GOD'S SACRED EARTH (STSP-4820)
Eastern Christian Perspectives on Creation and Anthropology
Eastern Christians have developed theological understandings and spiritual practices expressing the sacred dimension of creation. Their worldview begins with God as Creator and culminates with the restoration and transfiguration of the entire cosmos. Today’s worsening ecological and social situations are viewed as tragic manifestations of the shattered relationship between God, humans, and creation. Through its characteristic ascetical, liturgical, and mystical experiences, Eastern Christianity can suggest steps toward reconciliation, healing, and transfiguration.
Using a combination of liturgical, patristic, and modern texts, this course will explore how the Eastern Christian Churches understand creation and the human person. Beginning with early theological interpretations of the Genesis creation narratives, the class will consider spiritualities of daily living that seek to restore healthy connections between God, humans, and creation. Students will discuss how modern Eastern Christian writers address today’s environmental crises and societal challenges.
This course is designed for Masters students who are interested in looking at the environment and humans through the lens of Eastern Christianity’s theological vision and lived spirituality. It will introduce significant early theologians and modern Eastern Christian theological writers and scholars from a variety of places. The course will be taught in seminar format with occasional lectures. Students will write short weekly reflections (2 pages), 2 short research papers (5-8 pages), and a final synthetic paper (12-15 pages).