Theology Philosophy Humanities General Education

THEOLOGY

GENERAL EDUCATION

Recent popes have emphasized the necessity of personal encounter with Jesus Christ. This exhortation raises questions, however, for individual Christian disciples. For JPCatholic students, specifically, this course considers how such an encounter can be fostered within a university community, and how it might be lived in an ongoing way. It therefore doubles as an introduction to university community and to Catholic theological study, and connects faith principles with lived experience so as to bolster faith and spur evangelization.

What is it to believe? Is it merely intellectual assent, or something more? Building out from the first section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this course systematically unpacks the rich and challenging Catholic doctrines contained in the early creeds of the Church, presenting students with a faith that invites assent of all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Our redemption was accomplished by a God who entered history. As a consequence, Catholics understand communion as something that occurs in a context of tradition. Faith is handed down over centuries by the successors of the apostles; we read and interpret Sacred Scripture according to long-established understandings and principles; our prayer to the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit bears a striking resemblance to that of the first Christian communities. This course examines sacramental ritual and considers the perennial necessity of personal prayer, enabling students to better understand the power of this ancient faith. In its essential elements it never changes—which is precisely what allows it to change us.

It is all too easy to see one’s own desires as what really matters, and to live accordingly. With his Theology of the Body, however, Pope St. John Paul II offers a fresh perspective, one that dares to lift us above the confusion and malaise wrought by this era’s remarkable selfishness. This course affords students an opportunity to explore this theological treasure given to the Church by our university’s patron, and to better see how an individual human life can be lived not selfishly, but as a gift received from God and intended for others.

EMPHASIS CORE

This course examines some of the key figures and events of the Church. Students will learn about the Church’s response to important heresies and understand the Church's impact on world history.

This course is a continuation of THEO100. Whereas THEO100 focuses largely on the Gospels, this course takes a closer look at the major figures and events of the Old Testament. After a discussion of the literary and historical issues relating to biblical study, students learn the basic structure of the story of salvation history, surveying the books of the Old Testament. Special attention is given to the way the Old Testament books relate to those in the New Testament. As in THEO100 students also focus on how Scripture study relates to the life of prayer.

In this course the student explores the Scriptures, particularly the four Gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) to understand the person of Jesus Christ. This Scripture course serves as the starting point for JPCatholic University’s religion curriculum. While examining some of the basic literary and historical issues relating to Scripture study, the course also introduces students to the theological principles of Catholic biblical exegesis. The course also explores ways the study of Scripture enhances the life of prayer.

Building on THEO311 and THEO312, this course rounds out the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, offering an in-depth analysis of the third pillar, namely, the section on Catholic morality.

ELECTIVES

This course examines the ways in which the Christian faith is presented and illuminated through the literary arts. Potential topics include: the relation of Christian faith to literary theory; the literary forms of the Bible; theological reflection on literature; specific theological themes in literature (e.g., sin and grace; human persons and the image of God, etc.); the ways in which literature sheds light on the challenges and prospects of Christian faith in the modern world; the historical interplay between theology and literary art; the relationship between inspired and non-inspired literature.

This course builds on the introduction to the virtues students receive in The Intellectual Life and Virtue (THEO110) and Moral Theology & Ethics (THEO313), offering a close study of the biblical roots of Christian charity and its development as a theological virtue in the Catholic tradition. Students will examine the nature of charity present in relationships between humans, between God and creation, and in the inner life of the Trinity itself.

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of Catholic Spirituality: its history, clarification of terms, its development with different prayer forms, and the advice of contemporary spiritual writers. It will also cover the elements of a Catholic Evangelization.

This course will introduce students to theological dimensions of contemporary film, on the one hand evaluating films using the criteria for truth and beauty provided by the Catholic faith, and on the other discerning theological elements that are often veiled or left buried in cinematic narrative. This course uses cinematic art as a means to contemplate the existential desires of humanity and to discern the presence of God in the world.

Depictions of the afterlife are all the rage in the popular imagination. The last several decades have seen no shortage of stories about ghosts, but current television seems more interested in exploring “heaven” and “hell” as a narrative setting. After a review of the relevant Catholic teaching about the Last Things – death, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory – this course will analyze various media from the cultural moment and attempt to understand its theological stakes.

What exactly is the “New Evangelization”? This course takes up that question. First, the course will examine the Mission Ad Gentes, beginning with an analysis of the ministry of Christ, his commissioning of the apostles, and the spread of the Gospel in the New Testament era. In addition, the student will study evangelization in the early Church and renewals in later periods of Christian history. From here the course will turn to investigate the origin of the new evangelization in the Second Vatican Council and in the writings of Paul VI, particularly his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975). Against this backdrop, the student will be introduced to the concept, methodology, and challenges of the New Evangelization as discussed in the writings of John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and other Catholic writers.

TBA

This class will explore selections from primary texts of some of the classics of Christian mysticism. Special attention will be given to the writings of St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila. Topics covered will include: prayer, friendship and union with God, stages in the spiritual life, charity, virtue, sin, dark nights, mystical experiences, and conversion.

While many Catholics today are well-acquainted with Thomas Aquinas, the most famous theologian of the middle ages, his theology develops the theological method begun a century earlier in the emergence of new “scholastic” and “monastic” theologies in and around the early universities. This course will explore some of the figures and works of the 12th century that inspired and influenced so many later Christian thinkers. Students will read a selection of primary works from Anselm, Hugh of St. Victor, Bernard of Clairvaux, and others.

This course explores the biblical and theological sources of Catholic Mariology. In addition to looking at patristic and medieval sources, the course also looks at contemporary theological work. Special attention will be placed on the role of the Second Vatican Council’s teaching and its influence in recent Mariology.

Students will gain a better understanding of contemporary theology through studying the works of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI).

PHILOSOPHY

GENERAL EDUCATION

After providing an overview of the basic principles of the Philosophy of Nature, this course examines the nature of the human being, beginning from the Epic of Gilgamesh, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas, the Renaissance via Blaise Pascal, and concluding in the modern period in Nietzsche, Freud and T. S. Eliot.

This course is a detailed study in the various understandings of nature, beginning from the mythology of the Enuma Elish as a primitive attempt at grasping the world, to the classical understanding found in Aristotle’s Physics and 141 Parts of Animals and their Medieval development in Thomas Aquinas’s The Principles of Nature, to foundational texts in modern natural sciences such as those of Descartes, Galileo and Newton, to discussions of evolution found in Darwin, and finally to near contemporary physicists such as Heisenberg. The contrast between the classical stress on substantial form and formal causality and the modern method of material causality and mathematical law will be brought to the forefront, as will the emphasis on technology as a mastery of nature in modern science and the question of teleology, whether nature acts for a purpose.

This is a course in the various understandings of metaphysics, or the nature of being as being, beginning from Plato’s Timaeus, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, and the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas. The course continues by covering several related questions, beginning with Natural Theology (discussing the traditional proofs for the existence of God, the Divine Attributes that can be understood using reason alone, the analogy of being, and the act of creation), continuing with the “problem of evil” and the question of free will

Students learn about the basic structures of sound reasoning, focusing largely on classic Aristotelian logic. The course serves to help students think and argue with clarity as well as to effectively analyze arguments of others. The course includes a careful analysis of the operations of the intellect, i.e., understanding, judgment, and reasoning, focusing on their products, i.e., term, proposition, and syllogism.

EMPHASIS CORE

Building upon previous philosophy courses, this class examines the causes of human knowledge. Specifically, students will be introduced to philosophical solutions to questions relating to the nature of knowledge, the object of knowledge, the role of the internal and external senses, and the concepts of truth and certainty. After thoroughly examining the sophisticated understandings of the nature of truth and certainty found in Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, we will closely examine the skepticism of the modern period through the writings of Hume, and the systematization of the structure of the mind in Kantian idealism, concluding in the 20th Century attempt to fuse idealism and realism in Martin Heidegger.

This course examines major theories concerning the organization of society and the role of government. The relationship of philosophical concepts to the governing of society are carefully explored. Key ideas discussed include justice, natural rights, the role of education, the role of religion in society, the meaning and purpose of freedom, and the responsibility of members of society to themselves and one another, beginning with ancient sources such as the Code of Hammurabi and Aristotle’s Politics, continuing in Thomas Aquinas’s On Kingship, moving into the pre-modern period with works such as Machiavelli’s The Prince and the modern period with selections from Hobbes’s Leviathan and other authors.

This course offers a comprehensive study of the nature of being and its characteristics. After examining the subject and scope of this branch of philosophy, the course will cover topics such as the problem of the one and the many, the analogous nature of being, the attributes and divisions of being as well as the causes of being. The course also provides a basic introduction to natural theology, that is, what can be known about God through reason apart from divine revelation. Texts used begin with Plato’s Timaeus, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas, the end of Scholasticism in Ockham, the Renaissance via Hume and Kant, and concluding in the 20th Century in Martin Heidegger.

ELECTIVES

A survey course covering the history of the major thinkers and currents of thought in the philosophical tradition from the ancient world through the Middle Ages. Special emphasis will be given to the works of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.

A survey course covering the major thinkers and currents of thought in the philosophical tradition typically described today as “modernism”. Students will study the influential ideas of thinkers such as Descartes, Kant and Nietzsche.

This course offers a survey of the major philosophical figures and movements of western civilization. In particular, it will analyze the way different philosophical approaches are evident in film. Special attention will be paid to the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition and how it can be brought into conversation with other philosophical perspectives of modernity and postmodernity.

This course is a detailed study in the various understandings of nature, beginning from the mythology of the Enuma Elish as a primitive attempt at grasping the world, to the classical understanding found in Aristotle’s Physics and Parts of Animals and their Medieval development in Thomas Aquinas’s The Principles of Nature, to foundational texts in modern natural sciences such as those of Descartes, Galileo and Newton, to discussions of evolution found in Darwin, and finally to near-contemporary physicists such as Heisenberg. The contrast between the classical stress on substantial form and formal causality and the modern method of material causality and mathematical law will be brought to the forefront, as will the emphasis on technology as a mastery of nature in modern science and the question of teleology, whether nature acts for a purpose.

This course offers a philosophical analysis of ethics. Specifically, the question this course aims to address is: what constitutes moral behavior? Is morality purely subjective or are there universal principles governing ethics? Special attention here will be paid to the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition, beginning with the foundational work, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, continuing in Thomas Aquinas’s Treatises on the Virtues and on Law, going into the modern period with Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, and concluding with Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals.

This is a discussion-based class focusing on Plato’s Republic. While it is often thought of as a book describing a utopian vision, this work offers much more: a thorough analysis on everything from the nature of the human soul, the human desire for justice, and the ordering of human society. Systematic— and at points, outrageous—Plato challenges his readers to consider what it means to be just, how to best structure a society, how government ought to work, what are ideal standards for human lifestyle, how education should be carried out, and much more. What is justice? Is it good to be just? What is the best form of government? The best education? The best way of life? What are the obstacles in the way of these things? What is truth and how do we find it? This course offers a slow and close reading of the text, offering careful analysis of the challenging ideas Plato lays out in this landmark work.

A historical survey of the notions defining science and its practices, beginning with the ancient Greeks, continuing through the Scientific Revolution through today. Ideas to be discussed include cosmology, induction, falsification, paradigm shift, and laws of nature.

A course covering several related questions, beginning with Natural Theology (discussing the traditional proofs for the existence of God, the Divine Attributes that can be understood using reason alone, the analogy of being, and the act of creation), continuing with the “problem of evil” and the question of free will, and concluding by looking at some modern objections to theism and religion. Primary texts to be used vary from Augustine and Thomas Aquinas to Nietzsche and Freud.

This course is a seminar integrating the major disciplines of the philosophy program (philosophy, theology and the liberal arts). Classic texts from the major disciplines are read and then discussed in 119 class. These texts will be approached with philosophical questions in mind, as befits the capstone to the philosophy program. In order to bring about a genuine integration of the different disciplines, the seminar revolves around the theme of love and friendship, a theme common to the major disciplines. This theme is chosen not only because of its integrating character, but also because of its importance for philosophy and liberal education in general, and its peculiar relevance for seminary training in particular.

HUMANITIES

EMPHASIS CORE

Whether with Christian intent or not, artists of the Western European tradition have for centuries contended fiercely over questions of form, composition, representation, and relationship to tradition. This survey of the heritage and high-water marks of Western visual art brings students to view and analyze individual works, and larger artistic movements, with the wide-angle lens that allows for the best possible appreciation of beauty. Thus students will build for themselves the foundation they need for artistic engagement with a culture not exactly known for its historical self-awareness.

Monumental dramatic works of ancient Greece—works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and others—provide students taking this course with a lens through which to examine aesthetic, spiritual and social dimensions of narrative art. Special attention will be paid to the function of the theatrical performance in ancient Greek culture, the phenomenon of transgression, the influence of Greek dramatic forms on culture in our own day, and the relationship of individual literary artistry to an abiding tradition.

The power of story is enduring and undeniable. Even today, many of the characters and scenes we deem most memorable and gripping come from the epic poems crafted by Homer and Virgil in the centuries before Christ. Beyond simply encountering finely-worked literary figures and plot developments, however, students taking this course will learn how the structures and conventions of epic narratives give these works immense force and drive, and how the importance of epic narratives in the self-understanding and collective life of ancient peoples invites a deeper appreciation of the importance of great stories for us in our own time.

Fictional narrative, that human invention that trips so naturally from the tongues of children and grandparents alike, appears simple, even inevitable. Such appearances can be deceiving, however. Any narrative worthy of the name— one employing richly drawn characters and tensile plotting, and set down in lucid and evocative language—functions as a highly complex artistic organism. This course brings students to notice trademarks of excellent and lasting prose fiction, and to engage critically with prominent works so as to discern accurately between a masterpiece and a piece of pulp masquerading as well-hewn literature.

This course exposes students to the vast wealth of the English-language poetic tradition. Beginning with the micro-sagas, riddles and serenades that populate Old and Middle English verse, students advance to engage with major writers and works of intervening centuries before concluding with the more familiar speech—but also the bewildering disjunction— of the poetry of our modern era.

There is no counting the number of scholars, artists, and admirers who have gotten entirely knotted up contemplating the figure and literary output of William Shakespeare. By plunging into his dramatic works, students will grow entangled in the work of arguably the greatest literary writer in human history. Only by reckoning with the truly revolutionary impact of Shakespeare’s art—its massive literary and dramatic influence, and also its prompting for a new appreciation of what it means to be human—will they find themselves untied again.

The 20th century confronted Western civilization with a huge array of cultural movements, political crises, and technological breakthroughs. This course provides students with the historical grounding necessary for a serious reconnaissance into the recent past via its major cultural products. Some of these works have emerged over time as radiant masterworks, and others have proved to be but nightmarish visions. All, however, merit study and critical treatment, as they mark our previous century in all its alarm, acceleration and terrible beauty.

This course is a survey and analysis of the elements of music and primary musical periods of Western European music history. Students will acquaint themselves with musical terms, major composers and repertoire.

GENERAL EDUCATION

As this course engages apparently timeless literary works from the classical tradition, it situates them within specific historical contexts. This approach enables students to better appreciate the enduring power of story even as they recognize the complex relationship art to its surrounding culture. Masterworks of pagan antiquity (Homer and/or Virgil) give way to key texts of early Christendom (Augustine, Beowulf, and others) in order to further illuminate the impact of Christian theology and anthropology on artists and thinkers in myriad disciplines.

This course tracks the development in European art and thought during the transition from the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Special attention is paid at the outset to the tensions arising from, surrounding, and even bringing about this epochal shift, especially as evidenced in Dante’s Divine Comedy. When the course later shifts its focus to texts produced by Shakespeare and other authors in Renaissance England, students find these tensions now located in increasingly realistic and complex human figures and dramas. Through these explorations students come to see the distinctive groundwork being laid for what will later be recognized as the modern period.

This third course in our Cultural Foundations series tracks the rise of modernity against the backdrop of various 18th and 19th century upheavals. In order to best appreciate the dynamism and complexity of this period, students will immerse themselves in the literary form most characteristic of the 19th century: the novel. By applying order to an increasingly dissonant world, the great novels of the European tradition illuminate daily life amidst revolutionary change in a uniquely personal way, and they capture in their progress both the subtlest movements of human consciousness and the most profound transformations of human hearts.

This course studies a wide variety of global cultures by listening to indigenous voices expressing themselves in cultural products thatinclude novels, films, music, poetry, essays, speeches, and journalism.

This course will emphasize the use of correct grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Students will be required to apply these skills to writing assignments.

This course stands as the culmination of the sequence of courses in the freshman year that covered grammar, logic and rhetoric. The course examines the role of the artist, the nature and purpose of art, of beauty, and of a life of art-making, and considers whether and how the quality of art can be evaluated in light of a Catholic understanding of art and artists. The course further considers the significance of these ideas to human endeavors such as work and business that are not typically viewed as artistic.

This course will build on the skills learned in College Writing I.

(* Must take one of these two courses)

ADDITIONAL GENERAL EDUCATION

Theology, Philosophy, and Humanities courses in the Gen Ed are listed above.

SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS

This course provides students with concepts and strategies related to personal finance that focuses on practical financial decision-making. The course will help students make more informed decisions related to spending, saving, borrowing, and investing. Students receive a review of cash management, financial services, consumer credit, taxes, insurance, and educational expenses to successfully transition to college life.

This course explores the scientific method and reasoning. A special emphasis is placed on the design found in nature and environmental science.

BUSINESS

In today’s world there is a need for strategic thinking and business vision based on a different paradigm. Competition is not only between products and services, but also between business models. Students will learn about innovation-driven business strategies and methodologies to develop business designs to successfully compete in the new economy.

This course focuses on introducing the idea of “entrepreneurial marketing” and is aimed at students who plan to start a new venture or take a job as a marketing professional pursuing an innovative marketing approach. Students will study a full spectrum of marketing strategy and tactics that are especially suitable for entrepreneurial firms aiming for high growth and innovation yet faced by limited resources and uncertain industry dynamics. Students will work in teams on marketing plans for their own venture or for other high profile entrepreneurs or executives. The focus of this course is on hands-on experiences and practical relevance of innovative marketing concepts.

In this class students get a “big picture” look at the ingredients of a start-up firm and the process of creating one. The class details those ingredients, discusses the stories (good & bad) of people who have done it, and learn the process by going through it with a self-select team. Students learn: the business planning process, which maps how to move from an idea to an actual enterprise offering an actual product/service/apostolate; How to craft a compelling and clear business story that captures the true essence of your business; and finally acquire inquisitiveness as to how the world of business really works. The class deliverable is a complete Business Plan created by student teams along with a presentation of the plan.

This course teaches students to meet and resolve objections and conflicts that result from written and oral proposals and pitches. Emphasis is on resolving customer obstacles before addressing your own. Topics covered include: Wants vs. Needs; Win-Win Strategies; Best Alternatives to Agreement; Schedule vs. Quality vs. Cost; Progress vs. Perfection. The class progresses through carefully structured, progressively more complex negotiation exercises. Students learn how external and internal negotiation has become a way of life for effective managers in a constantly changing business environment.

Social Media Marketing is a broad term that refers to any online marketing effort initiated through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This marketing discipline often combines social media management and paid digital marketing efforts (advertising). This course will explore the ever changing landscape of social media, understand the current social media ecosystem, examine best use case scenarios for businesses on each platform, understand how social media management (tactical) and social media advertising (strategic) is utilized by businesses on multiple platforms, and generate best practices through management and advertising. Each platform’s advertising options will be explored in depth. The course will also examine ethical issues currently caused by Social Media Platforms in society and apply a Catholic viewpoint to tackling these issues.

This course is an introductory-level course for students. Its intent is to give an in-depth understanding of the differences between – and similarities of — leadership and management. The course focuses on the major traits of leaders and managers, and augments these with examples of great historic leaders, including George Custer and Jesus Christ. The course also studies the many leadership traits of Abraham Lincoln, and looks at how these can be applied in modern business to improve management techniques. As part of the learning process, students give summaries of Lincoln’s leadership lessons, using short, Power Point presentations.

This course will teach students how to write and speak effectively in business and other communication.