10 October 2013

Advanced Preaching seminar description

HP 602 Special Topics in Homiletics/Preaching: Preaching to Nihilists

“If you live today, you breath in nihilism. In or out of the Church, it's the gas you breathe” (F. O'Connor, The Habits of Being, 1955). 

As the pervasive mood of postmodern culture, we might say that nihilism is less a breathable gas than it is a poisonous cloud. It erodes our already imperfect grasp on knowable truths; dissolves the bond between the goodness of being and our moral acts; and vandalizes our faithful efforts to understand the ordered beauty of God's Self-revelation in created things. Whether nihilism is taken to be a method of thinking about the world or a consumerist lifestyle-choice, its influence on the human person is pernicious. How does the Catholic preacher account for this influence? How do we preach the Good News to a culture that has come to understand the human person as nothing more than a thinking animal destined for annihilation after death?

This seminar will survey the literary, historical, philosophical, and theological origins/development of nihilism in western postmodern culture and explore strategies for responding to its cultural influence in our parochial preaching. We will read texts from Nietzsche, Heidegger, Vattimo, R. M. Rilke, Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy, the Death of God theologians, and J-L Marion. Students will write one seminar paper (10-12 pgs.) and two Sunday homilies. Prerequisites: HP 504, 505. Limited to 8-10 students.

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  1. fr. Dismas, OP7:40 PM

    Can you provide me with a robotic avatar for long-distance learning if I sign up?

    1. Fra., I thought you were a robotic avatar! How embarrassing!