Lisa Driver

Lisa Driver Professor of Theology 219.464.5261 Arts and Science Building 308


Born in Massachusetts, I am really a Hoosier. I grew up certain I’d work outside or play basketball, hopefully both! My family entered the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod from Church of the Brethren and Presbyterian backgrounds.  I was encouraged by all my pastors (at home and at college) to grow in understanding what I believed.


As a Whitinger Scholar at Ball State, I got hooked on classics and fencing. In my Byzantine history course, I had the astonishing opportunity to meet Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia. I was able to create my own major in Medieval Studies to go with my major in Latin and minors in Greek (and I can’t remember the others).


Afterwards, I went to University of Toronto instead of University of Notre Dame because my advisors in classics and history and English thought it would be a good idea to leave Indiana at some point in my education.  I took most courses through the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval studies where I was engaged socially and intellectually with the riches of the Catholic tradition.  My interests kept going back in time as I discovered the voices of ancient brothers and sisters in the faith: the questions they asked, their way of life, their innovations in prayer and service.  My Greek came in handy as I gravitated toward a project on early eastern Christianity. Through one bishop’s homilies, I examined issues of forgiveness and social disparities as well as the formation of Christian identity through ascesis and the cult of saints.

My church home was a downtown LCMS church whose members included Christians from Eritreia, Iran, Ghana, Congo, Sri Lanka, Poland, Slovakia as well as some from US and Canada.  Blessedly I met a brilliant guy, Steve Driver, who was in a lot of my seminars and who eventually became my husband. My sanity-saving hobby was competing on the university’s varsity fencing team (foil) for five years, captain for the foil team for three years.

Post-Ph.D.: Maryland

My husband and I amassed several part-time teaching jobs, but were surprised to be hired more in theology than history. This contributed to our discernment of being theologians.  We continued to be formed  within Catholic and Lutheran communities: teaching at Loyola University in Maryland and St. Mary’s Seminary and worshiping at St. Paul Lutheran Church-Hametown.  After five long years of not landing a sustainable position within the academy, despite  lots of interviews, we anxiously and painfully tried to conceive of a life outside of the academy. I had also been working as a cultural historian for an engineering firm.  Renewed by experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius 1999-2000, we could give up academics in peace.  As soon as we gave up, I was hired by Valparaiso University for the fall of 2000.

Valparaiso University

My calling emerges as an on-going process of becoming: a scholar, a teacher, a mother and wife, a Catholic/Orthodox infused-Lutheran.  I am a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso.  I am drawn to share the life, thought and practices of earlier brothers and sisters in Christianity to believers today. I enjoyed several years of leading contemplative retreats for the Center for Church Vocations. My research currently centers on early Christian pastoral care as care for the whole person and community.


Ph.D., (1996) Medieval Studies, University of Toronto

Thesis:  “Christian Society and Moral Values in the Homilies of Asterius of Amaseia”

Advisor: Robert E. Sinkewicz

M.A., (1989) Medieval Studies, University of Toronto

B.A., (1988) Hons., Summa Cum Laude, Medieval Studies, Latin, Ball State University

Honors thesis: “New Heroes for a Pagan Land:  Celtic and Saxon Tradition through the Vitae of St. Columba and St. Cuthbert”

Advisor: Bruce Hozeski



•“Apophatic Theophanies for the Laity: Incarnational Knowledge of God in Early Eastern Christianity” in The Routledge Handbook of Religion and the Body, edited by Yudit Greenberg and George Pati.


•“Who Was Blocking the Font of Mercy? Late Antique Problems with Managing the ‘Righteous’ and Sinners.” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly (64.1-2).


•“Pastoral Physicians and Communal Health in Late Antique Antioch. Orientalia Christiana Periodica 85 (2019) fasc.1, 23-44.


•“Homiletic Diagnosis and Therapy for Schismatic Rigorism through Lucan Parables.” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 61 no. 3 (395-410).


•John 21:1-8 and John 21:9-14 (Theological Perspective) in Feasting on the Gospels. John Volume 2. Edited by Cynthia A. Jarvis and Elizabeth Johnson. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox. (334-342).


•“Lenten Bodies in Late Antiquity” Allegorica: . Traditions and Influences in Medieval and Early Modern Studies 29 (2013) 3-19.


•“The Communion of Saints: Four Perspectives on Lay Vocation,” Concordia Journal (Spring) 112-114.


•Book: Christ at the Center: Early Christian Era, vol. 1 of the Westminster History of Christian Thought series. Louisville: Westminster John Knox.


Teaching and Research Interests in Ancient and Medieval Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox and Assyrian)

  • Worship and Devotional Practices
  • Saints and Martyrs
  • Christian Formation
  • Asceticism
  • Prayer
  • Pre-modern Christian Social Teachings
  • Missions and Adaption to New Cultures (Europe, Africa, India, Asia)

Formation for Parish Education, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Valparaiso


  • Global Christian Traditions (especially Orthodox and Syriac)
  • “Thirsting for God: Lenten Disciplines”
  • “Christ at the Center: Early Christianity”
  • “Prayer and Faithful Living”
  • “Poverty and Wealth:  A Conversation with Early Christians”
  • Co-Leader for Lenten small groups
  • Co-Leader for Ignatian Spiritual Exercises


  • Various grades of Sunday School


  • Early Christianity
  • Global Medieval Christianity
  • Early Christian Social Teaching
  • Christian Spiritual Traditions and Practices
  • Eastern Christianity
  • The Christian Tradition


  • American Society of Church History
  • Association International d’Études Patristiques/ International Association of Patristic Studies
  • North American Patristics Association