Aquinas to Echkart: The Dominican Intellectual and Spiritual Tradition
of the 13th and Early 14th Centuries

crosslisted as CT2603C/3603C

Rev. Dr David Willis OP Not Offered in 2020

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.




face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester


second level
  • two 1,000-word critical review exercises 2 x 20%
  • one 2,500-word essay 60%
third level
  • two 1,000-word critical review exercises 2 x 20%
  • one 3,000-word essay 60%


  • Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologiae. Edited by Thomas Gilby. 60 vols. London: Blackfriars, 1964-81. 
  • Eckhart, Meister. Selected Writings. Edited and translated by Oliver Davies. Penguin Classics. London: Penguin, 1994.
  • McGinn, Bernard. The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart: The Man from Whom God Hid Nothing. Edward Cadbury Lectures 2000 – 01. New York: Crossroad, 2001.
  • Torrell, Jean-Pierre. Saint Thomas Aquinas. Vol. 1, The Person and His Work. Translated by Robert Royal. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1996.
  • Tugwell, Simon, ed. and trans. Albert & Thomas Selected Writings. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York: Paulist, 1988.