SYLLABUS

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Western Cultural Tradition III and IV - Easter Term 1999

Arthur Madigan, S.J.

(madigan@bc.edu)

 

 

Texts

 

 

Students already possess The Catholic Study Bible. In addition, students should secure the following:

 

Augustine, Confessions, transl. F.J. Sheed (Hackett).

 

Dante, Inferno, transl. M. Musa (Penguin).

 

Shakespeare, King Richard II, ed. M. Clamp (Cambridge School Shakespeare).

 

Shakespeare, King Lear, ed. E. Bain, et al. (Cambridge School Shakespeare).

 

Shakespeare, The Tempest, ed. R. Gibson (Cambridge School Shakespeare).

 

Selections from Aquinas, Chaucer, the Council of Trent, etc., will be made available in xerox form at cost.

 

 

Grading formula

 

20% third draft of the quaestio on the good life.

40% other written assignments.

20% work in field of special expertise, along with journal.

20% end of term exercises.

 

Due dates for written assignments and memory assignments are listed on separate pages.

 

Written end of term exercise is currently set for Monday 10 May at 12:30 p.m.

 

Oral end of term exercises will be held during examination week.

 

Term grades may be adjusted to reflect class participation. This applies with particular emphasis to the part of the course concerned with Shakespeare.

 

 

Instructor's office is Carney 212. Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 2:30-3:30 p.m. and by appointment at times of mutual convenience. Instructor's office telephone is 552-3864 and is equipped with Voice Mail. His email address is: arthur.madigan@bc.edu

Western Cultural Tradition III and IV - Easter Term 1999

Course Requirements

 

1. Reading of assigned texts drawn from the Christian Scriptures or New Testament (including relevant explanatory material in The Catholic Study Bible), Augustine's Confessions, Dante's Inferno, Shakespeare's Richard II, King Lear, and Tempest, the Council of Trent's Decree on Justification, and selections from Thomas Aquinas, Chaucer, and other authors.

 

2. Familiarity with geographical and historical background relevant to these readings.

 

3. Specially attentive study of materials set for class discussion. Attentive study is shown by (i) intelligent and informed discussion in class; (ii) apposite use of these materials in written assignments; (iii) continued reflection on and integration of the materials as the term progresses.

 

4. An explication of a canto selected from Dante's Inferno. An explication is an intense, detailed, even exhaustive analysis of a relatively brief and self-contained text. It may be understood as an attempt to give a reader everything he or she might need to understand the text. It may also be understood as an attempt to squeeze every last bit of meaning from the text, but without adding anything to the text, without making the text say something other than it actually says. Explication is not a matter of recording "how this text affected me." It is rather a painstaking account of what is actually found in the text. An explication of a literary text typically (and artificially!) distinguishes between the factual or thought content of a text and the formal or stylistic aspects of the text. This explication of a canto from the Inferno will go through first and second drafts (03 February, 10 March).

 

5. A quaestio on the necessary and sufficient conditions for a good (happy, meaningful, successful, worthwhile) human life. The format of the quaestio will be that of the readings from St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae. The thesis or theses will be your own; and it will be up to you to provide arguments and evidence for your position. This quaestio on the good life will go through first, second, and third drafts (10 February, 17 March, 21 April).

 

6. Shorter written assignments (cf. Schedule of written assignments).

 

7. Work on Shakespeare. All members of the class will be responsible for memory and appropriate delivery of selected speeches from Shakespeare (cf. Shakespeare selections for memory and delivery in class). Each member of the class will be assigned specific responsibilities in the preparation and presentation of scenes from Richard II, King Lear, and The Tempest.

 

8. Work in a field of special expertise. Each member of the class is expected to develop special expertise in some aspect of the course, and to help his or her peers in this area. Students should keep a journal that focuses on their specialized investigations and their assistance to their peers. On Wednesday 28 April they should submit either this journal or a report based on it. They may submit supplementary reports covering work after that date.

 

9. End of term exercises, written and oral. Both written and oral exercises will test basic knowledge of (note well!) the year's readings as well as relevant background knowledge. The exercises will bear on both terms but will concentrate on the matter of the second term. The written end of term exercise is currently set for Monday 10 May at 12:30 p.m. Oral end of term exercises will be held during examination week.

 

Western Cultural Tradition III and IV - Easter Term 1999

Schedule of material to be discussed in class meetings (revised)

 

 

(01) 20 Jan Introduction

(02) 22 Jan Acts of the Apostles

(03) 25 Jan Gospel According to Mark

(04) 27 Jan Gospel According to Mark

(05) 29 Jan Brown, Introduction

(06) 01 Feb Letter to the Romans

(07) 03 Feb Letter to the Romans

(08) 05 Feb Aquinas on human fulfilment

(09) 08 Feb Gospel According to John

(10) 10 Feb Gospel According to John

(11) 12 Feb Development of Christian doctrine

(12) 15 Feb Augustine, Confessions

(13) 17 Feb Augustine, Confessions

(14) 19 Feb Augustine, Confessions

(15) 22 Feb Development of Christian doctrine

(16) 24 Feb Aquinas on sacred doctrine

(17) 26 Feb Aquinas on arguments for the existence of God

(18) 08 Mar Aquinas on human fulfilment

(19) 10 Mar Dante, Inferno

(20) 12 Mar Dante, Inferno

(21) 15 Mar Dante, Inferno

(22) 17 Mar Dante, Inferno

(23) 19 Mar Aquinas and Dante on human fulfilment

(24) 22 Mar Aquinas on property

(25) 24 Mar Aquinas on law

(26) 26 Mar Shakespeare, Richard II

(27) 29 Mar Shakespeare, Richard II

(28) 31 Mar Shakespeare, Richard II

(29) 07 Apr Luther on justification

(31) 09 Apr Shakespeare, King Lear

(31) 12 Apr Shakespeare, King Lear

(32) 14 Apr Shakespeare, King Lear

(33) 16 Apr Council of Trent on justification

(34) 21 Apr Council of Trent on justification

(35) 23 Apr Shakespeare, Tempest

(36) 26 Apr Shakespeare, Tempest

(37) 28 Apr Shakespeare, Tempest

(38) 30 Apr Varia

(39) 03 May Varia

 

Western Cultural Tradition III and IV - Easter Term 1999

Schedule of written assignments

 

 

22 January Précis of Schuyler Brown, "Tell Me the Gospel Truth."

 

27 January Reflection paper on Augustine's conversions.

 

03 February First draft of explication of a canto from the Inferno.

 

10 February First draft of quaestio on the good life.

 

17 February Thesis / argument on law in Aquinas.

 

24 February Reflection paper on Wife of Bath's Tale.

 

04 March Vacat.

 

10 March Second draft of explication of a canto from the Inferno.

 

17 March Second draft of quaestio on the good life.

 

24 March Thesis / argument on property in Aquinas.

 

31 March Getting acquainted paper on Erasmus or Thomas More.

 

07 April Reflection paper on a Reformation text.

 

14 April Vacat.

 

21 April Third draft of quaestio on the good life.

 

28 April Journals or reports due.

 

 

The written end of term exercise is currently set for Monday 10 May at 12:30 p.m.

 

Western Cultural Tradition III and IV - Easter Term 1999

Shakespeare selections for memory and delivery in class

 

 

 

Monday 25 January Richard II, IV.i.200-205

 

Monday 01 February Richard II, IV.i.200-214

 

Monday 08 February Richard II, IV.i.200-221

 

Monday 15 February King Lear, I.i.97-102 or I.i.252-257

 

Monday 22 February King Lear, I.i.97-109 or I.i.252-263

 

Monday 01 March Vacat

 

Monday 08 March Repetition

 

Monday 15 March King Lear, IV.i.31-37

 

Monday 22 March King Lear, V.iii.8-19

 

Monday 29 March King Lear, V.iii.318-328

 

Monday 05 April Vacat

 

Monday 12 April The Tempest, IV.i.146-163

 

Monday 19 April Vacat

 

Monday 26 April The Tempest, Epilogue 1-20

Western Cultural Tradition III and IV - Easter Term 1999

 

Proposal re. committee assignments and areas of special expertise

 

 

The quantity of the material to be studied this term suggests that we consider modes of cooperative learning and mutual intellectual support. The different kinds of readings and activities scheduled for the term open up the possibility that each member of the group may find an area of particular interest in which to develop a special expertise. In the best case, these individual interests and competencies will complement one another, so that each member of the group will help the other members and be helped by them.

 

As I see it, the work of the term falls into seven main areas, and I propose the creation of a committee for each area.

 

 

New Testament (Acts, Mark, Romans, John)

 

The developing Christian movement (creeds, councils, Augustine)

 

Aquinas

 

Dante

 

Shakespeare (Richard II, King Lear, Tempest)

 

Reformation (Luther, Council of Trent)

 

Peer support (writing, speaking, initiation of new members)

 

 

This committee work can be covered in a number of different ways. Perhaps exactly two members of the group will pick each of the seven committees above. Or perhaps each member might have two committee assignments; this would make it easier for each member to serve on the committee of his or her first choice, while assuring that all areas are covered. Or perhaps the list of proposed committees should be modified. The essential points are that all areas be covered, that the basic work load be roughly equal, and that each member have the opportunity to work in an area of interest.

 

The beadles are entrusted with responsibility for working out the arrangements for committees and committee assignments. Time will be allotted for discussion of these arrangements in the meetings of 29 January and 5 February. My hope would be to finalize the arrangements by 10 February.