Jack McGrath

Assistant Professor
Full-Time Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: Religious Studies

Profile

After a B.A. in philosophy at UD in 1957 Dr. McGrath pursued an M.A. in American History at The Ohio State University in Columbus (1962). Since Dr. McGrath is a Marianist and a priest he followed the theology program of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland where he was granted an S.T.L. in 1966. Further graduate studies at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands where he studied systematic theology under Dr. Edward Schillebeeckx resulted in the degree of Dr. in theology (1968). After some years of administration in the Society of Mary, Dr. McGrath enrolled in the Institute for Christian Thought at the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto. His dissertation on Historical Christianity: The Contribution of Baron Friedrich von Hügel to the Controversy over History and Dogma (1902-1905) was approved and the Ph.D. was granted in 1979. Further work at an administrative post in the Society of Mary was completed and Dr. McGrath began full time teaching at UD in 1987.

Dr. McGrath has been especially involved in the development of the undergraduate curriculum in Religious Studies, the development of the Ph.D. program in theology, the development of the cluster in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, and the Forum on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition Today.

He is a member of the College Theology Society, the Catholic Theological Society of America, the American Catholic Historical Association and the American Academy of Religion. He currently serves as the University Professor of Faith and Culture.

Faculty Perspective

Working at UD gives me a great sense of satisfaction and pleasure for several reasons. Working with students in the process of making life decisions and assisting them from the point of view of opening avenues to reality, truth, values and the human needs around us is a unique role in society. And to be doing such work with competent, human and energetic colleagues broadens the sense of a community in action. And my years at UD as a student and teacher convince me that this complex Catholic and Marianist institution is committed to the same goals. I like furthering those goals.

A favorite activity of mine since its inception in 1991 is the Forum on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition Today. The committee of this Forum aims to foster conversation across the campus and across the disciplines concerning the interaction of living Catholic tradition and the ideas and issues which preoccupy teachers and students in all the schools. The events and the conversations have been many and they help make UD the distinctive community it is.

I've recently written a short book outlining the history of Catholic theology over the past two hundred years because there are very few such works, but more importantly, a grasp of movements, events and people in those years shed such light on contemporary Catholicism.

My background in Roman Catholic Modernism prompted me to study the origins of the first Marianist seminary, established in Paris in 1897 just as theologians were pursuing modern literary and historical methods and Church leaders were looking for ways to cope with the French government's campaign to remove religion from education. My sabbatical provided me with some months of pleasurable research in the Marianist archives in Paris, Bordeaux and Rome.

Degrees

  • Ph.D. University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, 1979

Research Interests

  • Roman Catholic Modernism
  • United States Catholicism
  • Historical Theology
  • Modern Catholicism
  • Development of Doctrine
  • Vatican II
  • Society of Mary

Selected Publications

Historical Christianity: The Contribution of Baron Friedrich von Hügel to the Controversy over History and Dogma (1902-1905). Niagara Falls: Edwin Mellon Press, 1994.

Reading the Signs of the Times, Speaking to a Changing World. An Overview of Catholic Theology from 1800 to 2000. Madrid: AGSM, 2003.