Classics I

Course code:
Period 4
Language of tuition:
Faculty of Religion and Theology
dr. A. Goudriaan
dr. A. Goudriaan
dr. A. Goudriaan
prof. dr. M.A. Smalbrugge
Teaching method(s):

Course objective

The student is able to
- Reproduce the main insights of the author as presented in this classic
- Give a scholarly analysis and discussion of the form and rhetorical
flow of the text;
- Describe and present the main argumentative steps in a specific part
of this classic, and evaluate their coherence with other aspects of the
- Discern anomalies and ambiguities in the text and bring them to bear
on the argumentative power of it;
- Analyse contemporary religious phenomena from the perspective of
reading this classic work so as to stimulate discussion in a community
of readers;
- Confront ideas proposed by the author of the classic with one’s own
views or expertise in theology and/or religious studies;
- Report in writing about the results of individual research related to
the chosen classic, thereby showing the ability to complete a learning

Course content

In this course, research master students and divinity students read a
top classic from the field of theology and/or religious
studies. In this course, this will be Étienne Gilson, The Spirit of
Mediaeval Philosophy (Gifford Lectures, 1931-1932), trans. A.H.C.
Downes, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009.
Staff members are cordially invited to join in order to create a
community of readers.
Organizing the reflection on the successive readings, the course will
- discussion of background information related to these readings, with
the aim of facilitating an informed analysis and discussion of its
- presentations by students on various aspects of the chosen text, in
view of the objectives of this course; and
- plenary (or group) discussions on a wide range of questions about the
selected work, its contents, intellectual habitat, and theological

Form of tuition

Seminar, reading the book at home and plenary close-reading sessions,

Type of assessment

Oral presentations and feedback on them will be part of this course, as
well as individual (non-graded) preparations for (important aspects of)
the final exam of this course. Every student has to make sure to present
her work at least once during this period.
The final exam will only consist of a written essay of at most 4,000
words (100%).

Course reading

Primary text / required reading:
Étienne Gilson, The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy (Gifford Lectures
1931-1932), trans. A.H.C. Downes, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame
Press, 2009
Recommended secondary literature: Made available through Canvas

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