The Center for Contemplative Studies seeks to promote interest in the rich spiritual tradition of the Christian West, in the belief that this tradition is central to our common intellectual heritage.
Through the study of significant texts and movements, it aims at a better understanding of the nature of spirituality itself, the unfolding of Christian spirituality in the West and the role spirituality has played in the development of Western culture and thought.
The Center’s interests lead it beyond narrow disciplinary perspectives. It not only welcomes, but requires, the varied approaches of the historian, the literary critic, the philosopher, the theologian. Indeed, the Center wishes to be an interdisciplinary forum for all those who study the history of spirituality.
In addition, while it emphasizes the Western tradition of spirituality, it recognizes the importance of viewing this tradition within the largest possible human and religious perspectives. The Center sponsors the Christian Contemplative Tradition concentration. In addition, it sponsors colloquia, minicourses, weekend seminars and lectures by visiting professors and members of the university faculty. These activities are intended to illuminate the authors and texts of the spiritual tradition from as wide a variety of scholarly perspectives as possible.
The student should declare his or her intention to concentrate by coming to speak to the director no later than the first semester of the junior year. No more than two courses may count toward both the concentration and the major. Substitutions in the concentrations must have the written approval of the Director. Theology students may also be interetsed in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Concentration. If a student wishes to concentrate in both Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Christian Contemplative Tradition, no overlap will be allowed in the courses required for either concentration. Doing both concentrations requires 30 hours of course work.