Fr. Salvatore A. Tassone, S.J. Retires
By James Reites, S.J.
Salvatore A. Tassone, S.J. came to Santa Clara in 1968 and has taught in the department ever since--47 years! I don't know if anyone has been on the Religious Studies faculty longer. This year, he is retiring from his position as Senior Lecturer.
Father Tassone's expertise is in the study of the New Testament and his main area of academic interest is New Testament Christology. He is an active member of the Historical Jesus task force of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.
In his field, he has been the authoritative Wikipedia on these issues for many of us in the department. Ask him any question in his area, and it is clear he's read everything available on the subject and judiciously shares with you his encyclopedic knowledge and critical reflections.
I asked members of the department to send me a few thoughts on Sal's importance to them and I'd like to quote from a few of them:
"Sal has been a great resource of the years to many of us, not only teaching key courses in New Testament, but also as a resource for faculty in other areas with questions about texts and scholarship related to his field."
"I rely on him implicitly for all things in the area of New Testament Christology. I can ask him any question and he has a clear, thoughtful answer. It is absolutely true, I teach Christology from the bottom up and that's what Sal is an expert in."
"What I love about him when you ask for help, is that he assumes you are as learned in the subject as he is! He asks your view on the issues, even though he is the one who knows the most about it."
"I can't tell you how much students have named Fr. Tassone as one of their favorite teachers. He really has led students to a deep understanding of the Bible."
Perhaps even more important is the esteem Sal's colleagues have for him as a caring person. One colleague writes: "I always appreciated his keen interest to move students to a more thoughtful view of the Bible. And over the years we've had many such chats that I've enjoyed. But I also have to say that I especially appreciated his always asking about the family. Such a down-to-earth and humble person!"
Another writes: "When I think of Sal that is how much I think of him: alert and present with kindness and care." And still another: "When I was brand new to the department, Sal learned my name and always had time to chat in the hallway. He has always been welcoming and inclusive of everyone."
And finally, to sum up, one last quote. High praise from another New Testament scholar, who puts him in the league of the great New Testament scholars:
"Sal's nearly 50 years of teaching about Christ in the four Gospels makes him one of that great generation of Catholic New Testament scholars entering the field in the '60s, in the wake of Divino Afflante Spiritu and Vatican II. Like Ray Brown, he dedicated himself to gospel study, like John Meier, he seemed to have read every book and article, but unlike either of them, he taught undergraduate students for 47 years."
Salvatore A. Tassone, S.J., we wish you all goodness and happiness in your retirement. Know that we are grateful Sal, for all that you have done, for all that you have meant to your students, and to us over these many years.
Ad Multos Annos