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James Lewis Heft

Alton M. Brooks Professor of Religion

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-3055
Office: URC 102

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

As president for the Institute, I have raised over 1.5 M for to support research in areas such as economics and social justice, Catholic intellectual life, and the separation of Church and State I continue to work on my own book on The Current State of Catholic Colleges and Universities in the United States.

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

""The Moment: Interreligous Dialogue: A Conversation with Eboo Patel", The McGreal Lecture , Lecture/Seminar, Chicago , Dominican University in Chicago , Invited, 08/23/2013  
"Forming One’s Conscience in a Polarized Church", LA Religious Conference, Lecture/Seminar, Los Angeles, CA, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Invited, 2012-2013   
"Fundamentals of Ecclesiology", Lecture/Seminar, Los Angeles, CA, The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Invited, 2012-2013   
"Presidency in a Catholic University", Inauguration of the first Lay President, Keynote Lecture, Collegeville, Minnesota, St. John's University, Invited, 2012-2013   
"Response to Prof. Wendy M. Wright, author of "The Lady of the Angels and Her City", Our Lady of Los Angeles, Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, CA, Loyola Marymount University, Invited, 2012-2013   
"The Challenges of Interreligious Dialogue", The Cardinal Lecture , Lecture/Seminar, Winona, Minnesota, St. Mary's University, Invited, 2012-2013   
"The Current State of Catholic High Schools in the U.S.", Catholic Center Lecture , Lecture/Seminar, Pennsylvania , St. Francis DeSales University in, Invited, 2012-2013   
"The Mission of a Catholic High School: Three Challenges", Educational Leadership Symposium, Lecture/Seminar, Los Angeles, National Association of Christian Brothers, Invited, 2012-2013   
"lead a Trustees of the Loyola Marymount University", Workshop, Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, LMU, Invited, 2012-2013   
".", The Life of Faith in Contemporary Culture., Workshop, Los Angeles Diocese, Invited, 06/09/2011-06/16/2011  
"Catholicism and Islam: The Current State of the Dialogue.", Lecture/Seminar, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies , Invited by US Ambassador, Invited, 05/20/2011  
"Interfaith Panel", Roundtable/Panel, Hassan Hathout Foundation. , Invited, 04/17/2011  
"Faith and Diplomacy. ", USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy , Roundtable/Panel, Invited, 03/25/2011  
"The Humanities and Professional Education.", Lecture/Seminar, Duquesne University, Invited, 03/10/2011  
" Mission and Identity of a Catholic Jesuit University.", Workshop, John Carroll University, Invited, 03/09/2011  
"Catholic Intellectual Life: An Oxymoron?", Lecture/Seminar, St. Louis University , Invited, 03/03/2011  
"Catholic Teaching on War and Peacemaking", Lecture/Seminar, Dr. Andrew Manning's USC Peace and Conflict course, Invited, 11/01/2010  
"Religion and Violence: Three Interpretations", Lecture/Seminar, Uiversity of Dayton, Invited, 09/17/2010  
"The Catholic Universty in Post Modern Culture", Lecture/Seminar, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas, Invited, 09/09/2010  
"Science and Religion", Lecture/Seminar, University ot Dayton, Invited, 07/13/2010  
"A Catholic Approach to the Dialogue with Islam", "Islam and the West", Keynote Lecture, Paper, Cairo, Egypt, Al Azhar University, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Catholic Intellectual Life", Lecture/Seminar, University of British Columbia, St. Mark's College, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Discipleship and Citizenship", Talk/Oral Presentation, Pasadena, CA, Holy Family Parish, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Ecclesiology", Roundtable/Panel, Los Angeles, Archdiocese of LA, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Interfaith Dialogue", Roundtable/Panel, Pasadena, CA, Polytechnic High School, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Mission and Identity of a Catholic University", Talk/Oral Presentation, New Rochelle, NY, Paper College of New Rochelle Board of Trustees, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Religion and Politics", Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, CA, Alumni Assoc of Loyola Law School, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Religion and Public Life", Legatus of Ventura County, Lecture/Seminar, Oxnard, CA, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Religious Pluralism and Peace", Lecture/Seminar, Honolulu, HI, Chaminade University, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Science and Religion", Talk/Oral Presentation, Newport Beach, CA, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Spirituality of Leadership", Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, CA, Archdioces of Los Angeles, Invited, 2008-2009   
"Teaching Morality to Adolescents", LA Religious Conference, Lecture/Seminar, Anaheim, CA, Invited, 2008-2009   
"The New Atheism", Lecture/Seminar, Dayton, OH, University of Dayton, Invited, 2008-2009   
""Contemporary Culture and Catechesis," ", Lecture/Seminar, LA Religious Education Congress, Invited, 2007-2008   
"A Catholic Approach to Interreligious Dialogue", Roundtable/Panel, Pasadena, CA, Polytechnic High School , Invited, 2007-2008   
"A Catholic Approach to the Liberal Arts", Lecture/Seminar, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, St. Mark’s College, University of British Columbia, Invited, 2007-2008   
"Catholic Approaches to Interreligious Dialogue", Talk/Oral Presentation, IR class at USC, Invited, 2007-2008   
"Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians", Lecture/Seminar, South Pasadena, CA, Holy Family Parish , Invited, 2007-2008   
"Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians", Lecture/Seminar, Moraga, CA, St. Mary’s College, Invited, 2007-2008   
"Catholicism and Science: the Case of Evolution", Talk/Oral Presentation, Newport Beach, CA, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel , Invited, 2007-2008   
"Faithful Citizenship: Separation of Church and State", Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, Alumni Organization of Loyola Law School,, Invited, 2007-2008   
"Leadership in Catholic High Schools", National Conference , Lecture/Seminar, San Antonio, TX, National Catholic Education Association, Invited, 2007-2008   
"Pro-Choice Catholic Politicians and the Election", Talk/Oral Presentation, South Pasadena, CA, Holy Family Parish, Invited, 2007-2008   
"Silence and Speech", Fundraiser Luncheon for the Cloistered Carmelite Sisters,, Talk/Oral Presentation, San Gabriel Country Club , Invited, 2007-2008   
"Two Different Worlds: Academics and Campus Ministries", National conference of Catholic Campus Ministries , Lecture/Seminar, Vero Beach, FL, Invited, 2007-2008   
"Passing on the Faith to the Next Generation", Lecture/Seminar, Miami, FL, Catholic Theological Society of America, Invited, 07/07/2008  
"True Wealth of Nations", Organizer, Paper, Davidson Conference Center, Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, Invited, 06/18/2008-06/22/2008  
"Bishops and Politics", National convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America, Chaired one session, Los Angeles, CA, Invited, 2006-2007   
"Day-long workshop for faculty & staff", Workshop, St. Monica's High School, 2006-2007   
"Difficulties in Inter-Religious Dialogue.", Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Michigan,, 2006-2007   
"Director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture, ", discuss in a small seminar Christian Smith’s Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Am, 2006-2007   
"Discipleship: New Possibilities", Talk/Oral Presentation, South Pasadena, CA, Holy Family Parish , 2006-2007   
"Failing America’s Faithful ", A dialogue with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on the topic of her book, Failing America’s Faithful (Warn, Talk/Oral Presentation, Santa Monica, St. Monica's Church, 2006-2007   
"Inter-Religious Dialogue", Panel Discussion, Omar Ibn al Khattab Mosque. , 2006-2007   
"Learned Ignorance in the Abrahamic Religions", Led a three day symposium, Jerusalem, Israel, 2006-2007   
"Presented a day long workshop to the faculty and staff", Workshop, West Hills, CA, Chaminade High School , 2006-2007   
"Social Sciences and the Human Person," ", Notre Dame, Talk/Oral Presentation, Sea Island, Georgia, Templeton Foundation, 2006-2007   
"The Importance of Religious Distinctive Research at a Catholic University", Talk/Oral Presentation, Chicago, IL, DePaul University , 2006-2007   
"The Roles of the Faculty at a Catholic University", Boston College’s Institute for Leadership in Catholic Higher Education, Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 2006-2007   
"The Vocation Crises in the Catholic Church", the Serra Club International., Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, 2006-2007   
"Trinity Sunday", National Convention of the College Theology Society, Preach Sermon, University of Dayton , 2006-2007   
"USC panel on religious diversity", USC panel on religious diversity, Talk/Oral Presentation, 2006-2007   
"Vision and Voices Program", At the request of the Provost’s office, led a discussion for 150 USC students with Prof. Thomas Ly, Talk/Oral Presentation, Mark Taper Theatre, 2006-2007   
"on "The Role of Religion and Peacemaking." ", Talk/Oral Presentation, Leo Baeck Temple, Invited by Lisa Bitel, USC professor of history., 2006-2007   

Other Research

I continue to work on my own book on The Current State of Catholic Colleges and Universities in the United States., 2012-2013   



Heft, S.M., James Lewis (Ed.). (2012). After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co..
Heft, S.M., J. L. (2011). Catholic High Schools: Facing the New Realities. Qxford University Press.
Heft, S.M., J. L. (2011). Par-dela la violence :Le dialogue des religions est-il une utopia?. Parole et Silence, Paris.
Heft, S.M., J. L. (2011). Catholicism and Interreligious Dialogue. (James L. Heft, S.M., Ed.). Oxford University Press.
Heft, J. L. (2006). Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. New York: Fordham University Press.

Book Chapter

James L. Heft, S.M., Reuven Firestone, Omid Safi (Ed.). (2011). "Humble Infallibilty". Learned Ignorance: Intellectual Humility Among Jew pp. 89-106. Oxford University Press.
Heft, S.M., J. L. (2011). "John Paul II and the ‘Just War’ Doctrine: ‘Making Peace through Justice and Forgiveness, Not War". In Religion, Identity, and Global Governance pp. 203-219. University of Toronto Press.
Heft, J. L. (2005). US Catholics and the Presidential Election: Abortion and Proportionate Reasons”. (Vol. 259-275). New Blackfriars: A Review 86.
Heft, J. L. (2005). Believing Scholars:. (Vol. 196). pp. p. New York: Ten Catholic Intellectuals/Fordham University Press.
Heft, J. L. (2005). “Presidents and Principals: What Should Be Their Major Focus?”. (Vol. 13-26). Development of the President/Principal Model in Catholic High Schools.

Encyclopedia Article

Heft, S.M., J. L. (2010). "Catholic Higher Education in the United States". 427-430. Vol. 1. New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2010,.

Journal Article

Heft, S.M., J. L. (2012). Institutionalizing Catholic Identity. Journal of Catholic Higher Education. Vol. Vol.31, Number 2 (Summer 2012), pp. 181-192.
Heft, S.M., J. L. (2010). "Religion and Violence: Three Interpretations". Origins. Vol. 40 (26), pp. 409-415.
Heft, S.M., J. L. (2010). "Distinctively Catholic: Keeping the Faith in Higher Education". Commonweal.
Heft, J. L. (2008). The New Atheism: Really?. Origins. Vol. Vol. 38 (No.21), pp. 332-339.
Heft, J. L. (2008). Evolution and Catholicism: A Few Modest Proposals. Horizons. Vol. 35 (2 Fall 2008), pp. 203-227.
Heft, J. L. Rousing the Sleeping Giant: Notre Dame’s Commitment to Catholic Schools. Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice.
Heft, J. L. (2007). Newman’s Vision of a University: Then and Now. Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice. Vol. 10:3, pp. 357-375.
Heft, J. L. (2006). Religion and Politics: The Catholic Contribution. University of Dayton Law Review. Vol. Vo. 32:1 (2006), pp. 29-46.
Heft, J. L. (2006). “Catholic Universities as Open Circles: Academic Freedom.”. No Journal Defined. Vol. 35, pp. 40 660-663.
Heft, J. L. (2005). “Wisdom for Presidents”. No Journal Defined. Vol. 24, pp. 2 49-51.
Heft, J. L. “Catholic Education and Social Justice.”. No Journal Defined. Vol. 10, pp. 1 6-23.

Magazine/Trade Publication

Heft, S.M., J. L. "Spirituality and Religion: Challenges and Opportunities". The Catechist.
Heft, S.M., J. L. "Christianity, War and Peacemaking". Cross Current, United Nations. pp. 328-331.


Heft, S.M., J. L. (2010). "Christmas and Easter Christians", OpEd. Washington Post.
Heft, S.M., J. L. (2010). "From ‘Nones’ to ‘Somethings'," OpEd. Tidings.


Other Advisement or Time Devoted to Students

I continue to prepare and lead bi-monthly discussions for a series entitled "Intelligent Catholicism" at the Caruso Catholic Center. Topics , 2012-2013   

Honors and Awards

2013 Catholic Press Awards Third Place - After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermenutics, edited by James L. Heft, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI A valuable contribution to the ongoing analysis of the conciliar documents of Vatican II. The inclusion of the insights of noted theologians guarantees that a broad scope of interpretations is presented. The authors help the reader to understand that the Council was an event that is still being determined as it is lived out in the lives of all of us., 2012-2013   
USC Endowed Professorship, Alton M. Brooks Professor of Religion, 8/16/2006-5/15/2013  
Theodore M. Hesburgh Award in Washington DC from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for distinguished and long contribution to Catholic higher education in the United States., 1/29/2011  
Nominated by Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Honor Society at USC for Professor of the Year 2007 , 2007-2008   

Service to the University


Member, Serve on Rabbi Susan Laemmle's USC Religious Partners' Group. , 2007-2008   

Media, Alumni, and Community Relations

Invited President of the National Endowment of the Arts, Dana Gioia, to speak on "Catholicism and Literature" Video presentation is on our website:, 2008-2009   

Other Service to the University

Organized Annual Leccture Series on "Film and Religion"., 2008-2009   
We have also launched our first annual USC lecture series, "Catholicism and Other World Religions," which will result in a book published in 2008. Next year, we will organize a year long series on "Film and Religion." , 2007-2008   

Service to the Profession

Conferences Organized

The Contested Concept of the Common Good, USC, Our Institute is holding an international conference at USC June 18th to the 21st on "The Contested Concept of the Common Good," a part of our continuing research program in economics and ethics. , 2013-2014   
Organized and Chaired, "Caritas in veritate and how it applies to the United States." , Vatican, The papers presented at the conference are being edited by Daniel Finn, Institute Board member and will be published in 2012 by Oxford University Press. , 10/15/2011  
Organizer, What Happened at Vatican II?, Davidson Conference Center - USC, The 2-day symposium focused on Historian John O'Malley's book, "What Happened at Vatican II?", 2008-2009   
Organizer, True Wealth of Nations, USC Davidson Conference Center, As president of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies I helped organize and fully supported an international conference on the "True Wealth of Nations." The papers presented at the conference are being edited submitted to Oxford University Press. , 06/18/2008-06/22/2008  

Other Service to the Profession

I am co-editing a book of essays on "The Logos of Love: The Predicament and Promise of Catholic Intellectual Life Today," based on a national conference that the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies and the University of Dayton organized, September 20th to the 22nd. , 2013-2014   
I have been invited to give a lecture on "The Challenges of Leading a Catholic University" as part of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Boston College—it is a symposium, invitation only, for presidents of Catholic colleges and universities. , 2013-2014   
I will be speaking at the University of Portland February 27th, at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress March 15th, at USC’s Polymathic Society on April 23rd, and at a national conference on "Preaching the Word in and out of Season," on July 9th held in Toronto Canada., 2013-2014   
Our Institute organizes annually a lecture series held on the USC campus on topics related to religion, society, interreligious dialogue, and neuroscience., 2012-2013   
As President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, I have organized for each academic year a lecture series on campus. For the year, 2007-2008, the theme of the lecture series was Catholicism and other World Religions. For the academic year, 2008-2009, the theme is Religion and Film. Both lecture series, held on campus, bring eminent scholars to campus to interact with USC’s scholars and community. I am editing the lectures given at both series so that they may be published as books. I have included USC faculty as respondents to these lectures., 2008-2009   
I invited the President of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia, to speak on campus December 3rd on "Christianity and Literature." I have extended invitations to USC’s English Faculty for the lecture and join Mr. Gioia for dinner afterwards, 2008-2009   
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