Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Even before the Scriptures were written, followers of Jesus Christ were trying to understand the message of the Savior and to find ways to communicate it to peoples of other cultures, from Syria and Cyprus to Greece and Rome.

This attempt to deepen their comprehension of the Christian message, to find ways to communicate it in new languages and ways of thinking, and to apply Christian beliefs to changing issues across the centuries, gave rise to the Catholic intellectual tradition.

The Catholic intellectual tradition asks what light the Catholic tradition in its various forms of expression can shed on human questions and experiences. It also asks what light human events, discoveries, and reflections can bring to the Catholic tradition.

Catholic thought certainly expresses itself in theological and philosophical conclusions but also in other arenas of human creativity such as music, worship, literature, government, education, science, and history.

As participants in the CIT Cluster, students will be able to:

  • Learn how the dignity of the individual human person and the social nature of humans have been at the center and the periphery of Catholic thought;
  • Analyze how religious beliefs have influenced great works of world literature;
  • Trace the impact of new philosophies on Catholic thinking and vice versa;
  • Evaluate religious arguments relative to conservative and liberal movements in history;
  • Examine the interaction of faith and reason in various historical periods;
  • Investigate the impact of religious thinking on how individuals are seen in society, how humans are related to nature, and on how to evaluate appropriate human autonomy;
  • Understand the application of Catholic thinking to contemporary moral, social and cultural issues and how contemporary thought may and does have an impact on Catholic thought.

Cluster Coordinator:

Dr. Anthony B. Smith
Department of Religious Studies
Humanities Building, Rm 319

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