The Mystery that Keeps Us Humble: St. Augustine, Simone Weil, Thomas Merton (LIT2539.01) (day/time updated as of 10/17/2023)

Benjamin Anastas

“Late have I loved you,” St. Augustine wrote in one of the many direct appeals to God in his Confessions. “O Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you.” With these lines, the confessional impulse in the early Christian tradition makes the jump into spiritual autobiography, and a new genre of literature is born. In this class, we’ll pair the discussion of faith and intentional living in the philosopher Martin Hägglund’s This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom with the slow, intentional reading of Augustine, Simone Weil and Thomas Merton. All of these writers practice close attention as a form of prayer, and prayer as a form of close attention. One goal of this class will be to reclaim our powers of concentration from the devices, platforms and other distractions that we have allowed to colonize our lives. Frequent writing assignments, a sustained reading practice, and daily check-ins.

Learning Outcomes:
Students in this class will practice close reading and analysis of devotional and philosophical texts from 400 ACE to the 20th Century.
Gain familiarity with mystical texts from a range of cultures and languages.
Students will develop their writing skills by keeping a weekly reading journal and writing regular responses.
There will be a midterm exam and a final paper involving self-directed research and the use of scholarly sources.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M 4:10PM-6:00PM & M 7:00PM-8:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Day/Time Changes , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature , Updates
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