Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“St. Thomas Aquinas on Law: An Intensive Seminar on the Treatise on Law, ST I-II, Q90-108″

The Lumen Christi Institute for Catholic Thought is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2012 Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Each seminar in the Lumen Christi Summer Seminar program is designed to address a perennial theme, question, or text in the Catholic philosophical, theological, spiritual, or social traditions. We draw upon world renowned scholars to teach graduate students and nontenured faculty from our nation’s premier universities, in order to foster a better understanding of and appreciation for the wisdom of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Books, lodging, and travel will be included for those whose applications are accepted. (Note, while Lumen Christi is an institute of Catholic thought, participation is not exclusive to graduate students of any particular religious affiliation.)

In the summer of 2012, the Lumen Christi Institute will host the following seminar:

“St. Thomas Aquinas on Law: An Intensive Seminar on the Treatise on Law, ST I-II, Q90-108″
August 5-11, 2012
University of California, Berkeley

Seminar Leader:
Russell 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. 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.

The seminar will take place on The University of California, Berkeley campus. Students will be provided with accommodations and meals in the dormitories on campus for the duration of the seminar.

Thomas Aquinas wrote one of the most influential treatises on law, which is indispensable for understanding the natural law approach to jurisprudence, as well as the foundations of natural law approaches to ethical theory. In this seminar, we will cover the entirety of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law, ST I-II, qq. 90-108. The seminar will be a five-day, intensive discussion of this primary text and its relationship to the rest of Aquinas’s thought, in particular, his philosophical anthropology, action theory, and theology. We will focus on becoming familiar with Aquinas’s synthetic method, and the context of the Summa Theolgiae as a whole.

Our discussion of this seminal text will be centered around the following guiding questions: What is the most important to the concept of well ordered liberty, virtue or law? What are the limits of human law? How do we evaluate and ground claims regarding human rights? How can natural law jurisprudence help to solve the problems that face contemporary society?

This will be a five-day, intensive discussion of The Treatise on Law. There will be two 2 ½ hour sessions each day. Professor Hittinger will open each session with a lecture, and then we will turn to general, seminar-style discussion of the text and the issues at hand. Students will be expected to make seminar presentations of the material under discussion.

Application Information:
This seminar will be open to PhD students in the humanities, as well as students in law school, from any institution. Applicants will need to provide the following materials in order to be considered for participation: The application form, an updated CV, one letter of recommendation from a member of the program in which the student is currently enrolled, a statement of research interest, which includes an explanation of how this seminar might bear on the student’s current or future research plans, and one example of written, academic work (25-30 pages maximum). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

We will admit 15 students to this seminar. Application materials must be received by March 30th, 2012. Application materials can be emailed to, or they can be mailed to:

Lumen Christi Institute
Graduate Seminar Admissions
1220 East 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

Any further questions should be directed to Jennifer Frey, at

Application materials must be received by March 30th, 2012.