Known: A Biblical View of Humanity
a Bradley Study Center Fellows Program Seminar
During Spring Semester 2021 I will be offering this seminar through the Bradley Study Center. Participants are asked to view a brief video and submit a question in advance or our weekly face-to-face meetings. Supplimentary readings are offered for those wishing to dig deeper. I will compile the list of questions and participants may choose the ones they wish to discuss in greater detail.
Videos and supplementary readings for each seminar session will be posted below as I am able to complete them.
A Video Syllabus
A video introduction/syllabus for this seminar series.
Is the Bible a Story About God?
You will get more out of this video if you first read John 1: 1 - 18.
Also mentioned are quotes from Dallas Willard, Rennovation of the Heart, Chapter 6. A book on my "all Christians should read this" list.
Sessions One thru Three - Recap
A summary of key points I hope you garnered from the Biblical Foundations portion of the seminar.
Session Four - Unpacking the Felt Need
Here are some notes and additional quotes related to this video. In addition, I've attached a draft chapter I wrote during my sabbatical study of The Environmental Design Professions and the Post-secular Present. It deals with the impact of postmodern thought and post postmodern critical theories on highter education.
Session Five - Worldviews, What is Really Real?
The recommended optional reading is -
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Chapt. 1 - 5)
Some favorite resources exploring specific aspects of worldviews:
Most fun book on 'isms' -
Peter Kreeft, The Journey.
Most accessible account of Western secularization -
Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There
Best entry level survey, according to many -
James Sire, The Universe Next Door
Detailed exposition on "the question of God" and tests for truth -
Norm Geisler, Christian Apologetics
Accessible comparative theology -
Kreeft and Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Chapt. 14)
Session Six - Working with Worldviews
A portion of this video is adapted from a draft chapter I wrote in 1998. In 2004, I presented elements of it to a landscape architecture graduate seminiar at the University of Wisconsin. Read the chapter if you want to see more of how I related the five wordview types to the problem of environmental ethics.
The Worldview Resources Handout contains information beyond what is covered in the video. The material, compiled and illustrated by me, was extracted from Kreeft and Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics; Norman Geisler, Christian Ethics; Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics, and other incidental supplementary sources.
Session Seven - The Human Person
This video provides a transition from the second to the third portion of the seminar and an introduction to the reading. It is highly recommended that viewers read Chapter 2 of Dallas Willard's Renovation of the Heart after viewing the video.
Session Eight - The Soul/Body Problem
For a general introduction to the soul/body problem and definition of relevant terms read:
Introduction and Chapter One of J. P. Moreland,
The Soul: How We Know It's Real and Why It Matters.
For a comparison of Cartesian and Thomistic views read:
Paul Chutikorn: "A Thomistic Critique of Cartesian Dualism".
To better understand Aquinas' view of "powers of the soul", which explains soulishness in various kinds of creatures in the chain of being read:
pages 263-5, Peter Kreeft, A Summa of the Summa.
J. P. Moreland's paper, "Tweaking Dallas Willard's Ontology of the Human Person" offers a more highly articulated description of the soul than does Willard in Renovation of the Heart. Published in the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care (2015, Vol. 8, No. 2), it includes more technical academic language that the readings above.
Session Nine - The Bible, Truth, and Knowing
For an introductory level reading offering more context and development of philosophical terms used in this video see DeWeese and Moreland, Chapter Two, Philosophy Made Somewhat Less Difficult: A Beginner's Guide to Life's Big Questions.
A more developed and technical discussion of these issues can be found in an intermediate level seminary textbook by Moreland and Craig, Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview.
Session Ten - Challenges to Knowledge and Truth
What should young Christians know about challenges to knowledge and truth in contemporary society? That is the subject of this session. Some understanding of the history of American higher education is helpful in understanding the origin of these challenges. For a quick introduction I recommend the First Things article by George Marsden, "The Soul of the American University." I constructed the attached timeline as a graphic summary of Marsden's article combined with material on the history of technology from John Kassen's Civilizing the Machine.
Session Eleven - A Case for Critical Realism
Can Christians explain what it means to know things? Critical realism is an explanation of how we know things that appears to be consistent with the claims of scripture.
The recommended supplimentary reading is Chapter 12 of R. Scott Smith's In Search of Moral Knowledge: Overcoming the Fact-Value Dichotomy. Smith pulls together the hylomorphic view of our humanity, the realism of both external objects and our mental states, and our ability to know moral truths. Pages 1 to 15 relate most closely to this video. The the balance of the chapter relates to the subject of the next video.
Session Twelve - Knowing What's Good For You
How is it that we come to know moral rules and virtues? In this session we explore some answers related to that question.
For additional reading see:
DeWeese and Morland, Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner's Guide to Life's Big Questions
R. Scott Smith, In Search of Moral Knowledge: Overcoming the Fact - Value Dichotomy