This course combines serious academic study with active adventure, intentional community, and Christian spirituality. We wander the ruins of ancient civilizations that date back to the Bronze Age. We visit temples, theaters, stadiums, marketplaces, houses, tombs, statues, and art from the Classical and Hellenistic periods, including the most famous and significant in all of western civilization. We explore Roman cities where the Apostle Paul lived and worked, walking the same roads he walked, touching the same stones, seeing the same landscapes. We step into ancient Christian churches and monasteries, many full of spectacular Byzantine art. We plunge into the lively markets, streets, and squares of modern Greek cities, as well as remote villages and towns seldom visited by tourists. We hike in Greece’s rugged and beautiful mountains. We climb to clifftop castles and monasteries, descend into some of the deepest gorges in the world, trek the snowy slopes and canyons below Mount Olympus, and stroll along beaches on the Mediterranean (and some of us swim too!). We experience the warm hospitality of the Greek people and learn about their rich and thriving culture. We eat lots of very good food. We play and worship together, singing and praying and reading Scripture. We contemplate and reflect on what we can learn from our travel, from each other, from the people we meet, and from the ancient Christians who lived and worked out their faith in this land amidst a multi-religious culture in which pagan deities and the powerful Roman Empire itself sought to claim their allegiance in the place of Christ.
The academic focus of the course is in the areas of biblical studies, history, and theology, but our study will encompass more than this. Other relevant topics that will be surveyed (and are available as areas of special focus for students) include: ecology and natural history of Greece; history of art from Bronze Age through late Byzantium; Mycenaean civilization; Greek mythology; democracy and western philosophy in Athens; Alexander the Great; Hellenism; Roman Empire; early Christianity; monastic movement; Christian spirituality; Byzantine Empire; Eastern Orthodoxy; Islam; Ottoman Empire; battle for Greek independence; modern Greece; the economic crisis; refugees. After this course, you will never read the New Testament in the same way again and it might just be that your life will be transformed too.
Term(s): January 2018
Approximate Cost: $4,530
Credits: TH 396 (3 credits) + TH309 (1 credit), GP Gen Ed.