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HT602 Patristics Seminar

Course Description Readings in and discussion of primary sources in the development of Patristic theology. Fall semester.

—Academic Goals:

  • To enable the student to read well, i.e., thoughtfully, carefully, and accurately primary texts in patristic theology and to intereact intelligently with relevant secondary literature in the field.
  • The student "demonstrates understanding of the dogmatic (theological) development in the history of the church" (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes).

    —Pastoral Goals:

  • The student "exhibits growing integrity, teachability/humility, perseverance, self-discipline" (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes).
  • The student "gives reasons for convictions rather than merely asserting them." (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes).

    Required Reading (see schedule below)

    1. Michael Holmes, Apostolic Fathers (Grand Rapids, Baker) (all)
    2. Tertullian, Against Marcion (ANF 3, 271–344)
    3. Tertullian, Against Praxeas (ANF 3, 597–627)
    4. Chrysostom, On Romans (NPNF, series 1, vol 11, 335–408)
    5. Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism (NPNF series 2 vol 7, 360–78)
    6. Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word (NPNF, series 2, vol 4, 36–67)
    7. Athanasius, Festal Letter 39 (NPNF, series 2, vol 4, 551–52)
    8. Augustine, De doctrina Christiana (NPNF, series 1, vol 2, 519–97)


    Hour/Date Author/Topic Leader
    1/Sep Historiography rsc  
    2/Sep Historiography rsc
    3/Sep Ap Fathers, 33–131 (1 Clem) Student
    4/Sep Ap Fathers, 132–65 (2 Clem) Student
    5/Sep Ap Fathers, 166–271 (Ignatius 1) Student
    6/Sep Ignatius (2) Student
    7/Sep Ap Father, 272–343 (Polycarp 1) Student
    8/Sep Polycarp (2) Student
    9/Oct Polycarp (3) Student
    10/Oct Ap Fathers, 334–69 (Didache) Student
    11/Oct Ap Fathers, 370–441 (Barnabas) Student
    12/Oct Barnabas (2) Student
    13/Oct Ap Fathers 442–685 (Shepherd 1) Student
    14/Oct Shepherd 2 Student
    15/Oct Ap Fathers, 686–719 (Diognetus 1) Student
    16/Oct Diognetus (2) Student
    17/Nov Tertullian (Adv Marc) Student
    18/Nov Tertullian, Adv Prax Student
    19/Nov Chrysostom, Romans Student
    20/Nov Gregory of Nazianzen (Oration) Student
    21/Nov Athanasius (Incarnation/Canon) Student
    22/Nov Augustine (De Doctrina) Student  
    23/Nov Augustine (2) Student  
    24-26/Nov Papers Student  

    Suggested Reading

    1. Irena Backus, The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West: From the Carolingians to the Maurists (Leiden: Brill, 1997), volume 2, part 3 (Renaissance, Reformation, Counter-Reformation).
    2. ——"Thomas Bradwardine (c. 1290–1349) and the Church Fathers" Studia patristica 28 (1993): 161–68.
    3. —— "The Bible and the Fathers according to Abraham Scultetus (1566–1624) and Andre Rivet (1571/73–1651): The Case of Basil of Caesarea" Patristik in der Bibelexegese des 16. Jahrhunderts 231 (1999).
    4. —— "Irenaeus, Calvin and Calvinist Orthodoxy: The Patristic Manual of Abraham Scultetus (1598)" Reformation and Renaissance Review 1 (1999): 41–53.
    5. —— "Calvin and the Greek Fathers" Continuity and Change (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 253–276.

The class and paper schedule is distributed via populi

Course Structure

Each class session will involve discussion of the assigned readings for that week. Each week a student will be assigned to lead discussion. About midway through the semester students will begin presenting papers in the second hour of class.

Course Requirements: