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Theology Professor to Present on Catholic Modernist at Petersheim  

Excommunicated as a modernist in 1908 – and now, the subject of a new book by one of Seton Hall's esteemed theology professors.

Jeffrey MorrowImmaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology will present a lecture by Jeffrey L. Morrow, associate professor and chair of the Undergraduate Theology Department, on Thursday, April 4, at 3 p.m. The presentation, part of the Petersheim Academic Exposition, will be held in the Chapel of Christ the Good Shepherd in Lewis Hall. Morrow will discuss his book Alfred Loisy and Modern Biblical Studies. A light reception will follow, at which time he will sign copies of his book.

Registration is encouraged. Please e-mail Theresa Miller at

In his book, Morrow examines Alfred Loisy's early work in biblical studies within the context of Loisy's training and scholarship in Assyriology, the discipline of study that examines ancient Mesopotamia. Loisy was a highly skilled Assyriologist who brought the comparative approach to studying Mesopotamian history and literature to his study of the Bible. Morrow's research shows how fundamental Loisy's Assyriological and Old Testament scholarship was for his later work on the New Testament and the development of doctrine that eventually caused much controversy. The book further shows the way in which the conflict over Loisy's work helped pave the way for the Second Vatican Council.

"Although almost forgotten today, the controversies over Loisy help shed light on contemporary Catholic debates about proper biblical interpretation, and also help us better appreciate the history that led to Vatican II, a watershed event in the life of the Church," says Morrow.

Image of Alfred Loisy and Modern Biblical Studies book cover, written by Jeffrey Morrow.Jeffrey Morrow teaches a wide range of courses in Catholic Theology at the School of Theology, including "The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI," "The Theology of the Old Testament," "The Eucharist," and "Ecclesiology." His research focuses on the history of biblical interpretation and theological exegesis. He is particularly interested in the union between Catholic theology and Catholic biblical scholarship. The bulk of his current research pertains to the early modern and enlightenment political background to the rise of the historical critical method for studying the Bible in the university. He also is interested in traditional forms of Jewish and Christian biblical exegesis, and especially the important role the liturgy plays in developing a sacramental hermeneutic. He serves as a Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and is an active member of La Société Internationale d'Études sur Alfred Loisy, the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature and the College Theology Society, among other professional organizations. In addition to Alfred Loisy and Modern Biblical Studies, he has authored Three Skeptics and the Bible (2016) and Theology, Politics and Exegesis (2017).

Immaculate Conception Seminary is a House of Formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood and the School of Theology of Seton Hall University. Forming priests for God's people has remained the Seminary's constant focus, and the Seminary faculty – well-educated authors and scholars in their own fields – devote their time and energy to preparing these men for priesthood in the 21st century. The School also focuses on the education of lay men and women in theology, permanent deacons, religious who are not studying for ordination, and already-ordained priests – not only providing for them academically, but also for their personal, pastoral and spiritual formation. Students and the Seminary community at large are invited to take part in many of the Seminary's events, which provide an opportunity for prayerful reflection and spiritual growth and enable attendees to better respond to an increasingly secular society with the wisdom of the Church.

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For more information, please contact:

  • Theresa Miller
  • (973) 761-9575