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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry


David joined the Von Hügel Institute as a Research Associate in January 2016. He completed his PhD in Moral Theology in August 2014 at the University of Notre Dame. Written under his adviser Professor Jean Porter, his dissertation sought to demonstrate how the theological virtue of hope contributes to human happiness and the common good. After a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship as Research Associate in Theological Ethics at Cambridge University, in 2017 David he has been appointed Assistant Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics at the Catholic University of America.


David's primary areas of research are theological hope, virtue ethics, Thomas Aquinas, Christian social ethics, the art of dying, and the beatitudes. His first book Hope and Christian Ethics was published in 2017 by Cambridge University Press, and his research on theological hope was awarded the Essay and Book Prize from the Character Project of the Templeton Foundation for contribution to the study of character. 


Key publications: 


Hope and Christian Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 2017.


Review of "Ethics of Everyday Life: Moral Theology, Social Anthropology and the Imagination of the Human", Reviews in Religion and Theology (forthcoming).

“The Turn to Classification in Virtue Ethics: A Review Essay,” in Studies in Christian Ethics 29.4 (November 2016): 477–488.

“Defining the Relationship Between Health and Well-being in Bioethics,” in The New Bioethics, 22.1 (2016): 4 -17.

“The Theological Virtue of Hope and the Art of Dying,” in Studies in Christian Ethics 29.3 (2016)

"The Politics of Practical Reason: Why Theological Ethics Must Change Your Life," (book review) in the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 35.2 (Fall/Winter 2015)

“The Christian as Homo Viator: a Resource in Thomas Aquinas for Overcoming ‘Worldly Sin and Sorrow,’” in the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 34.2 (Fall/Winter 2014)

 “Passing Through the Sirens: The Trials of the Christian Wayfarer in the World,” in Touchstone 25.4 (July/August 2012): 34-39. (Won the $3000 Templeton Foundation’s Character Project Essay and Book Prize Competition.)

"Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law: Alasdair MacIntyre and Critics" (book review) in Toronto Journal of Theology 27.1 (Spring 2011): 124-126.
Research Associate
Assistant Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics, Catholic University of America
Dr David  Elliot



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