Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Christopher J. Renz, OP
Phone: 510-883-2084
Office Hours: By appointment
Office Location: West 04



PhD, Northwestern University

MA, Graduate Theological Union

MDiv, Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology 

BS, St. Peter's College

Christopher J. Renz, OP

Academic Dean, and Professor of Religion & the Arts and Science & Theology

My background as a scientist provides a lens through which I view all of my academic work in philosophy and theology. The net effect is that I am constantly asking myself questions such as, “How does this impact the human person in her or his everyday life?” or “How can this idea enhance one’s faith journey?” My goal is to understand not only the biology of the human body but also the “chemistry” of the human spirit. I believe that such "scientific exploration" augments our foundational approach here at DSPT in the interface between philosophy and theology.

Jacques Maritain, the well-known 20th century neo-Thomist philosopher, noted, “Left to the freedom of its spiritual nature, the intellect strives to engender in beauty.” I am interested to explore the ramifications of such a statement in three particular areas: poetry, Catholic culture, and Catholic worship. The ubiquitous quest for experiences of beauty has implications not only for individuals but also for society. By (re)engendering a capacity for mystery, wonder, and awe in each and every person, the Catholic Church will make a profound contribution to the new evangelization, and redirect the faithful to a life that participates more fully and consciously in the Pascal Mystery itself.

The last two decades have seen a significant expansion in research dedicated to exploring the role of spirituality and religious practice in patient health. My own interest in this field focuses on facilitating a conversation between medical experts, philosophers and theologians on the nature of the human person. While science can tell us about the human body, philosophy and theology are important to our understanding of the human person. In my current work on the national advisory board for the "Science for Seminaries" Project sponsored by the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) I find great delight and excitement in helping others discover creative ways to bring science into the seminary curriculum.

My hobbies include hiking, gardening, cooking and baking, choral singing, and genealogy.

As part of the religion and arts/sacred arts concentrations, DSPT is excited to announce an award from the John Templeton Foundation through John Carrol University (Ohio) to Fr. Chris Renz to develop and offer a course entitled "Liturgical Piety: Anthropological Foundations of Catholic Worship" which will be offered at DSPT in Spring 2017. Read more.

Current DSPT course information and syllabi
Course descriptions and information for all GTU member schools

Past courses taught by Chris Renz, OP:

Fall 2015
Poetry & Creative Intuition (PHRA-4310)

Spring 2012
Food: Does Local Really Matter? (SPST-4065)


In this Light Which Gives light: A History of the College of St. Albert the Great (1930-1980). Oakland, CA: Western Dominican Province, 2009.

Articles and Chapters

"Liturgy and Fine Arts on Campus in College Education: Blase Schauer, O.P. and the ‘Las Cruces Experiment'" in Dominicans on Mission: Selected Essays (River Forest, IL, forthcoming).

Liturgical Piety, Awe, and Beauty in a New Liturgical Movement," in Antiphon 9, n. 3 (Winter 2015): 284-309.

"Our Daily Bread: Practical Wisdom for Food Purchase & Consumption in a Global Market,"Angelicum 86 (2009): 215-237.

"Brookhurst: The Perry Legacy of Hospitality." Alameda County Historical Society Quarterly XXXIII, no. 4 (Oct 2007).

"Putting the Johannine Pericopes in Context: A Liturgical Approach to Preaching the Scrutinies." Catechumenate 22, no. 6 (November 2000): 20-30.

"Christian Education and the Confirmation Debate: Towards a Theology of Catechesis,"Journal of Christian Education 41, no. 1 (1998): 53-65.

Book Reviews

Timothy J. Demy and Gary P. Stewart, eds. Genetic Engineering: A Christian Response. Kregal Academic & Professional, 1999. CTNS Bulletin 21, no. 3 (Summer 2001): 27-29.
Suzanne Holland, Karen Labacqz, and Laurie Zoloth, eds. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001. CTNS Bulletin 21, no. 3 (Summer 2001): 25-27.


Poems have appeared in the following anthologies and journals:

Pilgrim: A Journal of Catholic Experience (

Oranges from Dominic’s Tree: Selected Poems by Dominican Friars, Sisters and Laity, Matthew Powell, ed. (Chicago: New Priory Press, 2014).

Review for Religious; Commonweal, and Cresset.

Papers and Invited Lectures

"Health, Spirituality, and Wellness: The God-factor in Human Wellness," given for the Annual St. Albert the Great Lecture, November 14, 2014 at the Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies, Providence College.

Research interests

Creative Intuition, Beauty and the Arts in Society and Catholic Culture

The Role of the Fine Arts in Catholic Liturgy and Liturgical Piety

Religion/Spirituality and Health Studies

Sustainable methods of food production and consumption versus industrialized agriculture

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