This seminar will be a five-day, intensive discussion of St Thomas Aquinas’s account of the nature of the soul, with particular attention paid to the metaphysical principles on which it rests. The sessions will center on Summa Theologiae, I, qq. 75-77, concerning the soul in itself, its essential relation to the body, and its role as the primary principle of vital activity. Participants will also discuss relevant passages from other works of St. Thomas, as well as his historical influences (such as Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine) and some contemporary literature on the topic. Finally, the seminar will take up related issues, such as Aquinas’s understanding of the relation between metaphysics and theology, his handling of the Augustinian tradition, his reaction to the Averroists, and how his account of the soul relates to later philosophical developments such as Cartesianism and personalism.

Format: There will be two 2 ½ hour sessions each day. Each session will include an opening lecture and seminar-style discussion of the text and the issues at hand. Students will be expected to prepare the readings carefully and participate in the discussions of the material.

Location: The seminar will take place at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. Students will be provided with a travel stipend, accommodations, and meals.

Application Information: 
This seminar will be open to Ph.D. students in the humanities and social sciences (such as philosophy, theology, & medieval studies).

Applicants will be required to submit:

  • A completed online application form found HERE.
  • An updated CV.
  • At least one and as many as two letter(s) of recommendation from a member of the program in which the student is currently enrolled.
  • A statement of research interest no longer than 750 words, which includes an explanation of how this seminar might bear on the student’s current or future research plans.
  • One academic writing sample (30 pages maximum).

All application materials can be submitted via the online application except for letters of recommendation, which can be emailed to or mailed to: Lumen Christi Institute, Graduate Seminars, 1220 East 58th Streeet, Chicago, IL 60637. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 15 students will be admitted to this seminar.

Application materials must be received by 11:59pm CST on FEBRUARY 15, 2015.

The Lumen Christi is an institute for the promotion of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and is committed to the integration of the intellectual and spiritual life. The Institute welcomes seminar participants of all or no religious affiliation, and wants to assure all applicants that the opportunities to participate in devotional activities are optional.

Any further questions can be directed to Mark Franzen at