Papers of a prominent Jewish liberation theologian, including correspondence, diaries, subject files, and writings documenting his academic career, scholarly and personal relationships, and the development of his thought.

Related materials are in the Center for Jewish Studies Records at The Texas Collection, Baylor University and the Maryknoll School of Theology collection at the Maryknoll Mission Archives.   

Gift of Marc Ellis, 1986.

Processed by Phil Runkel, 2019.

Biographical Note 

Marc Ellis, born in 1952, was mentored by Catholic Worker historian William Miller at Florida State University, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees in Religion and American Studies. In between, he spent a year with the New York Catholic Worker community, the basis for his master's thesis (1976) and first book (1978). After a year teaching and organizing poor African American women under the auspices of Hope House in New Orleans, Ellis entered the doctoral program in History at Marquette University. There he was reunited with Miller, under whom he wrote his dissertation on Peter Maurin (1980), published the next year.

Upon graduation Ellis accepted a faculty position at the Maryknoll School of Theology in Maryknoll, New York, becoming founding director of their M.A. program and the Maryknoll Institute for Justice and Peace. When the school closed in 1995, he assumed a position as a senior fellow at Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions, and then served as a visiting scholar at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and visiting professor at Florida State University. He found permanent employment at Baylor University in 1998, serving as University Professor of Jewish Studies, Professor of History, and first director of the Center for Jewish Studies. In 2011 the administration of newly appointed Baylor president Ken Starr relieved Ellis of his teaching and administrative duties following disputed allegations of misconduct, and he retired the following year.

Marc Ellis is author and editor of more than 20 books, most pertaining to contemporary Judaism, Jewish liberation theology, and Israel/ Palestine, and continues to lecture and write extensively. He has posted columns on the Mondoweiss site since 2011.

Additional  biographical information on Marc Ellis is available on Wikipedia and in his published memoirs, including Practicing Exile: The Religious Odyssey of an American Jew (2001) and Revolutionary Forgiveness: Essays on Judaism, Christianity, and the Future of Religious Life (2000).


Scope and Content

The Marc H. Ellis (MHE) papers are arranged into four series. They include electronic  as well as paper formats. Both of these formats have been integrated into the arrangement scheme and are available to on-site researchers. Paper documents are stored in cardboard boxes and folders, as are some audio and video materials. Electronic records (ER) reside in electronic folders on a computer server and are clearly identified as such on the inventories (e.g. ER-1, ER-2, etc.). 

Series 1, Biographical and Subject Files, 1955-2015, contains information on various topics related to Marc Ellis's life The series is arranged alphabetically by topic or type of record, and then in chronological order.

Series 2, Correspondence, 1974-1997,undated, contains general correspondence (in many cases responses to ME's books and lectures) and more personal letters from colleagues, students, and friends. Of note is a letter from Susan Baker, dated 21 May 1992, when her husband was Secretary of State. One folder is closed during ME's lifetime. The general and private correspondence is each arranged chronologically.

Series 3, Diaries, 1974-2018, consists of handwritten and typed reflections on the author's experiences and reading, unevenly kept over the years. (Most date from 1974-1985 and 2016-2018.) The more recent diaries are closed during ME's lifetime.

Series 4, Writings, 1965-2017, includes articles and essays, early handwritten drafts of several books, texts and PowerPoints for lectures and talks, and handwritten and typescript poems, The series is arranged alphabetically by type of record and chronologically thereunder.

Series 5, Recordings, ca. 1987-2020, contains video recordings of interviews and presentations, arranged chronologically.