A Way into Scholasticism: A Companion to St. Bonaventure’s The Soul’s Journey into God

By Peter S. Dillard

An introduction to scholastic philosophy through an analysis of Bonaventure’s classic treatise, combining academic rigour with accessible clarity.

ISBN: 9780227679906


St Bonaventure of Bagnoregio’s The Soul’s Journey into God is a masterpiece of thirteenth-century Scholasticism, but until now no
comprehensive analysis of Bonaventure’s seminal treatise has existed that is readily accessible to contemporary audiences. Reinvigorating the medieval tradition of critical commentary for the twenty-first century, A Way into Scholasticism introduces readers to basic Scholastic concepts and arguments by expounding and evaluating Bonaventure’s speculative system, while highlighting the relevance of Bonaventure’s thought for
contemporary philosophical theology.

Dillard stresses the sophistication of Bonaventure’s writing, introducing the reader to a number of fundamental questions raised by the text in epistemology, metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, dogmatic theology, and contemplative mysticism. He reveals a richness of conceptual resources and perspectives that spans the Platonic, Neoplatonic and Aristotelian traditions, as well as the thought of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. Dillard also offers his own highly engaging comments on the treatise, developing the Seraphic Doctor’s insights into lines of thought for further consideration by the reader.

This book will appeal to a wide audience including seminarians, clergy, brothers and sisters of religious orders, students at the advanced undergraduate or graduate levels, professional scholars, and anyone seeking a better understanding of the Scholastic intellectual tradition and its importance in illuminating Christian belief.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 228

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Peter S. Dillard is a professional philosopher, theologian, and writer living in Tucson, Arizona. He is the author of Heidegger and Philosophical Atheology: A Neo-Scholastic Critique (2008) and The Truth about Mary: A Theological and Philosophical Evaluation of the Proposed Fifth Marian Dogma (2009).



1. Critical Inquiry and the Desire to Find the Truth
2. Through Things to God
3. Our Senses and the Divine Mosaic
4. Necessity and Divinity
5. God Confiding in Us
6. God as Pure Being
7. God as Superexcellent Goodness
8. Ecstatic Contemplation

Conclusion: The Pure Land

Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

This is a powerful reading and appreciation of Bonaventure’s most famous work, The Soul’s Journey into God … In a spare, precise, and occasionally elegant prose, Dillard brings a contemporary mentality to bear on Bonaventure’s project and every step involved in the progress through six stages of spiritual growth leading to the possibility of mystical contemplation or ecstasy … This would be an excellent text for those needing an introduction to Scholasticism as well as for those who feel they have nothing left to learn from Scholasticism.
Patrick Madigan, in Heythrop Journal

The author approaches the Bonaventure’s text with respect and with special attention explains places that are very easy to misunderstand.
Ivan Rohloff OFMConv, in Folia Petropolitana, Vol 2, Issue 1

This study is a very useful and workmanlike addition to the literature on Bonaventure and his principal theological work, as well as a welcome contribution to the literature on Scholastic thought generally. … a book that is a delight to read and which would be a valuable addition to a student’s library or even more advanced scholar dipping into Scholastic thinking for the first time.
Éamonn Gaines, Queen’s University of Belfast, in Theological Book Review, Vol 25, No 2