Michael E. Lee
Duane Library 105
Ph.D. - University of Notre Dame
M.A. - University of Chicago
M.A. - University of Notre Dame
B.A. - University of Notre Dame
Christology, soteriology, Christian spirituality, Latin American theology (particularly liberation theologies), and U.S. Latino/a theology.
My research interests lie in systematic theology, particularly in the areas of Christology and soteriology, understood as the critical-faithful retrieval, renewal, and appropriation of traditional understandings of salvation and the person of Jesus Christ.
As a Roman Catholic, U.S. Latino (Puerto Rican) influenced by Latin American liberation theologies, I view essential elements for this task to include not just: 1) the intellectual: a grounding in the classical and medieval sources, appreciation for the creative theological work carried out in the last century, and dialogue with currents in critical theory, but also 2) the practical: attention to the popular devotional practices, artistic expressions and liberative praxis engaged by Christians.
My first book, Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría, winner of the 2010 HTI Book Prize, identifies how this Jesuit martyr’s philosophy, Christology, and account of discipleship are woven together to provide a distinctive liberationist soteriology. It then places this soteriology in critical dialogue with authors of the “radical orthodoxy,” John Milbank, Daniel Bell, Jr., and William Cavanaugh.
The latter move in my book signals one important trajectory of my ongoing research: to move forward the conversation about liberation theology in a way relevant to present and future concerns. An interdisciplinary task, my research draws together historical and social-scientific analysis of the emergence and influence of liberation theology with a thoroughgoing engagement of its theological and philosophical ideas. My focus on the Salvadoran context allows me to ward off the too-often abstract and ideological discussion of liberation theology and ground it in the particularity of a rich, concrete narrative.
My other line of research is constructive in nature: writing Christology in the U.S. context, particularly drawing from the faith experience and theology of U.S. Latino/as. Here works on culture, aesthetics, and trends in postcolonial and transnational studies serve as useful tools to name the contemporary situation and correlate it to understandings of Jesus Christ both theoretical and practical.
Board Member, Catholic Theological Society of America
Vice-President, Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the U.S.
Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría. New York: Herder & Herder, 2009.
Articles and Chapters
- Winner Princeton Theological Seminary’s 2010 HTI Book Prize— “A scholarly work that is almost archival in its depth of research, yet clearly written, Lee’s winning entry presents a wonderful introduction in English to the Jesuit priest’s philosophical and theological itinerary… With its clear and coherent focus, the book is capable of becoming the standard study for a generation invested in the works of liberation theology.”
“Raised in Jerusalem,” in Jesus of Galilee: Contextual Christology for the 21st Century, ed. Robert Lassalle-Klein, 235-48. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2011.
“A Way Forward for Latino/a Christology,” in In Our Own Voices: Latino/a Renditions of Theology, ed. Benjamin Valentín, 112-32. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2010.
“The Galilean Jesus as Faithful Dissenter: Latino/a Christology and the Dynamics of Exclusion,” in Jesus in the Hispanic Community: Images of Christ from Theology to Popular Religion, eds. Harold J. Recinos and Hugo Magallanes, 16-37. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.
“Galilean Journey Revisited: Mestizaje, Anti-Judaism, and the Logic of Exclusion,” Theological Studies (June 2009): 377-400.
“La Conversión De Monseñor Romero, Un Proceso De Evolución,” in El Faro Académico [March 23, 2009] <http://www.elfaro.net/secciones/academico/20090323/academico1.asp>
“Liberation Theology’s Transcendent Moment: The Work of Xavier Zubiri & Ignacio Ellacuría as Non-Contrastive Discourse,” The Journal of Religion 83, no. 2 (April 2003): 226-243.