Thank you for visiting Biola’s Center for Christian Thought. This site is not being updated on a regular basis while we are developing new projects for the future. In the meantime, please continue to enjoy the videos, podcasts and articles currently available on the site.

Image for Intellectual Virtue & Civil Discourse


Finding Civil Discourse

Glenn Sanders

An Interdisciplinary Course and Syllabus on "Intellectual Virtue & Civil Discourse"

Professor of History, Oklahoma Baptist University
August 1, 2014

This is a course description and syllabus developed from our 2014 course development grant competition. See below for a downloadable syllabus.

A hands-on course designed to identify and cultivate the intellectual and moral virtues necessary for civil discourse in modern communities—local, regional, national, and international. Regularly emphasizing traditional Christian practices (e.g., hospitality, stewardship, and testimony) as a means for identifying and enacting those virtues, readings and discussions during the first half of the semester will explore the necessity and character of civil discourse and outline the nature of select virtues. During the second half of the semester students will learn about concrete virtues from off-campus visits with key figures in local, regional, national, and international governments and agencies regularly pursuing civil discourse. The final project will be a mock public session on a specific political or social problem in which students will demonstrate the place of particular virtues in civil discourse.

Click here to download the syllabus for Finding Civil Discourse

Course Readings

Aristotle, On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse, trans. George A. Kennedy (Oxford, 1991)

Dorothy C. Bass, ed., Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People (2nd ed.; Jossey-Bass, 2010)

Virginia Hodgkinson and Michael W. Foley, eds., The Civil Society Reader (Tufts, 2003)

John D. Kenworthy, The Civility Psalms: Contemporary Poems Encouraging a More Civil Discourse (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013)

Judith Rodin and Stephen P. Steinberg, eds., Public Discourse in America: Conversation and Community in the Twenty-First Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003)

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (Chicago, 2002)