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Patristic Literature: St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

In this summer club we will read and discuss the classic work of Patristic theology On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius of Alexandria. In this work, St. Athanasius unfolds the logic, coherence, and salvific purpose of the incarnation: God becoming man in the Person of Jesus Christ, in order that man might participate in Divine Life. The goal of this club will be to increase understanding of dogmatic Christian theology, and how philosophy and logic have been, and can continue to be, deployed in its favor. Each meeting we will discuss the literary, philosophical, and rhetorical features of the assigned portion of the text for that week, with especial attention to the logical structure of St. Athanasius’ reasoning.


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Course Materials:

The required text is On the Incarnation: Saint Athanasius, from the SVS Press Popular Patristics series. The text can be purchased on the SVS website here:

Ben Cook earned his BA in Philosophy from the University of Central Florida, and is currently a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Syracuse University. He is passionate about teaching students how to think and write logically, rigorously, reflectively, and articulately. As image-bearers of the Logos, the Divine Reason, he believes learning these skills helps us to grow into the likeness of Christ more fully. Ben has taught courses in moral theory, political philosophy, formal logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. He also has experience lecturing, in a parish setting, on Patristic interpretations of Scripture. In addition, Ben has a particular passion for the works of the three great British Christian writers C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, and G.K. Chesterton.

When not doing philosophy, he enjoys studying theology, playing guitar, and going on hikes. He lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife. They attend All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Raleigh.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend 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 a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps 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. unnamed-e1455142229376 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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