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Mundelein Seminary offers a two-year discipleship program. It is designed for those college graduates who need to make the transition into seminary life and to acquire the necessary academic courses in philosophy and religious studies.

Students in the Discipleship program are full-time members of the Mundelein Seminary community. They pursue either a certificate or Masters of Arts degree to prepare them. Individual rooms provide space for study, reflection and prayer. Their group living provides the base for mutual support and interaction. Students participate in one of two mission trip options: an international Catholic Relief Services Global Fellows Trip or a mission trip within the United States. From the experiences shared with the poor and marginalized, the men will be called to live the love of Christ expressed in their prayer and theology.

The Discipleship Academic Program

The study of Philosophy is important not only as a preparation for Theology but also as a needed element in the life of those who would accept leadership in the Church of the twenty-first century. Critical reflection helps focus the issues of a complex world and sharpen the wisdom of the preceding ages. An understanding of the culture and ideas of the world today strengthens the priest’s ability to preach the gospel and to clear the path for God’s invitation to faith. The Pre-Theology program provides thirty-three semester hours of philosophy: The History of Philosophy (Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Contemporary), as well as courses in Logic, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Anthropology, Philosophy of Nature, Natural Theology and Ethics. In addition there are nineteen semester hours in religious studies. The Pre-Theologians will study Latin, and Greek (optional two semesters) as well as an offering in the humanities. There will also be opportunities for the study of Spanish, both language and culture. A limited selection of electives, depending on the student’s interest and time, is available. They pursue either a certificate or Masters of Arts degree to prepare them for theology.

Course Offerings

We will focus on the notion of Philosophical Anthropology, or the Philosophy of Human Nature, to try to see how and why we think of ourselves (mankind) the way we do. Some review of key authors in Philosophy will then lead us to concentrate on specific questions and areas of discussion.

This course is an introduction to fundamental Thomistic metaphysics. Among the issues considered are the following: the question and grasp of Being; the language of metaphysics; the structure of finite being; the nature and role of causality; metaphysical consideration of God, evolution, good and evil; the Thomistic understanding of the whole. Certain contemporary perspectives on the question and meaning of Being are also considered.

This course examines the ethical theories of eight influential philosophers in the Western tradition: Aristotle, Epictetus, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Mill, Sartre, and Camus. Students will read excerpts of primary sources, along with some secondary source material. By the end of the course, students will be able to summarize and critically engage the various schools of thought typified by each philosopher. Such knowledge will prove invaluable for the historical study of theology, which developed in part as a response to these philosophical currents. It also will shed light on the diversity of moral beliefs present in our contemporary milieu, equipping future priests with the requisite knowledge to become new evangelizers in a world desperately in search of meaning.

In this survey of introductory themes in both ancient and medieval philosophy, we will seek to learn more about ourselves, other people and the world around us, and the God of our faith through the lens of some of the greatest thinkers of the Western tradition. As we survey the basic metaphysical and epistemological positions of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, we will open our eyes to how all truth, goodness, and beauty ultimately manifest God while having their own natural integrity. Particular attention will be given to the following topics: the relationship between faith and reason, the controversy over universals, the epistemological doctrines of illumination vs. abstraction, the relationship between the soul and the body, natural proofs for the existence of God, and the problem of evil. We will also explore how ancient and medieval philosophical worldviews compare and contrast to the spiritual, existential, and intellectual commitments of Catholicism and how they might help us embody such commitments in a more authentic way.

The basic epistemological, metaphysical, and anthropological positions of major philosophers from the late 1500s into the last half of the 1900s will be covered, spanning through Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx and going all the way through Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, James, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger. Emphasis will be given to the question of whether and how we can come to know reality, the import of such epistemology for modern and contemporary views of the human person, and the lasting impact of skepticism and relativism on our current culture. Our work in this course will differentiate the consequences of modern and contemporary philosophy for our relationship with ourselves, others, and God in a culture that often views faith and reason and subjectivity and objectivity as inherently conflictual.

Research and writing guidance for final paper for M.A. Degree.

In preparation of the M.A. comprehensive exams, students participate in a reading group directed by a faculty member. The course has the goal of insuring the orderly and timely study of philosophy reading list.

This course is an introduction into the notions and procedures of Aristotelean formal and modern logic. However, logic cannot be properly understood without an awareness of the other two arts of the trivium, grammar and rhetoric. So we will also examine the relationship of grammar and logic; meaning; the interplay of identity/difference and presence/ absence in language; and the nature and function of rhetoric.

The study of knowledge in preparation for future theological training starts with John Paul II’s vision in Fides et ratio. Founded upon Catholic theology’s affirmation of the role of human reason in matters of faith, the course will focus on Aquinas’ philosophical realism. The study of themes in epistemology such as perception, concepts and judgments will counter the critical approach of modern epistemology which emphasizes doubt, rationalism and positivism. The goal is to understand philosophy’s search for truth and its contribution to theology. Finally, to unpack the relevance of this search, the consultation of contemporary sources will show the urgent challenges posed by a post-truth society in a digital age.

This course will look at major political thinkers, starting with Plato and moving into the contemporary era. Then the three major notions of Rights, Justice and Freedom will be examined – all three are critical for understanding political discourse today. Finally, we will read and examine one of the Pope’s encyclicals on Social Justice.

This course provides a solid foundation in the synthesis of the philosophy of nature and natural theology. Pursuing both historical and thematic approaches, we shall explore how major questions of epistemology, metaphysics, and scientific investigation have been raised and addressed by philosophers of nature, scientists, and theologians ranging from Pre-Socratic speculations about the nature of matter through the investigations of contemporary philosophy, science, and anthropology.

This course will be an introduction to the contents of the Old Testament. The history of ancient Israel will be used as a way of understanding the content and the development of the biblical books. Methods of exegesis encouraged by official church teaching will be used and introduced.

The purpose of this course is to provide a general introduction to the New Testament as a whole. As a course for those preparing for ministry and service in God’s Holy Church, this course will give special emphasis on interpreting the NT theologically since, as Dei Verbum says, “The study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology” (§ 24). According to the Catholic understanding, the study of Scripture is the heart of sacred theology. Theology, that is, should be done from, in, and by the study of Scripture. Indeed, within Christian history, many of the theological controversies that have shaped the Catholic Church—and that have led some to schisms from her—were precisely over how to read Scripture. This course, then, will examine the theological issues that arise in interpreting Scripture, and how Tradition has faced (and likewise how today we continue to face) these exegetical questions.

Trip The weekly field education experiences of the first semester and specially designed formation sessions on social justice prepare the seminarians for their week-long mission trips that take place during the spring semester. Seminarians will participate in either a US or foreign trip that involves prolonged and meaningful contact and ministry with the poor and marginalized. Emphasis is placed on coming to know the people and their culture as well as the structures and history that have contributed to the human needs and injustice. Solidarity with others is stressed during the mission trip experiences as they come to more fully understand the Church’s call to justice and their own responsibilities to others based on the dignity of the human person and role of servants to Christ and His Church. Following the mission trips, the men participate in presenting highlights of their mission experiences to the larger seminary community.

This course offers an introduction to some of the major theological developments of the patristic and medieval periods by engaging representative texts from these periods, from both the Latin West and the Greek East. By virtue of being a survey, it covers a range of texts. For our purposes, each is chosen either because it is representative of the thought of a thinker who is particularly important in Christian theology, or because it exemplifies some major theme/issue/question of the theological tradition, or because it represents a certain way/school of doing theology, or, finally, because of its importance in shaping subsequent theology. At the same time, in the interest of drawing together the course material into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, the following questions/topics will be undercurrents for our iteration of this course: How does Christian thought interact with non-Christian thought? (Or, to use Tertullian’s famous question: ‘What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’) How does Christianity interact with philosophy and other forms of culture? How do faith and reason (and philosophy and theology) relate? And then: what is the nature of theology as a science? What is required to do it even? And, finally, what role (if any) can theology play in coming to know and experience God?

The purpose of this course is to give an overview of theology from the period of the Reformation to today. Although contact with the Greek-speaking East was periodic throughout this time, we will focus exclusively on western sources, since the majority of the developments that took place were intra-western. Texts and figures are chosen either because of how they shaped the discourse at the time, or because of how they have shaped subsequent discourse, or because they did both. Given the scope and complexity of these periods, not only for Christianity but also for western thought and life more broadly, we will proceed in three movements. First, we will examine the Reformations of the 16th century, attending to both Protestant and Catholic sources. In the second part, we will examine the post-Reformation emergence of modernity and its challenge to Christianity, as well as the responses made to that challenge from within particular western confessions as represented by certain key intellectual figures. Finally, the third part of our course will examine how Christians responded to the challenge of modernity in the 20th century. Here we will focus on the Catholic side, with special attention being given to the place of Vatican II in the trajectory of Catholic thought. Especially throughout the second two-thirds of the course, the following question should be kept ever in mind as we read our course texts: If Christianity, in a basic way, does not make sense to the world anymore, then how do we even go about evangelizing that world at all?

Basic grammar and vocabulary.

A continuation of the study of Latin grammar syntax and vocabulary began in Latin I. Emphasis will be on reading passages of theological Latin literature.

This course consists of a careful study of the grammar and syntax of the Greek Language with emphasis on New Testament usage.

Building on Greek I, this course moves towards readings and exegesis of selected passages.