Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Classics
Edmund Campion, S.J. Professor
Executive Director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education
Father Michael McCarthy was born in San Francisco in the 1960s, the youngest of six children in a fairly traditional Irish Catholic family. Since then, he has wrestled with one question that forms the backbone of his academic interests: how does one make sense of commitment to the Catholic-Christian tradition in a world which is dizzyingly complex and richly diverse in cultures?
After a year as an undergraduate at Stanford, he entered the Jesuits, and finished his B.A. in Classical Languages at Santa Clara University (1987). Next he went to Oxford University for four years, where he read Literae Humaniores ("Greats," or Philosophy and Classical Literature) and completed the course for a B.A./M.A. (Oxon.). After receiving the M.Div. from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, California in 1997, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in Patristics (the study of theology in the Early Church) from the University of Notre Dame in 2003, where he wrote a dissertation on Augustine's interpretation of the Psalms.
Father McCarthy joined the faculty at Santa Clara in 2003, with a joint appointment in the Religious Studies and Classics departments. In both he pursues his dual interests in the rich cultural world of Greece and Rome and the development of the Christian theological tradition within it. His research interests focus on the imaginative ways early Christians interpreted Scripture, especially the Psalms.