The Curriculum


The books you read in Torrey are often called great books.

Many of them are great in that they are consummately beautiful, wise, or powerful. Many also are great in that they were foundational or pivotal to the life and mind of a culture. Their massive force within the unfolding of Western civilization renders them part of cultural inheritance and cultural literacy. You read books that, whether bastions of truth or pitfalls of error, have formed a great conversation; so doing, you join that great conversation, and you learn from and contend with the living words of dead teachers.

You read books that dare to make claims about realities that matter. You read books that make it more possible for you to know yourself, others, the world, and God. You read books that can contribute to your growth in communion with God and with others. You read books that will help you discern what is true to believe, what is good to live out, and what is beautiful to long for.

 


You read primary sources, whole books.

The books themselves are what you get to study. That is to say, the books you read in Torrey are primary sources. Instead of reading books about, for instance, medieval theology, you will read Anselm, Aquinas, Boethius, Dante and more. It might feel foolhardy and risky to imagine that you could approach these books and authors directly, without someone with more expertise to tell you what to think they are saying. In some sense, it is. But, remember, the experts only got their expertise by learning to read carefully in conversation with other students of the text and by making the practice of reading a lifetime endeavor. This curriculum invites you to an independent reading life, the shape and scope of which is just now unfolding.

Your reading assignments reflect Torrey’s strong preference for whole books. Reading whole books gives you full access to the thought of the book. Your encounter all the parts that comprise the whole. So, you build up your reading muscles to notice what’s especially important and to gather a sense of the unity of a text from attention to its many parts.

Learn more about your reading

You don't read about the books. You read the books themselves.


Half of what you read is the Bible and theology.

Torrey delivers Biola’s mandatory thirty units of Bible and theology to its students. More than half of the books in each house’s book lists are biblical or theological texts.

Our main strategy for the study of the Bible is to read its individual books as books. There is a great deal you gain when you apply your best reading skills and sensibilities to the reading of books of the Bible. But we don’t approach the Scriptures as mere literary artifacts. On the contrary, because of their reliability and authority as the inspired Word of God, we seek to become more faithful and careful readers of the Bible by getting good at reading its books as books.

The curriculum also invites you to pursue an increasingly canonical understanding of the witness of Scripture, intending the cumulative discovery of biblical unity. Further, we are deeply committed to the work of integration; reconciling the rest of the curriculum to the witness of Scripture is a large part of the project.

 

TORREY TOTAL BIBLE

The Torrey curriculum assigns every book of the New Testament and the majority of the books of the Old Testament. Torrey Total Bible is an opt-in program to read and to discuss those books of the Bible that are not covered in the standard curriculum. Students who complete the program fulfill reading, notebook, and session requirements for all sixty-six books of the Bible. TTB students receive recognition at Torrey commencement, earning a pin that commemorates the accomplishment. Participation is voluntary.

 

30 of your Torrey units are Bible and theology.


Lecture Credit Requirement


Once you get hooked on reading these books in this community, you’ll want to have more and more experiences that make your study richer and livelier. We offer a number of opportunities that connect to our core curriculum, experiences that deepen, extend, contextualize, focus, or supplement your acquaintance with the great books and your collaboration with one another.

For all courses except the thesis you must attend all mandatory lectures and earn one lecture credit per unit enrolled. You are required to attend the whole lecture to get credit. Failure to satisfy the lecture credit requirement will result in grade penalty.

 

Torrey Lectures

Throughout the semester, Torrey offers lectures as supplements to its book-centered curriculum and dialogue-centered pedagogy. These lectures are community events. Torrey faculty members offer many of the lectures. Our community also hosts many on-campus and off-campus guests whose projects and interests will enrich your general education.

All Torrey sponsored lectures count for lecture credit.

Urban Plunge

Bringing our reading and discussion skills to a place and its people, Torrey upperclassmen lead groups of students and faculty each spring to discover the diversity of Los Angeles, with an interest in both its needs and its gifts. Urban Plunge is designed to help us learn from and connect with the members of various LA communities themselves.


Urban Plunge participation counts for two lecture credits. It requires advance sign-up and attendance at both pre-Plunge and post-Plunge meetings.

Why you read what your read

At the beginning of every term, a panel of your house faculty will introduce you to your semester’s curriculum at a Why You Read What You Read lecture. Your attendance at your respective Why You Read is expected; contact your mentor if you have a scheduling conflict.

Attendance counts for lecture credit.

Culture and the arts

Beyond traditional format lectures, Torrey sponsors many art & culture events, which supplement the curriculum with live experiences of the kinds of artifacts we study and sometimes make.

All Torrey-sponsored art & culture events count for lecture credit.

Conferences

To introduce core skills and key content in biblical studies and theology, Torrey coordinates strategic conferences and lectures for underclassmen.

At the Hermeneutics Conference you will learn to navigate the complex task of reading the Scriptures in their historical, canonical, and ecclesial contexts. Freshmen in both the Morgan House and Johnson House must attend the Hermeneutics Conference in the fall semester. It is always scheduled to precede your sessions on Bible books that term.

The G. Campbell Morgan Theology Lectures introduces you to the core categories and content of systematic theology. Freshmen in the Morgan House and Sophomores in the Johnson House must attend the Theology Lectures in the spring semester, fitting the curricular content that term.

These two events are mandatory and do not count for lecture credit. 


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