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Liberal Arts Level 8: Modern Classics of Christendom (16th Century and Beyond)

This course will cover some of the most significant modern Christian classics, both East and West, following the fall of Constantinople (1453) to the present day, including the European Reformations, the religious revival of modern Greece, and the rise of the Russian spiritual novel. As a course within the classical “Great Books” tradition of the liberal arts curriculum, most of class time will be spent discussing the primary texts, with the instructor providing supplementary contextual data where relevant; optional secondary sources are also available to be read concurrently with the primary. As a course within St. Raphael School, non-Orthodox students are welcome to enroll, but with the understanding that the instructor will approach the material from an explicitly Eastern Orthodox perspective, and will therefore at times need to be critical of, although not uncharitable to, the non-Orthodox materials. Historical and literary thinking begins with understanding, not prejudice, and thus the instructor will often encourage students to read each text with empathy before rushing to evaluate whether it is “right” or “wrong.” While this class can be taken on its own, it is intended to build directly upon Liberal Arts Level 7: Classics of Christendom.

View Liberal Arts Curriculum Map




Dr. Titus’ Course Syllabus

Required Course Materials

  1. Nil Sorsky, The Authentic Writings: 978-0879073213
  2. Desiderius Erasmus, Praise of Folly: 978-0140446081
  3. Thomas More, Utopia: 978-0140449105
  4. Martin Luther, Selections From His Writings: 978-0385098762
  5. Ignatius of Loyola, Personal Writings: 978-0140433852
  6. John Calvin and Jacopo Sadoleto, A Reformation Debate: 978-0801023903
  7. John Foxe, Book of Martyrs: Select Narratives: 978-0199236848
  8. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul: 978-0385029308
  9. William Shakespeare, Hamlet: 978-0198328704
  10. Dimitri of Rostov, Jesus Crucified: The Baroque Spirituality of St Dimitri of Rostov: 978-0881415780
  11. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel: 978-0809130382
  12. The Pilgrim’s Tale: 978-0809137091
  13. Theophan the Recluse, Unseen Warfare: 978-0913836521
  14. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From Underground: 978-0679734529
  15. Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich: 978-0553210354
  16. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: 978-0679444640


*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.

Dr. Alexander Titus is a learner, educator, translator, and Church historian, specializing in the Byzantine and medieval Western periods. He holds a BA (2011) in Classics from the University of Oregon, an MA (2015) and ThM (2016) from St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary, and a PhD (2022) in Church History from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he wrote his dissertation on St. Gregory Palamas. His English translation of Palamas’ Triads is also forthcoming from St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (2023). Dr. Titus has come to believe strongly in the salvific value of classical education, not only for the soul of the individual Christian, but for the building up of the whole Church.

Dr. Titus currently lives in Springfield, Oregon, with his wife and two sons. His other interests include cooking, literature, visual arts (e.g., film, animation, games), volunteering in his local Orthodox community, and attempting, sometimes fruitlessly, to maintain a large rural property. He loves spending time with children and teaches part-time at his local Orthodox homeschooling resource center.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebCam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.
WebCam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.


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