ICS Calendar Title: “They Looked for a City”: Biblical, Theological and Sociological Perspectives on the City from Ancient Times to the Global Era

ICS Course Code: ICSD 132201/2232201 F15

Instructor: Dr. Clinton Stockwell

Term and Year: Fall 2015, Distance

Last Updated: August 27, 2015

1. Course Description

2. Course Outline

3. Course Learning Goals

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Readings by Session (Sessions 1-13).

7. Supplemental Bibliography: Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

More people live today in cities or metro-urban regions than in the countryside, and many cities today are megalopolises of ten million persons or more.  Is the city sustainable?  Can we live hopefully, faithfully and imaginatively in extreme urban contexts characterized often by inequality, poverty and violence; yet alive with vibrant cultural production?  This course will look at the meaning of the city in history, using the lens of ancient and contemporary philosophical, historical, theological, and sociological writings, even as we seek to understand our role in anticipating urban challenges for a global age.

2. Course Outline (Session Topics Sequence):

Session1. The Origins of Cities

Session 2:  The Greco-Roman View of the City: Classical Foundations

Session 3:  The City in the Ancient Near East (Old Testament Era)

Session 4: Christianity in the Greco-Roman World

Session 5. Augustine and Aquinas on Politics and the City

Session 6. Calvin, Geneva and the Reformation

Session 7. A City on the Hill:  The City in Early American History and Thought.  Winthrop’s Boston and Franklin’s Philadelphia

Session 8:  Industrialization in 19th Century England:  Charles Dickens vs. Frederick Engels and Karl Marx

Session 9. Sociologists and the City:  The Chicago School and Birth of Urban Sociology

Session 10:  Chicago, Missionary Center and Industrial Metropolis?

Session 11: The Global City:  Sociological Perspectives on the City in the Global Era

Session 12: The Sustainable City.  Are Cities Sustainable?

Session 13: Urban Ministry and Civic Engagement: Faithfulness, Challenge and Expectation

3. Course Learning Goals

  1. To understand competing interpretations of the city from ancient times to the present in order to present a lecture evaluating competing arguments on the nature of the city.
  2. To develop a biblical and theological/philosophical perspective on the city in order to develop a publishable article from the standpoint of one’s faith, values and vision.
  3. To integrate classical, historical and contemporary narratives on the city with applications to contemporary social contexts in order to make an oral or written presentation that relates these texts to current urban realities.
  4. To develop skills in sociological analysis in order to mobilize a congregation or community group to concretely address a well-defined issue such as providing food for a homeless shelter.
  5. To develop a practical reflective and ethical self-understanding for faithful witness in order to organize a defined audience to execute a practical public action that contributes to peace and justice in the world.
  6. To develop and employ leadership skills necessary for the transformation of urban communities for urban ministry or civic engagement by developing a proposal for public ministry/civic engagement such as developing and managing an organic garden.

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

  1. 50- 75 pages a week, inclusive of readings for formal papers (roughly 1250 for the course).
  2. Weekly 1-3 page (500- 1000 words) reflections on the readings each week.  To enhance dialogue in the class.  Post your reflection by Friday, Respond to Peers by Monday each week.  This will be our process for each session throughout the course.
  3. Mid Term Urban Perspective Paper- theoretical perspective on an historical person, city or event (5-8 pages) based on readings in the first half of the course.   The Mid Term paper does not require other outside reading, unless chosen by the student.  Due by Session 7.
  4. Final Paper: Ministry/Urban Social Engagement Paper. An Analysis of a Contemporary Local Urban Context and Possibilities for Urban Engagement/Intervention (10-12 pages).   This assignment will require some data collection on the neighborhood, parish or community of choice.  A “real social context” is required to successfully complete this paper.   Paper Due Four weeks after Ending of class session readings.

The paper should include the following three components:

1)  Context Description;

2) Rationale (from the assigned readings);

3)  Strategy/ Program/ or Project proposal for possible implementation.  

  1. Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

                i. Class participation: 10%-  Interaction with Instructor and Peers

                ii. Weekly Reflective Essays: 30%-  Quality of your posts.

                iii. Mid Term Paper (Historical): 20%

                iv. Final Research Project/Paper (Social Engagement): 40%

5. Required Readings:  Textbooks (Procure the texts below, as we will read in entirety).

Abrahamson, Mark. Global Cities. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Graham, W Fred.  The Constructive Revolutionary:  John Calvin and His Socio Economic Impact (Philadelphia:  Westminster/ John Knox Press), 1979.

Meeks, Wayne A. The First Urban Christians: the Social World of the Apostle Paul. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

6. Readings by Session (Sessions 1-13).

[Note:  REQUIRED readings are  noted by bold author font and are marked with an asterisk (*)].  [Approximately 1250 pages total]


Session One:  Origins of Cities (50 pages).


*Childe, V Gordon. “The Urban Revolution.” Town Planning Review. 21 (April 1950): 3-17.


*Gottdeiner, Mark, etal. “The Origins of Cities.” From: The New Urban Sociology.  Edited by Mark Gottdeiner, Ray Hutchinsion and Michael T Ryan (Boulder:  Westview Press, 2015): 25-50.


*Sjoberg, Gideon. “Origin and Evolution of Cities.” Scientific American.  213 (September 1965): 54-62. Reprinted in Alexander Callow, American Urban History. Third Edition.  (Oxford University Press, 1982): 6-16.


*Stockwell, Clinton E.  “The Church and the City, a Five Stage History.” The Urban Mission.  September (1993): 29-36.


Session Two: he Greco-Roman View of the City [61 pages].


*Aristotle.  “On the City.” From: Politics, Book VII.  From: The Complete Works of Aristotle. Vol. II.  Edited by Jonathan Barnes (Princeton University Press, 1984): 2100- 2117.


*Hittinger, John.  “Plato and Aristotle on the Family and the Polis.”  The St Anselm Journal (September 2013): 1-22.


*Kemerling, Garth.  “Plato:  The State and The Soul.” From: The Philosophy Pages. Encyclopedia Britannica (Nov 12, 2011). The Philosophy Pages by Garth Kemerling are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.   http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/2g.htm Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.philosophypages.com/referral/contact.htm 


Pappas, Nicolas.  “Justice and the City” [Chapters 2-4].  In: Plato and the Republic (London: Routledge, 1995): 59-79.


Pericles. “The Funeral Oration.” From Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. Reprinted in: Princeton Readings in Political Thought. Edited by Mitchell Cohen and Nicole Fermon (Princeton University Press, 1996): 13- 17.


*Plato. “Critias.” From:  The Collected Dialogues of Plato. Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns (Princeton University Press, 1987): 1212-1224.


Spark Notes.  “Aristotle:  Summary of Politics.”   Downloaded 8/3/2015. Politics. http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/aristotle/section10.rhtml

Session Three: The City in the Ancient Near East (Old Testament Era). [111 pages]


*Nefzger, Ben G.  “The Sociology of Preindustrial Cities. ” From: Lester Grabbe and Robert D. Haak, Editors.  Every City Shall Be Forsaken:  the City in Prophecy in Ancient Israel and the Near East (Sheffield Academic Press (JSTOR), 2001):  59-71.


*Roddy, Nicolae. “Images of the City in the Hebrew Bible.” In: Cities through the Looking Glass:  Essays on the History and Archaeology of Biblical Urbanism.  Edited by Rami Arav (Winona Lake, In.: Eisenbrauns, 2008): 11-22.


*Stockwell, Clinton E.  “The Enchanting City: Theological Perspectives on the City in Post Modern Dress (Biblical Theology of the City).” From: Transformation (April- June 1991): 10-14.


 *Meeks, Wayne A.  The First Urban Christians:  The Social World of the Apostle Paul.  Second Edition (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2003): 1-73.


Session Four:  Christianity in the Greco Roman World. [102 pages].


*Giorgi, Dieter, “The Urban Adventure in the Early Church,” in D Giorgi, The City in the Valley: Biblical Interpretation and Urban Theology (Atlanta:  SBL, 2005):  53-68.


*Longenecker, Bruce, “Social Economic Profiling of the First Urban Christians,” In:  After the First Urban Christians:  The Social-Scientific Study of Pauline Christianity Twenty-Five Years Later, edited by Todd D. Still and David G. Horrell (London:  T and T Clark, 2009): 36-59.


*Malina, Bruce.  “The Pre Industrial City.” From: Bruce J Malina, The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology. Third Edition (Westminster/ John Knox Press, 2001): 81-90.


*Meeks, Wayne A.  The First Urban Christians:  The Social World of the Apostle Paul.  Second Edition (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2003): 74-139.


Session Five:  Augustine and Aquinas on Politics and the City of God [149 pages].


*Aquinas, St. Thomas.  De Regno ad Regem Cypri (ON KINGSHIP TO THE KING OF CYPRUS).  Translated by Gerald B. Phelan, Revised by Th. Eschmann, O.P.

Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1949.  10 pages.


*Augustine. “The Two Cities.”  From:  The Essential Augustine, edited by Vernon J. Bourke (Hackett Publishing Company, 1974): 197-219.


Augustine, “The City of God.”  Selections in Thomas Aquinas on Politics and Ethics  (New York:  WW Norton, 1988): 102-107.  Introduction to St Augustine, p. 102.


*Graham, W. Fred.  The Constructive Revolutionary:  John Calvin and His Socio Economic Impact (Westminster/ John Knox Press, 1979): 1-94.


*Weithman, Paul J. “Augustine and Aquinas on Original Sin and Political Authority.”  Journal of the History of Philosophy. Volume 30, Number 3 (July 1992): 353-376 (Article).  Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.


Session Six:  Calvin, Geneva and the Reformation [120 pages, plus one article on Calvin’s economics from three provided]]


Freudenberg, Mattias.  “Economic and social ethics in the work of John Calvin,” Herv. teol. stud. vol.65 no.1 (Pretoria  2009).  Online Download. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/45681533_Economic_and_social_ethics_in_the_work_of_John_Calvin


*Graham, W. Fred.  The Constructive Revolutionary:  John Calvin and His Socio Economic Impact (Westminster/ John Knox Press, 1979): 97-185.


*Luther, Martin.  “The Christian and Society;” and John Calvin, “God and Political Duty.” From: Princeton Readings in Political Thought. Edited by Mitchell Cohen and Nicole Fermon (Princeton University Press, 1996): 194-204.


McKee, Elsie Anne. “The Character and Significance of John Calvin’s Teaching on Social and Economic Issues. ”  From: John Calvin Rediscovered:  The Impact of his Social and Economic Thought, edited by Edward Dommen and James D. Bratt (Philadelphia: John Knox Press, 2007): 3-24.


*Monter, E. William. “(Geneva) Cathedral and Market.” From: Calvin’s Geneva (New York: Basil Wiley, 1967): 1-22.


Stuckelberger, Christoph. “No Interest from the Poor: Calvin’s Economic and Banking Ethics.” From:  Calvin Global:  How Faith Influences Societies.  Edited by Christoph Stuckelberger and Reinhold Bernhardt (Globalethics.net, 2009): 53-70.

Session Seven:  A City on the Hill:  The City in Early American History and Thought.  Winthrop’s Boston and Franklin’s Philadelphia. [86 pages].


*Franklin, Benjamin.  “Autobiography, Book III.” From: Benjamin Franklin, Writings (New York:  Library of America, 1967):  1395-1430.


*Franklin, Benjamin. “Essays on “The Laboring Poor (pp. 622-625);” “A Conversation Regarding Slavery (pp. 646-653);” “Toleration in Old and New England (pp. 673-677);”and “Remarks Regarding the Savages of North America (pp. 969-974).” From: Benjamin Franklin, Writings (New York:  Library of America, 1967):


*Rutman, Derrick B., “Boston:  A City on a Hill;” and Sam Bass Warner, “Philadelphia:  The Private City.” In:  American Urban History:  An Interpretive Reader with Commentaries, Third Edition, edited by Alexander B. Callow (New York:  Oxford University, 1982): 37-63.


*Winthrop, John. “A Modell of Christian Charity” (A City on the Hill). “The City upon a Hill” by John Winthrop: what is it about?”  Two pages. https://thehistoricpresent.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/the-city-upon-a-hill-and-puritan-hubris


Session Eight:  Industrialization in 19th Century England [86 pages]


*Dickens, Charles.  The Frozen Out Poor Law (The Elizabethan Poor Laws).  From: All The Year Round (Feb 16: 1861): 446-449.  Scroll down to pages 446 to page 449. https://books.google.com/books?id=NNcNAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA446&lpg=PA446&dq=The+Frozen+Out+Poor+Law&source=bl&ots=i1eIFi-B55&sig=pSG9p7mv2tR0Bs9_Q6N8btDLHow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAGoVChMI0sSLhrK7xwIVTFQ-Ch0WVABT#v=onepage&q=The%20Frozen%20Out%20Poor%20Law&f=false


*Engels, Frederick. “The Great Towns.” From: The Condition of Working Class England, 1844. (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1999): 36-86.


*Diniejko, Andrzeij.  “Charles Dickens as Social Commentator and Critic.”  The Victorian Web.  Februrary 7, 2012).  Downloaded July 17, 2015. (7 pages). http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/diniejko.html


*Marx, Karl. “The Paris Commune and the Future of Socialism, 1870-1882.”  In:  The Portable Karl Marx.  Edited by Eugene Kamenka (New York, Penguin Books, 1983): 506-532.


Session Nine:  Sociologists and the City:  German and Chicago Schools and Beyond [57 pages].


*Burgess, Ernest W. “Growth of The City.”  From:  The Basic Writings of Ernest W. Burgess. Edited by Donald J. Bogue (Chicago:  University of Chicago, 1974): 93-106.

Domingues, Jose Mauricio. “The City:  Rationalization and Freedom in Max Weber, Philosophy and Social Criticism. Sage Publications. 26 Number 4 (2000): 107-126.


Kleniewski, Nancy, and Alexander R. Thomas. “Theoretical Perspectives on the City.”  From:  Cities, Change and Conflict:  A Political Economy of Urban Life. (Wadsworth, 2010): 21-40.  Though not required, for those new to the study of urban sociology, this is good overview.


*Merton, Robert K.  “Functions of a Political Machine.”  From: Social Theory and Social Structure (Free Press, 1957): Scroll down to READ ONLY pages 65-75.

*Simmel, Georg.  “The Metropolis and Mental Life.”  From.  Georg Simmel.  On Individuality and Social Forms.  Edited with an introduction by Donald N. Levine (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1971): 324-339.

Weber, Max. “On The City.” From:  Richard Sennett.  Editor. Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1969): 23-46.  Reprinted from Max Weber, The City (New York: Macmillan and Company/The Free Press, 1958).

*Wirth, Louis. “Urbanism as a Way of Life;” and “Human Ecology.”  From: Classic Essays on the Sociology of Cities.  Edited by Richard Sennett (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1969): 143-164; 170- 179.

Session Ten:  Chicago and Industrialization:  Development and Response. [90 pages] [Read Hall and Wilson,  and one of the Stockwell article selections]


*Hall, Peter. “City of Monuments [Chicago];” and “Cities of the Permanent Underclass” [Chicago]. From: Cities of Tomorrow:  An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design Since 1880.  Fourth Edition (London:  Wiley Blackwell, 2014): 202- 212; 485- 519 (Chicago sections).


*Wilson, William Julius, “The Economic Plight of Inner City Blacks.  From: More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (New York:  W W Norton, 2009): 62-92.

Stockwell, Clinton E. “Urban Ministry in Chicago:  A Historical Sketch from Winthrop’s Boston to Post Industrial Chicago.”  Chicago: Center for Public Ministry, 1991 (17 pages).


Clinton Stockwell and Nancy Triezenberg Fox.  “Social Work and Social Change:  The Case of Chicago.” Social Work and Christianity 4 (2006):  330- 354.



Clinton Stockwell. “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants:  The Legacy of Protestant Urban Social Justice in Chicago.” Pragmatics:  The Journal of Community Based Learning (Fall 1998):  6-9, 19.

https://www.academia.edu/5510634/_Standing_on_the_Shoulders_of_Giants_in_Pragmatics_Fall_1998_.  (OR)




Session Eleven:   The Global City:  Sociological Perspectives on the City in the Global Era. [127 pages].


*Abrahamson, Mark.  Global Cities (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2004): 1-94.


*Castells, Manuel. “The Space of Flows,” from The Castells Reader on Cities and Social Theory. Edited by Ida Susser.”  (London:  Blackwell, 2002): 314-349.


Longworth, RC, ed.  “On Global Cities,” Chicago Council for Global Affairs, April, 2015. http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/publication/global-cities


Renn, Aaron M.  “What is a Global City?” New Geography (Nov. 12, 2012). Online Download. http://www.newgeography.com/content/003292-what-is-a-global-city


Stockwell, Clinton E.  “Globalization and its Discontents.

”The Witness (November 2001).   http://www.thewitness.org/archive/nov2001/stockwell.html

Stockwell, Clinton E.  “Living in a Global City.” For: Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, Annual Conference, Dallas Texas (June 2003).


Session Twelve:   The Sustainable City:  Are Global Cities Sustainable? [126 pages].


*Abrahamson, Mark.  Global Cities (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2004): 95- 171.

*Castells, Manuel. “The Culture of Cities.” From: The Castells Reader on Cities and Social Theory.  Edited by Ida Susser (London:  Blackwell, 2002): 367-389.

*Newman, Peter and Isabella Jenkins.  “Introducing Cities as Sustainable Eco Systems.” From: Cities as Sustainable Eco Systems:  Principles and Practices (Island Press, 2008): 2-30.


Stockwell, Clinton E.  “A View from the Margins,” A Book Review of Saskia Sassen, ‘Expulsions:  Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy’” (Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard, 2014). From SCUPE. Online Newsletter  June 26, 2014.  https://www.scupe.org/a-view-from-the-margins-book-review-of-saskia-sassens-expulsions/

Session Thirteen:   Urban Ministry and Civic Engagement: Faithfulness, Challenge and Expectation. [68 pages].

*Ancil, Robert.  “The Economy of the Tao:  Wendell Berry and Economic Health.”  The Imaginative Conservative.  December 30, 2012.  Online.


*Berry, Wendell.  The Two Economies.”  From: Every Man An Artist: Readings in the Traditional Philosophy of Art,  Edited by Brian Keeble © 2005 World Wisdom, Inc. Foreword by Seyyed Hossein Nasr All Rights Reserved. For Personal Usage Only.  pp. 186- 202. Online. http://www.worldwisdom.com/public/viewpdf/default.aspx?article-title=Two_Economies_by_Wendell_Berry.pdf

*Manuel Castells. “Change the World in a Network Society.”  From:  Manuel Castells. Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in an Internet Age (Cambridge, UK:  Polity Press, 2012): 218-246.


*Stockwell, Clinton E. “The Church and Justice in Crisis.”  From:  The Urban Face of Mission, edited by Susan Baker and Manny Ortiz (Philadelphia:  The Westminster Press, 2002): 159-174.

7. Supplemental Bibliography: Some Recommended Readings

(Selective Bibliographic Listing)

  1. Ancient/Classic Sociological Perspectives:

        Aristotle. The Politics

        Cicero. On the Commonwealth

        Fustel du Coulanges. The Ancient City

        Herodotus, The Histories

        Park, Robert Ezra and Ernest W. Burgess. The City

        Pirenne, Henri. The Medieval City

         Plato. The Republic

        Sennett, Richard, ed. Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities

        Sjoberg, Gideon. The Preindustrial City:  Past and Present

        Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War

        Weber, Max. The City

        Wirth, Louis. Urbanism as a Way of Life

  1. City in Biblical Times

        Crossan, Dominic. In Search of Paul: How Jesus’ Apostle Opposed the Roman Empire

        with God’s Kingdom

        Ellul, Jacques. The Meaning of the City

         Frick, Frank. The City in Ancient Israel

        Harrison, and Welborn. The First Urban Churches: Methodological Considerations

        (SBL, 2015)

        Horrel and Still. After the First Urban Christians: the Social and Scientific Study of

        Pauline Christianity 25 Years Later (T and T Clark, 2009)

        Koester, Helmut. Cities of Paul. Images and Interpretations

        Meeks, Wayne A. The First Urban Christians

        Ramsay, Sir William. The Cities of Paul

        ______. St. Paul: Traveler and Roman Citizen

        Rieger, Joerg. Christ and Empire: From Paul to Post Colonial Times

        Theissen, Gerd. Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity

        ______. The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity: Paul of Corinth

  1. City in Age of Renaissance Reformation

        Dommen, Edward and Bratt, James D. eds.  John Calvin Rediscovered:  The Impact of

His Social and Economic Thought.

        Monter, William E. Calvin’s Geneva.

        Mumford, Lewis. The City in History

        Ozment, Stephen. Reformation in the Cities

        Spijker, Willem van’t.  Calvin:  A Brief Guide to His Life and Thought.

        Wallace, Ronald. Calvin, Geneva and the Reformation

  1. The City From Modern Times to the Global Post Industrial Era

        Castells, Manuel. Informational Society

        ______. The Rise of a Network Society

        ______. The Power of Identity

        ______. Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in an Internet Age (2007).

        Davis, Mike. Planet of Slums.

        Harvey, David. The Condition of Post Modernity.

        ______. Social Justice and the City (Revised, 2009)

        ______. Rebel Cities, etc.

        Higgs, Kerryn. Collision Course: Endless Growth on a Finite Planet

        Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of the Great American City

        Lefebvre, Henri. Writings on Cities

        ______. The Social Production of Space

        Nightengale, Carl H. Segregation: a Global History of Divided Cities (2012)

        Sassen, Saskia. The Global City (selections)

        ______. Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy

        ______. Cities in a World Economy (2011)

        Savitch, V. Post Industrial Cities: Politics and Planning in New York, Paris and London

  1. Sustainable Cities

        Campbell, Scott. Green Cities, Growing Cities

        ______. Sustainable Development and Social Justice

        Farr, Doug. Sustainable Urbanism

        Glaeser, Edward. The Triumph of Cities

        Newman, Peter. Cities as Sustainable EcoSystems

        Owen, David. Green Metropolis

  1. Urban Ministry/Theologies of the City

        Conn, Harvie and Manny Ortiz. Urban Ministry

        Livezey, Lowell, ed. Public Religion and Urban Transformation: Faith in the City. (2007)

        Ortiz, Manny and Susan Baker.  eds.  The Urban Face of Mission (2000).

        Peters, Ronald E. Urban Ministry: An Introduction.

  1. Other Resources

        Census Data on one’s own city, community or parish.

        Social Science statistics on urbanization, globalization, etc.

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.

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