Too many students in college fail to integrate their intellectual growth with their religious faith. Explore your questions about the Christian tradition in Chesterton House’s Logos Seminar, designed to help students develop their minds for God in a sustainable way.

Logos Seminar

The Logos Seminar is a biweekly evening noncredit seminar offering students a rare chance to take a guided journey through the classical Christian tradition and its critics, and to hear from world-class Christian scholars. Meetings will be select Monday evenings 7:30-9pm during the semester (exact dates within registration link). Sessions will be a mix of foundational study of the classical Christian (and anti-Christian!) texts, fundamental issues in Biblical studies and hermeneutics, as well a (virtual) visiting speaker series hearing from a variety of Christian scholars who apply these traditions to today’s complex world.


Each semester of the Seminar features entirely new content and visiting speakers. Students are expected to do short readings and occasional short writing assignments throughout the course, with a workload equivalent to a 1-credit course per semester. Any Cornell student is eligible to register. The Seminar presupposes most students share a broadly Christian framework but non-Christian students interested in learning more about the tradition are also welcome to register.

Meetings will be outdoors (weather permitting) at our Chesterton House campus (115 The Knoll), or indoors if needed. Because capacity is limited, we will have to cap the number of participants to fit safely in an indoor space. Depending on COVID restrictions in place some meetings may need to follow additional restrictions. Because space is limited, we ask students commit to attending all of the meetings. Readings will be doable with 1-2 hours of preparation before meetings. Short writing assignments may sometimes be given, typically at most 1 page per meeting.

Fellows Program

Logos Seminar students are eligible to apply to be part of a pilot cohort for a new Chesterton House Fellows Program, featuring a $1000 scholarship for students who complete the four semester sequence. Fellows begin with two semesters of the Logos Seminar as a fully involved student. Third and fourth semester fellows will explore independent study on topics related to their own disciplines and majors and its integration into faith.

Lead Instructors

Dr. Vivek Mathew

Dr. Vivek Mathew (B.S.E. Princeton University, M.Div Princeton Theological Seminary, B.Phil Oxford, Ph.D Cornell) is the executive director of Chesterton House. He worked for eight years in quantitative finance at Morgan Stanley. While in New York he attended Redeemer Presbyterian Church which led him to interest in philosophy and theology. He came to Cornell in 2013 where he spent the next 6 years doing doctoral work at the intersection of metaphysics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, cognitive science, and history of philosophy. He was one of five nationwide fellowship recipients for cross-training grants given by the Society of Christian Philosophers and the Templeton Foundation.

Rev. Dr. Ryan O'Dowd

Rev. Dr. Ryan O’Dowd (B.S. U.S. Air Force Academy, M.A. Reformed Theological Seminary, PhD Liverpool) is the pastor of Bread of Life Anglican Church, Senior Fellow at Chesterton House, and Academic Fellow of the Center for Hebraic Thought. After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Ryan served in the Air Force before turning to graduate research that culminated in his PhD in Old Testament from the University of Liverpool in 2005. Ryan has always felt called to teach and minister in places where the church meets the academy, which makes Ithaca an ideal home. His books include The Wisdom of Torah: Epistemology in Deuteronomy and the Wisdom Literature (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht); Old Testament Wisdom Literature: A Theological Introduction, with Craig Bartholomew (Apollos); Proverbs (Zondervan); Proverbs (Crossway, in press); and Numbers Through the Centuries (Wiley-Blackwell).

Past Courses

God & Happiness

Crucible of Suffering: The Book of Job

Sex, Food & Knowledge: A Christian Approach to Desire

The Heart of the Old Testament: Nurturing Love for God & God’s People

Identity, Community & Vocation

The Gospel of Mark

Wisdom & Worldview in Proverbs

Whose Bible? Which Interpretation? An Introduction to Hermeneutics

Chesterton House Painting