Alas, 1 year later I'm trying to do the same thing.
I'm on this contract where the UI designer does not and will not fire up a web app in eclipse to make changes. So I'm trying to architect a solution whereby the static code loads from the file system, a kinda pure HTML.
I'm willing to for go MVC, and java templating engines, however I cannot find any precedence. I've read up on a templating engine called Thymeleaf which probably would give me much needed mileage.
For now, we're trying static html using jQuery to populate selects and forms after the page load. Essentially forgoing any traditional servlet based controllers, except for the RestEasy service points to serve JSON