Comprehending Christianity: deep dive into PBR, a PHC core class

Posted by Trinity Klomparens on 4/5/24 8:41 AM

Dr. Zorzi teaches Principles of Biblical Reasoning

Among the biggest goals of Patrick Henry College is to develop and send out well-trained, classically-minded Christian thinkers to shape the world for Christ. One of PHC’s core classes, Principles of Biblical Reasoning, aims to help students think deeply about their faith, Christian fellowship, and their heavenly Father. Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Dr. Graedon Zorzi, Ph.D. in political science and religious studies, leads the class through a multi-part walkthrough of the Bible’s structure, competing religious ideologies, and historical Christian interpretation.

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“PBR is designed to help students to think biblically about their present circumstances by situating those circumstances within the ongoing story of the church's attempt to build human communities in ways properly respectful to the reality that people are made in the image of God,” Dr. Zorzi said.

Throughout the class, students seek theological insight by engaging with esteemed authors representing a variety of perspectives. Dr. Zorzi assigns students a “PBR reader,” a book with all of the compiled sources and reading material for this class. This book includes Lynne Rudder Baker’s perspective on mind/body dualism, St. Augustine’s The City of God, C. Loring Brace’s argument against race, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “On the Social Contract,” and more. 

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“The class focuses on the image of God and the doctrine of humanity more broadly, looking at how the Christian view of humanity led to a fascinating, although far from complete, transformation of the ancient, pagan world,” Dr. Zorzi said. “We trace the progress of that transformation through the medieval and modern worlds, tracking ups and downs, challenges and breakthroughs, and arrive at a framework for thinking through some of the most contentious and challenging issues for Christians today.”


As students walk through the class, they develop a deeper understanding of historical Christian doctrine. Each class period centers around a different area of doctrine: the creation timeline and the world as God’s cosmic temple, man as the imago Dei and the fall of the divine image, paganism, Biblical marriage, redemption, restoration, and so on. Students leave the class with a richer understanding of God’s word, the life of His people, and the story of creation. 

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PBR has quickly become a favorite core class among PHC students. Dr. Zorzi clearly and carefully outlines the history of Christianity in a manner fit for students of all theological backgrounds

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 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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