Summer Program 2017

ITI again hosts the Phoenix Institute for its internationally acclaimed annual "Study of Western Institutions" summer seminar

Dr. Bernhard Dolna
Dean of Studies and Professor of Theology
at the International Theological Institute
Lecturer of Jewish Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria

In his widely acclaimed novel "Il Promesi Sposi" (The Betrothed) Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) reflects on a reality which is familiar to all: bad things happen to good people. In light of this reality, the question that moves him is: how can man maintain the habit of faith, hope and charity amidst historical confusion and turmoil without becoming bitter or cynical. In other words: how is one to preserve the anima candida of man in an unjust world? Manzoni's answer to this question is unpacked within the context of a historical love story which takes place in Lombardy, in the period between 1628 and 1631. The novel discusses a marriage that is prevented by many forces, including a racketeering nobleman, the social and political conditions of the time, and by scourges of war, famine and plague. Impacted in his writing by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, "Il Promesi Sposi" represents Manzoni's profound search for truth, lasting values and virtues amid fundamental insecurities and changes in society, culture and religion. The novel is a great document of the Christian Western culture and civilization, which has the quality to educate man and to form his heart. It is precisely this which makes "Il Promesi Sposi" so relevant to our troubled generation. The study of this novel -considered by authors such as Goethe, Edgar Allan Poe, and Sir Walter Scott as the most important novel of their time- will deepen our awareness of truth and its beauty. During this three week course, we will work through the whole book in groups, lectures, writing essays, etc. But above all, we will come together to seek for the deeper truths found in this complex novel.

Dr. Bernhard Dolna. Professor of Ecumenical Studies and Jewish Studies and Dean of the International Theological Institute. Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Vienna, Dr. Dolna publishes extensively internationally.


Diego I. Rosales, Ph.D.
, Centro de Investigación Social Avanzada

"Who am I?" is the big question that everyone faces sooner or later. Such question isn't meant to be answered by the simple pronunciation of the name we were given at birth. This is a question that rises in all its depth and importance when experiences of love, freedom, suffering, beauty and evil, become evident and undeniable. This was the question that Augustine of Hippo posed for the first time in a philosophical key, developing the very first philosophy of the person. In contrast, it is significant that Ancient Greeks did not conceived themselves as 'persons' but only as 'human beings'. They understood each other as a singular case of a general nature or essence, as just one concrete instance of the human species. Hence, we must ask why the Christian experience allowed humanity to conceive human beings as persons. To answer this question, Augustine's testimony is a vital source within the Western Tradition. With him, the notion of "person" emerged as a concrete reality, irreducible to a case of a species or to a universal essence, characterized by inwardness and intimacy. This course will follow Augustine's itinerary as a means to understand how the notion of "person" became a philosophical one, leading towards the fundamental consequences that such notion had in Modernity. Reading materials will include Augustine's Confessions and selected short texts from The Free Choice of the Will and The City of God.

Dr. Diego Rosales. Ph.D. Philosophy, Comillas Pontifical University. M.A., Philosophy, National Autonomous University of Mexico. B.A., Philosophy, Panamerican University. Coordinator of the Philosophy Division of the Center for Advanced Social Research (CISAV). Editor of the Open Insight journal.



If you are a Phoenix Institute third year student and are looking forward to graduating this summer during the Trumau-Vienna Summer Seminar, please contact Luzma Gonzalez for further information on the corresponding procedure.



The cost of the program is 1,870.00 Euros (Tuition, double/triple-occupancy accommodation, daily breakfast, lunch Mon-Fri, cultural activities, and use of the ITI facilities included).



Back in 1987, a group of students and teachers organized a summer program in the University of Texas at Tyler to explore the question "what is it to be human?" They did so out of their common need for a multinational and multidisciplinary environment where professors and students could get together to explore the nature, main features and historic development of the Western tradition. 

At the end of that summer, the Phoenix Institute was born. Thirty years later, such initial question -along with the need for a community of friends to discuss it with- remains an urgent one.

With such idea in mind, we want to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the first Phoenix summer program with a series of cultural and academic activities that include, among others, personalities such as:

  • Rocco Buttiglione
  • Paolo Carozza
  • John O'Callaghan
  • Walter Nicgorski
More details regarding the Anniversary Program will be announced in the weeks to come and will be published under: