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THE 440: CHRISTIAN HOPE AND THE WORLD'S FUTURE

St. John’s University, Queens Campus, Spring 2018

Section 15247: 5:00pm - 7:00pm Tuesday, SJH 114

Dr. Matthew Lewis Sutton

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Office: St. John’s University, Queens Campus, St. John’s Hall B20–27

Student Hours: To Be Announced, or by appointment

718.990.5052 | suttonm@stjohns.edu | doctorsutton.net | @doctorsutton

Your Course Website: doctorsutton.net/the440

Graduate Bulletin: “A study of contemporary theological reflection on the ultimate destiny of humanity and of the world. The major symbols of Christianity are reexamined in the light of critical biblical and historical studies. Credit: 3 semester hours.”

This course provides the graduate student with a theological mastery of Eschatology in relation to other major theological loci of Christian Systematic Theology. While the students will deepen their understanding of the foundational biblical and historical eschatologies, they will also come to understand several current and significant eschatologies that have emerged within the last decades of the twentieth century. The student will also be engaged in Comparative Eschatology throughout the semester as we examine major Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Eschatologies and place them in constructive, ecumenical, theological dialogue. In relation to the various eschatologies we will be learning, we will also be interested in developing a theology of hope in relation to Trinitarian Theology and the Paschal Mystery.

By the conclusion of the course, the student should be able:

  • to articulate in writing and speaking a knowledge of significant Eschatologies and Theologies of Christian Hope
  • to analyze critically scripture and other theological texts pertaining to Eschatology
  • to interact Eschatology with other major theological loci and develop consistent theological thinking
  • to express the similarities and differences of several Eschatologies to develop constructive, ecumenical, theological dialogue

Course Texts: Required:

  • Bible, must be an appropriate translation for academic work, such as the RSV, NRSV, NAB, NABre, NIV, ESV, NKJV. (recommended translation The Ignatius Bible (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition). Second Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780898708349 Paperback or Kindle. If you have questions, see me.
  • Balthasar, Hans Urs von. Dare We Hope “That All Men Be Saved”? With a Short Discourse on Hell. Translated by David Kipp and Lothar Krauth. Second Edition: San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2014. Paperback or Kindle
  • Jenkins, Philip. The Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World. New York: Basic Books, 2017. ISBN: 9780465096404. Hardcover or Kindle
  • Ratzinger, Joseph. Eschatology: Hope and Eternal Life. Second Edition. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780813215167 Paperback
  • Ratzinger, Joseph (Pope Benedict XVI). Spe Salvi: On Christian Hope. Online

Course Structure:

The course will be structured into three learning units. The first will be on Second Temple Judaism and Early Christian Apocalyptic Literature. This era developed the foundation for Christian Eschatology. The second unit will introduce current Christian Eschatologies. The third unit will be a detailed study of current theologies of Christian Hope. The course concludes by returning to the Book of Revelation as source and summit of Christian Eschatology, while learning from your fellow students of contemporary Eschatologies. Each unit will have assignments and assessments designed to give you an overall understanding and mastery of the thought and development of Christian Eschatology and Christian Hope.

Learning Assessment:

In this course, you can earn a total of 100 points. Progress reports will be emailed to you at the beginning of every month. You earn these points by successfully completing the following:

  • Class Participation: consistent, active engagement (questioning, answering, and discussing) = 15 points
  • Minor Paper Summary of Major Journals = 15 points
  • Minor Paper on Eschatology in Art, Culture, or Liturgy = 20 points
  • Presentation on a Significant Modern or Post Modern Eschatology = 20 points
  • Research Paper on a Significant Modern or Post Modern Eschatology = 30 points

Grading Scale:

A = 100 - 93 points (100 - 93%); A- = 92 - 90 points (92 - 90 %); B+ = 89 - 87 points (89 - 87%); B = 86 - 83 points (86 - 83%); B- = 82 - 80 points (82 - 80%); C+ = 79 - 77 points (79 - 77%); C = 76 - 73 points (76 - 73%); C- = 72 - 70 points (72 - 70%); D+ = 69 - 67 points (69 - 67%); D = 66 - 60 points (66 - 60%); F = 59 - 0 points (59 - 0%)

We are at our best when:

  • We act with Academic Integrity, which means no plagiarism, no cheating, no damaging of other people’s work, and no assisting someone else’s dishonesty. Plagiarism is the act of appropriating and using the ideas, writings, or works of another person as your own without giving proper citation to the person who created it. I will follow the university’s procedure for plagiarism and discipline to the highest extent allowable, which can include an “F” for this course and the act of plagiarism noted in your academic file. Any further offenses entail suspension or expulsion.
  • We are Actively Engaged with each other. As a student, you must attend class regularly, attentively, and promptly with readings and assignments completed. As a professor, I must be available to you for encouraging and guiding you to excel in your education. St. John’s College mandates “Regular and prompt attendance is expected of all students and is an individual student’s responsibility. Absence from class does not excuse a student from any work missed. There is no penalty for absence from class considered in itself. Students are, however, responsible for all announced exams and for submitting all assignments given in class at the proper time. Ignorance of such exams and assignments is not an acceptable excuse for failure to complete them.”
  • You are Responsible for Everything said in class. You are responsible for getting class notes from another student. Only after you have received and read those notes can you contact me with further questions about the class.
  • We do not use any Digital Devices inappropriately during class time such as cell phones, text messaging, mp3 players, tablets, or laptops. If you do not follow this policy, you will not be able to earn participation points for the class meeting. If it continues to be a problem, your overall point total will be reduced according to the severity of your lack of engagement. ASK PERMISSION IF YOU NEED TO USE A LAPTOP OR TABLET FOR NOTE TAKING AND READING ASSIGNMENTS.
  • We turn in our Assignments and Papers promptly as directed by the professor. Even if you are absent, you are still responsible for turning in your assignments by the beginning of class or as directed. If your assignment is late, your grade for that assignment will be lowered at least by 10% for each day that it is late. Your grade will continue to be lowered to zero at my discretion until it is submitted.
  • We attend Prepared for all Exams and the Final Cumulative Exam and these should not be missed. If you cannot attend an exam, you must consult me in advance and receive clear approval from me. No make-up exams will be given unless you receive clear approval beforehand or as determined by me. Since the dates of the exams are clearly communicated to you, it is unlikely that you will receive approval.
  • We learn because We Are Human and we desire to know the truth about the divine, the world, and ourselves. We strive for Excellence without Excuses.