Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

Faculty & Staff Directory

Michael Patrick Murphy, PhD

Title/s:  Director, Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage
Senior Lecturer

Office #:  Cuneo Hall 430

Phone: 773.508.3822


CV Link: Michael P. Murphy CV


Michael Murphy is Director of Loyola’s Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.  He earned his doctorate in Theology, Literature, and Philosophy from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, an MA in English from San Francisco State University, and undergraduate degrees in English and Great Books from the University of San Francisco. His research interests are in Theology and Literature, Sacramental Theology, and the socio-political cultures of Catholicism, but he also writes about issues in eco-theology and social ethics. Dr. Murphy, a Senior Lecturer in the Theology Department, is a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow. His first book, A Theology of Criticism (Oxford), was named a "Distinguished Publication" in 2008 by the American Academy of Religion. His current scholarly project is a monograph, The Human Realists: Catholic Fiction, Poetry, and Film 1965 - 2015. 

Program Areas

Catholic Studies
Theology and Literature
Sacramental Theology
Ignatian Spirituality and Pedagogy

Research Interests

Mike’s work explores the idea that the Catholic intellectual tradition is not only an essential resource for content, but is also one with a deeply ingrained interdisciplinary method as well. With this theoretical framework in mind, Mike engages the following fields and subfields as projects in constructive, integral theology: ​

Theological Aesthetics/Hans Urs von Balthasar
The Catholic Literary Tradition
The Literary and Political Cultures of Catholicism
Religion and Mimetic Theory
Systematic Theology (Christology, Trinitarian Theology)
Sacramental Theology
Christian Spirituality

Selected Publications

“Childhood and the Terrain of Transformation: A Tale of Two O’Connors” in Living Life to the Full: Literature and a Catholic Philosophy of Life, David Torevell, ed., Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2021. 

“‘for flesh to make known’: Poetry as an Act of Faith” volume introduction to this need to dance/this need to kneel: Denise Levertov and the Poetics of Faith, M. Murphy and M. Bradshaw, eds., Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2019. 

“Fragile Beauty: Tension and Transcendence in Denise Levertov’s Eco-Theological Poetics” in this need to dance/this need to kneel: Denise Levertov and the Poetics of Faith, M. Murphy and M. Bradshaw, eds., Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2019.

“Breaking Bodies: Flannery O’Connor and the Aesthetics of Consecration” in Revelation & Convergence: Flannery O’Connor and Her Catholic Heritage, M. Bosco and B. Little, eds., Washington DC: Catholic University Press, Forthcoming, 2016.

“Shame and the Signs of Hope: Encyclical as Examen,” Conversations Magazine, Fall 2016.

“Tantum Ergo: Fury Destroys the World” a theological introduction to the reissue of Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World, Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2016.

“Swipe left: A Theology of Tinder and Digital Dating,” America, 8/17/15.

“Suspicious Minds: The Spirituality of the Postmodern Nones,” America, 2/24/14.

“Hanging (onto) Words: Language, Religion and Spirituality in The Handmaid’s Tale” in Critical Insights: Margaret Atwood. New York: Ebsco/Salem Press,  2012.

A Theology of Criticism: Balthasar, Postmodernism, and the Catholic Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.