Philosophical Theology Seminar
Course Syllabus •
• 3 Credits
Mark Weedman, Ph.D
Course Description and Goals
:The purpose of this course is to offer students an opportunity to explore a theologicalquestion in more depth than is normally possible in a standard theology course. In this case, wewill consider contemporary
theological attempts to answer the challenge posed by “Kant’s Wall.”
In this seminar, we will examine the specific topic of Biblical interpretation. We will begin byexamining two accounts of how Modernism has affected Biblical interpretation. As part of that
exercise, we will also grapple with James K.A. Smith’s constructive
proposal for how we mightmove forward, hermeneutically.We will then apply
the principles of Smith’s
“creation hermeneutic” to
three Biblicalpassages: Genesis 3, John 1.1.-13 and Philippians 2.6-7. We will examine these passages from avariety of angles: how they might have been read in their historical context, how they have beenread throughout history, and their pastoral and theological implications. Throughout this exercise,we will keep in mind both what it means to read the Bible within the community of faith and
what it means to assert that the Bible may have a plurality of “meanings.”
The goal here is to usethe creation hermeneutic to bind together all of these diverse readings and applications of the text
to produce an “interpretation” that authoritative and pastorally resonant.
Relationship of Course to Curriculum:
Upper Division BTH Elective
Bible Made Impossible
(Brazos Press, 2012).2.
James K.A. Smith,
Fall of Interpretation
, second edition (Baker Academic, 2012).3.
A Study Bible in a modern translation. Especially recommended are the NIV Study Bible orthe NRSV version of the Oxford Annotated Bible.
): Theology requires a lot of reading and a lot of talking, and I willexpect you to come to class having read the assignment and prepared to talk about it.Theology is difficult, and I do not necessarily expect you always to have understood the day
’sreading. Even if you don’t understand a text, however, you can still ask questions about it,
and these questions form the basis for good theological inquiry
and good class participation.Because much of the class will consist of working through the d
ay’s reading assignment, you
come to class with a copy of the text for the day
. Anyone who shows up without acopy of the text will be dismissed from the class for that day and charged with anabsence.
As part of the class participation grade, each student will be required to provide chapteroutlines and discussion questions for the daily reading assignments. These will be assignedon a rotating basis on the first day of class.