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World expert on Saint Thomas Aquinas to give MIC talk

By Sean Ryan - 13 October, 2016

In his talk in Mary Immaculate College (Limerick) Fr Vivian Boland will examine the pedagogy and philosophy of education of the saint, whose writings on education, still of relevance today, are less well known than his writings on theology and philosophy.

 

fr-vivian-boland

On Thursday 20 October next, one of the world’s leading experts on Thomas Aquinas’ educational thought, Fr Vivian Boland OP, will deliver a free public lecture at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) in Limerick. In his talk, Fr Boland will examine the pedagogy and philosophy of education of Aquinas.

Hosted by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, MIC, the lecture will explore some themes in Aquinas’ account of learning and teaching, with Fr Boland arguing that Aquinas’ insights and concerns are of relevance today and can strengthen our understanding of the teacher’s work and the learner’s experience.

Philosopher and theologian St Thomas Aquinas was born c.1225 in Roccasecca, Italy. Combining the theological principles of faith with the philosophical principles of reason, he ranked among the most influential thinkers of medieval Scholasticism.

A prolific writer, Aquinas penned close to 60 known works, ranging in length from short to tome-like, with handwritten copies of his works being distributed to libraries across Europe. His philosophical and theological writings spanned a wide spectrum of topics, including commentaries on the Bible and discussions of Aristotle’s writings on natural philosophy. Often called ‘The Universal Teacher’, St Thomas Aquinas died in 1274, and was canonised by Pope John XXII in 1323.

According to Dr Rik Van Nieuwenhove, Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies, MIC, and co-editor of The Theology of Thomas Aquinas, it is widely acknowledged that Aquinas’ writings have a perennial significance for theology and philosophy.

Less known, however, are the implications of his writings for pedagogy and educational theories. “Nonetheless, Aquinas proposes a pedagogy which is holistic, empirically oriented (all knowledge is through the senses), Christ-centred, and which puts the virtuous life at the very heart of what constitutes a proper formation. We are delighted to welcome internationally renowned expert, Fr Vivian Boland, to MIC for this free public lecture,” said Dr Van Nieuwenhove.

Fr Vivian Boland is a Dominican friar of the Province of Ireland, and currently a member of the General Council of the Order. He is Master of the Order’s Socius for North West Europe and Canada, with a responsibility also for initial formation. He is Vicar of the Master of the Order, and has lectured in theology and philosophy in a number of prestigious places, including St Mary’s University, UK and Blackfriars, Oxford, UK. He has published widely on Thomas Aquinas and education. His book, St Thomas Aquinas (Bloomsbury Library of Educational Thought. London: Bloomsbury, 2007), is regarded as a classic study on the significance of Thomas Aquinas’ thought on education.

The lecture, entitled The Work Of Aquinas and Education Today, takes place on Thursday 20 October at 7.30 pm in T117, TARA Building, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

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