Istituto di Storia della Teologia
Istituto di Storia della Teologia

Welcome to the Institute of the History of Theology


Today’s world is varied and diversified. Even theology throughout history has been so. This multiformity is the starting point for our teaching. Knowledge of it prepares our students so that they can communicate the theological message handed down to us by Tradition, with the language of today.

In fact, two thousand years of reflection on God and on mankind have produced many approaches to the one mystery of God. Theology and the Magisterium use these resources. In this way, our students learn to undertake such reflection.

Today we find ourselves in the midst of problems that already have been experienced in a similar way in the past, and which in their time were enlightened by different points of view. Thanks to the inspiration given to us by the great masters across the ages, our students develop a new awareness and ways to confront problematic issues. In this manner, the past in its diversity also illuminates the world in which we live.


A theology that desires to be coherent with the Gospel is born out of experience. The monastic environment in which we carry out our teaching fosters the experience of theological thought. A family atmosphere, an international panorama and a community that lives, prays and works together guarantee the necessary balance between thought and experience.

Moreover, our Institute is inspired by the program of higher education proposed by the famous monk Jean Mabillon (1632-1707), who pointed out, already in his time, how young Benedictines should allow themselves to be drawn to the appeal of theologians from across the ages:  from the East to the West, from biblical hermeneutics to dogmatics, from the Orthodox Fathers to the best Catholic spiritual theologians.


The Ateneo has been present in Rome since 1687. This presence in the heart of the Catholic Church opens up unique perspectives to anyone who would like to study Catholic doctrine, in light of the dialogue in which the Church herself engages regularly with the most diverse representatives.

Attentive to the Tradition of the Church and the Magisterium, we seek to read the Gospel in light of the needs of modern society. Secularization, exclusion, poverty, and multiculturalism, which are always evident in Rome, enter into dialogue with the Church’s thought.

Studying with us

It is possible to study within the two higher university cycles, as established by the Holy See and the European Union in the “Bologna Process”.

Second cycle: the Licentiate in Theology, with specialization in the History of Theology, develops over two years. The educational course culminates with the degree of Licentiate in Theology (ST.L.).

Third cycle: after the Licentiate, during a minimum period of an additional three years, the student continues until achieving the Doctorate in Sacred Theology (ST.D.).

Practical information:  For enrollment into the second cycle, the Baccalaureate in theology is required, or other equivalent theological preparation (for example, seminary studies), to be verified in this case with an admissions exam.  Italian (at the B2 level) is required for participation in the study program.

Program of Coursework

The program is developed across diverse fields: a) historical and theological methodology; b) history of theology; c) specific topics of particular interest for reflection from across the ages; and, d) elective courses from different genres.

Methodological courses offer propaedeutic aspects that provide the contextual background upon which other disciplines, as the object of study, are read.

Configuring courses are the courses of specialization. They have the goal of deepening the knowledge of the entire History of Theology, so that the student may arrive at an understanding of past and present theological systems. These courses are divided into two areas of study: History of Theology and History of Exegesis.

On the one hand, the History of Theology provides the student with essential knowledge that distinguishes and configures our specialization across the various stages of its evolution: patristic, monastic, and scholastic theology; modern thought; and the latest contemporary approaches.

On the other hand, the History of Exegesis instead deepens the biblical hermeneutics in becoming historical.  In this sphere, the program welcomes patristic hermeneutics, medieval spiritual exegesis and modern scientific developments.

Specific courses take into consideration distinctive and important themes within the History of Theology: the relationship between Platonism and Christianity, the contribution of Saints Anselm of Canterbury and Thomas Aquinas, the thought that has developed as a function of the Ecumenical Councils, ecumenism, and thought concerning redemption.

Elective courses examine themes beyond the program of specialization, helping the student in preparing the thesis for the Licentiate or Doctorate.  In order to open up the full range of possibilities through the interdisciplinary approach offered by our specialization, these courses may be chosen from among the courses offered by the Ateneo in other areas of specialization.

In special cases (higher-level ecclesiastical studies in theology already completed, or not yet concluded), personalized programs are also possible.

Alumni Prospects

The program provides qualifications for the teaching of ecclesiastical studies in seminaries or universities in the various fields of dogmatics, fundamental theology and ecumenism. We also prepare graduates to become religion teachers in secondary schools, specialized researchers, participants in ecumenical dialogue, publicists who collaborate with newspapers on religious or theological subjects, and catechists.

A practical indication:  For future teachers of religion, the pedagogical training required by the Italian authorities is offered.

Further information

For further information on the courses offered by specialization in the History of Theology, contact the Program Coordinator, or alternatively, consult the detailed program in the Academic Ordo.