2016 Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Summer Seminars Graphic

Now in their eighth year, the Lumen Christi Institute’s Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition are open to graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and other relevant areas of study. Room, board, and a travel stipend are included for those whose applications are accepted. Each seminar  includes five days of intensive discussion based on close reading of the assigned texts as well as daily presentations given by the professor and student participants. A deep knowledge of the material is not required to apply. The goal of each seminar is twofold: first, to enable participants to gain mastery over the material under discussion, both for teaching and research purposes; and second, to deepen participants’ understanding and awareness of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Detailed application requirements and instructions can be found in the online application site linked below. Applications for all three seminars are due on February 1, 2016.


Aquinas’s Five Ways and Where they Lead
Prof. Stephen L. Brock
School of Philosophy, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome
June 23-28, 2016

This intensive seminar will discuss St. Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways of proving the existence of a God and the conception that he thinks they yield: that of a God who is at once utterly simple and utterly perfect, and therefore utterly beyond our comprehension. The sessions will center on Summa Theologiae, I, qq. 2-4—especially, of course, q. 2, a. 3, which contains the Five Ways themselves—and on selected texts from qq. 12 & 13.  Participants will also discuss relevant passages from other works of St. Thomas, as well as his historical influences and some related contemporary issues.

Brock photoFr. Stephen L. Brock is Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He is a member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas and is the author of Action & Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action and most recently The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas: A Sketch. He has written numerous articles on various aspects of the thought of Thomas Aquinas, and he has edited several collections including Thomas Aquinas and the Subject of Metaphysics.

The Thought of John Henry Newman
Prof. Ian Ker
Merton College, Oxford
July 9-16, 2016

Now in its fourth consecutive year, this intensive seminar will examine Newman’s achievements as theologian, philosopher, educator, preacher, and writer. Remarkably, in each of these areas Newman produced works that have come to be recognized as classics: An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, The Grammar of Assent, The Idea of a University, The Parochial and Plain Sermons, and the Apologia Pro Vita Sua. This seminar will approach Newman’s thought through a critical engagement with these texts.

20120424-DLW_5772Fr. Ian Ker is the leading authority on the thought and writings of John Henry Newman, and is the author and editor of more than 20 books on Newman, including John Henry Newman: A Biography, Newman and Faith, Newman and Truth, and The Achievement of John Henry Newman. He is also author of The Catholic Revival in English Literature 1845-1961, Mere Catholicism, G.K. Chesterton: A Biography, and most recently, Newman on Vatican II. Ker is a senior research fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, and holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Leicester, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, and Seton Hall University.

Catholic Social Thought: A Critical Investigation
Prof. Russell Hittinger
University of California, Berkeley
July 31-August 7, 2016

In this seminar, students will read, analyze, and discern continuities and discontinuities in Catholic Social Thought from the late 19th century to the present. Lectures, seminar reports, and discussion will focus on original sources (encyclicals and other magisterial documents), beginning with Rerum novarum (1892) and concluding with Caritas in veritate (2009) and Evangelii Gaudium (2013). This intensive course is multi-disciplinary, since this tradition of social thought overlaps several disciplines in the contemporary university including political science, political philosophy, law, economics, theology, and history.

RHittinger-2Russell 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 Aquinas. Professor Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory, The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age, and Thomas Aquinas the Rule of Law.




University of California, Berkeley
Professor Russell Hittinger (University of Tulsa) has led seminars on Catholic Social Thought: A Critical Investigation (2013 & 2015), Truth and Authority in Augustine’s City of God ( 2014), and St. Thomas Aquinas on Law (August 2012).

University of Oxford, UK
World renowned scholar of John Henry Newman Professor Ian Ker (Oxford) has led a seminar on The Thought of John Henry Newman (2015, 2014, 2013).

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome
Philosopher and Professor Stephen L. Brock led a seminar on Metaphysics and the Soul in Thomas Aquinas (2015) and St. Thomas Aquinas on Free Choice (2014).


July 2013: Professor Brad Gregory (Notre Dame) led a seminar on Christianity, The Unity of Knowledge, and the Secularized Academy at the University of Chicago.

June 2011: Professor Mark Murphy (Georgetown University) led a seminar on “Aquinas and Contemporary Ethical Theory” in Chicago, IL.

"St. Thomas Aquinas on Free Choice" with Prof. Stephen L. Brock at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, June, 2014.

August 2010: Professor Paul Griffiths (Duke University) led a seminar on Augustine’s seminal later works, De Trinitate and De Civitate Dei at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois.

September 2009: Prof. Corey Barnes (Oberlin College) led a seminar on Aquinas’s Christology in his Summa theologiae at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois.



Can I apply for more than one seminar?
Yes. You may apply for one, two, or all three seminars. Please indicate your order of preference in your statement of purpose for each application. Each applicant may only be admitted to one seminar.

I am a PhD student graduating in 2016, can I still apply?

I am currently an Undergraduate or MA student but have been admitted to a PhD program starting in the Fall of 2016, can I still apply?
Yes. Please indicate this in your application including where you will be matriculating.

I have been accepted to and attended a Lumen Christi Seminar in the past, can I still apply?

Do I have to be Catholic to apply?
No. The Lumen Christi Institute exists to promotes the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and is committed to the integration of the intellectual and spiritual life. The Institute welcomes seminar participants of all or no religious affiliation, and wants to assure all applicants that the opportunities to participate in devotional activities are optional.

Please contact us with any further questions.

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