DECEMBER 31, 2017–JANUARY 13, 2018
“What is a Good Life? Explorations in Medieval and Renaissance Thought and Art
The Jerusalem & Athens Winter Seminar in Orvieto (JAF291, 2018) will take as its theme moral inquiry in the classical and Christian traditions, with a focus on their co-mingling in late medieval and early modern Europe (ca. 1300-1600). Students will have an opportunity to read various classical authors, particularly Aristotle and Cicero, and then later medieval/Renaissance authors such as Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Pico della Mirandola, and Erasmus. Some key questions that will be explored include (but are not limited to): What is a good life? What is a good society? What is virtue and how does one acquire it? What is vice and how can one avoid it? What is the relationship between the pursuit of virtue and the pursuit of salvation? What is the relationship between individual virtue and public/social responsibility? We shall also ask to what extent early-modern moral philosophy might still be relevant to church, society, and government today. In addition to readings and discussions, field trips will be taken within the city of Orvieto and to Rome, Siena, and Florence. Throughout, we shall attempt to make connections between the writings discussed and on-site art and architecture.
All applications are due by October 15, 2017
Students: $3,500 (includes 4 credits tuition); $30 application fee due October 15; $450 non-refundable deposit due October 22; remaining $3,050 billed to student account
Adult Learners: $2,500; No application fee; $500 non-refundable deposit due by October 22; remaining $2,000 due by November 15
Before taking up his present post as Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics
at Valparaiso University, Dr. Thomas Albert “Tal” Howard was Professor of History at Gordon College (specialist in modern European history), director of the Center for Faith & Inquiry, and founding director of the Jerusalem & Athens Forum honors program.
The JAF291 Winter Seminar in Orvieto (a place beloved by the Howard family after several teaching stints in the Gordon IN Orvieto semester program by both Tal and Agnes Howard) is the product of brainstorming between Dr. Howard and Dr. Skillen, director of the Studio for Art, Faith & History. Tal was the lead teacher of the 2016 JAF291 seminar.
No one is better equipped to guide us through the question raised in the 2018 version of JAF291: “What is a Good Life?: Explorations in Medieval and Renaissance Thought and Art.”
Dr. Howard is the author of many essays (such as one on the virtue of “Prudence and Historical Inquiry”) and books, among them: Imago Dei: Human Dignity in Ecumenical Perspective, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide, The Future of Christian Learning: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue (edited with Mark Noll), and Remembering the Reformation: An Inquiry into the Meanings of Protestantism. Sought after as a lecturer, Dr. Howard recently returned to the Gordon campus as the keynote speaker for the May 2017 Symposium, whose theme responded to the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Professor John Skillen (Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance studies from Duke University) directs the Orvieto-based Studio for Art, Faith, and History at Gordon College while serving as Senior Advisor to Global Education at Gordon. He was the medieval and Renaissance specialist in the English department before inaugurating the Gordon IN Orvieto program in 1998. Professor Skillen's interests are broadly in the arts and cultural history, and the renewed relevance of moments in early European culture for the conditions of our present, themes exhibited in his recent book Putting Art (back) in its Place (Hendrickson, 2016).
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