CHET 70970/80970/90970 Special Topics in Christian Ethics: Kierkegaard and Moral Philosophy (syllabus)
3 semester hours, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas
Tues./Thurs., 2-4pm; July 9-Aug. 3, 2012; Harrison 203, plus online component


Instructor: Charles Bellinger 817-257-7668

Prerequisites: any course in theology or ethics; pre-course reading of Provocations by Kierkegaard.

Description of Content: This course addresses key themes in the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, with a view to the place of his ideas within modern moral philosophy. Particular attention will be paid to Kierkegaard's later works.

Course Objectives:
1. Students will gain a grounding in the basic elements of Soren Kierkegaard's thought.
2. Students will survey the ethical themes in Kierkegaard's writings, and consider how Alasdair MacIntyre and other scholars have responded to, critiqued, and adapted his ideas.
3. Students will articulate their own critical and constructive response to Kierkegaard's thought.

Class Procedures:
In-class meetings will employ a seminar format. There will also be a supplementary Internet threaded discussion throughout the course.

Requirements and Grading Procedures:
1. Attendance and class participation. (20% of grade)
2. Participation in Internet discussion. (20% of grade)
3. Two 8-10 page papers, (30% of grade each)

Davenport, John J., and Anthony Rudd, eds. Kierkegaard After MacIntyre [KAM]: Essays on Freedom, Narrative, and Virtue. Chicago: Open Court, 2001. ISBN: 0812694392  $37

Kierkegaard, Soren. Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard. Edited by Charles E. Moore. Farmington, Pa.: Plough, 1999. ISBN: 1570755132  $24

MacIntyre, Alasdair C. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. 3rd ed. [using any edition is okay] Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007.  ISBN: 9780268035044 $26

There will be additional readings assigned by the instructor.



Schedule: (reading assignments should be completed by the date next to which they are listed)

This syllabus represents current plans that are subject to change. Such changes, communicated by the instructor, are not unusual and should be expected.


reading assignments


Week One
July 9-13

July 10: SK excerpts
July 12: MacIntyre, ch. 1-4


Week Two
July 16-20

July 17: MacIntyre, ch. 5-6, 9, 14-15
July 19: MacIntyre, 18-19; KAM, pp. 19-31, ch. 5

Bellinger, “Three Rival Versions”


paper on MacIntyre due July 20


Week Three
July 23-27

July 24: KAM, ch. 6-8
July 26: KAM, ch. 9, 11, 14


Week Four
July 30-Aug 3

read primary work by SK, assigned by instructor
Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, pp. 1-154 (122 ff. most important)
Works of Love, pp. 17-134
Works of Love, pp. 154-174, 209-279, 300-314
The Sickness unto Death, pp. 1-131
Practice in Christianity, pp. 1-144,
+158-60, 168, 174-5
Judge for Yourself!, pp. 89-215

The Point of View for My Work as an Author, pp. 1-97



paper on SK due Aug. 3


Statement on laptop use in class: Students are not allowed to use laptops during class meetings, unless their sole purpose in doing so is to take class notes.

Email communication: The instructor may send important emails to the class members at their TCU email address; therefore, students must check their TCU email regularly or set up forwarding to an email account that they do check regularly.

Inclusion Statement: Brite Divinity School values people of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, races, and religions, with regard to characteristics such as sex, gender, sexual identities, social class, age, and differing abilities. We are committed to promoting a diverse and just environment, in which language and practices support the achievement of inclusion. Brite seeks to remove all barriers to the maintenance and aspirations of its Mission Statement and Non-Discrimination Statement.

Inclusive Language Statement: Brite Divinity School promotes inclusive language. This includes such matters as language about God, humanity, cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, races, and religions, with regard to characteristics such as sex, gender, sexual identities, social class, age, and differing abilities. We are committed to promoting a diverse and just environment for all, in which language and practices encourage inclusion. To this end, Brite will maintain and update as necessary a webpage of resources for current best practices of inclusive language.

Statement on Disability Services: Texas Christian University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding students with disabilities.  Eligible students seeking accommodations should contact the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities in the Center for Academic Services located in Sadler Hall, 11.  Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the Coordinator as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations. Further information can be obtained from the Center for Academic Services, TCU Box 297710, Fort Worth, TX 76129, or at (817) 257-7486.

Brite Divinity School Mission Statement: Brite Divinity School educates women and men to lead in the ministry of Christ’s church, the academy, and public life as witnesses to God’s reconciling and transforming love and justice.

Charles Bellinger's home page: