Santa Clara University

Religious Studies department
Phone: (408) 551-3184
Location: Kenna Hall
Room number: 305
Courses taught:
TESP 4  The Christian Tradition TESP 82  Witches, Saints and Heretics RSOC 188  Religion and Violence

William J. Dohar, Ph.D.


William J. Dohar grew up in Warren, Ohio. Not a very practical young man, he majored in his two academic loves at Kent State University--English and History--and earned a B.A. there in 1974. AT that time, his historical interests centered on the Reformation, that profound and often violent period of change in Christianity. But the more he looked for antecedents to those reform movements, the more he was drawn into the Christian Middle Ages. He attended graduate school at the University of Notre Dame and earned advanced degrees there in Theology and Medieval History. In 1981 he began doctoral studies at the University of Toronto and attended the Pontificial Institute of Medieval Studies where he was awarded a licentiate (M.S.L.) in 1984. He continued research on his Toronto doctorate, a study of religion in time of the Black Death, at Oxford University from 1984-86 and resided at Campion Hall. In 1987, after receiving his Ph.D., he returned to Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor at Notre Dame in 1994; four years later, he resigned his position at ND to pursue other developing interests in the Bay Area including continued research and writing as well as pastoral care for people with AIDS.

He came to Santa Clara as a part-time lecturer in 2002, and since 2004, has been lecturing full-time in Religious Studies. He occasionally teaches in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley.


   Courses taught at Santa Clara University
        TESP 4    The Christian Tradition
        TESP 82    Witches, Saints and Heretics
        RSOC 188    Religion and Violence
        TESP 166    Early English Christianity (Durham, 2006)


Research Interests & Publications

Dr. Dohar has published two books in medieval church history and is working on a third, a social, religious and legal study of the later 14th century based on a lengthy court case brought before the Papal Tribunal in Rome. A related area of interest is in monatic and other church-sponsored prisons in late medieval and early modern Europe. In addition, his teaching interests include the history of itellectual movements in Christianity, St. Thomas Aquina and the Scholastic Tradition, and Christian and Muslim relations in the middle ages.


Professional Memberships

   * The Medieval Academy of America
   * Ecclesiastical History Society
   * Medieval Association of the Pacific
   * American Academy of Religion

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