Humanities Course Descriptions

Humanities I: The Greek Inheritance

(4 Credits during first year of studies)
A study of the origins of Western Civilization with particular attention given to Greek society as it emerged in creative defiance of the surrounding regions and established the cultural, political, and philosophical foundation of the West.  Central themes will include the tension between the individual and the community; the initial conception of the hero in eastern Mediterranean society; and the contrast in the founding myths of Hellenic and Hebraic societies.  Authors and texts include Homer, Herodotus, the Tragedians, Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, and Maccabees.

Humanities II: Roman & Early Christian Culture

(4 Credits during first year of studies)
A study of Rome’s unification of the Mediterranean and Europe, both by arms and by the spreading of Hellenistic culture, and of the rise of Christianity within the Roman Empire. In addition to reading primary texts from the period, students will consider the evaluations made by Edward Gibbon, John Henry Newman, and Christopher Dawson. Authors and texts include Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Livy, Horace, Seneca, Plutarch, Tacitus, Acts of the Apostles, St. Basil, and St. Augustine.

Humanities III: The Christian Civilization of Medieval Europe

(4 credits during second year of studies)
This class examines the ways in which Christianity conserved and reshaped the Empire of Rome upon the Truth about the human person seen in the light of the Incarnation and in meditation upon the mystery of the Trinity.  Text and authors include: St. Augustine, Boethius, St. Gregory the Great, the Rule of St. Benedict, Prudentius, Anglo-Saxon Poetry, the Cantar de Mio Cid, narratives of the Crusades, Hugh of St. Victor, Joinville, Guild Statutes, and Chaucer.

Humanities IV: Approaches to the Eternal City

(4 credits during second year of studies)
This class allows sophomores during their Rome semester to intensively study authors and works from a variety of periods that deepen their experience of Roman, Italian, and European culture.  Texts and authors include Livy, the Roman poets, The Epistles of St. Peter, Marcus Aurelius, Leo the Great, St. Francis of Assisi, Dante, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hilaire Belloc, Ezra Pound, and Romano Guardini.

Humanities V: Renaissance and Reformation

(4 Credits during third year of studies)
A study of Renaissance Humanism, the Protestant Reformation, and the redefinition and reconsideration of the old universals under a reinvigorated Catholic orthodoxy inspired by the Council of Trent.  Authors include: Petrarch, Pico della Mirandola, Machiavelli, Erasmus, St. Thomas More, Luther, Calvin, Montaigne, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, Shakespeare, Donne, the Metaphysical Poets, Corneille, and Calderon.

Humanities VI: Enlightenment and Revolution

(4 credits during third year of studies)
A study of the rise of modern secular ways of thinking in the Enlightenment and of the political and social revolutions following from them. Attention is given to the deepening psychological study of man and the triumph of classicism in style. Authors include: Descartes, Milton, Hobbes, Pascal, Molière, Racine, Bossuet, Leibniz, Locke, Voltaire, d’Alembert, Hume, Kant, Johnson, speeches and decrees from the French Revolution, Burke, Newman, Marx, and the First Vatican Council.

Humanities VII: American Studies

(4 credits during fourth year of studies)
A study of the tensions present in the Americas as new societies were created from a fragmenting European culture.  Particular attention is given to the symbolic and mythic understanding of the American Founding and the emergence of a distinctive American character.  Time is spent comparing the society that formed the United States of America with the cultures surrounding it in Canada and the Spanish-speaking Americas.  Texts and authors read include the Diaries of Columbus, the Puritans, Bl. Marie de l’Incarnation, The Jesuit Relations, the Federalist Papers, The Constitution, Francis Parkman, Tocqueville, Hawthorne, Melville, and Willa Cather.

Humanities VIII: The Modern Age

(4 credits during fourth year of studies)
A study of the culmination of the modern project, together with post-modern and Christian reactions to it. Authors and topics include: Nietzsche, Freud, Shaw, Chesterton, Husserl, Heidegger, St. Therese of Lisieux, Tolstoy, T.S. Eliot, the Second Vatican Council, Solzhenitsyn, MacIntyre, Rorty, Berry, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.