The Christian Art of Dying
Kimbell Kornu
May 11 - May 14
Pentecost Term

During every Lord’s Supper, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Yet, our modern culture (the Church included) appears to be deathly afraid of death. While Christians should not fear death, the Church in practice struggles with how to approach death and dying. Using the categories of diagnosis and therapeutics, this course will ask these fundamental questions: How did we end up with our cultural approach to death? What can the Church do about it?

In making the diagnosis, we will explore the history of death and the history of medicine, each in terms of their conceptualization, practice, and interrelationship. We will also look at medicine as having its own quasi-religious dimensions. For example, physicians act as secular priests, medicine offers a kind of salvation, and medicine practices ersatz liturgies of death and dying.

In offering therapeutic solutions, we will explore how the Church has approached medicine, death, and dying in light of the Gospel. Moral principles and concrete cases in medical ethics will be discussed to help the Church make sense of the complexities of modern medicine at the end of life. A theology of healing will be explored and suggestions for how to practice the Christian art of dying will be discussed.

About the Instructor

Kimbell Kornu (M. Div. Westminster Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of medicine and health care ethics at Saint Louis University and is a practicing Palliative Care physician. He holds an MD from the University of Texas Southwestern and a PhD in Theology from the University of Nottingham (UK). His teaching commitments include palliative medicine to housestaff, health care ethics to undergraduates and medical students, and theology and bioethics to graduate students. His research focuses on the historical, social, philosophical, and theological determinants that shape the metaphysics and practices of modern medicine. He has published widely in the philosophy and theology of medicine. He is currently working on a book that traces the philosophical history of medical knowing back to the origins of Western medicine through the lens of anatomical dissection.

Theopolis Institute admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies or scholarship programs.

*This requirement was added in July 2016. For those who entered the Certificate Program earlier than that date, the oral examination is voluntary.

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