Emeriti Faculty

Fr. John Hilary Martin, OP

DSPT Emeritus Professor - Fr. Hilary Martin, OP

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology

Office Location: East 117
Phone: 510-883-2078


BA, St. Albert's College, MTh, STLr., St. Albert's College, MLitt, Oxford (St. Catherine's), PhD, UCLA.


There is no substitute for an honest intellectual conversation.

Fr. Hilary believes that the gift of the Gospel, which is the offer of salvation by Jesus Christ, is offered to all peoples in all places. Consequently his academic interests are two fold. The first is an interest in inter-religious dialogue and the impact of the Gospel in different cultures, and the second is an interest in the history of the Church. His research in the history of religions concerns how the mystery of God expresses itself through religious myth and ritual and historic revelation, and how that has shaped a religion's symbolic content. His interest in the history of the church specifically focuses on the way in which its values have penetrated and influenced Western and non-Western societies, especially communities of indigenous peoples who are often forgotten.

Fr. Hilary holds that honest and intelligent conversation between professor and student, and students among themselves, is the best form of communication and sets down the deepest roots. Fr. Hilary favors lecture in combination with discussion; through this method of teaching, his students gain sufficient content so that they transmit the Catholic religious tradition to others in a professional and pastoral manner. Through teaching, Fr. Hilary stirs up enthusiasm for intellectual inquiry and cultivates critical judgments in his students.

Courses Taught:

Research Interests:

Fr. Hilary is currently studying and working out the "fundamental narrative" (i.e., the basic symbolic history) found amid the myths and rituals of aboriginal communities of North Central Australia.

Select Publications:

  • "Trouble in Eden." New Blackfriars 1 (2009).
  • "The Ordination of Women and the Theologians in the Middle Ages." In A History of Women and Ordination, ed. Bernard Looke and Gary Macy. Lanham, Maryland, and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2002.
  • People from the Dawn. Antioch: Solis Press, 2001.
  • The Reality of Myth. Antioch: Solis Press, 2000.
  • "Australian Aboriginal Religion." In Teaching the Introductory Course in Religious Studies: A Sourcebook, ed. Mark Juergensmeyer. Atlanta: Scholar Press, 1991, p. 139-147.
  • "A Hierarchy of Values in Genesis: Can Religions Change." Pacifica: Australian Theological Studies (Feb. 1990).
  • "The Four Senses of Scripture: Lessons from the Thirteenth Century." Pacifica: Australian Theological Studies (Feb. 1989).
  • "Healing at Port Keats." Nelen Yubu 37 (Summer 1988/9).
  • "The Healing of the Lord." Compass: Theological Review (1988).