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Theology Open House: April 21, 2015

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WIFT: World Issues in Theology Forum

The World Issues in Theology Forum is a faculty colloquium that meets several times per semester to discuss the concerns that arise in our world in terms of their impact on and creation of theologies. The primary goal of the Forum is to privilege texts/ events/ situations that enhance our understanding of the world together with philosophical/ religious/ theological reflections that might help to guide and expand our own reflections.

Wednesday, April 8, 4PM: Dr. Daniel Scheid. The title and abstract of the presentation will be announced soon. 

Updoming Dissertation Defenses

Tuesday, March 31, 10:45 AM
Fisher Hall 619 (Seminar Room)

"Deus in se et Deus pro nobis: The Transfiguration in the Theology of Gregory Palamas and Its Importance for Catholic Theology"

Director: Dr. Bogdan G. Bucur

Abstract: In this dissertation, I claim that Gregory Palamas' teaching on the uncreated light of the transfigured Christ is best understood when interpreted through the category of theophany, namely, the appearance or vision of God. For Palamas, the Transfiguration is the theophany which manifests the full implications of the hypostatic union. As a revelation of the uncreated divinity of Christ (the vision of God), the Transfiguration anticipates, makes present, and partially effects the eschatological deification that takes place fully in the face to face vision of God. Palamas' teaching on the Transfiguration as theophany synthesizes insights from the Eastern patristic tradition regarding theology of revelation, deification, and eschatology. Palamas' theology of the Transfiguration and theophany presupposes a theophanic and therefore Christocentric economy of salvation which sees the Son of God as the theophanic mediator between God and man beginning with creation, through the theophanies of the Old Testament, and culminating in his Incarnation and the face to face vision of God in the fully glorified Christ in the eschaton. Palamas' theology of revelation (essence and energies), deification, and eschatology cannot be properly understood without taking into account their theophanic foundation. Furthermore, I claim that Palamas' synthesis of the Eastern patristic tradition concerning the Transfiguration and theophany can aid Roman Catholic theology in recovering a series of insights concerning the Transfiguration as the vision of God in this life contained in its shared patristic heritage with the Christian East. Central to this claim is that Thomas Aquinas' teaching on the Transfiguration and theophany is inadequate for the task of such a retrieval (his view of theophany does not permit it) and that Palamas' synthesis can show Roman Catholic theology the way back to its theophanic Eastern patristic heritage. 

Monday, March 16, 2:30 PM
Fisher Hall 619 (Seminar Room)

"My Blood of The (New) Covenant: An Assessment of René Girard's Soteriology in Light of The Covenantal Milieu of The Last Supper Sayings"

Director: Dr. William Wright Jr. IV

Abstract: This study assesses René Girard's claims regarding the Gospels' understanding of Jesus' death. Though Girard contends that the Gospels never depict Jesus' death as an atonement for sin, there are significant passages that Girard avoids discussing like the Last Supper sayings in the Synoptic Gospels. This dissertation investigates whether these central passages, along with other supporting texts in the Synoptics, jeopardize the viability of Girard's soteriology, especially when they are read in light of restoration theology. The core components of Girard's soteriology, his reading of salvation history, and the ways in which Girard's followers have adapted his thought are adumbrated in the opening chapters. Once the Girardian approach to soteriology has been depicted with its various permutations, the research turns towards Israel's hopes for restoration after the exile, including the reconstitution of its covenantal relationship with YHWH, as they are articulated in the Old Testament and intertestamental literature in order to establish the historical and theological context for reading the Gospels. After identifying the core components of restoration theology, it is argued that the Synoptic Gospels situate Jesus within Israel's hopes for restoration and that this backdrop should inform one's reading of the Synoptics rather than presupposing a polemical relationship between the Gospels and mythology as Girard does. After establishing restoration theology as the leitmotif of the Synoptics, specific attention is devoted to the Last Supper sayings along with other passages that, when read in light of restoration theology, indicate Jesus' death reconstitutes God's covenant relationship with his people by atoning for their sin. Should the exegesis and hermeneutical approach of this study prove persuasive, the conclusions jeopardize Girard's global claims regarding the Gospels' dearth of atonement theology. As a result, concessions or alterations will be necessary. The final segment of the study offers several ways in which Girardian soteriology could be reframed in order to account for the results of this particular study. 

Congratulations to Dr. Ann Vinski, who has succesfully defended her dissertation! 

"A Constructive Account of Children's Moral Agency Drawing on Thomas Aquinas's Theory of Emotions."

Director: Dr. Elizabeth Cochran

This dissertation makes the case that children are moral agents engaged with the morality of their communities without being morally accountable as adults. Contemporary Christian theological anthropology holds that children are fully human and in the image of God, and that they are already encountering good and evil in the world. Childhood is viewed as an essential part of human life and as something that perdures throughout a person's existence. Through their emotions, children are able to engage with, make meaning of, and respond to their surroundings, and these early emotional experiences help to shape each person for the whole of that person's life. Philosophical and theological theories of emotion that include a cognitive component help make the case for emotions' part in moral development and moral agency. After examining some of these theories, the dissertation turns to Thomas Aquinas's theory of emotions for a robust description that integrates-while maintaining the distinction between-thought and passion in the complex, multilayered experience that we call emotion. Aquinas views reason and emotion as mutually informative and as having a cumulative effect on one another. Early passional experiences are the building blocks of what will become virtuous emotions, and emotion is necessary for an action to be truly virtuous, according to Aquinas. Aquinas's model allows us to attribute moral agency to children because children have emotions through which they engage the world and that partially motivate their actions. At the same time, because their rational powers are inchoate, their accountability is limited.

The new book of our colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Vasko, is now in print:

Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders (Fortress Press). 
[Click here or on the photo for details]

A celebration of this success will be organized by Women's and Gender Studies on Friday, January 16, 4:00 PM, at the Red Ring.

Celebrating the Power of LUMEN GENTIUM

Fifty Years of Renewal of the Church

(Duquesne University, September 16-18, 2014)

Florence Deacon, OSF, Director of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in Milwaukee, WI:
"The Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Re-imagining the Church in America as Servant Church" 
[Text] and [Video]

Mgr. Patrick A. B. Anthony, Director of the Cardinal Kelvin Felix Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre (CKFAPC) in Saint Lucia.
"Inculturating the Church in the Caribbean: The Saint Lucian Experience" 
[Text], [Ppt] and [Video]

Dr. Mercy Amba Ewudziwa Oduyoye, Ghana:
"A Church to Move the Humanization of Africa: A Personal Yearning" 
[Text] and [Video]

Dr. Felix Wilfred, State University of Madras:
"Perspective of the Asian Features and Lineaments of the Emergent World Church" 
[Text] and [Video]

Professor Diego Irarrazaval, Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians:
"People ́s Faith Journey (and Lumen Gentium) in Latin American Bumpy Roads" 
[Text] and [Video]

Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez, Seattle University, 
"U.S. Hispanic/Latina Theology: Place and Role of the Latino/a Church"
[Text] and [Video]

We bid farewell and add our congratulations to our colleague John Kwofie for his appontment as Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi in Ghana. For details, see the article in DU Times:

Theology Professor, Spiritan Named Bishop in Ghana

March 22, 9-5 pm, Bayer Learning Center (Wolf Hall):

Church as Communion



Click here for a PDF of the schedule.

The Department of Theology at Duquesne University and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese are organizing a symposium on a topic of great importance for Orthodox and ecumenical theology. The academic presentations and debates will be followed by the celebration of Great Vespers at the University Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

Entrance is free. Please pre-register by email at: symposium.roaa@gmail.com

World Issues in Theology Forum (WIFT)

The World Issues in Theology Forum is a faculty colloquium that meets several times per semester to discuss the concerns that arise in our world in terms of their impact on and creation of theologies. The primary goal of the Forum is to privilege texts/ events/ situations that enhance our understanding of the world together with philosophical/ religious/ theological reflections that might help to guide and expand our own reflections.

February 26th: John Kwofie, "I will make of you a great nation" (Gn 12:2): The Place of Keturah and her sons in the Divine Promise to Abraham

March 26th: Mary N Getui (Chairperson of the National AIDS Control Council of Kenya), "Theological Perspectives on Women and HIV/AIDS in East Africa."

Congratulations to Dr. Marinus Iwuchukwu who has been awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor!

Updoming Dissertation Defense

February 11, 2014,

3pm, Fisher Hall 619

"The One Table of Christ's Word and Body: The Unity of Scripture and Eucharist in Dei Verbum and Its Theological Precursors."

Director: Dr. William Wright IV

In Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council retrieved the doctrine of the One Table, but without offering a sustained or in-depth presentation of it: "the one table of God's Word and Christ's Body" (Dei Verbum §26). Nevertheless, this doctrine can be found throughout the conciliar documents. This dissertation provides clarification to this important, but overlooked, doctrine using as its guide the theological thought of Henri de Lubac. Henri de Lubac heavily impacted the Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum in particular. De Lubac immensely contributed toward the renewal of this ancient the ancient doctrine. In fact, de Lubac greatly influenced the council in general, especially with his eucharistic ecclesiology (that found its way in Lumen Gentium), and his retrieval of spiritual exegesis, especially through the genius of Origen. Chapters two and three present a synopsis of de Lubac's retrieval of scriptural exegesis and his eucharistic ecclesiology. Against this backdrop, chapter four interprets the meaning of the One Table as it can be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. As recovered by de Lubac, the principles found in ancient Christian hermeneutics taken together with his eucharistic ecclesiology serve to elucidate the meaning of the One Table. In conclusion, this work offers some theological, liturgical, pastoral and ecumenical suggestions flowing from the recovery of the One Table of God's Word and Christ's Body.

FALL 2013

Theology Dissertation Defense

Wednesday, November 13

"Towards a Black Catholic Theology of Reconciliation"

Director: Dr. Gerald Boodoo

Dr. Bucur is an invited plenary speaker at the international colloquium LA FILIACIÓN EN LOS INICIOS DE LA REFLEXIÓN CRISTIANA organized by the Ecclesiastical University of Madrid. The colloquium focusses on the notion of sonship in the writings of Clement of Alexandria. For more details click here.

Theology Dissertation Defense

Thursday, November 14, 2013, 1:30 PM
Fisher Hall, Theology Seminar Room

STEVEN AGUZZI: "Israel, the Church, and Eschatological Hope: Moltmann's Millenarianism and the Jewish-Catholic Question."

Director: Dr. Aimee Light

​The question of the relationship between Jews and Catholics has come to the fore in recent Christian theological debate, especially over the issue of whether the Church, comprised predominately of Gentiles, "takes up," "replaces," or "supersedes," either in part or in totality, the spiritual promises that were made to the People Israel. Since the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate, the presumptions of supersessionism in the Roman Catholic tradition have been seriously questioned, and Catholic theologians, both from within and outside the ecclesial hierarchy of the Church, have sought to overcome this dangerous and often violent presupposition. ​Because supersessionism is deeply embedded in the fabric of the Catholic tradition, the search for various root causes have led Christian scholars to examine both the ecclesiological and eschatological dimensions of the problem. Truly post-supersessionist theology must point toward an ecclesiology whereby the Church views itself as a partner in history with Judaism and whereby the Church views the final consummation of both the Church and the synagogue as a tertiary reality--the coming kingdom of God. The normative early Christian interpretation of Revelation 20: 4-6 and the millenarian hope of earthly messianic expectation, borrowed from Jewish apocalyptic traditions, were replaced during Constantine's era with a historicized and allegorized version, setting up the Church as the all-surpassing pinnacle of God's kingdom-reign on earth. The Church through its Councils has never formally condemned the alternative to amillennial eschatology, millenarian eschatology. The work of the Protestant theologian Jürgen Moltmann addresses the issue of supersessionism and calls for a reassessment of Patristic, eschatological millenarianism as a means of overcoming supersessionism and as a call to examine eschatological theories that are acceptable to both the Church and synagogue. I argue that since eschatological millenarianism was a strong aspect of the early Catholic tradition, it should be reassessed within that same tradition as a way forward beyond supersessionism. Eschatological millenarianism is able to overcome aspects of supersessionism because it leaves theological space for an in-breaking of God's kingdom apart from the Church of history--a space that values Jewish religious participation toward the future eschaton without demanding the conversion of Jews to the Church.

50 After Vatican II: Celebrating Liturgical Renewal.

Wednesday, 30 October, 3:30-5:15.

Lecture by Dr. Michael Driscoll (University of Notre Dame) followed by a panel discussion with Duquesne's own Dr. George Worgul and Dr. Sebastian Madathummuriyil.

World Issues in Theology Forum

The World Issues in Theology Forum is a faculty colloquium that meets several times per semester to discuss the concerns that arise in our world in terms of their impact on and creation of theologies. The primary goal of the Forum is to privilege texts/ events/ situations that enhance our understanding of the world together with philosophical/ religious/ theological reflections that might help to guide and expand our own reflections.

Tuesday, October 8, 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm:
Dr. Marinus Iwuchukwu, "Interreligious Friendship: Symbiosis of Human Relationship Vis-à-vis Religious Differences - A Christian Encounter with Two African Traditional Religionists."

Tuesday, November 12, 3:15pm - 4:15 pm:
Radu Bordeianu, "Orthodox Models of Christian Unity."

Theology Dissertation Defenses

Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 2 PM
Fisher Hall, Seminar Room

GERARD NNAMUNGA: "The Theological Anthropology Underlying Libermann's Understanding of the 'Evangelization of the Blacks' in Dialogue with the Theological Anthroplogies of the East African Context: Implications for the Contemporary East African Catholic Church."

This dissertation engages in an ideological and theological anthropological dialogue between Libermann's understanding of evangelization of the Blacks (l'œuvre des noirs) and the East African (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) context. Francis Mary Paul Libermann (1802-52), a Jewish convert who lived in France is considered to be the "second" founder of a missionary Congregation of the Holy Spirit. He is responsible for awaking the missionary charism in the Congregation after the Society of the Holy Heart of Mary he had founded was dissolved and its members joined the Congregation of the Holy Spirit in 1848.

This study criticizes the common assumption that Libermann like any missionary during his age who went to Africa brought Good News of salvation, recreated self-esteem, confidence and self-respect in Africans who had been dehumanized by slavery. This tendency to overemphasize heroic exploits and contributions of self-sacrificing European missionaries and founders of missionary Religious Congregations often overlooks the part played by people who were evangelized and their influence on the so called Christian heroes. Far from being a hagiology of Libermann, this study evaluates Libermann's theological anthropology of l'œuvre des noirs in sitz im leben of the nineteenth century with its prejudices against Africans which can also be easily discerned in Libermann's writings.

Drawing from Levinas' concept of the "other" sometimes referred to as the "face" which cannot be conceptualized, speaks to us, and is inviolable, I argue that Libermann too allowed the "other" that is, Africans, to speak to him. Using this insight I explore the relational notion of human being and its impact on Libermann's relationship with Africans, the primary object of his mission. Missionary activity in the East African context, I conclude is a dialogue, a listening experience that leads to metanoia (conversion) of both the evangelizer and evangelized.

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 2 PM
Fisher Hall, Theology Seminar Room

SIMONMARY ASESE A. AIHIOKHAI: "Hospitality and Friendship as Effective Tools for Sustained Interreligious Dialogue: A Case Study of the Catholic Community of Ihievbe, Edo State, Nigeria"

Director: Dr. Marinus Iwuchukwu

This study seeks to retrieve the cultural, philosophical, and religious virtues of hospitality and friendship as means of constructing a viable model for interreligious encounters/dialogues. Since these virtues foster harmony in communities, they serve as veritable dialogical tools for interreligious encounters. The study, therefore, investigates how these virtues are being lived out by the Ihievbe Catholic community, along with their counterparts from other religious traditions in the town, in order to shape and construct an identity that is faithful to both their religious heritage and their social context. I argue that the Ihievbe case offers us an appropriate paradigm for interreligious engagements.

Furthermore, this study engages the view that tends to universalize a uniform Catholic identity without acknowledging the place and role played by particular contexts of different faith communities. While engaging the Ihievbe Catholic community, this study concludes that the community's ability to live above the fray of religious violence is realized through its deliberate attempt to engage other religions in concrete ways which encourage dialogue and respect for the other.

This study attempts to show the viability of the virtues of hospitality and friendship in fostering social and religious harmony. Utilizing philosophical, social, cultural, and religious reasoning, it demonstrates the central role these virtues play in human communal life. These virtues can help humans live their religious vocations fully by ensuring that they become agents of peace in the world. In addition, while engaging the cultural and religious worldview of the Ihievbe people, this study retrieves some ritual practices that can foster dialogue among people of faith.

Finally, at the heart of this study is a defense of a contextual approach to interreligious dialogue. The study calls attention to the need for different religiously pluralistic communities to engage their cultural and religious heritages in order to find those virtues which people share in common, and then use them to develop dialogical models that can be accepted by all parties. At the same time, each religious tradition must be willing to engage its own history and critically evaluate it, and, where possible, abandon those views or theological claims that are shrouded in and shaped by a narrow ideological agenda. This study has significantly engaged those aspects of Catholic/Christian teachings which trivialize the relevance and role of other religions as ways to attaining salvation. It challenges the Catholic position and engages it from the perspective that preserves the freedom of God to engage humans without any particular doctrinal or theological restriction. The ability of each religion to define itself in relation to its interactions with other religions, and with society in general, is defended in this study, and this, in the mind of the author, is a legitimate ingredient in fostering authentic dialogue among religions.

Dr. Bordeianu Finds Inspiration in Jerusalem's Christian Leadership Initiative (Article in DU Times). Click here.

Two of our faculty members, Dr. Radu Bordeianu and Dr. Bucur, participate in the annual meeting of the Orthodox Theological Society of America, which this year takes place in Pittsburgh. Dr. Bordeianu, OTSA president, will give the presidential address, while Dr. Bucur will present a paper. Click here for the program of the meeting.

Dr. Marinus Iwuchukwu's new book, Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Post-Colonial Northern Nigeria: The Challenges of Inclusive Cultural and Religious Pluralism.

In this pathbreaking book, Marinus Iwuchukwu examinesthe perennial conflicts in different parts of northern Nigeria and why they are popularly called Muslim-Christian clashes. Specifically, he examines the immediate and remote factors that are responsible for the conflicts, seeking to know if northern Nigerians are intrinsically religious and if people in this region are attracted to either Islam or Christianity exclusively and why. In the light of the popular finger-pointing on religion and sometimes on culture as reasons for the conflicts,Iwuchukwu exploreshow an inclusive religious and cultural pluralistic framework can effectively facilitate ongoing interreligious dialogue among the feuding groups.

The Department of Theology is happy to welcome two new colleagues, Fr. Gregory Olikenyi and Fr. John Kwofie, both members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. In due time their academic profiles will become available here and here.

Congratulations to our recent graduate, Dr. Ryan McLaughlin: two books accepted for publication!

  • Preservation and Protest: Theological Foundations for an Eco-Eschatological Ethics (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press)
  • Christianity and the Status of Animals (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan).


Several "snapshot dissertations" have been posted on the YouTube site of the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts (http://www.youtube.com/McAnultyDuquesne). The clips also include the abstract and a link to the full electronic dissertation.

The first graduate of our Ph.D. program to be featured is Dr. Ryan Patrick McLaughlin.

Click on the image below to enjoy the video.

Dr. McLaughlin snapshot



Tuesday, April 9, 4-6 P.M.
615 Fisher Hall

Learn how Duquesne University can prepare you through our Master's degrees in Pastoral Ministry, Religious Education and Theology.

For a PDF of the flyer click here. 

Dissertation Defenses

March 27, 2013

GLENN SINISCALCHI: "Post-Vatican II Apologetics: From Scholasticism to Combinationalism and Beyond"

Director: Dr. George Worgul

Recognizing that Christians cannot adequately understand the mysteries of faith from a single vantage point, Catholic theologians have been keen on emphasizing the multidimensional nature of theological understanding since Vatican II. The advantage of such a method has helped believers to understand the rich, in-depth quality of Catholic faith. One of the fields of theology which has not been discussed in the models approach, however, is apologetics-which includes as one of its aspects the art and science of defending the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. When all of the relevant passages in the documents of Vatican II are taken into consideration, a unique apologetical approach emerges that incorporates key advances as they emerged historically from the Church's apologists. Each of the individual apologetic systems from the past will be shown to have its own particular strengths and weaknesses. By way of contrast, I will argue that the best way to "make a defense for" the Gospel in a postconciliar church is to advance the integrated model of the Council. This integrated model of Catholic defense is called combinationalism. The interests and views of the apologists are proven to be complementary rather than competing. This integrated model helps apologists and evangelists to recognize that although one approach might be needed in a certain context, it would be an egregious mistake to take that one system and use it as the exclusive means to reach persons situated within different circumstances and cultural contexts. This essay will not only exploit the different apologetic models in the post-Vatican II period, it will also serve as a serious work of apologetics in its own right by focusing on certain challenges as test cases to highlight the pertinence and livelihood of each model.




March 26, 2013

JAMES MENKHAUS: "Solidarity According to the Thought of Fr. Pedro Arrupe and Its Application to Jesuit Higher Education Today"

Director: Dr. James Bailey

Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. was elected the 28th superior general of the Society of Jesus in 1965 and served in that role until 1983. As superior general, Arrupe sought to shape the Jesuits in the spirit of the vision of Vatican II, as well as the original charism of the founder of the Jesuit, St. Ignatius. The questions this dissertation seeks to answer is how Fr. Pedro Arrupe understood solidarity in light of his own life and theological perspectives and then how his view continues to shape Jesuit education today. The first chapter examines solidarity as an element of Catholic social teaching, which sets the historical and theological context for the rest of the dissertation. It briefly looks at the historical development of solidarity within papal encyclicals, as well as within selected contextual theologies.

Monday, March 25

RYAN PATRICK MCLAUGHLIN: "Theological Foundations for an Ethics of Cosmocentric Transfiguration: Navigating the Eco-Theological Poles of Conservation,Transfiguration, Anthropocentrism, and Cosmocentrism with Regard to the Relationship between Humans and Individual Nonhuman Animals"

Director: Dr. Daniel P. Scheid

Videoclip here!

In the past forty years, there has been an unprecedented explosion of theological writings regarding the place of the nonhuman creation in ethics. The purpose of this dissertation is to propose a taxonomy of four paradigms of eco-theological thought that will categorize these writings and facilitate the identification, situation, and constructive development of the paradigm of cosmocentric transfiguration. This taxonomy takes shape within the tensions of three theological foundations: cosmology, anthropology, and eschatology. These tensions establish two categorical distinctions between, on the one hand, conservation and transfiguration, and, on the other, anthropocentrism and cosmocentrism. The variations within these poles yield the four paradigms. The first paradigm is anthropocentric conservation, represented by Thomas Aquinas. It maintains that humanity bears an essentially unique dignity and eschatological telos that renders the nonhuman creation resources for human use in via toward that telos. The second is cosmocentric conservation, represented by Thomas Berry. It maintains that humanity is part of a cosmic community of intrinsic worth that demands protection and preservation, not human manipulation or eschatological redemption. The third is anthropocentric transfiguration, represented by Orthodox theologians such as Dumitru Staniloae. It maintains that humans are priests of creation charged with the task of recognizing the cosmos as the eternal sacrament of divine love and using it to facilitate communion among themselves and with God. The fourth is cosmocentric transfiguration, represented by both Jürgen Moltmann and Andrew Linzey. It maintains that humans are called to become proleptic witnesses to an eschatological hope for peace that includes the intrinsically valuable members of the cosmic community.
Cosmocentric transfiguration, while under-represented and underdeveloped, provides a unique opportunity to affirm both scientific claims about the nature of the cosmos and the theological hope for redemption. In addition, it offers a powerful vision to address the current ecological crisis with regard to humanity's relationship to both individual nonhuman life forms and the cosmos at large. This vision calls for humans to protest the mechanisms of death, suffering, and predation by living at peace, to whatever extent context permits, with all individual creatures while at the same time preserving the very system they protest by protecting the integrity of species, eco-systems, and the environment at large. These findings warrant further research regarding the viability of cosmocentric transfiguration, in particular its exegetical warrant in scripture, its foundations in traditional voices of Christian thought, its interdisciplinary potential for integration of the sciences, and its internal coherency.

"Mother Symbol & Africana Women's Practices of Peacebuilding"

Dianne Diakité (Emory University)

Lecture co-hosted by Center for African Studies, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, and the Schouver Chair in Mission.

For a video of the presentation, preceded by Dr. Uzukwu's introduction, click HERE.

"Celebrating 50 Years of John XXIII Pacem in Terris: Its Relevance Today and Tomorrow"

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Himes, O.F.M. Associate Professor, Department of Theology, Boston College
Tuesday, January 29, 3 - 4 p.m., Power Center Ballroom

Click here for a video of the introduction by  Rev. Dr. Elochukwu Uzukwu, followed by the presentation. 

The text of the presentation is available here.

Theology Dissertation Defenses

EMILY MANNING: "Whispers of Conversation between Thomas Merton and Sallie McFague on God, Self, and the World: Considering Engaged Spirituality Today"

Director: Dr. Gerald Boodoo

"How are we called to live and to experience God in the world?" This is the question this dissertation seeks to explore, relying on the thought and dialogue of Thomas Merton, a 20th Century Catholic monk, and Sallie McFague, a 21st Century Protestant theologian. This question is approached by examining Merton and McFague's understandings of God, self, and the world as these aspects relate to the question and issue of Christian living. In exploring these areas this project brings together aspects of Christian spirituality, theology, and ethics to grasp the intimate relationship between faith and action, which is the essence of authentic Christian living. Merton and McFague, in their own ways, are advocates of "engaged spirituality," or spiritually rooted social action, as the expression of Christian faith. Placed together, their individual example and influence gain strength and take on deeper significance; as conversation partners, Merton and McFague are able to enhance one another's contributions, overcoming weaknesses and limitations in one another's projects. Together, they encourage others to live more authentically and to more fully contribute to the making of a better world.


Wednesday, February 20

IAN P. MURPHY: "Narrative, Context, and Conversion: An Application of Paul Ricoeur's Theory of Narrative to the New Catholic Evangelization in the Postconciliar United States" 

Director: Dr. Gerald Boodoo

The New Evangelism, a term popularized by Paul VI and a primary concern of John Paul II, articulates the Catholic Church's reply to the appeal of the Council Fathers for renewed gospel proclamation in the modern age. Theology observes copious permutations of the New Evangelism, and these competing narratives cover a variety of perspectives. My project explores the question of the New Evangelism's meaning within United States Catholicism amidst its various interpretations by applying Paul Ricoeur's theory of narrative to this multiplicity of configurations. Ricoeur's theory actually anticipated the contemporary situation: as new interpretations challenged sedimentation, multiple reconfigurations of the Church's call to proclaim were the inevitable result, in light of story's power upon human imagination. In the reciprocal dialectic between historical consciousness and personal identity, story informs each and is informed by each-an epistemological circle which allows for multiple reconfigurations when narratives engage imagination. My application of Ricoeur's theory will indicate that theology is not about the New Evangelism so much as it is about New Evangelisms, and that the Church may embrace a breathing room for multiple voices without losing herself to the vacuum of relativism nor to the suffocation of autocracy.


Theology Dissertation Defense

Wednesday, February 13 

Rev. Jason G. DelVitto: "Encountering Eucharistic Presence Within a Postmodern Context: A Dialogue Among Chauvet, Schmemann, and Zizioulas"

Director: Dr. George Worgul

The Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, as well as other Christian communities, are faced with the challenges of postmodern thought, which calls into question some of the foundational theological and philosophical constructs through which Christianity has articulated the mystery of Eucharistic presence. Louis-Marie Chauvet, Alexander Schmemann and John Zizioulas, the interlocutors presented in this dissertation, recognize that for centuries, Eucharistic theology has been shaped within a metaphysical/Scholastic framework which confines, in many respects, the experiential/relational aspects of the divine/human dynamic as mediated in the Eucharistic celebration. An appeal for a paradigmatic shift is made evident in their respective works based on a renewed understanding of the various strata of the symbolic order and the paradigm of relationality as being the primary contexts within which the people of God celebrate his presence. This shift is necessary in order to correct the problematic of a causal, mechanistic, reductionist, overly-metaphysical, dualist framework as well as a static onto-theological construct, to which Eucharistic theology has been subjected to for centuries. There is a call for a re-thinking of Eucharistic presence in light of a theology which is rooted in the mutually supportive principles of lex orandi est lex credendi and of a Patristic theological landscape. The methodology of this dissertation is comparative and dialogical in nature in which each theologian articulates the need for a scholarship of Eucharistic presence to be established on new terrain and a new trajectory which will prove to be more appropriate in expressing the mystery of presence as it is grounded and expressed within the Apostolic faith and practice. By appealing to and implementing the theologies here presented, we can develop a renewed vision of Eucharistic presence that may provide a common ground for an ecumenical enterprise, reaffirming the most essential component of faith: God's presence among humanity and in creation. This ecumenical enterprise must not remain within the realm of the abstract or theoretical, but needs to culminate in a true union of the churches born of a common unity in faith and eventual Eucharistic practice. In addition, these three theologians' contributions will continue to provide contemporary and future scholars in sacramental theology with an innovative approach to further articulate the mystery of presence through media which speak to the contemporary world while remaining rooted in antiquity.


World Issues in Theology Forum

The World Issues in Theology Forum is a faculty colloquium that meets several times per semester to discuss the concerns that arise in our world in terms of their impact on and creation of theologies. The primary goal of the Forum is to privilege texts/ events/ situations that enhance our understanding of the world together with philosophical/ religious/ theological reflections that might help to guide and expand our own reflections.

Wednesday, February 27, 3:15-4:15

  • Aaron Mackler, "Understanding the Past and the Future: From Eugenics to Posthumanism"

Wednesday, April 10, 3:15-4:15pm

  • Darlene Weaver, "Conscience and Commitments to Pluralism" 

Mosaic, Synagogue in Jericho



Dr. Bogdan Bucur was one of the panelists at the International Colloquium "Les judaïsmes dans tous leurs états aux Ier-IIIe siècles (Les Judéens des synagogues, les chrétiens et les rabbins)" organized by the University of Lausanne, in conjuction with the Ecole pratique des Hautes études-CNRS, Paris, and the University of Tours. 

For more details click here.

The presence of two Orthodox scholars at Duquesne's Theology Department highlighted in recent First Things article. 
The essay called "The Orthodox Renaissance," by Paul Gavrilyuk (University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis), talks about the present flourishing and development of Orthodox theology. Here is the reference to our Department:

Remarkably, the Theology departments of Fordham and Duquesne universities each have two full-time Orthodox faculty members. It is not unreasonable to expect that where two or three Orthodox theologians are gathered, there could emerge a small center or a program to promote Orthodoxy's intellectual legacy, like the Orthodox Christian Studies Center that George Demacopoulos and Artistotle Papanikolaou have established at Fordham in 2007, hardly possible even thirty years ago.  [Full article here].

Dr. Maureen O'Brien elected chair of the Department

Several members of the Department of Theology presented papers at the 2012 joint annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature/ American Academy of Religion (Chicago, 16-20 Nov).

Aimee Light, panelist (AAR): "Dharmic-Eschatological Transformation of Religious Ends: A Hindu-Christian Comparative Theological Conversation"

Daniel P. Scheid, panelist (AAR): "Teaching Comparative Theology from an Institution's Spirituality and Mission"

Bogdan G. Bucur (SBL), "Clement Of Alexandria's Exegesis of Old Testament Theophanies"

Theology Dissertation Defenses (For past dissertation defenses of our doctoral candidates in Theology, click here.)

Monday, November 12, 2012, Fisher Hall 607 (Seminar Room), 10 am

DANIEL LATTIER: "John Henry Newman and Georges Florovsky: An Orthodox - Catholic Dialogue on the Development of Doctrine"

Director: Dr. Radu Bordeianu

Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Fisher Hall 325, 9:00 am

MARY BETH YOUNT: "Theological and Liturgical Dimensions of Ecclesial Authorization for U.S. Lay Ecclesial Ministers"

Director: Dr. Maureen O'Brien

2012 Holy Spirit Lecture and Colloquium canceled.  

The Annual Holy Spirit Lecture and Colloquium is a yearly event that encourages the exploration of ideas pertaining to the theology of the Holy Spirit within an ecumenical context and in dialogue with contemporary issues. Past speakers have included Cardinal Walter Kasper, Sandra Schneiders, I.H.M., Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Fr. Brian Daley, SJ, Elisabeth Johnson, C.S.J.  

The 2012 lecture had to be cancelled, as the speaker, Professor Lambert Leijssen, from the Catholic University of Leuven, was unable to travel to the U.S. The 2013 lecture will be given by Msgr. Dr. Paul McPartlan, professor of systematic theology and ecumenism at the Catholic University of America. Additional details wil;l be posted in due time.

From the Boasting Board

Elizabeth Agnew Cochran, "Bricolage and the Purity of Traditions: Engaging the Stoics for Contemporary Christian Ethics," Journal of Religious Ethic 40 (2012): 720-729. [pdf]

Marie Baird, "The Kenosis of God: Vattimo and Levinas on Incarnation, 'Useless' Suffering, and the Secularization of History," in Godhead Here in Hiding: Incarnation and the History of Human Suffering (eds. Terrence Merrigan, and Frederik Glorieux; Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 427-440.

"Toward Communion: Ecumenical Reflections on the Lutheran-Catholic Agreement on Justification and the Reunion of the Syro-Malankara Church," Doon Theological Journal 2 (2012): 150-177.

Anna Floerke Scheid, "An Authority over Globalization? Critical Considerations," Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology 24 (2012): 61-73;

Anna Floerke Scheid, "Interpersonal and Social Reconciliation: Finding Congruence in African Theological Anthropology," Horizons 39 ( 2012): 27-49;

"Waging a Just Revolution: Just War Criteria in the Context of Oppression," Journal for the Society of Christian Ethics 32 (2012), forthcoming.

Bogdan G. Bucur, "'Mysticism' in the Pre-Nicene Era?," in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism (ed. Julia Lamm; Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). [pdf]

Bogdan G. Bucur, "From Jewish Apocalypticism to Orthodox Mysticism," in The Orthodox Christian World (Ed. Augustine Casiday; Routledge, 2012), 466-480. [pdf]

Bogdan G. Bucur, "Scholarly Frameworks for Reading 2 Cor 12:1-10: A Critical Presentation," in Naboth's Vineyard: Studia theologica recentiora (Ed. I. Tudorie, O. Gordon, A. Mihaila; Cluj, Romania: Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2012), 175-190 [info]

William M. Wright IV. "Pre-Gospel Traditions and Post-Critical Interpretation in Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth, Volume 2," Nova et Vetera 10 (2012): 1015-1027.

William M. Wright IV. "Patristic Biblical Hermeneutics in Joseph Ratzinger's Jesus of Nazareth," Letter and Spirit 7 (2012): 193-209.

William M. Wright IV. "Inspired Scripture as a Vehicle of Divine Presence: The Case of John 20," paper presented at the conference "Dei Verbum at 50: Toward a Clarification of the Inspiration of Scripture." University of Dayton. Dayton, OH. Oct. 2012.

Dr. Radu Bordeianu delivered the Presidential Address at the Orthodox Theological Society of America (St Vladimir's Theological Seminary, 20-22 Sep. 2012): "Orthodoxy and the Political: A Dialogue"

 2012 Paluse Lecture

October 11, 2012, 3pm, Bayer Hall


Dr. William Wright, "Echoes of Biblical Apocalypticism in Benedict XVI's Social Teaching"


Dr. Sarah MacMillen, Department of Sociology; 
Dr. Calvin Troup, Department of Communication 

World Issues in Theology Forum

The World Issues Forum in Theology is a faculty colloquium that meets several times per semester to discuss the concerns that arise in our world in terms of their impact on and creation of theologies. The primary goal of the Forum is to privilege texts/ events/ situations that enhance our understanding of the world together with philosophical/ religious/ theological reflections that might help to guide and expand our own reflections.

 Tuesday, September 25, 3:15-4:15 pm

Gerald Boodoo, "Catholic Education in the Present Caribbean Context: Challenges and Opportunities"

Tuesday, October 23, 3:15-4:15 PM

Maureen O'Brien, "Ecumenical and Cultural Intersections in Theological Education: Student Formation and Learning at a School in Transition."

Elochukwu Uzukwu, "Spiritan Missionary Project and the God-Question: Indigenous Mediations of the Sacred and the Challenge of Evangelism."


Celebrating 50 Years of Vatican II: Challenges and Contributions of the African Church 

A two-day event, featuring presentations, discussions, and liturgical celebrations, Sep. 28-29.
For more details, click here

The conference papers, which will soon be published in a collective volume, are now available in PDF:


  • Laurenti Magesa, "Preconciliar, Conciliar and Post-conciliar African Theology" [pdf]
  • Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, "From Theology in Africa to African Theology" [pdf]
  • Michael McCabe, "Interreligious Dialogue, Impact on the World and African Church" [pdf]
  • Benezet Bujo (Fribourg, Switzerland), "Vatican II and the Challenge of Marriage and Family in Africa and the World" [pdf]
  • Response by David T. Ngong, "Vatican II, Marriage-procreation, and Childless Marriage of Christians in Africa" [pdf]
  • Matthew Hassan Kukah, "Christian-Muslim Relations: The Nigerian Situation" [pdf]
  • Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: "Vatican II and the Challenge of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation in Africa"


Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture

October 3, 2012

Dr. Darlene Fozard Weaver, Director of the Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and associate professor of Theology:

"The Invention of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Mission and Identity in Catholic Higher Education"