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Staff Profile

Dr James Lorenz

Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion

Dr James Lorenz, Lecturer

I joined York St John in 2021 after completing a DPhil (PhD) in Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. My doctoral thesis, 'The Theological Power of Film: Embodiment, Time, and the Work of Andrei Tarkovsky', engaged in the interdisciplinary study of philosophy, theology, and film. I also hold a Masters degree (MSt) and a BA in Theology and Religion (both from the University of Oxford), which were awarded in 2017 and 2015 respectively.

During my doctoral studies, and for several months afterwards, I taught various modules to undergraduate and mature students studying at Oxford for degrees in Theology and Religion and in Philosophy and Theology. Now, at York St John, I teach a range of modules on the Philosophy, Religion and Ethics Programme. My research is situated at the intersections of philosophy of religion, theology, and cinematic art, and I am a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal for the Oxford Graduate Theological Society.


My primary teaching areas are the philosophy of religion, theology and film, systematic theology, and ethics. I have also lectured and/or taught seminars on:

  • Liberation theology
  • Ecotheology
  • Feminist theology
  • Theology
  • Religion and the arts
  • Black and womanist theology

At York St John, I convene the following modules:

  • Philosophy and Religion
  • From Descartes to Marx: Philosophers and Religion
  • Film, Ethics and Theology
  • Forgiveness and Reconciliation
  • Values and Virtues


My research sits in the interdisciplinary fields of theology, philosophy of religion, and cinematic art. My doctoral thesis, entitled ‘The Theological Power of Film: Embodiment, Time, and the Work of Andrei Tarkovsky’, adopted a phenomenological method to explore theology and film, drawing especially on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and on the discourse of film-phenomenology. The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (especially through his two volumes 'Cinema I' and 'Cinema II') played a vital role in this project’s analysis of cinematic time, and by extension so did Henri Bergson’s philosophical understanding of time as duration (durée), since Deleuze was so influenced by Bergson. Away from this thesis, I have also published articles on Andrei Tarkovsky's work with major academic journals in theology and the philosophy of religion, as well as film reviews aimed at a public audience with the online journal 'Thinking Faith'.

Currently, I am working on a book chapter for the forthcoming edited volume 'Finitude's Wounded Praise: Responses to Jean-Louis Chrétien' (eds. Philip Gonzales and Joseph McMeans, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock), in which I explore Chrétien's phenomenological treatment of beauty in the context of his eschatology. I have recently completed a chapter for another edited volume, 'Life Above the Clouds: Philosophy in the Films of Terrence Malick' (ed. Steven DeLay, New York, NY: SUNY Press), which is due out in late 2022. My chapter in this volume explores Malick's oeuvre in light of Deleuze's concept of the time-image ('Cinema II').

Publications and Conferences

Book Chapters

'The Eschatological Rhythms of Beauty in Jean-Louis Chrétien's Phenomenology' in: Finitude's Wounded Praise: Responses to Jean-Louis Chrétien, eds. Philip Gonzales & Joseph McMeans (Eugen, OR: Wipf & Stock, in preparation).

'Ephemeral and Eternal Images: Gilles Deleuze and the Time-Image in the Films of Terrence Malick' in: Life Above the Clouds: Philosophy in the Films of Terrence Malick, ed. Steven DeLay (New York: SUNY Press, in preparation).

Journal Articles and Reviews

'The Cinematic Gaze as “A Long Loving Look at the Real”: Andrei Tarkovsky and Walter Burghardt's Theology of Contemplation' The Heythrop Journal (Early View, 2020:

'The End of Desire? Love and the Soteriological Significance of Desire, Hope, and Belief in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker (1979)' Journal for Religion, Film and Media, Vol. 6 (2020) Issue 1. pp. 37-52.

'First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2017) Review' Journal for Religion, Film and Media, Vol 5. (2019) Issue 1. pp. 139-143.

Film Reviews 

Ad Astra (James Gray, 2019) Review, Thinking Faith, October 2019

The Wife (Björn Runge, 2018) Review, Thinking Faith, October 2018

Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2018) Review, Thinking Faith, October 2018


'Theology from Below', Conference, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, March 2019. Delivered a paper titled: '“Now at last you are face-to-face.” Encountering grace from below in Robert Bresson's Diary of a Country Priest (1951)'

'Figuring Existence', Conference, University of Oxford, March 2019. Panel Chair for the short papers stream 'Phenomenology'

Conference Organiser, 'Theological Tropes in Contemporary Culture', Worcester College, University of Oxford, May 2018. Co-organised this two-day postgraduate conference, which welcomed over twenty speakers, including a keynote by Professor Robert Beckford

Modern Doctrine and Patristics Research Seminar, University of Oxford, November 2018. 'Nostalghia: The Spirituality of Memory and “Time-Sense” in Slow Cinema'; presented to faculty and fellow graduates

'Nature and Beyond: Transcendence and Immanence in Science and Religion', Conference, European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT), Lyon, France, April 2018. Delivered a paper titled: 'Memory, Imagination, and Anticipation: Using the Science of Memory to Explore Augustine's Understanding of Transcendence and the Happy Life'

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