Course Syllabus

Augustine and His Influence

Iliff School of Theology, Spring 2014, Thursday 1–4:30

Professor Todd Berzon

Office: I-202 A, Iliff Hall

Phone: (303) 765-3199

E-mail: tberzon@iliff.edu

Office Hours: By appointment

Final Project:  I propose a compromise solution. Students will have two options for their final project. (1) Students may opt to give a presentation (in which they lead class discussion for 30 minutes about a particular section or theme of Augustine’s writing). They will also write an 8-10 page paper based on their presentation. The paper should be an academic investigation of the theme or themes discussed in class. You should incorporate ideas from the discussion as well as offer a clear thesis. This is not a paper simply to muse about Augustine. It needs to be focused, researched, and organized. Presentation papers will be due TWO WEEKS after the presentation has been delivered. (2) If students do not wish to give a presentation and to write a presentation paper, they may opt for a more traditional seminar paper due the final week of the term. This paper should be roughly 20 pages in length. It should be no longer than 30 pages and no shorter than 18. Students who wish to write a final seminar paper MUST have their topic approved by me by Week 5 of the quarter. This is to your advantage. I can help you to see if a particular paper topic is feasible. 

Presentation Schedule

Weekly Posts: Each week students will post a comment (250-500 words) through Canvas, in which they reflect on the assigned reading. I leave it to you to decide how you wish to organize and/or structure your post. There is, of course, no correct way to write an interesting post. Write about whatever interests you. You need not post for the first week of class nor for the week you are giving a presentation. Comments should be posted by midnight on Wednesday.

Academic Honesty: Do not plagiarize! Let me repeat that: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! It is an act of lying, cheating, and stealing. The University has very strict rules governing incidents of plagiarism—an automatic failure in the course and potentially graver consequences—so let’s avoid the situation entirely. Please be sure to cite your sources (in your papers) properly and consistently.

Electronics: Cell phones should remain turned off during class. You’re free to use your laptop while I am lecturing (provided, of course, you’re not checking email, writing papers, etc.). During the seminar portion of class—when we turn to the discussion of texts—I’d prefer that you keep your laptops turned off. In my experience, computers hinder fruitful and natural discussion.

Books:

  • Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick. Oxford World’s Classics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Augustine, City of God, trans. Henry Bettenson. Penguin Classics (New York: Penguin, 2003)
  • Gerard O’Daly, Augustine’s City of God: A Reader’s Guide (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography [OVER BREAK STUDENTS SHOULD READ AS MUCH OF PETER BROWN’S BIOGRAPHY AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN. IT IS LONG AND DETAILED, BUT THE GOAL OF THE COURSE IS NOT A HISTORY OF AUGUSTINE. RATHER, WE WILL DO CLOSE READINGD OF HIS TWO MOST FAMOUS TEXTS, THE CONFESSIONS AND CITY OF GOD. BROWN WILL PROVIDE THE NECESSARY BACKGROUND INFORMATION]. I have posted a version of this in the files section of Canvas.

Grade Breakdown:

Participation: 30%

Weekly Postings: 30% (250-500 words each week with the exception of Week 1 and the week of your presentation).

Final Project: 40%

Course Schedule (subject to change):

Week 1: 3/27: Introducing Augustine: The Confessions

-Confessions, I–IV;

-Kate Cooper, “Love and Belonging, Loss and Betrayal in the Confession,” in Vessey, 69–86 [PDF];

-Paula Fredriksen, “The Confessions as Autobiography,” in Vessey. 89–98 [PDF].

For an overview of the Confessions, see Gillian Clark’s general introduction, which I have posted on Canvas. 

Week 2: 4/3: Confessions

­-Confessions, Books V–IX;

-Catherine Conybeare, “Reading the Confessions,” in A Companion to Augustine, ed. Mark Vessey (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 99–110 [PDF];

-Andrea Nightingale, Once Out of Nature: Augustine on Time and the Body (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 132–163 [PDF].

Week 3: 4/10: NO CLASS: PRESIDENT WOLF’S INSTALLATION CEREMONY

Week 4: 4/17: Confessions

-Confessions, Books X-XIII;

-Nightingale, 55-104 [PDF].                                        

Week 5: 4/24: City of God

-City of God, Books I-III;

-Neil McLynn, “Augustine’s Roman Empire,” Augustinian Studies 30:2 (1999): 29–44 [PDF];

-O’Daly, 1-74.

Week 6: 5/1: City of God

-City of God, Books IV-VII;

-O’Daly, 74-100.

Week 7: 5/8: City of God

-City of God, Books VIII-XI;

-O’Daly, 101-134.

 Week 8: 5/15: City of God

-City of God, Books XII-XIV;

-O’Daly, 135-159;         

-Nightingale, 23-54 [PDF].

 Week 9: 5/22: City of God (CLASS TO MEET WITHOUT ME)

-City of God, Books XV-XVIII;

-O’Daly, 160-195;

-Gillian Clark, “City of Books,” in The Early Christian Book, ed. William E. Klingshirn and Linda Safran (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2007), 117–138 [PDF].

Week 10: 5/29: City of God

-City of God, Books XIX-XXII;

-O’Daly, 196-233;

-Harry O. Maier, “The End of the City and the City without End: The City of God as Revelation,” Augustinian Studies 30:2 (1999): 153–164 [PDF];

-Thomas A. Smith, “The Pleasure of Hell in City of God 21,” Augustinian Studies 30:2 (1999): 195–204 [PDF].

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