Course I – Confronting Dragons: Christian Hope in Tolkien and Fantasy Literature

(This course is taught in partnership with The St. Basil Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture)

  • J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth appears at once breathtakingly beautiful yet violently marred. The sublime emerges from Tolkien’s world having been created by a beauty-loving God; the scar from the rebellion of the angelic ranks against God. This rebellion is played out among the peoples of Middle-earth—Elves, Dwarves, and Men—who  anguish in a twilight world enduring, in Tolkien’s words, “a long defeat.” Despite this, Tolkien did not create a world destined for a tragic end, but rather one filled with hope. Christians likewise confront dragons in many forms and at many turns. What do the elves, dwarves, and men and women of Middle-earth teach us about the life of faith and virtue? How can we as Christians profit from reading fantastic and mythic literature? And should Christians mimic Tolkien by creating their own worlds that are both unreal but also thoroughly Christian? These questions (and many more) will be the focus of our time together.
  • Dates: July 6-14, 2018 (9 days, 8 nights)
  • Total Credits: 3
  • Tuition & Fees (Total): $1,699

Course II – Politics in a Post-Christian World: Faithful Christians and Responsible Citizens

  • Christians are in the world, but not of the world. So what about politics? To what extent ought Christians be involved in government? Should Christian faith play a role in voting, shaping laws, and the actions of the state? Many Christians in the United States find themselves in a peculiar position, juggling commitments to both church and state. Historically, Christian citizens have believed their faith ought to inform their political actions: does that mean legislating normative Christian morality and values? On the other hand, Christian Americans also tend to value individual freedom and autonomy – people are free to live however they want; should Christians follow laws that violate their conscience? If that is the case, what do Christians owe a secular state? So what is the role of Christians in a democracy? What would a Christian state look like? Fortunately, these questions are not new. We will examine the works of many thinkers including Cicero, Plato, Machiavelli, Aquinas, Augustine, Filmer, Winthrop, Hobbes, Locke, Jefferson, and de Tocqueville.
  • Dates: July 16-23, 2018 (8 days, 7 nights)
  • Total Credits: 2
  • Tuition & Fees (Total): $1,499

Past Courses:

  • The Examined Life: Knowledge, Wisdom, Virtue, Calling (Western Civilization)
  • The Mystery of the Infinite (Discrete Mathematics)
  • Citizenship: On Earth as it is in Heaven? (Western Civilization)
  • Divorcing the Devil: C.S. Lewis’s Moral Vision (Theology/Literature)

If you wish to be kept up to date regarding Summer Scholars, please fill in our Information Request Form and indicate your interest in Summer Scholars. We will e-mail you when course fees are available and deadlines are approaching.