(Literature) Conversion of Mind and Heart
Class dates: Thursdays, September 7 to December 7, 2017. No class November 23 for Thanksgiving.
Total classes: 13
Starting time: 11:00 AM Eastern (10:00 Central; 9:00 Mountain; 8:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester Literature, Theology, or Philosophy
Fee: $175 if you register on or before July 15, 2017. $195 if you register after July 15 for all 13 classes ($215 after Aug. 30).
Instructor: Kevin O’Brien
Course description: Conversion is at the center of Christ’s call to each of us. It is a lifelong process that begins when we turn toward our Lord and away from sin, but it is an ongoing process, one that is renewed each day, and that requires a lifetime of humility and struggle. And yet we hear very little about conversion in the modern Church, about repenting and seeking the grace of sanctification, of being made holy, of approaching perfection or “maturity in Christ”. What is the essence of conversion and how can we live it out? We will examine the literature of conversion in this class - using examples from Scripture (especially St. Paul), from Greek philosophy, from St. Augustine’s Confessions, as well as selections from Dante’s Divine Comedy, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by the Pearl Poet, along with more modern works on conversion, from GK Chesterton’s autobiography to Bl. John Henry Newman’s Sermons, to Orestes Brownson’s The Convert and more!
Course outline (week by week):
- Conversion in Plato: Turning toward Truth
- Encountering God in the Old Testament
- Conversion in the New Testament: St. Paul
- Resistance to Conversion - the Central Problem
- Selections from Augustine’s Confessions
- Conversion in the Middle Ages: Selections from The Divine Comedy and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- Bl. John Henry Newman and The Christian Struggle
- Conversion in the New World: Orestes Brownson’s The Convert
- The Conversion of GK Chesterton and Other Modern Figures
- Inversion: the Poison of Sin - Gollum in The Lord of the Rings as an Illustration of “Reverse Conversion”.
- Conversion in Modern Literature - the play The Call and others.
- Review and Conlusion
Course materials: Selections from Plato, The Bible (comparing various translations), The Divine Comedy, Confessions, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Autobiography of GK Chesterton, The Convert, selections from Chesterton and The Call - all provided by the instructor as pdf’s.