Regularly-Offered Rome Courses


This class proposes to look at the evolution of Christian art in the city of Rome from its earliest manifestations and justifications to its highest pinnacle of expression, the Italian Renaissance. As pilgrimage center par excellence and home to the See of Peter, the transformations in art in the Eternal City form a special lens through which we can understand the history, developments and ideals of the Christian faith. Through art and architecture we will see both the aesthetic changes wrought by the vicissitudes in Roman society; for instance the legalization and progressive Christianization of Rome, iconoclasm and the struggles with the Holy Roman emperors, as well as an inherent sense of continuity and identity. As part of our studies, we will learn artistic techniques from the well known arts of fresco, mosaic and sculpture, to lesser known types such as Cosmatesque pavement and various kinds of inlay.

Comparison with Ancient Roman temple construction and several other religious structures such as early synagogues and Mithrea will allow us to examine the considerations that influenced the first Christian basilicas but also single out the unique style of these earliest sacred structures.  As we proceed through the centuries, a periodic glimpse North to Carolingian or Gothic buildings or East to Byzantine art, will illustrate how Rome maintains its own distinctive character.

Students will also examine the changing emphasis on ornamental or narrative compositions in light of the intended effect on the varied and heterogeneous body of viewers. Close analysis of questions regarding topographical significance, liturgical function and private vs. public patronage will round out our formal analysis of the works of art. Finally, we will also touch on the rudiments of iconography, studying the meaning of images and how the representations adapt and transform over the centuries as the pastoral needs of the faithful change.

This course provides an investigation into the ways in which Catholicism is inherently social and ecclesial. Its specific focus is on the Christian engagement with the world. The course's framework will be taken from the analysis of society into three spheres of action (culture, politics, and economics) as described in Centesimus annus. We will examine the ways that Revelation, the sacramental life, and the teachings of the Church call Catholics to seek holiness and to witness to their faith in the world. Specific topics may include social and economic justics, politics and public policy, lay and religious apostolates, education, and marriage and family. Course materials may include sources from philosophy, theology, history, economics, and political science.

An Introduction to the basic principles of Moral Theology, following the Ia-IIae of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas and the encyclical Veritatis Splendor of John Paul II.

1. Introductive questions. 2. Patristic era. 3. From ancient time to the middle ages. 4. Early Scholasticism. 5. Philosophy in Islamic and Jewish culture. 6. High Scholasticism. 7. Late Scholasticism - the 14th century. 8. The 15th century.

We will study the origins of the modern conception of the subject. This course aims at introducing the students to an understanding of some central elements of modernity as they appear in the works of its founding philosophers. 1. Rationalism: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz. 2. British and Scottish realism and empiricism: Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume. 3. Rousseau. 4. Criticism: Kant

A survey of the major events in the Church's history from its beginnings through the reign of Pope Gregory the Great. The first Church in its Jewish-Gentile context, expansion and conflict with paganism, Constantine and the Christian empire, the early Councils and the process of doctrinal definitions, the rise of monasticism, the Church in the age of the barbarian invasions.

Apart from a general introduction to the life and teaching of the Spanish mystic, the course will pay particular attention to: 1. the relevance of St. John's spiritual teaching in today's world; 2. his theology of the Dark Night; 3. his unique importance as a Christian poet.

The invitation to communion with God presented in the First Letter of St. John. Study of selected texts from the Christian spiritual tradition (e.g. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, St. Augustine, Confessions) with special emphasis on the following themes: God’s saving mercy, prayer, the ascetical life, growth in holiness and contemporary spirituality.