“Midway upon the journey of our life I found that I was in a dusky wood; for the right path, whence I had strayed, was lost. Ah me! How hard a thing it is to tell the wildness of that rough and savage place, the very thought of which brings back my fear! So bitter was it, death is little more so: but that the good I found there may be told, I will describe the other things I saw.” Inferno Canto I
My research interests focus on Christian anthropology, the symbols of spiritual death, and Old Testament studies. I pursue a Ph.D. in Theology at Villanova University, having earned an M.A. in Religion at Pepperdine University in 2017 and a M.Div. from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2019. My approach to the Catholic tradition is thematically focused on the symbol systems of Christianity and its vision of humanity. In my own way, the questions I tend to ask are “negative” in form, but my belief that humanity is good comes from my fundamental conviction that we have to confront the darkest parts of reality. As I draw inspiration from early Christian theologians like St. Augustine of Hippo, I also consult theologies that dialogue with secular culture and the critics of Christianity. I value these sources because they reveal our culture’s beliefs about humanity’s forlorn condition (or lack thereof). And, since I am a Roman Catholic theologian, I seek to interrogate modernity’s dismemberment of human spirituality and the process of disenchantment that diminishes our imagination.
I endeavor to link sources of Catholic renewal with the soteriological needs of our present age. Outside of systematic and historical theology, I am interested in everything having to do with religion. Contemporary issues in biblical studies have been an incredibly formative part of my education, so I am constantly reading and writing about the Old Testament. I believe this scriptural focus sharpens my Christian speech, which facilitates my commitment to the two tables—the Lord’s body and God’s word—affirmed in Sacrosanctum Concilium (cf. #48, 51). Additionally, cultural receptions of the Bible are also a fascinating area of study. I love examining how biblical texts are employed in political dialogues as theo-political tools and as symbolic language to describe our shadow (like Frankenstein’s monster or Jekyll). Such creative depictions of the human condition offer keen insights that expose the tendons between theology and the humanities.
“Tradition is memory, and memory enriches experience. If we remembered nothing it would be impossible to advance…True tradition is not servility but fidelity.” Yves Congar, O.P.
Besides the endless piles of coursework and private projects, I spend my time attending to hobbies that are still hopelessly related to my research interests in religion. I search for other areas of scholarship that I can admire from afar. For example, human biology and the evolutionary history of the brain are fascinating. If I had another lifetime, I would definitely consider neuroscience or cognitive psychology. Of course, I also spend time attending events and relaxing with friends (probably talking about religion). I have recently tried to bring back my old interest in photography; it was something I did in high school (my concentration) and my first year of college. Many of my hobbies are simply other ways for me to express my spiritual imagination. In any case, I bring my studies to the Church and attend masses as much as possible. This liturgical commitment is the center of my life and fills every day with joy.