Bachelor of Arts in History of Ideas

Who or what governs reality? What is valuable and good? What are human beings? What is the central problem in the world? And what is the solution to that problem?

hoiInset2The History of Ideas program is designed to help students face these big questions. We want to equip undergraduate men and women with the skills needed to think clearly and accurately about the world in which they live and to challenge them to live faithfully in the home, the church, and the world.

Building upon the historical and theological framework established in the Christian Worldview program, this major focuses upon many of the great works of Western Civilization as well as representative works from non-Western traditions with a view to equipping students to evaluate the seminal ideas in the history of thought in light of the self-disclosure of the triune God. This program will not merely focus on the development of abstract ideas but will also challenge students to examine major developments in the history of thought in light of the key people, significant historical events, and technological changes that influenced them. Additionally, the program will demonstrate the role of the affections and the heart in the development, transformation, and spread of philosophies, religions, and worldviews.

The program will train students to synthesize ideas from a range of disciplines, including philosophy, theology, history, literature, and the arts. This synthesis of ideas will culminate in the completion of a senior thesis during the final semester. Finally, throughout the program, all ideas found in the Great Books are measured against the Person found in the Greatest Book. All things were created by, hold together in, and exist for Jesus Christ. He is the measure of all things and, therefore, students in the History of Ideas major will be equipped to evaluate all claims to truth, goodness, and beauty in light of him.

Great Books at BCS

Christian Worldview Integrated Curriculum (CWIC) Readings

Old Testament
Hesiod: Theogony
Homer: The Odyssey
Plato: The Apology / Euthyphro / Crito / Phaedo
Aristotle: Poetics / Nicomachean Ethics
Sophocles: Oedipus Rex
Aristophanes: Clouds
Virgil: The Aeneid
New Testament
Josephus (selections)
Apostolic Fathers (selections)
Augustine: Confessions / (selections)
Anselm: Proslogium
Romance of Tristan and Isolde
Dante: The Inferno
Petrarch: Canzoniere (selections)
Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince
Martin Luther: (selections)
John Calvin (selections)
Philip Sidney: Defense of Poesy
Montaigne (selections)
Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing / Hamlet / Sonnets
George Herbert: poems
John Donne: poems
Francis Bacon: Novum Organum (selections)
Galileo (selections)
John Milton: Samson Agonistes / selections
Rene Descartes: Discourse on Method
Pascal: Pensees (excerpts)
Isaac Newton: Principia (excerpts)
John Locke: Second Treatise on Government
Jonathan Edwards: The Nature of True Virtue (excerpts) / A Faithful Narrative / sermons
Jean Jacques Rousseau: On the Social Contract
Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto
Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment
Friedrich Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morals
Charles Darwin: On the Origins of Species(excerpts)
T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land / The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
Albert Einstein: Theory of Relativity
J. Gresham Machen: Christianity and Liberalism
Sigmund Freud: Civilization and Its Discontents
Aldous Huxley: A Brave New World
Karl Barth: Dogmatics in Outline
Thomas Beckett: Waiting for Godot
Martin Luther King Jr: Letter from Birmingham Jail

History of Ideas: Core Readings

Homer: Iliad
Plato: The Republic
Aristotle: Politics
Augustine: The City of God
Aquinas: Excerpts from the Summa
Dante: The Divine Comedy
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Calvin: The Institutes
Shakespeare: (selections)
Milton: Paradise Lost
Descartes: Meditations
Edwards: The End for Which God Created the World / Religious Affections
Kant: (selections)
Melville: Moby-Dick
Dostoyevsky: The Brothers Karamazov

History of Ideas: Additional Readings (not comprehensive)

Epic of Gilgamesh
Hesiod: Works and Days
Bhagavad Gita
Rig Veda
Tao Te-Ching
Sophocles: Antigone
Aeschylus: Oresteia / Prometheus Bound
Euripides: Bacchae / Medea
Herodotus: The Histories
Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War
Plato: Timaeus
Euclid: Elements
Virgil: Eclogues
Ovid: Metamorphoses
Livy: Early History of Rome
Plutarch: Lives
Irenaeus: Against Heresies
Athanasius: On the Incarnation
Eusebius: History of the Church
Augustine: (selections)
Boethius: Consolation of Philosophy
Bede: History of the English-Speaking People
Song of Roland
Abelard: (selections)
Anselm: Cur Deus Homo?
Bonaventure: Breviloquium
Ockham: (selections)
Duns Scotus: (selections)
Malory: Morte D’Arthur
Erasmus: In Praise of Folly
Luther: Bondage of the Will
Cervantes: Don Quixote
More: Utopia
Spenser: The Faerie Queene
Hobbes: Leviathan
Pascal: Pensees
Bunyan: Pilgrim’s Progress
Locke: Essay on Human Understanding
Edwards: The Freedom of the Will
Smith: The Wealth of Nations
Madison: Federalist Papers
Kant: Critique of Pure Reason
Tocqueville: Democracy in America
Marx: Das Kapital
Twain: Huckleberry Finn
Tolstoy: Anna Karenina / War and Peace
Thoreau: Walden / Civil Disobedience
Emerson: (selections)
Dickinson: (selections)
Austen: Pride and Prejudice / Sense and Sensibility
Hegel: (selections)
Goethe: Faust
Mill: On Liberty
Dickens: Great Expectations / A Tale of Two Cities
Joyce: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Eliot: Four Quartets / Christianity and Culture
Kafka: The Trial
Orwell: Animal Farm / 1984
Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
Tolkien: Lord of the Rings
Chesterton: Orthodoxy
Wittgenstein: Blue and Brown Books
Barth: Church Dogmatics (selections)
Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia / Abolition of Man / additional works
Faulkner: (selections)
Hemingway: (selections)
O’Connor: (selections)
Solzhenitzyn: Life of Ivan Denisovich
Percy: The Moviegoer
Kuhn: Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Year 3 » Fall

  • Christian Discipleship 12
  • Great Books: Foundations of Interpretation2
  • Great Books: Ancient Classics3
  • Intermediate Greek Grammar & Syntax4
  • Great Books: Greco-Roman Classics5
  • Total16

Year 3 » Spring

  • Christian Discipleship 22
  • Foundations of Interpretation2
  • Great Books: Medieval Classics6
  • Great Books: Renaissance and Reformation Classics6
  • Total16

Year 4 » Fall

  • Christian Discipleship 32
  • Greek Exegesis: Epistle or Narrative4
  • Great Books: Early Modern Classics5
  • Great Books: Enlightenment Classics5
  • Total16

Year 4 » Spring

  • Christian Discipleship 42
  • Great Books: Contemporary Classics2
  • Great Books: Integrative Essay2
  • Great Books: Senior Seminar Elective2
  • Great Books: Late Modern Classics6
  • Total16
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