Our graduate theological enterprise is characterized by four features:
Because theology is the study of Christianity as lived experience, in our programs we relate faith and culture for our time as Augustine did for his. Analogous to Augustine’s way of doing theology, we contextualize the study of Christian faith claims meaningfully within an analysis of contemporary culture. That is, we do theology in and within the Augustinian tradition. Our programs integrate Augustinian studies within the broader perspective of theological studies by engaging Augustine’s own theology in time actively, fully, and consciously informed by the breadth of theological and cultural traditions.
Enriched by the tradition of St. Augustine, whose theology powerfully related faith, reason, and culture, our programs envisions "understanding what we believe"(*) as faith engaging culture and develop this particular relationship within the Augustinian tradition.
In the Augustinian tradition, theology never is an "end-product" but a reality that emerges in interaction with contemporary culture. Analogous to Augustine "doing" theology, the distinctive element of theological inquiry at Villanova is engaging theology from within, and contextualizing it meaningfully within, contemporary culture. Thus, theology at Villanova has a distinct Augustinian identity.
(*)Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, bk. 1, §4, trans. Thomas Williams [Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993] 7. Anselm of Canterbury later reformulates, "faith seeking understanding."
The following pages introduce you to the distinct features of "doing" theology in the Villanova way, in the Augustinian tradition of inquiry.
Our programs are built upon the theological and educational vision of the Augustinian tradition that "there is no better way to pursue the truth than by questioning and answering" ( neque melius quaeri ueritas possit, quam interrogando et respondendo ; Sol. II.7.14). Implementing – in theory and practice – the Augustinian ideal of unity ( unitas ), truth ( veritas ), and compassion ( caritas ), we pursue knowledge in depth, breadth, and rigor on all levels of program structure, course offerings, integration of academic areas, and Augustinian identity.
Drawing upon the rich expertise of our graduate faculty our programs are conceived and designed to allow all, faculty members and students, to be formed "in the image of Augustine", by concrete study of that tradition, to do what Augustine himself did in our contemporary context, which is engage culture.
Theological studies in the Augustinian tradition as conceived, studied and advanced at Villanova are multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. No single theological discipline studies faith engaging culture in isolation; it is accomplished by placing diverse academic areas in dialogue with each other. Our programs' most important contribution to learning in the third millennium is the integration (not the parallel study) of knowledge.