East Meets West: Outline and Readings

Students spend approximately 12 hours in class and 24 hours in class preparation per week during the spring semester. During Mayterm, students travel throughout the Balkans, visiting a variety of religious, historical, and cultural sites and meeting members of local Christian communities.

Week 1: Foundations I: the West, the Eastern Orthodox world, the Muslim world

Week 2: Foundations II: creation; humanity; pre-modern societies; the classical world

Week 3: Early Christianity

Week 4: Foundations of Christendom

Week 5: The Barbarian and Medieval West

Week 6: Byzantium, Eastern Christianity, and the Catholic-Orthodox Struggle for Europe

Week 7: The Emergence of Islam

Week 8: Interaction of Christendom and Islam

Week 9: The Turkish Tide and Its Effects

Week 10: Renaissance, Reformation, and the Foundations of Western Modernity

Week 11: The Rise of Western Dominance

Week 12: The Course of Western Dominance

Week 13: Western Creeds, Eastern Effects: Nationalism

Week 14: A Case Study: The Balkans in the 20th Century

Week 15: Western Creeds, Eastern Effects: Socialism and Democracy


Readings include either the whole or excerpts from:

  • Thucydides: Pericles' Funeral Oration
  • Plutarch: Life of Lycurgus
  • Aristotle: Politics
  • Homer: Iliad
  • Aeschylus: Agamemnon
  • Cicero: On the Commonwealth
  • Virgil: The Aeneid
  • Genesis; Esther; Daniel; Mark; Acts of the Apostles
  • Tertullian: Apology
  • Irenaeus: Against Heresies
  • St. Augustine: City of God, Letters, Confessions
  • Tacitus: Germania (S)
  • Beowulf
  • Aquinas: "Treatise on Law," ST I-II, 90-97 (S)
  • Thomas à Kempis: The Imitation of Christ,
  • The Dream of the Rood
  • The Koran
  • One Thousand and One Nights
  • Dante: Inferno
  • The Song of Roland
  • Francisco de Vitoria: Political Writings
  • Luther: "On Temporal Authority"
  • Calvin: Institutes
  • Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice
  • Hobbes: Leviathan
  • Locke: Second Treatise of Government
  • Voltaire: Candide
  • Hume: "Of Commerce", "Of the Original Contract"
  • Smith: The Wealth of Nations
  • The United States Constitution
  • Madison: Federalist No. 10
  • Kant: Perpetual Peace
  • Herder: The Philosophy of the History of Mankind
  • Mill: "Of the Government of Dependencies by a Free State"
  • Nietzsche: The Twilight of the Idols
  • Dostoevsky: "Notes From the Underground"
  • Bernard Shaw: Saint Joan
  • Ivo Andrić: The Bridge on the Drina
  • Vaclav Havel: Largo Desolato
  • Vaclav Havel: Open Letters: Selected Writings
  • Rushdie and Milosz: selected stories and essays
  • Pope John Paul II: Memory and Identity
  • Samuel Huntington: The Clash of Civilizations
  • Meic Pearse: Why the Rest Hates the West
  • Patricia Crone: Pre-Industrial Societies
  • David Landes: The Wealth and Poverty of Nations
  • Roger Scruton: The West and the Rest
  • Richard Fletcher: The Barbarian Conversion
  • Richard Fletcher: The Cross and the Crescent
  • Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi (eds.): Medieval Political Philosophy
  • Misha Glenny: The Balkans
  • Henry Chadwick: The Early Church
  • Jaroslav Pelikan: The Christian Tradition, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600)
  • Dimitri Obolensky: The Byzantine Commonwealth
  • Wil van der Bercken: Holy Russia and Christian Europe
  • Peter Riddell and Peter Cotterell: Islam in Context
  • Noel Malcolm: Kosovo: A Short History
  • Noel Malcolm: Bosnia: A Short History
  • Timothy George: The Theology of the Reformers
  • Owen Chadwick: The Reformation
  • Bernard Lewis: The Middle East
  • R. J. Crampton: Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century and After
  • Michael Ignatieff: Blood and Belonging
  • Michael Oakeshott: Rationalism in Politics

Cities, museums, churches, missions, etc.

The following list shows typical locations visited by honors students during Mayterm.


  • Budapest: city center, churches, Danube


  • Zagreb: art galleries, cathedral, St. Katherine's Church, parliament, STEP (student evangelical movement)
  • Pula: Roman amphitheater, other Roman remains, city center
  • Labin: museums, incl. the museum to Matthias Flacius Illyricus (co-worker with Luther)
  • Rijeka: lecture (by local scholar/historian) on the 1920 crisis in Rijeka
  • Plitvice: waterfalls at national park
  • Šibenik: cathedral and ancient city center
  • Trogir: cathedral and ancient city center
  • Split: huge Roman ruins at Salona, fortress of Klis above the city, Diocletian's palace, ancient city center, visit to evangelical church congregation
  • Dubrovnik: complete medieval walled city, museums, monasteries, churches, meeting with local Baptist pastor
  • Osijek: staying at Evangelical Theological Seminary, city center, Slavonia Museum and Library
  • Vukovar: destroyed city center, meeting with spokeswoman from Center for Peace and Nonviolence, churches
  • Đakovo: cathedral and museum


  • Risan: Roman mosaics
  • Perast: museum, Orthodox church
  • Kotor: medieval walled city, Catholic and Orthodox churches


  • Mostar: city center and the famous bridge, evangelical church in Muslim half of city, Muslim dervish tekke at Blagaj
  • Sarajevo: museum, Ghazi Husrev Beg mosque, Catholic church, site of assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914, Baptist congregation in the city


  • Belgrade: Kalemegdan fortress, Orthodox churches, shopping district, parliament


  • Venice: many churches, incl. St. Mark's cathedral, St. Mark's Square, Rialto, Grand Canal, museums
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