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School of Theology and Ministry

Francine Cardman

associate professor of historical theology and church history

Francine Cardman

Contact Information |(617) 552-6515
Simboli Hall 330


A.B., M.Phil., Ph.D. (Yale)

Areas of Interest

Her teaching and research interests include the history and theology of early Christianity, the development of early Christian ethics, the history of Christian spirituality, feminist theology, women in ministry, and ecumenism.


A native Long Islander, Francine Cardman did her undergraduate work at Swarthmore College (B.A.) and her graduate studies at Yale University (M.Phil, Ph.D.) where she specialized in historical theology and early Christianity, writing a dissertation on Tertullian and the resurrection of the body.  She has taught at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, and now at the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.  She is a past-president of the North American Academy of Ecumenists, has served on the Eastern Orthodox/Roman Catholic Consultation in the United States, has been a board member and vice-president of NETWORK, the Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, DC, and was a founding member and long-time board member of the Women’s Theological Center in Boston.

Whether addressing contemporary or ancient issues, what is common to her teaching and writing is an historical approach that grounds theology and ministry in their social and cultural contexts.  In addition to translating Augustine’s commentary on the Sermon on the mount, she has written on the development of doctrine and early Christian ethics; women’s ministry in early  Christianity; questions of tradition and hermeneutics in regard to the ordination of women; lay leadership and participation in the early church; structures of governance and accountability in the church; and Vatican II and ecumenism. She is currently working on a book on early Christian ethics.

Current Courses

Fall 2016
History of Western Christianity I: 100-850 (TMHC7026)
Seminar: Early Christian Ethics (TMHC8507)

Spring 2017
Women in Ministry (TMHC8035)
Body, Gender, and Sexuality in Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa (TMST8556)

Other Courses
Ministry and Leadership in the Early Church
Classics of Christian Spirituality
Two Great Councils: Trent and Vatican II
Ethics in Augustine
Seminar: Body, Gender, Sexuality: Augustine and the Cappadocians

Recent Publications

“Sisters of Thecla: Knowledge, Power, and Change in the Church.” In Prophetic Witness: Catholic Women’s Strategies for the Church, ed. Colleen Griffith. New York: Crossroad (2009) 46-54.

“Early Christian Ethics.” In Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies, Susan Ashbrook Harvey and David G. Hunter, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2008) 931-56.

“Poverty and Wealth as Theater: John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Lazarus and the Rich Man.” In Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society, ed. Susan R. Holman. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic (2008) 159-75.

“Foreword.” In A Just and True Love. Feminism at the Frontiers of Theological Ethics: Essays in Honor of Margaret A. Farley, ed. Maura A. Ryan and Brian Lindane. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press (2007) ix-xiii.

“Re-Thinking Early Christian Ethics.” Studia Patristica 40 (2006) 183-89.

“Who Did What in the Church in the First Millennium.” In Lay Ministry in the Catholic Church: Visioning Church Ministry through the Wisdom of the Past, ed. Richard W. Miller II. Liguori, MO: Liguori (2005) 1-31.

“Myth, History, and the Beginnings of the Church.” In Governance, Accountability, and the Future of the Catholic Church, ed. Francis Oakely and Bruce Russett. New York: Continuum (2004) 33-48.

“Laity and the Development of Doctrine: Perspectives from the Early Church.” In Laity and the Governance of the Church, ed. Stephen Pope. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press (2004), 51-69.