Teaching the Reformations
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stone Hendrickson (Samford University Fellow and English/Classics Double Major)
Office Coordinator: Cameron Barnes, email@example.com, Phone: 2071
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Between Jerusalem and Athens
- 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
Making Sense of Modernity
- The Roots and Internal Conflicts of Our Secular Age, Dr. Dennis Sansom
No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to chosen ignorance.
Faculty Development Opportunities
Faculty Great Ideas Summer Institute
ACTC National Conference
- Samford Library Guide
- Ancient History
- Art History
- Historical Texts
- Library of Congress
- World Religions
Student Teaching Assistants
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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?
Beware the man of one book.
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.