Father Joseph Lienhard, S.J.

Father Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., a native of the Bronx, has been a member of the Jesuit order since 1958.

He holds a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Freiburg in Germany.  From 1975 to 1990 he taught at Marquette University in Milwaukee; since 1990 he has been Professor of Theology at Fordham University.  He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Dogma at St. Josephs Seminary, Dunwoodie (New York). Father Lienhard has held visiting chairs at John Carroll University in Cleveland (1992) and at Boston College (1999-2000), and has been visiting professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University, in Rome (Fall 2007).

In 1999-2000, he served as President of the North American Patristics Society. In 2010 he was elected vice-president of the Academy of Catholic Theology. His area of specialization is patristics, or the study of the Fathers of the Church, with special interest in Origen, Augustine, and the history of exegesis.

Father Lienhard is the author, editor, or translator of twelve books, and the author of more than eighty articles.  Among his books are The Bible, the Church, and Authority: The Canon of the Christian Bible in History and Theology (1995), and the volume Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (2001) in the series Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, published by InterVarsity Press. The last has also been published in Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian translations. In 2009, he published 36 of Pope Benedict XVI’s cathecheses as The Fathers of the Church: From Clement of Rome to Augustine of Hippo.

Curriculum Vitae

Significant Dates

May 7, 1940: born, in New York City

1958: entered the Society of Jesus

1971: ordained to the Catholic priesthood

Higher Education

1958-1962: Bellarmine College, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

1962-1965: Loyola Seminary, Shrub Oak, N.Y.

1968-1971: Woodstock College, Woodstock, Md. and New York, N.Y.

1971-1974: Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat, Mainz (Germany)

1974-1975: Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat, Freiburg i. Br. (Germany)


A.B., classics, Fordham University (1964)

Ph.L., magna cum laude, Woodstock College (1965)

M.A., classics, Fordham University (1966)

B.D., “with highest distinction,” Woodstock College (1971)

S.T.M., Woodstock College (1971)

Dr. theol., University of Freiburg (1975); dissertation summa cum laude, degree granted summa cum laude

Dr. theol. habil., University of Freiburg (1986)

Professional Positions

1965-1968: teacher of Latin and religion, Regis High School, New York City

1972-1974: wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Mainz

1974-1975: wissenschaftlicher Angestellter, Freiburg

1975-1980: assistant professor of theology, Marquette University, Milwaukee

1980-1987: associate professor of theology, Marquette University

1987-1990: professor of theology, Marquette University

1990-present: professor of theology, Fordham University

Fall 1992: holder of Walter and Mary Tuohy Chair of Interreligious Studies, John Carroll University, Cleveland

1992-1995: chairman, Department of Theology, Fordham University

1996-1999: associate chairman for graduate studies, Department of Theology, Fordham University

1999-2000: Joseph Gregory McCarthy Visiting Professor of Theology, Boston College

Spring 2001: visiting scholar at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie

Fall 2001-present : adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie

Memberships in Learned Societies

American Society of Church History (l975-present )

Association internationale d’ etudes patristiques (1980-present)

Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (1993-97)

Catholic Theological Society of America (1976-97)

North American Patristics Society (1975-present)

Other Positions

1981-1991: served as editorial consultant, Theological Studies

1987: elected to a four-year term on the Council of the Association internationale d’ etudes patristiques; reelected 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003

1988: elected to a three-year term on the Board of Trustees, John Carroll University; reelected 1991

1989: appointed to the Advisory Board, Augustinian Studies

1990: received Lawrence G. Haggerty Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, Marquette University

1991-1992: served as editorial consultant, Thought, Fordham University

1993-2001: editor of the Patristic Monograph Series sponsored by the North American Patristics Society

1997: appointed managing editor, Traditio, Fordham University

1997: appointed to the editorial board of “Fathers of the Church,” The Catholic University of America Press

1998: elected vice-president, North American Patristics Society

1999: won Teacher of the Year Award, Graduate Students’ Association, Fordham University

2000-2001: president, North American Patristics Society

Named Lectures

1995: delivered the Saint Augustine Lecture, Villanova University: “Reading the Bible and Learning to Read: The Influence of Education on St. Augustine’s Exegesis”

1999: delivered the Saint Joseph Lecture, St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia): “St. Joseph in Early Christianity: Devotion and Theology”

2004: delivered the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Lecture, Byzantine Catholic Seminary (Pittsburgh): “The Plagues of Egypt, Spiritual Interpretation, and the Old Testament in the Church”


1977: Kuratorium der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft in Freiburg im Breisgau; DM 1500 subsidy for the publication of the dissertation

1984: Alexander von Humbolt-Stiftung, Bonn; research fellowship for twelve months of private study at the seminar for Church history, section for ancient Church history and patristics, University of Freiburg (ca. $15,000)

1986: Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn: grant for two months in Germany to complete the Habilitation (DM 4000)

1987: American Council of Learned Societies; $500 for travel to the Tenth International Conference on Patristic Studies in Oxford

1988-89: (with Roland J. Teske and Earl C. Muller): Marquette University, Religious Commitment Fund: $8,800 to support a conference on St. Augustine at Marquette University, held in November of 1990

1989: Marquette University, Religious Commitment Fund: $4000 for release from undergraduate teaching for one semester to revise a book manuscript on Marcellus of Ancyra

Dissertations Directed

At Marquette University:

Maurice Fred Himmerich, “Deification in John of Damascus” (1985).

Mary Jane Kreidler, “The Pastoral Theology of Augustine of Hippo as Found in His Letters” (1987).

Melvin E. Lawrenz, “The Christology of John Chrysostom” (1987).  Published under the same title: Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen University Press, 1996.

Lee F. Bacchi, “The Theology of Ordained Ministry in the Letters of Augustine of Hippo” (1990).  Published under the same title: San Francisco: International Scholars Publications, 1998.

John K. Mackett, “Eusebius of Caesarea’s Theology of the Holy Spirit” (1990).

John M.  Norris, “The Theological Structure of St. Augustine’s Exegesis in His Tractatus in Iohannis Euangelium” (1990).

David M. Schimpf, “Bible, Christ, and Human Beings: The Theological Unity of St. Augustine’s Confessions”  (1994).

At Fordham University:

Thomas S. Ferguson, “Visita Nos: A Literary, Historical, and Theological Examination of the Psalm Collects of the Africana Series” (1992).  Published under the title Visita nos: Reception, Rhetoric, and Prayer in a North African Monastery.  American University Studies, series VII, vol. 203.  New York: Peter Lang, 1999.

Theodor Damian, “The Icons: Theological and Spiritual Dimensions according to St. Theodore of Studion” (1993).  Published under the title Theological and Spiritual Dimensions of Icons according to St. Thedore of Studion.  Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002.

Colleen Hoffman Gowans, “The Identity of the True Believer in the Sermons of Augustine of Hippo: A Dimension of His Christian Anthropology” (1996).  Published under the same title: Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998.

Heshmat Fawzy Keroloss, “Virginity in the Early Church: The Meaning and the Motives of Sexual Renunciation in the First Four Centuries” (1996).

Stephen Marc Hildebrand, “Linguistic Achievement and Scriptural Exegesis in the Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea” (2002).

Ronnie J. Rombs, “Augustine on the Origin of the Soul and Solidarity with Adam: In Dialogue with Robert J. O’Connell” (2003).

Mark G. Vaillancourt, “The Role of Guitmund of Aversa in the Developing Theology of the Eucharist” (2004).