Besl Family Chair for Ethics/Religion and Society
Peter A. Huff
Peter A. Huff has held the Besl Family Chair in Ethics/Religion and Society since 2010. He also holds the T. L. James Chair in Religious Studies at Centenary College of Louisiana. Dr. Huff began his teaching career at the University of Puget Sound and taught for six years at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, where he was chair of the Theology Department and founding director of the interdisciplinary Catholic Studies Program. In 2007, he was a resident scholar at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research (Saint John’s University, Minnesota).
Dr. Huff studied at Cleveland Institute of Music, Mercer University in Atlanta, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Indiana University before receiving the Ph.D. in historical theology from Saint Louis University. He served for a number of years in Baptist congregational ministry and Catholic campus ministry and is today a popular speaker in churches and commentator for print and electronic media. He entered the Catholic Church in 1987.
Dr. Huff has written extensively on the tension between classical forms of religious belief and practice and patterns of life and thought generated by the experience of modernity. He is a leading authority on fundamentalism and the antimodernist impulse in world religions. His books include Allen Tate and the Catholic Revival (Paulist Press), What Are They Saying About Fundamentalisms? (Paulist Press), Vatican II: Its Impact on You (Liguori Publications), The Voice of Vatican II: Words for Our Church Today (Liguori Publications), and two co-edited volumes: Knowledge and Belief in America (Cambridge University Press) and Tradition and Pluralism (University Press of America). His articles and reviews have appeared in journals and magazines such as Church History, Cross Currents, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Horizons, International Journal on World Peace, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Liguorian, New Oxford Review, Quaker History, Theological Studies, and The Unitarian Universalist Christian.
At Xavier, Dr. Huff regularly teaches courses in world religions, interreligious dialogue, and contemporary Christian intellectual life. He has designed and taught two new courses: an E/RS focus elective on C. S. Lewis and a theology elective on Mormonism. In 2011, he conducted an E/RS Lenten workshop on Pope Benedict XVI’s book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times. In 2012, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, he delivered an E/RS lecture on “Atheism and the Unfinished Business of Vatican II.”
Active in ecumenical and interfaith affairs, Dr. Huff has served as a board member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and has spoken at two meetings of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu and Phi Beta Kappa.