The beginning of the fall semester is upon us. Classes start next week, and since I'm sure my upcoming blog posts will be influenced by my coursework, you might like to have a heads-up on what I'll be taking.
Modern Philosophy: This is the third in a sequence of four survey courses on the history of philosophy: Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and Contemporary. This terminology could seem a little confusing, since we tend to use "modern" to mean "present, recent, up-to-date, latest," but in historians tend to use it differently, more precisely. The modern period is typified by the rejection of the medieval systems and the creation of new systems of thought by such men as Descartes, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant. I've studied these guys before in undergraduate classes, so it should sound familiar; I'm hoping that they might make a little more sense this time around. The class will be taught by Fr. Anselm Ramelow, OP, a Dominican priest from Germany who, like many of the faculty here, specializes in just about everything.
Christian Iconography: Do you ever wonder why pictures or statues of St. Paul almost always feature him holding a sword? Why St. John the Baptist is often depicted by the Eastern Churches as having wings? What the significance is of images of the Resurrection of Jesus including Adam and Eve rising with him? When it comes to imagery in Christianity, there is a science to the art. This course will teach us how to recognize meaningful elements in Christian art and interpret their significance. The class is being taught by Fr. Michael Morris, OP, who also teaches courses on film and the arts at the DSPT.
Theology of the Sacraments: A sacrament is a visible sign of invisible grace. There is an awful lot packed into that statement, and we'll unpack it in this course. We'll study the notion of sacraments in general and each of the seven sacraments in particular, including the history of the development of their ritual celebration and our understanding of them. I've always had an attraction to sacramental theology, and I think I may be able to glean a thesis topic from this course, so I'm doubly excited for it! The course will be taught by Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, OP, who specializes in eschatology (study of the end times).
It's going to be a busy semester, but, I hope, a fruitful one!