Date of Award

Fall 1974

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Thompson, Albert G.

Second Advisor

Dupuis, A. M.

Third Advisor

Bernert, Roman A.


Official statements of the Catholic Church in the last decade propose a thorough re-evaluation of the curriculum in philosophy and theology in Catholic seminaries. Traditionally, the study of theology was to be preceded by a thorough instruction in philosophy. But the extent, type and propriety of such a pre-theological role for philosophy are being questioned today. Therefore, there are ambiguities discernable in the current theory and practice of providing a suitably integrated curriculum involving these two disciplines in Catholic seminaries. In America, these ambiguities are intensified by recent changes in the administrative structures of seminaries, by serious questioning of the type of theology suited to the Church, and by a growing awareness of diversity of views on the value, practice and teaching of philosophy. The purpose of this study is to clarify one major set of issues related to the roles of these two disciplines in the seminary curriculum: those issues centering around the expectations which theology school teachers have for their students' philosophical background. In the first chapter, the history of the curricular relation of philosophy and theology in Catholic seminaries is surveyed from the middle ages through the last decade. This historical survey sets in relief the sources of the present-day problem. The second chapter describes the rationale, basic questions and methodology used to conduct a questionnaire survey of teachers in theology schools; this procedure allowed the determination of attitudes and expectations of these teachers regarding their students' background in philosophy. The following chapters (Chapters III, IV, V, and VI) report and analyze the results of the investigation. The extent of the teachers' concern for philosophy in the pre-theology school curriculum is reported in Chapter III. A report on the philosophical authors and topics of importance to theology school courses as identified by these teachers is made in Chapter IV. Chapter V details the attitudes of theology school instructors on the nature of philosophy and its relationship with theology. Satisfaction with current theology school admissions' policies is discussed in Chapter VI. In the Conclusion, answers to the basic questions underlying the study are formulated: (1) There is an extremely wide diversity of philosophical authors and topics indicated as important in preparation for the Catholic seminarian's learning of theology. (2) Some hierarchical ordering of importance among authors and topics can be discerned. (3) Certain trends are visible in the perceptions which theology school faculties have of the nature of the relationship between the disciplines of philosophy and theology. (4) Responses of teachers correlate significantly in so few cases with the type of Catholic theology school at which they teach (e.g., an independent theology school versus one attached to a university) that such institutional characteristics can be judged to have only minor influence in the curricular issues under consideration, (5) There is evidence of consistency between the responses of teachers and theology schools' published admissions' policies and course syllabi.



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