Guide to the Daniel J. O'Hanlon, S.J. Papers 5600 OhaD

Finding aid prepared by Mary Kenney
California Jesuit Archives
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA, 95053
(408) 554-5432

Title: Daniel J. O'Hanlon, S.J. Papers
Identifier/Call Number: 5600 OhaD
Contributing Institution: California Jesuit Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 24.0 Linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1919-1992

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence and material related to courses taught by Daniel O'Hanlon at Alma College, Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and at Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. The bulk of the textual materials are included in topical files, listed alphabetically, in boxes 6-23. The topics reflect his wide-ranging activities in Eastern religions, ecumenism, prayer and meditation, retreats given, sabbaticals, the Spiritual Exrecises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, talks given, and many individual religious figures, among other things. The topical files are in original order with some additions. Also included are published and unpublished writing, boxes 37-40, and personal journals, 1949-1992. Additional materials include: photographs, slides, microfilm, sound recordings, and memorabilia.


Daniel J. O'Hanlon, S.J. was a Catholic theologian and ecumenical leader, who attended the Second Vatican Council and at the time of his death was emeritus professor of Fundamental and Systematic Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. Born in England in Wallsend-on-Tyne in 1919, he grew up in Fullerton, California; graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University in 1939; and then entered the Society of Jesus in the California Province. After completing his formation at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos and Philosophate at Mt. St. Michael's in Spokane, he studied at the Jesuit theologate in Milltown Park, Dublin Ireland where he was ordained in 1952. At the Gregorian University in Rome he completed his doctoral studies with the publication of his dissertation The Influence of Schelling on the Thought of Paul Tillich (1958). From 1959 to 1969 he was part of the faculty of the Jesuit theologate at Alma College in Los Gatos. In 1969 the theologate was reorganized as the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. At the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) in Rome he served as a theological consultant for the Bishop in Kingston, Jamaica, John McEleney, S.J. and after the death of Father Gustave Weigel was appointed as a staff member of the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity at the third and fourth Council sessions. He was also a correspondent for America magazine. He collaborated with Hans Küng and Yves Congar on Council Speeches of Vatican II (1964). After Vatican II he studied Eastern religions, doing extensive research in Nepal, India, and Thailand.

Access Terms

Pontificia Università Gregoriana
Tillich, Paul, 1886-1965
Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von, 1775-1854
Vatican Council (2nd: 1962-1965)
Ecumenical movement
Alma College, Los Gatos, Calif.
Graduate Theological Union
Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley
Abhishiktananda Society
Zen Buddhism
Vipasyanā (Buddhism)
Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968
Catholic Theological Society of America
North American Board for East-West Dialog


Curia Files


Curia Files reflect the relationship between the individual Jesuit and the Provincial and his officers. The series contains correspondence; vital, academic, and sacramental records; and biographical information.



Included in this series are letters to the O'Hanlon family, 1950-1992; Christmas form letters; folders of correspondence filed chronologically, 1955-1992; and other folders of letters filed alphabetically by author. When Father O'Hanlon served as consultor for the Vatican Secretariate for Non-Bellievers, 1966-1973, he filed that correpondence separately.

Topical Files


The bulk of Daniel O'Hanlon's papers are topical files which cover a wide range of issues, organizations, events, and individuals. A few folders have been added to the original files.

Conferences, 1957-1987


Daniel O'Hanlon frequently participated in religious conferences in the United States and internationally. His interest in ecumenism was early reflected in his participation in Conference Catholique pour les Questions Oecumeniques in Belgium in August 1957. He was a part of Jesuit Ecumenists in the 1960s and 1970s and the Buddhist-Christian dialogue in the 1980s.

Courses taught, 1965-1990


Courses taught by Daniel O'Hanlon are grouped under the institution: Alma College, 1964-1966; Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, 1968-1972 and 1980s; and the bulk under Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (JSTB), 1971-1990.


Box 37



Daniel O'Hanlon published only three books, as well as his doctoral dissertation. Included in his papers are: The Influence of Schelling on the Thought of Paul Tillich, excerpt from his dissertation (1958), and What's Happening to the Church? (1974).
Box 37-38

Articles, 1962-1991

Biographical note

Daniel O'Hanlon published many articles during his lifetime, most related to theology, ecumenism, Eastern religious practice, and prayer. Most of the publishers were Catholic periodicals such as Concilium, Commonweal, and National Catholic Reporter.
Box 39

Book Reviews, 1961-1985

Box 39



Daniel O'Hanlon taught and practiced yoga as an approach to personal prayer. In the 1980s he published several audiocassettes such as "Yoga as Preparation for Prayer."
Box 39

Letters to editor, 1963-1978

Box 39-40

Unpublished writing

Box 40

Correspondence with publishers and authors, 1965-1980

Box 40-43

Personal Journals, 1949-1992


The series contains two notebooks: "Points of Meditation" 1949-1951, and "Learning and Teaching Theology" 1952-1958. There are loose notes with several interviews from the late 1950s and a spiritual biography, 1972-1973. Beginning in June 1973 Father O'Hanlon maintained a continuous hand-written and annotated journal until 12 January 1992, numbered pp. 1-4228.
Box 44-47

Project Interviews, Center for Study of New Religions in America 1978


The Center for Study of New Religions in America awarded a grant to Daniel O'Hanlon with graduate student, David Hackett, in 1978 to interview young Americans living in Asia about their attitudes to the United States and religion. They completed seventy interviews, mainly in Nepal near Kathmandu. The series contains correspondence between Daniel O'Hanlon and David Hackett, project description and questionnaire, files on interviewees, audiocassettes and transcripts of interviews with related materials, and articles describing the project.
Box 48



Clippings and articles about Daniel O'Hanlon, 1952-1995, are included here, as well as a copy of an interview with him in Chaper 7 of Lost Christianity by Jacob Needleman, pp.145-151. Awards, holy cards, a Taizé press card, and an introductory letter from the Dalai Lama, 1973, are contained in this series.

Sound recordings


This series of audiocassettes is divided into music tapes, probably used for meditation and retreats; retreat presentations from the 1980s; and miscellaneous recordings related to yoga and Buddhism.
Box 51



Dissertations on microfilm (8 items), requested between 1955 and 1958, include O'Hanlon's own dissertation from 1958, as well as seven others related to Paul Tillich and Rudolf Bultmann.
Box 52


Box 52-59



Many of the photographs of Daniel O'Hanlon were taken as slides. The bulk were taken in Europe, particularly in Rome, and include some glass slides. In Rome there is a series of slides of the catacombs. His 1957 trip to the Mediterrean includes Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Holy Land, and Egypt. There are two commercial series: Shrine of St. Peter and the Vatican (1957) and Memoriae Romanae Santorum et Beatorum S.J.. His sabbatical year in India and Asia, 1973-1974; Sivanamda Ashram, 1976; and the New Religions interview project, 1978, are well-documented in slides.