All posts by Jeffrey L. Morrow

Jeff Morrow is Associate Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. He also serves as a Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Jeff earned his Ph.D. (2007) in Theology at the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, in the program on the U.S. Catholic Experience, where he focused on historical theology and the history of biblical exegesis. He earned his M.A. (2003) in Theological Studies, with a focus on Biblical Studies, also at the University of Dayton. He earned his B.A. (2001) at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he double majored in Comparative Religion and Classical Greek, and minored in Jewish Studies. Jeff originally comes from a Jewish background; he attended Hebrew school and had a bar mitzvah. In 1997 he became an evangelical Protestant and was heavily involved with para-church ministry as an undergraduate student. He entered the Catholic Church, Easter Vigil 1999. Jeff is a popular speaker who speaks regularly at parishes and schools, as well as at larger events. He has made popular presentations at the Applied Biblical Studies and the Defending the Faith Conferences at Franciscan University of Steubenville, as well as with the Coming Home Network International. He has also published in popular periodicals including This Rock, The Catholic Answer and New Oxford Review. Jeff's scholarly work is primarily in the history of biblical interpretation, but he has also presented academic papers, and published scholarly articles, on a variety of topics related to theology, religion and the Bible. He has published scholarly works in academic journals including International Journal of Systematic Theology, New Blackfriars, Pro Ecclesia, and Toronto Journal of Theology. He has also made scholarly presentations before a number of learned societies, including the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Catholic Historical Association, and the College Theology Society. He currently resides in New Jersey with his wife Maria (who has a Ph.D. in Theology, specializing in Moral Theology, also from the University of Dayton) and their five children Maia, Eva, Patrick, Robert, and John.

New Kindle Resource just in time for Holy Week!

Passover coverI have a new Kindle resource that’s specifically designed for Holy Week, although it can be used any time of the year, since it focuses on the Triduum in its Jewish context, and the Triduum contains so many of the fundamental mysteries of our faith (priesthood, Eucharist, Confession, baptism, etc.). This volume is entitled, From Passover to Eucharist: Reflection for Holy Week & Throughout the Year. It emerged out of a number or retreats I have given for RCIA programs preparing candidates for Holy Week, and especially the Sacred Triduum. I delve into the Jewish background, going through the Passover Seder, the Last Supper, and the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. There are also links to a number of resources that are available online, but not easily accessed by those who don’t know what to look for. This text can be used for spiritual reading, for study into the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith, or as notes for a talk or series of talks (or a retreat) dealing with the Eucharist, the Mass, Holy Week, or the Triduum. It could be a good resource for an RCIA program, but is not limited to that. Amazon will be having a special, giving this text away for FREE from tomorrow, Tuesday March 15 through this Weds., March 16th, 2016, in anticipation of Holy Week which will be begin this Sunday, March 20.

On Mercy Late in Life and Contagious Holiness: St. John of God

st john of godA few days ago we celebrated the optional memorial of St. John of God. Our pastor gave a marvelous homily that day, which inspired this post. One of the key connection points the pastor made was the connection St. John of God had with other Saints with whom I was more familiar. To be quite honest, I knew next to nothing about St. John of God. So I began to investigate his life, and what an amazing man of God, St. John of God was! I thought his life–as well as his spiritual connection to other Saints–made this a very appropriate topic for a post during Lent….especially as we approach the end of Lent.

St. John of God is best known for his many followers who eventually founded the Hospitallers, a religious institution focused on aiding the sick, suffering, and dying, among other services they now provide. They are still in existence today.

What I didn’t know was St. John of God’s late conversion in life. In many ways he was a prodigal of the Church. A baptized Catholic, like virtually all his family and friends, he was a public sinner, who sinned in countless ways. He wasn’t just known for one particular sin, but many. He was a soldier, but was particularly known for leading a life best described as completely “wild.” He was around 40 years old, or so, when he had his conversion. He found mercy rather late in life.

Taking Stock Daily: The General Examination of Conscience

note takingOne of the most important but neglected spiritual practices is the daily general examination of conscience. No business would last very long without taking stock daily, calculating how much profit was made, etc., and there is no business more important than our soul. Socrates famously said that, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” We could say that an unexamined life is dangerous. It’s important to examine how we are doing fairly regularly in order to improve. When our goal is off in the distance, a little misdirection early in the journey–if it is not corrected–can spell disaster, landing us far off the mark.

The Morning Offering: Offering Your Day, First Thing in the Morning

OrtizThe morning offering is a very traditional Catholic practice that seems to be neglected by so many Catholics I run into. Many have never heard of a morning offering. We’re already well into Lent, 2016, but I thought I’d post on this wonderful Catholic traditional prayer. There are numerous prayers that can be said as a morning offering, and you can google them, or find many different versions in Catholic prayer books. The specific form or words of the morning offering, is less important I think than the actual practice of praying the morning offering. The basic idea is simple. When you get up in the morning, you start your day by offering the entire day to God. You offer all of the joys and sufferings that will come that day, as well as all of your work and prayers, for God. Of course you can include other intentions, like for the Pope, your local bishop, etc. Offering your day to God first things is a great way to begin to sanctify your ordinary life. What better time than Lent to begin taking up this traditional Catholic practice. It’s a great way to start the day off right, and it only need take a few seconds. You can always renew the offering throughout the day as you offer specific tasks, or instances of suffering, to God. One of the best resources out there on the morning offering is Michael J. Ortiz’s fine book, Like the First Morning: The Morning Offering as a Daily Renewal. His book cover is the image I used at the top of this post. So let’s start our days off right this Lent, offering what lies ahead to God in advance as we get up to begin the day, facing all the challenges and joys and whatever else lies ahead.

Morrow’s New Book on the History of Modern Biblical Criticism

Cover Three Skeptics and the BibleMy latest book just came out, Three Skeptics and the Bible: La Peyrère, Hobbes, Spinoza, and the Reception of Modern Biblical Criticism, and is now available from for those interested. It details an important part of the history of modern biblical criticism, showing the political and historical developments that began to lead to a more skeptical treatment of biblical interpretation, like that found so often on t.v. today and in university classrooms across the globe. I’m currently working on a much broader work of the same topic, bringing it into the 20th century.