Prof. John E. Thiel, PhD, Named VP, President-Elect of American Theological Society

Prof. John E. Thiel, PhD, Named VP, President-Elect of American Theological Society

Princeton campus in spring

In recent decades, the American Theological Society has met in Princeton, N.J., during the springtime. Courtesy of Wesley J. Wildman, ATS.

A long-time professor of religious studies at Fairfield, Dr. Thiel will serve as president of the American Theological Society in 2023-24.

Professor John E. Thiel, PhD, of the Religious Studies Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected vice president and president-elect of the American Theological Society (ATS). Established in 1912, the ATS is the oldest theological society in North America. 

“The American Theological Society is the premier scholarly organization of its kind in the nation,” said Richard A. Greenwald, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Thiel’s election by his peers to the highest post in the organization is a true testament to his stature in the field. The work he does, day in and day out with our students, makes him a model of teacher-scholar.”

The ATS meets annually at the Princeton Theological Seminary and its membership is limited to 100 elected members at any given time. Past presidents of the ATS include Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.  Dr. Thiel will serve as president in 2023-24.

Dr. Thiel has taught at Fairfield University for 46 years. He was a visiting professor of religious studies at Yale University in spring 2019 and spring 2020. Twice a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Dr. Thiel served in 2011-12 as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the largest professional society of theologians in the world.

 Dr. Thiel's 2013 book, Icons of Hope: The “Last Things” in Catholic Imagination (University of Notre Dame Press), received the 2014 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award for the best book on theology published by faculty members in Jesuit colleges and universities in the past three years. His most recent book, Now and Forever: A Theological Aesthetics of Time, will be published by the University of Notre Dame Press later this year. 

Dr. Thiel's articles have appeared in Theological StudiesModern TheologyThe Heythrop JournalNew Theology ReviewHorizonsPhilosophy and TheologyInternational Journal of Systematic TheologyThe Month, and Commonweal. He was elected to honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa and to membership in the New Haven Theological Discussion Group in 1995. He also serves as editorial consultant for the Jesuit-sponsored journal Theological Studies.

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