Professor of Christian Ethics, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Instruction

B.A., St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN
M.T.S., Candler School of Theology at Emory University
Ph.D., Emory University

Peter R. Gathje joined the faculty at Memphis Theological Seminary in 1996. His research interests include farming and food, state sanctioned violence in war, the death penalty, policing, and imprisonment, homelessness, poverty, racism, holiness, alternative Christian communities, and virtue ethics. In addition to co-editing a book on Christian ethics, Doing Right and Being Good: Catholic and Protestant Readings in Christian Ethics (2005), Dr. Gathje has written two books about the Open Door Community, a place of hospitality in Atlanta, Sharing the Bread of Life: Hospitality and Resistance at the Open Door Community, (2006/2012), and Christ Comes in the Stranger’s Guise:  A History of the Open Door Community, (1991) and edited a third, A Work of Hospitality: The Open Door Reader, (2002). Additionally, Dr. Gathje has contributed chapters to a number of books, articles in a variety of settings, and he writes a weekly blog on the practice of hospitality at

Dr. Gathje is a founder and co-director of Manna House, a place of hospitality in the Catholic Worker Tradition located in Memphis. He is a board member of Outreach, Housing and Community, a local organization that helps people on the streets get into housing. He helps with Room in the Inn, a shelter program involving area churches. He is active with a number of peace and justice organizations including the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and Workers Interfaith Network. He frequently speaks at local churches on a variety of topics, including hospitality for persons who are housing deprived, holiness, and issues of social justice.

Prior to coming to Memphis Theological Seminary, Dr. Gathje taught at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, where he was Chair of the Religion and Philosophy Department, and Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he also served as Associate Dean of the Chapel. At both Christian Brothers University and Kalamazoo College he was the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach. Dr. Gathje also taught religion and coached both cross country and track at the high school level in Minnesota and Florida for six years prior to beginning graduate school.

Learn more about Dr. Gathje’s research, teaching, and ministry