Benedict Ashley, OP
Aquinas Institute of Theology
Fr. Benedict Ashley’s life at the University of Chicago in the 1930’s included Trotskyite activism and participation in the first Great Books Seminar led by President Robert Maynard Hutchins. His lecture will consider liberal education in light of this history and the life of scholarship and inquiry it inspired.
Benedict Ashley, OP (1915-2013) came to the University of Chicago in 1933 during momentous times: he became a Trotskyite, studied with novelist Gertrude Stein, befriended the scholar and writer Norman Maclean, and participated in the original Great Books Seminar led by the young University of Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins and philosopher Mortimer Adler. Through this series of rich encounters, Fr. Ashley was inevitably led to Aquinas, conversion to Roman Catholicism, and entry into the Dominican Order of Preachers. A graduate of the University of Chicago and University of Notre Dame, Fr. Ashley taught at the Aquinas Institute at St. Louis University, the John Paul II Institute, and the University of Chicago. His autobiography is entitled Barefoot Journeying: An Autobiography of a Begging Friar.