An introduction to the central myths of the Greeks and Romans, placing those myths in the context of the social and political life of the ancient world, and outlining the lasting impact of mythology on the philosophy, literature, and art of the Western world.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

   • Render a detailed and articulate account of the nature, function, and meaning of myths in the classical world and their considerable influence on Western civilization

   • Demonstrate familiarity with the aesthetic principles of the art and literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans

   • Understand the way in which ancient mythology impacted the development of Greco-Roman religion and philosophy

Course Details: The Greek Gods: Hesiod, Theogony; Greek Society: Hesiod, Works and Days; The Trojan War: Homer, Iliad I-VIII; Legend and Myth: Homer, Iliad IX-XVI; Greek Religion: Homer, Iliad XVII-XXIV; Desire and Myth: Homer, Odyssey I-VIII; Monsters and Magic: Homer, Odyssey IX-XVI; Heroism and Virtue: Homer, Odyssey XVII-XXIV; The Origins of Tragedy: Aeschylus; Drama and Melodrama: Sophocles, Euripides; Desire and Transformation: Ovid, Metamorphoses

Image: This Trojan Horse, made for the 2004 Hollywood movie "Troy", is now located in the town of Çanakkale, Turkey, near the historical city of Troy. 


Dr. Melinda Kingsbury, Walnut Grove Campus

An overview of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Restoration, beginning with the epic poem Beowulf and ending with Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man. Poetry, drama, and non-fiction prose will be covered. This is a writing course that also incorporates instruction in elementary English grammar and syntax.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

   • Engage with and discuss a broad scope of literature written in the English language, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Restoration

   • Read a literary work through its formal elements as well as its historical context

   • Write competently at the university level

Course Details:

   • English grammar: Elementary rules of usage

   • Elementary principles of composition

   • What is literature?; Anglo-Saxon; Middle Ages; Renaissance; the Restoration and eighteenth centuries

   • Basic Research Methods


St. Crispin’s Day Speech, Kenneth Branagh, Henry V (William Shakespeare), 1989, Universal Pictures (UK)

A study of Christianity down to the opening of the ninth century, exploring the interaction between Hebraic, Oriental, Greek and Roman cultural elements, and the manner in which Christianity served to integrate these elements into a new religious culture.

   • Render a detailed and articulate account of the main features of Christianity during the first nine centuries of the Church; evaluate Constantine’s relationship with the Church, and the Christianization of Roman culture; understand the role the Edict of Milan played in the the legalization of Christianity

   • Understand the Christological and Trinitarian debates of the first few centuries of the Church, and the Councils of the Church that addressed these controversies; understand the Church’s reaction to heresy, and the development of the creeds

   • Understand the development of monasticism, contrasting the monastic movements led by St. Anthony of Egypt and St. Benedict of Nursia, and evaluting the contribution of Benedictine monasticism to Western culture; understand how the biblical canon was formed; identify the female geniuses of the Church

Course Details:  Historiography; the problem of metahistory; Augustine’s City of God; the Roman Empire; the Classical tradition and Christianity; the development of the biblical canon; the barbarian invasion and the fall of the Roman Empire in the West; the Christian empire and the rise of Byzantine culture; councils and creeds; Charlemagne and the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire

Image: Emperor Constantine and the foundation of Constantinople. By Workshop of Filippe Maëcht and Hans Taye (Comans-La Planche tapestry factory, France). Figural composition after Peter Paul Rubens. ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An overview of the history and forms of media from the ancients to the moderns, and their impact on society, including: Roman roads; Egyptian paper; medieval architecture; patronage; the printing press; photography and film; wire-born media; wireless and broadcast media; and the Internet.

   • Discuss a philosophy of communications based on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and relate it to modern-day media

   • Identify and describe the various forms of media through history, and discuss their impact on society and culture

   • Identify and describe the various forms of patronage, advertising, and finance in media

   • Identify and describe the various technologies used in producing media, both analog and digital

   • Identify and discuss the nature of propaganda and media bias in various forms of media

   • Identify and describe personality types and communication styles

   • Create a media campaign using traditional non-digital formats

Image: An ancient Egyptian form of Twitter.

Fr. David Bellusci, O.P., Walnut Grove Campus

A study of ancient philosophy from the pre-Socratics to Augustine. Through a close reading of the work of some of the main figures in Greek, Roman, and early Christian philosophy, the course will outline the predominant theories of nature and knowledge at play in ancient philosophy, and evaluate their lasting impact on the Christian world-view.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

   • Recognize valid and fallacious patterns of logical reasoning

   • Synthesize philosophical arguments

   • Understand the broad outline of the history of ancient philosophy

   • Render a detailed and articulate account of the way in which the Hellenic tradition influenced Christian thought, and how that thought was transformed into something new in the process

Course Details:  The pre-Socratics; the Apology of Socrates; Plato on Religion and Politics; Plato on Beauty and the Soul; Aristotle on Logic and Metaphysics; Aristotle on Virtue Ethics; Aristotle on Friendship; Cicero on Friendship; Epicurus and the Epicureans; Zeno and the Stoics; Epictetus and Christianity; Marcus Aurelius and the Roman Empire; Augustine and Neo-Platonism; Boethius

Image: Plato and Aristotle are the central figures in Raphael's "School of Athens". Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Narrated by Orson Welles, 1973, Churchill Films

Fr. David Bellusci, O.P., Walnut Grove Campus

A study of the historical context of modern philosophy, beginning with the converging influences of Christianity and classical humanism upon the Renaissance and early modern conception of humans and the world, and ending with an exploration of the social and political consequences of the ideas of key modern and post-modern philosophers.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

   • Recognize valid and fallacious patterns of logical reasoning; synthesize philosophical arguments; understand the broad outline of the history of modern philosophy

   • Render a detailed and articulate account of the equilibrium between the two forces of Christianity and classical humanism

   • Outline and explain the long-term effect of the division of Christendom in the period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

   • Understand the metaphysical and epistemological frameworks in which practical, revolutionary ideas were historically developed in modernity and postmodernity

Course Details:  What is modernity? The historical context of the Renaissance and early modern era; Renaissance humanism: Erasmus and More; Francis Bacon, Essays; Pascal and Jansenism; Locke on theory and practice; John Stuart Mill and utilitarianism; Mary Wollstonecraft; Rousseau, Kant, Hegel; Nietzsche on God and morality; Marx; Existentialism; What is Postmodernity?

Image: 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, by Gustav-Adolf Schultze (d. 1897) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Red Pill or Blue Pill? The Matrix, 1999, Warner Brothers

Dr. Germain McKenzie, Walnut Grove Campus

The religious sense, or the religious dimension in life, has been defined as that level of the human person’s nature through which he or she asks “ultimate questions, searching for the ultimate meaning of life in all its hidden facets and implications” (Luigi Guisanni, The Religious Sense). This quest has been an integral part of human history and comprises the stories of all cultures. Explore these “ultimate questions” and the human desire for goodness, beauty, truth, justice, & happiness, through the use of literature, film, & music.

   • Reflect on personal experience and discern the structural elements of self-awareness and human desire; read literature, view film, and understand music in relation to structures of human desire; reflect philosophically in a basic way by relating different cultural proposals to personal structures of human desire and experience

   • Understand the phenomenon of the religious sense in a comparative religious context by looking at key literary and artistic works drawn from a wide variety of cultures

   • Understand the way in which what it means to use human reason has shifted in a post-Christian culture, by comparing classical Christian conceptions of reason with key modern conceptions

Course Details:  The meaning of the religious sense; reason; human experience and judgment; the morality of knowing, including the role feelings and affectivity play in human knowing; the nature of freedom and loss of freedom; the experience of the sign and the adventure of interpretation

Jerusalem, 2013, National Geographic Entertainment

Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P., Walnut Grove Campus

A study of the many ways in which humans experience the phenomenon of the sacred through symbol, ritual, doctrine and experience within a variety of religious traditions and cultures. A number of primary texts will be selected to illustrate core thematic issues in a particular religious tradition’s understanding of human life and its relationship to the sacred. These themes include: the existence of God; the concept of God; the relationship of faith and reason; the problem of evil and suffering; the question of religion and morality; the problem of free will and determinism; the nature of the human person; ritual; beliefs about the afterlife; attitudes to nature; the problem of atheism.

   • Understand religious studies as an academic discipline with a variety of methodologies; understand and identify the different strands in each of the world’s major religions

   • Interpret religious texts in their socio-political and historical contexts; demonstrate an in-depth comparative understanding of key themes inherent to each religious tradition; identify commonalities and core differences between the world’s major religions

Course Details:  Interpreting sacred texts; the concepts of inspiration and revelation; the existence of God, theism and atheism; concepts of God; religious understandings of the self; religion and morality; the problem of evil and suffering; ritual; religious attitudes to the natural world; eschatology and the afterlife; life after God

Image: A pilgrim's view on the way up Mt. Sinai — in the footsteps of Moses.

Jerusalem, 2013, National Geographic Entertainment