God and the Good Life: Introduction to Theology (TH 201)
This course will explore the Messina theme “The Good Life” through the lens of Christian Theology. Together we will survey the major highlights of the biblical narrative and how theologians have interpreted these stories throughout the centuries. We will also explore how theological motifs such as sin, grace, freedom, and reconciliation have shaped conceptions of the good life in such classic works as Augustine’s Confessions and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Throughout the course students will also be exposed to ways that theological narratives have provided insight into the human condition, illumined perennial questions such as the problem of suffering and the nature of good and evil, and inspired a commitment to the building of a more just society.
Dr. John Kiess is Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Office of Peace and Justice. 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 research interests lie at the intersection of religion, ethics, and politics. He is the author of Hannah Arendt and Theology as well as numerous articles and book chapters.
Human, Animal, Machine: Environmental Philosophy (PL 236)
In this course we look beyond our human selves to that larger natural world of which we are a part. Is nature a kindly mother? Wild and dangerous? A resource for our use? Are animals mindless machines, or do they possess modes of intelligence that we have barely begun to appreciate? And how has the pervasive presence of technology changed things? Do our smartphones, TVs, and computers expand and enrich our lives? Or do we live in a technological bubble, cut off from nature and each other? What would it mean to recover a sense of "place" and "community"?
Using articles, books, film, outside wanders, and our own life experience, we will reflect on such issues. The goal will be to think more deeply about "the good life" for humans, animals, and our imperiled planet.
Dr. Drew Leder has a medical degree as well as a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He has taught at Loyola for many years, with a special interest in Asian philosophy and environmental philosophy. He has published six books which range in focus across issues of world spirituality, the philosophy of medicine, and the plight of inmates in maximum-security settings where he has long volunteered. His work has been featured in newspapers and magazines across the country, ranging from the Washington Post to Family Circle. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, two daughters, and his dog, Maggie.
Julie Rivera is the Assistant Director of ALANA services. Her parents are originally from El Salvador and immigrated to the US in the 1980s. They made their life here and here she was born along with my other 4 siblings in Silver Spring, MD. She is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland School of Social having obtained my Master’s in Social Work with a concentration on Community Action and Social Policy. She also obtained her Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She is responsible for overseeing ALANA programming, leadership development, and student organizations, as well as supervision of ALANA Graduate Assistants. She also supports the Associate Director and Director with the daily operations of the office. When Julie is not working, she enjoys eating out in many of the Baltimore hot spots, running, and exploring new activities, like kayaking and hiking! She also loves spending time with family and friends when she gets the chance.
Both courses in this pairing satisfy core requirements for all students.