James Matarazzo

James Matarazzo



Thesis title:

The Judgment of Love: Salvific Judgment in Christian Eschatology


Professor Werner G Jeanrond


The aim of Jim’s research is the exploration of the concept of salvific judgment with a particular focus on twentieth century and current Western and Eastern approaches (e.g., the works of Sergei Bulgakov, Balthasar, Moltmann, Rahner, JAT Robinson, and McCord-Adams). He defines salvific judgment aphoristically as iudicandus est salvandus (‘to be judged is to be saved’).  His research of what could be called salvific optimism has resulted in a greater exploration and reinterpretation of the ‘last things’ (de novissimis), i.e., death, judgment, heaven, and hell. He also further develops the idea of salvific judgment as the eschatological event of absolute recognition, i.e., the absolute recognition of rational creatures by God in Christ. This broader definition makes use of some of the ideas in the philosophy of recognition in the works of GWF Hegel, Paul Ricoeur, and Axel Honneth.

Selected Publications and Papers:

Ulrich Schmiedel and James M. Matarazzo, Jr., eds. Dynamics of Difference: Christianity and Alterity. A Festschrift for Werner G. Jeanrond. London: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2015.

Paper at the HIV and Religion Seminar, Annual Meeting, American Academy of Religion on “Prayer Alone Is Not Enough: faith-based responses to HIV in El Salvador, Yemen, and Zimbabwe”. Baltimore, November 2015.

Paper at the Oxford-Bonn Theology Seminar, “The Larger Hope: Divine Judgment in Optimistic Soteriology”, University of Oxford, September 2015

Paper at the St Benet’s Hall-University of Marburg Graduate Theology Workshop: “Salvific Judgment”, University of Oxford, June 2015

Paper at the Hertford College Graduate Conference: “The Larger Hope: Divine Judgment in Optimistic Soteriology”, University of Oxford, May 2015

Conference Sermon, ‘Shekinat El’, Interpreting Experience - Experiencing Interpretation: Im/Possibilities of a Hermeneutics of Religious Experience Conference, University of Oxford, April 2014

Response to paper by Professor Cornelia Richter at the Oxford-Bonn Theology Seminar on “Is it Time for a New Kind of Apologetic Theology?” University of Bonn, September 2013.

Co-organiser, 'Eschatology and History', Graduate Theology Society (GTS) Conference, Ertegun House, University of Oxford, July 2013

Paper presentation at the International Symposium on Theology in the Midst of Contemporary Rationalities: “A Tense Unity: Sergei Bulgakov, Rational Antinomy and the Role of Theology”. Université Catholique de Louvain, January 2013.

Workshop presentation at the Oxford Forum for International Development:  ‘Millennium Development Goal 6: HIV and AIDS - The Contribution of Community-based Organizations’. University of Oxford, February 2012.

Other research interests:

Jewish mysticism and eschatology, liturgical studies, the Desert Fathers, and the intersection of religion and international development.

Academic-related Activities:

Co-president, St Bent’s Hall Graduate Society (MCR); Member, Global Perspectives on Religion and HIV/AIDS Seminar, American Academy of Religion; Coordinator and founder, Oxford Students in International Development Initiative (OxDev)

About me:

Jim read history for his BA at Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, USA. He then studied theology at New College, University of Edinburgh, and completed his Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary, New York. From 1996 to 2011, he worked in the HIV field, first in public health, then in research administration at Tufts and Brown Universities, and finally in HIV-related international development starting in 2004 with the World Council of Churches. He moved to the UK in 2007 to work for Christian Aid in London. In 2011, he decided to pursue a mid-career PhD course at the University of Glasgow in Systematic Theology with Professor Werner Jeanrond as my supervisor. In autumn 2012, he transferred to the University of Oxford’s DPhil course in order to accompany his supervisor who had been appointed Master of St Benet’s Hall. He is a native of Boston, Massachusetts. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (USA) and holds ordained standing in the Church of Scotland and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (Porvoo Communion). He is also the Associate Chaplain of Herford College.

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