This fall semester, we're continuing to make all ICS courses available online to students from anywhere in the world. The courses listed below vary in delivery format (synchronous format versus a blended synchronous/asynchronous format for MA-EL courses), so please check the full course descriptions for details.
Here you will find an alphabetical list of all the courses on offer and links to full course descriptions and syllabi (as they become available throughout the coming months). If you are interested in taking an ICS course for credit and applying it to a program at another institution, you may contact our Registrar with questions on how best to do so.
If you are a continuing learner or want to get a taste for what ICS courses are like, first-time ICS auditors and ICS alums can take these courses for only $425 (registration included). You can find more information on this and all other fee options on our fees page.
Biblical Foundations: Narrative, Wisdom, and the Art of Interpretation *
How can we read and experience the Scriptures as the Word of Life in the midst of an Academy that believes the biblical witness will restrict human freedom and thwart our maturity? How may we pursue biblical wisdom as we “re-think the world” when our Christian traditions seem convinced that biblical truth may be disconnected from—or simply applied to—the most pressing and perplexing issues of our time?
This course will explore the Bible—from Genesis to Revelation—as the ongoing story of and for God and all God’s creatures, paying special attention to the way in which humanity’s attempt to find its way is interwoven with the story of the Divine presence and with the wisdom and promise of creation-new creation. In asking whether and how the biblical story may find its future in our ongoing narratives, we will attempt to identify which hermeneutical methods and sensitivities might help us discern its significance for present day life, including the academic enterprise.
If Jesus is the Living Word at the heart of Scripture, does that change our understanding of where biblical truth is coming from and where it is going? Does the Bible have an implicit, sapiential pedagogy that we have misconstrued? Can the familiar Reformed themes of creation and covenant, election and eschaton speak to us in new, reformational ways? These are some of the questions we shall explore together as we reintroduce ourselves to the biblical writings.... [Syllabus forthcoming]
* Approved for Area 1 of the CSTC.
Imagining the World with Ricoeur: Narrative, Action, and the Sacred in Ricoeur's Hermeneutic Phenomenology
This course will focus primarily on two essay collections by Paul Ricoeur: From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics, II, as well as Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. These collections cover (roughly) a period from the early 1970’s to the early 1990’s. Together, they form an excellent introduction to Ricoeur’s hermeneutical phenomenology, which he developed as an alternative to those theoretical options, such as psychoanalysis and semiotics, with which he struggled throughout the 1960’s.
In addition to exploring Ricoeur’s evolving thoughts on such topics as textual interpretation, action, imagination, revelation, and a religious imaginary, these essays will also serve seminar participants as an effective springboard into Ricoeur’s larger thematic works, such as Rule of Metaphor, Time and Narrative (Vols. I-III), Oneself as Another, or Memory, History, Forgetting. Beginning with From Text to Action, the seminar will explore the general shape of Ricoeur’s hermeneutical phenomenology, including such themes as text, action, explanation, understanding, ideology, and utopia.
With this basic grasp of Ricoeur’s hermeneutical phenomenology in hand, we will go on to explore his understanding of the disclosive force of religious texts and uses of language in the anthology Figuring the Sacred. Among other things, Ricoeur there ponders how Christian communities might best face the task of appropriating a textual heritage from which time has distanced them, and concerning which they have lost a certain original naivety. This seminar will explore Ricoeur’s recommendation that Christians risk assuming a “second naivety” as they take up the responsibility of receiving and interpreting their religious tradition for a new generation. Imagining the world with Ricoeur, we will discuss how his recommendations on this score might help or hinder our effort to find meaning and inspiration amidst the crises and fragmentations that run through contemporary life....[Syllabus forthcoming]
Meaning/Being/Knowing: The Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Implications of a Christian Ontology (ICS-only)**
“Meaning is the being of all that has been created and the nature even of our selfhood.” With these enigmatic words, which form part of the introduction to his magisterial New Critique of Theoretical Thought, the neo-Calvinist philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd signals his intention to de-centre the central concern of Ontology by relativizing (which is to say thoroughly relating) the philosophical notion of Being to Meaning, even to the point of (re-)defining creation’s being as meaning—all in the conviction that this will enable us to engage in (rather than circumvent or supersede) the work of Ontology (and thus Epistemology) in a truly systematic, integrally Christian, way. Although it might seem as though Dooyeweerd is merely substituting one metaphysical idea for another, his reference to the nature of our selfhood here indicates that, for all its theoretical import for Philosophical Anthropology, this highly suggestive proposal also has profound implications for how we might both appreciate and pull upon our deepest (religious) self-knowledge, which takes shape before the face of God as we face the world. To do the work of Ontology well—to gain genuine insight into the “nature of things” and to identify the contours and coherence of the world’s general structures without undermining investigation or denaturing experience—will require that we also draw upon a pre-theoretical form of Knowing, and a spiritual grounding and hope, that will always precede and exceed our understanding... [Read more here]
** This course is only available to ICS Junior Members.
The Craft of Reflective Practice *
We humans make sense of things by telling stories. In this course we will learn how to do critical reflective practice, primarily by telling stories about our everyday professional lives. We will zoom in on the story of an ordinary day at work, and then zoom out to the story of our career to date, zoom out further to the story of our work community, and zoom out even further to the overarching story of God’s world. In the process we will learn qualitative research skills, receive an introduction to phenomenology (the philosophical study of lived experience), develop our own approach to praxis (that is, the craft of morally-oriented, theoretically-informed, and theory-generating critically reflective practice), and, most significantly, come to terms with who we are in what we do... [Syllabus forthcoming]
* Approved for Area 2 of the CSTC.
Transformative Teaching: The Role of a Christian Educator *
This is a course for instructional leaders as they consider their roles as Christian educators called to be transformers of society and culture by seeking justice for those who are marginalized and disenfranchised. In this course we will consider constructivism (a dominant educational theory in the twenty-first century that informs student-centred pedagogies such as Project Based Learning) through the lens of Scripture and investigate the assumptions that it makes. We will explore our calling as Christian educators to transform culture in our schools, local community, and the world.
This course seeks to help Christian educators find clarity in answers to the following questions:
Context: Who am I called to be as a Christian educator in my particular place and time?
Constructivism: How does constructivism inform my practice?
Culture: What role does education play in creating culture?
* Approved for Area 2 of the CSTC.