Read about where our faculty and graduate students have recently been published or featured as speakers, or the topics of their newest books.


Timothy Brunk's book cover, "The Sacraments and Consumer Culture"

Timothy Brunk, PhD, who specializes in sacramental theology, recently published "The Sacraments and Consumer Culture. " This book examines how consumer culture has had a corrosive effect on the sacraments and assesses how sacramental worship can provide resources for responsible Christian discipleship in today’s consumer culture. 

Massimo Faggioli, left, and the cover of his newest book, "The Liminal Papacy of Pope Francis," right.

Massimo Faggioli, PhD, had his most recent book, The Liminal Papacy of Pope Francis – Moving toward Global Catholicity, published by Orbis Books in March 2020. It is part of a new book series, “Catholicity in an Evolving Universe,” under the direction of another Villanova professor, Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology.

Compiled from an extensive knowledge about global politics, papal biographies, history and documents of Vatican II, Dr. Faggioli contextualizes and analyzes Francis’ ongoing papacy. An expert in the papacy, Vatican II, liturgical reform, and Catholicism and global politics, he is a frequent contributor in national and international media outlets, including The Washington PostNew York TimesNational Public RadioLa Croix International and National Catholic Reporter. He is also a regular contributor to Commonweal Magazine. The Liminal Papacy is his 11th book. Dr. Faggioli has also recently published an e-book, The Church in a Change of Era – How the Franciscan reforms are changing the Catholic Church, LaCroix International, 2020.


View recent publications and talks by our faculty and graduate students in the lists below. To see more works, visit the faculty websites.


Chris Barnett, DPhil, associate professor

Søren Kierkegaard: Discourses and Writings on Spirituality, The Classics of Western Spirituality, Paulist Press, 2019. 
“Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) is primarily known as a philosopher, even though much of his writing was explicitly dedicated to spiritual growth (what he called "upbuilding"). This volume redresses this situation by demonstrating not only that Kierkegaard was a spiritual author, but also how he brings out the beauty and diversity of the Christian spiritual life. Particular attention is given to his writings on God, creation, humanity, and Jesus Christ.”

Scorsese and Religion, Brill Publishers, 2019
Not only will this volume explore the foundation of Scorsese’s interest in religion—namely, his relation to the Catholic Church—but it will also highlight the religious breadth of Scorsese’s corpus. Ultimately, this book demonstrates that Scorsese’s cinematic “re-presentation” of reality brings together various religious influences (Catholicism, existentialism, Buddhism, etc.) and topics such as violence, morality, nihilism, and so on.

Kierkegaard and the Question Concerning Technology, Bloomsbury Academic, 2019.
“Over the last several decades, technology has emerged as an important area of interest for both philosophers and theologians. Yet, despite his status as one of modernity's seminal thinkers, Søren Kierkegaard is not often seen as one who contributed to the field. Kierkegaard and the Question Concerning Technology argues otherwise.”

Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, professor, Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair 

Re-Enchanting the Earth: Why AI Needs Religion, Orbis Books, 2020.
“Scientist and theologian Ilia Delio takes up the challenge of devising a rapprochement between science and religion, with particular attention to the role of Artificial Intelligence, or AI. If the ‘first axial age’ gave rise to the great religions, she sees us now on the cusp of a “second axial age,” in which AI, oriented by new religious sensibilities, can bring about an ecological re-enchantment of the earth.”

Birth of a Dancing Star: My Journey from Cradle Catholic to Cyborg Christian, Orbis Books, 2019
“In this heartfelt and spirited memoir, bestselling author Ilia Delio, one of the most exciting thinkers on the frontier between religion and science, recounts a journey that took her from scientist to theologian, and from traditional cloistered nun to a leading proponent of evolution and “cyborg life.” From the Baltimore Catechism and the suburban malls of New Jersey, through a somewhat wild adolescence, to the halls of scientific research, to a monastic cloister, and to eventual home in a post-Vatican II experiment in religious life, hers is an account of awakening and spiritual adventure.”

John Edwards, PhD, affiliate faculty

James Alison and a Girardian Theology: Conversion, Theological Reflection, and Induction, T&T Clark Academic/Bloomsbury Press, May 2020.
“This volume grounds Alison's theological method in his understanding of the ongoing interaction between conversion and theological reflection, which is informed by his use of mimetic theory. While Alison describes this method as “theology in the order of the discovery,” the author refers to it as an “inductive theology.” Read more.

Vincent Lloyd, PhD, associate professor

Vincent Lloyd launched a new book series, Transforming Political Theologies, together with Prof. Judith Gruber, Director of the Centre for Liberation Theologies at KU-Leuven (Belgium), and Prof. David True of Wilson College. The series will be published by Routledge, and it aims to expand the scholarly conversation about political theology by introducing national and regional contexts, religious traditions, scholarly methods, questions, and authorities that will transform the field, provincializing its origins and expanding its future possibilities. Read more.

Lloyd also recently published Break Every Yoke: Religion, Justice, and the Abolition of Prisons, co-authored with Joshua Dubler, for Oxford University Press, 2019. The book grows out of several years of collaboration between Lloyd and Dubler, and mixes ethnography, history, theory, and theology. 

Jonathan Yates, PhD, professor

Jonathan Yates is co-editor of The Bible in Christian North Africa. Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine, De Gruyter, 2020. 
“This handbook explores the formation of Christianity in Northern Africa from the second century CE until the present. It focuses on the reception of Scripture in the life of the Church, the processes of decision making, the theological and philosophical reflections of the Church Fathers in various cultural contexts, and schismatic or heretical movements. Volume one covers the first four centuries up until the time of Augustine.” 

Chris Barnett, DPhil, associate professor

“The ‘Lonely Game’: Baseball, Kierkegaard, and the Spiritual Life,” Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society, 2020.

Timothy Brunk, PhD, associate professor

"All the Saints, All the Souls, and All of Us," Pray Tell blog. November 2020.

"Liturgies and Shopping Carts," Pray Tell blog. July 2020. 

Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, professor, Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair 

“Suffering and Sacrifice in an Unfinished Universe: The Energy of Love,” Religions, 2020.

“Is Artificial Intelligence ‘Artificial?',” Researcher - European Journal of Humanities & Social Science, 2020.

Massimo Faggioli, PhD, professor

"Pope Francis and the Nation-State: Fratelli Tutti as Critique of Radical Orthodoxy," The Berkley Forum hosted by Georgetown University - Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, October 2020.

"Modernization of the Papacy and Catholicism in the Postmodern: Legacy and Challenges to Vatican I," Horizons, 2020.

"Ecclesial Lay Movements in 21st-Century Global Catholicism: Open Questions in Light of the Sex Abuse Crisis," Japan Mission Journal, 2020.

"The “two Popes” and two kinds of relations between Francis and Benedict," Pastoral Review (UK), 2020.

“'Opzione Benedetto' e teologia dell’evangelizzazione: tra post-cristianità e post-ecclesiale," Rivista di Teologia dell’Evangelizzazione, 2020.

Review of The Two Popes. Directed by Fernando Meirelles. American Catholic Studies, 2020.

"The Council as Ecclesial Process," The Cambridge Companion of Vatican II, 2020.

Kathryn Getek Soltis, PhD, assistant professor

Getek Soltis authored a chapter "Family Relationships and Incarceration" in the volume Sex, Love, and Families: Catholic Perspectives, April 2020.

Brett Grainger, ThD, associate professor

"Making Spirituality Safe for Evangelicals", Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Spring/Summer 2020.

Nathaniel Grimes, doctoral student

Collaborated on "Challenging the Police - Abolition and Christian Ethics," The Bias Magazine, July 2020. 

Tim Hanchin, PhD, assistant professor

Co-authored “Educating for Ecological Conversion: An Ecstatic Pedagogy for Christian Higher Education amid Climate Crisis,” sponsored by the VERITAS Faculty Research Program, June 2020.

Kevin Hughes, PhD, professor 

Hughes contributed an essay to The Oxford Handbook of Mystical Theology titled "Living in the Word”, March 2020.  

Stefanie Knauss, ThD, associate professor 

Knauss authored "Religion and Film: Representation, Experience, Meaning," in Brill Research Perspectives in Theology, February 2020 and co-authored "Queer Theologies: Becoming the Queer Body of Christ." Concilium, 2019.

The Rev. Christiane Lang Hearlson, PhD, assistant professor

Co-authored “Educating for Ecological Conversion: An Ecstatic Pedagogy for Christian Higher Education amid Climate Crisis,” sponsored by the VERITAS Faculty Research Program, June 2020.

Mark Levand, adjunct faculty

“Areas of Support and Barriers to Change Around Issues of Sexuality in Catholic Higher Education”, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 2020.  

Vincent Lloyd

Offered a response on "Wrath" for the Sins and Virtues in American Public Life symposium, Syndicate, September 2020.

Collaborated on "Challenging the Police - Abolition and Christian Ethics," The Bias Magazine, July 2020. 

Human Dignity is Black Dignity , Church Life Journal (University of Notre Dame), June 2020.

The Work of Mourning and the Privilege of Black Death, ABC Religion and Ethics, June 2020.

The End of the World: Reflections from Black Activism, The Berkley Forum hosted by Georgetown University - Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, June 2020.

Kerry San Chirico, PhD, associate professor

“Dharma and the Religious Other in Hindi Popular Cinema: From Nehru through Modi.” Journal of Religion, Film and Media, 2020.

Rachel Smith, PhD, associate professor

Smith contributed a co-written essay to The Oxford Handbook of Mystical Theology titled "Christology," March 2020.  

Chris Barnett, DPhil, associate professor

Kierkegaard and the COVID-19 Crisis," Søren Kierkegaard Society, Youtube panel, May 2020.

Gerald Beyer, PhD, associate professor

Panelist for Philadelphia Catholic Professor panel; topics included health care policy, climate change, racism, poverty, workers' right and the election, October 21, 2020. This event was not sponsored by Villanova nor did it express the views of the university.

Reopening Justly or Just Reopening? - Catholic Social Teaching, Universities and COVID-19,” Fordham University online forum, July 14, 2020.

COVID-19 and Higher Education, Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, June 1, 2020.

Solidarity and Social Distancing, Together for the Common Good, April 2020.

Timothy Brunk, PhD, associate professor

"The Encyclical and the Election: Pope Francis and November 3," panelist for a discussion of Fratelli Tutti and its relevance for the upcoming vote in the United States, Villanova University, October 23, 2020.

Brunk presented "Ecumenism and Roman Catholic Eucharist" at the 2020 meeting of the North American Academy of Liturgy in Atlanta in January 2020.

Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, professor, Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair 

“Love and the Evolution of Consciousness,” The Aspen Chapel, 

"Earth: a Mirror of God?" Mercy Week keynote speaker, Maria College, September 21, 2020.

Grounded God in Evolution,” The Bible for Normal People podcast, July 28, 2020. 

What is Life?” (with Peter Fiske), Tim Freke podcast, June 12, 2020.

Massimo Faggioli, PhD, professor

"Human Fraternity in the Age of Walls: Pope Francis’ Encyclical Fratelli Tutti," St. Thomas Univ Houston, October 29, 2020.

Panelist on "Unsettled Questions and New Directions: The Vatican and the Holocaust," symposium organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, October 19-21, 2020.

Mark Graham, PhD, associate professor

"The Encyclical and the Election: Pope Francis and November 3," panelist for a discussion of Fratelli Tutti and its relevance for the upcoming vote in the United States, Villanova University, October 23, 2020.

Brett Grainger, PhD, associate professor

Grainger gave the keynote address, "The Twisted Roots of Nature Spirituality in America," for the 2020 Christian Philosophers at Villanova (CPaV) Conference "Spirituality in Theology and Philosophy" in February 2020.

The Rev. Christiane Lang Hearlson, PhD, assistant professor

Invited to participate in "Congregations Reimagined: Reframing the Narrative," a consultation with the Center for Congregations, September 2020.

Vincent Lloyd, PhD, associate professor

“The Political Theology of Aimé Césaire,” University of Chester, October 28, 2020.

"Abolition, Black Religions and US Empires," Yale University, October 27, 2020.

Panelist on "Rest and Unrest: Death and Dying in 2020," Villanova University, October 8, 2020.

"Break Every Yoke – Religion, Justice, and the Abolition of Prisons," Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, Columbia University. September 23, 2020.

Panelist on "To Set the Oppressed Free," police and prison abolition and its relationship to Christian thought and political action. Institute for Christian Socialism. September 16, 2020.

"Black Dignity and Augustinian Political Theology," webinar sponsored by Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, September 1, 2020. 

Panelist on “COVID and the Color Line: Religion, Race, and Public Health,” Lumen Christi Institute, July 30, 2020.

Racial Capitalism and Conjuring a New World through Protest,” Vanderbilt Divinity School online interview, July 22, 2020. 

Co-speaker on "Black Dignity: the Moral Vocabulary of Black Lives Matter," the University of Toronto Centre for Ethics, July 8.

Rachel Smith, PhD, associate professor

Smith participated in a three-day symposium at Harvard University, "Love in the Middle Ages," March 2020.

Brandon Ambrosino, doctoral student and writer for Politico Magazine, was awarded first place for Excellence in Magazine News Religion Reporting by The Religion News Association.

Jesse Couenhoven, PhD, received a $4.7 million grant from The John Templeton Foundation for his project, "Collaborative Inquiries in Christian Theological Anthropology." This project started in August 2020 and will run for three years. It will fund 14 research projects at schools around the US that relate topics in theological anthropology to predominately social science research. The funds will also be used to run a number of programs that help theologians develop deeper partnerships with philosophers and scientists. Couenhoven holds a dual faculty appointment with the Departments of Theology and Religious Studies, and Humanities. Read more about this grant.

Jacob Given, doctoral student, received a competitive Summer Research Fellowship and was selected as one of nine students to participate in the Graduate Student Symposium in October. A three-minute video about his summer research was presented during the symposium and be can viewed. More.

The Rev. Christiane Lang Hearlson, PhD, Was accepted to the Wabash Center's "Tending to the Body and Soul of Theological Educators" Digital Salon for 2020-21. Digital Salons, facilitated by peer facilitators, are cohorts of faculty from across the nation that meet for an academic year to grapple with changes in teaching sparked by the pandemic. A non-competitive research grant is available to each participant at the conclusion of the program.

Ailie Posillico, doctoral student, received the 2020 Rodger Van Allen Award For Excellence in Historical Theological Studies, sponsored by The American Catholic Historical Society, for her paper “Customs.”

Department of Theology and Religious Studies
800 E. Lancaster Ave.
St. Augustine Center Room 203
Villanova, PA 19085

Theology in Dialogue podcast logo

Theology in Dialogue podcast

Theology in Dialogue was produced by graduate students in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies featuring interviews with distinguished faculty and theolgians.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.