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Course Number: PHTH 998
Course Title: St. Bonaventure: Doctor of the Church, Prince of Mystics , Teacher for Today
Term: Summer 2014


Jared I. Goff, Ph.D


1. Course Description

The philosophico-theological vision of St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor, has greatly influenced the doctrinal and mystical life of the Church. His teaching on the primacy, authority and infallibility of the Papacy was key in Vatican I. His influence in the formulation and the proper reception of Vatican II is clearly discernable, for example, in the writings and teachings of Joseph Ratzinger, who became Benedict XVI. However, Bonaventure’s importance and influence today are too little appreciated, even by academics. Currently, St. Bonaventure is known by most only as mystical theologian. However, Bonaventure’s mystical theology flows from his insight into the person and mission of St. Francis and is based upon his profound grasp of Scripture, Tradition and philosophy, which he organized into a unique synthesis: a theologic which was foundational for later Franciscans thinkers, especially Bl. John Duns Scotus. In fact, when Pope Sixtus V in 1587 declared Bonaventure a primary Doctor of the Church, his judgment was based upon Bonaventure’s scholastic writings, which are essential for grasping Bonaventure’s mystical writings. This course will study texts from Bonaventure’s years as a Master of Theology at the University of Paris (1254-1257). This will allow us to better understand his unsurpassed masterpiece of mystical theology: The Journey of the Mind into God. Topics of this course will include: Bonaventure’s epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of nature and person, natural theology; his theory of freedom and personal action; his Christology, theology of the Trinity, as well as, the relationship between philosophy and the arts to theology. This course will show how Bonaventure’s Franciscan sapiential theology continues to resound in the life and teachings of the Church of today.


  • Students will study several key theological and philosophical texts of Bonaventure, be able to situate them in the historical context in which they where written and select key themes from them.
  • Students will be able to analyze Bonaventure’s theology and philosophy: seeing how the parts fit within his broader vision.
  • Students will gain an understanding of how Bonaventure influenced subsequent Franciscan systematic and mystical theology: e.g., Bl. John Duns Scotus, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Lawrence of Brindisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe.
  • Students will gain a better understanding of the import of St. Bonaventure within the current ecclesial context: e.g., the proper reception of Vatican II, ecumenism, spiritual theology, philosophy, etc.
  • Students will write an academic paper that demonstrates a sensitivity to the historical context in which Bonaventure composed his scholastic writings and an understanding of some aspect of his thought.


WEEK 1-2: Introduction to the Life and Historical Background of St. Bonaventure


Week One:

Week Two (depending upon your interests):

  • Peruse either Hellmann (theology) or Cullen (philosophy)

WEEK 3-4: The Order of the Arts in the Light of the Image


  • De reductione artium ad theologiam
  • Class notes

Recommended Readings:

  • Breviloquium, Prologue, 1-26

WEEK  5: De Science Christi: From arts to Person


  • De scientia Christi, (Introductory Material) 21-41,
  • Class notes

Recommended Readings:

  • Breviloquium, p. 4, 131-168

WEEK 6: De Scientia Christi, qq. 1-3: Divine Knowledge


  • q. 1-3 (pp. 71-114)
  • Class notes

WEEK 7: De Scientia Christi, q. 4: Divine Illumination, Judgment, Certainty: Jesus and Aristotle


  • De scientia Christi, q. 4 (pp. 115-144)
  • Class notes

WEEK 8: De Scientia Christi, qq. 5-7: Wisdom as True Knowledge Perfected in Charity


  • De scientia Christi, q. 5-7 (145-196)
  • Class notes

WEEK 9: De Mysterio Trinitatis, Introduction, Structure and Bonaventure’s “Three Ways” to proving the Deum Esse


  • De mysterio Trinitatis, (Introductory Material) 13-66, q. 1 (pp. 107-137)
  • Class notes

Recommended Readings:

  • Breviloquium, p. 1, 27-57

WEEK 10: De Mysterio Trinitatis, qq. 2-5: Deum Esse et Trinum: Unity, Simplicity, Infinity, Eternity


  • De mysterio Trinitatis, q. 2-5 (pp. 184-223)
  • Class notes

WEEK 11: De Mysterio Trinitatis, qq. 6-7: Deum Esse et Trinum: Immutability and Necessity


  • De mysterio Trinitatis, q. 6-7 (pp. 224-259)
  • Class notes

WEEK 12: De Mysterio Trinitatis, q. 8: Primacy and Circumincession: Resolution of being and person, knowledge and faith, faith and love


  • De mysterio Trinitatis, q. 8 (pp. 225-266); Review Questions 1-7
  • Class notes

WEEK 13: Week Thirteen: Itinerarium mentis in Deum, prologue, chapters 1-2


  • Itinerarium, 9-32 (Introductory Material), Prologue-chapters 1-2 (pp. 34-79)
  • Class notes

WEEK 14: Itinerarium mentis in Deum, chapters 3-4


  • Itinerarium, cc. 3-4 (pp. 80-109)
  • Class notes

Week 15: Itinerarium mentis in Deum, chapters 5-7


  • Itinerarium, cc. 5-7 (pp. 110-139)
  • Class notes


IMPORTANT NOTE ON DUE DATES: Discussion board postings and weekly assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the week under which they are listed on the course calendar below. Earlier replies will be more beneficial. Late assignments will be penalized unless prior arrangements have been made or an emergency arises.


  • Read the assigned readings listed on the Course Calendar above.
  • Read also any study notes provided for the week, and watch any video clips that may be linked there.
  • All discussion board postings and quizzes will be directly based upon the assigned readings of the week and any other materials that may be listed in the weekly assignments.

50% Discussion Board Postings

  • Post on the Discussion Board at least three (3) times each week.
  • First, post at least one answer to one of the discussion questions or topics provided by the instructor. Complete answers require a minimum of three sentences and at least one quotation from or reference to an assigned reading.
  • Second, post at least one response to the entries of your classmates. Responses to classmates can provide brief follow-up questions, make additional points, or politely offer alternative responses. Responses do not need to be more than one or two sentences.
  • You are invited but not required to continue following the class discussion and to make further contributions after your three required postings.
  • Both your answer(s) and your response(s) must be posted by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the Week. It is highly recommended, however, that answers be posted at least several days before the due date; this provides more opportunity for student interaction. Late postings will not receive any credit.

50% Research Assignments

The Research Assignment is an extended research project on the topic of your choice with the final goal of producing a high quality research paper. Below are the distinct elements of the research assignment:

  • Week 2: Post 3 topics of interest that could serve as areas of research for a research paper
  • Week 3: Research sources and begin assembling bibliography for paper topics
  • Week 4: Choose a Paper Topic
    • Compose and Post a Topic  Sentence/Question
  • Week 5: Clarify Topic Sentence-Question
  • Week 6: Annotated Bibliography
  • Week 7: Compose and Post a Thesis Statement
  • Week 8: Post Outline of Paper
  • Week 9: Post First Paragraph of Research Paper
  • Week 12: First Draft of Paper
  • Week 13: Peer Review
  • Week 14: Final Paper


  • Bonaventure. On the Reduction of the Arts to Theology. Franciscan Institute, 1996. ISBN: 1576590437. $14.95
  • ––––. Disputed Questions on the Knowledge of Christ. Franciscan Institute, 1992. ISBN: 9781576590461. $15.00
  • ––––. Disputed Questions on the Mystery of the Trinity. Franciscan Institute, 1979. ISBN: 9781576590454. $15.00
  • ––––. Breviloquium. Franciscan Institute, 2005. ISBN: 9781576591994. $39.95
  • ––––.The Journey of the Soul into God: Itinerarium mentis in Deum. Franciscan Institute, 2002. ISBN: 9781576591857. List price $19.95

Choose one:

  • Cullen, Christopher. Bonaventure. Oxford, 2006. ISBN: 9780195149258. $48.66. $14.52 (Kindle)
  • Hellmann, J.A. Wayne, Divine and Created Order in Bonaventure’s Theology. Franciscan Institute, 2001. ISBN: 1576591735. $22.46


(Basis of evaluation with explanation regarding the nature of the assignment and the percentage of the grade assigned to each item below). Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at


A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 D 60-69; F 59 and below


Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.


Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own. At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

  • Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.
  • Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.
  • Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.
  • Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab’s website at

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously. Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.


Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.


An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.


Jared Goff, a convert, was received with his wife and children into the Catholic Church in 2004. Born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon, Jared graduated from Corban University in Salem, Oregon in 2003. Initially intending to pursue a career in medicine, during his final semesters as an undergraduate, Jared became interested in philosophy and theology. He subsequently obtained M.A. degrees in philosophy and theology and completed a Ph.D. in historical theology in the spring of 2013 at Saint Louis University.

In addition to teaching in the distance learning program at Holy Apostles, Dr. Goff teaches at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.

Dr. Goff’s research interests include the theology and philosophy developed and articulated by the great medieval masters, St. Bonaventure, Bl. John Duns Scotus; Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox ecumenical dialogue as well as  John Henry Newman, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Orestes Brownson.

Jared is author of Caritas in Primo: A Historical Theological Study of Bonaventure’s Quaestiones disputatae de mysterio Ss. Trinitatis (Academy of the Immaculate, 2014), co-editor, with J.A. Wayne Hellmann O.F.M. Conv. and Jay M. Hammond, of Companion to Bonaventure (Brill, 2013).

Jared, his wife Kellene, and their six children live in Oregon.

(860) 632-3010