He received a B.S. from St. Joseph's University, an M.A. in Philosophy from St. Louis University, an M.Div. from Woodstock College, and a Ph. D. in Religious Ethics from Yale University in 1975.
His most recent books include Driven from Home: Protecting the Rights of forced Migrants (2010) Refugee Rights: Ethics, Advocacy, and Africa (2008) and The Global Face of Public Faith: Politics, Human Rights, and Christian Ethics (2003).
In 1990, he conducted the Winter School of Theology in six cities in Southern Africa. In 1996 he received a Fulbright Fellowship and was Visiting Professor of Social Ethics at Hekima College of The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya and has taught at Hekima College again a number of times. He has also taught at the Jesuit Philosophy Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines.
He serves as a consultant to the Jesuit Refugee Service concerning their work on advocacy on behalf of the human rights of displaced persons.
He was President of the Society of Christian Ethics (1995-1996). He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Religious Ethics. He assisted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in drafting their 1986 pastoral letter Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy.
In January, 2009 Hollenbach received the Marianist Award from the University of Dayton for Catholic contributions to intellectual life. In June, 1998, he received the John Courtney Murray Award for outstanding contributions to theology from the Catholic Theological Society of America.