In this course, we will explore the history and development of the idea of creation in Jewish and Christian thought. We will begin by looking at creation stories, then move to the development of the doctrine of creation, and conclude by addressing contemporary appropriations of creation. By the end of the course, students should have some sense of the intertextual relationships between creation narratives and how our current religious understandings of the origin of things has developed in the history of thought.



The following materials are required reading for the course. Texts are available in the bookstore.

**Additional required materials will be available either online or on reserve in the library.



Attendance and Participation: My basic assumption is that we are mutually dedicated to the common cause of education conceived as the advancement of critical thinking. Because of this basic assumption, I also assume that you will be in attendance and on time to all class sessions, barring unforeseen circumstances. Attendance will be taken at every class, not as a disciplinary measure, but as a show of good faith to our common commitment. More than three unexcused absences during the term will lower your final grade one letter; each additional absence will lower your grade another half step. In addition, I assume that you will come to class prepared and ready to participate in class discussion. This means, first, that you will have completed assigned readings prior to the class meeting. (Many of the readings are difficult and I do not expect you to understand them completely; I do, however, expect you to engage the material seriously and to ask me about anything you do not understand.) Second, I expect that you will be ready and willing to discuss the material, i.e., to raise questions, criticisms, thoughts, etc. Class participation constitutes ten percent of your final grade.

Class Presentations: Each will be responsible for presenting course material at least once during the class. (Students may be required to present more than once, depending upon enrollment; I reserve the right to expand this requirement, points will be reassigned as demanded.) This is not a graded requirement, though it is expected that the student will take the requirement seriously and will present the material thoroughly. So long as you do the presentation(s) you will get the credit. Class presentations will be worth 40 points.

Quizzes: Three quizzes will be given during the course of the class, one and the end of each week dealing with the material for each of the sections. Quizzes will worth 20 points each for a total of 60 points.

Papers: The primary requirements for the course are two 5-7 page papers. The first will be based on a question assigned by me. The second will be a topic of the student’s choice; the topic for this second paper is up to the student but must be approved by me. The first paper will be worth 70 points, and the second will be worth 100 points.



A total of 300 points is possible for the class. The point breakdown is as follows: class participation = 30 points; class presentation = 40 points; quizzes = 60 points (20 points each); first paper = 70 points; second paper = 100 points. The grading scale is as follows:

276-300 points: A 265-269 points: B+ 235-239 points: C+ 180-209 points: D
270-275 points: A- 246-264 points: B 216-234 points: C
below 180 points: U
  240-245 points: B- 210-215 points: C-  

.**A NOTE ABOUT GRADING: A grade is an assessment of your effort and your abilities; therefore, simply fulfilling the course requirements does not constitute an A! Exceptional work will warrant an A; good work will win you a B; adequate work will get you a C; below adequate work gets you a D; a final grade of U means that your work has been unsatisfactory. (A word of warning: I am a difficult, but fair grader, and I am always willing to discuss a grade with a student.)



With regard to academic honesty, the Centre College Student Handbook states:

A high standard of academic honesty is expected of students in all phases of academic work and college life. Academic dishonesty in any form is a fundamental offense against the integrity of the entire academic community and is always a threat to the standards of the College and to the standing of every student. In taking tests and examinations, doing homework or laboratory work, and writing papers, students are expected to perform with honor. In written and oral work for college courses, students will be held responsible for knowing the difference between proper and improper use of source materials. The improper use of source materials is plagiarism and, along with other breaches of academic integrity, is subject to disciplinary action. . . . If the instructor has a concern about a student’s academic honesty, the Associate Dean of the College must be notified (Centre 2002-2003 Student Handbook, 106-7).

The Academic Honesty policy will be strictly upheld. We will use the services provided by “” to aid us in this endeavor.



Genesis, chpts. 1-11
Enuma Elish
Claus Westermann, Creation



Anne Clifford, “Creation,” in Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives, vol.1
Irenaeus, Against Heresies, chapts. 9-13
Tertullian, Against Hermogenes
Augustine, De Natura Boni
Aquinas, Summa Theologica, part I, q. 44



Moreland & Reynolds, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, parts 1 & 2.
Ruether, Gaia and God, parts 1 & 3.
Hays, The Gift of Being.
Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil.