Skip to main content

Thomas Cattoi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Christology and Cultures and Dwan Family Endowed Chair in Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogue

BA, MA Oxford University;
MSc London School of Economics;
MPhil University College London;
STL Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University;
PhD Boston College
Licensed Psychotherapist in the State of California (LMFT)
Phone: (510) 549-5005
Office Hours: By appointment, Room 103


About the Professor

"For we were predestined before the ages to be in Christ as members of his body. He adapted us to himself and knitted us together in the Spirit as a soul to a body. For this we were created; this was God's good purpose for us before the ages."

Maximos the Confessor, Amb. 7

Thomas Cattoi joined the Jesuit School faculty in August 2006 after completing his doctorate at Boston College. His research interests include Christology and Patristics, Mahayana Buddhism (with particular attention to the Tibetan tradition), and the theology of inter-religious dialogue. His current goal as a constructive theologian is to explore the interface between early Christian thought and comparative theology.

As Associate Professor of Christology and Cultures, Dr. Cattoi teaches courses such as 'Christology: Ancient and Modern', 'Christ Krishna Buddha', 'Tibetan Christian dialogue', and 'Interreligious dialogue'. He has offered courses in Patristic Theology and Patristic Spirituality, as well as doctoral seminars for the Systematic and Spirituality areas of the GTU doctoral program.

Professor Cattoi has taught short courses at different Chinese universities under the umbrella of the Malatesta Program, which encourages academic exchanges between Chinese universities and Jesuit institutions of higher education in California. He has also led a number of theological immersions to Nepal and to India. In spring 2013, he taught a course in Patristic Spirituality at the Catholic University of Ukraine.

"I encourage students to observe, attend, survey, measure and revel in the near-dizzying array of religious and cultural diversity and innovation surrounding us...usually in the form of what is most unfamiliar to us."

Dr. Cattoi served as Co-Chair of the Mysticism Group for the American Academy of Religion in 2009-2014, and is one of the founding members of the Buddhist-Christian dialogue interest group for the Catholic Theological Society of America. In 2018-20 Dr. Cattoi will serve as Chair of the Theology and Ethics Department of the GTU Doctoral Program. He also co-edits the journal Buddhist-Christian Studies based at the University of Hawaii. 

Courses Recently Offered

History of Christian Spirituality 
Christology, Ancient and Modern
Theology of Religions
Methods and Doctrines I - History of Theology
Christ, Krishna, Buddha: Towards a New Theology of Divine Embodiment
Patristic Theology
Nepal Theological Immersion
India Theological Immersion
Patristic Spirituality
Theology of Desire
Tibetan-Christian Dialogue
Trinitarian Theology



  • Edited (with David Odorisio), Depth Psychology and Mysticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
  • Edited (with Christopher Moreman), Death Dying and Mysticism: The Ecstasy of the End (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
  • Theologies of the Sacred Image in Theodore the Studite and Bokar Rinpoche (Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias Press), forthcoming 
  • Editor, Many Tongues, One Spirit: Local Ecclesiology in Dialogue (Solstice Press, 2013)
  • Theodore the Stoudite: Writings on Iconoclasm and the Spiritual Life (Ancient Christian Writers. New York, N.Y./Mahwah, N.J.: Newman/Paulist Press, 2014)
  • Edited (With June McDaniel), Perceiving the Divine Through the Human Body: Mystical Sensuality (Palgrave McMillan, 2011)
  • Divine Contingency: Theologies of Divine Embodiment in Maximos the Confessor and Tsong kha pa (Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias Press, 2009)



  • "Reading Ignatius in Kathmandu: Towards a New Pedagogy of Interreligious Dialogue", in Alex Hwang and Marc Pugliese (eds.), Teaching Interreligious Encounters(AAR/OUP series, 2016, forthcoming)
  • "Ground and Manifestation: a Christian Reading of the Kun-byed Rgyal-po in Conversation with Origen's De Principiis", in You Bin (ed.) Acts of the October 2014 Minzu University Conference on Interreligious Dialogue, Minzu University, Beijing, 2015
  • "The Ocean of Forgiveness: Grace and Eschatology in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life", in Stephen Murray and Aimee Upjohn Light (eds.), God and Popular Culture: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Entertainment Industry's Most Popular Figure (Praeger Publishers, 2014)
  • "What has Chalcedon to do with Lhasa? John Keenan's and Lai Pai-Chiu's reflections on classical Christology and the possible shape of a Tibetan theology of incarnation," Buddhist-Christian Studies(Vol. 28, 2008), 13-26
  • "The incarnate Logos and the rūpakāya: towards a comparative theology of embodiment", Religions East and West: Journal of the Institute of World Religions(Issue 8, October 2008), 109-131
  • "Picturing Bodies: Sacred Images and Transformative Practice in Byzantium and Tibet", Journal of Inter-religious Dialogue (Issue 2, October 1 2009), 38-46
  • "The symphonic church: Chalcedonian themes in Maximos the Confessor's liturgical theology," Studia Patristica2007 (Vol. 48)
  • "Salvific asymmetry: anhypostasy and icon veneration in Theodore the Studite's Antirrhetici", in Studia Patristica2009 (Vol. 51)
  • "Why Images? Visualized Deities and Glorified Saints in Vajrayāna Buddhism and Patristic Theology", Journal of Philosophy and Education, Salesian Institute of Philosophy in India, October 2010
  • "Normative texts and multiple meanings: rescuing alternative voices in Origen's and Tsong kha pa's approaches to scriptural interpretation", in Religions East and West(October 2012)
  • "Basil of Caesarea's De Spiritu Sancto and Haexameron", introductory chapter to the Chinese translation of these two works published by Zhejiang University Press, Hang Zhou, China (published in Chinese translation)
  • "An Evagrian ὑπόστασις? Leontios of Byzantium's understanding of subjectivity in Contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos", in Studia Patristica 2014
  • "Primacy Revisited: Recovering Different Dimensions of Trinitarian Theology in Light of the 2007 Ravenna Declaration", in Khaled Anatolios (ed.), The Trinity in the Life of the Church(Baker Academic, 2014)

“Saints from the Margin: Rescuing Tradition through Hagiography in the lives of Sylouan the Athonite and Milarepa”, in Kerry San Chirico and Rico Monge (eds.) Hagiography in Abrahamic and Dharmic Traditions: Manifesting Sanctity and Truth (Bloomsbury)

  • “The Teaching Logos: Christology and Tropology in Theophylact of Ochrid’s Interpretation of New Testament Parables”, in Jane Beal (ed.), Illuminating Jesus in the Middle Ages (Brill, forthcoming)
  • Entries for Apostles' Creed, Athanasian Creed, Christology, Trinity in Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions (2015)
  • “Icons, deities, and the three transcendentals: deification and post-Kantian holiness in Byzantium and Tibet”, in Buddhist-Christian Studies, 2016