Seminar; 2 hours/week, 6 credits, Teacher: Dr. Tim Noble
The roots and values that underlie much of European identity were forged in the Christian missions of the first millennium. Key ideas about what it is to be European were laid down in this period, for good or for ill. This course will focus on the mission of Cyril and Methodius, especially as it touches on what is now the Czech Republic. It will offer an historical introduction to them as people and to the ecclesio-political setting of their mission, at a time of transition in European power-structures. It will then concentrate on two aspects of their mission: first, on the role language and translation played in it, with their desire to translate Christian texts (the Bible and liturgical texts) into Slavonic, and the competing desire supported by the Franks to establish Latin as the only church language. It will then look at these issues today, looking at European mission outside of Europe, and the challenges to “translate” the Christian message in Europe today. It will also focus on the attempts to establish a local autonomous church, and will examine how this church was intended to be both independent and in close fraternal relationship to Constantinople and Rome. It will then go on to consider the notion of subsidiarity, and ask how churches can be formed to operate on this principle in today’s Europe, and whether the churches have something to teach about subsidiarity to politicians and civil society. Students will be expected to write a seminar paper and make a short presentation, as well as read the given texts for each seminar.