Michael Morris

Fr. Michael Morris

Address2301 Vine Street
Berkeley, CA 94708

Professor of Religion and the Arts, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Professor of Religion and the Arts, Graduate Theological Union

BF.A., University of Southern California, 1971
B.A., M.Div., St. Albert’s College, 1977
M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1980
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1986

Fr. Michael trains his students to develop knowledge of great religious artworks that have been established through the ages. He desires that his students will come away from his classes with a joy and appreciation for the beauty of life. For him, it is an important, and also fun, mission to see in the material world the beauty that comes from religious study. Fr. Michael’s teaching method is classical lecture with visual aids followed by discussion, giving his students a multidimensional approach to understanding religious themes in all expressions of art.

The courses Fr. Michael Morris teaches are:

  • Christian Iconography
  • Religion in the Cinema
  • Bible and the Arts Seminar
  • Modern Religious Art
  • The Cinematic Salon, Theological Reflections on Contemporary Film

Fr. Michael Morris is currently working on a number of writing and research projects. At the forefront is Summa Cinematica, discovering the religious themes found in cinema in a systematic and categorical way inspired by Thomas Aquinas. He is also in the process of publishing his dissertation Cowled Creatures: the Image of the Monk in Georgian and Victorian England. He is researching for his forthcoming book, Artist and the Altar, an investigation on artists who’ve created signature chapels. Fr. Michael has also begun a monolithic project on Modern Religious Art, a history of religious art from the French Revolution to the present day. His academic interests are: Art History; Film; Pop Culture; and Myth and Legend.

Fr. Michael Morris is also the director of the Santa Fe Institute, a private research center in Berkeley with a library of 12,000 volumes devoted to Religion and the Arts. He is also a regular art commentator for the monthly devotional booklet ‘Magnificat.’

Select Publications

‘Previewing Mel Gibson’s Passion.’ New Oxford Review (February 2004).

‘Sun Rising in the East: On Priests and Altars.’ Crisis (November 2000).

‘Le Corps crucifié du Christ; Mystique et réalisme dans l’art du XIXe et du Xxe siècles.’ Pierre d’ Angle, 1998 (France).

‘Looking for Reel Religion.’ Image Magazine (November 1998).

A six-part series on modern Christian art that appeared in The National Catholic Register in 1994: ‘The Future is the Past,’ (September 11); ‘Worship at Nature’s Altar,’ (September 18); ‘The Symbolism of Faith,’ (September 25); ‘The Christ of History,’ (October 2); ‘Surrealism and the Church,’ (October 9); ‘The New Language of Art,’ (October 16).

Madam Valentino: The Many Lives of Natacha Rambova. (Abbeville Press, 1991) [Listed by the New York Times as one of the notable books of the year.].

Areas of Interest

Logos Almanac of the Christian World

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