About the Aquinas Institute
Aims of the Aquinas Institute
The Aquinas Institute was founded in 2004 under the directorship of Fr Fergus Kerr OP.
As part of Blackfriars Hall in the University of Oxford, it promotes a wider and deeper knowledge of St Thomas Aquinas and of the contemporary value of his thought, within Oxford, nationally, and internationally.
The Institute is based within Blackfriars, a community of Dominican friars – the same religious order to which Aquinas himself belonged.
We aim to promote knowledge of Aquinas’ thought and of his outstanding legacy by such means as:
- study groups, summer-schools, and lectures by internationally-renowned figures;
- reading classes for undergraduate and graduate students;
- electronic resources and printed materials;
- contributing to undergraduate teaching in the University and in Blackfriars Studium;
- offering lectures on Aquinas’ thought and legacy nationally and internationally.
We aim to promote research into Aquinas’ thought and its enduring value by means such as:
- organising seminars and colloquia in which local and international experts can share their research;
- contributing to graduate teaching and supervision in the University and in Blackfriars Studium;
- hosting visiting scholars;
- research projects of our own in which Aquinas’ insights are brought to bear on today’s intellectual challenges;
- collaboration with other research centres both local and international;
- publication of articles and books deriving from seminars, colloquia and research projects.
By such means we enable the sharing of ideas among both experts and new scholars in disciplines such as philosophy, theology and mediaeval studies; we regularly bring scholars together from different religious traditions and perspectives, reflecting the way in which Aquinas remains of interest to a wide range of philosophers and theologians.
We are convinced that there are still ‘untapped resources’ in Aquinas’ theology and philosophy, and that his thought, and the Thomist traditions that stem from him, can be brought into fruitful conversation with the contemporary sciences ranging from quantum mechanics to human psychology and sociology. Aquinas is worth studying today, so that his approach to questions, and his insights, may accompany us into tomorrow’s world.
We need your help
Our work has benefited from grants we have gratefully received, and from organisations which have jointly sponsored conferences and summer schools.
For some years, however, the Aquinas Institute has relied chiefly on personal donations to enable us to:
- Bring international scholars to Oxford to speak at colloquia and seminars;
- Offer support to young people attending summer schools, study evenings, and so on;
- Engage in outreach via the internet;
- Pay overheads, including a modest salary for the Director, and so maintain
- A welcoming and stimulating environment for visiting scholars and
- Provide reading classes or supervision for a number of graduate students;
- Engage in research and publication.
We have gratefully received three five-figure sums which have financed the annual programme for four years, and smaller monthly donations. These have enabled us to make the rich legacy of the Thomist tradition a strong presence in this world-class university, to bring it to bear on modern questions, and to provide thought leadership for students and scholars from around the world.
We hope to become able to support senior and junior research fellows and doctoral students working on Aquinas’ thought and its contemporary value.