Seniors in the Honors College participate in the Oxbridge Tutorial, a year-long capstone experience devoted to exploring a single, seminal text. The Oxbridge Tutorial project creates a space to engage in scholarly collaboration that results in a published book. Students form deep, meaningful friendships throughout their experience as they grow together as thinkers, writers, leaders, and lovers of truth.
Key Outcomes of the Oxbridge Tutorial
The Oxbridge Tutorial in the Honors College offers students a unique opportunity to engage and explore a seminal text or a single author’s collected works over the course of a year. Students analyze, appraise, and critique the ideas and arguments that are presented in their selected text. They gain practical tools to research thoughtfully in a collaborative process through shared research, peer editing, and publication. By engaging as a team with a selected text, they form deep relationships, not only as friends but fellow scholars. It is the culmination of a journey of learning how to have deep, meaningful relationships founded on big questions throughout our lives.
Learn more about how A Compass for Deep Heaven, an exploration of C.S. Lewis’ science fiction trilogy, hit No. 1 in the “Religious Literature Criticism” and “Science Fiction & Fantasy Literary Criticism” categories on Amazon. The book has received enthusiastic feedback from readers all over the world, including endorsements from more than a dozen major Lewis scholars and incorporation into the curriculum of numerous academic programs.
Featured Oxbridge Books
Since 2018, the Honors College has self-published Oxbridge books, including two selected for publication by an outside commercial publisher.
Class of 2022
Keep Him Running: The Search for Identity in Invisible Man
“I am an invisible man.” Thus begins one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The book’s narrator is “invisible” because the world around him refuses to see him as he truly is. He is also unsure of his own identity and spends the entirety of the novel seeking to establish it. Keep Him Running follows him on this journey and analyzes the theme of identity from various perspectives, including Afropessimism, the symbolism of sight and blindness, the influence of blues music, the history of race in the United States, and more.
Meeting God in Metaphor: A Study in the Minor Prophets
The Minor Prophets are as shrouded in mystery as the deserts from which they came. The rich imagery of their poetry seems to obscure almost as much as it reveals, yet the medium of metaphor is a powerful tool of revelation. This study delves into how the prophets use metaphors, make lexical choices, and reference the natural world to make more effable He who is ineffable. We bring the prophets out of the desert to recontextualize their message and show their relevance to the modern era. The prophetic voices traverse intervening centuries to retain value for all worldviews.
Shaped by Better Words: Transformations of Love, Language, and Persons in Dante’s Commedia
Dante’s Commedia has been transforming the lives of readers for 700 years. These essays dialogue with Dante across the centuries by exploring the poem’s redemptive power. With careful attention to Dante’s understanding of love, language, and the pilgrimage of the soul, each author brings Dante’s wisdom and insight to light for a contemporary audience. By exploring how Dante addresses what it means to be human and how to live as Christian persons, this volume invites a new generation of readers on the transformative journey toward the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.
‘Speak I Must’: Identity and Choice in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre
“Who is Jane Eyre?” While it is a seemingly simple question, it has inspired thousands of conversations about Charlotte Brontë’s protagonist within the context of Victorian England. 'Speak I Must': Identity and Choice in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre contributes to these conversations as each chapter provides a new lens to read Brontë’s most famous novel. Whether it be through phrenology or theology, feminism or psychoanalytic theory, the work of these dedicated authors aims to change the world of Jane Eyre interpretation by addressing questions about the heroine’s identity, prompting further reflection and, in some cases, shaking readers to their core.
Wings, Wizards, and Wargs: Customs and Cultures in the World of Tolkien’s Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien has been lauded for his imagined worlds, and one key to his genius is his depiction of characters and their cultures. In Wings, Wizards, and Wargs, you will learn about the architecture of Rivendell, the leadership of Goblins, the disenchantment of Laketown, and the conversations of Dragons. You will also learn how Tolkien uses these cultures to communicate deeper truths. All of these essential details contribute to the immersive, believable world that Tolkien has created and illuminate the many reasons that Tolkien’s sub-creation is admired the world over.
Class of 2021
Broken Words: Capturing the Essence of Beauty from Pain in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry
Emily Dickinson wrote more than 1,800 poems, but only a handful were published during her lifetime. Why? She was far too ahead of her time. The depth and complexity of her thoughts about issues such as the self, grief, faith, science, and death anticipated the ideas of later thinkers, and her innovative poetic style changed poetry itself once her work was finally revealed. This collection probes the many ways Dickinson created beauty from pain as she stayed true to the poetic vision that became her gift to the world.
C. S. Lewis: Friends and Foes
C.S. Lewis is a bestselling author, but his work is not without controversy. He has been accused of being misogynistic, old-fashioned, anti-science, and more. In this fresh reading of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, these authors take these concerns seriously, offering important background behind some of Lewis’ most contested work. Working under the guidance of Diana Pavlac Glyer, PhD, each author provides insights that expose misconceptions about Lewis’ work and raise questions about Lewis’ limits. They conclude that in each instance, the truth is somewhat more complicated than it may first appear.
Dismantling Dichotomies: Dissonance, Identity, and Resurrection in A Tale Of Two Cities
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” From its opening line, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities professes to be a tale of duality. But look again. Beneath this duality lies unexpected complexity. Dismantling Dichotomies uncovers surprising connections between victims and villains, between order and upheaval, between sincerity and deceit, between heroines and housewives. Discover how a lost soul, without purpose or self-respect, can resurrect the hope of a whole community.
Relevant Then, Relevant Now: The Timeless Wisdom of C.S. Lewis
During the crisis of World War II, millions tuned in to hear the words of C. S. Lewis. These BBC broadcast talks were collected and published as Mere Christianity. Nearly seventy years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a similar crisis, and once again, Lewis’ words offer his audience hope amidst difficult circumstances. The authors of Relevant Then, Relevant Now seek to connect the past with the present, providing readers with insight into truths that stand the test of time.
Sing a New Song: A Keyword Analysis of the Psalms
Throughout the ages, the Psalms have brought peace and refuge to all who read them. In times of distress, heartache, confusion, and loss, readers have found a renewed sense of hope from their incredibly honest, powerful, and often relatable message. Scholars from different religions and walks of life have wrestled with the meaning of these texts for humanity. Sing a New Song: a Keyword Analysis of the Psalms seeks to offer a review of this scholarly conversation and add something new to it—it rediscovers the hope of the Psalms by approaching them with the same awe and honesty which they offer the reader. Though it was composed with an eye toward incoming freshmen in the Honors College at APU, our book is for anyone looking to read a refreshing analysis of the Psalms. We sincerely hope it, along with our 21-Day Devotional, brings you the same renewed sense of hope and peace that it brought us.
The Bard and the Bright-Eyed: Unlocking Shakespeare’s Comedies
Beyond laugh tracks and punchlines, comedy offers insight into the follies and fantasies of humankind. This collection of keyword essays demonstrates Shakespeare’s masterful grasp of comedy, both as a literary genre and a source of entertainment. Some chapters find hope in death sentences, disguises, legalism, the cringe-worthy, and even nothing, while others reveal the depth in how we humans play together, escape being puppets, trick each other, prove ourselves unladylike, and find agency and grounding in our lives. We aim to show that in Shakespeare's comedies, anything is possible, transforming death to new life and dreams to reality.
Class of 2020
Journey Back Again: Reasons to Revisit Middle-earth
The Lord of the Rings is much more than just an entertaining story with endearing characters and fierce battles: it provides a world that deeply connects to the human experience. Journey Back Again will guide you to discover ways that Middle-earth can delight, challenge, and inspire you. Journey back to Middle-earth and find new reasons to savor Tolkien’s masterpiece.
A Merrier World: Unsung Virtues in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
We have all been taught about common virtues such as courage and honor. But our childhood conceptions are often limited or even misleading. Humility, for example, is not thinking you are worse than others. Reverence is more than attending church or having good manners at the dinner table. Merriment is both broader and deeper than having an upbeat attitude. In A Merrier World, we explore the wisdom of Tolkien’s Middle-earth as we consider the hidden facets of virtues that have been overlooked, neglected, and misunderstood.
Estranged From Eden: Essays on Freedom, Grace, and Justice in Paradise Lost
The essays in this collection are inspired by what their authors view as the unique theological coherence of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Even though the poem begins with the famous objective “to assert eternal providence, / And justify the ways of God to men,” Milton intentionally takes the long way around. Paradise Lost is poetry, not theology. In narrative-driven representations of free will, cosmic order, political rebellion, interpersonal identity, and the theology of grace, these authors locate Milton within the creative friction between the modern and the medieval.
‘Something More Substantial’: Moving Beyond Romance with Jane Austen
This collection of essays offers a variety of reasons for the continued appeal of Jane Austen’s novels, particularly, Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Though Austen is often categorized as a popular romance writer, her novels contain ‘something more substantial.’ These essays demonstrate what that “something” is by highlighting Austen’s wit and wisdom as a humorist, a feminist, a moralist, a naturalist, a psychologist, and a philosopher. Her movement beyond romance is one of the reasons her novels are still read and loved today.
The Tales We Tell: How Aristotle Uncovers the Power of Stories
What gives a story its power? How do stories draw us in? What elements of a story change us? What tricks cheapen modern storytelling? What components are needed to make stories great? The essays in this book explore what Aristotle says about what is necessary to tell a beautiful story. These authors show how Aristotle’s principles are required to make a story work, using Homeric epic, Shakespearean tragedy, novels, film, or even the personal narratives of our own lives
Class of 2019
Kingdom Come: How the Simple Truth of the Gospel Can Transform the World
Jesus teaches us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” He calls us to set aside our agendas and live in Christ’s presence. How then might the Kingdom manifest itself in our thoughts and actions? By investigating topics as diverse as interpersonal justice, theological paradox, abandonment to God, truth and mercy, the nature of the heart and spiritual powers, and the wisdom Jesus offers for social transformation within politics, theatrical storytelling, personal finance, and business, this book offers readers an invitation to discover how the teachings of Jesus help us live for the good of the world.
Tragedy and Triumph: Piecing Together Anna Karenina
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” What kills Anna Karenina and why does Konstantin Levin live after they both face the abyss? Why do we respect Anna so much in light of her tragic ending? Why is Levin’s triumph so hard won? The essays in this book trace the complexities of Levin’s triumph and Anna’s tragedy as they make their way through 19th century Russian society.
The Dawning of the Soul: Experiencing the Transformative Faith of St. Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa of Avila, born in 16th century Spain, left us volumes of insights detailing her personal encounters with the Holy Spirit. Her depth of devotion to God is both mysterious and inspiring. Every page carries the potential to ignite both wonder and envy at the intimacy she shares with God. The conviction that comes from engaging with and understanding her work has been transformational to generations of readers. This collection of essays offers an exploration of how implementing her work into everyday life can bring us closer to God in the 21st century.
Warnings from Outer Space: Backdrops & Building Blocks of C. S. Lewis’s Science Fiction Trilogy
The world is in peril—and so are our souls. In this fresh reading of C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy, the members of the Cosmic Colloquy draw on their diverse backgrounds to create a commentary filled with observations, interpretations, and significance. Under the direction of Dr. Diana Pavlac Glyer, these authors make a substantive contribution to Lewis Studies by not only providing insight into Lewis but also uncovering the implications of Lewis’s social criticism to reveal these Warnings from Outer Space.
The Honors Declassified Friendship Survival Guide: Classical Wisdom for the Era of Facebook
Social media has revolutionized many key aspects of human life—communications, entertainment, journalism, and perhaps most strikingly, interpersonal relationships. It is the supreme irony of our time, that never have we known so much about each other, and yet, never have we had less experience of true intimacy. This volume distills wisdom from the classic works On Friendship, by the greatest of the Roman thinkers, Cicero, and Spiritual Friendship, by the brilliant 12th Century Cistercian, St. Aelred of Rievaulx. This book is less an academic exercise, and more thoughtful young people sharing good counsel they’ve come to treasure with their peers struggling to make and keep deep friendships in the era of Snapchat and Facebook.
Class of 2018
The Bonhoeffer Alternative: A Counter-Cultural Approach to Theology, Society, and Relationships
The Bonhoeffer Alternative: A Counter-Cultural Approach to Theology, Society, and Relationships resulted from a study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s corpus. The essays address how and why Bonhoeffer diligently endeavored to heal the breach that was intentionally divorcing Jesus’ ethical teaching on the kingdom of God and love of neighbor from the German Volk political movement. Some essays engage Bonhoeffer’s own personal spiritual journey of transformation; others highlight how and why the church and its leaders have an irreplaceable prophetic responsibility in society.
Solving Divine Problems: Perspectives on the Toughest Questions Posed by Dante’s Masterpiece
In Solving Divine Problems: Perspectives on the Toughest Questions Posed by Dante’s Masterpiece, students tackle things about Dante's Divine Comedy that left them confused, frustrated, or just plain mad. Why is there so much emphasis on the Virgin Mary? Why does Virgil scold Dante when he shows pity for those suffering in Hell? Why is the literary imagery so dense? Why is Beatrice so mean? Students describe their initial frustrations and assumptions, then dive deep into the research and share how they came to understand this great work and how they learned to appreciate what Dante offers.
Embrace the World: Exploring the Restorative Nature of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
In their study of The Brothers Karamazov, students found themselves discovering again and again Dostoevsky’s uncanny genius for bringing to life irreconcilable perspectives and for displaying the contradictions active in every human soul. And they were grateful to have been invited so compellingly by Dostoevsky’s art to ask themselves with the fullest seriousness what it means—humbly and joyfully, in active love—to Embrace the World.
Chasing the Peacock: Millennials Explore the Grotesque World of Flannery O’Connor
Almost universally, a reader’s first encounter with Flannery O'Connor produces shock, confusion, occasionally horror, but also the haunting sense that they have stumbled into an invitation to “plunge into reality” and emerge better than they were before. In Chasing the Peacock: Millennials Explore the Grotesque World of Flannery O’Connor, students seek to share with their generation the good and even vital wisdom they have found for this ominous era in the strange tales of Flannery O’Connor.
Upon the King: Shakespeare’s Henry V and the Burden of Leadership
One group spent the year studying the theme of good leadership, especially the challenge of handling the burdens of leadership with grace. The book that resulted, Upon the King: Henry V and the Burden of Leadership, consists of studies of the challenges and consequences of ruling as portrayed in Shakespeare’s Henry V.
Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.