An overview of literature in English from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. Poetry, drama, non-fiction prose and the novel will be covered. This is a writing course that also incorporates instruction in advanced 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 eighteenth century to the twenty-first century

   • Acquire the basic ability to read a literary work through its formal elements as well as its historical context

   • Learn to write competently at the university level

Course Details:

   • English grammar: advanced rules of usage

   • Advanced principles of composition

   • The Romantic period; the slave trade and the literature of abolition; the Gothic and the rise of a mass readership; the Victorian age; Modernist literature; Non-fiction prose

Image: Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet. By Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

An intensive introduction to the Italian language. The emphasis will be on Italian grammar, idiom, and conversation, with the goal of giving the student the communicative competence necessary for the practical use of the Italian language. Aspects of Italian life and culture will also be studied.

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

   • Acquire a basic familiarity with the Italian language, with the goal of engaging in basic conversation with native speakers of the language

   • Master the basic grammar of the language

   • Master Italian pronunciation

   • Master subjects such as asking questions, telling time, counting, giving commands, and expressing likes and dislikes

   • Understand the life and culture of Italy

Course Details:  Italian pronunciation; meeting and greeting people; describing people and things; expressing likes and dislikes; eating and drinking; telling time; expressing dates; giving commands; Italian life and culture; Italian literature and film

 

Image: Twilight in Florence, Italy, with the magnificent Duomo of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore in the distance.

A study of of medieval philosophy from Augustine to William of Ockham. The first part of the course explores the origins of medieval philosophy, particularly its roots in Neoplatonism, and in the work of Augustine (who bridges classical antiquity and Christianity). The course will then survey the works of a number of key figures in the medieval tradition, focusing on their respective epistemologies, metaphysics, and ethics.

   • Recognize valid and fallacious patterns of logical reasoning

   • Understand the basic principles of metaphysics

   • Understand the variety of ethical systems explored by the writers of the Middle Ages

   • Understand the broad outline of the history of medieval philosophy

   • Render a detailed and articulate account of the main contributions to philosophy in the Latin West that were made during the millennium that spanned the end of the fourth century to the beginning of the fourteenth

   • Understand the basic principles of epistemology

Course Details:  Augustine on intuition and knowledge; Augustine on God and nature; Boethius on faith and reason; Anselm on God’s existence and the Divine Attributes; Aquinas on nature; Aquinas on logic and metaphysics; Aquinas on God; William of Ockham and Nominalism; medieval philosophy and Modernity

Image: Botticelli's St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor.

A study of the philosophical background necessary to think about moral issues. After outlining the role Christian anthropology has played in the development of moral theories, the course will explore a variety of moral theories, such as utilitarianism and consequentialism. Debates concerning natural law theory will also be considered in light of many of the important moral issues of our day.

   • Understand what's meant by secularity & secularism; how Christian moral reflection is situated in relation to epistemological and moral relativism, and utilitarianism; and what's meant by natural law and the controversies surrounding it

   • Appreciate the importance of Christian anthropology, i.e. the nature and dignity of the human person as a key principle in moral thinking

   • Discuss, in an informed manner, many of the important moral issues confronting humanity today

Course Details: What are some of the “background languages” (Charles Taylor) to the various ways of understanding morality? What is moral thinking? What is the good life? What are the sources of moral thinking? Happiness vs. obligation as a basis for moral life; elements of morality. Intentions, freedom, habits, virtue: What are they and why are they important? What is Christian morality? What is the relationship between morality and religious belief? Between morality and truth? How can the desire for happiness be corrupted?

Image: A section of "The Wall" between Israel and Palestine.

From the origin of the Christian era, the Church has made certain claims for itself; for example, that it carries the divine within its human institutional structure. Students will examine the claims the Church makes for itself, and explore how the Catholic tradition has responded to humankind’s questions concerning existence, meaning, the world, and God. Particular emphasis will be placed on how the Church responded to challenges posed by the Protestant Reformation, by modernity, and by post-modernity.

   • Understand the claims of the Church; understand the essential elements of the Church as an organization; be aware of the challenges facing the Church in the world throughout its history, and how the Church has responded to, and is responding to, those challenges

   • Understand the major topics of theology, the Church’s relationship to modernity

Course Details: Three different attitudes to the interpretation of the Church (rationalist, inner enlightenment, orthodox/Catholic); contemporary difficulties in understanding the Christian proposal: the history of our mentality; humanism; rationalism; the constituent factors of the early Church/the creeds; grace, sacraments, prayer, and liturgy of the Church; community, tradition, magisterium; Image: Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

From its beginnings in the apostolic and patristic ages, through the medieval and counter-reformation eras, and down to contemporary times, the Catholic mystical tradition is contemplated in this course through the reading, analysis, and discussion of, classic primary sources. The spiritual masterpieces of other religious traditions will also be considered in a comparative religious context.

   • Analyze and discuss classic writings in the Catholic spiritual tradition

   • Analyze and discuss classic spiritual writings in other religious traditions in a comparative religious context

   • Distinguish between various schools of spirituality

   • Compare guidelines for spiritual growth and self-awareness in the texts examined, and discuss the relevance of these insights for the student’s own life experience

Course Details: Introduction to Catholic spirituality; the beginnings of monasticism; Patristic doctrines of spirituality; medieval monasticism; extra-monastic movements in medieval spirituality; Counter-Reformation spirituality; contemporary spirituality; selected classic texts in other religious traditions

Image: South Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France.

Astronomy is the study of the physical universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere. This introductory-level astronomy course provides students with a basic overview of the current scientific understanding concerning celestial objects and the universe beyond the earth. The findings of both observational and theoretical astronomy will be considered.

   • Render a detailed and articulate account of the basics of astronomy; understand the principles of scientific reasoning and learn how to use the scientific method; render an articulate account of current scientific theories about the universe

   • Understand how gravity is related to the formation and evolution of the solar system, stars, galaxies, and the universe; understand how light is used by astronomers to learn about the universe; understand the basic principles of cosmology and how space exploration is used to advance our understanding of the universe

Course Details:  History of astronomy: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo; instruments used in astronomy, from telescopes to robotic devices; the motion of the Earth and constellations in the celestial sphere; the basic characteristics of each planet in the solar system; lunar and solar eclipses; the effect of the sun and moon on tides; current scientific theories concerning the formation of the universe; Asteroids, meteors, and comets; supernovas, black holes, neutron stars; Dark matter, dark energy, and the expansion of the universe; the Vatican Observatory

 

Image: V838 is a red variable star in the constellation Monoceros about 20,000 light years from the Sun. By NASA, ESA and H.E. Bond (STScI) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons