Friday, 3 August 2012

New Spring Course

For spring 2013, I am thinking about offering a new course at UTC. Which of the following sounds the most interesting?

The Faiths of the Founding Fathers

Jonathan Edwards

World Christianity

All three courses would be new to me, meaning that I would need to develop lectures and design a syllabus. In terms of knowledge, the easiest to design for me would be a course on Jonathan Edwards. I am sure that there would be plenty of material on Edwards. There is a new book out by Michael McClymond and Gerald McDermott on Jonathan Edwards's theology and there is a very inexpensive anthology that I could use entitled, A Jonathan Edwards Reader. But would undergraduates at a regional state school want to take an elective course on such a specific person?

For "The Faiths of the Founding Fathers," we would look at the various religious beliefs of America's Founders, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and John Witherspoon. I would be somewhat familiar with most of the material in designing this course.

The last option would be the most difficult for me: a course on World Christianity. But, it could be the most appealing to students, given the current interest in that topic. I see lots of faculty job ads for specialists on World Christianity and so it may be a good idea to add a course like this on the cv.

Let me know what you think.


Brian said...

These days, I think "Faiths of the Founding Fathers" would be incredibly popular.

I agree with you: "World Christianity" would probably be a bigger draw, but harder to prepare for.

I would also personally lean toward the Jonathan Edwards course, but I agree that it might be difficult to drum up support. What about combining some of the ideas and marketing strengths from the other courses, while still focusing on Edwards. Something like, "Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and their World"??? Marsden's "A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards" would be a great starting point for this

Exploring the Study of Religious History said...

Those are good suggestions Brian. Perhaps a combined course would work.