Course Description

In this course we will consider the philosophical, literary, and political ideas in Paul Woodruff’s recent book, Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue.  Drawing on both ancient and contemporary sources, Woodruff argues that reverence is still essential to a well-functioning society as well as being an unseen part of all human relationships.  In addition to analyzing and responding to Woodruff’s and other related texts, students will have the opportunity to consider and examine their own thoughts about reverence and to apply Woodruff’s ideas to contemporary social issues.  Our main goal is to learn how to write strong essays that are directed to specific audiences, clearly present a position, support that position with good reasoning and evidence, and consider possible objections. Both in and out of class, students will write regularly, revise often, and frequently work with peers.  We will also consider how Woodruff’s thoughts about reverence can be applied to our own writing.  For example, how can writing evoke awe and create community?  Guided by readings in Reading Critically, Writing Well, students will write a reflective essay, a concept essay, an argument essay, and a longer, more developed research paper.