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Department ofReligious Studies

Elyse Raby

Elyse Raby

Assistant Professor


Elyse Raby is a Catholic systematic theologian. Her research is in the areas of ecclesiology and theological anthropology. Her first book, a revision of her dissertation, will analyze the metaphor of the church as a body in nineteenth and twentieth-century Catholic theology and, in particular, how different understandings of embodiment shape our understandings of the church, its ministry, and its relationship to the world. Her secondary research interests are in feminist theology and issues of gender and sexuality. As a teacher, she invites her students to encounter the sacramental worldview of Catholicism, to explore Christianity’s relevance for contemporary life, and to critically analyze the church from the perspective of its own stated ideals.

Most recently, Dr. Raby has given a conference paper on the possibility of women deacons in the Catholic Church at the American Academy of Religion and has a forthcoming article on the potential of metaphor in systematic ecclesiology. She has also published on intersex embodiment and theology of creation in Theology and Sexuality and on Marian symbols and kyriarchal ideology in Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza’s book Congress of Wo/Men: Religion, Gender, and Kyriarchal Power. She also reaches non-academic Catholic audiences. She has written on priesthood and ministry in the popular magazine U.S. Catholic, has preached on authority in the church for the online resource Catholic Women Preach, and has written numerous times for the prayer resource Give Us This Day.

Long educated in the Jesuit tradition, Dr. Raby holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, a Masters in Theological Studies from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and a Bachelors in Religious Studies from Fairfield University (CT). Prior to graduate school, she volunteered with the Catholic non-profit Rostro de Cristo in Guayaquil, Ecuador and worked at Fairfield University in the Center for Catholic Studies and Center for Faith and Public Life. Her full CV can be found at