Teaching Feuerbach in Sunday School


This past spring, I did a 12-week Sunday school series on modern and postmodern philosophy. Borrowing from Jacques Barzun, I entitled the class, “From Dawn to Decadence: An Introduction to Modernism and Postmodernism.” Clearly, we like to challenge our church members to new heights of astuteness. As Presbyterians, they accepted the challenge!

I presented the last 400 years of intellectual and cultural development as a continuous narrative. Beginning with early Deism, we looked at the chief works of figures like Locke, Descartes, Rousseau, et alia, and then the transition to the mature Enlightenment with Hume’s skepticism and Kant’s response. With Hegel, we have a significant new departure by way of a historicized metaphysics, which naturally led into the Left Hegelians and 19th century atheism. Subsequently, in week 9, we finally came to Feuerbach and Nietzsche. Here is the presentation for download:

Class 9: Feuerbach and Nietzsche

In the final weeks of the class, we looked at existentialism (Sartre, Camus) and finally postmodernism (using Foucault primarily, but also Serene Jones as representative of feminist “gender constructivism”). Perhaps surprisingly, I received really good feedback from church members, in what ended-up being a fairly large Sunday school class.


Image: Ludwig Feuerbach (source)



    • I plan on offering another lesson today. I’ll think about offering more.

      No, the audio was not recorded, unfortunately. I was rather surprised at how well the lessons came together — and very surprised at the positive reception from the church. So, when I re-teach the course at some point in the future, I will record the audio, where I explain new concepts and use illustrations. Nonetheless, I think the slides are detailed enough to be used by another teacher, after having done some homework himself or herself.

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