Today the Brazos Fellows enjoyed class with guest instructor Dr. Tom Ward, who led us in a great discussion of how we interpret the Bible. Dr. Ward is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University, where he teaches a number of courses on ancient and medieval philosophy as well as a class on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. His research explores medieval philosophy—everything from medieval science to speculative theories about God’s existence and nature to the history of “divine ideas,” or the relation between creation and the mind of God.
In our class with Dr. Ward, we looked at the history of biblical interpretation, comparing the ways in which St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, and John Calvin read the Psalms. Dr. Ward mapped how shifts in philosophy, in understandings of reality and the unity of creation–what we might call metaphysics–also changed how Christians interpreted scripture from the medieval to the early modern periods.
Tom and I also sat down for a session of “Five Questions in Ten Minutes,” and had a great conversation about everything from the best way to start reading medieval philosophy, to the dinner guest Tom would invite from the 14th century B.C., to the children’s book he reads annually–and, most controversially, the problem with Texas BBQ. Listen to our conversation here:
Here are links to the items we talked about:
- St. Augustine’s Confessions
- Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy
- Pseudo-Dionysius’s On the Divine Names
- G.K. Chesterton’s biographies of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas Aquinas
- Etienne Gilson’s The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy
- Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited
- Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
- St. Anselm’s Proslogion
- St. Bonaventure’s Journey of the Mind into God