ICS Calendar Title: Thinking the World of God: Religious Language Beyond Onto-theology

ICS Course Code: ICS 220808 W13

Instructor: Dr. Nik Ansell

Term and Year: Fridays, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Winter 2013

Last Updated: January 7, 2013  *Note: This is not the final version for this syllabus


1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Requirements

4. Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

Can the language of creation adequately reveal God if the God of creation transcends creation? If so, how? These perennial questions have most often been approached within an analogical view of language that presupposes an ontotheological view of the God/world relationship. Attentive to the influence of the Great Chain of Being, we shall also examine whether there has ever been a viable alternative. Is it possible to see transcendence and immanence not as attributes of God and creation, respectively, but as facets of creation and thus creational revelation?

Course Learning Goals:

a. To examine a key question at the interface of theology and the philosophy of religion

b. To examine the God/creation relationship as a context for our discussion of language for God

c. To explore the viability of an alternative to the analogia entis

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Requirements

a. Total reading: 1250 pages total, including research for paper, of which approximately 60-70 pages per week is required to prepare for class

b. In seminar leadership: In addition to reading the assigned readings junior members are expected to do regular class presentations based on the readings

c. Description of course papers: Essay of 3-5000 words (Masters), 5-7000 words (Ph.D.)

4. Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

Class participation: 20%

Seminar presentations: 20%

Research paper: 60%

5. Required Readings

(Selected from)

*Note: Items on the ICS Library Reserve Shelf from this list may be borrowed overnight.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (selections, including 1a 3) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX1749 .T46 1964]

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1956-72) (selections, including, IV/3, pp. 38-165) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT75 .B282]

Roy A. Clouser, "Religious Language : A New Look at an Old Problem" (Toronto: Institute for Christian Studies, 1980) [ICS Library: Pamphlet]

Roy A. Clouser, "Religious Language : A New Look at an Old Problem" in Hendrik Hart, Johan Van der Hoeven and Nicholas Wolterstorff, eds., Rationality in the Calvinian Tradition (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983), 385-407 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9422.2 .R37 1983]

Brian Davies, Thinking About God (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1985), chap. 5 [REGIS College Library: BX1751.2 .I5 v.5]

Terence F. Fretheim, God and World In the Old Testament: A Relational Theology of Creation (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005) (selections) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1199 .C73 F74 2005]

Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being : A Study of the History of an Idea (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1948) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B105 .C5 L68 1964]

Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (Cambridge: James Clark and Co., 1957) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX260 .L613 1976]

Roland E. Murphy, "Wisdom and Creation" in Journal of Biblical Literature 104/1 (1985): 3-11 [UTL e-journal]

Pseudo Dionysius, "The Divine Names" in Pseudo Dionysius: the Complete Works (New York: Paulist Press, 1987) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BV4495 .C5 1987]

6. Some Recommended Readings

*Note: Items on the ICS Library Reserve Shelf from this list may be borrowed for 5 days.

William P. Alston, Divine Nature and Human Language: Essays in Philosophical Theology (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989) [ROBARTS: BT40 .A46 1989]

Vincent Brummer, Speaking of a Personal God: An Essay in Philosophical Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT102 .B76 1992]

Harold Coward and Toby Foshay (eds.). Derrida and Negative Theology (New York: SUNY, 1992) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.3 .D47 1992]

Peter Donovan, Religious Language (London: Sheldon Press, 1976) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BL65 .L2 D66 1976]

Kevin Hart, The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology, and Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.3 .H37 1989]

Sallie McFague, Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT102 .M425 1987]

Janet Martin Soskice, Metaphor and Religious Language (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: P301.5 .M48 S6 1987]

White, Roger M. Talking About God: the Concept of Analogy and the Problem of Religious Language. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT55 .W47 2010]

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT180 .W67 W65]

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