Naropa University Oakland
Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality

March Intensive: THE MYSTICISM OF THOMAS AQUINAS AND OURSELVES

CSP617    Instructor: Matthew Fox; Art as Meditation: Luisah Teish Number of Credit Units: 2

Class Schedule: Spring 2004 Semester, March 18-20, 9am-5:30pm; March 21, 9am-1pm

Thursday, Friday, Saturday schedule:

9:00 a.m. Body Prayer

9:30-12:30 Seminar

12:30-1:30 Lunch Break

1:30-4:00 Art as Meditation

4:30-5:30 Process Group

Sunday Schedule:

9:00 Gathering

9:30-12:30 Seminar

12:30-1:00 Closing Ritual

Course Description: The mystical theology of the great medieval mystic Thomas Aquinas holds wisdom for the student’s mystical/prophetic life and our post-modern times. The course will work exclusively with primary texts of Aquinas’ writings and encourage students to share creative responses to his thought and how he has impacted their spiritual journey.

Thomas Aquinas is a creative genius, mystic, prophet and intellectual giant who took on the Augustinian theological establishment of Western Christendom.  He was condemned three times because he brought science (that of Aristotle who came through Islam and was a “pagan”) into the life of Christian faith.  His spiritual depth and creation-centeredness is supportive of many issues we wrestle with today ranging from cosmology and ecology to creativity to cosmology to psychology and feminist issues of non-dualism. We will explore his work in light of our own spiritual journey.

Course Objectives:

1.      To introduce or deepen the student to one of the greatest intellectual and spiritual geniuses of the West, one who is both mystic and prophet.

2.      To awaken in 21st century people passion for living spiritual lives based on creation spirituality principles such as Aquinas lived and taught.

3.      To challenge the students with an intellect as vast and deep as that of Aquinas.

Course Requirements: 

1.                  Attendance and participation… ……………………………………..……………………..25%

(Attendance at each session of the weekend is required in order to gain credit for the course.)

2.      Readings and participation………………………………………………………..………25%

4.   Final Paper (8-10 pages: DUE April 12)………………………………………………….50%

 

Required reading: Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversation with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality.  This book contains all primary material from ALL of Aquinas’ work, much of which had never before been translated into English (or French or German).  Try to read the material twice.  Because it is so large a book, we are limiting the assigned pages to those given below:

Introduction: pp. 1-55;

VP: 60f; 64-67; 73-79; 87-91; 94-999; 101; 104; 106f; 109f; 112f; 114-116; 118-121; 124f; 136f; 138; 149-153; 155; 162f; 166-170; 177; 180; 182-186.

VN: 189; 194-199; 207f.; 210-214; 220-224; 228-230; 242f.

VC: 245; 248f; 251f; 155-161; 167f; 273;277-183; 291-293; 298; 301; 311;316;329;331;335-337;340f; 351;354;359;360-362;378;382;

VT: 383; 385;389-391; 394;396;401;407-410;412f;419;438;441f;453;455;468;472;475-477;480f;484-486;488.

Recommended reading: Portions of “Sheer Joy” not assigned.  Or: Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas (Cambridge: Harvard, 1988)

Outline of class themes, activities and assignments.

Seminar Classes:  (9:30-12:30)

Thursday: Introduction and Via Positiva.

Friday: Via Positiva, continued and Via Negativa

Saturday:  Via Negativa continued, Via Creativa

Sunday:  Via Transformativa

Art As Meditation “Spirituality, Folklore, and Theater” (Luisah Teish)

(1:30-4:00 Thursday, Friday, Saturday)

A Cast of Cowries: Designing our Destiny through Re-Imagined Mythology. Participants will examine ancient myths from the divinatory orative of the African diaspora.  Identification of the archetypes of the forces of nature as expressed through human personality and culture will be discussed. Students will then imagine their roles in the spirituality of their communities and write “new myths.”