The Big Picture Course Description and Video

(Literature) The Big Picture: Connecting the Dots in the Bible, the Church and Salvation History

Class dates: Thursdays, September 7 to December 7, 2017. No class November 23 for Thanksgiving.
Total classes: 13
Starting time: 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester Literature, Theology, or History
Fee: $175 if you register on or before July 15, 2016. $195 if you register after July 15 for all 13 classes.
Instructor: Kevin O’Brien
Course description:  Sometimes our faith seems like a series of disconnected rules or bits and pieces of things we’re told that don’t seem to fit together or make a lot of sense.  But every part of what we believe as Catholics is not only of one piece, a “seamless garment” theologically, but the vast story of man from the Bible through the years of the Early Church, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and Modern Times is a vast story written by a vast Storyteller.  This class will look at the Big Picture, especially the overall scope of Scripture, as well as at eternal themes that have run through literature and art through the ages.  The goal is to make sense of it all, and to see God’s great plan which includes both suffering and joy.
Course outline (week by week):
  1. Introduction
  2. From Alpha to Omega - What is History and Where is It Going? - Natural History, Human History, Salvation History
  3. Approaching God without Revelation: Plato and the Philosophers and Poets
  4. The Story of the Chosen People in the Old Testament - Revelation and Resistance
  5. Christ Answers the Mystery - Revelation and Resistance Continues
  6. The Early Church - Martyrs and Church Fathers
  7. The Dark Ages - Following the Light through Barbarism
  8. The Renaissance and the Reformation
  9. The Enlightenment and A World without God
  10. Perspectives on the Modern Problem
  11. The American Thing
  12. Prophecy
  13. Review and Conclusion
Course materials: The New Jerusalem Bible annotated, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton, The Great Heresies by Hilaire Belloc, and selections from The Ecumenic Age by Eric Voegelin, among other materials, all to be provided as pdf’s by the instructor.
Homework: Lots of in depth reading and short papers (graded by the instructor).  Expect to spend 3 to 4 hours outside of the classroom on homework per week.