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


Ilia Delio's book cover, The Primacy of Love

Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair, has completed her latest book, The Primacy of Love (Fortress Press, 2022). The book figures love as the central thread that binds humanity together and examines its role in light of our present age of anxiety, where reason is cherished above all else. Throughout The Primacy of Love, Sister Delio considers the centrality of love over reason, posing the metaphysical premises that humans are “born out of divine love, exist in love, and are oriented toward the fullness of love,” concluding that love is “an irresistible attraction that leads straight into the heart of God.” 

 "Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States" book cover

In his latest book, Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States, Professor Faggioli provides a history of Catholicism in American political life, recounting anti-Catholicism sentiment that faced presidential candidates from 1928 to 2020. Faggioli discusses the current tense state of relations between the U.S. and the Vatican; explains the Catholic crisis of globalization; and illustrates Biden’s position between the past and future of American Catholicism.

Faggioli sat down with the Commonwealth to discuss The Second Catholic President and what it means for a divided country.

 "Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education" book cover

Gerald Beyer, PhD and professor of Christian ethics, argues that the corporatization of the university hinders the ability of Catholic institutions to create an environment imbued with bedrock values and principles of Catholic Social Teaching such as respect for human rights, solidarity, and justice. He examines where Catholic institutions have fallen short of justice and equality in the specific areas of just wages, gender, race, fair treatment of adjuncts, unionization of faculty, admissions, and financial aid, among others, and provides examples of how institutions are embodying CST in these areas.  The book aims to promote greater dialogue on Catholic campuses about how policies and practices that cohere with CST are crucial to the mission of Catholic higher education.  Just Universities is available through Falvey Memorial Library in digital format here.

Augustine and Tradition, edited by Villanova theology professor Jonathan Yates, book cover

Profesor Jonathan Yates, PhD, earned a first-place Catholic Media Association Book Award for Augustine and Tradition: Influences, Contexts, Legacy, which he co-edited with David Hunter, PhD, of the Boston College Department of Theology. Dr. Yates is director of admissions for the doctoral program.


View recent publications and talks by our faculty and graduate students in the lists below. To see more works, visit the faculty websites listed under full-time faculty. The research interests of our doctoral students and candidates can be viewed on PhD Student Profiles.


Gerald Beyer, PhD, professor

Just Universities | Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education, Fordham University Press, 2021. 
Beyer discusses ways that U.S. Catholic institutions of higher education have embodied or failed to embody Catholic social teaching in their campus policies and practices. He argues that the corporatization of the university hinders the ability of Catholic institutions to create an environment imbued with bedrock values and principles of Catholic Social Teaching such as respect for human rights, solidarity, and justice. Read more.

Timothy Brunk, PhD, associate professor

The Sacraments and Consumer Culture, Liturgical Press, 2020. 
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.  Read more.

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

The Primacy of Love, Fortress Press (US) and Dalton, Todd, Longman (London). January 2022.
"In an age of anxiety where reason is deified, what is the role of love? From the cosmological to the theological dimensions of existence, love is the irresistible force of attraction to the heart of God." 

The Hours of the Universe: Reflections on God, Science and the Human Journey, Orbis Books, 2021.
“In these reflections written for a broad audience of those seeking new meaning and purpose in today’s world, she sees the universe, itself, as the new monastery, the place to seek God. Just as in a monastery the recitation of the Hours calls to mind the work of God in our lives, so too in the new monastery we reflect on the gift of creation and the sufferings we bear. " 

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.

Massimo Faggioli, PhD, professor

Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States, Bayard Inc., 2021.
"Our rosary-carrying second Catholic president, who sprinkles his speeches with references to popular hymns and quotes from saints, is sure to evangelize in a way few other public Catholics have. Massimo Faggioli s in-depth examination of Joe Biden s Catholicism is helpful and necessary as we embark on this historic presidency." - Heidi Schlumpf, Executive Editor, National Catholic Reporter. Published also in French and Italian. Read more.

Cathryn Getek Soltis, PhD, assistant professor

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

Sherine O. Green, adjunct professor

Co-authored Awakening to the Violence of Systemic Racism, Paulist Press, November 2021. 

Stefanie Knauss, ThD, associate professor

Completed a book chapter: Zweideutigkeiten: Theologische Überlegungen zu Sexualität, Gesellschaft und Medien. In: Fischer, I.; Poplutz, U. (eds.), Jahrbuch für Biblische Theologie, vol. 33: Sexualität. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2020.

Vincent Lloyd, PhD, associate professor

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 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.

Jonathan Yates, PhD, professor

Co-edited Augustine and Tradition: Influences, Contexts, Legacy, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2021.

Authored a chapter “Augustine and James 1,17: A Diachronic Investigation” in the volume Studies on Augustine and His Reception Offered to Mathijs Lamberigts.

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

Regular contributor to Pray Tell: Worship, Wit & Wisdom blog. View a log of his articles.

Paul Danove, PhD, professor

“What God Has Through Reception in the Gospel of Mark,” Filología Neotestamentaria, 2020. 

“The Licensing Properties of Cognate Nouns of Communication Verbs in the New Testament,”  Journal of Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics, 2020.

“The ‘History’ of God’s Actions in the Gospel of Mark,” Revue Biblique, 2020.

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

Read this article, "Marshall McLuhan: A Prophet of Teilhard’s Vision" and other articles by Delio on her blog at the Center for Christogenisis.

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

"The Barque of Peter or a school of fish? The dangerous online life of Catholics," La Croix International, August 2021. 

"Dysfunctional fantasists and clever manipulators,” La Croix International, December 2020.

"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.

"A Church That Is Poor? Money, Sectarianism, & Catholic Tradition," Commonweal Magazine, July 2020.

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

Kathryn Getek Soltis, PhD, assistant professor

With Kathleen Grimes, “Order, Reform, and Abolition: Changes in Catholic Imagination on Prisons and Punishment,” Theological Studies, 82(1): 95-115, (2021).

Brett Grainger, ThD, associate professor

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

Nathaniel Grimes, doctoral student

Refunding the Police Cake, Macrina Magazine, January 2022.

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 

Biden responds to St. Augustine's question. "Common Loves," Commonweal, January 31, 2021.

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

Céire Kealty, doctoral student 

"Whose Suffering Are You Wearing?", Sojourners Magazine, December 2021.

"This holiday season, reduce your environmental impact with 'Buy Nothing'", National Catholic Reporter, December 2021.

"Our Clothing Donations May be Causing More Harm than Good", National Catholic Reporter, November 2021.

Stefanie Knauss, ThD, associate professor 

Co-edited journal issue: Abraham, Susan; De Mori, Geraldo; Knauss, Stefanie (eds.), Masculinities. Concilium 56.2 (2020).

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

Co-authored "Sexuality Education as a Moral Good: Catholic Support for Accurate, Holistic Sexuality Information,” Theology & Sexuality, 2021.

"Sexual Science and the Catholic Church: Areas of Common Ground,” American Journal of Sexuality Education, 2021.

Co-authored “Areas of Support and Barriers to Change around Issues of Sexuality in Catholic Higher Education,” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 2021. 

Jacques Linder, doctoral student

“Wherein Justice Dwelleth:” The Catholic Worker Movement and Political Theology Today, Political Theology Network, February 2022.

Vincent Lloyd, PhD, associate professor

Public scholarship project, co-editor, “Critical Theory for Political Theology

Co-edited an article, “Restructuring a World Without Prisons,” Sojourners, December 2020.

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.

Andre Price, doctoral student

"Kanye West, Jesus is King," Journal for Religion, Film and Media, Religion and Popular Music issue, November 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

Essay titled “‘As Often as His Heart Beat, the Name Moved’: Prayer, Devotion, and the Fictional in Henry Suso’s The Life of the Servant.” Representations 153 (Jan. 2021).  

A review essay, “Le discours mystique entre Moyen Âge et première modernité.  La question du langage.” H-France Review. (Jan. 2021). 

Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, MDiv, adjunct professor

"Do Black lives matter only after someone’s death?" op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer in collaboration with members of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, November 17, 2020.  

Trevor Williams, doctoral student

“Frankenstein: A Theological Meditation on Spiritual Death,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 47, no. 3 (Fall 2020): 317-38.

"Resisting the Modern Desire for Dominance," Genealogies of Modernity, December 2020.

Héctor Varela Rios, PhD, assistant professor

Using Latinx Theology’s Lo Cotidiano to Decolonialize Oller’s El Velorio," Journal for Religion, Film and Media; Vol 2 No. 2 (2021).

Jonathan Yates, PhD, professor

Vt non simus homines: Augustine’s Exhortations against Lying in his Sermones ad Populum,” Augustiniana 71/1 (2021): 7-26.

Chris Barnett, DPhil, associate professor

Kierkegaardian Resources for Living through a Pandemic," Søren Kierkegaard Society, Youtube panel, May 2020.

Gerald Beyer, PhD, professor

A sample of Beyer's talks generated from his book, Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education,” include:

Respondent to “Just Universities Mean Just Economics” (a discussion based on Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education), 2021. Annual Meeting of The American Academy of Religion, November 2021

"Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education,” Klein Fund Lecture Series, Saint Joseph’s University, November 2021.

Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education” College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Book Colloquium, Villanova University, November 2021.

Panel Presentation, “Justice at Work in 21st-Century U.S. Catholic Universities—President’s Invited Session,” The 75th Annual Convention of The Catholic Theological Society of America, June 2021.

Panel discussion, Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, May 2021.

Timothy Brunk, PhD, associate professor

The Sacraments and Consumer Culture,” Positions lecture series, Villanova University, October 2021.

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

"Rethinking Context, Religion, Politics and Ecology," keynote speaker at CSRP COP26 Conference, October 2021.

“Exploring Theogenesis,” Center for Christogenisis with Peter Todd podcast, December 2020.

“The Infinite Within,” Center for Christogenisis, October 2020.

Massimo Faggioli, PhD, professor

“Paradox and prophecy: why the study of Lived Catholicism matters”, in Conference "Paradox and Prophecy: Why the Study of Lived Catholicism Matters,” Durham University (UK), November 2021.

"Coesione e disgregazione sociale-ecclesiale, e modelli diversi di sinodalità nel cattolicesimo globale,” XL Setimana Argentina de Teologia, October 2021.

"Joe Biden and Catholicism," Catholic Academy Berlin (Germany), October 2021.

"How does Catholicism inform the politics and policy of the U.S. Government?" The Takeaway Podcast, September 2021.

“Catholicism in the USA and the American ‘Culture War’ as a Theological Crisis.” Guest lecturer at the Theologisches Forschungkolleg, Universitaet Erfurt, June 2021.

“The Fight for Hegemony of and Within US Catholicism.” Association of Catholic Priests Ireland, May 2021.

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 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.

Stefanie Knauss, ThD, associate professor

"Un/doing gender und un/doing religion in der theologischen Anthropologie: Grenzen und Möglichkeiten" presented at the online conference “Un/doing gender, un/doing religion: Lokale Praktiken der Religion und des Geschlechts in der postsäkularen Weltgesellschaft”, sponsored by the University of Tübingen (Germany), June 2021.

Organizer and presenter at “Teaching Religious Studies/Theology with Short Films” online workshop, sponsored by the Journal for Religion, Film and Media. “The Cohen’s Wife (Nava Nussan Heifetz, Israel 2000, 23 min.): Teaching Religion and Gender,” July 2021.

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

Gave keynote address titled “Are We All Slaves? Weil, Homer, and Black Thought” at the Translations of Beauty: Simone Weil and Literature Conference, University of Notre Dame, March 2022.

“Black Dignity: The Moral Philosophy of #BlackLivesMatter” online conference. Keynote speaker, Universidad de los Andes, November 2021.

"The Significance of MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail Today," co-speaker, Saint Leo University, Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, November 2021.

“What Good Is Theory? Religion, Critique, and Truth,” Political Theology Mentoring Festival, April 2021.

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

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

Joseph Loya, OSA, PhD, associate professor

"'I am Spiritual but Not Religious': Pray Tell, What's Up with That?" Positions lecture series, Villanova University, September 2021.

Jessica Murdoch, PhD, associate professor

Murdoch was named the 2020 distinguished scholar of the annual Shults Lecture series at St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. This year’s theme addressed theological topics as they relate to the understanding and practice of ministry in the Church. "Are Souls Still Worth Saving? Zeal as a Profession of Hope,” December 2020.

Andre Price, doctoral student

“Is Christianity the Source of Racism?” Symposium on Race and Christianity, respondent, Villanova University, April 2021.

Rachel Smith, PhD, associate professor

“Holding Open the Wounds of History: Saidiya Hartman and Mystical Hagiography.” Mysticism and Modernity Conference, co-sponsored by the University of Chicago and Vanderbilt University, April 2021.

“Sanctity and Anachronism.” Medieval Academy of America, April 2021. 

“What is Mystical Theology?” American Academy of Religion, Spirituality Section, December 2020.

Jonathan Yates, PhD, professor

“‘Veritas Mundat, Uanitas Inquinate’: The Rationale for Not Taking God’s Name in Vain in Augustine’s Sermons,” North American Patristics Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, May 2021.

Professor Timothy Brunk received the 2021 Catholic Media Association first place award for his book The Sacraments and Consumer Culture (Liturgical Press, 2020) in the “sacraments” category.   

Professor Ilia Delio, OSF, was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Institute for Buddhist Studies to edit a book on "Technology and Presence: Searching for Meaning in a Digital Age." The project is in collaboration with Dr. Noreen Herzfeld of St. John's University MN.

The Center for Christogenesis, Delio’s online forum, received a $148, 769 grant from The Fetzer Institute for a multiyear podcast series on "A Hunger for Wholeness:  Public Dialogue Towards a Global Story Through the Vision of Teilhard de Chardin" in collaboration with the Dialog Institute of Temple University. 

Delio was elected as a Fellow of the International Society of Science and Religion – Cambridge.

Professor Massimo Faggioli received the 2021 Catholic Media Association first place award for his book The Liminal Papacy of Pope Francis (Orbis Books, 2020) in the “Pope Francis” category.   

Nathaniel Grimes, doctoral candidate, received a 2021 Graduate Summer Research Fellowship for his paper “Through Roots and Binds: The Essence of Policing in Simone Weil.”

Céire Kealty, doctoral candidate, received a 2022 Graduate Summer Research Fellowship for her project "Threading Presence." Céire’s summer research will focus on how garments function as extensions of the body, and how theoretical and theological understandings of the body shape understandings of dress and their function. She will devote attention to works across the disciplines of fashion theory, theology, and phenomenology. Her work will directly contribute to the first chapter of her dissertation.

Bill Kuncken, doctoral student, is the 2021 winner of the American Catholic Historical Society’s Rodger Van Allen Award for his essay, “Responding to the Green Light: Reactions to Laudato Si’ within the American Catholic Community.” Kuncken’s study exposes the obstacles to the deeper reception among American Catholics of the concern for environmental justice. 

Jacques Linder, doctoral candidate, has received a 2022 Graduate Summer Research Fellowship for his project "An Other Security: Plowshares, PAX, and Pax Christi USA." He will aim to investigate different faith-based activist groups’ (Kings Bay’s Plowshares 7, Pax Christi USA, and PAX/ICAN) understandings of “security” that oppose the nuclear state’s justification of holding nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Linder will pay particular attention to how such notions of security, in a world free from nuclear weapons, rely on a mutual trust and relationship with “Others” and does not rely on threats of use.

In April 2022, Linder was named as Assistant Editor the Political Theology Journal.

Professor Vincent Lloyd was named the inaugural director of Villanova’s Center for Political Theology. Lloyd was a key leader in building the Political Theology Network, a national organization that connects scholars, community leaders and activists who are interested in promoting interdisciplinary study of religion and politics. More.

Andre Price, doctoral candidate, will be spending the Fall 2022 semester at the Collegeville Institute in Collegeville, Minnesota, as a Bishop Thomas Hoyt Fellow. The fellowship will provide Price, who also serves as senior pastor at Mount Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, an opportunity to work on his dissertation, titled “God of our Weary Years,” and engage with other theological scholars from diverse backgrounds in research, community and prayer. More.

Ailie Posillico, doctoral student, was granted a 2021 Graduate Summer Research Fellowship for her research paper titled, “‘Perverted Groups’ in Henry Suso’s The Life of the Servant.

Tekoa Robinson, doctoral student, was selected for the Mercersburg Theological Society Roth Prize. Robinson will present "Bridging the Socio-Political Chasm of Communication: The Existential Implications of the Theological Work of John Williamson Nevin and Søren Kierkegaard" and will be published in The New Mercersburg Review journal.

Perdian Tumanan, doctoral student, was the recipient of the three best papers award submitted at the 2022 “Lumen et Vita” conference at Boston College in March 2022, for his paper “Reclaiming the Agency of Nature in Modern Technological Advancement and Ecological Apocalypse.”

Trevor Williams, doctoral student, received the Susan G. Perry Award for the Best Student Essay by The College Theology Society for his essay, "Trinitarian Animality." More.

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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 theologians.

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