This autumn we are delighted to offer a new MA in Aquinas Studies

This autumn we are delighted to offer a new MA in Aquinas Studies

To be taught by distance learning over two years, there is a taught component (60 credits in total) delivered over three semesters of 15 weeks. A dissertation of 15,000 words (30 credits) is completed in the fourth semester.

For further information and to register your interest please contact Dr Mary McCaughey mary.mccaughey

The Master of Arts (Aquinas Studies) provides the opportunity to:

· Study the philosophical and theological thought of St Thomas Aquinas at postgraduate Level 9.

· explore the historical, contextual and linguistic background to Aquinas’s thought.

· choose either a more philosophical or theological stream.

· recognise the unity of faith and reason in Aquinas’s thought and a method which involves cross-cultural dialogue and is relevant for today.

· meaningfully contribute to philosophical and theological scholarship on the thought of Thomas Aquinas particularly in their dissertation.

· read primary texts from Aquinas in the original language (Latin).


Semester 1: October 2018- Jan 2019

Core Modules (Students will all take the following 3 core modules)

1. Research Methods for Aquinas Studies (5 ECTS)

2. Introduction to Latin in the work of St Thomas Aquinas (5 ECTS) 

3. Introduction to Thomas Aquinas: Life, Thought and Historical Context (10 ECTS)

Semester 2: March 2019-June 2019

Core Modules (Students will all take the following 2 core modules)

4. Thinking and Talking about God (10 ECTS) 

5. Happiness and the Virtuous Life (10 ECTS) 

Semester 3: October 2019- Jan 2020

Elective Modules  (Students will choose two of the following 4 options). 

· Metaphysics (10 ECTS) 

· Philosophical Anthropology in Aquinas (10 ECTS)

· Trinity and Creation (10 ECTS) 

· Christ and Sacraments (10 ECTS) 

Semester 4: Dissertation (March 2020 - June 2020)

+Dissertation (30 ECTS)

Core Modules

Semester 1: October 2018- Jan 2019

1. Research Methods for Aquinas Studies (5 ECTS) .This module aims to provide students with the tools to undertake research and writing at postgraduate level in Theology providing them with rubrics for assessment of the same. Students will further develop their research skills including how to use electronic resources and databases, how to compile bibliographies, how to use particular referencing styles. It will also provide an introduction to advanced research skills for dissertations and how to write abstracts for dissertation work. It will examine Aquinas’ own theological method, including his use of Scripture, the Church Fathers and style of reasoning and cross-cultural dialogue. The course will also point out to students the dissertation submission guidelines as required by IT Tallaght guidelines (2017).

2. Introduction to Latin in the work of St Thomas Aquinas (5 ECTS) .The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the study of Latin in the writings of St Thomas with particular focus on the Summa Theologica; to give students a familiarity with Latin vocabulary, verbs and syntax and give students a beginners level of translation from Latin into English.

3. Introduction to Thomas Aquinas: Life, Thought and Historical Context (10 ECTS). This course aims to give a short introduction to the life and work of St Thomas Aquinas. It explains the historical background and context to Aquinas’ major works looking at his links with Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, the Church Fathers, Peter Lombard, and his use of Scripture. It will also explore the impact of Aquinas’ thought on Catholic philosophy and Theology, and examine Thomism and different understandings of Thomism.

Semester 2: March 2018-June 2018

4. Thinking and Talking about God (10 ECTS). This module examines the nature of God in the thought and writings of St Thomas Aquinas. It does this with a particular emphasis on the Prima Pars of the Summa Theologica, Q 1-26 but with a particular focus on Q 2-13 which considers the existence of God and the divine attributes such as simplicity, perfection, goodness, infinity, the existence of God in things, immutability, eternity, unity, the names of God and how God is known by us.

5. Happiness and the Virtuous Life (10 ECTS). This module explores life in its fullest sense from Aristotle’s understanding of human flourishing to St. Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of beatitude. It examines if human beings have a natural desire to see God, and how this differs from the operations of faith, hope, and charity. We examine the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the new law of the Gospel, and the flowering of the Christian life. We also examine how this relates to the practical work of the cardinal virtues.

Elective Modules

Semester 3: October 2018- Jan 2019

In addition to the above core modules students will choose Electives (two of the following 4 options). Thus, they can choose either a more theological or philosophical focus if desired.

· Metaphysics (10 ECTS). This module introduces students to Aquinas’s philosophical thought on Metaphysics examining key ideas such as substance, essence, existence, act, causality, Potentiality, Form, Matter and Hylomorphism. It examines Aquinas’ Metaphysics in relation to that of Aristotle and within the context of the development of Greek Philosophy. It recognises the importance of Hylomorphism in relation to the understanding of the Human Being, which will be the foundation for the subsequent module on Philosophical Anthropology in Aquinas.

· Philosophical Anthropology in Aquinas (10 ECTS). The primary aim of this module is to provide a comprehensive exploration of Aquinas’ anthropology, through close reference to the primary texts of Aquinas, as well as secondary resources. This will include a detailed examination of Aquinas’ understanding of the following: human nature, the soul and body, and their unity; the powers of the soul, especially intellect and will; the theory of knowledge, and the freedom of the will; and the meaning of the term person as applied to the human being. In addition, the module has two further aims:

1) to provide an overview of the Aristotelian roots of Aquinas’ anthropology;

2) to provide an overview of contemporary developments in Thomistic anthropology.

· Trinity and Creation (10 ECTS). This module explores Aquinas understanding of the Triune God with particular reference to the Summa Theologiae, ST I, qq. 27-43. Following on from the core module, “Thinking and Talking about God,” where students have already engaged with the key attributes of God and God’s existence (ST I, qq. 2-26), this module explores in detail Aquinas’s understanding of God as Triune, with reference to persons, missions, processions, relations and communion. In doing so, it makes continual reference to the conciliar and patristic background of Aquinas’ understanding of the Trinity. The course will treat ST I, qq. 1-43 as one treatise on God, and will highlight also the Trinitarian structure of Aquinas’ theology of creation and divine action in the world (ST I, qq. 44-49). It also engages with contemporary criticism of Thomas’ work on the Trinity and creation. Broader theological themes will be discussed as they arise, including the relationships between the magisterium and theological speculation, faith and reason, and Scripture and theology.

· Christ and Sacraments (10 ECTS).  The Module will introduce the student to the Third Part of St Thomas’s Summa theologiae. It will present Thomas’s thought by showing how he has been doing Christology from the very beginning of the Summa, in the sense that he has been progressively exploring in the First and Second Parts the fundamental truths about the God who becomes man in Christ, about the God who creates humanity to be in the image of God, who calls men and women to achieving union with God through free moral choices, who graces those choices so that they will bring sinful humans, individually and in community, to the beatitude for which they are destined. The explicit Christology of the Third Part of the Summa will be seen to entail a study of how in Jesus Christ the divine and the human are united in the person of the Word (hypostatic union), how the authentic humanity of Christ expresses itself in unique forms of grace, knowledge and power, making Christ be the definitive mediator between God and the human race, how this saving mediation is exercised soteriologically in the events of his life, culminating in his passion and death, and his being raised to the right hand of his Father. The Module will conclude by showing from the Summa how these mysteries of Christ are forever present and active in the sacraments that he gave to his Church, and particularly in Baptism and Eucharist

Semester 4: Dissertation (March 2019 - June 2019)

+Dissertation (30 ECTS)

For further information and to register your interest please contact Dr Mary McCaughey mary.mccaughey