Farley Snell's Collection of Essays

Essays from College for Seniors Courses taught by Dr. Farley Snell

(Click on title to access complete essay)

Augustine and Luther--A Tale of Two Worlds
(Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Spring 2014)
Using their writings and recent biographies, this course provides an introduction to and contrast of the life and thought of two of Western Christianity's most influential thinkers, the times in which they lived and thought, and their relevance to our time.
(37 page essay)

The Book of Genesis
(Spring 2010, Fall 2013)
Some of the most familiar and intriguing stories in the Hebrew Scriptures are found in the Book of Genesis.  This course deals with all of them with some care, both as a clue to history and as literature.
(63 page essay)

Chicago Before and Between the Fairs
(Fall 2012)
Chicago has been thought by many as the prototypical American metropolis.  A look at its development as an economic center, as the home of Chicago architecture, as a magnet for European immigrants, the development of neighborhoods, urban religion and politics, organized crime, the scene of ethnic and class struggles, two world fairs, and a lot more.
(49 page essay)

Fifteen Centuries of Christian Thought and Conflict
(Fall 2010, Spring 2013)
Christian thought has developed in relation to a variety of historical settings.  This course will deal with the issues involved and the thinkers who addressed them, from the beginnings of Christianity through the Reformation.  Among topics to be covered are the Trinitarian and Christological controversies, the debate over human nature by Augustine and Pelagius, and the assimilation of Aristotle into Christian Platonism by Thomas Aquinas.
(51 page essay)

God in the Gilded Age
(Winter 2009, Winter 2012, Winter 2015)
A study of the way movements in American religion addressed the human dislocations and disorientations that resulted from the social and intellectual developments in the United States during the period between the Civil War and World War I, what has been termed the “Gilded Age.”  
(28 page essay)

God in the Hands of an Ageing Historical Theologian
(Spring 2015)
In an eight session version in the “Last Lecture” tradition, against his better judgment, way out of his depth, and with apologies to Jonathan Edwards for the title, Farley will lay out how he thinks and what he thinks on a variety of theological topics.
(55 page essay)

Hebrew Prophets
(Winter 2013)
A study of one of the great traditions in Western religious thought: the Hebrew prophets.  A look at their work as a distinctive mode or genre of religious thought, and its development within Israel’s history, principally from the time of the Divided Kingdom (Israel in the north and Judah in the south) through the Exile in Babylon.  The prophets covered will include Nathan, Micaiah, Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah of Jerusalem, Micah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah of the Exile.
(56 page essay)

Hebrew Scriptures in Modern Scholarship and Interpretation
(Spring 2009, Spring 2011)
Three case studies, one from each major section of the Hebrew Scriptures (Genesis from the Torah or Law; the eighth century prophets from the     Prophets; and the Book of Job from the Writings), showing the influence of modern scholarship and interpretation.
(83 page essay)

Niebuhr, Niebuhr and Tillich
(Winter 2011, Summer 2013)
As religion responded to American life from World I through the Viet Nam War, liberal Protestant thought was redefined by Reinhold Niebuhr, his brother Richard, and his colleague Paul Tillich.  A look at the issues they addressed, what they shared and how they differed.
(50 page essay)

Process Theology
(Winter 2014)
As change has come to be seen as a process to be embraced, philosophy and theology are being rethought.  The basic ideas of Christian theology are being restated, and contemporary movements and issues given a new perspective.  All of this will be presented against the backdrop of the achievements of Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, and John Cobb, among others.
(28 page essay)

Trinities and Other Triads
(Summer 2009, Summer 2012)
Long before Freud adopted id, ego, and superego to illuminate human personality, threeness-in-oneness persisted in western thought.  This concept was a way of dealing with the multiplicity of singularity and the complexity of the simple.  A look at two ancient Trinities, Hegel, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, and Freud to get a glimpse of how this worked out.
(18 page essay)