Core Texts

Second Biennial Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition Conference

Martin Luther Nailing the 95 Theses to the Door

Teaching the Reformations

Samford University
Birmingham, AL • October 6-8, 2016

In anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Samford University hosted its second biennial TCIT conference, “Teaching the Reformations.” Faculty from across the disciplines convened to discuss the varied and contested legacies of this rich period in Christian intellectual history, cultivating a deeper understanding of how to bring those legacies alive for a new generation of students.

View Conference Program

Speakers

R. Ward Holder

R. Ward Holder

"The Reformers and Tradition: Seeing the Roots of a Problem"

R. Ward Holder is a historical theologian and professor of theology at Saint Anselm College. Across his career, he has examined the era of the Reformations, the work of John Calvin, political theology, and how various faith communities ground their truth claims. Among other works, he has authored John Calvin and the Grounding of Interpretation: Calvin’s First Commentaries (Brill, 2006), and Crisis and Renewal: The Era of the Reformations (Westminster John Knox, 2009), and he has edited Reformation Readings of Romans, with Kathy Ehrensperger (T. & T. Clark 2008), A Companion to Paul in the Reformation (Brill, 2009), The Westminster Handbook to Theologies of the Reformation (Westminster John Knox, 2011), and Calvin and Luther: The Continuing Relationship (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013). His current work focuses on Calvin’s use of the theological tradition as a source for his own doctrinal formulations.

Watch Plenary Address

G. Sujin Pak

G. Sujin Pak

"The Protestant Reformers and the Jews"

Dr. G. Sujin Pak served as Associate Dean of Academic Programs at Duke Divinity School from 2012-15 and is a faculty member in the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School. She specializes in the history of Christianity in late medieval and early modern Europe. Her teaching, research and writing focus upon the theology of the Protestant reformers, the Protestant Reformation and the Jews, women and the Reformation, and the history of biblical interpretation. Professor Pak is the author of The Judaizing Calvin: Sixteenth-Century Debates over the Messianic Psalms (Oxford, 2010) and several articles in journals such as Church History, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Church History and Religious Culture, and Calvin Theological Journal. Her current research project studies the shifting views of prophecy and uses of Old Testament prophecy in the Reformation era.

Watch Plenary Address

Proceedings

Conference proceedings were published in partnership with Religions, a peer-reviewed, open access journal of theology devoted to the interdisciplinary study of religions. The proceedings appeared as both a special issue of the journal and a printed volume.

Conference Co-Chairs

Bryan Johnson, Director of the University Fellows Program
Chris Metress, Associate Provost for Academics

Conference Coordinator

Stone Hendrickson (Samford University Fellow and English/Classics Double Major)

Current Faculty+

Office Coordinator: Cameron Barnes, cbarnes1@samford.edu, Phone: 2071

All phone numbers begin with 205-726.

Instructor Email Address Phone Number
Carlos Aleman caleman@samford.edu  
Mark Baggett jmbagget@samford.edu 2309
Lisa Battaglia lbattagl@samford.edu  
Nancy Biggio ncbiggio@samford.edu 4267
Millicent Bolden mabolden@samford.edu 4202
Paul Cha scha@samford.edu   4006
David Chapman dwchapma@samford.edu 2771
Doug Clapp dcclapp@samford.edu 4234
William Collins wpcollin@samford.edu   2765
Brad Creed jbcreed@samford.edu 2718
Carol Ann Vaughn Cross cavaughn@samford.edu 4226
Sonya Davis sbdavis@samford.edu  
Steven Epley ssepley@samford.edu 2463
Angela Ferguson adfergus@samford.edu 4041
Rosemary Fisk rmfisk@samford.edu 2995
Kathy Flowers kflowers@samford.edu 4035
Shannon Flynt srflynt@samford.edu 2551
Mark Gignilliat msgignil@samford.edu 4123
Joshua Hall    
Allison Hepola ahepola@samford.edu 2625
Jane Hiles njhiles@samford.edu 2039
Matt Kerlin mskerlin@samford.edu 2825
Ken Kirby rkkirby@samford.edu 4033
Keya Kraft kkraft@samford.edu 2949
Brickey LeQuire pblequire@gmail.com  
John Mayfield jrmayfie@samford.edu 2372
Mary McCullough memccull@samford.edu 2122
Scott McGinnis tsmcginn@samford.edu 4260
John Mitcham jmitcham@samford.edu 2858
Andy Montgomery pamontgo@samford.edu 4319
Keith Putt bkputt@samford.edu 4264
Bridget Rose bcrose@samford.edu 2229
Lynette Sandley lmsandle@samford.edu 4046
Dennis Sansom dlsansom@samford.edu 2839
Jennifer Speights-Binet jspeigh@samford.edu 2344
Julie Steward jsstewar@samford.edu 2035
Delane Tew ctew@samford.edu 4194
Randy Todd srtodd@samford.edu 2609
Jason Wallace wjwallac@samford.edu 4178

Events+

Between Jerusalem and Athens

Annual fall presentation about the theological and philosophical intersection of the Classical and Christian worlds. To be hosted late September or early October. Convo credit provided.

Past Presentations

  • Hungry and Curious: On the Ordering of Desire and the Christian Life of the Mind, Dr. Mark Gignilliat
  • Augustine and the Christian Intellectual Tradition, Dr. Peter Kaufman

The Winter Reformation Debate

Each February two professors, or sometimes guest speakers, debate or discuss a significant topic related to the theological issues surrounding the Protestant Reformation. Convo credit offered.

Making Sense of Modernity

In April, the Core Texts Program hosts a talk addressing theological and philosophical issues relevant to the modern and post-modern period. Convo credit offered.

Past Presentations

  • The Roots and Internal Conflicts of Our Secular Age, Dr. Dennis Sansom

For Faculty+

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to chosen ignorance.
Confucius
Inquiry, Discussion, Faith, Reason. You, Samford's Core Texts Faculty, keep the venerable tradition of the humanitas and the bonae litterae alive in a time when higher education is defined by professional specialization, identity politics, and budget cuts. You provide the conversation educated persons must have to reflect on human nature, the natural world, religion, and political community. Whether you realize it or not, you often hold a place of authority in our student's lives comparable to their families and their faith communities. The Core Texts Program values your training and your commitment. Your disciplinary focus and intellectual curiosity make interdisciplinary connections possible. As you plan your academic year please browse our faculty development opportunities and think about where you want to join in. Note in particular that each spring we will put together a cohort to attend the annual meeting of the Association of Core Texts and Courses. Also, take a look at our database of teaching resources that might be of help as you build your syllabi. Finally, keep in mind we will have our fall faculty meeting in September, and our spring faculty meeting in February.

Faculty Development Opportunities

Faculty Great Ideas Summer Institute

(Co-hosted with University Fellows): Every June.

Summer Reading

Each summer Core Texts will supply interested faculty with a work of secondary scholarship on themes and ideas related to the program. In September, Core Texts will host a private dinner at an off-campus restaurant for an in-depth discussion of the work.

ACTC National Conference

Each spring Core Texts will sponsor faculty presenting at the annual conference for the Association of Core Texts and Curriculum.

Teaching Resources

Textbook Orders

Textbook Order Form

ACTC

Association of Core Texts and Courses

Student Teaching Assistants

The Core Texts Program is devising a system of student mentoring that utilizes talented upper division students in Humanities majors to assist faculty and first-year students as tutors and discussion leaders. These assistants will represent the best of their majors, and they will help our freshman adjust to the "great conversation" of the Core Texts Program
There is no truth which the history of the ages more clearly demonstrates than this: education unaccompanied by correct moral and religious principle is deficient in its most important element. It will not be denied that the natural tendency of purely intellectual cultivation is favorable to morality. Knowledge gravitates towards virtue as certainly as the planet to the sun.
Samuel Sterling Sherman, First President of Howard College

Essays

Below are a collection of essays from faculty who teach in Samford's Core Texts Program. These writings demonstrate how critical reflection on core texts and ideas enhance our understanding of ourselves and the times in which we live.

  • Beyond Genetic Determinism, by David W. Chapman, Ph.D.
  • Making Sense of Modernity, by Dennis Sansom, Ph.D.
 

For Parents+

A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the unsolved ones.
Abraham Lincoln

Inquiry, Discussion, Faith, and Reason. They reveal what make us human, and they distinguish the Samford Core Texts Program from other college experiences. From its earliest inception higher education pursued questions and answers that transmitted values from one generation to the next. Many contemporary college and university curriculums neglect this pursuit. Samford's Core Texts Program gives it primacy of place. We equip our students with an intellectual narrative that will help them navigate the modern world's complicated marketplace of ideas. Our curriculum emphasizes the Western intellectual tradition and Christian intellectual tradition, but it also includes important voices from non-Western cultures. We cherish the great writers and thinkers of the past, yet we also recognize that their wisdom must constantly be translated for a new generation.

Benefits

As you survey your child's choices for their higher degree consider what Samford's Core Texts Program offers:
  • An entire academic year studying great works of literature, philosophy, history, and theology
  • Small conversational class sizes
  • Published professors who model the writing and reasoning skills they are teaching
  • Study abroad opportunities in Athens, Rome, and London
  • Public events reflecting the themes of the program
  • The belief that education is fundamentally relational, and as such, involves trust.

You have already invested so much to bring your child to this point in their lives--not just financially, but intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally as well. We understand the late night worries about their future, the hours spent watching them play, study, practice, and grow, the pride felt with their triumphs and the heartbreak with their disappointment. We know you have dreams for them. We take them, and their future, as seriously as you do.

Unique Opportunities for Students

The Core Texts Program offers a number of opportunities that encourage student intellectual development in their first year of college:

London Core Texts

Each fall faculty nominate the top students from their classes to participate in the London Core Texts Program held every May at the conclusion of Spring semester. This unique two week experience allows talented and ambitious students an opportunity to study important authors and see famous sites from English history and literature while staying at Samford University's London residence, The Daniel House.

Classics Trips to Athens and Rome

The Core Texts Program helps to identify and encourage first-year students who would like to participate in the Classics Department trips to Athens and Rome. Each January the Classics Department annually alternates a spectacular three week educational experience in Greece and Italy where students can experience the cultures that gave us the foundational literature of Western civilization.

Student Teaching Assistants

The Core Texts Program is devising a system of student mentoring that utilizes talented upper division students in Humanities majors to assist faculty and first-year students as tutors and discussion leaders. These assistants will represent the best of their majors, and they will help our freshman adjust to the "great conversation" of the Core Texts Program.

Core Texts Debates/Discussions

The Core Texts Program sponsors three events through the academic year where students witness first-hand a debate or discussion relevant to themes covered in the course: Between Jerusalem and Athens is an annual fall presentation about the theological and philosophical intersection of the Classical and Christian worlds. The Winter Reformation Debate hosted each February covers a significant topic related to the theological issues surrounding the Protestant Reformation. Making Sense of Modernity held each April addressing theological and philosophical issues relevant to the modern and post-modern period.

Student Paper Award

Each academic year faculty nominate student papers to be considered for the award of best Core Texts Student Paper of The Year. First, second, and third place winners are recognized with a cash prize presented at a spring reception at the president's house.

Is Your Child Ready?

The short answer is yes. For centuries reading great works of literature, history, philosophy, and theology served as an initiation into the life of a mature educated person. The mind and the soul were believed to share a relationship, and curriculums were designed to cultivate the moral reasoning skills required of civilized people. In recent decades universities have largely abandoned this enterprise. At Samford, however, we still value the transformative experience that comes from engaging significant ideas that shape our civilization and its values. Your child is ready for our curriculum simply by virtue of the fact they are human, and humans, both young and old, desire meaning. Our goal is to help your child learn to pursue meaning in the context of important ideas that have withstood the trials of history. While reading for understanding and writing with clarity require discipline, effort, and diligence, you need not worry that your child enter our program already familiar with the substance of the curriculum. Our job is to introduce them to this substance, and to do it in a way that encourages their innate desire to understand. Our motto, Inquiry, Discussion, Faith, and Reason, tells you and your child what to expect in the Core Texts Program. Bring a curious inquisitive mind, a willingness to discuss perennial ideas, a respect for the place of faith, specifically the Christian faith, in learning, and a recognition that rational discourse both civilizes the passions and sharpens the intellect, and your child will flourish in our curriculum. Regardless of their major or their life's work, a student who is taught to engage and converse with the foundational ideas, trials, and triumphs of Western intellectual history will be immeasurably empowered to face the future.

For Students+

Beware the man of one book.
Thomas Aquinas
Inquiry, Discussion, Faith, Reason. The Samford Core Texts Program is committed to making your first year of college a meaningful intellectual experience that will shape the way you think for the rest of your life. You worked hard to arrive at this point, and now it is time to work harder. The conversation you enter here will go with you into your careers, your churches, your communities, and your families.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

As you plan your semester keep a few things in mind:

First, note important dates on the calendar that supplement the classroom experience. Not all will offer convo credit, but most will be worth your time.

Second, take a moment to learn what resources are available to improve your understanding of course content and your writing. The Communication Resource Center and the Core Texts Student Teaching Assistants are here to help you. Also, note the Core Texts reading area on the first floor of the library. Here are collections of books you read for class, histories of the time periods you study, supplemental secondary works to help you with the material, and even audio recordings.

Third, think about taking advantage of travel opportunities related to the curriculum. We will be launching the London Core Texts Summer Program in the near future, and the Department of Classics offers two fantastic Jan Term courses in Athens and Rome. All three opportunities combine core texts content while experiencing the history and culture of places you have studied.

Fourth, write every paper knowing that it might be nominated for the Core Texts Student Paper Award. Nominees are recognized at President Westmoreland's home at the end of spring semester where the top two finalists and the winner are announced.

Finally, take a moment (or two) to talk with your professor. Regardless of your career path you are in the Core Texts Program for two semesters, and this Samford difference will forever be part of who you are. We want to know you. We care about your future.

Important Dates

Between Athens and Jerusalem

Thursday, October 2, 10:00 AM, Reid Chapel
Convo Credit

Understanding the Renaissance

Thursday, November 13, 10:00 AM, Reid Chapel
Convo Credit

Communication Resource Center (CRC)

CRC

Student Teaching Assistants

The Core Texts Program is devising a system of student mentoring that utilizes talented upper division students in Humanities majors to assist faculty and first-year students as tutors and discussion leaders. These assistants will represent the best of their majors, and they will help students adjust to the "great conversation" of the Core Texts Program.

London Core Texts Summer

Each fall faculty nominate the top students from their classes to participate in the London Core Texts Program held every May at the conclusion of Spring semester. This unique two week experience allows talented and ambitious students an opportunity to study important authors and see famous sites from English history and literature while staying at Samford University's London residence, The Daniel House.

Classics Jan. Term in Greece and Rome

Learn More

Core Texts Student Essay Contest

Each academic year faculty nominate student papers to be considered for the award of best Core Texts Student Paper of The Year. First, second, and third place winners are recognized with a cash prize presented at a spring reception at the president's house.

Howard College Cultural Passport

The Howard College of Arts and Sciences provides all students in the Core Texts Program with a "Cultural Passport" that can be used for free or discounted access to a number of museums and artistic venues in the Birmingham area. The passports and instructions will be distributed to students at the beginning of fall semester. For more information please contact Victoria Knierim, vsknieri@samford.edu, 205-726-4531.