Journal of Contemplative Inquiry


This essay discusses the author’s experience implementing a secularized version of Lectio Divina—a medieval monastic contemplative reading practice—in an introductory philosophy classroom. Following brief discussion of Lectio Divina’s history and a description of how the practice was modified for the classroom, I discuss three benefits—increased attention to cognitive and noncognitive reactions to the text, willingness to engage with the material in novel ways, and the opportunity to engage in independent disciplinary practice—and three potential challenges—the time required, student engagement, and the practice’s perceived religiosity—arising from the exercise. Following this, I discuss potential modifications to the exercise that instructors may wish to consider, namely strategies for addressing students’ status as novice meditators, focusing textual selections on course materials, and having students engage in some aspects of the practice as homework.