Campus Briefs Curriculum News

Theodicy and the Holocaust uses 2 teachers to examine ‘God’s justice’

By Anthony Cardellini ’17
THE ROUNDUP

In 99 percent of Brophy’s classrooms, you will find one teacher in the room as the sole instructor of the class.

Theodicy and the Holocaust is the only exception.

Theodicy and the Holocaust is taught by both Mr. Chris Agliano and Mr. Matt Hooten. The class is in its fourth year and combines elements of the religious studies and social studies departments.

Mr. Hooten said his background in the Holocaust comes from a class he took at Claremont McKenna College entitled “Researching the Holocaust.”

“I ended up spending my entire senior year doing a thesis, and part of what I focused on was the treatment of Jews inside Nazi-occupied Europe,” Mr. Hooten said.

He said he and Mr. Agliano came up with the idea when they learned of their mutual interest in the study of mass genocides through a Christian lens.

Mr. Agliano explained that the course includes three phases.

First, the class covers the history of anti-Semitism. It then moves on to the study of Nazi treatment of Jews as well as other mass genocides, such as those in Rwanda and Cambodia.

Finally, the class examines the idea of theodicy in the modern world.

“Theodicy means ‘God’s justice,’” Mr. Agliano said. “The quest for theodicy is to understand the impact of God’s justice on our lives. The basic idea is we take God as all good, all knowing and all powerful. With that understanding of God, how can evil exist in the world?”

Mr. Agliano said that having two teachers helps the energy of the class.

“There are two teachers in the room that can go back and forth and I think that not only do we feed off each other’s energy but the students do as well,” he said.

Senior Hunter Cisiewski is in the class and said he would “absolutely” recommend it to an interested student.

“I’d say it’s a class that you’ll get a lot out of,” he said. “It’s more of an experience than it is a class.”

Cisiewski said the class is built on reading and watching firsthand accounts of the Holocaust and trying to understand where God can be found among such evil.

He said his favorite part of the class is the discussions they have about God. He said the central question of the class is “How can we say that God is around when he lets millions of people die?”