Spring Courses 2017

16 credits plus non-credit Italian are required; you have the option of taking an additional elective for a total of 20 credits. If you wish to do so, please consult with Dr. Boyle (jfboyle@stthomas.edu).

Art and Architecture (Prof. Elizabeth Lev)

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. Fulfills CATH Aesthetic course.

God and the Poets (Fr. Paul Murray, O.P.)

In Scripture it is abundantly clear that God chooses to deliver his Word at times in the form of poetry. And it is in poetry also that men and women have, over the centuries, often expressed their deep love for God and their faith in Him. In this course, apart from a brief examination of the general relationship between poetry and Christian faith, attention will be given to a number of individual poets and their work. Fulfills THEO 390.

Church and Culture: Social Dimensions of Catholicism (Dr. Michael Naughton)

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 justice, politics and public policy, lay and religious apostolates, education, and marriage and family. Course material may include sources from philosophy, theology, history, economics, and political science. Fulfills CATH 401.

Conversational Italian (non credit, pass/fail)

Italian courses are offered at the nearby ITALIAIDEA academy.


History of Medieval Philosophy (Fr. Senner, O.P.)

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. Fulfills PHIL 202.

Fundamental Moral Theology (Fr. Woyciech Giertych, O.P.)

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. Fulfills THEO 215.