Courses

  • 8 Lessons

    A TOUR OF EUCLID’S ELEMENTS

    For several millenia, "Euclid’s Elements" was considered the indispensable gateway to higher studies. Like St. Thomas’s "Summa Theologiae", the Elements is that rare work that is both an excellent textbook attentive to the needs of new students and one of the great masterpieces of geometry. This course will lead participants on a broad tour of the first ten books of the Elements, which encompasses all of Euclid’s plane geometry. Participants will get a taste of demonstrating prepositions, while seeing proofs for fundamental equalities concerning triangles, parallelograms, and circles. Then attention will be turned to Euclid’s treatment of measurement, similarity, and incommensurability. Discussions will center on understanding Euclid’s arguments & order, with comparisons to modern developments in mathematics. Dr. Andrew Seeley has decades of experience in leading discussions of great texts of all kinds, including original texts in ancient and modern mathematics and science.
  • 8 Lessons

    AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF LOGIC

    This course introduces logic as a liberal art, i.e., an art of things which are made in being known and known in being made. Logic directs the fundamental acts of the human intellect—simple apprehension, composition and division, inference—in realizing what they make and know, the forms of discursive understanding: definition, judgment, and argument.
  • 4 Lessons

    BIOETHICS AND AQUINAS

    This course will focus on a distinctively Thomistic approach to bioethics and the resources that Aquinas’s natural law theory and metaphysics may provide in addressing some of the most important contemporary bioethics issues. The first part of the course will focus on the foundations and principles of Thomistic ethical theory through a selection of Thomistic primary texts as well as secondary sources such as Ralph McInerny's Ethica Thomistica and Jason Eberl's Thomistic Principles and Bioethics. In the second part of the course we will turn to a careful examination of several of the most important and difficult controversies in contemporary Catholic Bioethics: the moral status of zygotes, embryos, fetuses, and anencephalic infants, embryonic stem cell research, ANT-OAR, vital conflicts, embryo adoption and transfer, artificial wombs, life-saving interventions, genethics, designer children, human enhancement, neuroethics, issues at the end of human life, the ordinary/extraordinary means distinction, artificial hydration and nutrition, euthanasia, organ donation, complicity in evil, conscientious objection, and health care law and policy.
  • 8 Lessons

    DANTE’S ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

    Dante makes Thomas Aquinas the first voice of the Heaven of the Sun (Paradiso, Canto 10), and hence offers him as an emblem—perhaps the emblem—of redeemed creaturely wisdom. Dante recognized in Thomas the "teacher for everyone" (doctor communis) long before that usage became general; and so Dante reflects (and reflects deeply upon) Thomas' comprehensive Sacra Doctrina as he constructs his comprehensive allegory of love and responsibility.  This course will read The Divine Comedy with an eye for important junctures at which Thomas' teaching proves especially relevant, and the course will address Dante's text in light of that teaching.
  • 7 Lessons

    DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA

    Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America in order to examine the effects of the “democratic revolution” that had swept “the entire Christian universe,” the end of aristocratic hierarchy and the birth of democratic equality. Tocqueville regarded this revolution as a fait accompli. But he observed that this new age could take better or worse forms, and he argued that human agency could make some difference in how democracy manifested itself in a given society. Democracy in America examines the most thoroughly democratic society of Tocqueville’s time, the United States of the 1830s, as an example of the distinct benefits offered and challenges posed by the new democratic era. We approach Tocqueville’s magnum opus in order better to understand ourselves, for good and for ill, as democrats and as Americans, and to see what we might learn from him about how to cultivate freedom and pursue excellence in an age of equality.

  • 8 Lessons

    FLANNERY O’CONNOR, WRITER, PROPHET, APOLOGIST

    This course will study the short stories of Flannery O'Connor. One or two stories will be assigned for each of the eight classes. We will also discuss the life and influence of Flannery O'Connor as one of the great and most-respected Catholic writers of the twentieth century. The short stories to be read include 'The River,' 'Good Country People,' 'Revelation,' 'Parker's Back' and 'Everything That Rises Must Converge.' The only text students need to acquire is The Complete Short Stories of Flannery O'Connor (Farrar Straus and Girioux).
  • 8 Lessons

    FRIENDSHIP AND FREEDOM in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Part II

    JRR Tolkien’s great work, "The Lord of the Rings," continues to be prescient and relevant to our present situation. Through the vehicle of a secondary world, Tolkien explores universal questions of the human person’s place in a world of contesting forces. Tolkien examines the control of external, hostile forces over the human person and to what extent the person has freedom to respond. Tolkien masterfully responds both to the modernist elevation and exultation of human autonomy and the postmodernist devaluation of the same by presenting a strongly Christian understanding of free will and the human person’s inherent dignity and worth.
  • 8 Lessons

    FRIENDSHIP AND FREEDOM in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings

    JRR Tolkien’s great work, "The Lord of the Rings," continues to be prescient and relevant to our present situation. Through the vehicle of a secondary world, Tolkien explores universal questions of the human person’s place in a world of contesting forces. Tolkien examines the control of external, hostile forces over the human person and to what extent the person has freedom to respond. Tolkien masterfully responds both to the modernist elevation and exultation of human autonomy and the postmodernist devaluation of the same by presenting a strongly Christian understanding of free will and the human person’s inherent dignity and worth.
  • 9 Lessons

    FRIENDSHIP AND POLITICS in the Ancient World

    In this live, online summer institute we will dive into texts from 1600 BC - AD 140. Through guided readings and lively discussion, explore the themes of friendship and political community in the ancient world. This 9-week (June–August 2022) course will meet once a week. Future courses will address texts and themes from the Medieval/Christian and Modern historical periods.

  • 8 Lessons

    GEORGE BERNANOS: The Man and His Work

    In this course, we will read four novels by George Bernanos (1888-1948): The Diary of a Country Priest, Mouchette, Under the Sun of Satan, and Monsieur Ouine. Bernanos stands with Sigrid Undset, Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, and Francios Mauriac as the greatest Catholic novelists of the 20th century. Students will be encouraged to watch the three films made of these novels, two directed by Robert Bresson and one by Maurice Pialat. (Bresson, by the way, is the greatest Catholic director in the history of film.) I will provide directions on how to find and view these films online. Students will also be encouraged to pursue supplemental readings in the non-fiction works of Bernanos and other critical works about his life and work. In all eight sessions, we will put aside some time to discuss the life of Bernanos against the background of French and European history and of the Church.

  • 8 Lessons

    IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD: Poetry and Christology in the Gospel of John

    In this course, we will engage in a close reading of John's gospel, looking very closely at John's poetic interweaving of theological motifs embodied in such important words as "word," "name," "glory," "truth," "light," and "grace." We will assume that John the apostle is the author, that he is a native speaker of Aramaic and a reader of Hebrew, but that he is composing directly into Greek -- composing with the poetry of Jesus ringing in his soul.

  • 8 Lessons

    INTO THE WORLD BEYOND, WITH DANTE

    This year is the 700th anniversary of the death of perhaps the greatest poet in the history of the world, Dante Alighieri. His Divine Comedy is about everything you can name: God and His universe, the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation, the history of mankind, what it means to be a creature made in the image of God, what love is, and art, and sin, and repentance, and redemption— and what you do when your city banishes you and confiscates your property—everything! We will follow our guide into the sinkhole of Hell, then up the mount of Purgatory and on into Paradise.
  • 8 Lessons

    KAROL WOJTYLA’S Love and Responsibility

    As a young priest and professor of philosophy, Karol Wojtyla gave himself over in a special way to the pastoral care of young couples. Grounded in the thought of Thomas Aquinas as well as phenomenological methods, Wojtyla brought his sharp philosophical intelligence and pastoral heart to bear on his experiences with these couples. The fruit of this was Love and Responsibility, Wojtyla’s first major philosophical work that lays a foundation for understanding his subsequent thought, especially his theology of the body. Love and Responsibility is a work of sexual ethics framed and informed by an adequate anthropology that does full justice to the human person in all of his or her dimensions. This course is chiefly a guided reading and discussion of this seminal work by this great saint, with a view not only to understanding Wojtyla’s teaching, but also (and especially) to reflecting on and perfecting ourselves as human persons whose sexuality provides both meaning and vocational trajectories in our lives.
  • 7 Lessons

    KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER

    This course will focus on the novel "Kristin Lavransdatter", in three volumes 1920-1922, by the Norwegian Catholic writer Sigrid Undset. We will read the novel with reference to Undset's life and other work. "Kristin" is one of the greatest Catholic novels yet written, and it's popularity reignited after its second translation into English by Tiina Nunnally whose edition we will be reading. It's strongly recommended students read as much of the novel ahead of time as they can. The trilogy has nine parts, three per volume, that we will be treating in eight classroom settings. The Nunnally translation is available both in paperback and Kindle.
  • 8 Lessons

    LITERARY TRADITION I: Homer & Virgil

    Joseph Pearce teaches this foundational course on the Classical Epic for the Albertus Magnus Institute. Join Professor Pearce for this eight-week course as he leads us on a journey into the epic worlds of Homer and Virgil, exploring the deepest dimension of three of the greatest works of western civilization, The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Aeneid.
  • 8 Lessons

    LITERARY TRADITION IV: SHAKESPEARE

    Joseph Pearce, author of three books on Shakespeare and editor of six of the Ignatius Critical Editions of Shakespeare’s plays, teaches the inaugural course on Shakespeare for the Magnus Fellowship. Join Professor Pearce for this eight-week course as he leads us on a journey into Shakespeare and his times, exploring the deepest dimension of four of his greatest plays: Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and King Lear.

  • 8 Lessons

    METAPHYSICS I

    The last philosophical science to be tackled in the traditional order of learning is the science of metaphysics.  This most difficult and most noble philosophical science studies not only the first principles of thought and all of created reality, but also the uncreated first Cause, namely, God Himself.  In this course we shall endeavor to follow in the footsteps of the two greatest metaphysical masters of all time, Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas.

  • 8 Lessons

    METAPHYSICS II

    Building on the foundational truths contained in Aristotle's "Metaphysics" and St. Thomas Aquinas's "De Ente et Essentia", this class will examine three chief topics: 1) the nature of participation, 2) the transcendentals, and 3) the place of metaphysics among the sciences. By delving into these topics we shall more deeply understand the Angelic Doctor's teachings not only on the nature of being and natural theology, but also on the way of proceeding proper to the metaphysician. The two main texts for this class are: An Exposition of "On the Hebdomads" of Boethius and The Division and Methods of the Sciences (both by St. Thomas Aquinas).
  • 8 Lessons

    MILTON’S PARADISE LOST

    Join famed author, professor, and AMI Senior Fellow, Anthony Esolen for a deep dive into the great epic poem of the English Language, Paradise Lost. More details coming soon. This course will fulfill an elective requirement within the Magnus Fellowship.
  • 8 Lessons

    PHILOSOPHY OF MAN

    In the Prologue of "Fides et Ratio", John Paul II articulates five “principal questions by which man’s life is demarcated: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why do evils exist here? What awaits us after this life?” In this course, we will begin to answer these questions about ourselves (especially the first three) from a philosophic point of view, taking our cues principally from major thinkers in the history of philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, and Wojtyla/John Paul II. Our overall goal will be to develop an “adequate anthropology,” as Pope John Paul II calls for—that is, a truthful mode of thinking that does justice to all the complexities and dimensions of human existence—an especially important task nowadays in light of the various false and/or partial accounts of the human person that hold sway in our contemporary intellectual landscape.
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