Theology and Religious Studies Faculty Mentors

Gustavo Benavides, Ph.D.

Temple University, 1982
Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: SAC 228; Phone: 610-519-6916
Email: gustavo.benavides@villanova.edu

Dr. Benavides is interested in all aspects of the phenomenon of religion, including:

  • The role played by religion in the maintenance, questioning and reorganization of social structures;
  • The connections among religion, cognition and ideology;
  • Religion and materiality;
  • Religion and ecology;
  • Religion/ritual and/as labor;
  • Forms of religious illegitimacy (syncretism, magic, mysticism, heresy, popular religion);
  • Religion and modernity;
  • Religion and sexuality;
  • The history of the study of religion, particularly during the early part of the 20th century.

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Rev. Francis J. Caponi, O.S.A., Th.D.

Harvard Divinity School, 2000
Associate Professor
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: SAC 230; Phone: 610-519-7422
E-mail: francis.caponi@villanova.edu

Fr. Caponi's professional interests include systematic theology, especially eschatology, the theology of the Trinity, soteriology, and the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. He has published essays on Dante Alighieri, C.S. Lewis, Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Aquinas. He has taught courses in eschatology, the work of C.S. Lewis, the thought of Thomas Aquinas, the poetry of Dante, the problem of evil, and the relationship of science and religion.

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Paul Danove, Ph.D.

Graduate Theological Union, 1991
Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: SAC 129; Phone: 610-519-7147
E-Mail: paul.danove@villanova.edu

Dr. Danove’s research interests lie in two distinct but complementary areas: the rhetorical analysis of biblical, especially Gospel, texts and the grammatical analysis of Koine Greek (New Testament Greek). His rhetorical study utilizes structuralist, reader-response and linguistic methods to examine the manner in which narratives generate the constructs of the implied author and implied reader and employ these constructs to particular rhetorical ends. His linguistic study of Koine employs Construction Grammar to provide a careful analysis of the syntactic, semantic and lexical attributes of words. Both areas of his research are concerned with the manner in which language in general (linguistics) and narratives in particular (rhetoric) ground and attempt to constrain interpretation. Thus both areas serve the requirements of exegesis – that is, interpretation of texts within the original linguistic, theological and cultural horizons of their composition. His present projects include the study of:

  • The valence(s) of Koine words within the same semantic field;
  • Semantically-motivated syntactic alternations in biblical texts;
  • The rhetoric of the Marcan construction(s) of discipleship and christology;
  • Characterizations of God in Gospel texts;
  • The interface between exegesis and theology.

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Anthony J. Godzieba, Ph.D.

Catholic University of America, 1992
Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: SAC 235; Phone: 610-519-6917
E-mail: anthony.godzieba@villanova.edu

Dr. Godzieba is both a Catholic theologian and a philosopher. His areas of specialization are:
•Fundamental theology (including issues of faith and rationality, theological method, and hermeneutics)
•Systematic theology (especially the theology of God, Christology, and eschatology)
•The history of Catholic theology in the modern and contemporary periods
•The relationships among music, the visual arts, and Christian religious experience (especially the music, art, spirituality, and theology of the Renaissance and Baroque periods)
•Modern and contemporary continental philosophy
•Theological and philosophical anthropologies (including theories of subjectivity and embodiment)
•Modernities and postmodernities and their relation to Christian belief

His main areas of interest are the development of Catholic belief and Catholic theology, as well as the intersection of Christianity with contemporary culture. His recent publications include articles on the Catholic theology of God and theological anthropology after postmodernism, the artist Caravaggio viewed as a theologian, the role of the imagination, the body, and the Incarnation in theological anthropology, and the development of the theology of the Trinity.

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Judith Hadley, Ph.D.

Cambridge University, England, 1989
Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: SAC 131; Phone: 610-519-7462
E-mail: judith.hadley@villanova.edu

Dr. Hadley is involved in both biblical studies and archaeology. She concentrates on the Hebrew
Bible (Old Testament), and has taught courses on the Pentateuch and Early History, Hebrew
Prophets, and Wisdom Literature. As a trained archaeologist, she approaches the biblical text
from an historical and archaeological perspective. Her current projects include:

  • Published a book on Asherah, an ancient Semitic goddess worshiped by the
    Israelites, entitled The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah (Cambridge
    University Press, 2000)
  • Research for a book on Israelite religion
  • Research on other ancient Near Eastern goddesses, such as Astarte and Anath,
    and how their worship was gradually eradicated by the later editors of the Hebrew Bible
  • Ongoing interest and participation in excavations in the Holy Land

She has dug at numerous sites in Israel since 1978, and has taken Villanova students to participate in an excavation. She teaches courses in biblical archaeology and women in the Bible.

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Beth Hassel, P.B.V.M., D.Min.

Princeton Theological Seminary, 1991
Director, Center for Faith and Learning, Office for Mission and Ministry; Adjunct Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: Corr Hall  #4; Phone: 610-519-4088
E-mail: beth.hassel@villanova.edu

Dr. Hassel has Masters degrees in Religious Studies, Counseling and Human Relations, Library Science and Church Management. Her professional research interests are in the areas of faith development, young adult development, spirituality, and Roman Catholic Identity. Dr. Hassel's dissertation was
entitled, "Roman Catholic Identity and Young Adult Development".

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The Rev. Joseph Loya, O.S.A.

Fordham University, 1986
Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: SAC 231; Phone: 610-519-7243
E-mail: joseph.loya@villanova.edu

Fr. Loya identifies History of Christianity and Christian Ecumenism as his areas of expertise.
The former discipline affords him insight into the historical roots of present day religious issues,
the latter focuses his energies on the following issue – Given the reality of divided faith
communities (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox), how can theological and structural differences be
reconciled so as to realize the undivided community called “Church” that Christ intended?

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Bernard Prusak, J.C.D.

Lateran University, Rome, 1967
Professor and Chair of Theology and Religious Studies
Office: SAC 107; Phone: 610-519-4730
E-mail: bernard.prusak@villanova.edu

Dr. Prusak's areas of teaching and research include historical and systematic theology with
particular focus on the theology of Jesus and of the Church. His book, The Church Unfinished:
Ecclesiology through the Centuries, was published by Paulist Press in 2004. His recent articles
are "Catholic Perspectives on Bodily Resurrection" in Theological Studies " and “Theological
Considerations: Hermeneutical, Ecclesiological, Eschatological regarding Memory and
Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past,” in Horizons: The Journal of the College
Theology Society. His most recent papers are “Schillebeeck’s Jesus as Dawning Third Quest?
Reconsidering the Quest Boundaries in Response to N. T. Wright,” at Sourcing the Quests: the
Roots and Branches of the Quest for the Historical Jesus, a Conference at Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, and “This is [henceforth] my Body: Eucharist as Personal Presence of the Resurrected Jesus” at the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

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