Loyola University Maryland


Stories We Tell Course Pairing

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The Christian Story and the Story of Christians (TH201T)

Marilynn Robinson observes, “The Bible is the model for and subject of more art and thought than those of us who live within its influence, consciously or unconsciously, will ever know.”  This course explores the basic elements of the Christian story and its broad legacy throughout history.  In addition to the major highlights of the biblical narrative, the course will cover such theological classics as Augustine’s Confessions as well as the lives of such inspirational figures as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dorothy Day.  In the process, we will review how theology as a discipline approaches such timeless questions as the nature of good and evil and the meaning of suffering.

Faculty Biography

John Kiess is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology. As a George Mitchell Scholar he earned his MA in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from Queen’s University Belfast and MPhil in Theology from Cambridge University.  He received his Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from Duke University in 2011, writing his dissertation on the ethics of war through the lens of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  His main area of focus is ethics, but his research interests also include politics, peacebuilding, and philosophy.  He is the author of Hannah Arendt and Theology as well as numerous articles.

Philosophy: The Adventure of Thinking (PL201)

Philosophy, said Aristotle, begins in wonder.  Wonder about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, the true nature of reality, the mysteries of the soul, beauty, justice, freedom, love, and death.  The aim of the course is to cultivate an on-going practice of philosophical wonder by introducing you to the letter and the spirit of philosophical questioning.  It will acquaint you with some of the great works of ancient philosophy, both in Europe and in Asia, reading them in tandem with selected contemporary texts. 
We will begin with the emergence of philosophy in ancient Greece with Thales, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Parmenides.  We listen to the voice of Socrates as presented to us in the great dialogues of his student, Plato.  We will then compare and contrast these beginnings of philosophy in Greece with a key text of the Taoist tradition in China, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tsu.  In conclusion, we’ll look at the writings of one of the most influential twentieth century philosophers, Martin Heidegger, whose thought brings together themes from both East and West.

Faculty Biography

Richard Boothby took his B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University, a Masters degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Boston University. ¬His research interests focus on contemporary continental philosophy, with special attention to psychoanalytic theory and existential philosophy.  When he’s not reading or writing, he enjoys playing squash and sailing the waters of the Chesapeake.

Mentor Biographies

Mary Whitehead is the Assistant Director of Student Life for the Charleston Area which includes Seton, Southwell, Lange and Hopkins residence halls.  She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy studies with a passion to research areas of critical race feminism, activism and the power dynamics between discourse and culture.

Zachary Hitchens has a Master of Science in college counseling from Shippensburg University and is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Maryland, and a National Certified Counselor. He earned a B.A. from Gettysburg College. Before coming to Loyola, he worked as a mental health counselor at Lewis University providing individual and group counseling services to undergraduate students and developed, implemented, and coordinated drug and alcohol education, prevention, and outreach and was co-leader of the University's Campus Harm Reduction Committee that evaluated and unified University policies and programs in regard to drug and alcohol abuse. Mr. Hitchens has also provided drug and alcohol and other mental health services to undergraduates at York College and Shippensburg University from 2009-2011.

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