Engineers, biologists and business analysts on campus don’t pursue their disciplines without reference to the real world. Neither do Villanova’s theologians.
Religious beliefs shape—and are shaped by—people, events and eras. To do their work, then, faculty in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies approach Christianity not as a set of abstractions but as a “lived experience” in a particular time and place.
“If we don’t relate our faith tradition to contemporary life, theology has no impact on people’s minds and hearts,” says Peter Spitaler, ThD, associate professor and department chair.
At the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, the department has re-emphasized the Augustinian mantra of “faith engaging culture.” Theology can and should interact with current thinking in science, the liberal arts and other areas of inquiry in the common pursuit of truth.
“Augustine was involved in the social political and theological movements of his day, and he wanted people to dialogue about them,” says Barbara Wall, PhD, vice president for Mission and Ministry.
Three theologians famed for carrying on such dialogues recently joined the department’s distinguished faculty. They are quoted in the media, popular speakers and prolific writers. These scholars enrich intellectual life and amplify Villanova’s voice in the public square. Stories of their journeys and interests are offered here.