Summer Program in Norcia on St. Thomas's Commentary on Hebrews

Since 2012, the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies, in cooperation with the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, has offered a two-week summer theology program at the birthplace of SS. Benedict and Scholastica.

This year, for their fifth summer, the Center has planned a truly marvelous program: “The Transcendent Christ: St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews.” Participants will study St. Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on Hebrews, exploring its rich doctrine on Christology, priesthood, sacrifice, sacraments, and worship. The Epistle offers the opportunity to explore the mystery of grace in its source, Jesus Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, and how the excellence of the work of Christ has a threefold extension: to the whole of creation, to the rational creature, and to the justification of the saints. Seminars and lectures culminate in a full-scale scholastic disputation, with arguments offered on both sides by participants and an authoritative determination given by the appointed magister.

This will be the first year that I will be on the faculty of the summer program. Other faculty members include Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB, Fr. Thomas Crean, OP, John Joy, Christopher Owens, Daniel Lendman, and Br. Evagrius Hayden, OSB.

The goal of the AMCSS is to offer a meaningful academic experience of scholastic theology in its original fullness: studying Sacred Scripture, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Fathers of the Church, in the peaceful and enchanting setting of a medieval Italian town, imbued with the spiritual and liturgical life of the Benedictine monks (daily High Mass in the usus antiquior, fully chanted monastic office), and all the culinary delights of the prosciutto and black truffle capital of Italy — in other words, a Catholic feast for mind, soul, and body. This year the course dates include Norcia’s festive celebration of the feast of St. Benedict on July 11th. Pilgrimages to the nearby towns of Assisi and Cascia are included in the cost, with the option of participating in a weekend trip to Rome at the end.

The dates for the Summer program are July 10–24, 2016. Most remarkably, the cost for tuition, room, and half-board (a light breakfast and a five-course Italian dinner every day) is 900 Euros. Tuition includes a hardcover bilingual edition of the Commentary on Hebrews as well as any other course materials. A background in academic theology is not required. (Students working towards degrees may request a summary of the program with faculty credentials and a certificate of completion that they may submit for possible course credit elsewhere.)

For more information, please click here. I recommend exploring the site and letting other folks know about it. The AMCSS has a great thing going, and each year they seem to gain momentum. In addition to the (relatively few) departments of theology out there that engage seriously with the great medieval minds, we also need grassroots initiatives that offer a lively engagement with scholastic authors in a Catholic environment such as those authors enjoyed and presumed. For this, Norcia is an ideal setting.

Third scholasticism redux

Fr. James Schall has a laudatory review of Ed Feser's Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction. I interviewed interviewed Feser about his new book here at Thomistica.net in November. In fact, at the beginning of his review Fr. Schall quotes from that interview. The last paragraph of Fr. Schall's review is worth reproducing here in toto:

In Feser’s little “manual,” we have the seeds of something great, the realization that, on philosophical grounds themselves, the scholastic tradition in the heritage of Aristotle and Aquinas is in fact the newest thing in academia. The only people who do not know this are likely to be academicians, but they are often out-of-date. We need, as I have often said, to go to the books that tell the truth, not only tell it, but know what it is on the basis of reason and argument. This book on “scholastic metaphysics” is precisely one of these books. If professors do not assign it, let the student read it by himself. If the department won’t consider it, go elsewhere to find someone who will. For we sense that, in our increasingly decadent culture, there is light in the darkness, a light that has been burning all along in obscure texts that a small but growing number of scholars like Edward Feser thought worthy to read.