I Cycle or institutional course - Propaedeutic Year


I Cycle
Propaedeutic Year

I Cycle

The I Cycle or institutional course takes place over three years, following philosophic studies, and ends by obtaining the academic degree of Bachelor in Sacred Theology.

It proposes:

  • investigating the divine Revelation, with scientific method, in light of the faith and under the guidance of the Magisterium of the Church
  • offering an organic and complete vision of the theological disciplines, starting off from the Holy Scriptures which must be the soul of all theology, and using the genetic method recommended by the Second Vatican Council;
  • stimulating students to a personal synthesis of the Catholic doctrine on which to draw for spiritual life, so as to announce it, explain it and defend it above all in the ministry for the priesthood (Optatam totius 16)

Anyone with a study qualification giving access to the civic universities of his own country and who has completed his two years’ study of philosophy in accordance with the rules in force may access the triennium of philosophy as an ordinary student.

The candidate obtains his Bachelor in Sacred Theology, after following the lessons, and passing all the exams laid down in the institutional triennium of theology as well as the final examination (VIII, 74). The final examination has the purpose of assessing the candidate’s theological preparation and the synthesis reached by him in the course of the institutional triennium. This will last for thirty minutes, will take place in the presence of at least two professors and will be based on the suggested topics proposed as possible dissertations. One topic is chosen by the candidate who has a quarter of an hour at his disposal; while the other topics by the members of the examining board.

Material for the examination

  1. Questions pertaining to the terminology of “theology, history of theology and theological method”. Nature of theology as a science.
  2. Relationship between Holy Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium of the Church. The role of “Symbols of the faith”.
  3. The spread of Christianity and Christian testimony: the theological meaning of martyrdom, of Monasticism and the life of Christians.
  4. God’s revelation as event and word: the Holy Scriptures of the Jews and the Christians. Divine inspiration and formation of the rules. The Constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council. The relationship between Christian revelation and that of non-Christian religions.
  5. The historic validity of the Gospels. The contribution made to understanding of this question by the Formgeschichte and the Redaktionsgeschichte. The theology of each evangelist.
  6. The historic Jesus of the Kerygma. Jesus Christ as revelation of God the Father: the peculiar nature of the Christian search for God.
  7. The Kingdom of God proclaimed and inaugurated by Christ. The Kingdom of God and the Church: connections and differences; the resurrection of Jesus as told in the gospel stories and the letters of Paul.
  8. Jesus Christ, true man and true God, a person in two natures, according to the definitions laid down by the Councils of Nicaea (325), of Ephesus (431) and of Calcedonia (451).
  9. The theological formulation "one essence/nature and three persons/hypostases" for the understanding of God the three-in-one: contribution of the Council of Constantinople of 381. Theological language – present-day world.
  10. The Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and by/for the Son dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful, guides the Church, unifies it in communion and mystery, instructs and directs it with various ministerial and charismatic gifts (Lumen Gentium 4). The Holy Spirit and the sensus Ecclesiae.
  11. Man as image of God in the Holy Scriptures (in particular in Gn 1-2) and in Saint Augustine (man as image of the trinitarian intercommunion).
  12. The connection of man with Adam (peccatum originis) and with Christ (redeeming mediation) with particular reference to Rm 5. The solutions of Pelagianism and Lutheranism; the Tridentine decree on justification.
  13. The Church as sacramentum salutis. People of God and ministers in the dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council.
  14. The "notes" of the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The primacy of Peter and the bishop of Rome (The First Vatican Council); Episcopal collegiality (Lumen Gentium c. 3). The Decree Unitatis Redintegratio on ecumenism.
  15. The relationship between the Church and the world in the conciliar document Gaudium et Spes.
  16. The Blessed Mary, Virgin Mother of God, in the mystery of Christ and the Church (Lumen Gentium c. 8): Marian devotion.
  17. The sacraments: anthropological, christological and ecclesial and celebration of the sacraments according to the new rituals.
  18. Christian morality: its specificity in loving God and one’s neighbour. Conscience and precept.
  19. Principles and fundaments of an economic morality according to Sollicitudo rei socialis of John Paul II.
  20. "In Christ we will rise again". Eschatology as final dimension of the Kingdom of God and as theological category of Christianity in historic times.

The Augustinians entered for the 1st theological Cycle, in accordance with the Ordinationes of the Institute, no. 39, “are bound to follow the courses in Augustinian spirituality and history”. 


Propaedeutic Year *

In order to be entered for the curriculum of studies aimed at obtaining the License in Theology and Patristic Sciences (or the Doctorate when considered appropriate by the academic Authorities) it is necessary to have passed the qualifying examinations (Greek, Latin and tests in the Italian language for those students having other mother tongues) or to have completed with high enough marks the course in Italian and the propaedeutic courses in the following subjects:

  1. Basic course in Latin (PP901)
  2. Basic course in Greek (PP902)
  3. Introduction to Latin Literature (PP909)
  4. Introduction to Greek Literature (PP908)
  5. Introduction to history and the ancient Roman institutions (PP904)
  6. Introduction to classic philosophy (PP905)

Preparation for the qualifying examinations is the exclusive responsibility of the student. These are held some time in the week prior to the beginning of each academic semester (October, February). The qualifying examinations consist of two parts:

  1. written examination in translation from Latin (45 minutes);
  2. written examination of translation from Greek (45 minutes).

If, in the written examinations of translation, the student passes in only one of the two languages, he cannot be admitted to the curriculum for the License or for the Doctorate, but is obliged to follow the  propaedeutic course for the language in which he failed. However, in such case, with the Headmaster’s consent, the student may attend the courses in Fundamental Patrology (FP). In particular cases, the Headmaster may exonerate a student from one or more propaedeutic courses, and may admit him to the curriculum for the License or the Doctorate.  

In order to be admitted to the study curriculum aimed at obtaining the License in Theology and Patristic Sciences, besides knowledge of Latin and Greek, knowledge of Italian and of two more modern languages from among those listed hereafter is obligatory: English, German, French.

* The Coordinator of the Cycle is Prof. Father Giuseppe Caruso, OSA.

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