A Center for the Retrieval of Christian Wisdom

Protestant Wisdom Capstone Course

Philosophy of Law and the Natural Law Tradition

a five-day deep dive into neglected elements of the church’s engagement with philosophy to be better equipped to take every thought captive

Davenant Hall Students: If you are pursuing the M.Litt degree, participation in this residential Capstone Course counts for 2 elective credits. 

June 7-11, 2021

Please plan your flight to arrive on the afternoon or evening of June 6th

01.

Bible and Core Dogmatics

02.

Principles of Christian Philosophy

03.

A Christian natural philosophy

04.

Ethics and the challenge of modernity

05.

politics and faithful citizenship

God’s ways are far above all human comprehension, and yet he has left his fingerprints upon creation, writing his glory upon the world and his law upon our hearts. Throughout the millenia, pagans and Christians alike have sought to discover in his handiwork the order which moves the world and draws each creature to its own proper end. Within this order, we find our flourishing as creatures. From Plato onward, philosophers and theologians have spoken of this order as a law, the “natural law,” upon which all human laws must be grounded if they are to be just and well-made.

In this course, we will undertake a deep dive into the foundations and elegant superstructure of this rich philosophical tradition, beginning with Plato’s little-read Minos and The Laws, continuing to the medieval Christian reception of the ancient natural law tradition in Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law, and concluding with the Protestant restatement of this great tradition in Book I of Richard Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
 
The course will be conducted as a conversational inquiry into these texts, seeking to understand how Aquinas displays the intelligibility of the earlier tradition, and how Hooker in turn (as the representative of the Protestant tradition) fits with the classical and catholic tradition. Whether each succeeds in his task of synthesis is a question that each student must answer for himself.
 
Required texts: 
Minos, Plato; The Laws of Plato, trans. Thomas L. Pangle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988) 
Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law, trans. Alfred J. Freddoso (South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine’s Press, 2009)
Divine Law and Human Nature, Hooker, edBradford Littlejohn (Davenant, 2018)

 

Early Bird Cost: $375 (until April 24)

After April 24: $500

Price includes airport pickup, meals, and lodging.

 

Dates: June 7-11, 2021

Taught by Colin Redemer

Colin Chan Redemer is the Vice President of the Davenant Institute as well as one of our Teaching Fellows. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California. He loves teaching on the intersection between History, Philosophy, Literature, and Christianity. His writing has appeared in the Englewood Review of Books, Evansville Review, Sojourners Magazine, The Federalist, and the Tampa Review. He lives in community with his wife, kids, and fellow church members, in Oakland, California.