Introduction to Patristics

Course Code PS151

This course is dedicated to familiarising students with the fathers (using traditional classifications) and to introduce patristic thought. Special care is taken to display a wide variety of texts and forms of patristic literature, highlighting characteristics and features.

Alexandrian school

Course Code PS330

This unit looks at the main characteristics and contents of the writings of key figures of the Catechetical school of Alexandria – Clement, Origen, Athanasius, Cyril and Didymus. Works selected for the course are varied in style and genre, mostly theological texts that pertain to the historical development of theology, and other pieces on Scriptural exegesis.

(pre-requisites – ST151, PS151)  

Apostolic and apologetic fathers

Course Code PS340

A journey of discovery of the world of second century Christianity, exploring the epistolary and other writings, most notable figures amongst the Apostolic fathers and the early apologists in light of their contexts. Controversial theological issues of the era such as canonicity and Apocryphal writings will also be dealt with.

(pre-requisites – BT171, PS151)  

Cappadocian fathers

Course Code PS350

A presentation of the three fathers through a combination of history and analysis of diverse selected texts. Special emphasis is placed on their theological contributions, pastoral works and individual influences on Christian thought.

(pre-requisites – ST151, PS151, BT151, BT171)  

Syrian fathers

Course Code PS360

A class that examines a variety of the Syrian fathers’ literary works from ascetic and spiritual writings to poetry and Biblical exegesis.

(pre-requisites – BT151, BT171, PS151)  

Desert fathers

Course Code PS370

This course introduces the students to the most prominent figures of monastic life, their literary works and ascetic theology. Students will also learn about life and practises at the various monastic communities. Key spiritual theological themes will be presented through the writings of the desert fathers.

(pre-requisites – ST151, PS151, OS151)  

Latin/western fathers

Course Code P380

A critical study of Christianity in the West, analysing the theological, apologetic and philosophical writings of five of the prominent Latin fathers in addition to their Biblical commentaries/homilies.

(pre-requisites – ST151, PS151, BT151, BT171, PS330)  

Later oriental patristics

Course Code PS390

This course aims to shine the light on the post-Chalcedonian oriental figures, especially the Copts who wrote in Arabic. The unit will introduce their literary style and main works but most importantly it will demonstrate to the students the continuity and oneness of theological thought in the Coptic Church by displaying the connection and influence of the earlier great fathers of Alexandria on the persons living in these later centuries.

(pre-requisites – ST151, ST300, PS151, PS330)  

Patristic theology

Course Code PS450

The development of Christian thought about the Almighty, the story of man and his relationship with God are the main premises of this uniquely specialised and highly concentrated study. Some minor themes involved are Scripture, tradition and views on Liturgical worship. The approach of this unit is a comparative theological study that examines a list of critical doctrinal issues in the writings of seven crucial fathers in the Catholic (Universal) Church. This unit will rely on a lot of reading and research work.

(pre-requisites – ST151, ST300, ST333, ST350, PS151, PS330, PS350, PS380)  

Patristic exegesis

Course Code PS480

Contrary to what many would be inclined to think about the academic orientation and nature of this course, the actual main question that is explored is how did the fathers of the Church understand and live by Holy Scripture? The main components of this unit are reading and understanding the Bible in the Orthodox Church, the schools/methodologies of patristic exegesis/hermeneutics, the fathers’ use/interpretation of Scripture to explain theology and the relevance of these interpretations today. Special attention will be paid to the fathers of Alexandria.

(pre-requisites – ST151, ST300, PS151, PS330, PS350, PS360, PS380, BT151, BT171)