Spiritual Care 3

This course is offered in Dutch. Some of the descriptions may therefore only be available in Dutch.

Course Objective

By the end of the module, the student will have:
• Increased their understanding of the relationship between death and
life, and what it is to be a human being, in Orthodox Theology, as both
punitive (‘the wages of sin’) and yet remedial, educational, and
• Deepened their appreciation of the pertinent texts of Scripture, the
Patristic tradition, and Orthodox Liturgy;
• Become more aware of the different approaches to death in the history
of Western culture;
• Become more sensitive to the pastoral dimensions of ministering to the
dying and the bereaved.

And, by the end of the module, the student will be able to:
• Discuss the Orthodox understanding of death, and its complex
relationship to life and being human, demonstrated in moderated online
• Analyze the texts of the Orthodox tradition—Scriptural, patristic, and
liturgical—pertaining to life and death, demonstrated in online
discussion and written papers;
• Apply what they have learned to the pastoral task of ministering to
the dying and the bereaved, demonstrated in class discussion and paper.

Course Content

This class will examine the complex relation between life and death as
seen within the perspective of the Orthodox theological and liturgical
tradition, for which the most fundamental proclamation is that Christ
has destroyed death by death, so offering life through death
(sacramentally in baptism; taking up the cross; a martyric/witness
The further implications of this for understanding the human being will
be explored by examining the early martyrdom literature and the writings
of Irenaeus and Maximus. This course will, moreover, consider the
changing attitudes to, and representations of, death in Western culture,
as found in selected literature (Tolstoy and Waugh), as well as
contemporary medical and philosophical texts concerning death, so as to
understand the challenges of speaking about death and ministering to the
dying and the bereaved in our own times.

Teaching Methods

This is a hybrid program: online and on campus for a one day intensive

Method of Assessment

On-line assignments (50%), in-person presentation and final paper (50%)

Entry Requirements

Either a Bachelors in Theology or the Orthodox Pre-Masters Programme


● Ignatius of Antioch, The Letters, trans. A. Stewart. (SVS Press,
2013), ISBN: 978-0881414646
● Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies, PDF of selections will be
posted on Canvas (full text available at:
● The funeral Service of the Orthodox Church
● Leo Tolstoy, ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’ (PDF:
● Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One (Back Bay Books 2012). 978-0316216470.
● Philippe Aries, Western Attitudes Towards Death (John Hopkins
University Press 1975), ISBN: 978-0801817625.
● Sherwin Nuland, How We Die (Vintage 1995). ISBN: 978-0679742449.
● Hervé Juvin, The Coming of the Body. Trans. John Howe (Verso 2010).
ISBN 978-1844673100.
● Daniel Hinshaw, ‘The Kenosis of the Dying: An Invitation to Healing’ ,
in John Behr and Conor Cunningham, The Role of Death in Life: A
Multidisciplinary Examination of the Relationship between Life and
Death. Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock, 2015. ISBN 978-1498209588.
● Jeffrey Bishop, ‘On Medical Corpses and Resurrected Bodies’, in John
Behr and Conor Cunningham, The Role of Death in Life: A
Multidisciplinary Examination of the Relationship between Life and
Death. Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock, 2015. ISBN 978-1498209588.

Selected Other
● Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death. Free Press (1997).
● Jeffrey Bishop, The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care
of the Dying. Notre Dame (2011)
● Daniel Hinshaw, Suffering and the Nature of Healing. SVS (2013).
● Philippe Aries, The Hour of our Death. Trans. Helen Weaver. Vintage
Books (1982; repr. 2008).
● (more to follow)

Target Audience

Students of theology and those preparing for pastoral ministry

Custom Course Registration

This class will be conducted through Canvas, together with a one day in-person intensive study day

Explanation Canvas

You must be able to attend the one day in-person intensive study day, at
which you will give a presentation on your work.

Recommended background knowledge

General background in theology

General Information

Course Code G_SPICA3
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition Dutch
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator prof. dr. J. Behr
Examiner prof. dr. J. Behr
Teaching Staff prof. dr. J. Behr
dr. H.P.S. Bakker BA

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: