Heavy Hitters - Serious Academic Catholic Biblical Scholars


I am interested in the Bible, especially St Paul. But it seemed to me that most of the foremost biblical, scholars, such as Barclay, Wright, and Dunn, are not Catholic.

While modern Protestant biblical scholarship started in the 18th century, Catholic biblical scholarship only started in the 20th century, and was held back by the modernism crisis.

At present articles in Catholic scientific journals (e.g. CBQ) are not necessarily by Catholics, and some articles in non-Catholic journal’s are by orthodox Catholics.

In the past the foremost Catholic biblical scholars were Raymond Brown (and he was controversial), Joseph Fitzmyer and Roland E Murphy, and the contributors to* The New Jerome Biblical Commentary* were our foremost scholars. But there are now new scholars such as Caroline Osiek. Also Sacra Pagina has books by eminent Catholics, but are some of these a bit wobbly concerning Catholicism?

I raised a related issue before and contributors added Lucien Cerfaux and Frank Matera to scholars.

I am not really interested in popular writers, who do not add serious advances to our knowledge, such as (maybe) Scott Hahn.

So I would appreciate names, matching both criteria of academic and Catholic excellence, to add to a list



Dr. Hahn is yes a serious Academic Biblical Theologian.


*Lucien Cerfaux
Several Big 500 page books published in the 1950’s and 1960’s



The Navarre Bible Commentaries

The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture

Various Biblical Scholars contribute to both.


Pope Benedict XVI’s Weds Audiences


Himself likely the greatest Theologian alive.

And he draws from the fruitful knowledge of other Scholars in writing.


New up an coming…



Catholic Biblical Scholarship goes way back.

Different Centuries have known various approaches but Biblical Scholarship is not new.


Dr. Brant Pitre



Dr. Mary Healy



Just because Dr. Hahn is popular doesn’t mean he’s not also a serious biblical scholar. He is both, and I think he wears both hats remarkably well.

He’s got links to his academic articles on the St. Paul Center website:


I’ve long loved his article on which laws were “not good” as referenced in Ezekiel. It really helped me make sense of the Old Testament and why some Old Testament laws still apply while others don’t.

He founded the Letter & Spirit Journal precisely to be a place where Catholic academic biblical scholarship—faithful to the magisterium—can take place.

The St. Paul Center (which Hahn also founded) has the motto of biblical literacy for the laity, biblical fluency for the clergy. Hahn spends time working towards both goals. Of course, most of us are familiar primarily with his efforts aimed at the laity (such as through his Doubleday books or his Bible study program). But he’s working on the scholarly plane as well.


I have Dr. Hahn’s CD Bible Study set on Romans, Hebrews, and Exodus. They are all excellent and definitely qualify as academic. In fact, they seem to be a recording of actual classes that he was teaching including questions from students. My only disappointment with them, is that the sound quality could be better.


Maybe I am not understanding your question, but why are you excluding the Church Fathers?

Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Augustine, etc.

PS. I give another vote for Hahn. :thumbsup:


If you have access to a local EWTN radio affiliate, you might listen to Dr. David Anders who frequently drops in and recommends various authors, as you say, including NT Wright.

If you haven’t already, I suggest you browse the documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on the Vatican Website or the EWTN document library. They rather allow than discourage reading non-Catholic authors, merely cautioning against reading anti-Catholic literature, like the Scofield Bible.

The commentaries of the Jewish Publication Society will set you back some money, but contain what is considered the best in Conservative Judaism (if I’m not mistaken), and you will find more Jewish classics at www.artscroll.com.

You might want to do a quick google search for the recommended reading list by Fr. John Riccardo (arch. of Detroit). And, that list points to books from Ignatius Press, which you also might want to consult.

I don’t know if it’s still in publication, I never read here anybody recommend it, but there used to be a publication called The Bible Today with both articles and reviews of the flood of “serious academic” books that you might be looking for.


The Bible Today, here



Agree 100% I consider him to be the greatest living theologian. A brilliant mind.

And, as to the OP’s concern about avoiding popular scholars, each who lived in a former age was popular in that age. Rather difficult to remain obscure when one is cutting edge in any area of serious thought.


I agree with all who claim Josef Ratzinger (B XVI) is among the world’s greatest living theologians.

You wrote “Rather difficult to remain obscure when one is cutting edge”. I disagree, in advanced fields of scholarship the greatest experts may be unknown outside academe.


psalm90 #13
The Bible Today has some brilliant articles by the foremost Catholic biblical scholars, and deserves to be highly recommended.

But this thread is seeking names of modern, Catholic, biblical scholars.


Dr. Mary Healy shms.edu/content/dr-mary-healy



Dennis Hamm, SJ (PhD, St. Louis University), is professor of New Testament and Graff Chair in Catholic Theological Studies at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he has taught Scripture for over thirty-five years. He is the author of several books and numerous articles.

Mary Healy (STD, Pontifical Gregorian University) is associate professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and senior fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. She is the author of Men and Women Are from Eden and coeditor of several books on biblical interpretation.

Daniel Keating (DPhil, University of Oxford) is associate professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. He is the author or coeditor of several books, including The Appropriation of Divine Life in Cyril of Alexandria, The Theology of Cyril of Alexandria, Aquinas on Doctrine, and Aquinas on Scripture.

William S. Kurz, SJ (PhD, Yale University), is professor of New Testament at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he has taught for more than thirty-five years. He is the author of numerous books, including Reading Luke-Acts: Dynamics of Biblical Narrative.

Francis Martin (SSD, Pontifical Biblical Institute), a renowned Scripture scholar, is founder and president of Father Francis Martin Ministries (FFMM). He is professor emeritus of New Testament at the Dominican House of Studies, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, and chaplain of the Mother of God Community in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Curtis Mitch (MA, Franciscan University) is research fellow and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology in Ohio. He is the coauthor with Scott Hahn of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible.

George T. Montague, SM (STD, University of Fribourg), is professor of New Testament at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Understanding the Bible. In 1995 he began a new religious community in the Marianist family, the Brothers of the Beloved Disciple.

Edward Sri (STD, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome), provost and professor of theology and Scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver, is a founding leader with Curtis Martin of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and the author of several books on Scripture and the Catholic faith.

Thomas D. Stegman, SJ(PhD, Emory University), is associate professor of New Testament and professor ordinarius in the ecclesiastical faculty at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Character of Jesus: The Linchpin to Paul’s Argument in 2 Corinthians.

Peter S. Williamson (STD, Pontifical Gregorian University) holds the Adam Cardinal Maida Chair in Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of Catholic Principles for Interpreting Scripture and coeditor of John Paul II and the New Evangelization.

William M. Wright IV (PhD, Emory University) is associate professor of theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is the author of Rhetoric and Theology: Figural Reading of John 9.




I look at EWTN on TV periodically, but do not get much from it. I agree that the Ignatius Press is excellent.

Publications of the PBC need to be studied carefully not browsed. You might like to look at catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/ .

I am not really interested in a Jewish interpretation of the Bible, although Jacob Neusner understands the Catholic approach to the Bible.

*[Documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission:
“The Inspiration and Truth of Sacred Scripture” (Feb. 22, 2014)
Available in the USA through The Liturgical Press.
“The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” (April 15, 1993) - one large file, or several smaller files for faster download
Published in Origins 23.29 (Jan. 6, 1994) 497-524; another online copy available at the EWTN Library]


From the Catholic Scholars at the University of Navarre



**Bookcat **
Again, thanks for a brilliant constructive post, answering my concerns. Most replies here do not answer my request for names of modern Catholic biblical scholars. The list you give is very helpful, even if restricted to scholars working in the US.

You mention Mary Healy, now she is up there with the best of the Heavy Hitters. I do not want to praise her very highly here, as she has contributed to this thread, but she is at the top of the class.

However you mention Fr Montague. I regret to write that I was very disappointed with his book* First and Second Timothy, Titus*. Amazon considers it a pastoral commentary, this may be code for a non-scholarly inaccurate book.

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