Joseph C. Atkinson

Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture
S.T.L. and S.T.D. Program Advisor
Joseph Atkinson portrait


  • Developing the Theology of the Domestic Church
  • Hermeneutics and their Relationship to Scriptural Interpretation
  • The Nature of Scripture
  • The Purity Rituals of Israel, especially the Mikveh
  • Theological Meaning of Water in OT and its relationship to NT Baptism
  • Ezra-Nehemiah
  • Ecclesiology in Acts

Joseph C. Atkinson

Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture
S.T.L. and S.T.D. Program Advisor


S.T.D., Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C.

S.T.L., Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C.
M.Div., Montreal Diocesan Theological College
B.Th., McGill University

B.Ed., Acadia University
B.A., English, Kings College


Dr. Atkinson’s work has included foundational research in developing the biblical and theological foundation of the family. He is a primary authority on the concept of the Domestic Church, which explores the ecclesial structure and meaning of the family. The Domestic Church is an ancient idea that has achieved critical prominence since Vatican II. He teaches on the biblical structure and meaning of marriage and the family, on the Jewish background of the family, on the nature and role of covenant, and on hermeneutics and the role of symbol. He has produced a 13-part series with EWTN on the Domestic Church and has authored numerous articles on Scriptural exegesis and the biblical vision of the family including “Ratzinger’s ‘Crisis in Biblical Interpretation’: 20th Anniversary Assessment,” “Nuptiality as a Paradigmatic Structure of Biblical Revelation,” and  “Paternity in Crisis: Biblical and Philosophical Roots of Fatherhood,” and presented the research report, “Primordial Biblical Triptych: The Symbolic Structure of Water in the OT,” at the Catholic Biblical Association.  His work also includes “The Revelation of Love in the Song of Songs” in The Way of Love (Ignatius Press) and “Family as Domestic Church: Developmental Trajectory, Legitimacy and Problems of Appropriation” (Theological Studies). His book The Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Family: The Domestic Church is published by CUA Press. He is founder of the Theology of the Family Project which promotes the recovery of the Biblical vision of marriage and family. He serves as the Executive Director of the Catholic Biblical Association.


JPI 532/707

Biblical Theology of Marriage and Family: Old Testament

The purpose of this course is to help the student discover the biblical vision of the person, marriage, and family […]

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JPI 661/861

Biblical Theology of Marriage and Family: New Testament

This course builds on the Old Testament course and provides an introduction to the New Testament with a focus on […]

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JPI 715

Covenantal Reality: Biblical Foundations

Covenant is at the heart of God’s relationship to his people. This course will examine the numerous covenants within the […]

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JPI 719

Issues in the Gospel of John

This course deals with the Gospel of John and the critical themes that form its architectural structure. This course will […]

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JPI 743

The Church of the Apostles and the Modern Church

The problems that the modern Church faces can be seen as problems of identity. The struggle after the Vatican II […]

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JPI 816

Domestic Church: Biblical Foundations

John Paul II stated that the future of humanity “passes by way of the family.” The purpose of this course […]

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JPI 956

Covenant, Nuptiality, and the Biblical Vision of Reality

At the heart of biblical revelation is a vision of creation that is relational and covenantal. It is the reality […]

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JPI 967

The Pauline Vision of Marriage and Family

For St. Paul, marriage and family become radically redefined in Christ. This course examines how Paul develops his Christological vision, […]

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JPI 991

Biblical Foundations of Ecclesiology: People, Kingdom, & Body

The aim of this course is to explore at a critical level the foundations for ecclesiology in the Scriptures. Little […]

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JPI 946

Domestic Church: Water and the Mystery of Baptism

The family in the Old Testament became a special sphere of holiness, inextricably tied to the covenant. Critically, the purity/holiness […]

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JPI 1007

Water and the Mystery of Salvation

In the Old Testament, water has a theological meaning and symbolic structure which plays a critical role in the plan […]

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JPI 768

Revelation, Scripture, and the Nature of Exegesis

Dei verbum teaches that Scripture is the “soul of theology,” thus showing its fundamental importance to the theological endeavor. This […]

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JPI 1010

The Church as Body and Christ as Head: The “One-Flesh Union”

At the heart of creation lies a mystery which is termed in Hebrew the basar ’echad or the “one-flesh union.”  […]

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Select Articles

“Jesus, Divorce and the Kingdom of Heaven.” Anthropotes Vol. XXX, No. 3 (2014): 63-94.

“St. Paul and Marriage: A Hermeneutic.” Anthropotes Vol. XXV, No. 1-2 (2009): 179-198.