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School LIbrary


Every Semester and Summer Classes

Pilgrim’s Progress: A Spiritual Classic for a Selfie World


Studying John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress towards spiritual formation, from civil war through culture war by way of engaging theology, missions, history, literature, philosophy, psychology, politics, economics, adaptation theory, art, musicals, movies, opera, prog rock, graphic novels, board games, computer games, and theme parks, to the celestial city.

This course invites students to become familiar with a classic of evangelical spirituality. John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim's Progress sits still at number 80 in PBS’ recent America’s Big Read survey. Besides the Bible, it long claimed the place as second most published book since its original publication in 1678. In encountering The Pilgrim's Progress students will be invited to reflect critically and biblically on the theology of the text and its rendering of the Christian life. Attention will be given to the shape of Puritan accounts of conversion and Christian living as also mapped in Bunyan’s Grace Abounding. Students will be required to imaginatively journal the encounters of their own lives in allegorical form, offering scriptural marginal notes, in a mode that is spiritually edifying to other Christians and glorifying to God.  Required lecture videos for each Module will cross disciplinary boundaries of history, politics, and economics, through philosophy and psychology, to contemporary literary and film studies; research into the spiritual formation that comes out of Pilgrim's Progress and its spiritual and cultural legacy could focus on movies, music (opera, musicals, prog rock), and art, as well as adaptations of the text for children or contemporary readers, or study guides designed for church or devotional use, or graphic novels, or re-tellings in fantasy or sci-fi mode.

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