Close Reading Paper Topics
1. Show the relationship between Augustine's understanding of human nature, God, and the political order as presented in City of God. In other words, what conclusions does he draw about the political realm based upon his theological anthropology?
2. Compare Aquinas and Dante on the nature and role of political governance and its relationship to ecclesiastical authority.
3. What does the Muslim tradition say about the nature and role
of political governance and its relationship to religious authority?
3. What does the Muslim tradition say about the nature and role of political governance and its relationship to religious authority?
4. Origen's "Letter to Gregory" and the writings of Justin Martyr and Tertullian represent three strands of Christian tradition on dealing with classical Greco-Roman thought that came down to Augustine. How does he relfect or depart from these strands in his "City of God"?
5. Analyze how St. Benedict's rule reflects values articulated in St. Basil's and the Desert Fathers' sayings.
6. Michael Psellus' Chronographia gives an insider's perspective on the workings of imperial power in Constantinople in the eleventh century. Analyze his understanding of power: how did one become emperor? What were the emperor's responsibilities? What were the limitations on the emperor's power? What does he find worthy of praise or dispraise in the rulers he discusses? What was the role of the Church in the political system?
7. Do you think that Anselm adequately answers Gaunilo's objections to his argument for God's existence? Why or why not?
8. What does the Saga of Erik the Red reveal about the values of Norse culture?