Kenneth ParkerRyan Endowed Chair for Newman Studies, Professor of Historical Theology
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Education:Post-doctoral studies, nineteenth-century Roman Catholic theology and church history, with focus on John Henry Newman, Faculty of Theology (French and German sections), University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 1987-1990
Ph.D., Historical Theology, University of Cambridge, 1984
M.A., Historical Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1978
B.A., History, Writing, Houghton College, 1976
I bring to the study of historical theology an unusual personal background. Born into the home of a Pilgrim Holiness pastor in the mountains of North Carolina, my interests in theology began in childhood as I tried to understand the doctrine of entire sanctification my father preached. As an undergraduate at Houghton College, my theological questions sent me on a quest to understand Christian history; and experiences in a rural Episcopal parish profoundly affected my understanding of sacraments. During studies at Fuller Theological Seminary I came to know a monastery in the Mojave Desert, where I learned to cherish the ancient spiritual traditions of Christianity. While doing research on the English Reformation at the University of Cambridge, I became a Roman Catholic (October 1982). Three years later, after finishing my Ph.D. and teaching at the University of Alabama, I returned to Saint Andrew's Abbey in California to become a monk. Five years of monastic life deeply affected my development as a theologian. When I decided to return to academic life in 1990, Westmont College invited me to teach in their History Department.
I arrived at Saint Louis University (SLU) in 1992 and enjoyed 25 years pursuing scholarship, teaching, and service in the undergraduate and Ph.D. programs of the Department of Theological Studies. As Director of Undergraduate Studies (1994-1997), I participated in the growth of that program from a dozen students to over 130 majors and minors. Outcomes assessment based education became a keen interest and an integral part of the curriculum reform process that I led from 1993-1997. My work in the Ph.D. in Historical Theology program included directing 17 dissertations, five focused on John Henry Newman.
My original area of scholarship focused on early modern English theology, and I have published on English sabbatarianism, Richard Greenham, and Elizabethan pastoral care. In the late 1980s my research interests expanded to include John Henry Newman and Christian historiographical traditions. In the early 2000s, I began exploring the papal infallibility debates of the 1860s and how history was employed by key theologians. This research has drawn me into studies of two Irish American archepiscopal brothers, Francis and Peter Kenrick, who profoundly influenced the discourse on papal authority in the 19th-century North Atlantic Catholic world. Their Irish background has led to research on the Irish gallican tradition and its impact on Catholicism in the United States.
I am passionate about learning and find no greater pleasure than observing that experience unfold in the lives of my students. Whether engaging freshmen or mentoring dissertation students, each encounter offers an opportunity to observe the realization of their unique potential. From 2007 to 2014, it was a personal blessing to be the founding director of the college-in-prison program at Saint Louis University, which now offers an associate of arts degree to incarcerated men and staff at a maximum-security state prison in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Working with this population of students has heightened my appreciation for the privilege of learning, and the damage done when that opportunity is withheld. In 2014, the College of Arts and Sciences named me to the Steber Professorship in Theological Studies, which required relinquishment of my administrative responsibilities for the SLU Prison Program.
In the spring of 2016 the Board of the National Institute for Newman Studies (NINS) asked me to serve as Interim Executive Director of the National Institute for Newman Studies, located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The year afforded opportunities to advance NINS's work on the digitization, organization, and cataloguing of Newman's Birmingham Oratory Archive, enhance NINS's physical and digital library, reorient the Institute's Scholars Program, and affiliate the Newman Studies Journal with the Catholic University of America Press.
Serving as the Ryan Endowed Chair for Newman Studies is a great privilege and a profound responsibility. I am pleased to engage the priorities of the Department of Theology, advance the mission of the Duquesne University, and promote the National Institute for Newman Studies and Duquesne University's Joint Initiative for Newman Studies.
Innovative Teaching Fellowship, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, Saint Louis University, 2014-2016
Donald G. Brennan Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring, Saint Louis University, April 2013
Student Government Association George C. Wendell Civic Engagement Award, Saint Louis University, April 2012
Honorary Member of Alpha Sigma Nu, selected by officers and members of the Saint Louis University Chapter (April 2011)
"Last Lecture": selected by Saint Louis University student nomination (April, 2010)
Helen Mandeville Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University (April 2008)
Fall Semester -
UCOR-142: Theological Views of the Person (2 sections)
Spring Semester -
UCOR-142: Theological Views of the Person
THEO 524/HIST524: Roman Catholicism in the Long Nineteenth Century (1789-1914)
Monographs, Critical Editions, and Edited Volumes
The Rise of Historical Consciousness among the Christian Churches, eds. Kenneth L. Parker and Erick Moser. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2012.
Authority, Dogma, and History: The Role of Oxford Movement Converts in the Papal Infallibility Debates, eds. Kenneth L. Parker and Michael Pahls. Bethesda, MD: Academica, 2009.
Tradition and Pluralism: Essays in Honor of William Shea, eds. Kenneth L. Parker, Petter Huff, and Michael Pahls. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2008.
‘Practical Divinity': The Works and Life of Richard Greenham, St Andrews Studies in Reformation History. Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate Press, 1998.
The English Sabbath: A Study of Doctrine and Discipline from the Reformation to the Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Recent Articles and Essays:
"Tractarian Visions of History." In The Oxford Handbook of the Oxford Movement, edited by Stewart Brown, Peter Nockles, and James Pereiro. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
"Tract Ninety." In The Oxford Handbook of the Oxford Movement, edited by Stewart Brown, Peter Nockles, and James Pereiro. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
with C. Michael Shea, "Roman Catholic Receptions of Newman's Essay on Development." In Receptions of John Henry Newman, edited by Fredrick Aquino and Benjamin King. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
"The Saint Louis University Prison Program: An Ancient Mission, a New Beginning." Saint Louis University Public Law Review, Spring 2014.
"Coming to Terms with the Past: The Role of History in the Spirituality of John Henry Newman." In Contemporary Perspectives on Newman's Spirituality, edited by Brian Hughes and John Connolly. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.
with C. Michael Shea."Johann Adam Möhler's Influence on John Henry Newman's Theory of Doctrinal Development: The Case for a Reappraisal." Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 89, no. 1 (2013): 73-95.
"Re-visioning the Past and Re-sourcing the Future: The Unresolved Historiographical Struggle in Roman Catholic Scholarship and Authoritative Teaching." In The Church On Its Past (Studies in Church History, vol. 49), edited by Peter D. Clarke and Charlotte Methuen, 389-416. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Ecclesiastical History Society and Boydell, 2013.
"The Rise of Historical Consciousness among the Christian Churches: An Introduction." In The Rise of Historical Consciousness among the Christian Churches, edited by Kenneth L. Parker and Erick Moser, 1-16. New York: University Press of America, 2012.
"Historical Consciousness and the First Vatican Council: Manning, Döllinger, Newman, and Acton's Uses of History in the Papal Infallibility Debates." In The Rise of Historical Consciousness among the Christian Churches, edited by Kenneth L. Parker and Erick Moser, 89-122. New York: University Press of America, 2012.
with Daniel Handschy. "Eucharistic Sacrifice, American Polemics, the Oxford Movement and Apostolicae Curae." The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 62, no. 3 (July 2011): 515-42.
"‘Cor ad cor loquitur': Heart Speaking unto Heart-The Beatification of John Henry Newman is an Important Gift to Today's Church." Homiletic and Pastoral Review 111, no. 4 (January 2011): 6-13.
"Sabbatarianism in Early Modern England." The English Parish Church through the Centuries: Daily Life and Spirituality, Art and Architecture, Literature and Music, CD/DVD-ROM. York: Christianity and Culture, 2010.
"Converts and the Council." In Authority, Dogma, and History: The Role of Oxford Movement Converts in the Papal Infallibility Debates, edited by Kenneth Parker and Michael Pahls, 1-8. Bethesda, MD: Academica Press, 2009.
"Henry Manning and Neo-Ultramontanism: The Life Context for an Oxford Movement Convert's Faith in Papal Infallibility." In Authority, Dogma, and History: The Role of Oxford Movement Converts in the Papal Infallibility Debates, edited by Kenneth Parker and Michael Pahls, 95-114. Bethesda, MD: Academica Press, 2009.
"Francis Kenrick and Papal Infallibility: How Pastoral Experience in the American Missions Transformed a Roman Ultramontanist." In Tradition and Pluralism: Essays in Honor of William Shea, edited by Kenneth Parker, Peter Huff, and Michael Pahls, 181-200. New York: University Press of America, 2008.