A sub question of sorts to the previous post Vampires and Cracked:
To open my class this fall, I’m taken with the idea of shamelessly ripping off a page from Graham Ward, who apparently held a discussion in class about which is more theologically significant: vampires or zombies? I find this an enlightening question on many levels, have raised something like it myself in the past, and one that I think the undergrads my find accessible and interesting, or at least quirky rather than boring.
Of course this is an exercise in theopolitical imagination, which is the point. I can’t think of a grand question to begin on the first day and carry through the entire semester, so I have a main thesis that each discussion section interacts with, and the vampires vs. zombies discussion is no exception: Revelation is an important doctrine for religious belief, particularly for Christian faith, and the implications of revelation are important and far-reaching for Christian life today.
So if I’m going to ask about vampires, does this mean I need to watch the gawd awful Twilight series?
Next Fall I’m teaching “Quests for God, Paths of Revelation” at Marquette.
This is the course description: The quest for God in human and specifically religious experiences with a focus on Christian belief in God. It is concerned with and will cover: grounds for belief; revelation; the nature of God’s relationship to the world including issues relevant to modern culture and science; the historical precedents and context for these issues; the dialogue with other religious and atheistic conceptions of ultimate reality; and implications of a community’s understanding of God for its way of life. This class deals with questions like: What is revelation? Who or what is revealed? What does Christian revelation mean? What are the implications of Christian revelation? Who accepts revelation and why? Who rejects revelation and why? What are differing revelations and how do they interact?
Major themes I will be covering:
1. From Above, From Within: The Discussion of Theories of Revelation. What is revelation? What does this say of reality?
2. Christian Aesthetics/Revelation: Divinity, Creation, and the Incarnation. Who or what is revealed? Who is on the receiving end of revelation? What does this mean?
3. Implications of Christian Belief: Political Theology. What are the implications of Christian revelation?
4. Ways of knowing: Science and Religion, Reason and Faith. What is science? What is reason? What is religion? What is faith? What is knowledge? Does science and religion have knowledge conflicts or located in different spheres?
5. Interacting Revelations: Interfaith Discussion with focus on Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (the Abrahamic faiths). What does each revelation say? How do the revelation and its believers interact? What of violence and terrorism?
6. To Be or Not to Be: Christianity and Atheism. Who accepts revelation and why? Who rejects it and why? What is Atheism saying/doing?
Now the question is, what books to use? The biggest hurdle is keeping the book list small and manageable for undergrads. I’m thinking of using Gunton’s A Brief Theology of Revelation and Dotolo’s The Christian Revelation: Word, Event, and Mystery for half of the course. And then there is the other half of the course — as indicated in the themes above — the politics of Christian revelation. I’m thinking Johnson’s Quests for the Living God here, along with a discussion of the recent condemnation of the book by the Bishops. So I think I’ve got my book list sorted out, and of course it will be supplemented with a few articles here and there, but I’m curious if anyone has a book that would work well and you absolutely love.