‘St Thomas Aquinas’ Carlo Crivelli (1435-1495)

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Course Description

The word Theology comes from two Greek words, Theos and Logos, meaning ‘Science or study of God.’ It was used by the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers to speak of the genealogies or nature of the ancient pagan gods. From the time of Origen, the great Church Father of the third century, ‘theology’ was used when speaking of Revelation and the God manifested by the light of Revelation. For the ancient Church Fathers, therefore, the term ‘theology’ principally meant the science of the divine Trinity. The Fathers would distinguish ‘theology’ (theologia) from ‘economy’ (oikonomia), which deals with God’s interaction throughout human history wherein he revealed himself. The Divine Economy is also known as ‘Salvation History.’ The first to use the term ‘Theology’ in its modern sense was Peter Abélard (1079-1142) in the Middle Ages.

Like the philosophical and experimental sciences, theology is divided into a number of theological disciplines. In this course students will see how theology differs from the philosophical and experimental sciences and how theology operates. We will also investigate how theology differs from Divine Revelation and faith; treading carefully not to confuse these important distinctions. Once we have seen these differences we will investigate theology’s division into its various disciplines. We will see what is meant by Biblical Theology, Dogmatic Theology, Systematic Theology, and Historical Theology. We will also look at the difference between Moral Theology and Mystical or Spiritual Theology. This will lead us into an examination of the sources of theological investigation (Scripture, Tradition, reason, and experience).

This course will launch you into the life-long pursuit of understanding some of history’s more notable theologians including Augustine of Hippo (354-430) from the Patristic Period; Albert the Great (1206-1280), Bonaventure (1221-1275) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) of the Medieval Period, through to the likes of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange (1877-1964), Henri de Lubac (1896-1991), Yves Congar (1904-1995), Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988), and Joseph Ratzinger (1927-) of the Modern Period.

So join us for this interesting and enlightening course designed to introduce the beginner to the world of theological thought.

Course Objectives

  1. To obtain a firm grasp of the nature of theological science.
  2. To distinguish the objects of study and methodology of theology compared with the philosophical and experimental sciences.
  3. To gain a brief understanding of some high points in the history of theological thought.
  4. To learn about some of the major theological thinkers and their influence on Christianity and Western Civilisation.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

Sheed, Frank J. Theology for Beginners. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1982 (3rd edition).

Popular Level Reading:

Fiorenza, Francis Schussler and John P. Galvin (eds.). Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives (Theology and the Sciences). Dublin: Fortress Press, 2011.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. Scripture, the Soul of Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 1994.

Grumett, David. De Lubac: Guide for the Perplexed. London: T & T Clark, 2007.

Howsare, Rodney A. Bathasar: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: T & T Clark, 2009.

Kerr, Fergus. After Aquinas: Versions of Thomism. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2002.

_________. Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

_________. Thomas Aquinas: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Nichols, Aidan. Chalice of God: A Systematic Theology in Outline. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012.

_________. The Shape of Catholic Theology. Collegeville MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991.

Pieper, Josef. Guide to Thomas Aquinas. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991.

Rowland, Tracey. Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: T & T Clark, 2010.

_________. Ratzinger’s Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Thornton, John F. and Susan B. Varenne (ed.). The Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Catholic Church. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Shea, Mark P. Making Senses out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999.

Sri, Edward. The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2009.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Aquinas, Thomas. ‘Light of Faith’: The Compendium of Theology. Sophia Institute, 1993. (Reprint of Herder edition 1958).

_________. Summa theologiæ, vol. 1. Westminster, Merryland: Christian Classics, 1981.

Cessario, Romanus. A Short History of Thomism. Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2003.

Chenu, Marie Dominique. Aquinas and His Role in Theology. Translated by Paul Philibert. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002.

_________. Faith and Theology. Translated by Denis Hickey. Dublin: Gill and Son, 1968.

Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering (ed.). Reading John with St. Thomas Aquinas: Theological Exegesis and Speculative Theology. Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2011.

Flynn, Gabriel, and Paul D. Murray (ed.) Ressourcement: A Movement of Renewal in Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Gaál, Emery de. The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald. Life Everlasting: A Theological Treatise on the Four Last Things. Translated by Patrick Cummins. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1991.

_________. Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought. Translated by Patrick Cummins. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1950. (Revised Printing: Ex Fontibus Company, 2012).

Hudson, Deal W. and Dennis Wm. Moran (ed.). The Future of Thomism. Mishawaka, IN: American Maritain Association, 1992.

John of St. Thomas. Introduction to the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas. Translated by Ralph McInerny. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2004.

Levering, Matthew. Scripture and Metaphysics: Aquinas and the Renewal of Trinitarian Theology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Lonergan, Bernard. Method in Theology. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

Louth, Andrew. Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology. Oxford: Clarendon, 1983.

McCool, Gerald, A. Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century: The Quest for a Unitary Method. New York: The Seabury Press, 1977.

_________. The Neo-Thomists. Marquette University Press, 1994.

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. 5th ed. United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing, 2011.

Mettepenningen, Jürgen. Nouvelle Théologie New Theology: Inheritor of Modernism, Precursor of Vatican II. New York: T&T Clark International, 2010

Milbank, John. “Henri de Lubac.” In The Modern Theologians: An Introduction to Christian Theology Since 1918. Edited by David F. Ford and Rachel Muers. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2005.

Nichols, Aidan. Catholic Thought since the Enlightenment: A Survey. Leominster: Gracewing, 1998.

_________. Reason with Piety: Garrigou-Lagrange in the Service of Catholic Thought. Naples, FL: Sapientia, 2008.

_________. The Thought of Benedict XVI: An Introduction to the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger. New York: Burns & Oats, 2005.

O’Meara, Thomas. Thomas Aquinas: Theologian. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1997.

Peddicord, Richard. The Sacred Monster of Thomism: An Introduction to the Life and Legacy of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP. South Bend, Ind.: St Augustine’s Press, 2005.

Ratzinger, Joseph. “Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: On the Question of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today.” In Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and Church. Edited by Richard John Neuhaus. Michigan, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989.

_________. God’s Word: Scripture, Tradition, Office. Translated by Henry Taylor. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008.

_________. Principles of Catholic Theology. Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. Translated by Sister Mary Frances McCarthy, S.N.D. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987.

_________. The Nature and Mission of Theology: approaches to Understanding its Role in the Light of Present Controversy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995.

_________. The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure. Translated by Zachary Hayes, O.F.M., 2nd ed. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1989.

Ratzinger, Joseph and Alberto Bovone. Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian. Sydney: St Paul’s Books and Media, 1990.

Schoof, T.M. A Survey of Catholic Theology: 1800-1970. Translated by N.D. Smith. New York: Paulist Newman Press, 1970.

Te Velde, Rudi A. Aquinas on God: The ‘divine Science’ of the Summa Theologiae. England: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2006.

Twomey, Vincent. Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of our Age. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007.

Woodbury, Austin. Introduction to Theology. Sydney: Aquinas Academy (unpublished text), 1955-61.

Scholarly Journal Articles:

Dulles, Cardinal Avery. “Vatican II on the Interpretation of Sacred Scripture.” Letter & Spirit 2 (2006): 17-26.

Hahn, Scott W. “The Authority of Mystery: The Biblical Theology of Benedict XVI.” Letter & Spirit 2 (2006): 97-140.

Healy, Mary. “Inspiration and Incarnation: The Christological Analogy and the Hermeneutics of Faith.” Letter & Spirit 2 (2006): 27-42.

Hill, William J. “Theology.” In The New Dictionary of Theology, ed. Joseph A. Komonchak et al. 1011-1027. Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 1988.

Komonchak, Joseph A. “Theology and Culture at Mid-Century: the Example of Henri de Lubac.” Theological Studies 51 (1990): 579-602.

Nichols, Aidan. “Thomism and the Nouvelle Théologie.” The Thomist 64 (2000): 9-10.

Reno, R.R. “Rebuilding the Bridge between Theology and Exegesis: Scripture, Doctrine, and Apostolic Legitimacy.” Letter & Spirit 3 (2007): 153-168.