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Department of Theological Studies

The Saint Louis University Department of Theological Studies is a community of scholars inspiring students to examine religious and ethical commitments, to practice a faith that does justice, and to face the world with discernment and empathy.

Rooted in the Catholic, Jesuit intellectual tradition, the department is committed to interdisciplinary research, collaborative programming, and innovative pedagogies that reflect the best research on student learning. The department houses experts in religion across the globe, with a special focus on Catholic and other Christian traditions. Our faculty are trained in a range of disciplinary methods, emphasizing philological, historical, literary, ethnographic, philosophical, and digital approaches. We examine theology and religion in all its diversity and wrestle with today’s living issues in dialogue with our complex histories.

Together we aim to transform lives — our own, our students’, and those we encounter within and beyond the university.


Theology Degrees at SLU

The Graduate Experience in Theology

Saint Louis University’s graduate programs in theological studies train students to excel as educators, scholars, intellectuals, pastors, and leaders. Our faculty serve as mentors and develop graduate students in a program that balances shared knowledge of a field and the individual projects and career aspirations of its students. Our students acquire advanced research skills and disciplinary breadth through topical seminars and area-specific courses. Alongside SLU’s cutting edge graduate curricula, the programs enable students to develop strong bonds with one another and with mentors, which sets a foundation for future work in a variety of institutions both within and outside the academy.

Dissertations and Placements

During the past ten-year period, 22% of our Ph.D. graduates have accepted tenure-track positions within a range of institutional contexts, and an additional 36% have accepted teaching or administrative positions at research universities, religiously-affiliated colleges, and schools of religion and ministry. Our graduates have also gone on to direct non-profit organizations, teach religion and language courses at prestigious high schools, and serve as priests, pastors, and ministers in a variety of denominations.

2019

  • Yvonne Angieri, “Honor Femini est in Matre Christi: Augustine of Hippo's View of Women Through The Lens of His Mariology” (Director: David Meconi, S.J.)
  • Stephen Lawson, A.B.D. (Director: Grant Kaplan)
    Assistant Professor of Theology at Austin Graduate School of Theology, Austin, TX
  • Benjamin Winter, “Renewing Disciplines of the Mind: Philosophical Errors, Virtue, and the Soul's Journey to Wisdom in Vision One of Bonaventure's Collationes in Hexaëmeron” (Director: Jay Hammond)

2018

  • Scott Dermer, “Magna Gratiae Commendatio: Augustine’s Teaching on Grace in the Tractates on the Gospel of John” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Senior Pastor, Webster Groves Church of the Nazarene, Webster Groves, MO
  • K.J. Drake, “Etiam Extra Carnem: The Origins and Development of the extra Calvinisticum from Zwingli to Early Reformed Orthodoxy” (Director: Michael J. McClymond)
    Assistant Professor of History, Redeemer University College, Hamilton, ON
  • James A. Lee, “Neolutheranism and German Theological Wissenschaft: Adolf Harleß, August Vilmar, and Johannes Christian Konrad von Hofmann” (Director: Michael J. McClymond)
    Assistant Professor (tenure-track) of Church History, Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, IL
  • Adam Messer, “God and Gift in Origen of Alexandria” (Director: Peter Martens)
  • Gina Noia, “Reassessing Revisionist-Traditionalist Deadlock: A Dual Typology Toward More Fruitful Dialogue in Catholic Bioethics” (Director: Tobias Winright)
    Assistant Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL
  • Becky Walker, “‘Queen of the Virtues’: Pastoral and Political Motivations for John Chrysostom’s Exaltation of Almsgiving” (Director: Peter Martens)

2017

  • T. Alexander Giltner, “The Lightness of Being: Illumination in the Philosophy and Theology of Saint Bonaventure” (Director: J. A. Wayne Hellmann, OFM Conv.)
    Assistant Professor (tenure-track) of Franciscan Theology, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, IN
  • Blake A. Hartung, “‘Stories of the Cross’: Ephrem and His Exegesis in Fourth-Century Mesopotamia” (Director: Jeff Wickes)
    Adjunct Professor, Saint Louis University & Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, MO; Fall 2019 update: Instructor of History of Christianity, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • Zachary L. Kostopoulos, “Constructing Origen: Christian Biography in Late Antiquity” (Director: Peter Martens)
    Upper School Faculty, Religious Studies Department, School of the Holy Child, Rye, NY
  • Matthew Muller, “The Inspired Bible in the Anglican Career of John Henry Newman” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Assistant Professor (tenure-track), Benedictine College, Atchison, KS
  • Luke Townsend, “In genere signi: The Development of Thomas Aquinas’s Doctrine of Sacramental Signification” (Director: J. A. Wayne Hellmann, OFM Conv.)
    Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology, Marian University, Fond du Lac, WI
  • Jacob N. Van Sickle, “The Meaning of ‘Male and Female’ in St. Maximus the Confessor”
    (Director: Peter Martens)
    Priest-in-Charge, Protection of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church (OCA), Crown Point, IN

2016

  • Chih-Yin “Annie” Chen, “‘Baptize the Trends’: A Historical-Theological Analysis of Vincent Lebbe’s Missiological Vision, 1900-1940” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Mandarin Teacher, John Paul II Catholic School, Ridgeland, SC
  • Andrew Creighton Chronister, “Doctor traditionum: Augustine and Appeals to Tradition in the Pelagian Controversy” (Director: David Meconi, S.J.)
    Assistant Professor, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, MO
  • Elissa A. Cutter, “The Early Modern Abbess as Théologienne: The Theology and Spirituality of Mother Angélique Arnauld” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ
  • Jonathan S. King, “Theology under Another Form: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Formation and Writings as a Germanist” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Theology Teacher, Fenwick High School, Oak Park, IL

2015

  • Ryan “Bud” Marr, “To Be Perfect Is to Have Changed Often: The Development of John Henry Newman's Ecclesiological Vision, 1845-1877” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Director, National Institute of Newman Studies, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Erick H. Hedrick-Moser, “The Formation of Jean Daniélou's Vision for Catholicism in Secular France, 1925-1950” (Director: Ken Parker)
    High School Teacher, Central Catholic High School, San Antonio, TX
  • Rev. Michael Pahls, “School of the Prophets: John Henry Newman’s Anglican Schola and the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Adjunct professor of theology, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN; († May 29, 2019, requiescat in pace)

2014

  • Alden Bass, “Fifth Century Donatist Catechesis: An Introduction to the Vienna Homilies of ÖNB lat. ms. 4147” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Assistant Professor, Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond, OK
  • Christine Baudin Hernandez, “From ‘supernaturlizing’ to Liberation: The Maryknoll Sisters in Nicaragua, 1945-1975” (Director: Angelyn Dries)
    Theology Faculty, St. Agnes Academy, Houston, TX

2013

  • Jared Isaac Goff, “Caritas in Primo: A Historical Theological Study of Bonaventure’s Quaestiones Disputatae de Mysterio Ss. Trinitatis” (Director: J. A. Wayne Hellmann, OFM Conv.)
    Professor of Theology at Mount Angel Seminary; on-line instructor for the Distance MA Program, Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary
  • Gerardo Rodríguez, “Movements in the Soul: The Appropriation and Transformation of Stoic Theories on Impressions in the Theology of Philo, Clement and Origen” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Assistant Professor (tenure-track), Carroll College, Helena, MT; Fall 2017 update: Assistant Professor (tenure-track), St. Norbert’s College, De Pere, WI
  • Andrew C. Russell, “None of Self, and All of Thee: The Keswick Movement at Home and Abroad” (Director: Michael J. McClymond)
    Adjunct Professor, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN
  • Kyle Anthony Schenkewitz, “Dorotheus of Gaza and the discourse of healing in the monastic school of Gaza” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA
  • C. Michael Shea: “Newman's Early Legacy: Giovanni Perrone and Roman Readings of ‘An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine,’ 1845-1854” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Core Teaching Fellow, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
  • Ben D. Wayman, “Pronoia and Diodore of Tarsus’ Theological Exegesis of Psalms 1-50” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    James F. and Leona N. Andrews Chair in Christian Unity & Assistant Professor, Greenville College, Greenville, IL
  • Eric R. Wickman, “The Development of the Soteriology of Hilary of Poitiers” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Adjunct Professor, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, TX; contracted writer for the Bible Study series with BaptistWay Press

2012

  • Hudson Russell Davis, “The Negro a Beast: Nachash Theology and the Nineteenth Century American Re-Making of Negro Origins” (Director: Michael McClymond)
    Assistant Professor, Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Amman, Jordan
  • Lisa-Marie Cipolla Duffield, “Alcuin’s ‘Vitae’ of Saints Willibrord, Vaast, Riquier, and Martin: Conversion in the Carolingian Expansion” (Director: James Ginther)
  • Daniel Dewayne Dunivan, “Toward a Re-Envisioned Baptist History: Manipulation and Marginalization in the Union of Historiography and Identity” (Director: Belden Lane)
    Dean of the Chapman School of Religious Studies and Chapman Seminary, Oakland City University, Oakland City, IN
  • George E. Faithful, “Mothering of the Fatherland: Basilea Schlink’s Ecumenical Sisterhood of Mary and Her Anti-Nazi Theology of Intercessory Repentance” (Director: Michael McClymond)
    Assistant Professor, Dominican University, San Rafael, CA
  • Daniel John Handschy, “Eucharistic Sacrifice and Apostolic Order: American Contributions to the Ecclesiology of the Oxford Movement” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Director of Episcopal Studies, Eden Seminary
  • Donna R. Hawk-Reinhard, “From Christianoi to Christoforoi: The Role of the Eucharist in Christian Identity Formation according to Cyril of Jerusalem” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Professor, Institute for Worship Studies, Orange Park, FL
  • Timothy R. LeCroy, “The Role of Corpus in the Eucharistic Theology of Paschasius Radbertus” (Director: James Ginther)
    Senior Pastor of Grace and Peace Fellowship, St. Louis, MO
  • Noël Wayne Pretila, “Re-Appropriating ‘Marvelous Fables’: Justin Martyr’s Strategic Retrieval of Myth in ‘1 Apology’” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Department of Religion, Chaminade College Prep, St. Louis, MO

2011

  • Inta Ivanovska, “The Demonology of Saint Augustine of Hippo” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
  • Paul Andrew Patterson, “Visions of Christ: The Anthropomorphite Controversy of 399 CE” (Director: Kenneth B. Steinhauser)
    Assistant Director, Workday & Summer Teams, Restore St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
  • Tomás O’Sullivan, “ ‘Predicationes Palatinae’: The Sermons in Vat. Pal. Lat. 220 as an Insular Resource for the Christianization of Early Medieval Germany” (Director: James Ginther)
    Teaching Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland

2010

  • John Halsey Wood, Jr., “Going Dutch in the Modern Age: Abraham Kuyper’s Struggle for a Free Church in the Nineteenth-Century Netherlands” (Director: Michael McClymond)
  • Catherine Anne Scine, “Early Dominicans on the Apocalypse: A Reading of the 1260s Apocalypse Commentary of Peter of Tarentaise” (Director: James Ginther)
    Latin Teacher, Veritas Classical School, St. Augustine, FL
  • Jonathan Hall Barlow, “ ‘Read This That Others Read Not Thee’: Francis Spira and Apostasy in the English Reformed Tradition (1618-1652)” (Director: Ken Parker)
    Associate Director of Software Architecture and Development, National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Recent Seminars in Christianity in Antiquity

Facility in ancient languages is an essential skill for sophisticated research into Christianity in antiquity. We help our students acquire these skills by offering advanced, seminar-style reading courses in Greek, Latin and Syriac. Students spend two semesters studying late antique Greek, and a third semester studying late antique and early medieval Latin. In their fourth semester, students have the option of taking a second semester of Latin, or a semester of Syriac (introductory, intermediate, or advanced, depending on student needs).

  • Alexandria and Antioch: Late Antique Exegetical Cultures (Peter Martens)
  • Antiochene Scriptural Exegesis (Peter Martens)
  • Atonement: Past and Present  (Peter Martens and Eleonore Stump)
  • Church and State (David Meconi, S.J.)
  • Ephrem and the Syriac Bible (Jeff Wickes)
  • The Fall of the Soul: Origen and Early Christian Anthropology (Peter Martens)
  • Judaism & Christianity in Antiquity: Textual & Comparative Approaches (James Redfield)
  • Literature and the Late Antique Cult of the Saints (Jeff Wickes)
  • The Psalms in the Early Church (David Meconi, S.J.)
  • Wilderness Traditions in Early Judaism and Christianity (Daniel Smith)
Recent Seminars in Christian Theology
  • Black Theology and Its Critics (Leonard McKinnis)
  • Catholic Theological Bioethics (Tobias Winright)
  • Foundations, History, and Methods of Catholic Moral Theology (Tobias Winright)
  • Intimacies: Intersubjectivity and the Formation of the Religious Subject in the Modern Christian West (Mary Dunn)
  • Modern Virtue: From Aquinas to Emerson and Beyond (Emily Dumler-Winckler)
  • Global Pentecostalism (Michael J. McClymond)
  • Political Theology (Ruben Rosario-Rodriguez)
Professional Development Seminars

Our department takes seriously the professionalization of our students. We recognize the contemporary academic environment demands that students negotiate in an increasingly competitive and diverse world, in which the acquisition of a Ph.D. can lead to a variety of careers. With this in mind, we require our Ph.D. students to attend biweekly professional development seminars that occur during our regular Tuesday brown bag lunch hour. These seminars cover a range of topics, such as navigating conferences, publishing a first book or article, and preparing for the academic job market, as well as how to translate and transfer skills honed in the course of Ph.D. work within professional contexts beyond the tenure track.

Presentations from the 2018-19 series, "Alt-Ac," sponsored by the Carpenter Foundation, are available on the SLU Theology Youtube channel.

Colloquia in Christianity in Antiquity and Christian Theology
Training students to carry out academic research at the highest levels is one of the primary tasks we set for faculty as mentors and teachers. Much of this development takes place in the classroom, but we have crafted additional spaces in our department for advanced reading and development of graduate student work.  Each semester students from the two areas of the doctoral program meet in faculty homes to discuss student work. Students submit a paper in advance—either a piece for an upcoming conference, an article in preparation, or a chapter from the dissertation—and gather with their peers and faculty over a potluck meal for a rigorous and collegial discussion.

Required Undergraduate Courses in Theology

Most undergraduate students at Saint Louis University are required to take theology.

The first course, THEO 1000: Theological Foundations, introduces students to the God of revelation within the Judeo-Christian tradition. They examine faith and its implications for living a human life, respecting creation and pursuing beauty and truth. This is done within an ecumenical and global context, examining other world religions and various social realities.

Subsequent courses focus more on specific aspects of Christian or other religious traditions and address the important social and moral issues of our day.