Associate Professor of Philosophy Nathan Schlueter first promised Thomas King ’15 he would consider teaching Theology of the Body only if King could get 15 students to commit to the course. Within two days of registration, Schlueter’s class had filled to 25 students, prompting Schlueter to open an additional section which filled up just as quickly.
This year, Schlueter’s class has drawn just as many students in just as short a time.
“That the students have latched onto it this way, I think is pretty telling, pretty remarkable,” Schlueter said.
Since its first offering in fall 2014, Theology of the Body has continued to draw a large crowd of eager students to study the works of St. John Paul II on human dignity and sexuality through marriage and love.
Schlueter said such discussion attracts the Hillsdale students’ pursuit of knowledge and truth.
“And you ask yourself, why would students want to take this?” Schlueter said. “And the answer is duh, look around. We have never lived in a time of so much confusion over our embodiment. I think students are hungry for some direction in that.”
Junior Lara Forsythe offered two reasons for her interest in taking this course in the spring.
“Oh baby. Schlueter,” Forsythe said. “And, it just sounds fundamental for life … there is theology for everything and so when approaching any topic you should be thinking, ‘What is the theology of this?’ and ‘Where does God come to play in this topic?’ and that is something that really excites me and I am very interested in that.”
John Paul offers this direction through the writings such as his great work, “Love and Responsibility,” his script, “The Jeweler’s Shop,” as well as his papal audience lectures given from 1979 to 1984.
“This isn’t just about love, and marriage and friendship, this is about creation and redemption,” Schlueter said. “The passages are there to be seen in Scripture, but no one ever saw them like John Paul II.”
The course culminates in a research project that explores an examination of a novel, song, artwork, or poem of through the lens of Theology of the Body. A Pathos website, Love Among the Ruins, was initiated by Kathryn Wales, wife to Associate Professor of Religion Jordan Wales, to publish some of the student works done for this class assignment.
Senior Jessica Jenkins was enrolled in the inaugural Theology of the Body class and examined the Sistine Chapel’s artwork as part of her final project.
“What I learned really shaped me as a person,” Jenkins said. “Looking at life after Theology of the Body, I think that has really changed my outlook on my philosophy classes, but also how I approach my personal life and the choices I make.”