“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 and professional interests focus on issues in religious studies and theology. I am passionate about sources of richness in theology and religious literature. The dynamic between Christian sources and their secular counterparts is a huge dynamic in my way of thinking. Outside of systematic and historical theology, I am interested in everything having to do with religion. In this regard, biblical studies and its relationship to theology are indispensable parts of my research. The spiritual and intellectual rejuvenation provided by Tradition’s conference with Scripture is illuminative. I draw on a wide range of fields within religious studies.
Contemporary issues in biblical studies have been an incredibly formative part of my education. The cultural reception of the Bible has been a fascinating area of study. I love examining how biblical texts are employed in political dialogues as theo-political tools. The way that authors use the Bible to enhance literary depictions of their major thematic characters (like Frankenstein’s monster or Jekyll) forms a huge component of my research. Such literary depictions of the human condition offer keen insights that expose the tendons between theology and the humanities. Additionally, through my foray into biblical studies, I learned that “pre-critical” interpretive methodologies have much to teach people today. Early Christian writers used Old Testament quotes and allusions as the backbone of their creative, theological formulations. I greet these fields along with cultural insights from the ancient Near East, enlivening my theological formulations with a healthy approach to history.
“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 at Vanderbilt and relaxing with friends around Nashville. 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.
“Learning to live out of control, learning to live without trying to force contingency into conformity because of our desperate need for security, I take to be a resource for discovering alternatives that would not otherwise be present.” – Stanley Hauerwas