The Catholic University of America

 Courses taught by Susan Wessel

Church Through the Ages: Paul to Luther 220:

This course examines the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.  Seven major themes will be considered: Christian identity in the Roman world; the emergence of orthodoxy and heresy; conciliar debate and the flowering of monasticism; spiritual reflection in the late antique West; the making of Christian Europe; the reforming spirit; and the Christian intellectual life.  

Special Topics in Theology 460:

A study of compassion in the Christian tradition, including selections from the New Testament, Patristic theology, enlightenment philosophy, and contemporary theology, philosophy, and ethics.

Ancient and Medieval Church History TRS 622:

A survey of Christian thought and institutions from the end of the first century to 1300 AD.  Topics include the rise of Christianity in the Roman world, the conversion of Constantine, doctrinal controversy and the formation of orthodoxy, the rise of monasticism, Carolingian reform, the growth of the papacy, Iconoclasm, the crusades, the investiture controversy, scholasticism, and medieval heresy.

Patristic Thought and the Emotions 721A:

A consideration of the role and function of the emotions in the human person according to such authors as Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, Augustine, Nemesios of Emessa, and John Cassian.  Contemporary theories of the emotions will also be examined.

Topics in Greek Patristics I and II 723C, 723D:

Reading of selected Greek patristic authors in the original language.  Permission of the instructor is required.

Patristic Anthropology 727A:

A study of the human person in the patristic world according to Irenaeus, Origen, Plotinus, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Nemesios of Emessa, Boethius, and Evagrius Ponticus.  The soul and its relationship to body will be considered in the light of the mind-body dualism that has been attributed to Christian texts.  Memory, the passions and emotions, human action, perception, and the relationship of each of these to bodily processes will also be examined in order to develop a nuanced conception of the Christian self and to reassess the predominance of the dualist model.

Formation of Orthodoxy from Nicaea I to Nicaea II 727B:

A history of the councils from Nicaea I to Nicaea II in the light of the relationship between church and state; the role of the emperor in ecclesiastical decision-making; the extent to which ecclesiastical politics shapes the formation of heresy and orthodoxy; the making of text and tradition; and the strategies by which compliance with orthodox belief is secured.  The acts of the councils, including letters, doctrinal treatises, homilies, and minutes of conciliar meetings, as well as church histories, Vitae, and imperial documents will be studied.

The Cappadocian Theologians 822B:

The thought and culture of the Cappadocians, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, including such topics as the divine economy, neo-Arianism, and the Trinitarian controversy, Christian anthropology, the progress and dissemination of monasticism, the limits of theological language, and the reception of classical antiquity.

Irenaeus and the Gnostics 822D:

An examination of the culture, historical context, and thought world of the second century theologian, Irenaeus of Lyon, including  the confrontation with Valentianian Gnosticism, the interpretation of Scripture, eschatology, the Adam-Christ typology, the divine economy, baptism, salvation, and the spirit.  The questions and directions he established for the future will also be considered.

Maximus the Confessor 822E:

An examination of the theology of Maximus the Confessor in the context of his world.  The history of the Monothelete controversy, and Maximus' role in it, will be considered, as well as his Christology, cosmology, anthropology, and his theology of love and the Logos.  Attention will also be given to Maximus' theological sources and to his legacy and direction for the future.