Carroll, who has written eleven novels and eight works of non-fiction, is a distinguished scholar in residence at Suffolk University and a columnist for The Boston Globe. He has won the National Book Award for “An American Requiem” and the Pen Galbraith Award for “House of War”.
“All of my work has been preoccupied with trying to reconcile the relationship between the Christian religion and … grotesque outbreaks of violence, especially anti-Semitism,” says Carroll, who has been a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at the Harvard Divinity School.
In “Christ Actually”, Carroll argues that the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima are evidence that humankind is capable of self-extinction. “I am recruiting a new understanding of Jesus as one mode of securing that future,” he says. “If we go on thinking of Jesus the way we have, it makes our suicide more likely.”
The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, CDSP’s dean and president, met Carroll when the author spoke on two occasions at the Trinity Institute at Trinity Wall Street in New York City, when Richardson served as moderator of the institute’s conferences and senior theological advisor to the church.
“Each time, the seriousness with which he reflected on the topics at hand, the creativity and the depth of his reflection left a mark on all who participated,” Richardson said. “The seriousness of his faith commitment is so clear, as well as his willingness to let go when we uncover falsehood and insincerity.
“His most recent writing on Christ for our day is a demonstration of his commitment to truth seeking as a high Christian virtue. How do Christians face the aftermath of the Holocaust? What conversions and reexaminations are necessary in light of world conditions, and how is Christ good news in these conditions? James is not afraid of humble self-examination and cultural examination in the face of these questions.”
Carroll most recent novel is “Warburg in Rome,” a historical thriller set in post -war Rome.
More details about CDSP’s commencement will be available at www.cdsp.edu this spring.