The course examines the Roman Catholic understanding of the human person and its relationship to God. The major issues in God’s interaction with humanity in grace will be considered. A historical approach will allow the various dimensions to emerge in their historical context and thus linked to other ages and to the questions of today. Each student is responsible for attending class, reading the assigned materials, and participating in the discussion. There will be an exam at the end of the course. Students are also encouraged to explore the issues of the course in supplementary reading.
At the end of the course, the successful student will be able to give an intelligent account of the following (1) Human nature: How humans were created (prelapsarian state), the relationship of humans to the rest of creation, the composition of the human person (2) Human destiny: What God plans for humanity, how grace operates in the prelapsarian state, how grace operates after sin, how grace operates after baptism, the way the Church communicates grace (3) The effect of sin: What sin does to humanity, the meaning of Original Sin, the various effects of sin (4) Redemption: The meaning of justification, how we are justified, why what we receive in baptism is truly justification but not justification proper (5) Sanctification: The meaning of sanctification, how sanctification occurs, the role of asceticism in the sanctification process, the meaning of purgatory, the life of grace, the usefulness of the concept of merit (6) Grace proper: What does grace feel like? How does grace affect our will? The various dimensions of grace: justifying grace and sanctifying grace, prevenient grace and subsequent grace, operating grace and cooperating grace, natural and supernatural, habitual grace, gratuitous grace, the relationship between grace and human action (7) The development of the understanding of grace: Augustine and Pelagius; Luther, Calvin,and the Council of Trent; Dominicans and Jesuits; Jansenists; Rahner, von Balthasar, and Barth; liberation theology (8) Grace from different Protestant perspectives: Orthodox, Contemporary Protestant, Roman Catholic