May 23: Bernard McGinn lecture on “The Making of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae”


Wednesday, May 23, 4:30pm

Swift Hall, Third Floor Lecture Hall

The Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas stands among the finest expressions of the Catholic “understanding of faith” (intellectus fidei). Over a thousand commentaries have been written on it. A leading historian of Medieval Christian thought, Bernard McGinn will explore Thomas’s reason for writing the Summa and its principles, structure, and originality.

Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on General Studies at the University of Chicago. His current long-range project is a seven-volume history of Christian mysticism in the West under the general title The Presence of God, four volumes of which have appeared: The Origins of Mysticism; The Growth of Mysticism;The Flowering of Mysticism; and The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany.

Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

The Lumen Christi Institute for Catholic Thought at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2012 Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Books, lodging, and travel will be included for those whose applications are accepted. (Note, while Lumen Christi is an institute of Catholic thought, participation is not exclusive to graduate students of any particular religious affiliation.)

August 5-11, 2012
University of California, Berkeley
“St. Thomas Aquinas on Law:
An Intensive Seminar on the Treatise on Law, ST I-II, Q90-108″

Seminar Leader:
Russell Hittinger is the William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies and Research Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa.  He is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas.  Professor Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law TheoryThe First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age, and Thomas Aquinas the Rule of Law.

The seminar will take place on The University of California, Berkeley campus.  Students will be provided with accommodations and meals in the dormitories on campus for the duration of the seminar.
Thomas Aquinas wrote one of the most influential treatises on law, which is indispensable for understanding the natural law approach to jurisprudence, as well as the foundations of natural law approaches to ethical theory.  In this seminar, we will cover the entirety of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law, ST I-II, qq. 90-108.  The seminar will be a five-day, intensive discussion of this primary text and its relationship to the rest of Aquinas’s thought, in particular, his philosophical anthropology, action theory, and theology.  We will focus on becoming familiar with Aquinas’s synthetic method, and the context of the Summa Theologiae as a whole.
Our discussion of this seminal text will be centered around the following guiding questions: What is the most important to the concept of well ordered liberty, virtue or law?  What are the limits of human law?  How do we evaluate and ground claims regarding human rights?  How can natural law jurisprudence help to solve the problems that face contemporary society?

There will be two 2 ½  hour sessions each day.  Professor Hittinger will open each session with a lecture, and then we will turn to general, seminar-style discussion of the text and the issues at hand. Students will be expected to make seminar presentations of the material under discussion.

Application Information:
This seminar will be open to PhD students in the humanities, as well as students in law school. Applicants will need to provide the following materials in order to be considered for participation: The application form (available for download on our website), an updated CV, one letter of recommendation from a member of the program in which the student is currently enrolled, a statement of research interest, which includes an explanation of how this seminar might bear on the student’s current or future research plans, and one example of written, academic work (25-30 pages maximum). Incomplete applications will not be considered.
We will admit 15 students to this seminar.  Application materials must be received by March 30th, 2012.  Interested participants should download our application on our  Application materials can be emailed to, or they can be mailed to:
Lumen Christi Institute
Graduate Seminar Admissions
1220 East 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
Any further questions should be directed to Jennifer Frey, at
Application materials must be received by March 30th, 2012.

Russell Hittinger on St. Benedict, February 23

The Lumen Christi Institute has invited Russell Hittinger (University of Tulsa) to speak on “St. Benedict’s Teaching for Dark Ages, His and Ours.” The lecture will take place at 7:00pm on Thursday, February 23 in the Social Sciences Building (1126 E. 59th Street), room #122.

For more information, please consult the announcement on Lumen Christi’s website:

Lumen Christi: Gilles Emery, April 27-28

The Lumen Christi Institute

Visiting Scholar, Spring 2011

Gilles Emery, OP

University of Fribourg

Gilles Emery was born and grew up in the Swiss Alps. He is professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. His publications include La Trinité créatrice; Trinity in Aquinas; Trinity, Church, and the Human Person: Thomistic Essays; The Trinitarian Theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas; and The Trinity: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God, forthcoming June 2011.

The Dignity of Being a Substance

Wednesday, April 27, 4:30 pm

Swift Hall, Common Room

Thomas Aquinas characterized the person as “what is most perfect” and “most worthy” in all of nature. What grounds the dignity of the human being as a person? While in our day a metaphysical approach to the question is undervalued, this lecture attempts to show the value of such an approach in terms of “substance” and “nature.”

A Carnal Love of Concepts or a Work of Mercy? The Intellectual Life and the Dominican Vocation

Thursday, April 28, 7:00 pm

Social Sciences 122

In the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), study has a central place as it is an integral part of the religious life itself. What is the aim of studying theology and other sciences within a Christian vocation?

A poster for the event is available here: Gilles Emery Lectures

Lumen Christi: Willemien Otten, Feb. 8

The Lumen Christi Institute


The Medieval Irish Genius Between Augustine and Aquinas

Willemien Otten

University of Chicago

Tuesday, February 8, 7:00pm
Swift Hall, Common Room
1025 E. 58th St.

Formerly the face of the Irish five pound note, the forgotten court theologian to Charlemagne, Johannes Scottus Eriugena (810-877AD), stands as the outstanding systematic thinker between Augustine and Aquinas. This lecture will consider his false condemnation for pantheism in 1225, his use of Greek philosophy and the Church Fathers, and the contemporary reappraisal of his thought.

Directions: Parking: Questions: or 773-955-5887

Persons with disabilities requiring assistance, please call 773-955-5887

Founded by Catholic scholars at the University of Chicago in 1997, the Lumen Christi Institute 
aims at enriching the intellectual community of the University of Chicago 
by cultivating the Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions through 
on-campus lectures, non-credit courses, and conferences. 
Both Catholics and non-Catholics regularly participate and are encouraged to attend.