class, pedagogy, revelation

Book Decisions

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.


10 thoughts on “Book Decisions

  1. Well I know it’s a shot in the dark, but I figure since you are after all in a Catholic institution, you might want to try some of their stuff! The Catechism, or Avery Dulles “Models of Revelation” jump to mind. Obviously there’s Aquinas and Augustine to consider as well, and any number of selections could work from them. No that the books you mentioned aren’t great

    • Part of the problem is that this is a core class in the University’s system, which means that it’ll have a lot of people who just don’t care because they’re just satisfying their theology requirement. This doesn’t exclude Dulles immediately, but does reaffirm the importance of pacing and Dulles’s pacing does exclude him. I plan on using quite a few resources for the lectures and Dulles’s is one. Also, and this is said in jest, I’m not sure one could get more Catholic than Dotolo — he is a professor at the Pontifical Urbaniana University and the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome. I am considering having the students incorporate Dulles into their research papers.

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