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Bradford Hinze

Bradford Hinze is the Karl Rahner, SJ Professor of Theology

Karl Rahner, SJ Professor of Theology

General Information

Department of Theology
Rose Hill Campus
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, New York 10458



Brad Hinze was introduced to theology in college through the writings of Thomas Aquinas on human nature and grace, natural law and the new law, and the natural and supernatural virtues, and through classic texts in Western mystical theology, and Thomas Merton’s writings, and subsequently through the work of neo-Thomists Bernard Lonergan, Edward Schillebeeckx, and Karl Rahner. In graduate school he studied hermeneutics and critical theories with David Tracy and Paul Ricoeur. He has long been interested in issues pertaining to disputed doctrinal issues, doctrinal development, and ecclesial reform, which led to his exploration of the role of rhetoric and narratives in theories of doctrine in Narrating History, Developing Doctrine: Friedrich Schleiermacher and Johann Sebastian Drey (1993), and in various published articles on related issues raised by 19th and 20th century theologians.

After graduate school, Hinze concentrated on contentious issues in hermeneutics, critical theory, and the role of praxis among proponents of contrasting theological methods; he also explored recent trends in pneumatology, Christology, and Trinitarian theology; and he pursued these research areas with an eye on their impact on ecclesiology, theories of doctrinal development, and programs of church reform. These interests gave rise to a research project dedicated to describing and analyzing the use of dialogical methods of communal discernment in the church in the aftermath of the Vatican II. The findings, Practices of Dialogue in the Roman Catholic Church: Aims and Obstacles, Lessons and Laments (2006), worked at the intersection of systematic theology, historical inquiry, and practical theology.

His forthcoming book, Prophetic Obedience: Ecclesiology for a Dialogical Church, retrieves and further advances a theology of the prophetic people of God. This project explores the dawn of a prophetic people of God ecclesiology and its eclipse occasioned by the ascendance of the official communion ecclesiology. These shifts are tracked during the history of the contested reception of Vatican II over the past fifty years as revealed in papal and curial documents and as manifested in practices in the local church in the Archdiocese of New York. The book offers a constructive argument about the basic features of prophetic discipleship and the prophetic mission of the church as introduced at Vatican II. Special attention is given to the role of lamentations in prophetic discourse and the particular summons to prophetic obedience in terms of heeding, receiving, and responding to the voice of the Spirit of God in human aspirations and laments in the church and in society and in the wailing of a wounded world. This prophetic style of discipleship and mission advances radical forms of synodality and conciliarity in the local church and of grassroots democracy in civil society with people of other faiths and worldviews.

Hinze has served as president of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology and the College Theology Society, and he is currently the president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.


BA Philosophy, The College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota
MA Catholic University of America
PhD The University of Chicago

Research Interests

Hinze’s current research focuses on the role of conflict, dissent, and reclaiming the giftedness of precarious lives in agonistic practices of synodality and democracy. This research intersects with Pope Francis’s program of decentralization in the church and the promotion of a more open approach to the synod of bishops, episcopal conferences, and diocesan and parish participatory church structures. This work converges with a resurgence in attention to the local people of God and the sense of the faithful, especially in light of issues pertaining to transgenerational poverty, racism, and colonialism, and the advancement of economic democracy and worker cooperatives.


Recent Publications

“The Dissent of the Faithful in the Catholic Church,” in Horizons 45 (2018) 128-132

Beyond Dogmatism and Innocence: Hermeneutics, Critique, and Catholic Theology. Eds. Bradford E. Hinze and Anthony J. Godzieba. Liturgical Press, 2017.

Learning from All the Faithful: A Contemporary Theology of the Sensus Fidei, Eds. Bradford E. Hinze and Peter Phan. Pickwick Publications, 2016.

Prophetic Obedience: Ecclesiology for a Dialogical Church (Orbis Books, 2016).

"Decolonizing Everyday Practices: Sites of Struggle in Church and Society," Catholic Theological Society of America Proceedings 71 (2016) 46-61.

“Vatican II and U.S. Catholic Communities Promoting Grassroots Democracy,” The Legacy of the Second Vatican Council. Eds. Massimo Faggioli and Andrea Vicini. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2015.  Pp. 152-184.

“Precarious Life, Laments, and the Promise of Prophetic Ecumenical and Interfaith Communities,” Where We Dwell in Common: The Quest for Dialogue in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Gerard Mannion. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

“Practices of Dialogue: Ecclesiology and Practical Theology,” Invitations to Practical Theology: Catholic Voices and Visions.  Ed. Claire E. Wolfteich.  New York/Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2014. Pp. 234-252.

“Talking Back, Acting Up: Wrestling with Spirits in Social Bodies,” Interdisciplinary and Religio-Cultural Discourses on a Spirit-Filled World: Loosing the Spirits. Eds. Kirsteen Kim, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, and Amos Yong. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Pp. 155-170.

“The Prophetic Mission of the Local Church: Community Organizing as a School for the Social Imaginary,” Ecclesiology and Exclusion: Boundaries of Being and Belonging in Postmodern Times, eds. Dennis M. Doyle, Timothy J. Furry, Pascal D. Bazzell. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2012. Pp. 221-238)