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The Virtue of Restraint

A stone slab with various languages etched into it

Dr. Angela Christman has posted a narrative and series of reflections on her time teaching in an interdisciplinary program in Orvieto, Italy earlier this year, hosted by Gordon College. The program is described as an ecumenical and humanities focused on undergraduate education. “For three weeks in the summer of 2016, twelve faculty members from the art, art history, theology, biblical studies, and Christian ministries departments of both Catholic and Protestant liberal arts colleges gathered at Gordon College’s residence in Orvieto (Italy) to explore how to overcome the divides that often keep these two areas of the undergraduate curriculum in separate compartments.”

In her reflection, Dr. Christman writes on restraint. She explains, “What precisely do I mean by restraint? It involves the acknowledgement and acceptance of the constraints we have by nature, as finite beings created by God to love and serve him, as well as the recognition that the modern illusion of autonomy is just that, an illusion. Restraint is closely linked to humility, the antidote to pride. For me, this concept has become key to understanding various facets of our seminar, including a number of the artistic masterpieces we visited. It crystallizes many of the issues we discussed, and it ties together the ways in which I constantly felt that our discussions of theology and art are relevant for major issues facing our communities, our country, and indeed, the world.”

Dr. Angela Christman (UVA) is professor of church history and historical theology at Loyola University Maryland.