DPhil Student
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After graduating valedictorian from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, I worked for transatlantic civil-society groups in Washington, D.C., and Budapest, Hungary.

At Oxford, I earned an MSt with distinction during the 2015-6 academic year before taking up the DPhil.

My thesis constitutes a critical contribution to Balthasar Studies—specifically, I consider Balthasar’s theology of prayer as the conceptual key to his sprawling theological system. I show that prayer is for Balthasar a comprehensive mode of existence reflective of prior a trinitarian dynamic; as such it provides the necessary context for his theodramatic Christology, ecclesiology, and anthropology. Finally, inasmuch as prayer is a graced process in which God remakes the praying person, it is also an eschatological act which, eventually, suggests an alternative social imaginary. By uncovering these various aspects of prayer, this thesis demonstrates the truly interconnected and revisionist nature of Balthasar’s thought, as well as suggests new directions for the course of Balthasar Studies to come. 

More broadly, I am interested in how Balthasar’s conception of prayer can recontextualize prevailing accounts of human nature and spiritual development, and how it might contribute to contemporary discourse on difference (thus the emphasis on metaphysics). It is therefore a vital feature of this work that it is not simply guide through Balthasar’s theological system (though such guides are still necessary), but that it deploys Balthasar’s contributions towards creative ends. 

Dr James Hanvey, SJ and Prof. Graham Ward

Research Area: 
Modern and Systematic Theology

Selected publications & presentations:  
Editor, with James Hanvey, Id Quod Volo: The Dynamics of Desire in the Spiritual Exercises and Postmodernity (Brill, forthcoming)

“Competing Accounts of Progress: The Redemptive Purpose of Memory in J.B. Metz and Theodor Adorno", Heythrop Journal (March 2017); accessible here

“Bold Speech or Idle Chatter? Institutional Parrhesia and the Church’s Many Voices”, paper presentation at the American Academy of Religion (AAR); Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado (November 2018)

“Theology as Parrhesia: Foucault, Balthasar, and Fearless Speech”, paper presentation at Society for the Study of Theology (SST); Postgraduate Conference, KU Leuven (30 August 2017) 

Academic-related Activities: 
Co-taught Balthasar seminar (for graduate students from various research areas)

Co-taught “God, Christ, and Salvation” unit (for undergraduate finalists in Theology)

Research Assistant to Regius Professor of Divinity Graham Ward

Organizer for “Id Quod Volo” conference (interdisciplinary working group) 

Other research interests: 
political theology; Ignatian spirituality; parrhesia; ecclesiology; ressourcement theology; theology and film

Other Affiliations::
Junior Associate, Institute for the Study of Politics, Philosophy, and Religion (University of Cambridge)

Named one of Commonweal Magazine’s “12 Under 40” list of distinguished young writers & editors