Thomas Berry: Life and Thought

Spring 2018
T 4:00-5:15pm
Area V
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

Thomas Berry (1914-2009) was a priest and historian of religions.  He was an early and significant voice awakening religious sensibilities to the environmental crisis.  He is particularly well-known for articulating a “Universe Story” that explores the world-changing implication of evolutionary sciences. 

This course investigates the life and thought of Thomas Berry in relation to the field of religion and ecology as well as the Journey of the Universe project.  As an overview course it draws on his books, articles, and recorded lectures to examine such ideas as: the New Story, the Great Work, and the Ecozoic era.  In addition, the course explores his studies in world religions including Buddhism, Confucianism, and Indigenous Traditions.  Finally the course will highlight his challenge to Christianity to articulate theologies of not only divine-human relations, but also human-Earth relations.

Background Expected: 

No background needed

Course Requirements: 

Students are expected to complete each week:

 - 3 hours of viewing online lectures and videos

 - 3 hours of reading books and articles

 - online assignments posted to Canvas

 - group discussions (online and in the classroom for one hour per week)

 In addition, each student will submit a final paper of 5 pages on a topic determined by the student and approved by one of the instructors.  This paper can develop a particular posting into a brief research project, or explore a topic in a related subject matter.

Basis of Evaluation: 

Grades will be determined on the basis of the completion and quality of course readings, assignments, participation in postings, and group discussions online and in the classroom.

The software program Canvas is equipped to record completion of online readings and assignments and allows for faculty evaluation of written work.  The following areas will be assigned for completion and grade evaluation each week:

- viewing online lectures and videos (3 hours viewing each week) for 10%

- reading online articles (3 hours each week) for 10%

- weekly writing assignments for 20%

-  weekly responses to other students’ posting for 20%

- attendance and group discussions in classroom (1 hour each week) for 15%

- students will complete a 5 page paper for 25%

If students wish to receive 3 credits for this online course, they can complete a 12 page paper on a topic approved by the instructors.