Curriculum

First Year 

Students planning to complete the Guided Studies Program in four semesters take a six-course sequence during the first year. This sequence consists of three courses each semester, plus an integrating colloquium. Students also take one or two non-Guided Studies courses a semester. The required first-year sequence is as follows:

Fall Semester
GDST 121. The Biblical Tradition
The Biblical world up to the beginnings of Christianity. The emergence of Israel and its life as a nation, the prophetic critique, Israel’s Exile and Reconstruction, the emergence of its scripture, and its foundation for Judaism and Christianity in the West.

GDST 211. Philosophical Themes in Western Culture
Through a careful study of some of the most important philosophers in the Western tradition, we shall examine some of the guiding questions that informed the development of this tradition, some of the decisive responses to these questions, and some of the most significant alternatives. Works of  Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, and Hegel will be studied.

GDST 219. The Classical Tradition
A study of Greek and Roman literature as an expression of individual and social ideals, and as a continuing source of inspiration in the Western cultural tradition. The course will proceed from Homer to Virgil, with particular emphasis on the Age of Pericles in Athens and the Age of Augustus at Rome.

In addition, students participate in an informal colloquium that helps to integrate the required courses by providing an interdisciplinary focus on some of the major issues the courses raise. Through occasional guest presentations by faculty members in various social science and humanities disciplines, students will be introduced to special subjects and supplementary viewpoints from areas outside the humanities. The colloquium, an extension of the first-year Guided Studies courses, is required but carries no separate academic credit. Typically, it meets once every three or four weeks and includes museum field trips and experiential learning.

Spring Semester
RELG 223. Major Religious Thinkers of the West–Heresy and Orthodoxy in Conflict A historical and theological study of the development of Western religious thought from the point of view of both heretics and orthodoxy within Christianity and Judaism.  Among the topics to be covered: Gnosticism, Augustine, Aquinas, Eckhart, millenarianism, the Free Spirit, Luther, Calvin, and the Anabaptists.

GDST 242. Historical Patterns of European Development I A critical introduction to selected themes in the political, social, and religious history of Europe during the Middle Ages. Issues to be discussed include the nature of “feudal” society, the formation of the medieval state, with particular emphasis on the growth of law; the nature of kingship; and warfare. The course will also study conversion to Christianity; the evolution of Christian beliefs and practices; the history of the Papacy; European Christian contacts with the “Other,” including Jews, Muslims, heretics, and Byzantine Christians; the evolution of the medieval economy (rural life, trade, and towns); and the transition from a “medieval” to an “early modern” society.

GDST 252. Literary Patterns in European Development I
A study of medieval and Renaissance literature as it reflects cultural and historical developments. Topics will include the epic and romance of the feudal world, the changing roles of women and the working classes, the Renaissance synthesis of the classical and the biblical, and the literary consequences of the Copernican and Scientific revolutions of the 17th century. Readings in Dante, Marie de France, Chaucer, Christine de Pisan, Spenser, Milton, and others.
The colloquium continues in the second semester, providing a framework within which the courses are integrated and students are introduced to special subjects and additional viewpoints.

Sophomore Year

Students planning to finish Guided Studies as sophomores enroll in three courses in the program in the second year (while also taking six or seven non-Guided Studies courses). In the fall, they complete the history and literature sequences begun in the spring of the first year. The final course is an approved elective dealing with a European topic; typically, it is taken in the spring semester. The designated second-year courses are:

Fall Semester
GDST 243. Historical Patterns of European Development II
This course will examine the evolution of European society from the 18th to the 20th centuries, with particular attention to the French and Industrial revolutions. Students will study not just the history but also the historiography of such vital questions as the origins of modern ideologies, the development of mass politics, imperialism and its causes, the impact of the Russian Revolution, and the course of the modern “Thirty Years War” (1914-1945). There will be extensive consideration of differences and similarities in the transition of various European states from “tradition” to “modernity.” Students will also examine the relevance of such terms as “totalitarianism” and “modernization” to historical study.

GDST 253. Literary Patterns in European Development II
A study of the interaction of literature and history from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Topics will include literary dimensions of the Enlightenment, the historical implications of 18th-century social satire, the rise of the novel and its relationship to the development of the city and the middle classes, the effect of the French Revolution on literature, the influence of industrialism, the Romantic impulse, millennial expectations, and the alienation of the artist in modern culture.

Guided Studies 243 and 253 are closely linked and thus serve some of the same integrating purposes as the first-year colloquium. The courses usually meet in successive hours, and the instructor of each course often attends the other course. Thus there is a continuing “dialogue” between the historical and literary approaches to the period from the 18th century to the present.
 
The final Guided Studies course is chosen, in consultation with the student’s adviser and with the approval of the director of the program, from among a diverse array of courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences that treat topics germane to the understanding of European civilization. Eligible courses include many of the offerings in the departments of classics, English, history, philosophy, and religion, as well as selected courses in anthropology, art history, music, theater and dance, and several other fields.

The Five- and Six-Semester Options

Students may obtain permission to distribute the Guided Studies sequence over as many as five or six semesters. These options enable them to take more non-Guided Studies courses during their first two years of enrollment at the College. Students granted such permission usually defer  “The Biblical Tradition (121)  or ”The Classical Tradition“ (219, fall term) and /or “Major Religious Thinkers of the West” (211, spring term). Major Religious Thinkers of the West I” (spring term) from the first year to the junior year. They may also defer their final course to the junior year.