The unit will first examine the place of learning in the friars branch of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). The focus will then be on the character of theology in the 13th century in the West, and the contribution of Albert the Great and Aquinas to this enterprise. The Summa Theologiae (Summa Theologica) of Aquinas will be studied. Particular emphasis will be placed on Aquinas’ understanding of the nature of Christian theology, knowing and speaking about God, the virtues, prayer and contemplation. Aquinas’ hymns for the Office of Corpus Christi and the Adoro Te will also be treated. Next the life and times of Meister Eckhart will be introduced. His basic ideas will be addressed: knowing and talking about God, the nature of God, the relationship of God and the world and union with God. Texts related to these themes from Eckhart’s sermons and treatises will be studied. The thought and writings of two of his leading Dominican disciples, Henry Suso and Joannes Tauler, will be briefly explored.

Unit Code: DS9603C

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Spirituality

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Demonstrate a grasp of the significance of the emergence of the universities in the 13th century West for the place of learning for the friars of the Order of Preachers and their newly created academic structures


Evaluate attempts to establish a plan for the Summa Theologiae in the light of contemporary scholarly positions on the issue


Evaluate selected texts of Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae, taking into account critical questions and scholarly positions with regard to them


Evaluate selected texts of Eckhart, taking into account critical questions and scholarly positions with regard to them


Identify key themes in Eckhart’s philosophical, theological and mystical thought, and compare them to the thought of Aquinas


Develop a specific topic for research in a sustained and self-directing way

Unit sequence

CT8010C, CH8001C, DS8001C are recommended


Lectures, seminars, tutorials


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

Option A 7000 word essay

Or Option B

7000 100.0
Seminar or Tutorial

Option B 2500 word seminar paper (30%) 4500 word essay (70%)

Or Option A

7000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 20 Jul, 2015

Unit Record last updated: 2019-09-30 14:51:36 +1000