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Online Learning

Course Number: STD901
Term: Fall 2014 (Version July 9, 2014)


Dr. Cynthia Toolin



This course is a study of the doctrine of the Nature and Person of Christ based primarily on Aquinas' Summa, Part III. To that end, the following seven topics are examined:

  1. General information on the Incarnation,
  2. The Person of Christ,
  3. The assumed nature of Christ,
  4. The co-assumed nature of Christ,
  5. Consequences concerning Christ,
  6. Consequences concerning the relation to his Father, and,
  7. Consequences concerning man.


  1. Students will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of basic Christological dogma.
  2. Students will be able to explain basic information about the divinity of Christ, and what follows from that, to others.
  3. Students will be able to explain basic information about the humanity of Christ, and what follows from that, to others.




Week 1

This week you will learn what Thomas says about the fitness of the Incarnation.

Week 2

This week you will learn what Thomas says about the mode of the union of the Word incarnate.

Week 3

This week you will learn what Thomas says about the mode of union on the part of the person assuming.

Week 4

This week you will learn what Thomas says about the mode of union of the part of human nature.

  • You must turn in your first written assignment this week. You paper should articulate the fitness of the Incarnation as summarized in STh III, 1. (That is, Part III, question 1.) There is no posting assignment this week due to your written assignment. Email Research Paper 1 to me at by Saturday, 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time.

Week 5

This week you will learn what Thomas says about the parts of human nature which were assumed and the order of assumption.

Week 6

This week you will learn what Thomas says about Christ's three "kinds" of grace.

Week 7

This week you will begin to learn what Thomas says about Christ's "kinds" knowledge.

Week 8

This week you will continue to learn what Thomas says about Christ's "kinds" of knowledge.

You must turn in your second written assignment this week. Your paper should articulate the grace of Christ as the Head of the Church as summarized in STh III, 8. (That is, Part III, question 8.) There is no posting assignment this week due to your written assignment. Email Research Paper 2 to me at by Saturday, 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time.

Week 9

This week you will learn what Thomas says about the power of Christ's soul.

Week 10

This week you will learn what Thomas says about the defects of the body and of the soul assumed by Christ.

Week 11

This week you will learn what Thomas says about things applicable to Christ in his being and becoming, as well as about his nativity.

Week 12

This week you will learn what Thomas says about Christ's unity of will and unity of operation.

Week 13

This week you will learn what Thomas says about Christ's subjection to the Father, his prayer and his priesthood.

Week 14

This week you will learn what Thomas says about adoption as befitting Christ, the predestination of Christ, the adoration of Christ, and Christ as called the mediator of God and man.

Week 15

This week you will learn what Thomas says about Christ in the Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 4.


1. Discussion Postings. 

In weeks when a discussion post is required, you must post your summary by Wednesday, midnight, Eastern Time. You also must respond to the summaries of at least five (5) other students by Saturday, midnight, Eastern Time. Weekly discussions will close promptly at 12:01 a.m., Sunday, Eastern Time of the week they are due, no exceptions.

Exceptions to post after the midnight due dates will only be granted for serious cases, i.e. serious health/family issues… not for vacations. You must contact your professor for consideration of any exceptions. Note that 50% of your discussion posting grade is based on your responses to 5 other students. Thus, if permission is given to post beyond the weekly due date, you cannot receive full credit for the posting of that week.

Discussion topics are listed within each week’s lesson container in the Lessons tab.

Your comments can be to raise a question or to discuss a point that another student has posted. For ease of reading, you will be adding your own discussion areas to post your summaries. Instructions on how to post your own discussion will be provided for you in each weekly lesson container. Please do not add your summary response as an attachment. I do not comment on postings unless a student has posted an error, an interesting point for further discussion, or a direct question.

2. Complete all reading and writing assignments.

Reading assignments are listed in the lessons tab under the appropriate week.

You will have two written papers to email to me during the semester. They will be due on Saturday, 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, of Week 4 and Week 8. You will not have a Discussion Posting assignment those three weeks.

Research Paper topics are listed in the Lesson tab under the appropriate week. Papers should be double spaced, Times New Roman Font 12, five pages long. In addition to five pages of text, there should be a title page, endnotes and a bibliography of at least five sources.

Do not list Wikipedia, a dictionary, the Bible, or the 1912 online Catholic Encyclopedia, as sources in your bibliography. Use magisterial or academic references. You may use class readings in your bibliography, but they will not count as any of the five sources. Note: these are research papers.

If you need an extension on a Research Paper, please request it via email at least one week before the due date. If I do not receive a request, I will reduce the grade of the paper by 1/2 grade each day that it is late. Thus an A paper that is two days late could not receive a grade higher than B+. I am willing to grant extensions for serious reasons, such as health. However, if you need an extension for every Research Paper, you should probably postpone enrolling in distance learning courses until you have more free time.

Research Paper 1: Articulate the fitness of the Incarnation as summarized in STh III, 1.

Research Paper 2: Articulate the grace of Christ as Head of the Church as summarized          in STh III, 8.

3. Final exam.

I do not give a list of review questions for you to test your own knowledge base. I would suggest that, as you complete each reading assignment, you learn the content and how to work with it.

The exam is a closed book, essay exam to be taken on Populi. You will receive four questions to answer. Each exam is generated as the student takes it; that is, no two students will have the same exam. Try to write for at least 30 minutes on each question.


Most of the readings in this course are available on the Internet.

You will need access to Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 4: Salvation.

Here are some other sources that you may find interesting. I am not requiring them, nor suggesting you read them. I am just making you aware of the sources.

A concise and interesting discussion of Christology is in Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, Volume 2: Christ. Ignatius Press, 1983.

A good overall book to own is Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. I use this book all the time - it is a wonderful resource. Note however that it is very old. It refers to "the" Vatican Council, because Vatican Council II had not yet taken place. However, it is still a top notch source!

Here are two interesting books by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Behold the Pierced One (Ignatius, 1986) and On the Way to Jesus Christ (Ignatius, 2005). See also Jesus of Nazareth (Doubleday, 2007) as Benedict XVI.

An excellent text is The Mystery of Jesus Christ by F. Ocariz, L.F. Mateo Seco and J.A. Riestra (Four Courts Press, 1994).

For an easy summary of Thomas, you can use Paul Glenn, A Tour of the Summa. THIS IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR READING THE SUMMA! However, the summary is very clear - I relied on it in some of the notes in the Course Documents.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have addressed some of the readings, by week, in the Course Documents section. Note that I have not addressed all of the reading, but some of the more important points. Do not substitute what I have written for reading and summarizing the readings on your own!

Optional Media:

If you would like to listen to media about Jesus, here is an interesting series on the Priesthood of Jesus Christ by Fr. Frederick Miller at the EWTN site.


  • Writing Assignments 33%
  • Final Exam 37%
  • Discussion Postings 30%

My grading practice has developed over the last few years. In Populi, you will see grades for Posting Summary, Posting Response, Research Paper, and Final Exam, depending on the week. When you receive your grades in Populi, you will see each is worth 100 points. Instead of giving a letter grade, all your work will be graded numerically. At the end of the semester the posting grades will be averaged and count for 30% of your final grade; the grades for your three writing assignments will be averaged and count for 33% of your final grade; and the grade for your final exam will count for 37% of your final grade.


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 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.


I am a Professor of Dogmatic and Moral Theology at Holy Apostles, where I have worked since 1997. I hold a Ph.D. and an M.A. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, an S.T.L. in moral theology from Dominican House of Studies, and a ninety credit M.A. in theology from Holy Apostles.

Welcome to this course! I believe that the information that you master in this course will be of great benefit to you as a Catholic, both personally and professionally.

(860) 632-3010