Peter Knox SJ: The Man Who Journeys With the Ancestors, Mother Earth, and the Marginalized


Peter Knox’s life journey is a tale woven around the ancestors, Mother Earth, and the marginalized. It is an intriguing story full of diverse experiences and remarkable accomplishments. Prior to becoming a Jesuit, he worked as an industrial chemist in South Africa’s gold mines, where he honed his skills and gained valuable experience. Following his calling, he joined the Jesuits and was sent to England and Canada to pursue higher education. His journey has been incredible, and his life, an inspiring example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

Jesuit, Teacher, Chaplain, and Administrator

After his priestly ordination in 1996, he served in various ministries, including chaplain at the University of the Witwatersrand, Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg College of Education, Technikon of the Witwatersrand, and Catholic Institute of Education national office in Booysens, Johannesburg. He was also a chaplain at the Catholic Institute of National Education office in Booysens, Johannesburg. He also held administrative roles, such as managing the Bursary Fund of the Society of Jesus in South Africa and serving as the Vocations Director of the Society of Jesus in South Africa. In addition, he taught Missiology, Inculturation, Fundamental Theology, and God, Creation & Salvation at St. John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria.

The Ancestors, Mother Earth, and the Marginalized

 He later went on to earn his Ph.D. in systematic and historical theology in 2005 at Saint-Paul University, Ottawa. Peter’s doctoral dissertation was an impressive work that explored the complex interplay between Christian theology, the cult of ancestors, and the HIV-AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Peter was supervised by a renowned theologian, Fr. Achiel Peelman OMI, whose ground-breaking research in North American indigenous Spirituality earned him great respect among his peers. Peter’s research focused on the challenges of integrating the Christian theology of salvation within the context of the devastating disease affecting the region. His dissertation was so impressive that it won the Governor General’s Gold Medal in 2005.

Life at the Hekima University College

Peter has a wealth of experience in the field of theology, having served as the dean of the Faculty of Theology at Hekima University College of the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar from 2013 to 2023. In addition to his role as dean, he also held several other positions during his tenure, including deputy principal for academics, senior lecturer, and associate professor in systematic theology. His theology never wandered away from the ancestors, Mother Earth, and the marginalized during these years.

The Ancestors, Mother Earth, and the Marginalized

The Advocate of the Mother Earth

One of Peter’s key areas of interest is environmental theology and its ethical dimensions. He is deeply passionate about this topic and has been teaching environmental ethics for many years, long before the publication of “Laudato Si.” Peter’s research interests also extend to the reception of Vatican II in parts of Africa, and he has made significant contributions to the field of environmental theology through his widely published work in both academic and popular media.

Overall, Peter is a highly respected theologian who has made significant contributions to the field of theology, particularly in the areas of environmental theology and the reception of Vatican II in Africa. His work is widely recognized and respected both within and outside of academia, and he continues to be a driving force in the field of theology today with his towering voice for our ancestors, Mother Earth, and the marginalized.

Gender, Sexuality, and Ministry to the Marginalized.

Currently, Peter is based in South Africa, where he is affiliated with the Jesuit Institute. He finds himself in a more intellectually free space where he writes about gender, sexuality, and ministry to the marginalized. Peter also derives encouragement and stimulation from the network of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC). His life story is a testament to the power of education, intellectual curiosity, and the desire to impact the world positively.

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