Master Class on "Friendship with God: Apprenticeship of the Christian life"

Aug 4 2–5pm
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Fr. Michael Sherwin, OPUniversity of Fribourg


Open to current graduate students. Advanced University of Chicago undergraduate students are also welcome. Others who are interested in participating should contact us at PDF copies of the readings will be provided for registrants.

Far from offering a romantic or sentimental notion of divine friendship, the Scriptures develop a theology of divine intimacy that portrays friendship with God as an apprenticeship in Christ.  Through the filial friendship established by the grace of baptism, Christians are called to participate in Christ's salvific mission.  Friendship with God initiates Christians into the mystery of Christ's cross and resurrection and teaches them how to bear the fruit of salvation by working in the vineyard and by tending the flocks.  Divine friendship is nothing other than the way of Christ by which we are configured to his life, death, and resurrection.  Patristic authors develop their own understanding of these biblical themes, offering theologies of divine friendship that will influence Thomas Aquinas' definition of charity as itself a type of friendship with God.  This masterclass will offer an introductory account of this biblical and patristic vision.



  • Scripture: Genesis 15.1-20; 18.1-33; 22.1-19; 38.1-26; Exodus 2.1-3.15; 15.22-27; 16.2-35; 17.1-7; 33.7-23; Song of Songs 5.1; 8.11-14; Wisdom 1.1-12.27; 15.18-19.27; Matthew 11.16-19; 20.1-16; 22.1-14; 26.47-50; Luke 12.4-7; 21.12-19; John 3.13-36; 11.5-12; 13.1-21.19; Acts 7.20-38; Second Peter 1.3-11; James 2.21-23; 4.4; Third John 1.15
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, bks 8 and 9.
  • Konstan, David.  Friendship in the Classical World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 95-115, 167-170.
  • Sherwin, Michael. On Love and Virtue (Emmaus Academic, 2018), chs 6-7, 12 (pp. 123-153, 221-248).


1:30 Coffee & Pastries  |  2:00 Session 1  |  3:25 Break  |  3:35 Session 2  |  5:00 End, wine & cheese

Michael S. Sherwin, o.p. is Emeritus Professor of Fundamental Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and the Alemany Research Fellow at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at Berkeley, for academic year 2021/2022.  Author of articles on the psychology of love, virtue ethics and moral development, his monograph, By Knowledge and By Love: Charity and Knowledge in the Moral Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (CUA Press, 2005) has been reissued in paperback, while his collection of essays, On Love and Virtue (Emmaus Academic, 2018) has been described by Alasdair MacIntyre as “theological reflection at its best.”