the instructor) related to any of the various sections of study covered during the course. (33% each x 2 = 67% of final grade).
RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: MDiv: Elec.; MAT: CH/SPIR/SP2; MACL: SP2.
FINAL EXAMINATION: None.
This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design and assignments but is subject to modification.