Josef Außermair



Spring: THE 491 – Christian Thought in Modern Europe (3 credits)

1. How would you explain the content and approach of your course?

I want to give a modern interpretation of the foundations of Christianity. Our reflections on Christianity’s basic truths are to expand one’s knowledge of the Christian faith. The course tries to address and to answer many of the modern objections to faith in God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Church and.

2. What do you most enjoy about teaching UP students?

It’s a great experience being a professor at the Salzburg Program of the University of Portland. I like teaching UP students because the attentiveness and discipline of nearly all students is remarkable.

3. What challenges do you see students facing in their studies in Salzburg?

I guess it is the first time that most of the students are living in a foreign continent which is embedded in its own culture, history and tradition. Nearly everything might be new and often a little bit strange.

4. What elements do you like to emphasize in your courses?

The students should be willing to make a certain effort to delve into the culture or civilization of that century which is relevant of certain theological reflections. Instead of amassing facts about the origins, history and tradition of Christianity, a particular kind of attitude is demanded which can be described as argumentative, retentive and imaginative.

5. What changes do you see occurring in students over the course of the semester?

Most of the students are making progress on the intellectual and personal level. As I am only teaching in the spring term I am already faced with students who have made progress in organizing their studies as well as an improvement in their writing skills.

6. In what ways do students and professors learn from each other?

On the students’ side I could often discover an openness for new experiences and traces. There is a lot of sincerity and discipline among the students that can have without doubt a reciprocal impetus for me too.