St

St. Elias School of Orthodox Theology

http://www.st-elias-edu.us/

Department of Philosophy

 

M. Rev. Prof. Mar Melchizedek, D.D., Th.D., Ph.D.

Chancellor

 

Prof. Edward Moore, S.T.L., Ph.D.

Dean

 

 

Doctorate of Philosophy in Patristic Studies

Course of Study

 

Introduction

These Courses of Study, consisting of four Series of two Modules each, are designed for the post-Master’s level student who desires a challenging program of research leading up to the composition of a Dissertation.  The student who enters this program is required to choose at least one Series of Modules from the list below, based upon his or her research interests.  Please keep in mind that the student may choose to complete more than one Series as preparation for the Dissertation, depending on the intended scope of the Dissertation.

            Once the student has decided on a Series, he or she is to contact the Dean of the Philosophy Department for consultation and approval.  In the case of the student who has already done significant work in a particular area of Patrology, and therefore wishes to proceed directly to the Dissertation, the submission of a portfolio or list of accessible publications will be required before permission to begin writing the Dissertation is granted.  Please contact the Dean for more information. 

            Note that the Required Reading lists are not exclusive: the student is strongly encouraged to develop a bibliography consisting of both primary and secondary works selected by him/herself during the research process.    

            Information on the guidelines for writing Research Papers and Book Reviews are given below.

 

SERIES 1: The Philosophical Background of the Fathers

The student who succcessfully completes this series of Modules will gain expertise in the various philosophical and esoteric currents dominant before and during the Patristic era, and which had an undeniable influence on the thought of the Fathers. 

 

MODULE 1-A: Christianity and Greek Philosophy (Part I)

The first Module in this series focuses on the Classical and Early Hellenistic Greek philosophical tradition, with which many of the Church Fathers were familiar.  The figures and schools to be studied include Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Pythagoreans, and others. 

 

Successful completion of this Module requires one Research Paper (minimum 15 pages) and one Book Review (3-5 pages).

 

Required Reading:

Aristotle, Metaphysics, De Anima (“On the Soul”).

 

Cornford, F.M., Plato’s Cosmology: The Timaeus of Plato (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill 1937).

 

Grube, G.M.A., Plato’s Thought (Indianapolis: Hackett 1980).

 

Hatch, E., The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity (New York: Harper and Row 1957).

 

Jaeger, W., Aristotle: Fundamentals of the History of His Development, second edition (New York: Oxford University Press 1948).

 

_____, The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers (New York: Oxford University Press 1967). 

 

Plato, Timaeus, Phaedrus.

 

Zeller, E., Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy (New York: Meridian 1960).  Sections 1-77.

 

MODULE 1-B: Christianity and Greek Philosophy (Part II)

This Module will focus on Hellenic philosophy in the Roman era, when Christianity gradually emerged as a strong contender among the various philosophical and mystery schools struggling to gain adherents.  Attention will be given to philosophy from the period shortly before the birth of Christianity, up to the end of the Roman era.

 

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Module I-A.

 

Successful completion of this Module requires one Research Paper (minimum 15 pages) and one Book Review (3-5 pages).

 

Required Reading:

Copenhaver, B. P., Hermetica (New York: Cambridge University Press 1992).  Introduction, Corpus Hermeticum I, and Asclepius.

 

Dillon, J.; Gerson, L.P. (ed.), Neoplatonic Philosophy: Introductory Readings (Indianapolis: Hackett 2004).

 

Jaeger, W.,  Early Christianity and Greek Paideia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1961).

 

Mead, G.R.S. (tr.), The Chaldean Oracles (Montana: Kessinger, undated reprint).

 

Philo of Alexandria, De Opificio Mundi (“On the Creation”).

 

Zeller, E., Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy (New York: Meridian 1960).  Sections 78-95.

 

SERIES 2: Early Christian Thinking

The earliest Christian writers were not theologians, but pastoral counselors, apologists, preachers and visionaries.  Theology is properly defined as the systematic approach to the fundamental questions of a religion, and hence, involves the formulation of dogma.  The first thinkers to attempt a systematic account of Christianity were Gnostics. 

 

MODULE 2-A: The Birth of Christian Theology (Part I)

In the first module of this series the student will become familiar with the contours of early Christian thought and with the theological problems that arose from Gnostic speculation.  The earliest responses to Gnosticism will also be a topic of consideration. 

 

Successful completion of this Module requires one Research Paper (minimum 15 pages) and one Book Review (3-5 pages).

 

Required Reading 

Ehrman, B.D., The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader (New York: Oxford University Press 1998).

 

Kelly, J.N.D., Early Christian Doctrines, revised edition (San Francisco: Harper and Row 1960, 1978).  Part I, Chapter 1.

 

Layton, B., The Gnostic Scriptures (New York: Doubleday 1987).

 

Pagels, E., The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International 1975).

 

Placher, W.C., A History of Christian Theology: An Introduction (Philadelphia: Westminster Press 1983).  Chapters 3, 4.

 

Schmemann, A., The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, tr. L.W. Kesich (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1977).  Chapter 1.

 

Stevenson, J. (ed.), A New Eusebius: Documents Illustrative of the History of the Church to A.D. 337 (London: S.P.C.K 1957, 1980).  Excerpts 1-174 (pp. 1-201). 

           

MODULE 2-B: The Birth of Christian Theology (Part II)

This Module focuses mainly on Origen and his immediate successors.  The purpose of this Module is to familiarize the student with the first philosophically systematic effort to provide a firm intellectual foundation for the development of Christian dogma, and to give him or her a basic grasp of the intellectual climate of the era.

 

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Module II-A.

 

Successful completion of this Module requires one Research Paper (minimum 15 pages) and one Book Review (3-5 pages).

 

Required Reading 

Eusebius, The History of the Church, revised edition, tr. Williamson, G.A. (New York: Penguin Classics 1965, 1989).  Book 6.

 

Kelly, J.N.D., Early Christian Doctrines, revised edition (San Francisco: Harper and Row 1960, 1978).  Part II, Chapter 5.

 

Origen, Commentary on John, tr. Menzies, A. (The Ante-Nicene Fathers 10; Michigan: Eerdmans 1978, reprint).

 

_____, De Principiis (“On First Principles”), tr. Butterworth, G.W. (New York: Harper and Row 1966).

 

Placher, W.C., A History of Christian Theology: An Introduction (Philadelphia: Westminster Press 1983).  Chapter 5.

 

SERIES 3: The Age of the Councils

The period between the First Oecumenical Council and the Seventh is often considered by scholars as the ‘Golden Age’ of Patristic thought. 

 

MODULE 3-A: The Nicene Orthodoxy and its Aftermath

This Module focuses on the debates leading up to the establishment of Nicene Orthodoxy at the First Oecumenical Council, and on the immediate ramifications of that Creed for Christian theology.  Special emphasis will be placed on Christology and Trinitarian doctrine. 

 

Successful completion of this Module requires one Research Paper (minimum 15 pages) and one Book Review (3-5 pages).

 

Required Reading 

Athanasius, De Incarnatione Verbi Dei (“On the Incarnation of the Divine Word”).

 

Kelly, J.N.D., Early Christian Doctrines, revised edition (San Francisco: Harper and Row 1960, 1978).  Part III, Chapters 9 and 10.

 

Placher, W.C., A History of Christian Theology: An Introduction (Philadelphia: Westminster Press 1983).  Chapters 6 and 7.

 

Prestige, G.L., God in Patristic Thought (London: S.P.C.K 1952).

 

Schmemann, A., The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, tr. L.W. Kesich (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1977).  Chapter 2.

 

MODULE 3-B: The Call to Philosophy

In this Module the student will focus on the philosophical problems spawned by the Nicene Creed and the manner in which the Church Fathers identified and dealt with the various heresies of theologians like Arius, Eunomius, and others.

 

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Module 3-A.

 

Successful completion of this Module requires one Research Paper (minimum 15 pages) and one Book Review (3-5 pages).

 

Required Reading 

Basil, De Spiritu Sancto (“On the Holy Spirit”).

 

Hardy, E.R. (ed.), Christology of the Later Fathers (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press 1954).

 

Kelly, J.N.D., Early Christian Doctrines, revised edition (San Francisco: Harper and Row 1960, 1978).  Part III, Chapters 11-16.

 

Pelikan, J., Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism (New Haven: Yale University Press 1993).

 

Schmemann, A., The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, tr. L.W. Kesich (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1977).  Chapter 3.

 

SERIES 4: The Byzantine Era

In this series of modules the student is offered the opportunity to become familiar with the Christian philosophy and theology of the Byzantine era, usually identified by historians of ideas as beginning with the closing of the pagan philosophical Academy by the Emperor Justinian in 529 A.D., and ending with the fall of Byzantium to the Turks in the late 15th century.

 

MODULE 4-A: The Codification of Dogma

This Module begins with a consideration of the revision of the prominent Origenistic theology undertaked by Maximus the Confessor, and ends with an examination of the codification of Christian doctrine in the writings of John of Damascus.  The student is also invited to examine the Christological implications of the Iconoclast Controversy.

 

Required Reading 

Balthasar, H. U. von, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor, tr. B.E. Daley (San Francisco: Ignatius Press 2003).

 

John of Damascus, The Fountain of Wisdom.

 

Pelikan, J., The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, vol. 2: “The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700)” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1974). Chapters 1-4.

 

Schmemann, A., The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, tr. L.W. Kesich (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1977).  Chapter 4.

 

Tatakis, B., Byzantine Philosophy, tr. N.J. Moutafakis (Indianapolis: Hackett 2003). Chapters 1, 2, and 3.

 

MODULE 4-B: Mysticism, Humanism, and the End of Byzantium

This Module focuses on two dominant themes in later Byzantium, i.e., the rise of humanism in the works of Michael Psellus and, and the mysticism of Gregory Palamas and his followers.  Attention will also be given to the re-emergence of Hellenism and the beginning of the Renaissance era in the work of Gemistus Plethon.

 

Required Reading 

Meyendorff, J., St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1997).

 

Pelikan, J., The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, vol. 2: “The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700)” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1974). Chapters 5 and 6.

 

Schmemann, A., The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, tr. L.W. Kesich (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1977).  Chapter 5 and 6.

 

Tatakis, B., Byzantine Philosophy, tr. N.J. Moutafakis (Indianapolis: Hackett 2003). Chapters 4, 5, and 6.

 

Woodhouse, C.M., Gemistos Plethon: The Last of the Hellenes (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1986).

 

Guidelines

 

Research Papers

The guidelines for Research Papers are the same as in the Theology Department.  Please consult your Study Binder for formatting instructions, etc.  Each Series requires one Research Paper per Module.

 

Book Reviews

A Book Review is a short critical notice on a selected book from the Required Reading list of the appopriate Module, 3-5 pages in length.  The purpose of a Book Review is to briefly summarize the main argument of the book, and offer a critique of the argument and its conclusion.  In the case of lengthier volumes, the student is permitted to focus on a specific chapter or chapters.  Each Series requires one Book Review per Module.

 

 

 

 

©2004 St. Elias School of Orthodox Theology

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