Humanities Faculty Mentors

Jesse Couenhoven, Ph.D.

Yale University, 2004
Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions
Office: SAC 477; Phone: (610) 519-6149

Dr. Couenhoven's teaching covers a wide range of issues in ethics, theology, and philosophy, with a side interest in psychology. His recent publications have focused on the thought of St. Augustine, especially in his anti-Pelagian period, but he is a student of high medieval, Reformation, and late modern philosophical theology as well. His research interests include the topics of free will, personal responsibility, theories of punishment, doctrines of grace, predestination, forgiveness, and ethical theory (natural law, deontology, virtue ethics).

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Kevin L. Hughes, Ph.D.

University of Chicago Divinity School, 1997
Chair, Department of Humanities
Associate Professor, Departments of Theology & Religious Studies and Humanities
SAC 304; Phone: 610-519-4728

Dr. Hughes is an historical theologian by training, interested in the wide range of questions that arise in relation to Christian revelation, from spirituality to doctrine to biblical interpretation.   His first book, Church History: Faith Handed On (Loyola Press, 2000) is a short introduction to the history of Catholic faith and practice designed for the non-specialist reader. His second monograph, Constructing Antichrist: Paul, Biblical Commentary, and the Development of Doctrine in the Early Middle Ages, looks at apocalyptic thought as it develops in the Latin tradition of biblical interpretation.  He writes on the Franciscan tradition and is currently writing about Saint Bonaventure and Dante’s Divine Comedy. He teaches courses in the Theology and Humanities departments, Dante and Theology, Medieval theology and culture, and contemporary interreligious dialogue and practice. 

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Eugene McCarraher, Ph.D.

Rutgers University, 1995
Assistant Professor of Humanities
Office: SAC 475; Phone: 610-519-4796

Dr. McCarraher's research interests include culture, religion, intellectual life, and economics in 20th-century America.  His teaching interests embrace the relations of economics, culture, and religion; the intersection of politics and literature; the history of radical and utopian movements; and the cultural and intellectual history of modern America.  He is the author of Christian Critics:  Religion and the Impasse in Modern American Social Thought (Cornell University Press, 2000).  In addition to publishing scholarly articles in history and theology journals, he has contributed numerous essays and reviews to Books and Culture, Commonweal, Dissent, In These Times, the Nation, the Hedgehog Review, and the Chicago Tribune.  He is completing a cultural history of corporate capitalism in the United States, tentatively entitled The Enchantments of Mammon:  Capitalism and the Moral Imagination.

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Anna Bonta Moreland, Ph.D.

Boston College, 2006
Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities
Office: SAC 478; Phone: 610-519-6943

Dr. Moreland is systematic theologian by training.  She has written on Thomas Aquinas and is now writing in the area of the theology of religious pluralism.  Her publications include KNOWN BY NATURE: THOMAS AQUINAS ON NATURAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (Herder & Herder, 2010), and NEW VOICES IN CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, Anna Moreland and Joseph Curran, eds. (Herder & Herder, forthcoming).  She teaches courses in the Augustine and Culture Seminar, the rise of modern atheism, interreligious dialogue, and the theology of Thomas Aquinas. 

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D. C. Schindler, Ph.D.

The Catholic University of America, 2001
Please contact the Humanities Department for contact information.

Dr. Schindler has a broad interest in the history of philosophy, particularly in ancient Greek, classical German, and twentieth-century Catholic philosophy. His research interests include the nature of reason and the will, and he is currently working on the concept of freedom in German philosophy as an alternative to conventional notions in the Anglo-American tradition. His teaching has recently focused on the philosophy of beauty and love, and he is happy to work with students who wish to explore questions in philosophical anthropology, metaphysics, or the philosophy of religion.

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Jeanne Schindler, Ph.D.

University of Notre Dame, 2000
Please contact the Humanities Department for contact information.

Dr. Schindler's professional and research interests include Christian political thought, democratic theory, virtue ethics, and faith and learning.

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Thomas W. Smith, Ph.D.

University of Notre Dame, 1993
Director, University Honors Program
Associate Professor, Political Science
Office: Garey 113; Phone: 610-519-7300

Dr. Smith’s teaching interests center on the history of political thought in the west (with a special emphasis on classical, medieval, and early modern political philosophy) and religion and politics. His current research takes issue with libertarian and post-modern accounts of human life that argue that reason is not capable of ordering complex human actions in a way that works towards the common good. Smith seeks a more expansive conception of political life that defends the dignity of politics, and acknowledges its two-fold task: ordering complex systems of human action through practical wisdom, and moderating the tendency of those attracted to public life to work for their own honor rather than the common good.

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Helena M. Tomko, Ph.D.

Oxford University, 2002
Assistant Professor of Literature
Office: SAC 473; Phone: 610-519-3911

Dr. Helena Tomko studies early twentieth-century German literature, in particular Catholic writing.  Her book Sacramental Realism: Gertrud von le Fort and German Catholic Literature in the Weimar Republic and Third Reich was published in 2007.  Her current academic work concerns the literary "inner emigration" during the Third Reich and the influence of interwar Catholic thought on the post-1945 generation of German novelists.  She is interested more broadly in the intersection of religion and literature, in particular the comparative development of the modern Catholic novel.   She teaches courses in the Department of Humanities on the Catholic novel; the modern myths of Faust and Frankenstein; and the question of how reality is represented in fiction.  She also teaches both ancient and modern ACS seminars, as well as the Honors Core Literature and Writing Seminar, Beauty.

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Michael Tomko, M.Phil, Ph.D.

MPhil (University of Oxford, 1999)
Ph.D. (University of Notre Dame, 2005)

Associate Professor of Literature, Department of Humanities
Book Review editor, Religion & Literature
Office: SAC 474; Phone: 610-519-3017

Dr. Michael Tomko studies the intersection of literature with religion and cultural history.  Reflected in his book British Romanticism and the Catholic Question (2011), his own scholarship primarily investigates how British Romantic Literature (including authors such as William Wordsworth, P.B. Shelley, John Keats, Walter Scott and others), registered and transformed the sweeping social, religious, and philosophical challenges following the French Revolution.  His interest in religion and literature and in artistic treatments of humanity’s search for meaning and transcendence takes him well beyond this historical time period and set of texts.  He has co-edited an anthology of English Catholic spiritual writing titled Firmly I Believe and Truly (2011), and his forthcoming book Beyond the Willing Suspension of Disbelief (2015) looks at authors that range from Shakespeare, Coleridge and Wendell Berry to consider whether a better theological understanding of faith can help us become better readers and critics of literature.  He has taught Honors courses on British Romanticism, the Inklings (C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien), ACS Moderns, and the sophomore literature and writing seminar on Beauty.  He would happily mentor students interested in 19th-century British literature, fantasy and children’s literature, or any topic pursuing the connection of art and theology.

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James Matthew Wilson, M.F.A., Ph.D.

University of Notre Dame, M.F.A., 2005/Ph.D., 2006
Assistant Professor of Literature
Office: SAC 304; Phone: 610-519-4634

James Matthew Wilson studies the relation of philosophical-theology, Catholicism, and the arts, with particular interests in St. Thomas Aquinas, the nature of Beauty, and modern poetry.  Among his published works are essays on the modern poet-critic T.S. Eliot and the French neo-Thomist Jacques Maritain (on whom he is also completing a book); on modern and contemporary poets such as Yvor Winters, John Crowe Ransom, Anthony Hecht, Helen Pinkerton, and Timothy Steele; on the relation of story-telling and truth in Plato and the western tradition; and on modern Irish poetry, classical philosophy, and Irish Catholicism.  He also publishes, in a wide variety of journals and magazines, on modern culture, politics, ethics, education and economics.  He is also a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, with a particular interest in prosody (rhyme and meter); and is the author of a book of poems, Four Verse Letters (2010).

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Contact Us

Villanova University
Garey Hall 106
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4650
Fax: 610.519.5405