Natural Law, The State & The Gospel – PLCY 701

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

The student is introduced to Biblical principles of government and statesmanship in this course, both in terms of key governmental processes and structures, as well as practices related to statesmanship and statecraft. Concepts such as natural law, inalienable rights, covenant, sphere sovereignty, justice, and church-state relations are incorporated into course content with a particular emphasis on policy implications.

Prerequisite

PLCY 700

Rationale

This is an advanced graduate course that delves deeply into the historical link between conceptions the Natural Law and the design of the State, especially in the works of Medieval and Reformed Christian thinkers. Pre-Christian classical ideas of Natural Law and the State and the modern renunciation of both classical and Christian conceptions of Natural Law will be explored as well.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Understand the definition of Natural Law.
  2. Identify the origins of Natural Law in Classical and Christian historical contexts.
  3. Compare the classical, Christian, and modern conceptions of Natural Law.
  4. Critique the realizations of conceptions of Natural Law in classical, Christian, and modern political institutions.
  5. Evaluate the impact of the Gospel on Christian and modern conceptions of Natural Law.
  6. Assess the prospects for Natural Law continuing as an important basis of political legitimacy.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (5)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each original thread must be at least 1000 words, demonstrate course-related knowledge, and include at least 10 references to course readings and at least 1 Scripture reference. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 300-350 words and include at least 3 references to course readings and at least 1 Scripture reference. Each reply post must be unique; merely posting the same reply in two places is not sufficient and may be treated as a form of academic misconduct.

Book Reviews (2)

The student will be required to submit 2 Book Reviews. The papers must be at least 10 pages written in current Turabian format, utilize and cite at least 10 scholarly sources, which should include the course readings, to justify the student’s position and/or conclusions, and must, in all other respects, be in accord with the standards of academic writing.

Research Paper

The student will be required to submit a Research Paper. The paper must be at least 20 pages written in current Turabian format, utilize and cite at least 20 scholarly sources, which should include the course readings, in sufficient quantity to justify the student’s position and/or conclusions, and must, in all other respects, be in accord with the standards of academic writing. Research Paper topic: Is the Christian conception of Natural Law indispensable to a coherent moral theory of the State?