In Semitic languages the words for source and eye are closely related. By studying the sources, we enter into a relationship with tradition, becoming a constitutive part of it. We learn to “see” together with our spiritual fathers and mothers. According to this approach, tradition is not seen as an all-encompassing holistic vision, nor as an object to be studied from without by a detached observer, but rather as something to be learned ‘from within’. An inside perspective, however, is not necessarily at odds with the scientific method – rather, the scientific method reinforces this sense of vision. For those who partake in tradition, the academic study of the sources of the faith becomes a fundamental part of their Christian formation.
The course requires a certain proficiency in academic reading although the pace of study is comparatively low compared to university studies.
The course is designed to be modular, which means that the modules can be taken in any order, or even separately. Each module is one semester long.
The course consists of the following modules:
This module introduces students to the history, theology and spirituality of the Church Fathers, with a focus on organizing them thematically and chronologically. It deals with the dynamic nature of theology, emphasizing that the theological task is never complete, and that every generation of Christians must take responsibility for, and continually develop, their theological thinking. This module will be offered during autumn 2020.
This module focuses on the Orthodox understanding of the Church as a concept, and how it is realized in practice. It provides an overview of canon law with an emphasis on the early councils, as well as principles of Church organization, both locally and between jurisdictions. This module will be offered during spring 2021.
This module deals with liturgy as theology. Students learn the principles of liturgical theology, what liturgy is in relation to the Church, as well as acquiring an overview of how the liturgies developed in the Syriac, Coptic and Byzantine Orthodox Churches. This module will be offered during autumn 2021.
This module traces the historical development of Orthodox Churches throughout the ages. Students acquire an overview of Syriac, Coptic and Byzantine Church history, with an emphasis on the influence that the council of Chalcedon, Islam, the Ottoman Empire and Communism have had on their development. This module will be offered during spring 2022.
The Apostolic Scriptures
This module explores the Bible and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, as well as how the Church Fathers approached and interpreted Biblical texts. Students will familiarize themselves with the Greek and Syriac canons as well as the texts of the Apostolic Fathers. This module will be offered during autumn 2022.