This Core/Christian History course will be taught by Dr. Bradford Littlejohn, and will run from April 10 through June 17. The syllabus can be viewed here.
Once upon a time, Protestants liked to take credit for the glories of the modern world: freedom, prosperity, civilization. As attitudes on modernity have soured, many have been quick to turn the narrative around and blame Protestantism for the licentiousness, greed, and exploitation that we see around us. Influential books by Catholic scholars have told a tale of a Reformation that disenchanted the cosmos, banished beauty and sacraments, and opened the door for rampant individualism. What is the true story? This course will offer students a fuller perspective on why the Reformation was necessary, what aspects of Christendom it did and did not seek to change, and the lasting legacy it left, both good and ill, for the world we live in today.
The course will be divided into two main sections. Part I, comprising the first six weeks, will focus chiefly on the Reformation itself, its protest against Rome, and the debate over seminal doctrines—with particular emphasis on developments often seen as having harmful unintended consequences in the modern world. Part II, comprising the last four weeks, will look more closely at certain downstream effects of the Reformation that are generally (though not unambiguously) recognized as positive achievements of modernity. The key texts for this course will be the Davenant Institute’s anthology, Reformation Theology, Paul Avis’s The Church in the Theology of the Reformers, and Alister McGrath’s history of Protestantism and the modern world, Christianity’s Dangerous Idea, supplemented with other excerpts.
Dr. Bradford Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the Founder and President of the Davenant Institute. He also works as a Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has taught for several institutions, including Moody Bible Institute-Spokane, Bethlehem College and Seminary, and Patrick Henry College. He is recognized as a leading scholar of the English theologian Richard Hooker and Has published and lectured extensively in the fields of Reformation history, Christian ethics, and political theology. He lives in Landrum, SC with his wife, Rachel, and four children. Follow him on Twitter at @WBLittlejohn.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2hr/wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion in the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register now to reserve your spot. The course will proceed contingent on sufficient enrollment; on rare occasions, a class has to be cancelled due to insufficient interest. Once the registration period closes, the class meeting time will be set on the basis of a poll of availability from registrants. In case of cancellation or scheduling conflicts, students will be eligible for a refund or a transfer to another course. Although a Bachelor’s degree is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.